The Art Elements reveal: bees!

When Niky posted her inspiration post I immediately knew what I wanted to do! I wanted to sculpt the classic Minoan bee goddess…

One thing I am trying to use this Corona-time for is sculpting new OOAK tiles, as all my shows are cancelled until???? ( Trying not to dwell on that, and the implications therein…) But I also got a crazy idea to MOVE MY STUDIO. ( Pictures coming soon #quaratineproject ) Umm that means you aren’t creating much new work, doesn’t it?

I dove into researching this Bee goddess, as I do… and fell into a rabbit hole. Meet Austeja, the Lithuanian Bee Goddess:

Art by Q. Cassetti

Heavens! I was in love! The flowers. The style! The colors! “Austeja, the Bee Goddess, is the ultimate queen bee. Austeja has dominion over bees, hives, honey, and the flowers needed to make honey. She also cares for people, promoting and protecting abundance, fertility, and growth. She offers special protection to brides, pregnant women, and beekeepers, too. Austeja serves as guardian of the family but is also the one true mother of the bees. Lithuanian hives were kept high within trees partially to keep bees close to their mother.” (From this site referencing this book by J. Illes…)

Her festival was in August; dancing was involved. Offerings thrown into the air…honey was revered in the Baltic region. Luckily this morning I was able to trace the images and give proper credit here. ( Next rabbit hole – researching the artist.)

So you know what is coming…

rough outline for composition
Rough sculpt for the body and wings – will be carved later!
An exuberance of flowers….

I am so sorry that I didn’t get further! She will have at least one bee overhead. All of the roughly sculpted areas will be carved and finessed when the clay is leather hard – including carving patterns into her wings. Her hat will be carved to resemble a bee skep.

Post from the artist on doing the ENTIRE XMAS THEME for Gallerie Lafayette – Paris’ large department store! Animatronic Bee queens! Saving this for later!

And now for the Hop portion of today’ post! You know what to do! Thanks for stopping by!

AE team:

Niky

Sue

Jenny

Jen

Cathy

Marsha

Guests:

Tammy

Cat

Alysen

Kathy

Sarajo

Kelly

Evie and Beth

Hope

Tile Festival. Tile Feast.

Last Friday I shared with you the unique historical gem that is the Moravian Pottery and Tile works. Today – I wanted to showcase some of the tile artists who I had the good fortune to exhibit with at the annual show.

First up: Mary Philpott:

Raven duo

We talked of myth and fantasy… and Crow Girls

Mary Philpott tiles!

A long time fan – I was thrilled to see these beauties in person!

Mary’s tiles are ” Contemporary Art Tile. Design within a Historical Tradition
Sculptural work exploring Flora and Fauna”. I have been a huge fan of her work on Instagram and was delighted to meet and chat with her in person. Her mythic/folklore references, her choice in animals, her respect/acknowledgement of the Art and Crafts style in her work… you can see why this all resonates with me.

Her images themselves are so lively, and her use of line! She glazes her porcelain pieces with her own glaze recipes – the translucency accentuating the carved lines : masterful! I could go on all day.

Philpott collage

Next I would like to introduce you to Earthen Craft Pottery from Lansing Michigan:

IMG_3962

This one currently is hanging over my desk…

Brian and Katie were neighbors in my tent! Heavens. Their precise design/line work! Their delicious glazes! And as   a person of Celtic descent as well, it spoke to me on many levels. (Their stoneware tiles are fired to ^5 for you clay people out there.) They also had pendants – I have a stunning knot work pendant I think I may bead for myself!

eartehn craft tiles

My direct neighbor was Claudia McGill. I viewed her tiles for 2 days, and continued to be drawn in – both due to her exuberant use of color and her whimsical style. Her subjects of daily life are relatable and engaging; from sleepy cats to street scenes with garbage trucks. I liked her interiors the best. ( Terra cotta tiles, painted in underglazes, fired to ^05)

C. Gill tiles

Last – but not least is Mission Guild tiles. Their stunning tiles are exemplary of the Arts and Crafts style. Paired with hand crafted wooden frames they are truly gorgeous. Their work references many mottos and motifs from the Arts and Crafts era in the us.

Their tiles are earthenware – fired to ^04 – and there are some great glaze effects!

Mission guild1.jpg

Mission Guild also works in Metal clay. Its lovely to see these two side by side! Makintosh rose.jpg

The Moravian Pottery Tile Festival is a tour de force in the ceramic tile world. I was happy to see colleagues, and meet new fellow tile artists. I look forward to a reunion next year! ( The tile festival occurs in May each year. )

 

 

 

 

 

The Moravian Pottery – and Tile Festival!

( This post was originally published on the Art Elements blog – by yours truly.)

It was a temperate day in May and the clouds were fluffy…

Snapped as I was unloading. Great place to spend the weekend!

Last month I was thrilled to return to the Tile Festival at the Moravian Pottery and Tile works in Doylestown, PA. The historic pottery/tile works has been in operation since 1898, and hosts a spectacular artist’s exhibit and show each Spring. Artists from as far as Canada, Alaska, even Russia were represented this year. ( More on that in my companion post.)

The Tile works is a unique building – cast in place, in concrete, and studded from top to bottom with mosaics and inset tiles. Henry Chapman Mercer worked with this style of construction for not only the Tile Works, but also his “home” ( mansion? castle?) named Fonthill. Both are located in parkland owned and maintained by Bucks Co. PA.

Kraken mosaic in situ.

Henry Chapman Mercer was from this area, and after school ( Harvard and U Penn Law) and extensive travel in Europe – he settled down in the area. He served as the Curator of American and Prehistoric Archaeology for University of Pennsylvania in the early 1890s. This lead to his love of and research in American artifacts, and later pottery; he apprenticed with a local German American potter. He was heavily influenced by the American Arts and Crafts Movement – and founded the MPTW in 1898.

Courtyard, with chimneys. And yes, the chimneys have mosaic bands of decoration!

The gift shop, tucked into a Medieval style barrel vault.

The tiles made at the MPTW are diverse – and range from impressed terra cotta pavers to sculptural tiles designed for mosaic use. There are flora and fauna, ships, ancient cities, Colonial era occupations… and many Classical and literary references. They tile employ both glazes and colored slips – playing with the contrast of matte and glossy. Inspirations run the gamut from Medieval and Byzantine eras, the Celtic Revival, and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Original designs still in production!

I take this picture every time I visit. There is something so evocative about the idea of working in that space…

There are literally tiles everywhere, every surface. Shown here: “The Quarrel”, castle, triton, and a vignette from “The New World” fireplace.

“Bookplate” Mosaic panel – designed by Mercer for his friend Dr. R. Bell. Based on an actual book plate.

The clays used were originally locally sourced, and today the MPTW uses similar. comparable clay bodies. As seen in the picture above – at times color is NOT applied – but the tiles are “cindered”. The term is what I would call a sagger firing: tiles are placed inside a ceramic container, with sawdust. They are them fired in the kiln – created a reduction atmosphere in the saggar/container. This results in the clay absorbing carbon from the combustible sawdust – which darkens the clay body itself. ( Ceramicists: simple definition for the lay people, forgive me) The mosaic catalog on the MPTW website showcases the New World series and has many examples of these “cindered” tiles used in mosaics. The New World Series? It ranges from Vikings,Atlantis, and  Aztecs, to Raleigh and Powhatan!

A polychrome zodiac!

I find this place to be infinitely inspiring. It makes me love terra cotta all over again. And I will admit to ideas and plans for some smallish mosaics of my own. There are classes and apprenticeships available. An tours, of course. So if you are in the area – please take a look. It’s truly living history.

As to the show? The tile festival itself? More on that – Stay tuned.

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?

img_1890

img_2284

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.

details-dragon

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. )

img_2290

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

Celestial Moon – the Art Elements Component of the Month reveal

I can’t believe we have turned the calendar page to December… Before we deck the halls, and fatten the goose – lets take a minute or two for the November COM over at Art Elements!

This month we had a guest artist! Kristie Roeder of Artisan Clay donated a few of her signature glass/glaze circular pendants. They are rich in color – pools you can dive in to! As you would expect – I forgot to take a picture of mine when I received it… I got the one pictured here on the top right!

The donated pendants from Artisan Clay

The colors were evocative of the night sky to me – and we had a Super Moon on November 14th. Wheels are turning… the Muse taps me on the shoulder. And I knew I would wire the “moon” into the center of the piece. Then stars, then crystals… and it all came together quickly.

Jasper “moon” wired into the celestial sky

Umm –  love it all and its too big for me to wear – even better! I’ll hang it in my studio!

Finished pendant

I decided to add to the piece with a top section: nickle silver and faux bone. The Latin translates ti: “From darkness, light” and is a favorite quote of mine. I love the engraver – for those freehand swirls! I need to experiment more! I’m not sure how I want to hang the piece, but this ribbon is one option. What are your thoughts? Overall I am really happy with how it turned out  – and I have been beading so much lately, it was GREAT to saw again…

Thanks for stopping in and please don’t miss the other designs this month from guests and team mates alike.

Guest Designers:

Sarajo Wentling

Lola Surwillo

Beti Horvath

Kate Kemp

ArtE Team

Susan Kennedy

Lesley Watt

Claire Fabian

Jen Cameron

 

 

Back to work, back to reality

Last month when I was doing some of the creative business entrepreneur journaling stuff – year in review and all – I relaized that I felt like I was in production mode all year in 2015. Not enough time to sculpt new designs, not enough time to play and develop new pieces. So when the ceramics studio re-opened this week, it was nice to get my hands back into clay. And it was nice to play a little bit. 

New clay 1

Celtic knot cabs are destined for The Bead Binge in Cherry Hill NJ. ( March 19 & 20). The larger rectangular pieces? Who knows? Mixed media pieces? Beaded into felted pieces? 

new clay 2

Tree of Life. Triquetras. Triple Spirals… and again some large I’m-not-sure-what-for-yet peices. But I look forward to glazing them! 

new clay 3

These are pressed from an antique cookie mold – you know the Springerle style of shortbread cookies?

New figure WIP

And this lovely lady… muse… goddess will go in the high fire reduction kiln next week. JUST IN TIME for the members show at The Palette and the Page next month! I have a few days to ponder what organic/sculptural elements will be included. She has a nature/woodland/plant theme. 

Now – off to prepare for a much anticipated snow storm. I have books, and coffee, and oh! dog food. Must see that all this house’s inhabitants are cared for as we settle in for the weekend! Until later…  

 

 

Old is new again… rejuvenated shrines.

February is short and speedy. I realized that I hadn’t blogged yet all month, and I have a lot to share. This month my show opened at the Palette and the Page in Elkton, MD. We had a fabulous opening on First Friday! So many friends attended, old and new, and I thank you all! 

The timing of this show created a challenge for me. The ceramics studio where I work and fire larger pieces was closed from early December until the third week in January. I had started quite a few shrines, and some large sculptural figures… but it wasnt meant to be. I couldn’t get them dry/fired/glazed/fired in time. So I turned to some orphans I had waiting patiently in my studio. These are pieces that were perfect; no flaws or faults… but they hadn’t ever been completed with their interior elements. I was waiting inspiration, and this year it came! So I wanted to share a few of these with you. 

“Hope springs eternal”

B/F Hope Springs

It all started with the hare, a carved boxwood netsuke bead. The polymer egg is the work of Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf. From the hare and the egg, symbols of spring in many cultures, the rest fell in place. 

“Into the Woods”

Into the Woods

This was loosely inspired by the topic of Red Riding Hood and a discussion that occurred on Terri Windling’s blog. Terri is a Muse of mine, a fountain of folkore knowledge. The piece was carved with trees, intending to have a woodland theme. I sculpted polymer bread and a jug to go inside, referencing the items Red takes to Grandmother… 

And so you see – pieces that were waiting for me. This altar (below left) was a blank slate. I decided I wanted to hang elements, but hadn’t drilled holes before firing. The solution? Fabricate decorate wire hooks, or course. The bright butterfly piece shown below – that was dates 2011. The intense colors are not my usual palette, and it languished. But a polymer moth, hovering in from of a floral collage? Really visually pleasing to me… 

New shrines

Making the links

This piece is a personal favorite, a successful blending of techniques. I have been happily seed beading and adding bead embroidery to my jewelry repertoire. I want to make the wearables and the sculptures cohesive as my body of work. Beading the bottle element in this shrine adds a level of detail and color. It also makes connections to jewelry pieces displayed in the show. 

I hope people do get a chance to see the exhibit, which will remain up for this month. I am represented by the gallery, and do have other ceramic and mixed media pieces on display. Patti Paulus, one of the artist/owners created this wall for me. I was giddy! 

Gallery wall

The Palette and the Page: 

120 East Main Street ~ Elkton, Maryland
410.398.3636
Tuesday – Friday 11am-6pm  &  Saturday – 11am

Stay tuned for the next February update: February FunADay! 

 

 

 

 

 

Whirlwind of beads. AKA Beadfest 2014

 Bead Fest was two weeks ago?! Where has the time gone? Don’t answer that – I know: packing, unpacking, sorting. Sleeping, fondling beads, visiting with friends, art camp, field trips… More on the latter soon.  

So here are the hightlights, and the loot. 

 

1. Bead Fest is social!  Hanging out with Staci and Linda on Wednesday, the annual AJE dinner! So much fun! 

BF14 social!

2. Bead Fest is colorful and diverse. My display is for sure! I always bring a few tiles as they run parallel to my Mythic Nature pendants. Sold a few too!

BF my display

3. Bead Fest is preparation – for me! So much to pack and remember for display, class, swaps…  This was my class room still life from set up. Even though it was early Sunday morning – it went so well! And everyone had a great time, it seems. 

BF class prep

4. Bead Fest is learning. Teaching. Creativity. Exploration.  I was thrilled to teach at my first Bead Fest. I taught a mixed media class that incorporated quite a few techniques – that I am confident the students will apply in their work moving forwards. Here you see student work-in-progress, my concentration face, and class samples below. 

BF class WIP

 

Beadfest is shopping. Art beads. Glass, clay, metal, polymer, gems…

BF loot1

(Diana/Suburban Girl, Anne Gardanne, SueBeads, Jen/Glass Addiction, Humblebeads, HMB Studios)

BF loot2

(Sue beads, Caroline/Blueberri beads, Karen/Starry Road, Kristen Stevens, Melissa Meman, Diane Hawkey, Staci Smith, Lesley/THEA designs)

BF loot3

(Caroline/BlueBerri Beads, Mary/White Clover Kiln, Basha Beads, Kristi Bowman, Staci Smith, Green Girl Studios)

Hope you enjoyed that whirlwind recap! Now off to the studio to make more stuff! Fall shows are around the corner… 

Back from Berks!

 Berks Bead Bazaar! 

What a fabulous time was had by all! There was threat of impending snow-mageddon, again… This was my first time vending at this great local show – I loved every second of it! My regrets: not buying any cabs; and not taking more pictures. But here it is: 

My territory

My home away from home: earthenware, stoneware, and polymer trays piled high. Class samples for Beadfest. And a great visit from dear friend Sally Russick. (Also great to see Sue Kennedy – who I have to thank for one of these booth pix.) 

Porcelain and glass

Porcelain and glass: (Clockwise from top left)

Louise Mehaffey, Joan Miller‘s robot cuties, Alice St. Germain beads, Joan’s sea creatures, Louise’s display. 

Marsha and Dona

Marsha Neal beads and seed pods at D7 Studios; torched copper and whimsy from Dona Jones. 

Staci !

My friend Staci and her amazing polymer creations. Happy to have her as a neighbor.

And a huge shout out to Diana of Suburban Girl Studio, and Patti Cahill – also neighbors. What a great weekend sharing time and space with these fellow artists; sadly with no pictures… 

Greg's cabs

Um – these are the cabs I wish I had… from Greg Graupp

Berks loot

But these are the treasures I did bring home! (Clockwise from top)

Top: Polymer and metal from Staci Louise Originals

Porcealin and stoneware form Marsha Neal Studio

Lampwork by Alice St. Germain

Enameled stunners from Anne Gardanne

Seed beads for my new obsession from Leslie of Twisted Sistah fame. 

Wee tiny porelain cabs from Joan Miller

Gorgeous ceramic pairs, and cabs from Diana/ Suburban Girl Studios. 

 

Thank you Joan and Louise for organizing a great show, and welcoming me into the collective. It was a pleasure, and made work truly fun! Sorry to be so breif – I have beads to go gaze upon… 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating with Cabochons

 Welcome! Here it is – reveal day for the “Creating with Cabochons” hop hosted by Sally Russick. 

The challenge was to create using cabochons – no holes! I admit – I use cabochons, and make ceramic cabochons frequently. I wanted to challenge myself to set cabs four ways: 1. tabs 2. a soldered bezel 3. polymer  4. seed beads. 

I know that sounds crazy – and it was! I havent soldered a bezel since my metal smithing days in college. I want desperately to reclaim those skills, and I will – but it did not happen in time for this hop. I have set cabs in polymer before — with a textured clay bezel. My favorite is using tabs. I like the challenge of designing tabs that are decorative and functional. And I love sawing. But let me show you what I DID accomplish… 

porcelain flower

Cab #2 – just beginning. Porcelain cab/my work – irregular shape. 

 

tab set cabs

My tab set cabs. ( All my work – polymer Ganesh, stoneware butterflies and Green Man foliate head). I was using brass for a change, and left it shiny! Not my usual preference, but I was trying to challenge myself… 

first owl cab

Athena’s owl ( earthenware cab, repro of antique drachma coin) The first attempt. Its a little wonky – a few beads sticking out of line here and there. I learned peyote stitch 10+ years ago when I worked at The Shepherdess in San Diego. Never did bezels until now… I adore the painterly aspect of choosing bead colors to accentuate the ceramic glaze!

peyote backing

Full disclosure! I had an assist from Cooky Schock – she was in town for Beadfest and we had a few days of “Art Camp” before she headed home to SD. (She was my original peyote stitch teacher, BTW!) She gave me valuable insight into finishing the backs on my pieces.

From top right: 1. bezel complete – stitched onto pollon in lieu of Stiff Stuff. 2/3. The back plain and then with pellon stitched down. 4. Ultrasuede stitched down! 5. first owl cab with messy stitched sueded cloth. compared to the final of the three cabs with the clean presentable backing! 

 

final three

The final three peyote stitched cabochons. I am pleased with how they came out! It was new to me – even though I had tried peyote stitch in the past… and its very exciting to have a chance to use my own work in such a different context. While I dont know if I will ever switch to seed beads completely – I am glad to have them in my repertoire. I often sit and bead while watching tv… I am so glad Sally threw down this challenge! 

Looking forward to seeing all the diverse cabs put to use on this Hop! Here are the participants! Before you go – I would love to hear your thoughts! And thanks for stopping by… 

 

Your Host:  Sally Russick

D Lynne  Bowland

Alicia Marinache           

Lynn  Jobber           

Jenny Davies-Reazor  ( you are here)         

Jo-Ann  Woolverton           

Marde Lowe           

Dawn Doucette           

Mary K McGraw           

Gloria Allen           

Cheri  Reed           

Sonya Stille           

Elizabeth Owens Dwy           

Veralynne   Malone           

Tania Hagen           

Lynsey  Brooks           

Christina Miles           

Holly  Westfall           

Kathy  Lindemer           

Patti Vanderbloemen           

 Therese Frank           

Adrienne Berry           

Liz   E  

Tanty  Sri Hartanti           

Ginger Bishop

Renetha Stanziano           

Marlene  Cupo           

Sandi Volpe           

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson           

Niky  Sayers

 Mischelle Fanucchi           

Tracy  Stillman           

Skylar Bre’z           

Ann Schroeder           

Paula Kramer

Jess Green           

Susan Kennedy           

Stacie  Florer           

Cathie  Carroll           

Susan F.   

Michelle Caballero       

Sabine Dittrich           

Kristina Johansson           

Kimberly Sturrup-Roberts           

Melissa  Meman           

Cheryl McCloud         

Michelle  Timms           

Cindy  Pack                 

Lynda  Carson

Cynthia  Machata           

Julia  Harris           

Karin  Slaton

Ingrid  Anderson           

Karin Grosset Grange

Jasvanti  Patel  

Inge  von Roos

Molly Alexander