The Art Elements Rune reveal

Welcome to our last official COM here at Art Elements! Starting next month we are moving to monthly themed challenges. We felt this was expanding the option, invigorating out creativity and opening the door to so many mediums!

This final COM is stunning metal clay runes made by Niky Sayers. I had the good fortune of meeting Niky in London and receiving mine personally!


Niky’s runes are cast from her own hand made personal set, and based on the Elder Futhark. These symbols were originally carved in wood and stone, and their straight lines reflect that context. Elder Futhark was a runic alphabet used by Norse and Germanic peoples from approximately the 2nd – 8th centuries. ( styles changed, runes evolved, and continued to be used….) Runes are recorded in sources such as the Poetic Edda as being used for inscriptions and talismans.

In the 1980’s Ralph Blum published and popularized the runes as a system of divination. I have long been a fan of Tarot cards, as an inspirational and oracular device. But runes were never my go to, and I enjoyed this chance to start working with them.

The first rune I selected to work with is URUZ, meaning “aurochs”. It’s traditional meaning is “Physical strength and speed, untamed potential. A time of great energy and health. Freedom, energy, action, courage, strength, tenacity, understanding, wisdom. Sudden or unexpected changes…” Immediately I saw a Phoenix, as working with the runes coincided with a New Moon journal spread I was planning. ( And yes – this means I still have this actual rune to use in a piece of jewelry!)


The dark moon was done in watercolor pencils and crayons. I wanted to leave a hint of a triple spiral there in purples and black. The Phoenix was drawn in pencil and inked with fine marker. The color was very satisfying to do- many layers and colors blended using Derwent watercolor pencils.


I was a bit disappointed with the background. I used a student grade liquid watercolor and it feels a little flat, a little blah to me. Such is the nature of an art journal: experimentation, risks, and play.

The second rune I selected was EHWAZ, meaning horse. It’s traditional meaning is: movement/ progress, steady progress, transit and transition. When thinking “horse” I immediately think of the Uffington chalk figure, and I was seeing landscapes in my mind’s eye from my recent trip to visit Lesley in Dorset. This idea evolved quite naturally, involving polymer and felt…

I wet felted two abstracted landscapes in a palette of greens:


The rune will be affixed to the frame at center top. The felted tapestry inside, and an image of the Uffington horse to float above, suspended on fine gauge copper chain.


This is the work in progress so far – I am seeing a few changes I want to make. I want to create another felt tapestry and play up the copper color from the rune itself. I think I will add a thin layer of white acrylic paint on the frame, a white wash of a sort, to lighten the piece. And yes – that is a rogue hair from my paintbrush. Oops. I am happy with my overall design plan – but need to tweak the palette a little. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts…

And I look forward to seeing the creations from my team mates and our guests this month:


Kelly Rodgers

Deb Fortin

Art Element Members:

Laney Mead

Lesley Watt

Caroline Dewison

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Susan Kennedy

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Jennifer Stout Cameron

Claire Fabian

Lindsay M Starr

Niky Sayers

9 thoughts on “The Art Elements Rune reveal

  1. lesleyhw says:

    I love the pheonix clutching the rune in it’s claw – so awesome!. Look forward to seeing the completed tapestry and I’m sure ht will be great too.


  2. Kelly Rodgers says:

    Look at you getting TWO pieces done – stunning work! I am particularly drawn to the felt and horse – feels so peaceful and fresh – I love the colors you chose and how you displayed the rune. I also loved your painting – I don’t mind the background at all! Gorgeous!


  3. cathysmendola says:

    Love the phoenix clutching the rune! What a fabulous journal page. I would definitely frame it. The tapestry is beautiful and I love the idea of the rune on the frame with the horse suspended over the felted piece. I do see what you mean though, some flashes of copper/burnt orange/burnt sienna in the felted piece would make the horse pop and bring in the copper of the rune. Love your mixing of media:-)


  4. niky sayers says:

    I have been so amazed at how many ways a small piece of metal can be transformed into such personal pieces of art! Your phenix is stunning, so beautifully drawn Jenny and with amazing colours but I really love your horse piece, green is my favourite colour and this piece really speaks to me! Thank you so much for playing along X


  5. Claire says:

    I love how your brain went into all that directions! It is also such a cool idea to have a journal page accompanying every COM… not that I would have managed that and now we go over to the theme challenges, but still, it would have been cool! 😉
    I am really curious how your felted pieces works out, I already love how it comes together! And rogue hairs… hu… from any kind of source, they seem to sneak in everywhere!


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