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)

 

 

 

FaerieCon 2012 – a feast of friends, folklore, and fantasy

 FC 2012

Its hard to know where to begin. FaerieCon this past weekend was a reunion, a celebration,  and a homecoming. It has taken me all week to write this post. Monday, back at home, I felt cocooned in what I refer to as the “Euphoria bubble” and was unwilling to venture out into the “real” world. Its a feeling of internal warmth, of euphoria and yet bittersweet joy that the time together has come to an end. I feel connected to my friends in a finely spun Internet web, connected yet seperated by miles… After a weekend of mayhem and madness, mirth and mystery it is hard to settle in and grocery shop or stand in line at the Post office.  

fae friends collage

I have many life long friends that I have met at FaerieCon. Some may think it odd that 2.5 days of  a retail fantasy themed convention would yield such closeness. But its not to be measured in hours on the clock. These are people who understand me instantly, no explanations needed. These are poeple who may share similar upbringings, or life expereiences, or challenges and frustrations. But we meet on common ground, with so much shared experience. Attending my first FC in 2009 I instantly felt at home and so wanted to be adopted into the tribe, of these like minded creative people. And I was welcomed with open arms and open wings. So many friendships were of long standing I felt a bit of an outsider – my baggage only… In subsequent years – I feel truly part of the tribe. This year was even more intensely joyous, and thus bittersweet as we left the Realm and headed “home” 

Our Magical Emcees

 In my life – I have worn many hats: awkward smart kid, art student, art teacher, artist… When you are 11 its not cool to have your head stuck in a book of myth. I found Elfquest at age 10 and had a physical reaction to the story and the art. Heart pounding, face flushed, incredulity and love. I read all the mythology i could get my hands on….In High school – it was Arthurian legends, Celtic myth…and the Pre-Raphaelites. My amazement at discovering artists creating with the same inspirations, having read the same materials; that sense of connection through time. When you are an art student in college, so many classmates are all angst and turmoil… I was fabricating sterling penannular broaches and painting surreal compositions with archetypal mythic themes – snakes and apples anyone? As a teacher, I found good friends – but not colleagues who understood the passionate desire to create and express myself through my work. I think life is so often arranged in circles. Some circles where one part of your complicated self is welcomed; other circles satisfy other needs. Can you imagine the joy in finding a circle where you can feel whole? Where all of your interests and attributes are recognized, welcomed, and appreciated? Thats how this Mythic community makes me feel. Green Men handing out acorns and blessings, discussing Waterhouse and Burne-Jones over a glass of wine…discussing kitchen witchery and runes, living with intention.  

Portraits

I have the good fortune to be a working artist. I do teach part time, but my days are split between creating in the studio and the chores of running one’s own small business. I can keep living in this creative space as I work and travel to shows. At times I feel like a Mythic Ambassador – setting up at a regular fine arts festival… with my mermaids and dryads, Celtic dieties, totem animals… Its lovely when your work resonates with people and they stop to talk, ask questions… and perhaps make a purchase. And it is interesting to see the mythic icons spark interest anew, speak to that collective uncosciousness. And the teacher in me loves to share…

I started the arts festival circuit in 2004(?) after returning East from a brief sojourn in San Diego. After making the leap to put my work out there I knew it was the right path for me. And I was happy doing that – thankful for the Internet that gave me access to thinks like Endicott Studios… But never in my wildest dreams did I imaging meeting Terri Windling, or the Frouds, Caitlin Matthews or Charles’ Vess & deLint… Artists and authors whose work was so influencial to me. Knowing there were other creative people out there – like me – was huge. Getting to meet them as peers and discuss art, pets, myth – I can’t tell you what that means to me. I may be alone in my studio with my dogs, sawing metal or glazing clay; but I am never alone. Thank you new friends and old for having helped me find my place in the mythic world. 

 

 

 

Start packing your bags… Challenge of Travel preview

This Saturday is Erin’s Challenge of Travel blog hop reveal. Its a creative challenge to create a themed piece – in this case the country of your choice. Germany is mine. Not exotic, not a place that is known for a different design aesthetic – like  Japan or Aboriginal Austaralia. German is a large part of my heritage (along with Irish, Welsh and Scottish. Full Celt!) yet I have never been there. It is the British Celtic lore that inspired and informs my artwork. So in reading and researching Germany – I wanted to share some of my finds. 

Part I – Thinkers, musicians, architects. 

The Brothers Grimm – linguists and cultural ressearchers, most well known for their collections of folklore. 

Grimm stamp Snow white folk art stamp

Frau Holle stamp Bad fairy stamp

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe –artist, writer, and politician.

  Goethe stamp

Richard Wagner – composer and conductor. Retold Germanic myths in “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (The Ring of the Nibelung)   Wagner stamps 

Rackam's Brunhild

(Brunhilde the Valkyrie – A. Rackam 1910)

Martin Luther – theologian and religious reformer

Luther stamps

Johann Sebastian Bach & Ludwig van Beethoven – Classical composers extraordinairre

Bach Stamp Beethoven stamp

Albert Einstein – theoretical physicist, developed Law of Relativity. 

Einstein stamp

Walter Gropius – pioneering architect, founder of the Bauhaus School. 

Bauhaus stamp

Mies Vander Rohe – Pioneering architect, “master of Modern Architecture. 

Mies stamp

( I apologize for not linking them all – but any can be found readily in Wiki for more info)

The stamps as illustrations was a happy accident – and so much more. I kept finding stamp images which were so apropos at documenting and honoring German figures from history and culture. So I searched out ALL stamp images. But what could be more perfect as a souvenir of travel? As  a child I took over my Dad’s stamp collection. His mom, my Grandmom always requested postcards when we traveled, especially our first school trips to Europe as teenagers. I myself have made it a quest to buy stamps on Carribean islands, the Owl post in Hogsmeade… not for use but to collage. I am an inveterate collector of paper ephemera, ticket stubs, wrappers and such that I collage into my travel journals. So let this post whet your appetite – for travel or for the upcoming reveal – hopefully both!

Tune in tomorrow for German artists! 

 

 

 

Fresh start…

Resolutions. To do or not to do… Merriam Webster gives this: 

: the act or process of resolving: as a : the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones b : the act of answering : solving c : the act of determining 

as well as the more traditional New Years application: 
a : something that is resolved <made a resolution to mend my ways> b : firmness of resolve
Making a resolution on New Years simply because it is New Years – well, that has no strength behind it, no intention. Hate to break it to you, but that is one resolution that will fail. I like to get a fresh start. Evaluate the old year, and welcome in the new. Clean slate. Clean workspace.  Alyson Stanfield encourages her clients and readers to journal their accomplishments, taking time to reflect and appreciate the results of their labors. I scheduled coffee and journal time yesterday for exactly that!
New year, new sketchbook
Finished my refelections in the last sketchbook, and started the new, with images, quotes, all matter of inspiration. And goals. This fresh start of a year – planning, scheduling in major shows, exhibits… There is always some carry over of projects that have not yet come to be, transfered from the old journal to the new, moved up on the waiting list of creative endeavors. I find it very informative and interesting to look back on a year’s sketchbook entries, doodles, ideas, jagged scraps of thought that have yet to grow into a full piece of art. And there was coffee, and sleeping dogs, and sun streaming inthe window… Yes!
One of my goals for the year – is to catch up a bit on my reading. There are books from last Christmas, this Christmas, and all points in between. Can one ever have too many books? I think not – but they are to be read, and savored; not piled on shelves. I even make notes in margins – scandalous to some purists, I know, but it is MY book…
Berk and FroudFresh from under the tree: “The Runes of Elfland”by Ari Berk and Brian Froud; and the re-release anniversary edition of “Faeries” by Froud and Alan Lee. These are to be savored. My original copy of Faeries in paperback, very dog-eared is years old. I have had the good fortune to meet and chat with both these men, and they continue to be an inspiration to my life and work. 
Gaiman and BernheimerTwo anthologies: Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman and “My mother she killed me, my father he ate me” compiled by Kate Bernheimer. The latter – book club selection at Surlalune Fairy Tales. That will be an interesting discussion!
Fiction 2011
Fiction offerings: 
A.S.Byatt – “The Children’s Book”
David Bajo – “The 351 Books of Irma Acuri”
Paolo Coehlo – “Witch of Portobello”
Bill Willingham – “Peter and Max”
David Mitchell – “Cloud Atlas”

Celtic 2011
The Celtic resource books… ( Note the coffee splatter on the top book. Thanks Zoey!)
Mythy books
And the last pile of mythic/folklore/essays, etc. There may be a series of ceramic tree tiles awaiting me in the pages of that one book…
Where do I begin? Started “Peter and Max” last night. It is a “Fables” book, set in the contemporary fantasy universe I have grown to love in the graphic novels. Excellent so far. Perhaps the Norse mythology. There are some goddesses I want to read up on – inspiration for new collage works for a show in March. 


Myth, Fantasy, Folklore…Oh MY!

RenCon! A new vision by the FaerieWorlds team, this weekend festival combines the best elements of a Rennaissance Faire, FaerieCon, and the like. Located at the Marriott Hunt Valley, just outside Baltimore MD, this weekend long celebration of myth, fantasy and folklore features music, art, lectures, and 2, yes 2, Masquerade Balls.

From the FaerieWorlds blog: “This is NOT your typical tankard toasting, turkey-leg weilding” RenFaire. In the spirit of the true meaning of “Renaissance”, RenCon celebrates today’s exciting re-birth in the mythic arts. Grounded in history, rooted in myth and legend and inspired by fantasy, people of all ages are seeking to “Live their Legend” in every aspect oftheir lives. At RenCon we are assembling the best artists, crafters, jewelers, costumers, clothiers, mask makers, and body decorators from the Renn, faerie, fantasy, and yes, steampunk worlds. It’s all here for three magical days and two enchanted nights with the amazing music of Estampie and Qntal at the Masquerades where you (and your wings!) will feel right at home! For more information and tickets, visit: http://www.renconvention.com

I had such a phenomenal weekend at FaerieCon last fall, I am looking forward to another similar weekend of creativity and enchantment. Now off to the studio – time is ticking away!