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

Swirls: the Art Elements theme reveal

Swirls.

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

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Travelogue doodles at Bead Fest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Artists:

Alison

Anita

Cat

Caroline

Jill

Kathy

Karin

Kimberly

Mischelle

Raven

Sarajo

Susan

Tammy 

Art Elements Team: 

Cathy

Caroline

Claire

Jen

Jenny & Lesley

Laney

Marsha

Susan

 

The Art Elements Rune reveal

Welcome to our last official COM here at Art Elements! Starting next month we are moving to monthly themed challenges. We felt this was expanding the option, invigorating out creativity and opening the door to so many mediums!

This final COM is stunning metal clay runes made by Niky Sayers. I had the good fortune of meeting Niky in London and receiving mine personally!

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Niky’s runes are cast from her own hand made personal set, and based on the Elder Futhark. These symbols were originally carved in wood and stone, and their straight lines reflect that context. Elder Futhark was a runic alphabet used by Norse and Germanic peoples from approximately the 2nd – 8th centuries. ( styles changed, runes evolved, and continued to be used….) Runes are recorded in sources such as the Poetic Edda as being used for inscriptions and talismans.

In the 1980’s Ralph Blum published and popularized the runes as a system of divination. I have long been a fan of Tarot cards, as an inspirational and oracular device. But runes were never my go to, and I enjoyed this chance to start working with them.

The first rune I selected to work with is URUZ, meaning “aurochs”. It’s traditional meaning is “Physical strength and speed, untamed potential. A time of great energy and health. Freedom, energy, action, courage, strength, tenacity, understanding, wisdom. Sudden or unexpected changes…” Immediately I saw a Phoenix, as working with the runes coincided with a New Moon journal spread I was planning. ( And yes – this means I still have this actual rune to use in a piece of jewelry!)

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The dark moon was done in watercolor pencils and crayons. I wanted to leave a hint of a triple spiral there in purples and black. The Phoenix was drawn in pencil and inked with fine marker. The color was very satisfying to do- many layers and colors blended using Derwent watercolor pencils.

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I was a bit disappointed with the background. I used a student grade liquid watercolor and it feels a little flat, a little blah to me. Such is the nature of an art journal: experimentation, risks, and play.

The second rune I selected was EHWAZ, meaning horse. It’s traditional meaning is: movement/ progress, steady progress, transit and transition. When thinking “horse” I immediately think of the Uffington chalk figure, and I was seeing landscapes in my mind’s eye from my recent trip to visit Lesley in Dorset. This idea evolved quite naturally, involving polymer and felt…

I wet felted two abstracted landscapes in a palette of greens:

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The rune will be affixed to the frame at center top. The felted tapestry inside, and an image of the Uffington horse to float above, suspended on fine gauge copper chain.

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This is the work in progress so far – I am seeing a few changes I want to make. I want to create another felt tapestry and play up the copper color from the rune itself. I think I will add a thin layer of white acrylic paint on the frame, a white wash of a sort, to lighten the piece. And yes – that is a rogue hair from my paintbrush. Oops. I am happy with my overall design plan – but need to tweak the palette a little. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts…

And I look forward to seeing the creations from my team mates and our guests this month:

Guests:

Kelly Rodgers

Deb Fortin

Art Element Members:

Laney Mead

Lesley Watt

Caroline Dewison

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Susan Kennedy

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Jennifer Stout Cameron

Claire Fabian

Lindsay M Starr

Niky Sayers

Magic on the Streets of London…

(OK – now I have the Smiths song stuck in my head… )

Part 2 of the trip! 

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? Its magic… When Lesley and I realized that my visit would coincide with the Harry Potter: History of Magic exhibit at the British Library… well, you can guess the rest. What REALLY made this day magical was who joined us there!

We took the train from Bournemouth and had a lovely scenic ride through he New Forest and into London. Arriving at Waterloo and then heading to Euston by Tube – I was thrilled to see 2 of the 270 enameled labyrinths! This public art project was the creation of Mark Wallinger. In 2013, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Tube, 270 unique labyrinths were designed and installed. One in every Tube station. The signs aren’t labeled in any way, and were enabled by the same company that created the iconic London Underground signage. The video about the project is outstanding!

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Newton in Bronze by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

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St Pancras station – next door. And no, we did not go on to Kings Cross platform 9 3/4.

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Exhibition poster: Fawkes bu artist Jim Kay

So this was a momentous occasion! I got to meet all of my team mates from the Art Elements blog! The whole UK contingent! I have to say – it was so exciting, so energetic, and yet so familiar. I have known and worked with these creative talented women for years. I treasure these friendships! And while we were meeting in person for the first time, it felt like old friends getting reacquainted!

 

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The UK team! And me! All together none place! ( From top left: Lesley Watt, Caroline Dewison, Laney Mead, Niky Sayers, me. ) 

The British Library? Heavens. I cant even find the words. We toured their exhibit first. The Magna Carta. Original Shakespeare. The Lindisfarne Gospels. Beatles lyrics scrawled in pencil on old greeting cards. Medieval girdle books. Simple awe inspiring. I was incredulous.

Then we went to the HP exhibit. ( No photographs, naturally). What a beautifully curated exhibit! Arranged in groups, mirroring the subjects at Hogwarts, the items displayed ranged from Medieval pieces from the BL collection, to handwritten notes and sketches from JK Rowling, to new illustrations by artist Jim Kay. There were also pieces from the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall. ( Drawings below from an interactive piece at the end of exhibit)

Heading home – bag filled with treasures, gifts and more than a few books…. Mendel and Malachi were rather mischievous. ( Crocheted mandrakes by Caroline!)

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And hijinks continued as I worked on my travel journal the next day…

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You can read more about my travel journal over at Art Elements. There is a nice sense of spontaneity and memory-making that I get from creating a travel collage/art journal in real time. With found papers, and a little Googling…

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Me – I am back in the studio sculpting cauldrons that Snape might even sneer fondly over… There will be a whole new series of Mythic tiles this year. Magical creatures, witches, wizards, alchemy, and the like!

Stay tuned for part three of the trip coming soon!

Goals for the Year…

( This post was originally published on Art Elements blog)

Hello all – I hope your 2018 dawn broke in whatever fashion you desired! We went out to a concert on New Year’s Eve Eve with friends and had a blast. On the last day of 2017 I got a good nights sleep and rang in the morning with coffee, and lots of it. Then I proceeded to start cleaning the studio. Did you see Niky’s post this week? I can SO relate to that…

So studio is being reclaimed. Organizing, decluttering, displaying treasures to free up space on my work table. Now I want to look forwards. 2017 was a year I was happy to say goodbye to… aside from the greater world situation/trauma/news/horror I had some personal challenges, and family issues that were , well – upheavals.

I have a renewed sense of “Live life to the fullest” and as such sat down to make a top 10 list for the year: 

My “Birch” page as I study the Celtic tree calendar.

1. Jump start my art journal practice. This is a project I an renewing this year for the third in a row. Last year I made it halfway through the year, before stress derailed me. And that was an improvement from the prior year! Im working large, IMO, in a 11 x 14″ spiral bound mixed media sketchbook. There will be watercolor, collage, drawing… whatever I want! This is a practice for me alone, and while I may share some spreads on my IG, I can play and be messy, and do art therapy, and no one needs to see. Im taking a yearlong class called Moonshine with Effy Wild ( of Journal52 and Life Book) and so far love the themes and prompts presented.

so many books!

2.Read. In the last few years of living this creative entrepreneur’s life, my reading levels have plummeted. I work all day in the studio, at my part time job, in the “work” ceramics studio… and only read after i crawl in bed. Yeah, < laughs> that doesn’t work out so well. I have a growing pile of mythology, women studies, fairy tale analysis, art and technique books which ARE work related. So I CAN read during the work hours….

3. Play. This past year I was stuck in a rut of production. I started the year strong, and spent the summer and fall making new work just in time for the next show. Needless to say, I didn’t have the time to try new things, to play, to experiment. And I felt stagnant creatively. This year I am working part time at the fabulous Sarafina Fiber Arts “Art House“. The environment and the product are very conducive to creativity. I want to felt and bead and sculpt. I want to try polymer mosaics. I want to do larger tile pieces. I want to do another series of goddess figures… See?

4. Planners and mindfulness – Yes this one seems to not go together… I treated myself to the Desire Map planner by Danielle LaPorte. Part daily planner, part woo woo, part daily positive affirmations. Filling out a day’s page in the morning over coffee keeps me organized, yes. But mindful as well. And reminds me to take care of myself…

5.Health and happiness. This one really needs no explanation. As I mentioned earlier – family health issues. Health is prioritized! Mental health, meditation or the like, down time. Hydration! Healthy eating. I am trying to shift my mindset of preparing dinner from a chore, to a mindful daily ritual. Think good music, and bocking the time in so I am not so rushed.

Mythical creatures! Witchy cauldrons!

6. Overhaul my tile inventory. As in retire old designs! Design new tiles! And sketch them… I have a few molds that are worn out and need to be done. I have SO many tile designs in my head – I am trying to get them on paper and start sculpting! My first arts festival of the year is in May – and I want to debut mythical creatures. As always I will have mythic themes, gods and goddesses, and I am developing a new line inspired by the comforts of home. Think coffee, books, pets, tea… What would you put on the ” Comforts” list?

But I have to be practical as well – some designs will be custom order. Others – the most popular designs – will go with me to shows. I plan a series of smaller tiles for the 4 elements that can be purchased singly or as a group….

And if there are new tiles there will be new pendants to correspond!

labradorite, sawing out script, tray of to-do’s!

7. Metals – metals were my first love in art school. I sincerely adore sawing complex things with my jewelers saw. So why aren’t I doing more?! As I established myself and my business; applying to shows… ceramics was the best category in which to place my work. Tiles, shrines, pendants… But in my heart I am a mixed media artist. So more metals? Yes, please!

simple, but so versatile

8. Linoleum printing. I used to teach it in school. Lesley and I did a print making art camp a few years back… You may have seen prints I was playing with for our 2017 “Keep your Sanity” challenges… During 2017 I took a few online classes with the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic. For the fairy tales course I did a series of lino prints – I wanted to do something not in my normal mediums, and play a bit. I found that it was a great exercise to encourage me to draw more, and I find the carving rather Zen. The goddess and Little Red Riding Hood pieces pictured above? The goddess image correlates with a tile a sculpt, and I am thinking the wolf may be translated into clay soon! I like developing ideas and translating them into different media!

small but completely sufficient

9. Travel. Starting the year off with a trip to the UK! Art camp with Lesley! And  – actually meeting my dear friends of the UK branch of Art Elements… IN PERSON! But after that extravaganza… my desires are simple. Time with the husband and the dog, time in nature. The picture above? Our tiny 14′ travel trailer. She is adorable. We have no plans yet – but now as we are snowed and cold – that’s the time to make them!

10. Friends, family and community – Spending quality time with the people I care about. Not letting the job get in the way… and that means online friends and community as well. Taking the time to comment and start a conversation instead of blindly clicking “like”. Spending less time mindlessly scrolling, but quality time touching base with friends that are far away. Video calls to watch my little nephews antics… Stop what you are doing and hug someone today!

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?

Journal 52 – one week at a time

Journal table

I have three work tables in my “clean” studio. This year one of them is designated the journal space. I have tried unsuccessfully many years running to put a consistent daily/weekly art journal practice in place. I have tried loose papers, even vintage Filofax cards. This year I signed up for a FREE challenge – called “Journal 52“. Run by the dynamic duo of Effy WIld and Sarah Trump – I recieve a themed prompt once a week. Two actually – so you have options. There’s a FB group for sharing and building community. I love it. And I am happy to say I am consistent, and consistently loving it.  

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The whole art journal thing for me is play and practice. A chance to doobde, to recontitute my dried up, forlorn drawing skills, to try new media and techniques, to get messy and push paint around… all with the caveat that NO ONE HAS TO SEE IT. Or I can share if I desire. The freedom to play and produce work for me, for my soul, from my soul… with no show deadline. Its refreshing and joyous.  

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True self

I am a little behind as I was away last week – but the weekly prompts are so good I look forward to catching up… 

Stay tuned for more as the year progresses! 

New Year’s Rejuvenations

 Resolution: :  the act or process of resolving: as 
:  the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones 
:  the act of answering :  solving
:  the act of determining
 
Rejuvenate: 
:  to make young or youthful again :  give new vigor to 
:  to restore to an original or new state <rejuvenate old cars>
 

I would rather rejuvenate than resolve. I would rather breathe new vigor into a habit or pursuit than solve a problem. And so this year, I have made some changes for the better, a fresh start with the New Year… but I am reframing it all in a more positive fashion. Resolutions are notoriously short lived. And to me the term implies that something is broken and needs repair. It doesnt resonate in a positive way… 

With the New Year, I have rejuvenated some practices in my life, things that I (for the most part) enjoy, and that are good for me – body and soul. January usually is a slower month for me as to work/production/teaching so I am prioritizing these parts of my day, these aspects of my life I want to become firmly entrenched habits. 

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The daily art journal. 

Doodles, sketches, for me, not for an audience, nothing official. A record of my day, thoughts, actions, ideas. No goals other than to draw something. I will be posting here occassionally, but many may be private. Today is the 12th. As I write this there are eleven entries in my journal. So I will draw tonight, cuppa tea, TV on… because I havent missed a day yet. I signed up for a class “Sketching and Watercolor in the mixed media journal” with the incomparable Jane LaFazio – it starts Feb 1. My goal is to make it a habit, and then class will further encourage and challenge me! 

art journal in progress

Vision Board

This you only get a sneak peak – I know the premise, and I collage in my journal all the time. But this time its made real, manifesting my intentions for the year. On foam core, tacked up on my wall. I do think that seeing it will be a motivating visual reminder. 

vision board detail WIP

Reading. Research. 

I have books everywhere. I love books. One thing I have struggled with for years as a self employed/work-from-home artist is reading. I feel like reading during the day is tabu. Daytime is for working. Well – the honest truth is that many of the titles pictured here will influence my work. So I devote more time to reading, and give myself permission! I am in 2 book groups – one virtual, one local – so there will be additional novels. But I know that my Muse will blossom when I feed her words, ideas, theories, history… 

Fiction book list

Book list part 2

And the blog… 

Last year there were more times than I would like to count when I posted only once a month. And that when it was a reveal for Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month! So I will tend to this here blog, and give it more attention. I relish comments; its nice to know yo uare out there… so please comment if you are so inclined. So far we are at one post a week; that will be my minimum! 

Alright – think I’ll read a little before dinner. 

Here’s to a fruitful and creative 2015! 

 

 

Fall festivals and festivities

 

“…season of mists and mellow fruitfulness… 

Keats said it well in his “To Autumn”. Those words embody September in my mind, and in my artistic life. 

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Summer – what a whirlwind! I adore September, its my favorite time of year. Windows open, fresh crisp air, a cup of coffee, and time in the studio. September for me is a respite from teaching, and a round of arts festivals: travel, scenic drives, friends, and great customers. 

BF 2014 detail

The picture above was from my exhibitor’s table at Beadfest Philadelphia this past August. My third year vending and my first teaching: a smashing success. One of the highlights as always was the camaraderie of my fellow artists and designers, especially my team mates at the Art Jewelry Elements blog! (If you are interested in pictures of my student work and my Beadfest loot, they can be found here. )

Art journal WIP  AJ2 Wip

In some ways September feels like a new start, a clean slate. Is it the residual timing of the back to school schedule from my years teaching? Whatever the reason – I am starting anew at an art journal. Nothing formal, it will be just for me to doodle, sketch, paint, collage. I have a sketchbook filled with notes and planning sketches, of course. This is more for play, for journaling thoughts visually… I am trying to leave one table set up as a place to work. It helps to keep things out, to have water ready for waterolors. To steal a moment here and there. I am trying to do a two page spread each week. 

BoC 2014 swap

The Beads of Courage charm swap and auction is the undertaking of Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions. Participants create and swap art beads/charms. Surplus charms are auctioned off to raise funds for  Beads of Courage. This organization provides “innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.” I have signed up to contribute 2 charms to the swap. This year’s theme is “Soar” and I have plans to donate an additional piece to the auction on November 14th. 

 

That’s all for now! 

Off to pack and prepare and fire the kiln one last time.

Upcoming shows: 

Artsfest at Annmarie Garden – September 20-21st. Dowell MD 10-5pm daily. 

Art on the Avenue – October 6th. Alexandria VA. 10-6pm

 

 

Starting anew…

Happy New Year! 

Meditation table

Yes, its the 2nd, and I am still honoring feelings of fresh starts, cleaning out the old, preparing for the new. Last year was a hectic mad dash to the holidays.  A mad dash that I felt was my state of operating – for the entire year. Many things DID get finihed, many loose ends neatly tied off and trimmed before December came to a close. Others? Well – January is the calendar’s Restart button. So I feel the slate is clean, and I look forward to the new year, its offerings, its potential, and its promise. 

Having said that – I dont do resolutions as much as I do “new beginnings”. I wanted to share with you a few things I have begun and will be endeavoring to continue as the calendar pages flutter by, as the wheel of the year spins… 

I am a collector of Tarot decks, and have probably a dozen. I tend to use the same few decks most frequently. I like to draw a card for the day, sit and ponder the message, sip on my coffee… It is the closest I come to meditating, but a few minutes of stillness to start the day is so beneficial. I was inspired to create wool/felted/embroidered/beaded bags for each deck. And then that grew into working with a deck a month… This month its the Druid Animal oracle deck, looking at totem animal, and animal symbolism from the Celtic/Druidic perspective. Written by Phillip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, it is exquisitely illustrated by Will worthington. In the back you see the bag I have started, upcycled from a felted wool sweater with a needle felted white horse ( ala Uffington) I still need to do details. 

Worthington's deck

The daily practice thread continues – into an art journal idea. A Rolodex card-a-day art journal. I can see the finished Rolodex in my mind’s eye, filled with color and texture, snippets and memories. The cards are so small – 4″ long – easy to travel with, and I am allowed to catch up if I miss a few days from business, sickness, etc. The idea to do a piece in 365 parts was inspired in part by Kirsty Hall.  Kirsty Hall is a British artist who did a 365 jar project.

Kirsty Hall Jar 365 in situ  KHall jar 365 detail

The 365 jars project has its own website. The project was interactive – jars were found, recorded on the site and adopted by their finders. Sadly Kirsty is in the UK, or else I would have been searching for a jar myself. It was fascinating and very inspirational to travel the year with her. While this is much smaller in scale and definitely more personal – I have to tip my hat to her! I have ordered a vintage metal Rolodex card file… but started on New Year’s day regardless. 

Rolodex sketchbook

Rolodex sketchbook2

One last venture – The Empty Shelf challenge. The idea of author Jon Acuff, the idea is to fill an empty shelf with the books you read over the course of the year. Well, I have no empty shelves, and read many things on the Kindle. So I am translating this to Instagram & Twitter, where I will be posting pix of finished books, and tagging them #emptyshelf. I have meant to do this many years running, and with the ease and fun of editing pix in Instagram – I may just achieve it. Many thanks to Jess of Rosy Revolver for bringing this to my attention! 

 

Please feel free to follow along – my Instagram ID is “jdaviesreazor and my Twitter ID is “JDRshrineart” 

I’d love to hear what you are reading, planning, or resolved to do in 2014!