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

Flowers – the Art Elements theme challenge for July

I left for Wales as the month began… on a trip with family that was part heritage tour and part vacation. ( In depth Wales posts are coming shortly.) I kept flowers in my mind as I was touring castles, exploring old seaside villages, hiking in the national parks…. It was an amazing transformative trip, and I will be feeling and seeing the creative effects of it for a long time coming.

But after returning home, and catching up on sleep, laundry, household chores… there was very little of July left for me. I offer you some works in progress for this month – inspired by the theme.

The first showcases these vintage glass pieces. I do not know anything about their original purpose – but when I saw them – I saw frames. ( Sadly there was a blue one too. The set of 4 made me think – 4 elements. I was only able to procure these three.) They have no holes or fasteners/bails of any kind. What do you think they were?

After sorting through many folders of vintage and antique papers ( did you see my post on my paper class with Keith LoBue?) I found some images in the right scale. Two were antique cigarette cards, the other an image from children’s illustrated encyclopedia. ( Yes – mine form my early childhood) I added gesso to the images outside the window area to cloud the colors – I didn’t want them showing through the glass.

Above you can see the copper piece engineered to fit the glass. I had not picked up the jewelry saw in months? a year? and it was so wonderful to be back at the bench pin! Below you can see the piece assembled – well, how it will be.

Currently – the images are drying – a coat of Diamond glaze to protect them. And the copper is in the tumbler – left bright, no patina. I plan to add 3 jump rings from the top arch/bail to add the connection point, and a little movement.

These pieces – when done – will be available for purchase at Bead Fest!

I have missed seed beading in all my travels this month – so I prepared a bead piece, wanting to sit and chill and bead. Well, you can see how far I got:

Labradorite and Lisa Peters cab. Waiting patiently on the bead table.

I hope you have had a wonderful July – whether you traveled or not…

For now – please enjoy a bit of armchair travel as you visit the blogs of my team mates and our guests. Thank you Marsha for a fertile theme, where I am sure many ideas have taken root !

Here is a list of our Visiting Artists:
Alysen
Cat
Divya
Evie and Beth
Jill
Hope
Kathy
Linda
Louise
Martha
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarah
Sarajo
Tammy

And our Art Elements Blog Contributors:
Caroline
Cathy
Claire
Jenny ( you are here)
Laney
Lesley
Marsha
Susan

The Art Elements theme reveal: Birds of Prey

Welcome to the reveal! This month Cathy challenged us with “Birds of Prey“. I found it to be extremely inspirational. I really wanted to work with osprey – as they nested on the river where I grew up, all along the Chesapeake Bay, and I still see them often at the Delaware beaches. But the owls had their hooks in me…

First are these mixed media focal pendants. This is a style I am diving deep into pf late – getting ready for an online show, a local show, and then.. .Bead and Button!  ( details at end of post.)  These polymer assemblages feature found OOAK images, and antique lenses. Optometry lenses or watch crystals – I am not sure.  The image is sandwiched between polymer and lens. The bezel – for lack of a better term – is sculpted. All are hand painted! ( I may have to keep that Barn owl… )

Polymer and mixed media pendants.

The polymer station is simply staying set up in my studio. I have ideas bubbling up all the time! After a lovely day crystals shopping with Staci – These owl were born. I want to sculpt similar pieces with goddesses and other animals as well.

Crystal owl prototype!

2 crystal owls, one with a loop. Coming soon to “One Sweet Bead Market” on FB.

The image in Cathy’s original post haunted me. Zoomed in, cropped… I decided to try translating it to beads. I want to experiment with some beaded paintings, of a sort… I made the conscious decision to use only size 11 rounds, keeping the surface uniform. Then color and direction of stitches would take precedence…

Beaded painting in progress

At the same time – I was working on this cabochon – a barn owl. So often I am caught up in the cycle of production, being efficient, producing more. That is a cycle I strive to break this year. This piece was very satisfying to sculpt in detail, and i used antique jet beads as eyes. ! I knew it was destined to be paired with flowers. I was inspired by the Welsh goddess Blodeuwedd – who was created from flowers and later shape shifted into an owl…

New cab, colored with pastels, amongst vintage lucite flowers.

Here are these 2 bead embroidery pieces finished! I am happy with how they both came out – but thrilled with Blodeuwedd, if I do say so.

Completed as a brooch, shown in hand for scale.

Beaded piece measures 3 x 3″ , framed in a birch panel frame.

This was  a great theme, and a very productive month, especially for a short month! Please take a few minutes to visit my team mates, and out guests this month. Thanks for stopping by – see you in March!

Guests:

Tammy

Beth

Cat

Anita

Kathy

Alysen

Linda

Rozantia

Jennifer

Hope

Sarah

Sarajo

Melissa

 

Team Members: 

 

Caroline

Cathy

Claire

Jen

Karen

Laney

Lesley

Lindsay

Marsha

Niky

Sue

The annual “Use your Stash” challenge at Art Elements!

January. Wow. Come and gone… I spent some quiet time off work, reviewing, planning… and I had a most magical vacation! ( Details coming soon – here! Stay tuned…) And I dove into the hoard of beads to use a few treasures from my stash. For a few years running we  have designated January “Use your stash” month at Art Elements blog. When you are part of such a generous creative team – the bead hoard grows. Here is what I started… and actually finished:

There were plans for many bezel and tab set pieces. They are sitting in the top right, quietly awaiting time with saw and torch. The Wire framed pieces will emerge first – frames of wrapped wire, with crystal dangles… The hare beads are by our Caroline. The fox – Heather Powers of Humblebeads.

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Every day talisman. Ceramic eye by Karen Totten

I decided to use some of the focal I had been saving as brackets for myself. I like to accessorize my FitBit – which I wear daily. I do utilize certain stones for their properties…   Hematite is used for grounding, for staying centered and stable, rooted to the Earth. Paired with an eye talisman bead of Karen’s – this feels very powerful to me. Stay centered – on the self – on the journey…

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Jen’s harlequin bead

This lampwork stunner is by Jen Cameron. I call is a harlequin as it reminds me of a jester’s motley. The colors are gorgeous. I wanted this to be something I could wear and enjoy!

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Blast from Diana’s past!

When I pair brackets with my Fitbit – I often stack a few on together. This paisley bracelet  bar of Diana’s was so earthy, and lovely as is… so it is partnered with deerskin lace in a triple wrap. Done. Soft, and fun to wear.

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Heart and stone – with cab by Sue Kennedy

So there hasn’t been much  seed beading this month – but I had two pieces planned that I was able to make progress… Sue is my go-to artist for small cabs to pair with other things. And although they are small – they re gorgeous. Above is a stone heart, and below? Its a whole world in glass! A miniature planet… that I have paired with river rock. The above is a pendant… not sure where the bottom piece is taking me…

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Glass planets, deep and blue!

And one more – an experimental piece.

I am always playing with ways to incorporate seed bead work and metal – happiest when I am truly doing mixed media. So here are some explorations of stitched wire frameworks incorporated into the bead embroidery.

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Mandala design with cab by Lesley.

I think this will give me options for the necklace portion, to wire wrap and keep a cohesive appearance. And I liked how the wire framework accentuated the mandala 5 petal design. Thats how the idea came to be – from the cab itself.

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Wire frame stitched in…

Please join the AE team and our guests this month – see what they have unearthed from their stash to start this year off creatively!

 

Snow and sparkle: The Art Elements Ornament challenge

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Happy Solstice! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Welcome to the reveal of the Art Elements Ornaments challenge!

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Tray of cookies? Tray of terra cotta!

I have an ornament making tradition of my own. Every year I make one “batch” of ornaments in terra cotta. I have my Grandmother’s vintage metal cookie cutters – now used for clay. I like the sense of tradition and connection to her, as I dont really bake cookies often, and the vintage shapes never go out of style!

These terra cotta ornaments are once fired, and use my “faux majolica” technique. They are first glazed with an opaque white glaze, on top only, like icing. They the colors are layered over. They fuse together in the  firing. this color over white method is similar to traditional majolica.

This year I had another idea I wanted to try:

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These beaded beauties ( if I do say so myself) were inspired by The Palette and the Page gallery in Elkton Md. Lynn, one of the artist/owners does the most inspired window displays. This year she called for snowflakes of any size or medium, but limited to white, silver, cream, gold. So I HAD to bead. The snowflakes are beaded onto 4″ circles of stiff felt. I lightly marked off 6 segments to start, and built the designs out from the center.  It was almost meditative, like drawing mandalas!

Im sorry I didn’t get a picture of the windows at night. It was magical!

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Detailed view of my beaded snowflakes.

So pour yourself a cuppa – tea? coffee? cocoa? and sit by your tree… and journey through the ornament challenge! Have a bright New Year, see you all in 2018!

Guest Designers
Art Elements Team

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.

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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