Spoutwood May Day Faerie Festival: muddy mayhem

 

This was my 6th year vending at the Spoutwood May Day Faerie Festival. I fell in love the first time I stepped on the farm. Its hard to describe to a newbie what a sense of magic and community and wonder this place, and this event creates… The event celebrates Spring, and awakening of Nature, and all things faerie/fantastical/mythic. The community is inclusive, welcoming, non-judgmental, and supportive. I have made life long friendships there with artists, actors, musicians…

 

This year – for the first time in its 26 year history – the festival had to close early. From the official Spoutwood site: “For the first time in 26 years, the May Day Fairie Festival had to cancel the final day, Sunday May 7, due to safety issues. Although we understand that some of you may be disappointed you did not get to attend, please know that our team is heartbroken, and currently working on recovering from the devastation of the cancellation. Please bear in mind that this annual event is not only a fun celebration, but it is also the primary fundraiser for Spoutwood Farm Center, a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational farm. Fairie Festival supports the Farm’s operations year-round.” This was due to excessive rain & treacherous conditions that made the grounds and the neighboring parking area unsafe.

As an artist – I take this risk with outdoor shows, I understand that. But this is my primary income and vendors all suffered significant losses. The Farm itself suffered physical and financial trauma from the weekend. We as a community are reeling from it all.

Hours upon hours spent alone in the studio “making” and there is a loss of interaction with customers on top of the loss of sales. My pieces are extremely personal; I put a bit of “me” in them. It is a relationship, a give and take between artist and customers that can satisfy, and nourish in a way. The excitement of new work! Only to fall flat with no audience.

The less obvious loss we all feel is time. Time spent with our friends, our tribe, our kindred spirits. I have great friends locally, from college, etc. but these mythic makers are my soul mates! There is a festive atmosphere to gather together, first show of the spring… to catch up, share new work, ideas… to simply be together. Its often as if no time has passed at all. I feel that my reward for my solitude has been taken from me.

But this is life. We are a rather resilient bunch, and we will keep making. We will have reunions at future shows… If you are a Spoutwood veteran and would like to donate, the Farm could use your help! ( Click here!) If you are searching for that perfect gift – shop your local artists and makers. Or shop from the Spoutwood family of vendors.

I myself am slowly recovering from cold, wet, mud and the like. Ill be updating my Etsy ASAP and preparing for my next show… Until then, thanks for listening.

 

April Component of the Month Reveal!

Its that time of the month. LOL

Time for the COM reveal at Art Elements blog! ( What did you think I meant?)

This month Jen Cameron of Glass Addictions sent the yummiest swirly cosmic galaxy beads. At least that is what I think when I see them:

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So my bead arrived the day I left for Rochester. And I missed it by a few hours. So I kept dreaming up things I wanted to do… and they aren’t even jewelry things… I tried to capture the ideas on my iPad – and I warn you… this is a NEW medium for me and these are rough sketches. ( But if I am going to learn I have to start somewhere…)

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The first would be a stoneware/ceramic sculpture – sized so that the bead is a planet held in her upraised hands. ( It WAS just Earth Day.) Maybe 8″? But tapered to a point like the Cycladic figures I adore – and standing in a wrought iron stand.

 

 

 

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My original idea: app 12″ tall. Stoneware clay

Then after the trip to Rochester – I had this really cool driftwood, perfect for a mermaid to sit on :

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My second idea – small polymer mermaid on driftwood.

And sadly neither of those happened. I got back on the 25th! And the reveal is one week to the day. So I took a break from glazing on Sunday and this happened:

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I am thinking this would be a wall hanging… it is rather long. But it was such a visual treat to pull gems to go with this glass! Simply gorgeous. And yes – its a moon hare motif that is so very “me”.

I love this bead – and the longer I look at it the more ideas I have – who knows? I may still start that stoneware goddess figure.

For now – take a look at my AE team mates and out guests this month!

Guest Designers:

Sarajo Wentling

Deb Stewart

Art Elements Team:

Sue Kennedy

Laney Mead

Lesley Watt

Claire Fabian

Karen Totten

Cooky Schock

Caroline Dewison

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Niky Sayers

Lindsay Starr

Jen Cameron

 

Rochester Rocks! 

So last weekend I had the pleasure of a business trip to Rochester NY. I was headed up to teach at Let’s Bead, have a trunk show, and visit with Art Elements team member Diana Ptaszynski! 

What a wonderful weekend! First off – a short visit to a local park and Lake Ontario. A bit angry after storms and winter run off…. But gorgeous – and the driftwood!

Let’s Bead is a FANTASTIC bead store. Large, open, welcoming space. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Very well stocked in gems, finding, seed beads and Czech glass! There were Czech glass beauties I had never seen anywhere else!

Saturday was an all day class: my “Word Mojo” pendant as a necklace. (Do you remember when it was a COM?) Mold making, polymer, collage, wire wrap… a little something for everyone. And the results were so diverse! Sunday we created Luna pendants – the same style that was featured in Step by Step Wire magazine!  The classes were pretty full and totally fun! A huge shout out to all the creative women who came to take a class, try something new, and create with camaraderie! I appreciate your trust in me. Take a look:

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Saturday afternoon – wire wrapping!

Diana and Colin are great hosts! I got to see the highlights of the city, sample some fine brewed libations, see the Canal and my first Great Lake… and then this happened:

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Reunion of bead sister! Kerry, Diana, Anne, and me! 

And there were cats: ( Mr Elliot declined to be featured on the blog.)

Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible! Made it a success! Made it so much fun! I hope to go back! 

Oh and stay tuned – Diana and I did some antiquing/ treasure hunting. I’ll do a “loot” post tomorrow!

Eggs and arrows…

April. One quarter of the year gone by – happily in a blur of creative time. New tile designs, new ideas, new projects. One project I am on track with is the monthly beaded tapestry. Last year – goddesses, fully beaded. This year – hands – with fibers/felt/silk. January was felt – there are a few things to work out there. February and March are showcased here:

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February was inspired by the Irish goddess Brigid, whose name means “Fiery Arrow”. She is tied to Imbolc ( aka Candlemas February 2) in the Celtic calendar – marking the midpoint of winter. Lambs are born, snowdrops emerge through the dustings of snow.

I have incorporated a scrap of hand dyed silk from my friends at Foxglove Reyen Designs, as well as some curly locks from Sarafina Fibers. I love the colors and he texture these elements add. The colors of the swirls are a bit more subtle than I had intended – as you can see in this detail.

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Feb. Brigid detail

March also features a scrap of Reyen silk – I mean those colors!!!! The March hand alludes to the Spring Equinox – or pagan Ostara. Although recent scholarly articles debunk some of the mythic/folkloric ties between Easter/Eostre/Ostara – the spring is life, newness, freshness, and rebirth! The egg is seen as a symbol of rebirth and new life in myriad cultures all over the world. The green shoots of leaves and grass – the scattering of pinks like buds… springtime is upon us!

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Now on to April… and since I post this on April 16th I better start beading! 

Planes, Trains… or postage stamps?

 

I am an Anglophile. To those that know me that comes as no surprise. I lived in London for a semester in college and it was the most formative impactful period in my life. My husband and I went to the UK on holiday for our honeymoon and my 40th birthday. (That was a surprise, too. I have never happy cried so hard!)

My work is deeply, fundamentally inspired by my Celtic heritage, by folklore and fairy tale, by myth and magic. And every so often I try to “cross the pond”. You may know I also write for a fabulous blog called Art Elements. My team mate and friend Lesley has invited me to visit and have an art retreat of sorts. ( We have done the same here at my house the last few years). So in an effort to raise the necessary funds – I have created these pieces. This year is the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee – what better way to raise funds and nod in respect to Queen Liz than there?! The stamps come from my childhood stamp collection – and may go even further back to my  Dad’s collection.

The pendants are double sided – the back included UK map sections. Maps taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica atlas from my childhood! They are going to be listed on Etsy as soon as I finish here… and while sold as pendants with my fellow creators and designers in mind…. can easily be made into a pendant with a gemstone angel for a small additional fee. If you are interested in supporting me and my travel fund – please check them out! I am designating 100% of the sea of these pieces to my travel fund!

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Convo me if you want a necklace with gemstone dangle! 

One print at a time: exploring fairy tales.

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Art by one of my favorites: Trina Schart Hyman

It started with a query – from 2 scholar/witch/fae/creatrix – would there be interest in an online course on Fairy tales? The dynamic duo of Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman are folklore scholars, authors, Phd candidates and all around magical women. the answer from the “tribe” was a resounding YES. And so The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic was born.

We read original tales, we read variations, oral accounts, famous versions, obscure versions. We discussed themes, cultural and historical context, symbolism…. I created a kick ass Pinterest board for myself. I have been a reader of fairy tales my whole life I didn’t stop at an age when so many “grow up”. I had one rare elective block in college/art school and I studied Children’s Literature, for fun. I regularly reference fairy tale themes in my current work. If anything I appreciate them more now for their symbolism, and archetypal references.

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This G. Laite illustration is one I remember vividly from my childhood!

So as the Carterhaugh course drew to a close, we began to think on our ( optional) final project. Optional? Really? This is the whole reason I wanted the course! To discuss, and learn, but to put that all into practice. I decided to do something COMPLETELY different than the artwork I do as my job. I was giving myself permission to play – to take the path less traveled… Enter block printing.

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I decided to do a series of 6 prints based on the tales we read. There were 10 lessons in the course – I WANTED to do 10 prints and I still may over the course of the year. But 6… ok I have three done. I designed the compositions to use and re-use many iconic motifs, a mix and match in a way. I just finished today, on the due date! Ink is still drying… but let me share with you…

Red Riding Hood: 

I have always liked Little Red Riding Hood. I like the versions where she makes choices, where she chooses her path. Literally and metaphorically. There is a great article by Terri Windling here that looks into the symbolism of needles and pins in the RRH tale. Choices, woman’s work, woman’s roles… SO I knew needles and pins would be included in my print.

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RRH print: 4 printed motifs, hand colored, drawn details.

 

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Limited edition prints and cards. Coming to Etsy soon!

 

BlueBeards’s Egg:

From the Perrault “BlueBeard” to Angela Carter – I am drawn to this gruesome tale – again with an active female protagonist who makes choices! Im not really a princess kind of girl… I do find the symbolism of key and egg and blood to be evocative, and not too Freudian but very primal and archetypal. Blood and fertility and sex and death.  This is an icon I have used before in jewelry – it was greatly satisfying to add text. A little spin on the egg, referencing the tales and their tellers.

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Skin tones were a challenge with my limited palette of printing inks. These two are the best.

Aschenputtel ( Cinderella)

We all know the tale of the Fairy Godmother, the pumpkin coach, the singing Disney mice. But I find the older German version ( Grimm Bros naturally) much more haunting. Cinderella/Aschenputtel waters her mothers grave with her tears. A pear tree grows – and through all the magics the tree is the benefactor. Theres a natural Earth/goddess vibe here, IMO, a remnant from pagan folk roots? Ash is put through trials, she perseveres, and is aided by creatures from the natural world. This morphed in my mind with the Tree of Life in cultures around the world, and became a very rich, multi faceted idea. I will revisit this in clay – perhaps a Mythic Nature tile?

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Here are a series of images to show the printing process. Each item is printed individually – and I simply eyed up the placement. No complex registration marks needed. Broom. Tree. Tears. Then Dove 1, Dove 2. Pear, Mouse 1 and Mouse 2. Whew! These are strewn about the studio – ink wet – as I write this.

Next up will be a design from The Glass Castle – a variant of the Sleeping Beauty tale. I simply ran out of time.

One thing about printmaking? There are multiples! I have a limited edition run of each print – 9 or 10 of each. And I printed cards as well. I will be listing these on my Etsy shop this weekend if you care to take a look.

Thanks again to the Carterhaugh School and Sara and Brittany! It was a pleasure and I look forward to future courses!

 

Amulet bags: the March Art Elements reveal!

Welcome – to the March “theme” reveal over at the Art Elements blog! This month Cathy said “amulet bags”. (You can read  her introductory post with a bit of background information here.) This theme is so wide open. and so inspirational – and I was so very, very captivated…

I started with ribbon – and a nod to the inspiration of Heidi Kummli’s stunning ribbon bags. These are hand sewn, as I do not own a machine currently – and they are lined with a watercolor-y batik fabric. I was torn between reading hem – and letting the ribbon be the star…

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Sakura inspired amulet bag with bronze clay floral by Lesley. Turquoise eye amulet bag features a milagro.

I have a tendency – and a desire – to sit and bead at least a few minutes a day; my meditation. This month, much of that time was spent sewing and stitching…The following trio are sewn from a thin, butter soft leather. This was actually a pattern for a doll purse! The purples are a bit wonky, but the brown may be my favorite. It it the contrast of organic/soft leather and machined/hard metal in the vintage button? I am not sure – but I love it. These three have small grommets on the sides to attach jump rings…

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Mini leather satchels await straps… 

Now – I have a plentiful stash of leather scraps. From Lindsay, from friends who are leather workers at Rennaissance fairs… This stamped leather was from Lindsay – and the natural edge is a thing of beauty. All I did was fold it up, trim the inside edge, and stitch the sides! The hole in the flap was there – so I made a loop and bar closure.

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OK – now I am on a roll – my tasted do seem to really like leather for this challenge. Two more – simple envelope shapes… One has silks stitched in; the other – can you see the wee grommets in the right hand pix? I wanted these to be wearable, and not to worry that the soft leather would stretch or tear.

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Brass stamping of moon and star. Ceramic bead by White Clover Kiln. Perfect size for a gemstone worry stone. 

Last one – This scrap is thanks to Elisabeth – from my recent Girls Bead retreat! I let the scrap shapes decide on the amulets. And then charms and more charms! I am sorry that I don’t have any of these completely finished with straps etc. I do plan to… perhaps in time for my first Faerie Festival of the year?

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Simple on the surface – and then charmed! 

I so enjoyed this theme challenge! I will be making more! Thanks to Cathy for the inspiration. Please check out the team’s creations, and our guests this month:

Guests-

Samatha Wescott
Oksana Bevz- 
Genevieve Camp-

AE Members-

Caroline
Cathy
Cooky
Lesley
Lindsay
Niky
Sue

Art Journals – personal journeys

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Lino prints series in progress, ink drying… many stages all at once. 

I have always kept a journal. Sometimes lists, events, feelings… sometimes doodles, scraps and ephemera. Over the last few years I have gradually been making an art journal a new personal habit. For me it is a place to play, to emote, to work through things… and maybe never to share with another set of eyes. Its a place to work in art mediums that aren’t my day to day work as a full time artist. Its a chance to create with no pressure, no deadlines, no gallery or show inventory lists to check off.

Last year and this year I have signed up for Journal 52 hosted by Canadian artist and journal keeper Effy Wild. On her inspirational mailing list – one received a prompt each week. This has kept me motivated, helps me stay accountable to myself ( and sharing as I choose in the online FB group) and helps me get out of my own way. I dont need to plan – I can respond. I can think it through or go intuitive. And as the 3rd month draws to a close I am up to date. I will be gentle with myself as the show schedule ramps up for the season – but it has become a habit, and some “me” time I relish.

I wanted to share a few images with you:

“Portal” – carat d’ache crayon, watercolor, wax crayon, ink, marker, salt. Quote paraphrased from Joseph Campbell.

At the Art Elements blog we started a weekly challenge – to contribute as you can – no pressure. Themes range form color to concept to object. You can see the weekly round up of offerings each Sunday on the blog. Here are: “Red, Spiral, and Serenity”  This series has made me start thinking of small prints that echo my Mythic Nature tiles. Perhaps coming to a show this Spring?

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Week 5: Anticipation. collage, gel medium, marker, interference paint, watercolor

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Week 8: Stillness. Acrylic paint.  

 

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Collage, paint, ink, piles of work in progress.

 

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Week 10: Truth. collage, linoleum prints, marker

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Week 9: Emerge. This coincided with St Davids Day – honoring my Welsh heritage. And allowing the errors to show… ( Materials – Tombow markers, carat d’ache crayons, watercolors. )

I will keep updating here periodically through the year – to share and keep myself accountable. I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you keep an art journal?

Coming out of hibernation… new tile designs

This has seemed like the longest winter and the shortest winter! But Spring has finally sprung – even with Her last gasp of icy weather. I have not been idle – even thought the posts here have been sporadic. With the new season awakening  I will breathe new life into this blog!

Since this is the time of year when I have no real shows to speak of – I have been designing and sculpting new tiles for my Mythic Nature line. Here is a visual journal of the 4 new designs – and one revision. These designs will be available starting with my show at Spoutwood Farm’s May Day Faerie Festival! 

The triple raven design will be a nice partner to my Triple hares design. I left the bird bodies free of feather/texture as I can customize that by hand. Some will be painted with feather detail – others will be glazed in glazes that “break” over texture.

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Mandrake tile in progress

The Mandragora – or mandrake tile is a new vision of a motif I had before. The previous version was from a Medieval woodcut. This is a more organic version – with leafy swirls and tendrils. The text will be carved into the scrollwork individually.

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” A book is a dream…” sketch

Neil Gaiman said: ” A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.”  This dreamy tile was inspired by things I love: pets, coffee, books… While I do not currently have a cat, it embodies cosiness to me. All the creatures, sharing space on a lazy relaxed day filled with fabulous reads. And coffee. Always coffee. This tile  – Im really excited – to do patterns in the armchair! Textures! Sgraffito! Glazed patterns!  SO many ideas.

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Sculpting the forms.

A fairy door – just testing the mold here. Matte finishes, speckles of moss and lichen on the rocks. Metallic glazes on hinges….

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And this is new for me. Last year I created a commemorative design, an Art Nouveau faerie, for the 25th anniversary of Spoutwood’s Faerie Festival. ( If interested – email me – there are still a few available.) I loved the figure – and decided to adapt the design for continued use. I see her with starry sky behind, holding the moon. I see her as an Earth spirit with a globe. I see her with florals, or leaves, or an orb of fire. Stay tuned!

I’m really excited and invigorated with this new body of work. I have fallen in love with clay again. Please sign up for my newsletter if you are interested in new work-in-progress pix and news of upcoming shows! (Sign up on the top left. )