Flights of Fancy! The “Insect” theme reveal at Art Elements

Summer: outdoor living on the deck, the smell of charcoal, garden dirt under your nails… ( And festivals and clay camp but thats another story) When I think of summer insects I go to winged things. I love butterflies and moths! Their delicacy of structure and the boldness of color and design. So I knew immediately what I wanted to do:

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Stoneware for an earthy look, and coming soon porcelain for a more ethereal quality. Cut from slabs of clay – I drew a series of templates from vintage illustrations; my own childhood books. Carved and textured, drilled, awaiting the kiln… a moth to flame?

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Stoneware – waiting for stains and glazes. Sadly still a WIP.

With three shows in four weekends AND teaching every day – the moths haven’t been glazed and fired yet. I WILL have these soon, and for Beadfest if you are interested.

In my precious down time this month – I beaded. And I had to bead insects!

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The classic, high contrast Monarch

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A study in iridescence.

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Matte finish for contrast to the others.

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The trio takes wing.

 

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These three are all brooches, approximately 3: in wingspan. I plan to frame them in shadowbox frames so they are easy to display when not being worn. And I have to give a shout out to Caroline! Her moth pin was a gift – and started this flight of fancy!

 

 

 

 

Please stop by the  Art Elements team’s blogs – and our great guests this month!  Pour a cold iced tea, and sit in the shade!

Guests

Mona Arnott

Melissa Trudinger 

Sarajo Wentling

Divya N

Art Elements Team

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Diana Ptaszynski

Lesley Watt

Caroline Dewison

Lindsay Starr

Niky Sayers

Claire Fabian

Eggs and arrows…

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

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

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

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Feb. Brigid detail

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

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

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. 

A year of Goddesses: part 2

For the first half of the year – go to this original post.

It started out as challenge to myself. Inspired by artist/beader and  now fellow Art Elements contributor Cathy Mendola. It turned out to be educational, inspiring, and very, very fulfilling. Here is the remainder of the 2016 beaded goddess tapestries: 2016-part-2

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December may be my favorite. Mandala and snowflake inspired shapes crown her head. 

November – with a nod to Thanksgiving – rooted, holding wheat, recalling the harvest. 

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October brings Dia de Los Muertos. The color palette  and designs inspired by sugar skulls and talavera tiles. 

September/Virgo is my sign. I wanted her to reference the Zodiac a bit with the plenty/harvest that adorns the frame. 

 

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August – the ocean. Cresting waves, sandy neutrals. 

July – the summer sky and a hint of swirling fireworks. 

I am beginning work on a series for this year. While I had intended to take a smaller seasonal challenge this year – I had a great idea…. Stay tuned! Pictures coming!

Draconic inspiration: the theme reveal at Art Elements!

Here be dragons! 

When Niky posted the theme for December it was instantly inspirational!  I count myself lucky to have many visual artist friends and I shared some of my dragon favorites earlier on this blog. I love dragons versatility. They are creatures of air, earth, fire… They appear in myriad forms across all world cultures. For this month I worked with a vintage image and one of my original carvings:

First up – this archaic watery dragon pictured on the top right. I cast a vintage button – and cast these in porcelain. Infinite possibilities.

Below ( bottom right) are mu original hand carved dragons. These are cast in stoneware and I was really delighted/surprised with the intense colors! They were fired to ^10 in a gas reduction kiln – known for earthier tones, not usually such intensity. (This is one reason I love AMACO velvets. )

Last but not least I pressed a few polymer dragons. The one pictured here feels Art Nouveau – and I love the copper patina paint finishes.

cabs-pendants

Dragons are available in the Art Elements Extras destash group on FB. 

The polymer dragon I kept was treated with Swellegant paints/patinas. I used an iron base with a rust patina and color accents. It makes me think of sunken pieces of eight recovered from a deep ocean wreck. I beaded the bezel and then was stalled: tiger eye vs tiger iron? Both colors in the cab, but which to accentuate?

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The finished pendant – with pearls, citrine, goldstone, tiger iron.

The finished piece! Beaded… I added citrine and copper pearls since I had chosen the red tiger iron. I am really pleased with the results – and I love the effect of the red-orange lined yellow seed beads.

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Details of the crusty patina and the gems.

Bonus dragon: vintage image, applied as an image transfer to a polymer cab. (Banner photo: includes red City of London dragons and the Welsh flag. )

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Bonus dragon: image transfer onto polymer

Thank you Niky for setting us of on this path! I have more dragons flying around in my head. But for now – please join us in this reveal blog hop!

Guests

Shai Williams

Kathy Lindemer

Anita Rao

Kelly Rodgers

Tammy Adams

 

AJE Team

Susan

Cathy

Jen

Niky

Diana

Laney

Caroline

Claire

Here be headpins ! The AJE Component of the Month reveal.

Welcome to the reveal of the AJE headpin challenge!

This month we decided to highlight these small, delicate and super versatile elements. I have quite a collection from Jen ( Glass Addictions) Sue ( SueBeads) and Marsha (Marsha Neal Studio)

This collection sits just above my bead table...

This collection sits just above my bead table…

I decided to try something I had never heard nor seen done. I wanted to bead embroider the head pins. WITH the wires intact. Could it be done? Hmm. Lets try.

Headpins finally placed.

First shapes looked too much like outline of USA, second version works!

So the short answer? IT WORKS!

The headpins sat rather tall on the Stiff Stuff, so I had free rein to bead with abandon and build up some height. As I wasn’t bezeling them, I wanted tall beads around to integrate them into the overall piece. Here is is before backing:

The abalone shell pulled all the colors together...

The abalone shell pulled all the colors together…

I stitched the wires down to hold them in place and secure them. the back is a mess, but Ill show you anyway… This isnt for the faint of heart. Nearly every third stitch got looped on a wire and snagged. See the far left int he bottom picture? Many stitched snagged. I didnt even know when that happened to pick them out. So I added a bit of glue there. Gee, guess I will have to keep this one since it has issues.

Beading around the wires proved problematic.

Beading around the wires proved problematic.

details of Jennifer's headpins in the piece, and a SueBeads dangle!

details of Jennifer’s headpins in the piece, and a SueBeads dangle!

Pearls! Pinch beads! Fire polish! Abalone! No rules seed beading ! And I had SO MUCH FUN.

Not sure what to do now? Silk? wire wrap gems? What do you think?  Until next time – Ill be off creating with my new headpins  created by Thornburg Studios and Bead Fairy!

New beauties from Thornburg Studios and Bead Fairy

New beauties from Thornburg Studios and Bead Fairy

Please join the AJE team and our guests on this blog hop! I am sure I speak for the whole team that we have so many guests this month. Enjoy!

Half a year of Goddesses?

I know June has just begun, but I am already finished my beaded goddess for this month. I am thrilled with the progress I am making. The design aspects flow more readily each month. I have abandoned symetry – which can be a challenge for me. And I have NOT hit a slump. If anything, the last 2 months went easier and faster… I know the blog has languished a bit, more htan a bit. There is a revamping in the works for this summer – thats all I’ll say for now.  

So take a look at half a year of goddesses:

6 goddesses. Jan - June

 

Glass treasures – the May COM reveal

Once again – a month comes to a close. I may not have blogged much – but I do have treasures to show you! Its time for the Art Jewelry Elements COM reveal!

I am spoiled. Sue gave me a selection of these new wee gorgeous cabochons when we briefly met up at Bead Fest April in Philly. I was greedy and asked for THREE (!!!) of these stars. I envisioned them as a crown over a celestial goodess face. 

Sue star cabs

But its Spring, and I have had a chance to go to the beach a few times. Walking dogs, with a coffee, early in the morning is my favorite pastime. And beach combing. Very quickly this became a starfish, destined to be nestled in a mermaid’s hair. (Late in the month I realized that #MerMay is a thing on social media. Google it). So when a new batch of stoneware face cabs came out of the high fire gas kiln… this happened: 

May 2016 COM

Shells from Bethany DE, antique coral, abalone from NZ (long story)… Sue’s cab sets the palette, and Caroline’s sea urchin bead completes the piece! Here are some detail shots: 

COM details

I need to stitch on some beaded loops or closed rings. That part always happens last as it seems like a chore to me. 

Umm – so I was at the beach this past Memorial Day weekend – and I always pack beads. The weather was a bit grey… so while tired dogs napped after morning hikes… 

Mermaid tapestry

This is a small tapestry. The enamleled mermaid is from Anne Gardanne. I have been treasuring it… You know I am doing a beaded goddess each month? Well, I have further challenged myself to sculpt all those cabs. So this is a bonus! The May goddess is done; the June piece is laid out. I am not sure where I am going with this – but that purple! It was as if Sue’s cab and Anne’s mermaid were destined! I’d love to hear what you think… 

I was very inspired, and rather prolific; please visit my team mates and our guests to see other creative designs featuring Sue’s wee cabs!  

 Guests
Allison Herrington
Lola Surwillo
 
AJE Team Members
Susan Kennedy – host
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Jenny Davies-Reazor ( here)
Caroline Dewison
Lindsay Starr
Lesley Watt
Jennifer Cameron
Niky Sayers
 

The Goddess project – one month at a time

 This year I have undertaken a project, a goddess project. Inspired by the fabulous bead artist Cathy Mendola, I am doing one seed beaded/bead embroidered piece a month incorporating a goddess cabochon. I met Cathy on Instagram!!! – she was doing a goddess project last year and used a few of my polymer goddess cabochons. We have talked and struck up an Internet friendship… and she has passed the torch of inspiration to me!

The time frame fits me well. I like to have something to bead on when I have a little late afternoon down time, with a cuppa tea. Or coffee. I do find bead embroidery to be very meditative. Over the course of the year I want to experiment with bead shapes, composition, movement… and plan to have a combination of wall hangings and pendants by year’s end. I hope to exhibit them next year. 

So here is the beginning: 

January goddess WIP

January – named for the Roman god Janus, whose 2 faces looked backwards and forwards in time… He’s often seen with a key… The key I used is a gorgeous lampwork key from Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictons. It inspired the purple accent tones in the piece. I chose this goddess, and the spiraling composition because I was thinking of New Year’s Eve and fireworks. No specific goddess was on my mind, but a piece that was symbolic of the year’s beginning. 

January Goddess

The completed January goddesses. She is wearing a crown of hematite stars. I havent decided yet how these will be mounted/displayed… but I have all year. 

February – starts with the festival of Imbolc, marking the mid way point in winter. Associated with the Irish goddess Brigid, whose domain was fire. Fire in the head of inspiration, fire in the forge… I created this polymer goddess with the stylized fire in her belly specifically for this month. But I was reading “Brigid: Sun of womanhood” (published by Goddess Ink) and thinking on Brigid’s association with healing and water and holy wells… of the symbolism of the light of spring emerging from the dark of winter… and my plans were changed… 

Brigid sketches

Brigid as “fiery arrow”, snowdrops, flames, water… so many sketches. But what else does one have to do at Jury duty? 

February WIP

Brigid in progress showing the fires of inspiration… little polymer flames made for this piece. 

February goddess

Finished! Thanks to Leap day as I needed a bit more time. 

Here is some of my inspiration from Cathy – who I will be interviewing over at Art Jewelry Elements blog on April 8th! Stay tuned! 

Cathdola montage

And yes – the 2 goddesses on the left are polymer cabochons I sculpted. While I look to possibly showing this series next year – I am also doing it as pure pleasure. The beads, the colors, the textures… and revisiting Cathy’s pieces I am drawn into the enticing movement in pieces and the composition. I want to play with symetry and asymetry. I want to push my color sensibilities out of the comfort zone. I look forward to a year of exploration and challenges! 

Find Cathy on Facebook: – www.facebook.com/CathySMendolaJewelryandFiberArt/

Her blog is www.cmendola.blogspot.com 

Instagram as cathdola

 

November Component of the month – I’m “lichen”it!

November! As I write this I have second Thanksgiving in the oven – the goal being turkey leftovers… and the first of my Holiday shows happening tomorrow! Its here! The holidaze is upon us… But as November draws to a close, let me share with you the phenomenal ceramic focals that Caroline Dewison of Blueberri Beads has created for the COM this month: 

Carolines lichen pendants

Crusty amd organic! Saturated color! Matte and glossy! And the texture… She calls them Lichen pendants and I totally see that. I confess – I have taken to calling mine barnacles. When you see the stunning colors I have you will understand – pewter, deep teal, smoky plum… The barnacles spoke to me of the sea, of sirens, and treasure and depth and age. So the barnacles were the inspiration – to create a nest of similar shapes… 

additional barnacles

I created a few small polymer barnacle shapes to embellish around my cab. ( Caroline made pendants and cabs… ) And I created 2 clusters/connectors – to transition from multi-strands in the front to silk in the back. They are painted and stained in smoky plum and dark grey/blue. I have added Diamond glaze on the inside only to echo the glazed areas on Caroline’s cab. Here they are together; I am content with the colors. 

plan comes together

The small polymer barnacles are in place, and the peyoyte bezel portion is complete: 

Beads begin...

The beading was so much fun! I had set up a balanced/asymetrical composition with the additional polymer pieces and tried to keep going with that… I particulalry like the lentils standing up on the top right of the piece. 

Beads are done

The plan is to do short strands of seed beads, three on each side – you can see the Beadalon in lace below. Sadly I had the larger size, and needed smaller in order to string 15’s! So the piece is on hold for now… The triple strands will be app 2.5″ long, loop into the barnacle connectors, and the piece will have silk from the connectors all the way around the back. 

COM waiting

Sorry I can’t show you the finished piece I am in love with this cab and this palette. Thanks to Caroline for such an inspiration! 

Please check out the diverse offerings from the team and our guests this month!

Guests