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)

 

 

 

Getting plastered…

My year goes in cycles. This time of year is one of the times when I push to do new tile designs. My final big show is coming up – <gulp> in three weeks, and I like to debut new designs there. The show is FaerieCon – a wonderful fantasy convention in Baltimore MD. I have written about it here and here... 

So a new offering in my “Mythic Nature” series is in order. Or 2 if I can convince palster to dry faster, and faster, than nature would allow. 

Here is the first tile – a triple hare design – being cast… 

Triple hare original tile

 

Casting process

The process is relatively simple. And I use the most commom materials: Build a mold box of cardboard. Seal every nook and cranny with duct tape. Glue tile down – wouldn’t want it to pop up, or float. Coat the surfaces with a wee bit of Vaseline to aid in seperation later.  Mix up plaster, I do this by eye… pour the first bit in amongst the details, then fill the rest. Set aside and wait. That last bit – the hardest part!

Here is the second design that I cast today. 

Mr Fox.

The hare mold came our perfectly! 

open the mold

Remove the cardboard, gently peel out the clay… and voila!

Triple hare mold 

Now if only that plaster would hurry up and dry!!!

 

Curiouser and Curiouser…Inspired by Alice blog hop

It started with a rabbit. And a pocketwatch. There are so many iconic images from Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, but to me it all starts with the rabbit. Yes, I think caterpillars, vials of potions, cards, roses, tea parties and top hats, even flamingos and croquet. But I have a thing for rabbits…

(In case you just fell down the rabbit hole – you are currently on a Blog Hop. There was a challenge presented by Staci and Genea to create a piece inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Twas brillig – the idea, that is!)

Alice sketches

This is the rabbit I pictured in my piece – a Japanese carved ivory netsuke ( as noted below) Its a full moon hare – myths of the moon hare abound in cultures across the world, between cultures and over time. But thats another story for another day. This story is a white rabbit… The round shape had me thinking of the gears IN a pocketwatch, and the face of a pocketwatch. Suddenly it was not a rabbit WITH a watch, but a rabbit IN a watch. 

Hare netsuke 

Ivory Manju Netsuke – Rabbit in full moon shape 
Kyoto School, Circa 18th Century

The pocketwatch casing I decided to use – I have a few – was open on both sides. I wanted to be able to fill the space and keep the weight of the piece down. But I had to create a back that would be completely sealed as I planned to pour resin at the end stage. What you see here is a antique glass lens holding enameled gears & vintage gears embedded in resin and layered with paper. The sticker on the lens is original – I left it as it reminded me of the Mad Hatter’s hat size stuck in the brim of his hat. I have fabricated copper wire into a prong setting – as the lens is too small to fit completely. 

Alice back stage 1

The polymer hares after baking, awaiting an acrylic stain to add the patina of time. ( The owls are for a mixed media piece inspired by the Greek Goddess Athena…)

polymer ready to stain

The lens in place – epoxy putty as the bezel. It was a sticky mess, like sculpting with molasses. Once cured it had to be sanded and painted. You can see on the right the prongs supporting the piece from the inside. The paper created a visual barrier seperating the front items and the back items.  

Alice back stage 2 Alice inside stage 2

The rest came together quickly. The hare, gear and watch parts, and an antique enameled watch face from my favorite antique store in Austin TX. ( I live in DE. Long distance!)

Alice front w/o resin

Alice back complete

The entire piece is currently filled with resin. Lets see how it cures over night, and hopefully I can add an update in the morning! I haven’t addressed how to wear this piece yet. That would depend quite a bit on the wearer, I think. Velvet ribbon; choker length? Chunky chain, worn long over the chest? What do you think ? 

Saturday morning: resin for the win!

resin final stage

Thanks to Staci and Genea for hosting the Hop! I had a great time with this piece; I had a chance to play, to think outside the box, to experiement. Please take some time and see what my fellow participants have creatied! Curiouser and Curiouser!

Ginger Bishop
www.lilmummylikes.blogspot.com
 
Staci Louise Originals (hostess!)
www.stacilouise.blogspot.com
 
Genea Beads (hostess!)
www.geneabeads.blogspot.com
 
Jenny Davies-Reazor (Thanks for stopping by!)
www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
 
Heidi Post
www.expostfactojewelry.blogspot.com
 
Donna Bradley
www.strandedbeads.blogspot.com
 
Linda Hanes
www.craftygallindadesigns.blogspot.com
 
Birgitta Lejonklou
www.lejonklou.blogspot.com
 
Libellua Jewelry
www.libellulajewelry.com
 
Lori Anderson
www.prettythings.blogspot.com
 
Linda Florian
www.lilysofthevalleyjewelry.blogspot.com
 
Dyanne Cantrell
www.deelitefuljewelrycreations.blogspot.com
 
Nicole Valentine Rimmel
www.nvalentine.blogspot.com
 
Jo in Wonderland
www.joyblonde.blogspot.it
 
 

The goddess and the lunar hare

Faux Bone – just what the name implies, a relatively new material, related to PVA plastic, yet non toxic and high quality. It was launched on the market by Robert Dancik, and I have had it on the workbench for months! Wanting to try shaping, sanding, carving, impressing, staining… this versatile material. So here is the first attempt: 

Faux bone goddess

The ceramic oval on the left is my goddess/poppet. To me She is the self, the soul, the creative muse, the feminine divine. Her shape is inspired by Cycladic idols and other ancient sculpture. I wanted to see her in faux ivory of a sort. The copper acts as a structural base for the piece, the dark rich patina of the copper setting off the subtle tones in the FB. From a design sense it serves as a halo, and allows holes at hands (for attachment to a necklace) and feet ( gemstone dangle, of course!)

Cycladic idol  Nile Goddess (Left: Cycladic Idol, app. 2500 BCE. Right: Nile Goddess, app 3500 BCE)

I was happy with how she turned out, although I am still considering giving her breasts… I turned my focus next to me second favorite of my ceramic pendants – the lunar hare. The  hare is a bit of a totem animal for me, and I am greatly inspired by the many myths of the moon hare. From so many cultures, so diverse, yet illustrating a commonality…

Lunar hare

The crescent on the right – is polymer clay. I was baking some other pieces for the Blue Hen and I made a few crescents to test. While i like the sculptural possibilities – this one is too bulky. I think Faux bone will work best here, too. Other things in progress: 

Copper and nickel silver windows/ frames. Images are sandwiched under mica, tube rivets, stamped words… This was a direct inspiration from Melissa Manley – and although she wasn’t the first to ever use this technique – it is only proper, and respectful to give credit. (Her work is amazing, and I am happy to have studied with her, and to call her a friend. ) The piece on the far left: “Such stuff as dreams are made on…” quoted from “The Tempest” – houses an image of Miranda from a painting by my favorite, John Williams Waterhouse

copper frames pendants

The piece on the right is a bit different. It is carved wood, housing a collage. The collage is set in a plastic lens and resin. The front image is an Irish stamp, copper, and the word ‘Journey’. The back: 

MM bird back

It is an idea I am experimenting with – crating sculptural frames for collage/lens. My text, as always, is from 200+ year old books. It is a meditation of sorts, to thumb through the yellowing pages, eyes flitting and darting, until the right words present themselves to me. Words I would not have chosen; phrases I would not have composed…

I would love to hear your thoughts, out there in the ether. Do you have a personal talisman? A totem animal?