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…

ribbon

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…

mini satchel

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.

fish heather

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.

beaded leather

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?

asymetrical

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

April is for Amulets! The AJE reveal

 Amulet beads

This month over at Art Jewelry Elements I was very excited to share my new polymer amulet beads. They are vessels – hollow and completely functional. I wanted to see how people addressed this, and what they inspired in our team and guests. See that one in the picture below with a labyrinth? That one is mine! 

More beads

I knew right away I wanted a way to have a scroll inside – that would be removeable and hold a secret ( or shared) message. I fabricated the copper V shape to act as a bail of sorts, allowing the vessel to hang. But then what? The labyrinth is a very evocative symbol to me – of journeys, of life, of the twists and turns of fate. So after pondering a while I decided to stamp words… 

my vessel

“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.” Emily Bronte

my own nature

That seemed perfect for a piece about journeys, and amulet, to be worn near the heart, a personal talisman. Labradorite, apaptite, green garnet – all pulling out the cool tones in teh polymer amulet bead. Its long – hangs down to my stomach; I knew it would be whan I selected that quote! The scrill is a piece of resin paper, very organic and fiber-y. No message as of yet – we will see what note I want to leave for myself! 

My journey amulet

Thanks for stopping in – and please take a look at the other offerings this month!
Guests: 
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio
Alison of Alison Adorns
Jess of The Copper Cat
Brooke from Artistic Endeavors
 
AJE Team: 
Lesley 
Caroline 
Niky 
Jennifer
Diana
Lindsay
Susan
Jenny

Beaded bags and amulet bags – a blog hop!

 I remember thinking the blog hop schedule would give me plenty of time… 

I met Christine of One Kiss Creations when we were partnered on an ornament swap. I still hang my driftwood with beaded snowflakes every year, and enjoy it all winter. So when the magic of the internet told me she was co hosting ( with Therese Frank) an amulet bag hop… I decided to go for it… Beaded amulet bags. So many options! 

Well – I have attempted this, and I apologize that nothing is finished… I have more ideas, and when I have even more time… but let me show you what I have worked on: 

beaded bag WIP

This piece was pure bead embroidery – and I LOVED doing it. The basic idea and directions came from Beaded Embellishment by Robin Atkins. I loved my palette – so very me. And I loved watching the design grow. The problems (see below) began when I started assembling the bag. I have very limited sewing/construction experience. The piece IS complete – although it is lacking a snap closure. The beadwork did not quite line up at the front where the flap folds – so I have a few more beads to add to camoflauge that area. AND a strap. I became rather frustrated with assembly and will confess, this piece was put aside for a long while… 

beaded bag as is

The second piece I am much happier with – and learned quite a bit. I actually bagan this peyote stitch bag ten years ago?! The delicas and the bottom section, stitched int he round – was squirreled away in a bag… SO I tackled this. I decided to vary the beads and made a bead soup with the original beads, adding more new colors as hte original colors were depleted. I love the variation this has given me. A teammate over at Art Jewelry Elements said it reminded her of Roman glass – so there is the button closure! Spot on!  I adore peyote stitch and could do this all day! My thought for next time? Use rounds not delicas! The bag is SO firm. I plam to stitch silk to the sides as shown on my sketch. The ends will terminate in a knot, and a few charm or crystal dangles. 

peyote amulet bag

On a completely different note – I had done this as well, and thought it would apply. The leather belt pouch was made by my friend Betty at Emperor’s Needle. She has a booth at the PA Renaissance Faire. I beaded the embroidered element onto stiff stuff, then stitched it to the leather with the final round of beads. 

beaded leather pouch

As these are my first attempts I would love to hear what you think…

Thank you Christine and Therese for hosting and challenging me! Please take a look at the other participants fabulous creations! 

Therese ( hostess)
Christine (hostess)
Jenny ( that’s me!)
Bobbie
Ana
Amy
Cynthia
Karin S
Maryanne
Liz
Lori
Paula
Jasvanti
Dagi
Kepi
Samantha
Alicia
Motidana
Becky

Beading Back in Time Blog Hop – Ancient Egypt inspired!

It has a been a supremely busy month! Clay Camp, Bead Fest preparations… and here we are at the reveal for the Beading Back in Time blog hop! Wish I had a Time Turner like Hermione! But I digress… 

Early Civilization (3500 BC to 500 AD)

Really? How am I supposed to choose? Crete. Classical Greece. Rome. The Celts. Not to mention Babylon. Assyria. China. Japan. I decided to save Celtic as my favorite for the final hop. I wanted to challenge myself; many friends seemed to be leaning to Ancient Greece… I have chosen Ancient Egypt although it doesnt seem like a challenge! I have loved this time period and this culture since I was in grade school. I have taught numerous Egyptian themed lesson to ages 6-18. I have written papers on Egyptian amulets, their uses, and the traditional materials used. Phew. Now let’s make something! 

Nefertari's tomb

Images from: House of Eternity, Getty publications

Tomb paintings from the tomb of Queen Nefertari show the deceased queen and various goddesses as she is guided into the Afterlife. We are all familiar with the heavy gold and bead collars favored at this time; and pectorals set with carved lapis scarabs, goddesses in carved carnelian… But it’s the amulets that fascinate me. Small, intimate talismans; prayers to the diverse dieties that were actively worshipped by all classes, all the time. (I wrote a series of post on amulets for Art Jewlery Elements a while back. Part 1 – Ankh and wedjet aye. Part 2 – Dietites, heart, tyet…Part 3 – faience or self glazing clay.)

So I gathered inspirations:  

Collected inspiration

1. Illustrated antique book - Dictionary of the Bible 2. Cigarette cards 3. My faience amulets 4. The working selection. What to choose!? 

 simple heart amulet

I had a stoneware heart amulet – small, simple but interesting to me. I selected the sandcast blue beads to reference Egyptian use of lapis, and a few accent beads in carnelian. Its long, it falls over my heart – made of many small wrapped links in brass wire. While the piece is very simple, it is extremely wearable and has many layers of symbolism. Colors were especially meaningful in ancient Egyptian art. 

Heart amulets: to the ancient Egyptians it was” the most essential organ… the seat of intelliegence, originator of feeling… storegouse of memory…” Andrews*

Clay: “primevel substance which recalls both the original creation and the ongoing process of life and fertility”  (ie the annual Nile fllod) – Wilkinson*

Red:  represents both fire and blood; energy/dynamism/power

Blue: the heavens and the flood; life and rebirth

But I had more ideas I wanted to try!

I have been working with this style mixed media piece for a while. (Sadly the class wasnt selected at Bead Fest this year.) They are polymer, and contain vintage images and antique watch crystals. The polymer is the bezel and the backing, and I handpaint each one in anywhere from 2-5 layers of oil, acrylic and Gilder’s paste. 

vintage PC "Lockets"

The images are taken from a set of vintage children’s encyclopedias. I love the limited palette! (These WILL be available  and more like them at Bead Fest this August. Artisan’s Alley #461) 

Please take a few minutes to enjoy the other offerings! Easy arm chair or desk top time travel right here. Links available with our hostesses:

Lindsay Starr – Phantasm Creations

Sherri Stokey – Knot just macrame

Thanks for stopping by! 

 

 

 *Amulets of Ancient Egypt by C. Andrews. Page 72

*Symbolism and Magic in Egyptian Art by R. Wilkinson. page 94

 

 

Beading Back in Time – Blog Hop Reveal

 (If you are looking for the Art Jewelry Elements April COM follow this link. Thanks! )

 

Beading Back in Time! Time to find the Tardis key, walk through a certain circle of stones, or fuel up the DeLorean… 

This quarter we are inspired by ancient history, “Early Human” which for the intents and purposes here will be prior to 3500 BCE. Now this time period resonates with me… I hve been drawn to the carved stone goddess figures since childhood.  If you want to get really careful with dating and art history this period is even before the famous cave paintings of Lascaux! So I thought for sure it would be goddesses that inspired this challenge! 

ancient goddesses

1. Venus of Willendorf 2. Venus of Brassempouy 3. Venus of Laussel 

Goddess work collage

My goddess tiles, and small sculptures. 

Goddess amulet planning

So I set aside a small simple stoneware goddess. She is bare clay, fired to ^10 reduction with a wash of iron oxide to give her a patina. Iron oxide is a naturally occurring pigment, just rust actuallly, and it was used to color stone and cave paintings of this era. I tried her with honey tones, with rugged chunks of labradorite, with craggy rough turquoise. And I havent made a decision yet. I have an existing piece ( shown bottom left above) where I paired a stoneware goddess with Roman glass, geode slices, bronze ammonites… and I wanted to do something different. We’ll see what I finally decide on. I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

 Here is what I did end up with as my “Early Human” offering: 

Tab set in copper, this Marsha Neal cabochon is a dark clay body with a white “crusty” glaze. This already felt right, but its a spiral – an ancient motif that can embody change, journey, progression, life, cycles, it was perfect. I was drawn to use other ancient materials – a hollow shell that is reminiscent of bone, and a chunk of amber. Both bone and amber were used as adornments since… forever. 

Early Human amulet

I wasn’t sure I would have time to complete the necklace parts, but the Muse ( and the clock! ) cooperated: 

Seed pods and chunky howlite connect the copper chain to the sari silk. Although rawhide would have been more historically accurate, the silk was the right fit  aesthetically. 

Final version!

 I love the pieces together, the spiral and the amber really sing to me. Please join us in this time travel inspiration, to our early human roots! 

All the participants links can be found at Sherri’s blog OR Lindsay’s blog. 

Thanks for joining us! 

 

 

 

 

Inspired by reading… Paris to the Moon

(If you are looking for the Art Jewelry Elements CoM reveal – it is located here.)

Pour a coffee, pull up a chair… and welcome to the first month of the “Inspired by Reading” book/creative club. This wonderful idea is being masterminded by the tireless  & creative Andrew Thornton. Simply put – we participants, far flung though we may be – are reading a book a month. Then we are creating something – jewelry, a doodle, poem, collage… inspired by the book. Its very loose and flexible – which makes in very do-able, in my opinion. 

Our first offering: “Paris to the Moon” a collection of essays by Adam Gopnik that detail aspects of his life as a writer and father living in Paris. They were originally published seperately in The New Yorker magazine, and collected as a book published in 2000. 

Paris to the Moon

 I enjoyed the book overall, but found some of the essays not engaging to my interests. The topics of French economics and politics were not my favorites. The descriptions of life in the city, the challenges of an expatriot living abroad, and the frequent culture clashes between a former New York City resident and his now-fellow Parisians were charming and humorous. 

I was most inspired by his field trips with his son to Deyrolle Taxidermy. This Paris icon, preserving natural wonders since 1831, was their destination when rain kept them from their habitual turn in the Luxembourg Gardens. I usually find taxidermy a bit morbid, but this had me fascinated. Animals from the farm to the safari, many abandoned by their owners, bills unpaid. And insects, and coral, and butterflies, and all other diverse objects from the natural world – a cabinet of curiousities… 

Deyrolle

Deyrolle cases

Cabinet of curiousities. WunderKammer. Literally translated as “Room of Wonders”… from as early as the 16th century these collections housed “objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings) and antiquities.” The image below, “Ulisse Aldrovandi’s Cabinet” (engraving by G. Mitelli) shows the concept in all its chaotic glory. 

Wunderkammer

 

Pendants. Amulets. Housing treasures – both natural and relics… Hmm… 

Amulets WIP

From top left: boxes – showing folded corners and inserted wires. They are cut from metal sheet, one piece; with tabs that fold to overlap at corners. There are wires inserted as staples to hold tabs and provide loops for attachments/bails. Then the boxes are filled – with ivory polymer, 2 part epoxy putty, black polymer. 

Wunderkammer amulets

Stained. painted… The shell piece (top left) had a chance encounter with the floor, sadly… The bottom two are my favorites. I prefer the layers of transluscent color I can achieve on the ivory base. 

The set of four

These will be finished with dangles and mixed media necklaces. They are rather heavy – but had to be deep to accomodate the items. I think they are reminiscent of specimen trays, and would be worthy additions to a WunderKammer. They are artifacts, and natural items, and become amulets as well. I think a future series of these will be stamped on the back with a quote, a secret word of power or mantra to wear next to your skin. 

I hope to finish them this week for my first big Spring show – Spoutwood Farm’s May Day Fairy Festival. Its a wonderful, magical time… 

And I hope you follow me to “Hop” and see what others created – inspired by “Paris to the Moon”. The list and links are on Andrew’s blog. 

Thanks for stopping by – I would love to hear your thoughts on these new experimental amulets… 

 

 

 

History Hop… My Medieval muse, my Celtic roots.

Hop to it! (Just a wee pun for our hostess, Leah of Beady Eyed Bunny…)

The brief – select a period of History – which in and of itself was a HUGE challenge for me. I liked and was inspired by so many… and create a piece inspired by that time, those people, their materials, their style…The choices: 

I had to choose Middle Ages/Medievel. In my minds eye I was seeing enameled pieces from Sutton Hoo, golden torcs, spirals, amber, pearls…My Celtic heritage was not going to be passed over. But gold – not going to happen. 

Celtic inspirations

My Celtic heritage has been a great influence on my work since I studied abroad while in  college, living and traveling on the soil of my ancestors. I designed and created Celtic penannular brooches in my final semesters studying metals in college. I wanted this piece to be informed by and inspired by – yet be modern, and reflect my current tastes in mixing materials and making pieces with meaning and intention. 

The Celts wore amber. and quite a bit of gold. They enameled, and created intricate knotwork designs, both geometric and zoomorphic. Knotwork seemed too obvious. Amber… My parents had given me a tiny bag of sand and raw amber chunks they collected on the beaches of Skagen, Denmark. I became intrigued with the idea of encapsulating the amber, so it moved freely within an amulet. 

But thinking on Celtic art, I was also thinking of runes and ogham script. In my associations, runes are more Scandinavian while Ogham is more Irish/Welsh. I usually include text in my pieces – so ogham was a must. I perused books in my personal library – La Tene period, Hallstadt…

Ogham stone Ogham

Sketchbook

The plan was to inset a plastic lens into faux bone thus creating a niche for the amber. I started that – last Wednesday. Not going to happen in the time I had remaining. Plan B – polymer. I have recently been reintroduced to polymer by the multi talented Christine Damm. I knew it would do exactly what I envisioned. 

polymer process pix

Top: working. Ivory polymer. 

Bottom: Ogham writing around pendant. Copper overlay to be sawed. Amber and lens in place. 

The pendant

Here is the finished pendant! Three chunks of amber for the Goddess of the Celts – in her three forms of maiden, mother, and wise crone. The Triquetra – a three lobed symbol, also representing trilogies – body, mind, spirit; earth, water, sky; youth, maturity, age…… The ogham translates as “Goddess guide me”. The back – a subtle pattern of knotwork and a central triskele motif. 

Back of pendant

I had intended to pair this with amber beads. I am not sure. I have taken pix with a few different gemstone combinations. What do you think? 

1. Amber 2. howlite and emeralds

1. Amber 2. Howlite & emeralds

3. aquamarine & emeralds 4. Labradorite, howlite emeralds

3. Green aquamarines & emeralds 4. Labradorite, howlite, emeralds…

 

Please tell me what you think… I am thrilled with how this turned out, and thank Leah for initiating this challenge. I think I have a few more pieces rolling around in my head still! Please check out my fellow participants and their historical inspirations. (I may be late to the hopping, everyone! Teaching all day today. Monday over coffee at the latest, but I will jump in my Time Machine and meet you there. ) 

Ahowin – Art Nouveau www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com
Alicia Marinache – Victorian http://www.allprettythings.ca/
Becca’s Place – Renaissance www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
Beti Horvath – Ancient Egypt and Art Deco www.stringingfool.blogspot.com
Cherry Obsidia – Ancient Mecynae Greece www.cherryobsidia.blogspot.com
Cooky – Renaissance www.shepherdessbeads.com/Blog.html
Jennifer Davies-Reazor – Medieval www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Kathleen Douglas – Indus Valley www.washoekat.blogspot.com
Kashmira Patel – Etruscan www.sadafulee.blogspot.com
Lady Grey – Victorian www.beadsteaandsweets.blogspot.com
Laney Mead – Pre-Columbian www.laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk
Leah Curtis – Ancient Roman www.beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk
LiliKrist – Persia www.lilikrist.com
Melissa – Mesopotamian www.design.kcjewelbox.com
Melissa Trudinger – Art Nouveau www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Micheladas Musings – Ancient Romans www.micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Sandra Wollberg – Art Nouveau www.city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.com
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson – Art Deco www.sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com
Tracy Stillman – Victorian www.tracystillmandesigns.com

 

 

Amulet from Amanda…

Amanda Davie – that is. 

Before Christmas I was doing my usual coffee drinking, blog reading and posting routine – and I left a comment on Amanda Davie’s blog. Now I had followed her work for a while – innovative mixed media pieces, unique bezels with resin, often incorporating vintage text, a sense of the sacred, a reverance for the natural world… These are things I am drawn to, and recognized a kindred spirit in her work. She is a artist/mother/blogger/creative soul in Wisconsin. 

How thrilled was I to win the giveaway!?! And recieve a gift certificate to her shop? Ha! I am going to treat myself! So I window shopped, and browsed, and was tempted… and didnt commit. To many things I liked. I went back – they were gone… But thats ok. I found an even better piece. A talisman for the new year. An amulet for myself. ( Enough already, show them a picture…)

The packaging. Gorgeous. What attention to detail!

Davie package

Inside – what? More gorgeous-ness! A bonus! Hand made treasure pouch withe silk ribbon and sea glass button. You are too much, Amanda!

Davie pouch

Butterflies inside? Now its getting too serendipitous. My favorite symbol – the embodiment of transformation, a sylph of grace and beauty…

pouch interior

And the necklace itself…

The necklace A. Davie

The pendant is a cluster of charms, first and foremost a small brass screw-top vial. A charm of Inanna, a turquoise wand… My plan is to put a message to myself in the vial. A message for the year. Not goals per se, but an affirmation, a reminder, a few powerful words… And as I have “written” it, so it shall come to be. I am still thinking this over, knowing that the right words will come at the right time. 

necklace detail   

Gemstones – pearls, coral, turquoise, wood, hand crafted bronze charms. A plethora. A delight to the senses – touch, sight, sound…

necklace detail2

Thank you Amanda! Thank you so much!

 

In our emails back and forth we have begun a fledgling blogging friendship – and I sent Amanda some of my ceramic pendants. I can’t wait to hear and see how she puts them to good use. Its nice to make a connection across the miles with a kindred creative spirit. Shame we are to far apart to meet for a coffee…

 

A to Z: amulet

I have been ruminating on this alphabet concept for almost a year. 26 letters; 52 weeks. There is a beautiful symmetry there. I have lists of inspirational words, topics, and the like in my journal. So I am going to begin, on this first Friday of the first month to wend my way through the alphabet, from A to Z. 

A is for…

art? artistic? No. A is for amulet:a charm (as an ornament) often inscribed with a magic incantation or symbol to aid the wearer or protect against evil (as disease or witchcraft) From the Latin amuletum; first known Use: 1584 Synonyms: charmfetish, mascotmojo,periaptphylacterytalisman (Thank you Merriam Webster online.)

"Mojo" amulet

My personal amulet; my “Mojo” pendant. When I started it – I wasn’t even sure if I would end up wearing it, but I wanted to experiment a bit. It started with the bone game piece, altered with antique paper, and aged. It was a paper-centric class I took with my friend Keith at the Shepherdess. I tend to focus on trying a new technique and creating samples to take back to my studio – as opposed to manically attempting an entire piece of art in a class scenario. Doesn’t that sound logical? You would be surprised…

 Anyway – it reads “Happy in her studio” found text from a turn-of-the-century art book. It is drilled and adorned with three garnets.  The paintbrush, sacrificed, cut short and topped with a copper bail. (The component missing in this picture is a ceramic shard from Marsha Neal Studio. It needs to be replaced.)  A delightful woman met me at a show (Artsfest at Annmarie Garden) and offered me antique doll parts. A treasure to have, for sure, but this one is the first I have incorporated into a wearable piece. The sea glass and river stone were drilled through by me, another skill accumulated in a class with Keith. The copper “trapeze” shape is simply forged wire.  

This piece reads on many different levels for me. It is a compilation of the materials I love to work with: clay, paint, paper, metal, found objects. It represents all these materials unified in a  mixed media piece. I have been gravitating more and more to mixed media, and think that is a strength and source of creative inspiration for me. I am so fortunate to be able to work with my hands, at what I love, every day. I felt that needed to be honored, and appreciated – with the hand itself. There is a magic to creating an object of beauty and/or meaning out of seemingly insignifigent and disparate objects. Something from ‘nothing’. It is my idea, my intention, my creative spark that brings the parts together into a whole. My intention was clearly to create a piece that embodied my personal artistic journey, and would act as an amulet to attract creativity, happiness, success…

Many of my wearable pieces have a deeper meaning. A symbolism behind the image, an inspirational word, the properties of a certain gemstone. Yet others are simply a harmonious arrangement of elements, pleasing to the eye. I think the jewelry we wear speaks volumes about us. Our histories, likes and dislikes, our passions, our choices, our culture. What piece do you wear that speaks out, a self portrait of sorts? What piece has a strong personal meaning? (Of course – I am thinking beyond rings – they are the most potently symbolic piece that many of us wear daily. Wedding rings, engagement rings, even school rings.) I would love to hear…

 

* Please forgive the delay. This type of post – longer, more thoughtful and hopefully thought provoking – is new to me. I wrote and edited it for a couple days, although I had wanted it up on Friday. Please stay tuned for a related “amulet” post this week as well as the second “A” post on Friday.*