Curiouser and Curiouser…Inspired by Alice blog hop

It started with a rabbit. And a pocketwatch. There are so many iconic images from Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, but to me it all starts with the rabbit. Yes, I think caterpillars, vials of potions, cards, roses, tea parties and top hats, even flamingos and croquet. But I have a thing for rabbits…

(In case you just fell down the rabbit hole – you are currently on a Blog Hop. There was a challenge presented by Staci and Genea to create a piece inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Twas brillig – the idea, that is!)

Alice sketches

This is the rabbit I pictured in my piece – a Japanese carved ivory netsuke ( as noted below) Its a full moon hare – myths of the moon hare abound in cultures across the world, between cultures and over time. But thats another story for another day. This story is a white rabbit… The round shape had me thinking of the gears IN a pocketwatch, and the face of a pocketwatch. Suddenly it was not a rabbit WITH a watch, but a rabbit IN a watch. 

Hare netsuke 

Ivory Manju Netsuke – Rabbit in full moon shape 
Kyoto School, Circa 18th Century

The pocketwatch casing I decided to use – I have a few – was open on both sides. I wanted to be able to fill the space and keep the weight of the piece down. But I had to create a back that would be completely sealed as I planned to pour resin at the end stage. What you see here is a antique glass lens holding enameled gears & vintage gears embedded in resin and layered with paper. The sticker on the lens is original – I left it as it reminded me of the Mad Hatter’s hat size stuck in the brim of his hat. I have fabricated copper wire into a prong setting – as the lens is too small to fit completely. 

Alice back stage 1

The polymer hares after baking, awaiting an acrylic stain to add the patina of time. ( The owls are for a mixed media piece inspired by the Greek Goddess Athena…)

polymer ready to stain

The lens in place – epoxy putty as the bezel. It was a sticky mess, like sculpting with molasses. Once cured it had to be sanded and painted. You can see on the right the prongs supporting the piece from the inside. The paper created a visual barrier seperating the front items and the back items.  

Alice back stage 2 Alice inside stage 2

The rest came together quickly. The hare, gear and watch parts, and an antique enameled watch face from my favorite antique store in Austin TX. ( I live in DE. Long distance!)

Alice front w/o resin

Alice back complete

The entire piece is currently filled with resin. Lets see how it cures over night, and hopefully I can add an update in the morning! I haven’t addressed how to wear this piece yet. That would depend quite a bit on the wearer, I think. Velvet ribbon; choker length? Chunky chain, worn long over the chest? What do you think ? 

Saturday morning: resin for the win!

resin final stage

Thanks to Staci and Genea for hosting the Hop! I had a great time with this piece; I had a chance to play, to think outside the box, to experiement. Please take some time and see what my fellow participants have creatied! Curiouser and Curiouser!

Ginger Bishop
www.lilmummylikes.blogspot.com
 
Staci Louise Originals (hostess!)
www.stacilouise.blogspot.com
 
Genea Beads (hostess!)
www.geneabeads.blogspot.com
 
Jenny Davies-Reazor (Thanks for stopping by!)
www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
 
Heidi Post
www.expostfactojewelry.blogspot.com
 
Donna Bradley
www.strandedbeads.blogspot.com
 
Linda Hanes
www.craftygallindadesigns.blogspot.com
 
Birgitta Lejonklou
www.lejonklou.blogspot.com
 
Libellua Jewelry
www.libellulajewelry.com
 
Lori Anderson
www.prettythings.blogspot.com
 
Linda Florian
www.lilysofthevalleyjewelry.blogspot.com
 
Dyanne Cantrell
www.deelitefuljewelrycreations.blogspot.com
 
Nicole Valentine Rimmel
www.nvalentine.blogspot.com
 
Jo in Wonderland
www.joyblonde.blogspot.it
 
 

The Challenge of Literature Blog Hop: mythic fiction, fantasy stories…

I enjoy the challenge of a Blog Hop – as evidenced by the frequency of Hop related posts lately. I am a full time working artist, in one studio or another every day. I alternate between the ceramics studio and the mixed media/ jewelry space, but as my jewelry contains ceramic components, and my ceramic shrines contain collages and found objects – you see the flow, the continuity there. These Hops give me a chance to experiment, to play, free from the deadlines of a show, hanging an exhibit, doing production work. And because I have the opportunity to share my results, my offerings, with the community, it assuages any guilt I have in not “being at work”. So without further ado: 

The Challenge if Literature Blog Hop, hosted by Erin of Tesori Trovati. (She hosted the Music Hop a little while back as well…)

I chose to pay homage to one of my favorite genres, and one of my favorite authors. Charles de Lint is a Canadian author, known for his mythic and fantasy fiction, or ‘urban fantasy’ . His work is filled with folklore, faerie, music, urban settings, and  contemporary themes. To quote Terri Windling: …the importance of myths in our modern society, the need for tales rich in archetypal images to give coherence to fragmented modern lives…” (xv, DU). De Lint’s stories are such moderm myths. 

I picked up “Dreams Underfoot” (The first deLint I ever read) a collection of de Lint’s short stories set in the town of Newford. I love all his work, but there is so much to choose from – so I went back to my beginning. These are loosely interconnected tales as he weaves a web of characters; artists, musicians, writers, dryads, conjure men…

Whispered Tales

This piece “Whispered Tales” was inspired by the story “The Conjure Man”. The story revolves around the loss of the community’s Tree of Tales – a rare Quercus robur/oak. (Common in Europe, but Newford is in Canada). ” She was a Tree of Tales…She held stories, all the stories that the wind brought to her that were of any worth, and with each story she grew.” (DU, 229) The traditional ways are growing weak with the influx of technology and people are becoming estranged; as symbolized by the loss of the Tree of Tales.  There are many new tales but “a Tree of Tales is an act of magic, of faith. It’s existence becomes an affirmation of the power that the human spirit can have over its own destiny. The stories are just stories – they entertain, they make one laugh or cry – but if they have any worth, they carry within them a deeper resonance that remains long after the final page is turned, or the storyteller has come to the end of her tale…” (230, DU) The Conjure Man, a wise old soul, inspired Wendy, a young poet to start a new seedling, nurturing it with tales and poems until it can be planted. 

Whispered Tales, detail of focal

 

Whispered Tales, detail

 

clasp and charm detail

My piece: Cedar stained with acrylic paint, nickel silver, copper wire, tree branch with bud, grommets, micro fasteners, silk, leaf/face charm, gems, hand forged links. 

My intent: Woven elements as the tales are woven; the branch, cedar and text to evoke the Tree of Tales. 

It only seemed fitting to select a tale about tales for the Challenge of Literature Hop, where we are looking to the words on a page for our creative inspiration. de Lint’s stories do resonate long after the pages are turned. He creates a real world, filled with the things I wish I could find in my real world…Perhaps you will pick up a book, or tell a tale. ( Quotes taken from Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint. 1993) 

Here are the list of fellow storytellers: 

Color Hop

What color would you choose? 

crayons

Welcome to the “One Crayon Color Challenge”

Color Hop badge

I confess- I love crayons. Especially Crayola, smell them! They have a unique aroma that will instantly transport you… To elementary school, to sharing a box of 64 with sisters…but I digress. This creative color hop, hosted by Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is all about color. And I agree- what an evocative vehicle for color! 

When I signed up, I selected GREEN. To me this offered myriad possibilities within the monochromatic color scheme. My first, and immediate association is with forest and trees, a canopy of branches, Nature’s cathedral arching over one’s head. I selected one of my original Dryad pendants. ( She has since been redesigned, and is more willowy. And yes, there is a bit of brown…)

I think I saw Sally say that the challenge was open to ANY medium. Hope so- I was recently doing a new series of mixed media collages for a local show. So…Arbor Vitae

 

Arbor vitae

 

AVdetail

The collage is multiple layers of papers, both solid colors and decorative patterns. The base is a small stretched canvas, that i have altered. The text is from Encyclopedia Brittanica- my mother’s childhood set actually. There are layers of printed leaves and stenciled patterns in thin acrylic and glazes creating depth and interest. 

AV back

The niche seen from the back- it is constructed of book board and set into the canvas. 

Arbor vitae2

I would love to hear your thoughts. The piece is quite a small detailed treasure, the dryad pendant measures 1.5″ tall. It was a pleasure to me to think outside the box, even though that resulted in my working inside the box! Please stop by my friends’ and colleagues’ blogs as well. I look forward to seeing their colorful creations. I do wonder if anyone else went off into mixed media territory …

 

Hosted by:

Sally Russick  http://thestudiosublime.com

Red

Therese Frank  http://theresestreasures59.blogspot.com

Rochelle Brisson  http://acreativechelle.blogspot.com

Lisa Lodge   http://pineridgetreasures.blogspot.com

Malin de Koning  http://beadingbymalindekoning.blogspot.com

Bobbie Rafferty   http://beadsong.blogspot.com

Orange

Linda Landig  http://LindasBeadBlog.com

Cherrie Fick  http://designsinthelight.com

Beth McLarnan http://threetrees-art.blogspot.com

Cece Cormier  http://thebeadingyogini.com

Renetha Stanziano   http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com

Tanya Goodwin  http://pixiloo.blogspot.com

Jean Welles  http://jeanawells.blogspot.com

Amy Severino   http://amybeads.blogspot.com

Rebekah Payne   http://treewingsstudio.com

Lola Surwillo  http://.beadlolabead.blogspot.com

Judy Turner   http://silver-rains.blogspot.com

 Yellow

Jennifer Justman  http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com

Rose Brisson    http://ahteesblog.blogspot.com

Kim Bender  http://www.kimmykats.com/

Heather Powers   http://humblebeads.blogspot.com

Shelly Joyce  http://www.aujourlejour-shelly.blogspot.com

Blue

Cherie Reed  http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com

Rebecca Anderson  http://songbeads.blogspot.com

Hope Smitherman  http://craftyhope.blogspot.com

Patti Vanderbloemen  http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com

Michelle Buettner  http://MiShelDesigns.blogspot.com

Alicia Marinache  http://allprettythings.ca

Charissa Sloper   http://blog.obsidiansoda.com

Sonya Stille  http://dreaminofbeads.blogspot.com

Maria Grimes  http://mariagrimes.blogspot.com

Nancy Saccoccio  http://risingdesigns.blogspot.com

Sandi Volpe   http://sandivolpe.com

Joanne Tinley  http://daisychaindesignsjewellery.blogspot.com

Catherine Pruitt  http://boobeads.blogspot.com

 Green

Mary Harding  http://maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com

Karin Gilman http://www.qaygee.blogspot.com/

Jayne Capps   http://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com

Lorelei Eurto  http://lorelei1141.blogspot.com

Melissa Meman http://melissameman.blogspot.com

Alice Peterson  http://alice-dreaming.blogspot.com

Jenny Davies Reazor   http://www.jdaviesreazor.com

Cynthia Machata    http://antiquitytravelers.blogspot.com

Melissa Essenburg  http://chinookdesigns.blogspot.com

Regina Santerre  http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com

Lauren Streets  http://ornthoughts.wordpress.com

Elizabeth Auld  http://beadsforbusygals.com

Purple

Tracy Mok   http://bumblebeadsdesigns.blogspot.com

Jennifer Judd Velasquez http://jenjuddrocks.blogspot.com

Marti Conrad  http://marticsclay.blogspot.com

Lori Anderson  http://prettythingsblog.com

Donna Bradley  http://strandedbeads.blogspot.com

Courtney Breul  http://beadsbybreul.blogspot.com

Linda Younkman   http://lindysdesigns.blogspot.com

Susan Kennedy  http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com

Lisa Liddy   http://Lisaliddy.wordpress.com

Tracy Stillman  http://www.tracystillmandesigns.com

Dawn Doucette  http://designsbydawnmarie.blogspot.com

Brown

Diana Ptaszynski   http://suburbangirlstudio.com

Shannon Chomanczuk  http://formysweetdaughter.blogspot.com/

Janice Everett   http://JLynnJewels.blogspot.com

Karen Williams  http://Baublicious.blogspot.com

Black

Kashmira Patel  http://sadafulee.blogspot.com

Heidi Post  http://expostfactojewelry.blogspot.com/

Birgitta Lejonklou  http://lejonklou.blogspot.com/

Holly Westfall  http://silverrosedesigns.blogspot.com/

Karin Slaton  http://backstorybeads.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Treasures delivered…

Over the last few weeks the postman has been steadily delivering magical packages to my door. Well, my mail box anyway. Thought today was a good day for “Show and Tell”. 

First up – Staci Smith. Her shop is chocked full of goodness. She works in a variety of materials: fabricating components and jewelry, sculpting in polymer and bronze clay, silks, sea glass… but thoughout maintains her sense of style. It’s gypsy/folk/tribal/boho if you ask me. And I quite like it! We had a chance to trade…so I selected the “Moon Baby” focal and she selected other treasures to surpirise me. (Sorry for the pix. The moon baby and discs on the lower left are a dark peacock patina that is gorgeous in person. )

trade from Staci

Then there arrived a sweet package from Australia! I have followed the blog and shop of Penny at Sparrow Salvage for years. She has a finesse at upcycling materials that never ceases to amaze. Her style is very gypsy/tribal/boho and I have wanted a piece forever. Recently Penny had a series of traumatic events in her life and I was happy to help out with a purchase, however small. Check out her shop, make a purchase, show some support for a fellow self-employed jewelry artist!

Sparrow Salvage earrings

They are definitely shoulder dusters! I look forward to wearing them at my next festival!

Sparrow Salvage earrings2

Imagine my luck – when I won a give away. You know the type – like our FB pageSecret Scents is line of perfume lockets by Mystic Memories. I was familiar with them because my friend Brigid Ashwood is one of their featured artists. So I left a comment, and Fortune smiled… Its really a lovely piece and smells fantastic. I like the idea of wearing it choker length on velvet ribbon. Suits the locket well. And great packaging too!

Secret Scents locket

And last – but definitely not least: BUTTONS! Cindy Wimmer (Sweet Bead Studio and ArtBliss) is hosting a button challenge blog hop. I am partnered with Sandi Volpe – who treated me to this lovely package…

sandi buttons1

and this treasure trove of possibility. Vintage buttton covers, tiny antique buttons, lovely earthy colors, and the sculptural button bottom right? She cast that one. I see a female form in there. Its calling my name. 

detail buttons1

The hop reveal will happen here and on my colleagues blogs on May 13th. Stay tuned. I have ideas flitting around my head. The possibilities are endless, really. 

detail buttons2

 

There IS one more thing I wanted to mention in this epic post. Sandi and I have nearly met… We both attended ArtBliss workshops last year, hosted by Jeannette Ryan and Cindy Wimmer. (Yes, the button hop Cindy.) This weekend long art/jewelry retreat is held in Northern Virginia/DC in late September.  This will be its third year. It is a great weekend of learning, sharing, immersion, socializing, creating, and camaraderie. I have made great friends there that I look forward to see every September. If you are interested in lampworking, metal smithing, polymer… check out the classes. Registration is open!

Art Bliss badge

 

 

Bloom and Grow – Suburban Girl Design Team Spring Challenge

Good Morning! I am pleased to welcome you to the Spring edition of Suburban Girl Studio’s Design Team Hop and Reveal. I was thrilled when Diana asked me to be on her design team. She and I totally hit it off, and have so much in common – including the fact that we make ceramic pendants, charms… So why be on her team? Her work is lovely, and totally different from my own. What a creative  ‘shot in the arm” to be sent lovelies in the mail and get to make jewelry with them! And to be in a sisterhood – the Design Team…I know – all you bead/jewelry colleagues out there know of what I speak. Had to put it in context for the Muggles. So this is what I unwrapped from the postman…

It arrives...

Uh – pink? orange? Not Jenny colors. Excellent. Like I said – not like my work… And look at the gorgeous lampwork bead! A challenge bonus from Jan – from Molten Mayhem and fellow design team member…Going to think on this a bit…

The plan

OK – thought it over, sketched it out as I always do. My personal challenge was to use metal. Metal smithing was one of my two areas of concentaration in art school. (With painting the other) But teaching art full time, living in rental apartments right after college – not a torch friendly lifestyle. I am thrilled with the new equipment available in the metals world and glad to have a chance to dive back in…Sorry, I digress. I decided to tab set the flower in copper and use the words “Bloom and grow” on the border. ( I use text frequently in my work) And dont miss those glass headpins from Sue at Sue Beads. They were very inspirational in the design plan…

raw materials

The cast of characters; Jan’s bead, Czech glass leaves and flowers, assorted silks and suedes…

Fit and finish

Ready, set, go! To me the antiqued copper gives an earthiness and grounds the vibrancy of the glaze color. 

clasps?

There it is! Set ceramic flower with a frenzy of floral inspired goodness hanging below. The flower centers are the SueBeads glass head pins – just the right color pop and size. It is long, and there is a lot going on visually so I decided to keep the rest simple. Those clasps? No, thank you. I made them to correspond with the piece – but wont need them now. Worth a try…

first option second try

chain?   winner!

Top row: I tried wide silk, and thin suede. Nope. 

Bottom: Chain – yuck. Need a green element. The winner – fairy silk from Marsha Neal Studios!

put it on.

(Sorry for the wet hair/just out of the shower shot. Had to take the picture minus dog hair…)

I would wear this short, with a v-neck. Thats my style. But with the silk you could wear it long as well. What do you think? I would love to hear from you before you click away to visit my bead sisters on the design team… Thanks for stopping by!

Diana Ptaszynski http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com/

Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog

Kristen Stevens http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com/

Jan Onipenco http://moltenmayhem.typepad.com/

Marla James http://marlasmudmoments.blogspot.com/

Sandra Basara Miller http://www.sandra5461.blogspot.com/

Michelle Buettner http://misheldesigns.blogspot.com/


Script for a Jester’s tear (Challenge of Music blog hop)

When I signed up at the begining of February to participate in the Challenge of Music Blog hop that Erin of Tesori Trovati is hosting – I knew the devil in me was going to spur me on. To be daring, to be different, to select a song that not only would be an inspiration to me in making a piece of jewelry; but that would represent me in myriad ways to people visiting my blog. Music that was an integral part of who I am, not simply a song I quite like. Go obscure or go home? 

I flashed back to sophomore year in college; drawing 202 – spring semester. Janet Sorensen. I seem to remember that her assignment  was to do a series of drawings, inspired by a work of music? poetry? I decided to select the same song; as it was evocative to me then, and would prove to be in very different ways now. And the contrast of a series of drawings so early in my career to a mixed media necklace now? Interesting to say the least. 

The song was “Script for a Jester’s Tear” by the British band Marillion. A prog-rock band of the 80’s – they were rather obscure then, and even more so now. And yes, I still listen to them regularly. (They are still around, but changed drastically with the departure of singer/lyricist Fish in 1989) The song is also the title of the album; which tells a story of sorts, songs flowing into the next, poetic, dramatic – hard to describe…

Script cover

The jester character is woven throughout Marillion’s 4 albums with Fish. A storyteller, an alter ego… The song “Script for a Jester’s tear” is about loss, leaving, love lost. It is about nostalgia, longing, and regrets. It also evokes growth and maturity, leaving behind of youth’s folly. (Full lyrics here.) 

The fool escaped from paradise will look over his shoulder and cry 
Sit and chew on daffodils and struggle to answer why? 
As you grow up and leave the playground 
Where you kissed your prince and found your frog 
Remember the jester that showed you tears, the script for tears”

Music sketches

Jester WIP

Brass and nickel silver pieces cut and drilled. What to go inside? So much of the album is angst driven introspection, told in the first person. It feels confessional at times –  looking inward, seeing clearly…I have an idea!  And as I listen to the album again and again while I work – I am hearing ( from the song “The Web”)

 

“I realise I hold the key to freedom 
I cannot let my life be ruled by threads 
The time has come to make decisions 
The changes have to be made

Now I leave you, the past does have it’s say 
You’re all but forgotten a mote in my heart 
Decisions have been made, decisions have been made 
I’ve conquered my fears…”

 

Jester keys

But I needed color. I wanted to reference the fool’s motley, jewel tones, diamond patterned… I thought enamel but decided to truly challenge myself with a new technique. Colored pencil on metal… I googled, and talked to my go-to-gal Cooky… After cleaning the metal and de-greasing it from oils, I painted it with gesso. (Patina can work but gesso is bright white as a primer as opposed to green patina…) Then I colored it. Berol Prismacolors are recommended as they are waxier than other brands. You can blend with turps, sand and do multiple layers… I just did one. It was so stark and intensely colored. I admit I was (unpleasantly) surprised. But after a bit of sanding – I was more satisfied… (resources here and here…)

Jester with color

I plan to experiment more with this technique and have ordered black gesso to try as well. Just now seeing the irony as I write the post. My original “Script for a Jester’s Tear” drawings in college, in the 80’s – they were in Berol Prismacolor as well. And I didnt realize that consciously until this second… My road has come full circle…

Jester finished

The pendant: brass and nickel silver shrine/frame. Engraving from late 1800’s art text. Antique key. Sterling, moonstones, smokey quartz, pearls. Assembled with micro bolts. 

Jester full view

The necklace: Sterling cones. SP chain. Irridescent seed beads to echo the colors of the pendant. Simple clasp. ( I routinely use simple closures to keep the necklace comfortable while worn.) approximately 24″. 

This whole challenge was very invigorating. I am intrigued by a new technique and plan to try it agin. I enjoyed the nostalgia and memories that I stirred up, reflecting back to my years in art school, my own feelings of leaving youth, loss and growth. I am proud of the road – with its obstacles and triumphs – that I have travelled as an artist since those formative experiences as an art student.

In fact – I did a second piece inspired by the same album… but that will have to wait until tomorrow! You have other blogs to visit! Thanks for staying with me – I know this post was epic. I would love to hear your thoughts on the necklace, and if there are any other Marillion fans out there…

Here are my fellow bloggers participating in the “Challenge of Music”: 

 

Erin Prais-Hintz

Marcie Abney

Christine Altmiller

Elisabeth Auld

LJ B

Lori Bowring Michaud

Shannon Chomanczuk

Cece Cormier

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Malin de Koning

Beth Emery

Michelle Escano-Caballero

Erin Fickert-Rowland

Therese Frank

Amy Freeland

Tanya Goodwin

Stephani Gorman

Amy Grass

Beth Hemmila

Kristina Johansson

Jennifer Justman

Tari Kahrs

Susan Kennedy

Ema Kilroy

Kathleen Lange Klik

Kirsi Luostarinen

Paige Maxim

Beth McCord

Natalie McKenna

Alice Peterson

Cat Pruitt

Bobbie Rafferty

Johanna Rhodes

Cynthia Riggs

Sally Russick

Sarah Sequins

Amy Severino

Staci Smith

Kristen Stevens

Lola Surwillo

Stefanie Teufel

Sandi Volpe

Holly Westfall

Shaiha Williams