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

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: 

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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