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)

 

 

 

February COM reveal for Art Jewelry Elements

Time to reveal what I have been up to on those bitter cold days of February! Its nice and warm in my studio, coffee at hand, sleepy dog at my feet. 

The Component of the Month this month was a lovely metal clay piece by Melissa Meman. It is from a stamp she carved herself; and I received a copper one. I was immediately drawn to the holes – an element of the design AND they go all the way through. I was debating between bead embroidery or a mixed media piece, using the holes for stitching… 

I decided mixed media, and made a polymer piece to go behind and complement the metal clay. I imagined it with Swellegant patinas to replicate copper’s patina over time. Here is the result: 

COM and Plan 1

Everything went EXACTLY according to plan… and I didnt like it. I felt the background pattern was detracting from Melissa’s design. I had not addressed a bail. The stitching was great, but I cut it apart. Onward to plan B. 

MM mehndi

I cut Faux Bone in a shape that echoed the petal design in the metal clay. I was intending to stitch it too… but as the piece developed it was unnecessary. There are tube rivets at top and bottom to attach the metal clay disc and embellish the dangle area. I used alcohol ink on the FB. This is more pleasing to me aesthetically – the players support the lead now. 

MM Mehndi collage

The necklace is finished with a gentle asymetry. One side has larger gems, wire wrapped red and blue tiger’s eye. The smaller gems, sapphire quartz and blue calcedony, have copper bead cap accents and an additional strand of chain for visual interest and weight. 

Thanks to Melissa for a stunning original to create with this month! 

Check out the blogs for creative offerings from the AJE team and this month’s guests: 

AJE team: 

Jennifer Cameron 

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Susan Kennedy 

Melissa Meman

Rebekah Payne

Lindsay Starr 

Kristen Stevens

Francesca Watson

Lesley Watt    

Guest Participants:

Michelle Mach

Patty Miller

Divya N
 

 

 

 

 

The final AJE Component of the Month reveal… for 2014!

 

AJE COM Dec14

I hope you are all well and feeling fresh-faced, ready to tackle 2015. Personally I have “resolved” to do quite a few things… more on that in another post. 

I’ve spent the limbo week between Christmas travels and now doing some cleaning and organizing. Out with the old, etc. 

One piece of fabulousness from 2014 that needs to be attended to is the December Component of the month over at Art Jewelry Elements. We thought the timing would be best to start fresh with this reveal – showcasing a stoneware snowflake of Diana’s

Ornament WIP

Here is the scene: Mid December day. Fresh cuppa coffee in hand. Dog napping on bed in the studio. I sit down to work on gifts, and my COM… and there are flurries! The first of the year! Barely a dusting, didn’t even cover the grass. But I was feeling festive… 

Above is the work-in-progress shot as I planned my piece. Plexi on the left, a nickel silver banner from Beaducation, and a shrine window pair from Rings & Things. It all happened because I was so enjoying the flurries out my window… 

Sparkle winter ornament

The finished piece: 

  • Stamped and patina/tumbled banner
  • Window framing handmade paper with silver leaf flecks. Tube riveted. 
  • Loops of crystal and waxed linen at top. Seed bead loops with crystal at bottom. 

Sparkle in situ

I was going to hang it on the tree, but it was lost amidst the leaves. It hangs in the branches of my dryad sculpture – on the mantle behind me as I write this. I do think I will keep it out all winter long! I really enjoyed doing somehting not-clay, not-jewelry. It was a creative free-for-all, and very freeing. 

I have big plans for this year – stay tuned here. But for now:

Please check out the pieces created by my AJE teamates and our guests. Let’s ring in the new! 

Monthly Winners
 
AJE Blog Team

 

Seeing stars… and the November Component of the Month reveal!

Hello blog. I have been neglecting you. When I last was here it was for the October COM reveal for Art Jewelry Elements

Since then I ran away with the faeries: 

Witches and faeries

and retreated to the (frigid) beach to immerse myself in seed beads: 

bead retreat

I promise more on that later! 

Today – I’m actually off at a show as you read this. The holiday show season is in full swing! And the gift making! Oh my. Sprinkle a few custom orders on the top of that – and I hope you understand why I have been neglecting you. Let me show you the eye candy that is the COM. Will that do? 

Kristen selected these versatile beaded circles as her component of the month offering! I have worked with these before and love them. They can go in so many direction, so many applications… 

beaded circles WIP

My pair was in matte black and silver. They asked to be simple, and a bit celestial. Here is the result: 

Nov CoM

Dangles include a sterling spiral, a quartz crystal point and a hematite star on gunmetal chain. They are super light weight – and I think I get to keep them…

Present for me? Hmm. I hope your present making and shopping is going smoothly so far this season! 

Please hop over to the blog at Art Jewelry Elements to see the other COM offerings this month!

Until next time… 

 

 

 

 

August Component of the Month reveal – and a guest blogger!

 Oh heavens August has been a whirlwind! Prep for Beadfest. The fantastic time that was had AT beadfest – hanging out with AJE team mates, shopping, selling… And now its the reveal date for the Component of the Month at Art Jewelry Elements blog. This month’s component is a hand painted leather feather from Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio. Simply gorgeous! 

But best of all: Lesley Watt of The Gossiping Goddess is here in the US! We spend the last two days in the studio working on our pieces, hanging out, drinking tea/coffee and generally having a fantastic time at “art camp”. So with out further ado – the reveal: 

CoM faux bone

I wanted to back the feather in Faux bone to create a studier piece as a cuff bracelet. The Faux bone can be shaped when heated. I stamped, distressed, tinted with alcohol inks and sanded it until I had the level of color/rustic/patina that I wanted. 

CoM WIP

In homage to Emily Dickinson I had to engrave the word “Hope” on the underside. (” Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul…”)  The feather is stitched onto the faux bone with waxed linen. I wanted to use these rustic beads from Diana/Suburban Girl, but the wire wrap links werent flexible enough in the small span of bracelet… 

JDR CoM bracelet.

Here is my finished piece – I  selected the colors to play off the feather itself. The triple strand included lapis, blue tiger eye, seed pods… I plan to wear it today!

Now over to Lesley: 

Thanks Jenny…

So for this reveal I have none of my usual kit around me to work with so Jenny has very kindly put her awesome studio and bead stash at my disposal and the contents of that together with my Bead Fest haul have been the inspiration for my design with Rebekah’s beautiful leather feather. I new before I left the UK that I wanted to incorporate the piece with metal and probably make a bracelet and that went perfectly since jenny was able to give me an impromptue tube riveting lesson  to produce this textured cuff element…

LW CoM 1

Then it was down to picking some beads to accent the cuff and I eventually decided on a beautiful Basha bead that I bought at Bead Fest which perfectly mirrored the blue of the leather. I also went for a linen strung multi-strand section combinng some brass and copper beads and a brass cone from Hands of the Hills and some lovely blue seeds I raided from Jenny…

LW CoM 2

Put all these together and this is the result which I have to say I’m really pleased with…it has something of a Native-American vibe to it and it wears really well.

LW CoM 3

It was great fun working on this project with Jenny, bouncing ideas around and seeing how our pieces started with similarities but ended up quite different…thanks Jenny.

You can check out what the other participants made using the links below: 

Guest Artists
Karin Grosset Grange – http://ginkgoetcoquelicot.blogspot.com/
 
The AJE Team
Diana Ptaszynski – http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com
Jenny Davies-Reazor – http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Francesca Watson – http://francescawatson.com/
 

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 ! 

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
 
 

Art Jewelry Elements’ September reveal!

Its the end of September already!?!?

Welcome – its the reveal day for the CoM over at Art Jewelry Elements blog! This month we are working with bronze clay bead caps from our one-and-only Lesley Watt! When I saw them I had a brainstorm. One of those far fetched, push the boundaries ideas that leaps to your brain fully formed. An idea that challenges you to go beyond your current level of experience. Lesley very graciously send me 2 – as the grand plan/challenge/hare brained scheme… required 2. 

Lesley CoM

I am not done. (ArtBLISS happened. More on that tomorrow!) 

Sketch CoM1

The original plan, a sculptural piece – build a polymer pod with a flanged lid, using the bead caps as ends. They are organic, and so perfect… I have never build hollow forms in polymer before… 

Sketch CoM2

The revised sketch – only using one cap and drawing more inspiration from the shape of a poppy pod. I decided I would like the piece to be wearable, and researched Japanese inro boxes. The tops slide up the cord from which the piece is worn, allowing access to the interior. 

polymer inro 

the pod

The pod form in cured polymer. The color Lesley sent me is a gorgeous muted eggplant, inspiring a palette of olive greens, yellow ochre and the eggplant color. At ArtBliss I was in a polymer class with the inspiring Christine Damm and I spent time with the charismatic Erin Prais-Hintz, both polymer influences of mine. So I feel primed to get back to this ASAP!

the top

The lid… 

Wip Sept CoM

Here is a picture for scale.  I have to address the lid, I think I will drill into the sides horizontally and insert wire/wrapped loops. Paint, patina, Gilder’s paste…. Fall is in the air, crisp cool air comes inthe open windows, leaves are starting to turn.  A perfect time to work on a fall themed organic pod form! 

Lesley – I am so sorry I did not have it finished! I hope I will make you proud regardless! Thank you for a gorgeous piece – I look forward to adding color – and I  will post pictures ASAP! In the meantime – please check out the work my friends and colleagues created!

Here are the links to the other artists participating this month: 

AJE team

Lesley Watt   

 

 

April Component of the Month! Headpins…

 (If you are looking for the “Inspired by Reading” post and creative reveal – please click here. )

 I love it when a plan comes together. I received these simply gorgeous glass headpins from the hands of Jen Cameron for this month’s Component of the Month at Art Jewelry Elements. But I was out of town. I got home with 36 hours until the reveal… and I was tired and had mounds of laundry to do… When I sat down this afternoon I was thrilled to make it work – and I am pleased with the results. 

Jen's headpins

The headpins made me think of water. Not only the color, but the spiral and the tiny bubbles… I have been working on and off lately on a series of Goddess necklaces. This color and the element of water made me think of Yemanja. She is the Yoruba orisha, or diety of water, childbirth, the essence of the ocean. She was and is revered in many Afro-American regions, from Brazil to the Caribbean. (My Yemanja figure, shown on my “water” shelf with Sulis from Bath, is from New Orleans. ) Over time, Yemanja was seen to share many characteristics with the Virgin Mary: protectress of women and children, robed in blue, Mother of all… Mary is also known as Stella Maris/Star of the Sea thus linking her with the ocean as well. 

Water elementals

So I started browsing the stash… and started with a piece of sea glass. Here is a little “photo essay” of the selection process: 

planning pix

After that – the Parawire and the seashell were kept in the mix, along with copper links. I found the color blue more vibrant than the gems in my stash, and turned to Czech glass and crystal to satisfy my palette. The copper links are stamped “etoile” and “de la mer” to reference Yemanja/Stella Maris/Mary. 

the necklace

Coiled wire bail, dangle headpin, stamped copper links, wire wrapped crystals and glass beads, sari silk, seashell, hand made wire clasp. 

Not bad for a day’s work! What do you think?

Please stop by these blogs – my team mates and the guest designers participating this month: 

Guest Designers:

Erin Prais-Hintz

Kathy Lindemer

Alice Peterson

 

AJE Team:

Susan Kennedy

Lesley Watt

Melissa Meman

Linda Landig

Jen Cameron