Magic in mosaics

So – earlier this week I mentioned “art camp” as Lesley and I had taken to calling it. And how we went to the AVAM. ( My first time!). So the week of our vacation held another local/art/field trip first for me. Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Garden in Philly.

I knew Zagar was a tile/mosaic master and eccentric visionary type artist. ( He even taught a work show earlier this year at Hacienda Mosaico in Mexico) I knew he had many public works around the South St. section of the city. I was prepared to be delighted. I was in actuality inspired and blown away.

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Full scale wall mural installation on the same block as the Gardens. Note: dogs! 

There is a sense of freedom and chaos in the murals – yet they are all designed to have composition and flow. There are commercial tiles integrated amidst fragmented industrial tiles and artists OOAK tiles. There are mirrors in abundance to play with light and reflection; incorporating the viewer into the piece… and a chance for random mosaic selfies, I will admit.

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I was completely enchanted with other ceramic pieces incorporated into mosaics in such a non traditional way. 

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The inner courtyard at the PMG is simply… epic. 

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Art is the center of the real world. 

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This sanctuary to be inhabited by my ides and my fantasies. 

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The garden is excavated down and interlocking pathways are built of concrete, flotsam & jetsam, found objects… 

The gardens were a personal piece that Zagar worked on  – the space was his studio – for app. 8 years. When the land owner wanted to sell/demolish the installation, a grassroots community organization saved the PMG, and it now functions as a non profit organization. I would recommend it to anyone, tourist or not, artist or not. Its a momentous undertaking that is impressive, inspirational, fun yet gritty, filled with joie d’ vivre.

I’ll just sit and watch the clouds roll by and ponder the meaning of life… and how mosaics may feature in new work this fall…

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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

Fall is in the air! The September COM reveal

 The windows are open. The soundtrack is crickets, Canadian geese… and while flowers are still blooming, Fall is definitely in the air. 

Its time for the Component of the Month reveal at Art Jewelry Elements. This month the fall themed piece is a ceramic oak leaf and acorn from Linda Landig. She offered a diverse palette in warm tones, but this sage speckled green called my name. When it arrived the orange stumped me. Its not a color I work with often, and this glaze was a coral/orange color. I’d recently had the pleasure of an intro needle felting experience with Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio... and there was this pumpkin color wool that I had picked up as scrap… Umm… I think its time to wet felt! 

COM materilas

Here is Linda’s original (finger for scale reference…) and my felted piece – back and front. I have done small scale welt felting before – thanks to the uber talented Cooky Schock. Its so like painting that it speaks to my inner colorist, and draws on my painting experience. There is an element of random for me – while others may have more mastery of the material, I can sort of get it to do what I imagine… The felt turned out great! I wanted to bead it, and create a small mixed media hanging piece. Here’s my end result: 

COM in situ

I hung it there between my closet and my new bead tower in the studio. It may stay there! Here are some details of the beaded embellishments: 

COM details

The stamped text translated as “bright autumn” in Gaelic. I love text, but sometimes using other languages is more interesting to me, adding a mystery element and keeping the text a visual first. I chose Gaelic as a nod to the Celtic language of trees. The oak stands for strength, courage, perseverance… Ironically the twig I used is a cottonwood twig from New Mexico. I am very pleased with how it turned out, and have to thank Linda for the incentive to try wet felting again! After this I did a shadowbox shrine showcasing one of Lesley’s foxes! 

With glittering eyes

(Sorry for the bad pix. It was a quick snap as I dropped it off for a fibers show at the local gallery.)

I’d love to hear what you think! And the guests and AJE team is listed below! Please take a look at their creations as well! 

Guests
Carolyn Lawson
Alice Peterson
Diana Ptaszynski

 

 

Mixed Media Amulets – my Beadfest class draws near…

 Or – how an idea evolves and grows!

In just over two weeks I will be setting up to exhibit at my third Beadfest Philadelphia. But this year will be my first year teaching, and I couldn’t be happier! (Details are here!) The idea for my mixed media amulet class started with a ceramic cab I made – and a piece I designed for Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month… The theme was a labyrinth – and I dove onto the meanings of the symbol. To me it represents journeys – both inner and outer. My journey to teach at Beadfest has been both. 

BF class samples

From top left: class sample with porcelain cab, necklace with polymer cab, the original CoM piece with labyrinth. 

I have been making, and making and preparing inventory for Beadfest, or course. But I have paid extra attention to the cabochons my students will receive in their “kit”. I have made many designs, in different clay bodies. I look forward to making a few more sample pieces – all in the nature of preparing to teach… 

^10 kiln loading

There were app. 300+ cabs in this firing of the gas kiln at the “work” studio. We fired to ^10 reduction – app 2400 degreed F.  

class cabs 2

Knotwork, triskeles, labyrinths… and a few pairs for the seed bead people!

 class cabs1

Athena’s owl, cobalt on porcelain, butterflies… 

face cabs BF

Faces – porcelain, stoneware, and glazed… 

I am grateful for the support of my teamates at the Art Jewelry Elements blog! I even have three of them enrolled in class! There are spots available – although some sawing experience is needed. Perhaps I will see you there? My class is Sunday morning – on August 24th. Here’s the link: mixed media amulet class. 

Oh – and an admission coupon for those of you planning to come and shop! Enjoy! 

BF coupon #461

Fern fronds… the June AJE Component of the Month reveal

Has it really been a month? A month of creative students at Clay Camp, commissions, beads, books, and frolicking with the fae in the woods… Pictures to follow in short order. But its time for the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month reveal – that’s for sure! 

This month’s lovely focal is the work of AJE teamate Linda Landig. Linda is new to ceramic clay and was generous enough to share some of her first fired treasures with the team and readers. When I saw this fern – I called “Dibs” as fast as my fingers could fly over the keyboard. From first glance, I intended to hang the fern pendant point up, and extend the copper along the bottom to have room for dimples and dangles. The fern was a bit larger that I expected, so I decided to keep the copper tab setting more form fitting. I flipped the setting as I decided to roll the tabs over the top of the piece – not only holding the stoneware in, but creating a channel for stringing material. The bottom tabs, and hole/dangel complete the secure tab setting. 

Fern tab setting

The back has a curled fern cut out, and is stamped with the words – peace, growth, strength. These are symbolic meanings associated with the fern. My initial suede lace arrangement (seen above) was too thin, too stretchy. I was committed in my mind’s eye to the suede as it was the perfect rust tone to echo the iron stain in the super detailed fern imprint. 

Everything in me wanted to use green. I was trying to avoid that as too predictable. I mean ferns are green, sure. but there isnt a RULE… In the end there is a bit of light green, as well as pod beads, wood grain jasper, copper chain… The necklace is very long, over 30″ – but that was the place it seemed to “fit” best.  I like its eclectic, organic design. 

Fern fronds CoM

(There are jump rings employed at variable spaces to connect the suede to the chain. Keeps it loose, yet under control.)

 fern fronds details.

( I included this one for scale – as my hand will give you a reference.) 

Thanks Linda! This was super fun – any reason to design unique tab settings, and I am there!

Please head over to the Art Jewelry Elements blog to see the team members and readers contibutions! There will be diverse offerings to entertain and inspire ! 

On golden wings… AJE Component of the Month reveal

<sigh> I havent posted here in a month! I have many things to show you, and I will try to get caught up this week. But for today: 

AJE Component of the Month! On Gilded wings… 

Gilded wings

Caroline of Blueberri beads is responsible for the beautiful treasures the AJE team is working with this month.  These ceramic moths have flown across the Atlantic in droves? a flock? ( What does one call a gathering of moths?) As with Melissa’s enameled heart last month – my first response was color. The gold called for burgundy, in an opulent, Victorian/Pre-Raphaelite palette. I wanted this large focal to be a dramatic statement piece worthy of a PRB “stunner’. In my mind’s eye it was to be worn with velvet… 

DGR Monna Vanna

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Monna Vanna, 1866 

 

JWW Crystal ball

 

John William Waterhouse: The Crystal Ball [with the skull] – 1902

So here is my creation: a relatively simple triple strand of pearls and garnets. The back is finished with a ribbon of sari silk. Gilded Wings CoM1

 

Gilded Wings CoM2

Gilded Wings CoM3

I wire wrapped connectors with colored Parawire to link the strands to the fiber element. ( Thanks to Kerry Bogert for that inspiration!) I was away for a large chunk of March and was delighted to arrive home knowing this was waiting for me. While my piece is simple – its true to the feel of aht I envisioned. Right now its rather long at app 24″ I may need to shorten it a bit… and there is a place I could add a dangle at the bottom of the wings. I am still debating that. I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Please visit the blogs of my AJE team mates and our guests this month to see their pieces incorporating this lovely ceramic focal! 

Guest Artists

The AJE Team

Caroline Dewison – http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk 

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

Susan Kennedy – http://www.suebeads.blogspot.co.uk

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

Keirsten Giles – http://cerebraldilettante.blogspot.com

Melissa Meman –  http://melissameman.blogspot.co.uk

Rebekah Payne – www.treewingsstudio.com

Lesley Watt – http://thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.co.uk

Linda Landig – http://www.LindasBeadBlog.com

 

 

 

Art Jewelry Elements – Everything’s coming up roses…

Good morning! Its reveal time over at Art Jewelry Elements blog. This month we had a sweet porcelain rose from Diana

Diana's porcelain roses

These might be a limited design – so check her shop now!

Now – I saw this picture, and I decided to challenge myself a bit… and asked for lavendar. Nothing against pinks and pale purples – they just arent “me”. The bead I received was lovely… I went to my amethyst stash, logical. It was too boring. (The combo, not the amethyst!) I heard my sister Heather in my ear… lavendar green and yellow. Great combination… We window shop in boutiques on South Congress St in Austin and look, and discuss, have a coffee whenever we get a chance! It gives me insights into her tastes, and potential presents for her… So with Heather in mind, here goes.

AJE July

A double strand of gems: wire wrapped amethyst, yellow jade, jade… and tourmaline. The darn tourmaline was sooo tiny is was barely stringable, since I wasnt willing to go smaller than 24 ga wire. But it was essential to play off the glaze color as the amethyst was so dark. 

AJE reveal July

Finished with silk cord and a sterling hook clasp I whipped up. It hangs long-ish at 25″. I was working on it at a “Girl’s Beading Night” and have to thank Kim and Marsha – they advised on length, and Marsha had brought her silks… that helped decide the closure as she had the perfect green!

I love the way it turned out, the colors are fresh and spring-like to me. The silk makes it super comfortable to wear – something I always consider. Thanks Diana for the beautiful piece in a rare (to me) color! Please take a gander at my colleagues creative interpretations of this focal – and the lucky monthly winners. 

That’s all for now… have 2 other posts in the works here for this week. I am trying to nurture my blog that gets so neglected when I am in the midst of teaching Clay Camp. And I am in a Beadfest frenzy – so when I emerge from the “glaze cave” aka the basement studio, I can tap tap away here… Thanks for stopping by – hope to see you again soon. 

 

 

Bead Soup Blog Party 2013 aka treasures by mail…

 I am not going to use many words here… just pictures. Because you see – my Bead Soup arrived from the lovely Jennifer Cabic – and I want to head to the studio. 

 Here is what I sent to Jennifer

My soup sent

Top L to R: my ceramic charm pairs, gems/Ceramic discs – Marsha Neal Studio. Copper pendant – Andrew Thornton. Ceramic labyrinth – me. gems/stick pearls, gems!

Bottom – the ceramic milagro focal, resin clasp with antique postcard, resin focal collaged with vintage stamp. I know I sent a large soup. I have trouble deciding, and well… once I got started…. 

Here is what I recieved:  

Soup received

Brass focal bead, coral, jasper, lampwork, and the most FAB metal clay clasp of Jennifer’s. Oh and that sweet tiny charm, too!

This is a perfect soup. The ingredients are all great quality, and I love that there is a piece by my partner herself. This is not my palette at all – the perfect challenge… and with such nice materials…. I am glad we have a little time to “live with” the treasures, you know – think, fondle, arrange, fondle… 

I will keep you posted! First I have reveals for Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month ( Feb 28) and Tesori Trovati’s Challenge of Music (March 1) I need to get to work… 

 

 

January’s end?! The AJE Component of the Month reveal.

 January has flown. I always have dreams of hibernating and catching up on the stacks of books that inhabit all rooms of my house. This year I was in the studio every day. Collages (4 new) and mixed media necklaces ( 6 new) for a gallery show that opens tomorrow. When that show was hung, it was with great pleasure that I got to return to this beauty from Karen/Starry Road Studio. I had been thinking on it for weeks, literally, and wanted to make my design become reality…

Testing

Playing with pictures – but you can clearly see the colors and textures here. Dimples on the edge, a spiral, and a great earthy green, hints of rusty brown, turquoise… I wanted to do a bracelet – partially because of the size ( app 1″) and because it is double sided. I get rather annoyed when a bracelet focal flips over all the time… The irony – in my final design the ceramic focal can’t flip over. Ha. Outsmarted myself. 

hinge clasp bracelet

The focal is framed with chunky faceted jasper nuggets. The bracelet is copper, stamped, forged, with patina. The hinge is formed directly from the sheet, and creates the clasp. A pin of wire ( chunky, like 12 ga?) is on a leash of vintage chain. 

open view

The spiral and dimple design was intended to reflect the bead’s design. I created the dimples with my center punch, punching on wood to get a deeper impression, and alternating sides to have rasied and recessed dots. 

texture detail  wearing it now

Detail of the design, and clasp when worn. The pin is short and smooth, and not too uncomfortable. I would wear this on my non-dominant hand on a normal day, but mousing and writing with it on wasn’t very practical. ( I am really focused on the wearability of jewelry. Why design a cool looking piece if it’s uncomfortable, or impossible to wear?) But I digress. 

I am pleased with the piece, and will wear it myself. I do see experimenting with the design a bit, offsetting the hinge for comfort…Thank you Karen for the challenge and the inspiration! Please see what my AJE teammates have created! The links can be found here. Until later… 

 

 

 

 

Give a hoot! And vote for a hoot…

While the title of this contest makes me laugh – I had to enter, and share…

Hooters challenge

The timing corresponds with Halloween, naturally. Artisan Whimsy is an online social networking group for beaders and the like. They are hosting this contest! There are categories to vote for owl components and finished jewelry featuring owls. I make quite a few: 

1. Stoneware owls – fired to ^10 reduction for you potters out here. 

hi fire owls

Earthenware owls – more colorful, more contrast. 

low fire owls

Athena’s owl: this mold I made from a reproduction on an ancient Athenian drachma coin. I did NOT carve that myself!

Athena's owls

4. Mythic Nature pendant line – owl totem. This one I DID carve from wet clay, carving and modeling the features from scratch. I then made a mold, and can make multiples from my original design. Each one is hand painted and takes approximately 20 minutes for the underglaze only! I love the variations I can achieve though…

My OOAK owls

A few of these owls have found there way to my Etsy shop. ( Although start a “convo” with me if there is something you want not listed.) Please wing on over and take a look!

Happy Halloween.