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! 

 

 

 

 

Back in time: my Celtic inspiration

 One last timehop, one last stop on the Beading Back in Time travel schedule. This final installment encourages artist to select their favorite time period. Mine will inevitably be Celtic, time and time again. For fresh inspiration, I grabbed a few books and a cup of coffee… started sketching. No pre-conceived idea, just browsing at first. 

celtic sketches

The crescent “lunula” shape has been on my mind for a while. Its a recurring motif in Celtic, Slavic, Russion cultures. As a lunar symbol it is associated with women. The moon rules ocean tides, and a woman’s tides. The moon, seen as female, embodies the stages of one’s life in the lunar stages – from Maiden to Mother, to wise Crone.

lunula references

Diagram of lunula pendants - I'm trying to translate the text from Russion, with Google's asistance... 

Blessington Lunula  Crafty Celts lunula

1. Gold lunula from Blessington, Ireland, Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age, c. 2400BC – 2000BC, Classical group ( from Wiki)
2. Lunula pendant in bronze from the Crafty Celts. "Lunula amulets date back to the end of the Bronze Age, and continued to be worn into modern times. They were common in Egypt as well as among many farming peoples of Europe and Asia and reflected the worship of the moon, which was associated with fertility. Earrings, pendants, metal details of headdresses, and other 
ornaments had the form of lunulae. Lunulae were especially widespread in Rus. in the tenth to 12th centuries."

I was contemplating doing a lunula pendant for myself in sterling, but time was not cooperating. The polymer was out… I was creating ornaments for my local gallery. These pieces – 2 styles – are polymer crescents with a hammered metal frame. The frame curls around, allowing a space to attach chain. I have stitched the small gems on with 26 gauge wire. I love using the tiny gems here – holes so small its hard to string them otherwise, but perfect in this application. 

my lunula pendants

The top pendant in cream and brown features the word “self” in the Celtic Ogham alphabet. This linear font was used for carving, and had many layers of meaning, among them trees and months of the year. I wanted an amulet – trust yourself. Take care of yourself. Center yourself. Have faith in yourself… it all comes back to “self”. The gems are green garnet. The blue lunula below incorporated sterling and aquamarine. This is more lunar to me, evocative of the Moon goddess – the three stars for her three aspects. 

I plan something simple to finish these, maybe just chain, or one wrapped gem each. I may make more, but these each feel personal to me, and I plan to keep them and wear them. 

Thanks for stopping by. I have thoroughly enjoyed the creative challenges of these historical “Back in time” hops. Thanks to Sheri and Lindsay for organizing! Please stop by the other blogs! A full list can be found at: Phantasm Creations

Until next time… 

 

 

 

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

 

 

May Component of the Month: beaded beads!

May. I miss you already. But before you depart – its the May Component of the Month at Art Jewelry Elements

Sue of SueBeads sent these lovelies! I told her to surprise me because I think all her color palettes could easily inspire… SueBeads beaded beads

But Sue knows me and sent me these delicious beads: copper, garnet red and aqua. 

My beaded beads COM

The palette gave me a plethora of ideas! I started early as I wanted to bead embroider something to play off the beaded texture. The beads were small, but I wanted them to relate directly to the focal, inspiring the whole necklace palette so they would be a major player regardless of size. 

pc beaded focal

Polymer cab of mine; an Art Nouveau woman, in copper with patina accents. glass flower beads, garnet pearls, and corresponding seeds. 

details COM

 I knew I wanted the beaded beads at the junction of necklace and silk, with some visual rest between them and the focal. I selected simple pearls and amazonite to go between. I am happy with the results! 

Please join the rest of the team and our guests this month in the AJE COM hop: 

Guests
 
AJE Team

 

March Hares! The AJE Spring themed COM

 March Hares! Lunar Hares! 

This month at Art Jewelry Elements we are launching the first of our seasonal themed challenges. For Spring, and as a symbol of fertility and creativity, this month’s Muse is the Hare. As this is a totem of mine – inspiration was everywhere. 

 I had long wanted to try a hare portrait pendant, and really explore a more three dimensional face. So here is the first batch- its a deep mold, and as you can see by my fingers (below) rather large. The hare nose gets a little flattened since I am usually in a rush to pop them from the RTV mold and look. But the nose is easy to tweak and then each sculpt is a bit different. I like that variety from the original face. 

New hare design WIP

The two pictures directly above show steps in the painting/glazing process. Each hare took a long time – layering underglazes, highlights, accents all in a painterly fashion. The details are a bit more homogeneous when these earthenware hares are covered in clear glaze. Here are the first earthenware hares and their smaller porcelain counterparts:

earthenware vs porcelain

I think I prefer the size of the porcelain hares – so I can recast them to have a smaller mold. But I am intriqued by the porcelain possibilities. The studio where I work fires to ^10 – very hot, very durable for porcelain. This batch was too yellow (rutile) so the next batch will have more reds (iron oxides) to be sure! 

 This month – I was overwhelmed with hares I wanted to work with – let me show you a few: 

beaded moon hare

My lunar hare, set amidst the swirly stars and sky. This earthenware pendant broke while I was sanding the edges. I glazed it anyway… and I wasn’t sure why. But bead embroidery was the answer. I will finish this with a few wire wrapped gems and chain to complement the pendant but keep it simple. 

Patronus hare

My “Patronus” keychain Niky of Silver Niknats made this sweet lentil bead for me! I am assuming you are familiar with Patronus from Harry Potter? In a way its a person’s spirit animal, that manifests in a protection spell. For that reason I wanted to have this around more often than a bracelet, thought about hanging it in my car… and decided on a keyring. And yes – thats a Thea Elements metal clay charm from Lesley there at the end! Speaking of Lesley… 

Moon gazing hare WIP

Moon gazing hare necklace in progress – Oh I love this set. The moon gazing hare – I wanted to place the moon further up the necklace to create a bit of storytelling inthe piece. As you can see its not finished. I am using pearls, garnets, labradorite… all my favorites. This one will be hard to part with… and I need a dangle at the bottom. Stars? Leaf? Flowers? 

All in all its been a very creative month for me; some things completed, some hares just starting out. I was glad of a chance to focus on this theme as it clearly resonates with me. Please take a look at the creations of our guests and my fellow AJE teammates: 

AJE Team
 
Guests
Heather – Hidden Ridge Studio
Karin Grosset Grange – Ginko et Coquelicot
Michelle McEnroe ( 4 pieces pinned on  the AJE Pinterest page)

 

 

 

DEFunADay! This Friday at the DCCA!

February is the shortest month. 

28 days. 

The Delaware Fun-a-day project is simple. Create something each day. Exhibit them. Its a free, volunteer run event, and I cant wait to see everything this Friday. The opening is at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts at the Riverfront in Wilmington, from 6-9pm. 

DE FunAday1

FunAday2

Since February starts with Imbolc/Candlemas – the feast day of Brigid… I decided to do sculptures. Goddesses, clearly. The Celtic goddess Brigid was a fire goddess: the fire of the forge, the creative fire in the head, and so, to me, the fire of the kiln as well. I was inspired by ancient and archaic goddesses from all cultures, from teh Venus of Willendorf through Cycladic idols. It was a great pleasure to sculpt freely, with few limitations. I kept the size small both to keep them intimate in scale, but as a logistical, practical requirement to the Fun A Day project. 

I have a few orders for goddess cabochons, to be used in jewelry, and I do foresee making more of these simple, evocative figures in the the near future. 

Hope to see you on the 6th at the DCCA! 

 

 

The AJE COM reveal: “Use your stash”!!!

January. It comes in with champagne and noise makers… and goes out with howling winds. At least here in Delaware! 

This year, the AJE team wanted to start the year fresh. While we are still doing out Component of the Month give aways on the blog – we are mixing it up. January was “Use your stash” month, for lack of a prettier term. We are collectors of each others work, known to barter, buy and trade. So this month we decided to put the treasures to good use! 

I wanted to make as many pieces as I could – and I’ll share with you how far I got, and what I still have planned.

First up Karen of Starry Road Studio

Two sides of Karen

I love to make earrings. I had these pieces tucked away for a year and a half? The pair on the left, apple green boat shapes are paired with garnet and black spiniel. Lots of movement, a little bling. The pair on the right? Umm. That’s a bracelet bar that I broke… and it was too pretty to lose. Its a matte teal glaze, very me, very earthy. I paired it with seed pods for their organic-ness and complementary warm color. (and turquoise in there too)

Next up is a partnership – Melissa (Melismatic Art Jewelry) and Sue (Sue Beads):  

Metallic dazzle

This lampwork glass cab from Sue is heavenly, metallic with silver across the surface like stars. Although it has warm honey colors in it – I wanted to go metallic from the start. I used seed beads in bronzes, crystal, and silver. The picot edge is bright silver beads, although its tough to photograph. The dangle is one of Melissa’s metal clay pieces. I scooped up ALL the “little tiny shinies” that she had to trade at Beadfest. I adore them. I think it plays up the silver on the cab nicely. 

 Then – the Kristen (Beadwork by KAS) and Diana (Suburban Girl Studio) partnership: 

Blue floral

I usually don’t design things in a complimentary color palette. I prefer harmonious rather than “pop”. But this necklace designed itself. The PC/MM focal is one of mine- with a vintage illustration under resin. It’s many shades of blue with rust highlights. As I sat, treasure box of artist beads on my lap… there it all was. Kristen’s beaded beads and Diana’s stoneware beads were the same scale, making it easy to pair them in a balanced composition. Additional flowers to pull in the illustration itself…done. Really pleased with this one! 

 And now for something completely different – with Rebekah of Tree Wing Studio

Sleepy fox den

Start with a mini mint tin. Burn off the paint, sand it down. Then fill it with treasures! The sleepy fox bead of Rebekah’s is nestled in hand dyed silk from my friends at Reyen Studios. The collage opposite incorporated vintage dictionary text, origami paper and Czech flower beads. The outside was done first – and it was going to be a winter fox asleep in the snow and ice. (Hence the crystal and blue…) So this is a prototype, guess I will have to keep it! I have a menagerie of creatures napping on my work table now… more of these forthcoming! 

And then there were no more days left in January… but I am not done. Here is what I am going to showcase next: 

a lampwork bead from Jen (Glass Addictions)

a Celtic bronze hound/hare from Lesley (Thea Jewelry)

a lunar hare from Caroline (Blueberri Beads)

a copper donut ( destined to be a shrine) from Kristi  (Kristi Bowman Designs)

treasures on deck

Please take a look at the wonderful, creative bounty from the team, the guests, and the winners! So much to see! 

AJE team: 
Kristen Stephens 
Susan Kennedy 
Jenny Davies-Reazor ( yup. thats me)
Lesley Watt    
Melissa  Meman
 Lindsay Starr 
Jennifer Cameron 
Caroline Dewison
Linda Landig

 Guest Participants ( aka winners)

Lee – Strega Jewellry
Shai – Shai’s Ramblings
Samantha- Wescott Jewelry
Kathy – Bay Moon Designs
Nikki – Silver Nik nats
Melissa Trudinger
Becky Pancake
Yvette – Blue Kiln Beads
Karin – Ginko et Coquelicot
Bonus participants! 
Sarajo Wentling
Leah Curtis
Susan Delaney 
 

Dryad dreaming – The October Component of the Month reveal.

FaerieCon is less than a week away. All my thoughts, energy, work this week and next are of the Fae variety. So when I sat down a week or so ago to work with this lovely focal from Karen of Starry Road Studio… 

Dryad Dreaming

My first idea was all crazy complicated and it involved antique images and resin and mixing the media all up! The piece asked for simple. I wanted to make the most of the center opening. All I could hear in my head was a little voice asking: “What would a dryad wear?”

The focal to me conjures up the patterns of concentric tree rings, but it has a spiral as well. The warm brown/iron oxide color was perfect. The hole in the tree—- who lives there—- friend and companion to the dryad—–owl!

dreaming details

 

 

I love the result, I like the color palette of woodsy browns and greens. I would wear it long, and fiddle with the dangles all day. 

PLease dont miss the fantastic creations from the AJE team and out guests this month: 

Monthly Winners
 
AJE Blog Team

November CoM! A day late… but worth it.

Hello all – and sorry to be late the the “party”! The Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month party, naturally… 

Let me be brief: 

Kristen send amazing beaded beads. 

Life got really crazy wtih multiple shows and the holiday. 

I am late, and finally decided what to do! 

Nov CoM bracelet

Kristen’s beads are a luster finish, grey/silver/purple… that is hard to describe, and harder to photograph. They inspired the entire palette! 

The design process started here: with an assortment of gems, plain antiqued polymer components, and artist beads. ( Caroline Dewison, Karen Totten, LeAnn Weih)

ingredients WIP

Athenas owl focal

CoM complete!

Gems include: blue calcedony, jasper, and moonstone. 

I would love to hear what you think! Back to the studio… Big show at the DCCA this weekend. Talk to you all later. 

Special Guest
Alice Alice Dreaming
 
Jennifer  Glass Addictions
Lesley  Gossiping Goddess
 
 

Ammonites! The October AJE component of the month reveal!

 Welcome to the AJE Component of the Month reveal! 

(If you are looking for the “Inspired by Reading” book Group – its here.)

 I love copper, the warm tones are very autumnal to me. So when I recieved this lovely copper clay bracelet bar from Kristi Bowman for this month’s CoM – I was thrilled. And to have spiral/ammonite textures? They are some of my absolute favorites. I love the combination of patterns that brings to mind suns, flowers… The heat patina on the copper had a flash of purple. That’s all it took… 

Kristis copper focal

 I wanted to accentuate the purple and play off the contrast between the copper and the flash colors. But I didnt have any amethysts that were right, and the seed beads and glass I had werent the right scale. So I challenged myself and went a bit outside my comfort level and used leather. I have a stash of scraps from my friend Betty at Emperor’s Needle. She makes clothing and accessories and is a regular at the Pennsylvania Rennaissance Fair. The purple was divine… 

Oct CoM bracelet

I paired the purple with 2 strands of size 8 seed beads to add texture, and color variation. I accented the focal, and drew attention away from the clasp with a lamp work bead by Sandi Volpe. ( My Beadfest swap partner, and friend). That bead cap? Yes, it looks familar! It is a duplicate cap from Lesley Watt/Thea Elements from last month’s CoM! Lesley did not recommend manipulating the bronze bead cap; but I dared, and was gentle yet persistant… and it worked! I curved the petals in to curl around the leather and hide the connections. I am happy with the way it came out, like the leather, and love the feel of it on!

On a second note – I have finally finished the polymer pod from last month – inspired by Lesley’s bronze petaled bead cap. Here it is painted and sealed. I am not sure what I am going to do with this one – but it has really started the creative wheels turning thinking of vessels and hollow forms… What do you think? 

 Sept CoM finished Sept pod open

Here’s to another great month at Art Jewelry Elements! Its a pleasure to work with such creative original artists! Please head over to the Art Jewelry Elements blog for links to all of the participants this month.  You wont regret it…