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. ) 

Love is… the February Component of the Month reveal!

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This month I had the pleasure of creating pieces for the Component of the Month at Art Elements blog. While February does bring hearts to mind – mine were “real”. They were damaged and repaired, they bore their scars – yet maintained their beauty. Or at least that was my inspiration.

I am thrilled to see what my team mates and out guests have created! ( Links at end of post) But let me show you what I did:

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Follow your heart.

I HAD to put a heart and a compass together. This was a bonus cab, simple crackle without the tear and stapled repair that the larger hearts had… I wanted a follow your heart meaning. The heart cab is bead embroidered on Stiff stuff with a loose representation of flames, and a toy compass.  Then it has been stitched onto a new messenger bag I am altering. I want something that can get dirty at the studio. I plan to embellish it with patches, paint and stitches. A chance to wear my heart on my sleeve shoulder.

 

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Starting to make my statements…. The butterfly is a shaped beaded pin. Shaped pieces are on my “to-do” list. The hand is from the AVAM.

So then I was thinking… I guess I should work with a heart like the components I mailed.  So I took a small stapled/crackle heart and created polymer wings. The wings are cut to fit exactly with the small cobalt heart. The piece is rather large for me – and brings to mind Egyptian scarabs… which I was ASLO working on for themed challenge at Art Elements. Phew. I’m not sure how I will finish this – silk? chain? gems? What do you think?

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Take flight heart

So  – thanks for stopping by and thanks to all who participated this month! I think I will keep making hearts and share the love even though February is fading away…

And now without further ado: 

 

Nevertheless, She Persisted

*Disclaimer – While this IS a political post, I am not trying to initial debate here on my blog. I respect diverse opinions, but please keep it respectful as you are in MY house.*

I needed to DO something. I needed to refocus as I was feeling depleted, and overwhelmed.  I read the articles on self care, breathing, keeping the resistance efforts maintainable to persevere for the long haul. And I was stunned, horrified, and angry.

So I started pounding on metal.

I make jewelry with meaning; sometimes symbolic, sometimes overt. I make talismans, and I make them with intention. SO I made “Resist” “Nasty” and “She persisted” necklaces. Then a friend suggested “Beautiful Resistance”.

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After posting these on Facebook – I was thrilled with their response – because, you see, I pledged $5 of every necklace to the ACLU. And my friends responded in kind to support me and a worthy cause.

In a week I have made 19 necklaces and am sending $95 to the ACLU. I am also getting a “Nasty Woman” ceramic mug from Dancing Pig Pottery.

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“Nasty” necklaces – $25

“She persisted” and “Beautiful Resistance” – $35

Necklaces are 18″ in length and come with gemstones/crystals colors of your choice.

TO ORDER:

  1. Email me at jen.davies.reazor@gmail.com with the subject line “ACLU necklaces”
  2. Request style/colors/length. ( 18″ unless otherwise noted)
  3. Your PayPal address/email address linked to your PayPal account.  I will send you a PP invoice, which facilitates shipping for me. (There will be a $3 domestic shipping charge. )

I will be accepting orders for another 24 necklaces. First come first served. After that – we shall see… Until then – stay strong, stay informed. Support each other and take care of yourself! img_2874

January beaded journal 

This year I decided my monthly beaded “journal” would be inspired by the hand motif. The January hand holds an antique skeleton key. 


The key represents the Roman God Janus. Depicted with two faces, he looks backwards and forwards in time. He is often shown with keys, and associated with time, gates, thresholds, etc. This Janus tile is part of my Mythic Nature line. 

For the beaded pices this year I am incorporating fibers, especially felt. Felting really satisfies the painter in me with the range of colors and blending possibilities. The series this year will be uniform in size ( app 3 x5″) and framed in stained birch frame boxes. And without further ado- January. 

Thank you all for starting this journey with me. I would love to hear your thoughts….

January Component of the Month reveal – Winter Woodland

Welcome to the first Component of the Month for 2017. The Art Elements team is a depth of camaraderie and inspiration: this month  the shaped leather cabs were contributed by our own Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creation. You can read all about her process on the Art Elements blog. 15741073_10211946813652467_2241458521480113927_n

I received the green and blue cab on the bottom far right. I love the shape – and although it was a little darker once sealed for protection – it had me thinking deep ocean. At first. Then this happened – The colorful ceramic plate is the work of Clarice Cliff. A British pottery designer of the 30’s, Cliff is well known for her colorful Art Deco style. It was the tree shapes that got me…

The cab became a tree top scattered with flurries of snow. I cut a leather trunk and know one of Rebekah’s sleepy critters was going to be incorporated. The owl? The badger? As you can see here the fawn won. ( Rebekah/Tree Wing Studio on Etsy)

I needle felted the landscape onto a piece of “pre-felt” and had to add a few curly locks. Because curly locks are like felt candy! I am really pleased with the sky colors. Here in Delaware it is so often grey when it snows, so its artistic license!

And now – to bead. Here is the finished piece. It measures maybe 4 x 6″? I haven framed it yet…

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Winter Woodland mixed media tapestry

I feel that I have captured the silent serenity of a woodland snowfall. It was a pleasure to work with both Lindsay’s piece and Rebekah’s!
Please stop by our blogs, and our guests this month! I look forward to hearing your impressions on this piece.

Sherri

Kelly 

Linda

AE Writers:

Lesley

Laney

Lindsay

Caroline 

Cathy

Cooky

Claire

Diana

Jenny ( you are here)

Susan

Niky

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Sleepy critters by Rebekah of Tree Wing Studio.

Love is all we need. 

This week I was working on a new beaded tapestry for a members show at my local gallery The Palette and the Page. Although February and Valentines is approaching I was more inspired by the news. The Women’s march, the coming together… a need to express my feelings and fears in a positive way. Because- 
Love is love is love . 

Here is a time lapse of sorts of this newest beaded tapestry: 







Polymer heart by my friend Staci Smith. Finished size 5×8″. Total time- conservative estimate is 8 hours. This piece and others can be seen at the “Convergence” show at The Palette and the Page in Elkton MD. 

And be kind to each other. No matter what.