The Art Elements reveal: bees!

When Niky posted her inspiration post I immediately knew what I wanted to do! I wanted to sculpt the classic Minoan bee goddess…

One thing I am trying to use this Corona-time for is sculpting new OOAK tiles, as all my shows are cancelled until???? ( Trying not to dwell on that, and the implications therein…) But I also got a crazy idea to MOVE MY STUDIO. ( Pictures coming soon #quaratineproject ) Umm that means you aren’t creating much new work, doesn’t it?

I dove into researching this Bee goddess, as I do… and fell into a rabbit hole. Meet Austeja, the Lithuanian Bee Goddess:

Art by Q. Cassetti

Heavens! I was in love! The flowers. The style! The colors! “Austeja, the Bee Goddess, is the ultimate queen bee. Austeja has dominion over bees, hives, honey, and the flowers needed to make honey. She also cares for people, promoting and protecting abundance, fertility, and growth. She offers special protection to brides, pregnant women, and beekeepers, too. Austeja serves as guardian of the family but is also the one true mother of the bees. Lithuanian hives were kept high within trees partially to keep bees close to their mother.” (From this site referencing this book by J. Illes…)

Her festival was in August; dancing was involved. Offerings thrown into the air…honey was revered in the Baltic region. Luckily this morning I was able to trace the images and give proper credit here. ( Next rabbit hole – researching the artist.)

So you know what is coming…

rough outline for composition
Rough sculpt for the body and wings – will be carved later!
An exuberance of flowers….

I am so sorry that I didn’t get further! She will have at least one bee overhead. All of the roughly sculpted areas will be carved and finessed when the clay is leather hard – including carving patterns into her wings. Her hat will be carved to resemble a bee skep.

Post from the artist on doing the ENTIRE XMAS THEME for Gallerie Lafayette – Paris’ large department store! Animatronic Bee queens! Saving this for later!

And now for the Hop portion of today’ post! You know what to do! Thanks for stopping by!

AE team:

Niky

Sue

Jenny

Jen

Cathy

Marsha

Guests:

Tammy

Cat

Alysen

Kathy

Sarajo

Kelly

Evie and Beth

Hope

On keeping a plague journal…

It seemed like the thing to do… when I went into self imposed lock down, and then when the statewide order came, I was looking at the hours in my day. On one hand, working from home was the norm. But I was frozen, stalled by the uncertainty and grieving what my life had looked like in the near past and immediate future.

I thought establishing routines would be helpful to me. Getting up, coffee, shower, head to the studio as I normally would… and the idea of a daily art journal practice came back into play.

The #100dayproject is in April – should I combine my idea of a plague journal with that daily practice? Establishing habits now? The #100day project/ art journal was pivotal to me in 2018 as I was saying goodbye to my mom. So I started with folios of paper already prepped for a daily journal attempt from the past. They are unbound – which I love. Easy to set aside to dry, or lay flat to work on…

There are moody days, and rage-y scribble days. There are simple days of manipulating an art material. there are fast and slow days. There are days that serve as journal of feelings and stressors and shit one is trying to deal with…. and there are days where pretty colors and marks make patterns, where the process took precedence over the product.

I have just about reached one month here, safe at home, not venturing out. And the first folio of pages is coming to an end. I will keep this up – and I wonder how many folios I will fill?

Social connections. Physical distancing.

What better time than now to rejuvenate the blog? I am home. I have been home since March 18th. On one hand – I am usually home, working from either of my 2 home studios. So that’s all good, right?

But it is so extremely difficult to tap into my creative energy at this time. The anxiety and the uncertainty, shows cancelled, revenue lost. Some rescheduled, some gone – poof – in a puff of Corona contaminated air.

How to work? The pressure of production for shows is no longer felt. My part time job isn’t a thing right now… So I started slowly… to take and process pix of existing inventory. Jewelry especially as its easy to ship from home… You can see available pieces on my FB business page. Follow me! More will be happening there in the next few weeks, I can promise.

Ceramic cabochons with labradorite, bead embroidered.

I wanted to share with you an incident of social connection in this time of physical distancing. I was scheduled to exhibit/vend at Sacred Space/Between the Worlds conference in April. It was, of course cancelled and rescheduled for next year.

I was looking forward to classes and workshops in addition to showing and sharing my work. Some of my favorite authors were to be in attendance. To name a few: Byron Ballard, Courtney Weber, Laura Tempest Zakroff

In a recent podcast on That Witch Life, Courtney and her cohorts initiated a feature sharing the info of artists, shops, craftspeople to encourage online shopping. I love the podcast, have listened since its beginning. The trio has started weekly posts dealing with coping, grounding, and the like during the pandemic and resulting lock down. Take a listen.

And I wanted to thank Courtney ( and Hilary & Kanani) for the shout out in the Bonus Episode on March 31! I look forward to listening and perhaps meeting you each one day!

Thanks for reading – I’ll be back soon with details form my (plague) art journal. Keeping me sane as I try to reestablish studio routines.

To Gnome me… the Art Elements theme reveal.

This month was my month. And I had a sudden bolt of inspiration… This is Bifur, he’s been in my family since the 70’s. He flew home with me from Austin in late February. Yes – he found the overhead bin comfy cozy, thank you for asking….

Gnomes!

So March has been a roller coaster, you know what I mean? I started self isolation a week prior to the DE state order. So I spent that first week or so implementing all my anxiety easing strategies: Beading, Time Team on Netflix, coffee, and silly iPad games.

You won’t be surprised that my offering this month is beaded. LOL

The iconic gentleman is small – why not do a brooch? My beaded companion is 2″ tall. As I was working – I confess I panicked. Thought I was out of Fireline with a quarantine approaching. Phew – see below.

550 yds should be ok for a while
He makes me smile!

So after my dapper gentleman was done…. I got thinking… and I still needed some therapy beading time. SO…

The blonde was first. and I was happy with her peaches and cream complexion. But Blondes don’t have all the fun…

Thank to all who joined me in creating during this crazy month we have had! You can hop their creations via the links below! Be well, stay safe.

AE team:

Marsha

Cathy

Jen

Jenny

Lesley

Claire

Niky

Guests: 

Tammy. 

Linda

Hope

Cat

Sarajo

Word to text: the Art Elements theme reveal

I love old dictionaries. The feel of the paper, the old book smell, the different fonts, the pronunciations in italics…. and I use dictionary text in my work from time to time. So when Jen announced the theme for February – I knew what I wanted to do…

I had ideas for book pendants, both leather bound and in brass book lockets. I envisioned scrolls with secret messages of positivity tucked into amulet vials. I saw stamped mandalas made of words of power, incognito as a talisman around one’s neck. And I hope to get to those soon. For now – I wanted to play with the evolution of an idea.

From January 2014 – my offering for the Component of the Month…
(polymer, text, resin and gems)

Six years ago I sent these mixed media talismans out to the team, as component of the month. Molded from an antique belt buckle, I chose words with intention; what I wished for each of my team mate friends. Since them I have made these, sold these, taught these…

I am very drawn to wearing a word – as a mantra, a hope, a dream, a goal, an intention. Words have power. So I am revisiting these “Word Mojo” amulets this month, and this Spring.

Words in bezels, awaiting…
Witchy words selected with care.

This new incarnation takes advantage go commercial bezels, which present a treasure hunt of sorts. What word will fit? How will the definition be cropped – too terse? too verbose? Are the neighboring words an interesting juxtaposition, or unpleasant? Does it create a found type of poetry as things are cropped and altered? The papers are sealed back and front, then glazed.

Another change is the absence of resin. While I still love the look – I don’t like the margin of error, the expense, the short shelf life…. so streamlining and simplifying the process! I am really loving sculpting the bezels themselves, so I am focusing on the process I enjoy!

Barely room to work… watching Time Team!

Each one is completely unique, hand sculpted, detailed and modified. I have limited my polymer palette to metallics, which I find frees me up to add small color embellishments, and created a more versatile pendant…

The finished prototypes, first of their kind.

Sadly I did not finish this batch, but its the first of many…

Please tell me – what would YOUR word of power be?

Paint and patina are next…
The next batch…

I look forward to hearing your words!

And my team mates and our guests look forward to your visit to their blogs as well!

Guests

Tammy 

Karin

Kathy

Evie and Beth

Divya

Hope

Anita

Art Elements Team

Claire

Lesley

Jenny (you are here)

Cathy

Niky

Jen

Fossils: the Art Elements reveal for November!

Welcome to the (slightly late) but inspired by ancient… fossils that is… Art Elements revel post! When Niky chose this theme I knew I had a plethora of choices by my talented team mates and Mother Nature herself…

And I chose something completely different. Ok Muse – I hear you!

On and off since this summer I have been working on new pieces embedding crystals into polymer pieces, creating a crystal terminal/point on the base of the piece:

The owl prototypes – they were extremely popular.

I have been planning more in this series, and sourcing amazing crystals – stay tuned for that. But this month an unlikely item caught my eye: a megalodon tooth. (wiki). I believe Lindsay sent me this as a gift?!

I knew I wanted to make a goddess figure – so I started the sculpt with her body in granite polymer. She has fine line striations to match the tooth’s texture. To adhere the two I sculpted a connection in Apoxie sculpt – and textured it as well. I am SO sorry I didn’t take a pix at that stage! Here she is done:

And with another fossil from my stash, I tried another style – embedding the fossil. ( Also granite polymer)

I am really pleased with how they turned out and look froward to more along this theme. I imaging them in shadowbox frames, with a felted beaded backdrop? Or handheld pieces for table or altar? Or both…. Excited for the new work the new year will bring.

But for now – wishing you a happy holiday weekend for the US crowd, and happy fall to everyone else –

OH – Dont forget to hop :

AE Team

Jen

Lesley

Sue

Claire

Jenny ( you are here)

Niky

Guests

Cat

Tammy

Susan

Dawn

Michelle

Sarajo

Evie & Beth

Divya

The eyes have it: the Art Elements theme reveal

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

Eyes: Lisa Peters, Joan Miller, Diane Hawkey, Laney Mead,
Andrew Thornton, Peacock Beads

Thank you Laney for such an inspiring theme this month – and World Sight Day on October 12th! As you can see from the photo above – I had a plethora of pretties from which to choose. And yet – it is halloween month – and this happened:

So my $3 plastic eyeball – plastic. Hmm. I cannot set it in polymer. I wanted to go with something ornate, maybe a bit Victorian, and a bit Gothic. I used the polymer piece I was imagining – and then after curing it, set the eyeball. The bezel is Apoxie clay. Acrylic paint to bring out the texture… ( Now I think I want to do another with Swellegant and crusty patinas… )

The next 2 pieces are based around very bling-y eye cabs by Megan of Peacock Bead Shop. The first – in turquoise and cobalt was near impossible to photograph. The top cab is mother of pearl. The bottom is a faceted plastic? that shines like a bike reflector in person! Things have been really hectic this month with travel and teaching and shows… so it was a necessary Zen moment to sit and bead on these eyes!

The second piece will be for me! I was playing with different quotes and layers of meaning, thinking on seeing is believing, trust your path, envision your future, manifestation… so the compass was my first choice. I am thinking of hanging the beaded piece off the sterling banner – and stamping it with…? Latin? Welsh? I do like an obscure hidden meaning in a talisman. Or do I repeat the circular motif and dangle the “soul” charm? What, dear reader, would YOU do?

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung

I look forward to hearing your thoughts! And before you leave – make sure to click through – it is a blog hop after all!

AE Team

Susan  

Marsha  

Claire  

Cathy 

Jenny  

Niky  

Laney

Guests

Dawn  

Hope  

Beth & Evie  

Kathy  

Michelle 

Tammy    

Cat 

 Elaine

Foliage – the Art Elements theme reveal

This month has been a blur. I have been working towards a 2 woman gallery show with artist friend Joanna Barnum. We installed the show yesterday – more on that in another post! It looks amazing and I am beyond excited. But it made me late to this reveal….

When the theme was announced – it dovetailed perfectly into a piece I was working on for the show. A piece involving foliage, goddesses, and owls.

I am calling this series “Animal Icons” and you can see here 2 awaiting cold finishes in the studio. The owl is inspired by the Welsh goddess Bloddeuwedd. She was magically created from 9 plants, although some retellings of her tale simplify to three.

In her tale – she is created as a bride for Gwydion. She was supposed to be the ideal docile wife. Well… she ended us having an affair, and in some ways awakening as her own independent entity. She and her lover plot to betray and kill her husband. ( You can read her whole tale here. ) I think this quote from Journeying to the Goddess sums it up: “After Llew is killed, She is pursued and as a punishment, turned into an owl. Owls are associated with wisdom. Blodeuwedd has become the Crone. She has learned what happens when She accepts Herself and turns against what others want Her to be. Blodeuwedd was ‘transformed into the diametrical opposite of her previous self. From a meek, gentle, smiling, benign, beautiful and perfect Mate, She became a solitary night predator, maw gaping in silent flight, screech cutting through the forest. In a positive sense, we may say that She became assertive, independent, self-realized – and wise.’

Blodeuwedd by Hrana Janto

The base of my ceramic piece is carved with 8 of the 9 plants. ( It was crowded, and bean wasn’t as photogenic… ) I have finished the piece with multiple thin layers of acrylic washes, and then a sealer.

The owl perched atop, also finished with acrylics, is affixed with a dowel for stability. The niche holds moss and a moonstone egg.

A peak into the gallery. The show runs for the month of October at The Palette and the Page in Elkton, MD.

Thanks for reading my entwined tales of myth and art making. Please take a trip through the blogs – team mates and guests!

AE Team

Lesley  

Susan  

Marsha  

Claire  

Cathy 

Jenny  

Niky  

Caroline

Guests

Dawn  

Hope  

Alison  

Beth & Evie  

Laurie  

Kathy  

Sarajo  

Michelle  

Tammy  

Divya  

Karen  

Alysen  

Mary  

Cat  

Jill

Sarah

Anita

Octopus – the Art Elements theme reveal

Claire has a deep love for octopus. If you know her – you know this. So it wasn’t a surprise when this was her selection for the theme this month! Personally I find them alternately beautiful and creepy, yet utterly fascinating. They are chameleons, and very intelligent. (Image from this NY Times article)


CreditCreditFred Tanneau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I sat down to bead – to bead a tapestry with the perfect enameled Octopus by Anne Gardanne.

I was thinking. a felted and beaded tapestry .I tried out ideas for an embellished frame that wold have embedded shells in Apoxie clay. I wove ribbons of hand dyed French silk ribbon amongst the tentacles….. Nothing. The Muse was not a-mused. ( I set this aside for another day. )

See what I kept thinking of was a mermaid. Who says they all have to have fish tales. I mean, Ursula the Sea Witch was an octopus. So I went to one of my all time favorite artists for inspiration. Alfonse Mucha.

This is “Dance” completed in 1898. It was the figure reface I needed – clearly Mucha in style, with clear lines to alter the lower half of the figure. And I traced it – full disclosure!

I drew my own decorative elements, and did line work in sepia permanent marker. I painted happily one afternoon – a break from the studio – red hair, aqua waves, and a mottled background.And then tackled those tentacles!

I started a base coat of watercolor. I had masked off the edges a little…. I planned on using salt in a wash to get speckles. But I had small salt, and it wasn’t dramatic enough – so I started shattering! What a wet mess and SO much fun. Then I added some Brusho pigment crystals…

Wet and wonderful

I had thought about drawing in the suckers with white Gell pen? Or painting a hint of them in watercolor… but the Brusho are so intense they kinda ruin a piece for working back in. They also splattered past where I had applied Maskit and are very hard to cover! ( They reactivate with anything wet…) SO I think I am done!

This was just what I needed – to paint for pleasure. Thank you Claire for a great theme. Oh – Zoey wanted in on the octopus action too:

Don’t forget – this is a hop! Take a look at other creations from the Art Elements team and our guests this month!

Guest artists:
Cat
Evie and Beth
HopeKaren
Kathy
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarajo
Tammy

Art Elements Team:
Cathy
Claire
Jenny
Laney Lindsay Marsha

Heading to Carmarthenshire… via Powis

Departing from Ruthin, we leave North Wales behind us and head south. Our route took as along the border with England, on the eastern edge of Wales. As we trundled along… we decided to stop at Powis Castle!

The courtyard of Powis Castle

Powis is a very Manor house type of castle. There has been a castle on this sight since the mid 1200’s, when Powis was built by Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn. This was never one of the castles intended to control the wild Welsh hoards – as so many of the castles Edward I built in that era. Rather this was a Welsh prince, changing allegiances and building on land given to him by the Crown. Harumph. The two large drum towers date from 1312, and the majority of the construction was renovated in the 1530’s.

Powis is famous for its tiered gardens – sadly we only overlooked them… as it was a grey and rainy day. I loved the Medusa details on the sculpture. (“Fame”, attributed to the workshop of Dutchman John van Nost )

I apparently snuck a few pictures inside, not knowing it was not allowed.

These fantastical creatures date back to the period 1587-1595 when Lord Edward Herbert had extensive renovations done to the castle. They are in the Long Hall – the only surviving room from that era.

Our second destination was Cwmcrwth Farm, near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire. Utterly charming, this working farm has down sized its flocks and herds, and converted many of the original stone farm buildings to cottages. It is still a farm, however – and Rob and Fiona are amazing hosts.

Croeso to Cwmcrwth Farm!
Kitchen still life
To the pasture…

One of the highlights for my nephews, I think was feeding the animals. There are Highland cattle, alpaca, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs… and Bryn and Meg the working border collies!

 Cwtch Corner (cwtch is Welsh for cuddle) was a big hit. Not pictured are the rabbits – Snowy and Sooty who were fed many handfuls of dandelions…

While we were based at Cwmcrwth Farm, my sisters and I had a simply amazing experience! Billed as a cooking lesson, it was a day of food and camaraderie with Lisa Fearn at The Pumpkin Patch.

Heather and Cristy – making Welsh cakes

Lisa is a chef, author, and television personality – regularly appearing on S4C’s Prynhawn Da program. She teaches cooking classes for all ages, and welcomed us into her home for a day of traditional Welsh recipes. We made bread ( something I have never attempted) Welsh Cawl and Welsh cakes. Oh – Lisa whipped up some Welsh rarebit to go with our bread…

Welsh Cawl – a hearty soup of veg and ham/lamb.

While our dough was proving ( don’t I sound ready for the Bake off? Ha) Lisa showed us her new addition Y Sied. This newly renovated barn now houses the cooking school as well as a coffee shop and cafe! I was excited to see this new space before the unveiling – and am only sad I don’t live closer. I wish Lisa and her staff all the best in this new venture!

The Farm was a lovely respite in the middle of our trip. And we had such delicious offerings from our cooking class to take back to our self-catering cottages! So delicious!

Alpaca walk – post shearing
Sunset from the high pasture.

From our home base near Carmarthen – up next was a day trip to St Davis and the Pembrokeshire coast!