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

Love is… the February Component of the Month reveal!

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This month I had the pleasure of creating pieces for the Component of the Month at Art Elements blog. While February does bring hearts to mind – mine were “real”. They were damaged and repaired, they bore their scars – yet maintained their beauty. Or at least that was my inspiration.

I am thrilled to see what my team mates and out guests have created! ( Links at end of post) But let me show you what I did:

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Follow your heart.

I HAD to put a heart and a compass together. This was a bonus cab, simple crackle without the tear and stapled repair that the larger hearts had… I wanted a follow your heart meaning. The heart cab is bead embroidered on Stiff stuff with a loose representation of flames, and a toy compass.  Then it has been stitched onto a new messenger bag I am altering. I want something that can get dirty at the studio. I plan to embellish it with patches, paint and stitches. A chance to wear my heart on my sleeve shoulder.

 

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Starting to make my statements…. The butterfly is a shaped beaded pin. Shaped pieces are on my “to-do” list. The hand is from the AVAM.

So then I was thinking… I guess I should work with a heart like the components I mailed.  So I took a small stapled/crackle heart and created polymer wings. The wings are cut to fit exactly with the small cobalt heart. The piece is rather large for me – and brings to mind Egyptian scarabs… which I was ASLO working on for themed challenge at Art Elements. Phew. I’m not sure how I will finish this – silk? chain? gems? What do you think?

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Take flight heart

So  – thanks for stopping by and thanks to all who participated this month! I think I will keep making hearts and share the love even though February is fading away…

And now without further ado: 

 

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!

Here be dragons…

This month – over at Art Elements blog, our theme is dragons. Create art around that theme and share it on your blog… This is not a challenge for me – if anything the challenge lies what to do!

15241281_10209977830190062_7652353610430501620_n-2I made these dragon cabochons this summer – they would be perfect beaded or bezel set. There are a few currently available in the Art Elements Extra sale page on Facebook.

My current dragon tile design is being retired. It was a Welsh dragon.I have plans for a new
flag_of_wales_2-svgone – I am thinking inspired by the City of London dragon. This one has held a very dear spot in my heart since my student undergrad days living there are going to school in the City each day. The photo below was taken on my 40th Birthday trip.

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City of London dragon.

And I have a tribe of talented artist friends. I count myself lucky to know them. SO let me leave you with a few dragons from friends and fellow artists. (All images remain the property of the artist. )

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A miscellany by Meredith. All images available as prints on her site: MeredithDillman.com

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“Draco Lucis & Draco Noctis”. Art by Meredith Dillman. These are favorites of mine!

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Jane Star Weils is a dear friend and an insanely talented woman. Here: “Summoning the Elemental Dragons & Dragons Wine”. Prints available at her site!

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The prolific creative genius that is Cory Godbey.

And last, but definitely not least: Charles Vess. Charles is currently working with Ursula K. LeGuin – yes. THAT Ursula K. LeGuin – on an illustrated Earthsea. She is the original Mother of Dragons. You can read her thoughts on this complete, illustrated Earthsea collection here. And see Charles sketches as he works on this lifetime achievement type job… he shares them on his FB page.

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Earthsea title page (c) Charles Vess. 

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Earthsea title page

So here is to draconic inspiration in its myriad forms! Me?  I’m off to bead.. .or sculpt… or collage… Until the reveal! 

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!

Journal 52 – one week at a time

Journal table

I have three work tables in my “clean” studio. This year one of them is designated the journal space. I have tried unsuccessfully many years running to put a consistent daily/weekly art journal practice in place. I have tried loose papers, even vintage Filofax cards. This year I signed up for a FREE challenge – called “Journal 52“. Run by the dynamic duo of Effy WIld and Sarah Trump – I recieve a themed prompt once a week. Two actually – so you have options. There’s a FB group for sharing and building community. I love it. And I am happy to say I am consistent, and consistently loving it.  

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The whole art journal thing for me is play and practice. A chance to doobde, to recontitute my dried up, forlorn drawing skills, to try new media and techniques, to get messy and push paint around… all with the caveat that NO ONE HAS TO SEE IT. Or I can share if I desire. The freedom to play and produce work for me, for my soul, from my soul… with no show deadline. Its refreshing and joyous.  

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True self

I am a little behind as I was away last week – but the weekly prompts are so good I look forward to catching up… 

Stay tuned for more as the year progresses! 

The Goddess project – one month at a time

 This year I have undertaken a project, a goddess project. Inspired by the fabulous bead artist Cathy Mendola, I am doing one seed beaded/bead embroidered piece a month incorporating a goddess cabochon. I met Cathy on Instagram!!! – she was doing a goddess project last year and used a few of my polymer goddess cabochons. We have talked and struck up an Internet friendship… and she has passed the torch of inspiration to me!

The time frame fits me well. I like to have something to bead on when I have a little late afternoon down time, with a cuppa tea. Or coffee. I do find bead embroidery to be very meditative. Over the course of the year I want to experiment with bead shapes, composition, movement… and plan to have a combination of wall hangings and pendants by year’s end. I hope to exhibit them next year. 

So here is the beginning: 

January goddess WIP

January – named for the Roman god Janus, whose 2 faces looked backwards and forwards in time… He’s often seen with a key… The key I used is a gorgeous lampwork key from Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictons. It inspired the purple accent tones in the piece. I chose this goddess, and the spiraling composition because I was thinking of New Year’s Eve and fireworks. No specific goddess was on my mind, but a piece that was symbolic of the year’s beginning. 

January Goddess

The completed January goddesses. She is wearing a crown of hematite stars. I havent decided yet how these will be mounted/displayed… but I have all year. 

February – starts with the festival of Imbolc, marking the mid way point in winter. Associated with the Irish goddess Brigid, whose domain was fire. Fire in the head of inspiration, fire in the forge… I created this polymer goddess with the stylized fire in her belly specifically for this month. But I was reading “Brigid: Sun of womanhood” (published by Goddess Ink) and thinking on Brigid’s association with healing and water and holy wells… of the symbolism of the light of spring emerging from the dark of winter… and my plans were changed… 

Brigid sketches

Brigid as “fiery arrow”, snowdrops, flames, water… so many sketches. But what else does one have to do at Jury duty? 

February WIP

Brigid in progress showing the fires of inspiration… little polymer flames made for this piece. 

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Finished! Thanks to Leap day as I needed a bit more time. 

Here is some of my inspiration from Cathy – who I will be interviewing over at Art Jewelry Elements blog on April 8th! Stay tuned! 

Cathdola montage

And yes – the 2 goddesses on the left are polymer cabochons I sculpted. While I look to possibly showing this series next year – I am also doing it as pure pleasure. The beads, the colors, the textures… and revisiting Cathy’s pieces I am drawn into the enticing movement in pieces and the composition. I want to play with symetry and asymetry. I want to push my color sensibilities out of the comfort zone. I look forward to a year of exploration and challenges! 

Find Cathy on Facebook: – www.facebook.com/CathySMendolaJewelryandFiberArt/

Her blog is www.cmendola.blogspot.com 

Instagram as cathdola

 

Phaedras! The February COM reveal at Art Jewelry Elements

 Welcome to the February Component of the Month reveal! This month the piece was something new, and for me very challenging. Its a chain mail “Phaedra” piece made by Diana. I love it – its bling, sparkle, the gorgeous blue crystal nestled inside. But it was a challenge as it is far outside my usual asthetic… 

The interlacing links of the the weave made me think of Celtic knotwork, and from there an idea started to form… 

First I tried metal...

Here ( above) is the first attempt. I had decided that silver was required, and perhabs crystal, naturally. But the triquetra would be a great shape, easy to link the rather fragile Phaedra too… This one is sawn from nickel – a prototype. I like the shape! But I wasnt happy with the flat silver and the tall Phaedra.  

Then polymer...

So I turned to polymer, to sculpt a more 3d triquetra. This is more like I was thinking… I like the Pheadra floating between the 2. The polymer pieces are silvered with mica powder. They may get a coat od Diamond glaze to increase the shine. Im also much happier with the 2 polymer links, and plan to use two lengths of chain – as shown here/WIP. Now – I need to go shopping for some crystal….

Thanks for the challenge Diana! 

Please take a look at out team mates and guests offerings this month! 

AJE team: 

Susan

Diana

Lesley     

Jennifer

Caroline 

Guest Participants ( aka winners)

Shaiha Williams

Renetha Stanziano

 

 

AJE Buried Treasure reveal

Welcome to the 2016 edition of “Buried Treasure” challnege sponsored by Art Jewelry Elements blog.

AKA “Use your stash” 

Its been great year so far for me – filled with friends, adventure, and best of all – studio time! I am working hard to balance time in the mediums that I love and allow time for new pursuits. After a week in Mexico working in metals, they are now demanding equal studio time. The snow days make me want to sit and do nothing but bead embroider, patially because I am sore from shoveling… 

Here is what I have to offer for this challenge – with pieces from my stash by Jen Cameron/Glass Addictions, Lesley Watt/Thea Elements and Sue Kennedy/Sue Beads: 

Lesley's cab and resin

Oceanic pendant – ceramic cab by Lesley. (Resin cab by me)

The glaze Lesley selected for this detailed spiral ammonite? Perfection! It accentuates the detail in her ceramic piece and breaks across the texture so well… I wanted to base all the colors of her cab and really showcase it. I like the resin cab… it has made me want to experiement with other resin cabs and collaging paper behind… creating layers in the piece. 

Sue beads in turquoise

I confess – I have done a piee similar to this before. I have a veritable hoard of Susan’s cabs. I am addicted. This apple green with turquoise makes my eyes happy. (Sounds silly – but you KNOW what I mean) 

These two came together easily, a pleasure to work with… then there is the piece that challenges you at every turn. Well, here is mine:

Jen/Sue WIP

Again – an ammonite cab by Sue. It has sat in a small glass dish nestled into those same gems and pearls for over a year. They were extras from another piece waiting to be put away. Then I liked the palette. Then it sat there to be pretty. Then it sat there to be on deck, and I finally decided what to do… After the aforementioned week in metals I decided to bezel set it. 

Yes it has issues. ( Bezel wire was too heavy a gauge. Bezel may be a bit less than 100% soldered…) But its for me and it represents moving back into metal after years. I’m happy with it! And yes – those ar the same gems that were in that bowl originally! 

Ammonite!

Please join me in looking at my team-mates work – and our guests this month. And maybe dig into your treasure trove of beads and USE them! What are you waiting for? 

AJE team:

Guests

Shai – Shai’s Ramblings

Melissa – Bead Recipes

Tammy – Paisley  Lizard

Sarajo – SJ Designs

Kathy – Bay Moon Designs

Lola – Bead Lola Bead

Samantha – Wescott Jewelry

Mona – Bijoux Gem

Suntsa – Suntsan
 

 

 

 

 

Welcome the light! The December theme challenge at Art Jewelry Elements

Happy New Year!

Here’s to a creative and magical year of successes – creative and personal! 

To start this year off we at the Art Jewelry Elements team have the reveal for the December themed challenge. The theme was the sun, the return of the light as celebrated in cultures the world over on the Winter Solstice. (You can feast your eyes here at Lesley’s original post.) My piece grew with the beading – and will be a wall piece for sure: 

Sun swirls

It started when I was playing around… and found a face that fit in this textured circle. These arent my usual colors, but it was sunny; the swirls as rays… SO I went for it. I liked the darker area in the glaze that inspired the moon/sky section at the bottom. 

initial idea

So far so good – peyote bezel on the face. 

Beaders block

Cooky sent me some bead she was destashing! The colors were perfect! Definitely colors I did not have in my stash… My original plan was to bead spirals out and around – drawing out the spirals in the ceramic donut. This is what I did… but now I’m not so sure. It feels to me like two pieces. I wish I had left the ceramic sun face as is – a brick stitch edge and done. I love the way the spirals turned out, but no longer love them with the ceramic piece. 

details finished

 I also wish I had gone for a little more contrast in the spirals themselves, a little more “pop”; and to unify the spirals with the glaze palette of bright yellow. I really do love the copper triangles that frame the clay piece though – that may be my favorite element. 

As the year ended, I re-started my art journal practice – for the millionth time! I have decided this year to focus on a page a week. AND I am working on loose paper. I love that this gives me time to set aside a wet page and start a foundation collage for a future page. Here is my sun themed offering. The word “solstice” is derived from the Saxon word for wheel… 

art journal page 

Drawn on collaged encyclopedia paper – crayon, marker, alcohol ink, image tranfer, you name it! 

Here’s to a BRIGHT year ahead! 

Please click back to the main page at Art Jewelry Elements to continue your hop!