Lovely Luna: the Art Elements theme reveal

The Luna moth – elusive, poetic, and so vibrant! Jen gave us a wonderful theme to work with this month! I knew from the start that I wanted to stretch myself and allow myself to play a little simultaneously.

I recently posted about my new-found toy: Brusho watercolor crystals. So I sat down to play in my art journal with the theme on my mind… The stages of the drawing are shown above and the very colorful piece is below. I wanted a more mellow blue background so the luna moth would pop more; but I am happy with my composition and inks!

Luna moth art journal page.

The challenge I set to myself was to do something in leather. I have a diverse collection of pieces gifted to me, and purchased from friends who are leather clothiers. ( Think Renaissance fairs) My original plans were to paint on leather, but I found this glossy yellow-green piece that team mate Lindsay had sent me! Perfection. A few You Tube videos later – I was stitching.

The whole piece was inspired but he Luna moth shape – as I could see the tail tucking into a loop or fold. the band closure was a little too loose – so I fabricated 2 stamped staples to tighten it down, making the closure more secure. The luna moth is glued down and stitched using forest green 28 gauge wire. I burnished the ends into the flap so they wouldn’t catch on anything.

I dont know what I will use it for – the size was determined by a scrap of natural leather that I stained dark brown. In a perfect mixed media moment – I took out my linoleum carving tools to score/carve the designs into the moth’s body. I accentuated the carved lines with acrylic. The whole experience was so freeing – to do something very different and solve the myriad small creative problems that one faces when working outside of their regular medium. More leather work soon!

Now please feel free to explore the other pieces this month – by my team mates on the blog and out guests!

Guests:M

Tammy

Beth and EvieC

Alysen

Rozantia

Sarajo

Karin

Sarah

Divya

Colette

Art Elements Team:

Niky

Caroline

Cathy

Jenny ( you are here)

Lesley

Marsha

Lindsay

Claire

Jen

The Art Elements theme reveal: Birds of Prey

Welcome to the reveal! This month Cathy challenged us with “Birds of Prey“. I found it to be extremely inspirational. I really wanted to work with osprey – as they nested on the river where I grew up, all along the Chesapeake Bay, and I still see them often at the Delaware beaches. But the owls had their hooks in me…

First are these mixed media focal pendants. This is a style I am diving deep into pf late – getting ready for an online show, a local show, and then.. .Bead and Button!  ( details at end of post.)  These polymer assemblages feature found OOAK images, and antique lenses. Optometry lenses or watch crystals – I am not sure.  The image is sandwiched between polymer and lens. The bezel – for lack of a better term – is sculpted. All are hand painted! ( I may have to keep that Barn owl… )

Polymer and mixed media pendants.

The polymer station is simply staying set up in my studio. I have ideas bubbling up all the time! After a lovely day crystals shopping with Staci – These owl were born. I want to sculpt similar pieces with goddesses and other animals as well.

Crystal owl prototype!

2 crystal owls, one with a loop. Coming soon to “One Sweet Bead Market” on FB.

The image in Cathy’s original post haunted me. Zoomed in, cropped… I decided to try translating it to beads. I want to experiment with some beaded paintings, of a sort… I made the conscious decision to use only size 11 rounds, keeping the surface uniform. Then color and direction of stitches would take precedence…

Beaded painting in progress

At the same time – I was working on this cabochon – a barn owl. So often I am caught up in the cycle of production, being efficient, producing more. That is a cycle I strive to break this year. This piece was very satisfying to sculpt in detail, and i used antique jet beads as eyes. ! I knew it was destined to be paired with flowers. I was inspired by the Welsh goddess Blodeuwedd – who was created from flowers and later shape shifted into an owl…

New cab, colored with pastels, amongst vintage lucite flowers.

Here are these 2 bead embroidery pieces finished! I am happy with how they both came out – but thrilled with Blodeuwedd, if I do say so.

Completed as a brooch, shown in hand for scale.

Beaded piece measures 3 x 3″ , framed in a birch panel frame.

This was  a great theme, and a very productive month, especially for a short month! Please take a few minutes to visit my team mates, and out guests this month. Thanks for stopping by – see you in March!

Guests:

Tammy

Beth

Cat

Anita

Kathy

Alysen

Linda

Rozantia

Jennifer

Hope

Sarah

Sarajo

Melissa

 

Team Members: 

 

Caroline

Cathy

Claire

Jen

Karen

Laney

Lesley

Lindsay

Marsha

Niky

Sue

Its a phase… the Art Elements moon theme reveal.

Welcome to the first theme challenge of the year! And the first blog post of the year – a habit I plan to revive…

This month Lindsay selected the Moon as our inspiration. The moon is frequently my inspiration! I rifled through my stash and pulled out a few moon and crescent pieces:

1.Diane Hawkey 2. me 3.Nikki Thornburg and Lesley Watt 4.Staci Smith 5.Lesley 6.my stash 7-9. me 10. Caroline Dewison. 11. Lisa Peters Russ. 12. Anne Gardanne

I was completely overwhelmed. So I turned to something completely different. Laney Mead gifted me with the most adorable lamp work hare! ( It was Secret Santa a year or so ago.) Since he arrived, he has been living on my beading table in a wee tiny wooden box – waiting for assemblage! SO here he is – my lunar hare !

Now he is sitting on my desk as I write this!

Back in the studio – I have been missing metal. Last year was fraught with challenges, both personal and professional. I made work show by show… This year I am focusing on what really speaks to my heart. SO I plan to incorporate more metal. This piece is still a WIP – the sterling hare needs tumbling. The faux bone needs antiquing maybe?

Faux bone – heated, stamped, painted, sanded. It will tolerate anything!

Linoleum printmaking is also on the 2019 want-to-do list. I plan to have limited edition cards featuring motifs that are showcased in my ceramic pendants and tiles. But as a warm up? Moon phase stamps for my art journal!

So all was gong along rather nicely – until Lindsay there me the BEST curve ball! She surprised me with a few leather pieces and some vintage treasures! ( I sent her something for this month’s give away.) These pieces are drawn/sculpted/painted by her friend  – and I for one think they are fabulous. The moon over the (iridescent) water makes me so happy! 

But you know which one I started with, don’t you? And then I found this mini star cab that Sue made… There may have been a snow squall – but I was happily beading!  I think it will be a lapel pin for my winter coat…

Beaded lunar hare – in progress.

Thank you so much for reading my ramblings. Please take a look at the creation from my team mates at AE and our guests this month! And stay tune here for a resuscitated blog!

Guests:
Art Elements Crew:

We are all stardust… the Art Elements theme reveal

Hello – its that time again!

This month Laney gave us STARS. This is a motif near and dear to my heart… should be easy, right? Well I apologize as I have only a WIP post for you today. With my part time job ( at Sarafina Fiber Arts!) and shows, and a two week plague  ( upper respiratory) I only have a WIP to show you. SO let me get started:

Awaiting paint

I started here with a votive star goddess on polymer. I imagined her, framed in a shadowbox, before a speckled starlit sky…

At Sarafina – I carded a custom blend. Starting with a variegated blue, I boosted the teal and purples. I was seeing the background as a wet felted piece.

My custom carded night time batt

From my stash at home – I added merino wool in teals, white nepps, dyed silk, and twilight sparkly Angelina fibers…

The assembled ingredients.

After wet felting – it didnt go as I had planned. I did not get complete adhesion between the fibers, and it is too large. ( I used wool batting as a core of sorts, and the piece shrunk much less) I can work on this agin to try to bond the layers.. .but for now – I will set it aside.

Purples and teals…

details of silk and nepps

I did two smallish pieces at a time. This one in a more teal palette makes me happy! But it sill needs a little work. And with the business of the fibers – I think less beads would have been called for…

teals and blues

The spiderwebs of silk…

The new plan is this: Beading on a piece of felt  – created from felting a cast off sweater. It had a nice heathery color and I can bead a galaxy of sorts swirling out from the star goddess. I am seeing her embedded in epoxy clay, amidst crystal shards in the bottom of the frame.

I am so sorry I couldn’t do more for tis theme! But I will finish – and for now, why not hop over to my team mates and our guests?

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!

Guest Artists
Art Elements Team

Petroglyphs – the Art Elements theme reveal!

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This month Karen challenged us with… petroglyphs! Ancient, a bit enigmatic, but very inspirational.

The first one I created was a bit of a happy accident.  I was creating class samples – for class at Let’s Bead in Rochester, NY. My “Vintage Views” class was using vintage postage stamps as locals, and creating polymer surrounds that were inspired by and accentuated the stamp art. What did I find in my collection? A Norwegian stamp with petroglyphs!

I opted to keep this earthy in tone, so the red stamp would pop. And it was keeping in the theme…

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A simple stone/earth palette and a little texture frames this stamp. 

I am drawn to the figures most in petroglyphs. Whether they be shaman, or deities, or humans in regalia… I love them. Some horned figures bring to mind Celtic deities, like Cernunnos, the antlered Lord of the Forest. So I can relate to them in an archetypal way – from my research and heritage from Celtic lands.

I realized I had a pewter magnet – purchased in Arizona. When? Perhaps when my sister and I drove across the country and visited the Grand Canyon? Was that 2000? No matter… I conditioned some polymer…

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There are these 2 cabs, one in an earthy ochre color and the other? I do love greens. (These 2 are available. I may just “list” them on my FB page. Message me if you are interested. )

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This layered piece may end up stitched into a felted mixed media piece. I like the torn edge very much, and have a half formed idea of beads piercing the edges in random spaces… We shall see.

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But I decided to take the smallest one and really experiment. I have done 1 freeform peyote piece in my life. ( it was for a COM with a SueBeads scarab, actually). I wanted to try having the freeform grow out of the beaded bezel… In my sketch below. see the shape? Sort of a triangle.

 

I really have no idea what I am doing – and it is SO much fun! Here is as far as I have gotten… this could take a while. Queue up the Netflix – and lets bead!

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No one is more surprised than me… 

 

Please join my fellow AE team members and our guests for the blog hop and creative sharing!

Art Elements Team:
Lesley Watt: http://www.lesleywatt.com
Jenny Davies-Reazor: https://jdaviesreazor.com
Cathy Spivey Mendola: http://cmendola.blogspot.com
Sue Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com
Caroline Dewison: http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk
Laney Mead: https://laney-mead.blogspot.com/
Marsha Neal Minutella: http://blog.marshanealstudio.com
Claire Fabian: https://saraccino.blogspot.com

Faeries – the Art Elements theme reveal

This month flew by on gossamer faerie wings. Or a mermaid retrieved it from a shipwreck to hide in her undersea lair. Or a green fae woodland spirit absconded with it- hiding it in a hollow tree in a mystical wood. Whatever the cause – its reveal day! And this theme is one I work with frequently. Caroline introduced it – and I shared some fae inspiration earlier this month on the blog. I have a few different things in progress – let me share them with you…

A few months ago – I pulled four fairy cabochons. My fairy design is very butterfly inspired – as I think butterflies could easily be faeries in disguise. There is also a nod to The Preservers of Elfquest – a graphic novel/comic series that had been a huge part of my fae aesthetic since I was 12! (That’s a whole other post!)

I haven’t gotten any further than pulling beads… these four are Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. I plan to start the bezels all the while designing the surrounding bead embroidery to reference the elements.

With my schedule a little hectic ( who am I kidding? its crazy!) with fall shows – I have been glazing a few variations on my Faerie tile. One of the things that keeps this from boring production work is individually glazing each tile differently. My glazing style involves quite a bit of detailed hand painting in underglazes. This trio below shows you some of my fairy themes: Earthy with a seedling, celestial with the Earth/moon backdrop, and an ethereal Celtic version.

I did have a chance to play a bit this month: I received a printed moth paint/embroidery kit from Lesley for my birthday. I want to paint some, bead others… but one large one had to be a faerie! (The directions recommended a thin coat of white craft glue before cutting to prevent the fabric from fraying… )

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Painted in thinned acrylic, ready to cut out.

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She will flutter over my reading chair…

I think she is a perfect fit with this stoneware goddess pendant. I think I will hang her in the studio…

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Please join us in the hop! Links to participating AE members and guests are here:

Guest Artists
Cat 
 
Art Elements Team
 

Swirls: the Art Elements theme reveal

Swirls.

Its the time of month – reveal time for our theme challenge at Art Elements. Marsha picked a wonderful theme – so many ideas! This month does involve Bead Fest, travel, Lesley visiting from the UK – so I was glad it was a theme that resonated so strongly with my creative self.

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Travelogue doodles at Bead Fest.

My main swirly piece is a beaded tapestry I am working on – although swirls were on my mind even in doodles ( see above.)

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This piece is approximately 3 x 5″ and features a swirly ceramic goddess by Lesley! There is a bronze clay moon, antique miniature buttons and beads, so many beads. I wanted the swirls to be evident in color – and am keeping size and texture of the beads uniform throughout.

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This one? Its on deck on the beading table. It was fired for Bead Fest but sadly had a flaw. Such a shame I have to keep it and bead… LOL. I also must say – once you start looking swirls are EVErYWHERE! (Chihuly installation at DE Art Museum; Art Deco door also at DMA. Hotel wall paper!) 

Hello – Lesley here...I’m currently vacationing with Jenny so I’m piggy-backing her blog post too. I didn’t get anything started for this challenge before I left the UK but it turns out that was a good thing because I got some great inspiration from a trip to Longwood Gardens with Marsha and Jenny. When I think swirls one of the first images that pops into my head is ferns and the wonderful patterns the newly forming leaves form as they unfurl. Fortunately for me there were examples aplenty at Longwood.

Back at Jenny’s I started to think about how I was going to use this inspiration and looked to a half face cab of Jenny’s that I’d started beading a few days earlier – unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it then but it brought to mind the ‘Mud Maid’ sculpture from one of my favorite UK places – The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

sleeping-goddess-mud-maid-woodland-walk-lost-gardens-of-heligan-england1

I decided I could use these two elements to create by own beaded Fern goddess and this is what I’ve come up with so far…

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Jenny’s cab has been bezeled with Peyote stitched and then I’ve just free-form beaded around it – the excess backing will be trimmed away to give a contoured edge. I’ve used dagger beads to create mature fern fronds and seed beads to represent the swirling new growth. Fire polished crystals give some organic structure and random flower beads add texture. It’s not finished yet because I’m not sure exactly how I want to continue. The plan is for the lower portion to graduate into slightly more earthy colors and finish up with some sort of fringing to suggest the ground and roots. I need to take some time to think it through so it will probably happen when I get home. so far though I’m pretty pleased with it.

I did also manage make a couple of other pieces – both using ceramic components from our lovely host Marsha. First up a pair of earrings using the yummy pod charms she made for the last Art Elements challenge. I added some swirling wire and some pale smokey quartz beads to come up with this design that I’m pretty happy with…kinda cute and very easy to wear.

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Finally I beaded (because that’s what you do when you stay at Jenny’s) a pendant using a swirly cab of Marsha’s that I brought from home.

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This one is in my trademark muted autumnal tones and uses a lovely Peyote mix I picked up at Bead Fest…pretty simple but again very wearable.

So that’s where Marsha’s challenge took me and to be honest, I could probably go on for ever with this theme as there is no end of inspiration. So a big thank you to Marsha for giving us this opportunity, to Jenny for letting me raid her bead stash and to both of them for taking me to the wonderful Longwood Gardens.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our offerings and will join us on our blog hop to see what all the other participants have come up with – just click on the links below. Enjoy!

Guest Artists:

Alison

Anita

Cat

Caroline

Jill

Kathy

Karin

Kimberly

Mischelle

Raven

Sarajo

Susan

Tammy 

Art Elements Team: 

Cathy

Caroline

Claire

Jen

Jenny & Lesley

Laney

Marsha

Susan

 

Plethora of pods – the Art Elements theme reveal

This month at Art Elements, Jennifer challenged us to be inspired by “pods”. See pods, organic shapes, to me, very symbolic of potential and growth. I have been a pod collector for years – and inspired by their myriad forms and interiors!

Yesterday I wrote about the humble eucalyptus, a favorite of mine. I am using its structure to stamps ceramic charms. These “organic ceramic” pairs will be ready for Bead Fest!

pod charms

Ceramic eucalyptus charms on the bead table!

In revisiting pods, I happened across a few hand held sculpted pods in stoneware clay. I had never glazed or finished them in any way… so what better time? These two are painted in multiple light layers of acrylic paint, in washes and some dry brushed texture. The pod on the right does spill forth a full hand full of individually rolled seeds.

painted pods

These older stoneware pods finally (cold) finished.

But as to new ideas – I turned to polymer. And seeds, and pearls. These are large-ish statement pendants. The red seeds ARE seeds – and that pod was finished with resin to keep the seeds in place. The other pods, incorporating pearls, are connected to the raw clay with head pins. These pendants are drilled at the top for stringing. Should I make more?

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Pod pendants available at online FB show: “One Sweet Bead Market” August 6th. And at Bead Fest Philadelphia – Aug 17-19th.

The final pieces are still works in progress. The goddess figures are inspired by votive figures found the world over, across thousands of years and all cultures.  This goddess icon and the pod are fused. The figure on the left will be filled with pearls. The figure on the right pairs two contrasting clay bodies and will be glazed to accentuate that contrast.

The smaller pods are a eucalyptus, my frequent muse and a smaller pea pod style that will also hold pearls. I will have these and more like them at Bead Fest as well.

WIP pods

Fresh from the kiln

I hope you have enjoyed this plethora of pods – please take a look at the other participants!

Guest Artists:

Tammy

Raven

Alysen

Anita

Cat 

Kimberly

Rozantia

Sarajo 

Divya

Caroline

Catherine

Kathy

Jill

Art Elements Team: 

Claire

Caroline

Lesley

Niky

Laney

Susan

Marsha

Cathy

Jen

Revelry and magic; fire and ash

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When Midsummer arrives, in flowers and greenery, Tatiana the Faerie Queen opens the Realm, for mortals to mingle with fae folk. (Yes, there are trolls, goblins, and mer folk as well.) This revelry takes place in New York state, in dappled sunlight and beside a flowing stream. Sounds idyllic? It is a magical place. This year was the 10th year, and although it was unseasonably hot – we had a lovely time!

For the first time – a few of us that are ceramic artist/potters/lovers of clay got permission to do a thing. Friday nights events include a large bonfire/drum circle. With fire spinners, and performers, and dance, and music – its a pretty amazing night. We got permission to place a little chamber of fire brick in the base of the fire!

Emma and I made small votive offerings and goddess figures, and we decided to bisque fire ours in advance. Although this means we were not relying not eh bonfire to actually FIRE our pieces, we were taking less risk of breakage. Our white stoneware pieces would still be pit-fired or smoke-fired and change color.

Friday evening we built the kiln chamber and filled it with organic matter all found in the immediate vicinity: twigs, pine cones, pine needles, leaves. They were not very dry. Pieces in teh firing ranged from green terra cotta, green stoneware and bisque stoneware as mentioned above. We also included some medallions made form clay from the property itself. These were pretty rough as the clay was very raw, with inclusions, etc.

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Ye s- we are a motley crew. It IS a faerie festival! We had been vending all day in the heat, although it was to get much hotter…

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Two bricks to cap the kiln and offer some protection from falling logs as the large fire was to burn for hours that night.

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.Our host Billy Bardo opened the night with this:“If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer
If you’re a pretender com sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
Come in! Come in!”

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Saturday morning was already brutally hot – and here was our first look at our kiln! Still warm to the touch, but not smoldering.

 

Results: the nature raw clay did not fire, still crumbly… All the other clay bodies fired well. We had some areas in the bottom of our kiln that were not heavily reduced ( in oxygen/ reduction atmosphere) so there were color variation. Basically – when a piece IS in a reduction atmosphere, the fire steals the oxygen, and the piece absorbs carbon in the exchange. This results in the dark tones on the clay itself.

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A beautiful palette of smoke fired colors and a few flashes of green!

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This was am amazing opportunity. I have done many, many pit fired before: on the beach, with students, large, small, exciting, commonplace. But this was was magical. To have these pieces imbued with the spirit of community from Friday nights events, from this place, at this time? Wonderful!

We gave the pieces away. To the Fire crew, the land owners, the Queen, to the people who make this faire happen! And we hope to make this pit fire happen again next year!

If you are still reading, and want a little more – here is the video reveal of the opening. Silly, excited, irreverent, and un edited.

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Playing in the mud at NY Faerie Festival

** post originally published at Art Elements blog**

I have just returned from the land of the fae, a weekend of revels in Tatiana’s court, a Midsummer Faerie Festival. ( New York Faerie Festivalto be exact.) It is a wooded hideaway, a magical encampment, a respite from the world. It is a place where magic, equality, friendship, acceptance and joy are the rules of the day.

Last year I started a personal tradition: part installation, part art abandonment, part gifts for the faeries/nature spirits. I sculpt clay items, and leave them to be found, seen, enjoyed… and ultimately to weather and dissolve and return to the Earth.

Sitting down on a hot festival day to sculpt…

The festival site? The path from the front ate sloped uphill following a stream, through trees and glades, opening into circles and groves. My friend and vendor neighbor Shane of Mythical Designs   set up these stones a few years back – so we could decorate and make an altar of sorts. My first raw clay piece was a goddess figure to leave for Mother Nature.

This past weekend of the festival was dangerously hot – is I did not make as many pieces as I had planned. I like the keep them simple – like this fairy with fern wings.

I had to make a wee frog for Scott Helland– there performing for the weekend. Although technically not an official Frenchy and the Punk“batfrog” it was close…

This one I was excited about – I wanted to put her IN the water:

She started to dissolve – sadly the heat caused this little rill to dry up and get rather muddy so I have no good pictures of her later on…

The Faerie Festival Community as a whole is supportive, accepting, inspired, and inspiring. Creativity in all forms is held in high regard. And play, the need to play and nurture joy. My friend Illya stopped by to sculpt. She is a musician, belly dance, fire spinner… among many other things!  She sculpted these three – then scattered them to be found. Illya reported in on FB as to the fate of her pieces :“I believe that the stream cla(y)imed one goddess rather quickly… the acorn was still intact on its rocky forest bower, another goddess left (along with the lovely log she was nestled in)… I believe a greenman met with a smouldering dragon…”

My friend and former teacher’s aide Emma is a potter as well – so you KNOW she had to get in on this. Here are her 4 pieces – photographed in situ. All we have to document this tradition are photographs and memories. Its the process of playing/sculpting with no pressure; the treasure hunt, the surprise of noticing a piece…

In addition to my “art abandonment” sculptures – the NYFF has a long history of mud Green Men sculpted on the trees. Initiated, I believe, by Shane with others contributing to the paces at times. These are the quintessential art installation! Using only mud from the street, plants and stones – it truly is magic taking form all around you.

Shane starts a face, with pebble teeth.

Although mud moves very differently than clay, potter/sculptor Kim Fritts was eager to get her hands dirty!

Dryad face? Mother Nature? Kim at work!

Kim’s finished duo!

Now I guess I need to return to the mundane world, of post festival laundry and getting ready for a show this weekend. But keep your eyes open! There is magic – and art – all around you.