Creative re-use: the Art Elements theme reveal

Welcome! This month Lesley tasked us with something a little different – she challenged us to reuse, recycle, and reinvent. While that wasn’t a new idea for some of us – it was a really fun challenge to try something new, to make new from old. It was perfect timing with Earth Day falling in the month to make use of exiting materials, in an effort to reduce waste and consumerism.

My first piece came to me filled with delicious British chocolates. Jenny Wren to be exact. They arrived perfectly intact from my Secret Santa Caroline – that tiny wren flying thousands of miles with the assistance of the Royal Mail. We ate the chocolates carefully, savoring the treat over a few days, and yes – I did share with my husband.

The box fascinated me. I loved the engineering, and the size. The colors aren’t my personal palette – so for this month’s challenge I decided to give it a make over. ( Sadly no process pix. Oops) I based my palette on paste paper I had made with my Book Arts group a while back. It was my favorite aqua greens, but with gold and burgundy. I covered the hot pink, but let the yellow peek out at the edges. I wrapped each drawer, and lined the inside. I knew I had to use thin paper, and leave certain areas alone – to as not bulk up the form and impede movement.

I am really happy with the box – it may live on my bead table, holding artist beads that are too pretty to put away, or that are in my line of vision as I contemplate what their future holds.

My second re-use project uses old wool sweaters. Unlike many of my team mates here at AE, I cannot sew. Nothing functional that it. I can embellish and embroider, but no patterns or machines for me. Old wool sweaters from the thrift store shrink and felt into lovely fabric – one simply needs to wash and dry on hot! These felted pieces I have used as the basis for tapestries, for pouches… This month I tried a goddess art doll of sorts. There are some issues – but I liked embroidering while watching tv – having something to do with my hands. The goddess shape I drew onto the felt, and did lose some definition of shape when I turned its and stuffed it – due to the thickness of the fabric. I think I will play with this idea more.

Ok – this is the big reveal. This is a thing I actually found in an antique store in Maine last October! When I saw it – I had a plan!

It is an antique mens travel grooming case, in great condition. I clean it up, threw put the brushes… and refilled it!

While it isn’t the most streamlined travel art studio – its unique and makes me happy! The soap and toiletries boxes have all been reimagined:

There are travel scissor, brushes… I need to find a plastic travel bottle that fits in one of the open loops, and I have a watercolor tray that may fit in as well. I went to find a sketchbook to fit inside – but they were all too thick. So I made a folio – to hold loose paper. It will serve as the work surface as well. It is covered in Tyvek painted with alcohol inks – so it won’t be harmed by the occasional splatter.

Before I go – a few process pix. The watercolor pans are all in place with magnets. Magnetic tape not eh bottom of the box, and a round magnet on each pan. Easy to remove, rearrange, refill. And the Tyvek? It was simply a USPS mailer envelope cut open, and painted on the clean white inside. ( Free and durable)

Thanks for stopping in – I am off to dabble with my watercolors for the #100 day project. But please – take a look at what creative re-use solution are going on on the other blogs!

Guests 

Tammy

Alysen

Evie & Beth

Karin

Hope

Divya

Anita

Sarajo

Kathy

Rebecca

Martha

AE Team

Niky

Laney

Cathy

 Caroline

Jen

Jenny  ( you are here)

Sue

Claire

Lesley

The Art Elements Rune reveal

Welcome to our last official COM here at Art Elements! Starting next month we are moving to monthly themed challenges. We felt this was expanding the option, invigorating out creativity and opening the door to so many mediums!

This final COM is stunning metal clay runes made by Niky Sayers. I had the good fortune of meeting Niky in London and receiving mine personally!

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Niky’s runes are cast from her own hand made personal set, and based on the Elder Futhark. These symbols were originally carved in wood and stone, and their straight lines reflect that context. Elder Futhark was a runic alphabet used by Norse and Germanic peoples from approximately the 2nd – 8th centuries. ( styles changed, runes evolved, and continued to be used….) Runes are recorded in sources such as the Poetic Edda as being used for inscriptions and talismans.

In the 1980’s Ralph Blum published and popularized the runes as a system of divination. I have long been a fan of Tarot cards, as an inspirational and oracular device. But runes were never my go to, and I enjoyed this chance to start working with them.

The first rune I selected to work with is URUZ, meaning “aurochs”. It’s traditional meaning is “Physical strength and speed, untamed potential. A time of great energy and health. Freedom, energy, action, courage, strength, tenacity, understanding, wisdom. Sudden or unexpected changes…” Immediately I saw a Phoenix, as working with the runes coincided with a New Moon journal spread I was planning. ( And yes – this means I still have this actual rune to use in a piece of jewelry!)

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The dark moon was done in watercolor pencils and crayons. I wanted to leave a hint of a triple spiral there in purples and black. The Phoenix was drawn in pencil and inked with fine marker. The color was very satisfying to do- many layers and colors blended using Derwent watercolor pencils.

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I was a bit disappointed with the background. I used a student grade liquid watercolor and it feels a little flat, a little blah to me. Such is the nature of an art journal: experimentation, risks, and play.

The second rune I selected was EHWAZ, meaning horse. It’s traditional meaning is: movement/ progress, steady progress, transit and transition. When thinking “horse” I immediately think of the Uffington chalk figure, and I was seeing landscapes in my mind’s eye from my recent trip to visit Lesley in Dorset. This idea evolved quite naturally, involving polymer and felt…

I wet felted two abstracted landscapes in a palette of greens:

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The rune will be affixed to the frame at center top. The felted tapestry inside, and an image of the Uffington horse to float above, suspended on fine gauge copper chain.

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This is the work in progress so far – I am seeing a few changes I want to make. I want to create another felt tapestry and play up the copper color from the rune itself. I think I will add a thin layer of white acrylic paint on the frame, a white wash of a sort, to lighten the piece. And yes – that is a rogue hair from my paintbrush. Oops. I am happy with my overall design plan – but need to tweak the palette a little. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts…

And I look forward to seeing the creations from my team mates and our guests this month:

Guests:

Kelly Rodgers

Deb Fortin

Art Element Members:

Laney Mead

Lesley Watt

Caroline Dewison

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Susan Kennedy

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Jennifer Stout Cameron

Claire Fabian

Lindsay M Starr

Niky Sayers

Snow and sparkle: The Art Elements Ornament challenge

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Happy Solstice! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Welcome to the reveal of the Art Elements Ornaments challenge!

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Tray of cookies? Tray of terra cotta!

I have an ornament making tradition of my own. Every year I make one “batch” of ornaments in terra cotta. I have my Grandmother’s vintage metal cookie cutters – now used for clay. I like the sense of tradition and connection to her, as I dont really bake cookies often, and the vintage shapes never go out of style!

These terra cotta ornaments are once fired, and use my “faux majolica” technique. They are first glazed with an opaque white glaze, on top only, like icing. They the colors are layered over. They fuse together in the  firing. this color over white method is similar to traditional majolica.

This year I had another idea I wanted to try:

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These beaded beauties ( if I do say so myself) were inspired by The Palette and the Page gallery in Elkton Md. Lynn, one of the artist/owners does the most inspired window displays. This year she called for snowflakes of any size or medium, but limited to white, silver, cream, gold. So I HAD to bead. The snowflakes are beaded onto 4″ circles of stiff felt. I lightly marked off 6 segments to start, and built the designs out from the center.  It was almost meditative, like drawing mandalas!

Im sorry I didn’t get a picture of the windows at night. It was magical!

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Detailed view of my beaded snowflakes.

So pour yourself a cuppa – tea? coffee? cocoa? and sit by your tree… and journey through the ornament challenge! Have a bright New Year, see you all in 2018!

Guest Designers
Art Elements Team

January Component of the Month reveal – Winter Woodland

Welcome to the first Component of the Month for 2017. The Art Elements team is a depth of camaraderie and inspiration: this month  the shaped leather cabs were contributed by our own Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creation. You can read all about her process on the Art Elements blog. 15741073_10211946813652467_2241458521480113927_n

I received the green and blue cab on the bottom far right. I love the shape – and although it was a little darker once sealed for protection – it had me thinking deep ocean. At first. Then this happened – The colorful ceramic plate is the work of Clarice Cliff. A British pottery designer of the 30’s, Cliff is well known for her colorful Art Deco style. It was the tree shapes that got me…

The cab became a tree top scattered with flurries of snow. I cut a leather trunk and know one of Rebekah’s sleepy critters was going to be incorporated. The owl? The badger? As you can see here the fawn won. ( Rebekah/Tree Wing Studio on Etsy)

I needle felted the landscape onto a piece of “pre-felt” and had to add a few curly locks. Because curly locks are like felt candy! I am really pleased with the sky colors. Here in Delaware it is so often grey when it snows, so its artistic license!

And now – to bead. Here is the finished piece. It measures maybe 4 x 6″? I haven framed it yet…

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Winter Woodland mixed media tapestry

I feel that I have captured the silent serenity of a woodland snowfall. It was a pleasure to work with both Lindsay’s piece and Rebekah’s!
Please stop by our blogs, and our guests this month! I look forward to hearing your impressions on this piece.

Sherri

Kelly 

Linda

AE Writers:

Lesley

Laney

Lindsay

Caroline 

Cathy

Cooky

Claire

Diana

Jenny ( you are here)

Susan

Niky

jan-com-17

Sleepy critters by Rebekah of Tree Wing Studio.

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! 

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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: 

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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: 

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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