Delighted in Dorset…

Part 1 of 3.

This  January I spent a magical week in and around Dorset visiting my friend Lesley Watt. 

If you know me or are familiar with my work, you may be aware of the currents of magic, myth and folklore that run through all I do… So this trip was part vacation, part art retreat, part creative interlude. It was restorative, invigorating, inspiring, and immensely fulfilling. The creative seeds planted this one week will grow all year…

But for now – let me share a few ( or many!) images with you.

The village of Burley IN the New Forest. ( Day 1)

The New Forest was established in 1079 by William The Conqueror. ( Yes, THAT William the Conquerer.) In villages throughout the NF, “Commoners” or residents hold the same rights to access/grazing/resources as their early Medieval predecessors. The New Forest ponies roam free, and are loosely managed by the “verderers”. The town of Burley has numerous ties to witches in history, namely Sibyl Leek and Gerald Gardner…

The New Forest itself – with its history, landscape, biodiversity… has captured my imagination. I have been starting to read up and work with images inspired by the Celtic Tree alphabet – so this dovetails in rather nicely. Although I was there in Winter, the gorse and broom were blooming. The ponies were wearing their shaggy coats – and as you see a gorgeous blue sky appeared.

Corfe Castle. ( Day 2) 

Again – Norman in historical time period. ( I DO like OLD stuff.) Begun by William the Conqueror in 1090; finished by his son Henri I in the early 1100’s. These majestic ruins command the skyline, and its placement as a fortress is evident!

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Im sure there are sprites and pixies living in that tree.

The gentle hike up to the castle and the village was like walking into a fairyland. So much free, mosses and lichens, a stream cascading… And you arrive in Corfe Castle village.

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Rather timeless when cars aren’t pictured…

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The ruins are not overly protected. Visitors are trusted to act and tread carefully. I was enamored with all the unobstructed views.

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There are currently ravens nesting high up in the tower wall. And a flock of jackdaws kept us company.

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This. As lino print. As weaving. As ceramic tile. This!

Then a fabulous lunch… and one more historical marker.

This made me chuckle, incredulous. This stone marks the millennium of a regicide. And even that was 40 years ago!

We left Corfe Castle – and drove back towards Bournemouth via the Isle of Purbeck and Studland Bay. ( Isle of Purbeck as in Purbeck stone of which Corfe Castle is built.) Weather was cooperating – so we did a little beach combing on Knoll beach… I could see white chalk cliffs and even the Isle of Wight in the distance.

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Time to head home after a stunning inspiring day. Then THIS happened:

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That late afternoon light!

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Again – so much inspiration here!

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Greens in January made me so happy.

The third day was a day spent at home, in the studio! Sketching, collaging, and working on my travel journal. ( Stay tuned for that.) Then to the pub for a proper Sunday dinner. A cute pup, a delicious Dorset cider, and Yorkshire pudding ( not pictured.)

Stay tuned for the next installment that includes magic, alchemy, camaraderie, and more!

 

 

Goals for the Year…

( This post was originally published on Art Elements blog)

Hello all – I hope your 2018 dawn broke in whatever fashion you desired! We went out to a concert on New Year’s Eve Eve with friends and had a blast. On the last day of 2017 I got a good nights sleep and rang in the morning with coffee, and lots of it. Then I proceeded to start cleaning the studio. Did you see Niky’s post this week? I can SO relate to that…

So studio is being reclaimed. Organizing, decluttering, displaying treasures to free up space on my work table. Now I want to look forwards. 2017 was a year I was happy to say goodbye to… aside from the greater world situation/trauma/news/horror I had some personal challenges, and family issues that were , well – upheavals.

I have a renewed sense of “Live life to the fullest” and as such sat down to make a top 10 list for the year: 

My “Birch” page as I study the Celtic tree calendar.

1. Jump start my art journal practice. This is a project I an renewing this year for the third in a row. Last year I made it halfway through the year, before stress derailed me. And that was an improvement from the prior year! Im working large, IMO, in a 11 x 14″ spiral bound mixed media sketchbook. There will be watercolor, collage, drawing… whatever I want! This is a practice for me alone, and while I may share some spreads on my IG, I can play and be messy, and do art therapy, and no one needs to see. Im taking a yearlong class called Moonshine with Effy Wild ( of Journal52 and Life Book) and so far love the themes and prompts presented.

so many books!

2.Read. In the last few years of living this creative entrepreneur’s life, my reading levels have plummeted. I work all day in the studio, at my part time job, in the “work” ceramics studio… and only read after i crawl in bed. Yeah, < laughs> that doesn’t work out so well. I have a growing pile of mythology, women studies, fairy tale analysis, art and technique books which ARE work related. So I CAN read during the work hours….

3. Play. This past year I was stuck in a rut of production. I started the year strong, and spent the summer and fall making new work just in time for the next show. Needless to say, I didn’t have the time to try new things, to play, to experiment. And I felt stagnant creatively. This year I am working part time at the fabulous Sarafina Fiber Arts “Art House“. The environment and the product are very conducive to creativity. I want to felt and bead and sculpt. I want to try polymer mosaics. I want to do larger tile pieces. I want to do another series of goddess figures… See?

4. Planners and mindfulness – Yes this one seems to not go together… I treated myself to the Desire Map planner by Danielle LaPorte. Part daily planner, part woo woo, part daily positive affirmations. Filling out a day’s page in the morning over coffee keeps me organized, yes. But mindful as well. And reminds me to take care of myself…

5.Health and happiness. This one really needs no explanation. As I mentioned earlier – family health issues. Health is prioritized! Mental health, meditation or the like, down time. Hydration! Healthy eating. I am trying to shift my mindset of preparing dinner from a chore, to a mindful daily ritual. Think good music, and bocking the time in so I am not so rushed.

Mythical creatures! Witchy cauldrons!

6. Overhaul my tile inventory. As in retire old designs! Design new tiles! And sketch them… I have a few molds that are worn out and need to be done. I have SO many tile designs in my head – I am trying to get them on paper and start sculpting! My first arts festival of the year is in May – and I want to debut mythical creatures. As always I will have mythic themes, gods and goddesses, and I am developing a new line inspired by the comforts of home. Think coffee, books, pets, tea… What would you put on the ” Comforts” list?

But I have to be practical as well – some designs will be custom order. Others – the most popular designs – will go with me to shows. I plan a series of smaller tiles for the 4 elements that can be purchased singly or as a group….

And if there are new tiles there will be new pendants to correspond!

labradorite, sawing out script, tray of to-do’s!

7. Metals – metals were my first love in art school. I sincerely adore sawing complex things with my jewelers saw. So why aren’t I doing more?! As I established myself and my business; applying to shows… ceramics was the best category in which to place my work. Tiles, shrines, pendants… But in my heart I am a mixed media artist. So more metals? Yes, please!

simple, but so versatile

8. Linoleum printing. I used to teach it in school. Lesley and I did a print making art camp a few years back… You may have seen prints I was playing with for our 2017 “Keep your Sanity” challenges… During 2017 I took a few online classes with the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic. For the fairy tales course I did a series of lino prints – I wanted to do something not in my normal mediums, and play a bit. I found that it was a great exercise to encourage me to draw more, and I find the carving rather Zen. The goddess and Little Red Riding Hood pieces pictured above? The goddess image correlates with a tile a sculpt, and I am thinking the wolf may be translated into clay soon! I like developing ideas and translating them into different media!

small but completely sufficient

9. Travel. Starting the year off with a trip to the UK! Art camp with Lesley! And  – actually meeting my dear friends of the UK branch of Art Elements… IN PERSON! But after that extravaganza… my desires are simple. Time with the husband and the dog, time in nature. The picture above? Our tiny 14′ travel trailer. She is adorable. We have no plans yet – but now as we are snowed and cold – that’s the time to make them!

10. Friends, family and community – Spending quality time with the people I care about. Not letting the job get in the way… and that means online friends and community as well. Taking the time to comment and start a conversation instead of blindly clicking “like”. Spending less time mindlessly scrolling, but quality time touching base with friends that are far away. Video calls to watch my little nephews antics… Stop what you are doing and hug someone today!

The Moravian Pottery – and Tile Festival!

( This post was originally published on the Art Elements blog – by yours truly.)

It was a temperate day in May and the clouds were fluffy…

Snapped as I was unloading. Great place to spend the weekend!

Last month I was thrilled to return to the Tile Festival at the Moravian Pottery and Tile works in Doylestown, PA. The historic pottery/tile works has been in operation since 1898, and hosts a spectacular artist’s exhibit and show each Spring. Artists from as far as Canada, Alaska, even Russia were represented this year. ( More on that in my companion post.)

The Tile works is a unique building – cast in place, in concrete, and studded from top to bottom with mosaics and inset tiles. Henry Chapman Mercer worked with this style of construction for not only the Tile Works, but also his “home” ( mansion? castle?) named Fonthill. Both are located in parkland owned and maintained by Bucks Co. PA.

Kraken mosaic in situ.

Henry Chapman Mercer was from this area, and after school ( Harvard and U Penn Law) and extensive travel in Europe – he settled down in the area. He served as the Curator of American and Prehistoric Archaeology for University of Pennsylvania in the early 1890s. This lead to his love of and research in American artifacts, and later pottery; he apprenticed with a local German American potter. He was heavily influenced by the American Arts and Crafts Movement – and founded the MPTW in 1898.

Courtyard, with chimneys. And yes, the chimneys have mosaic bands of decoration!

The gift shop, tucked into a Medieval style barrel vault.

The tiles made at the MPTW are diverse – and range from impressed terra cotta pavers to sculptural tiles designed for mosaic use. There are flora and fauna, ships, ancient cities, Colonial era occupations… and many Classical and literary references. They tile employ both glazes and colored slips – playing with the contrast of matte and glossy. Inspirations run the gamut from Medieval and Byzantine eras, the Celtic Revival, and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Original designs still in production!

I take this picture every time I visit. There is something so evocative about the idea of working in that space…

There are literally tiles everywhere, every surface. Shown here: “The Quarrel”, castle, triton, and a vignette from “The New World” fireplace.

“Bookplate” Mosaic panel – designed by Mercer for his friend Dr. R. Bell. Based on an actual book plate.

The clays used were originally locally sourced, and today the MPTW uses similar. comparable clay bodies. As seen in the picture above – at times color is NOT applied – but the tiles are “cindered”. The term is what I would call a sagger firing: tiles are placed inside a ceramic container, with sawdust. They are them fired in the kiln – created a reduction atmosphere in the saggar/container. This results in the clay absorbing carbon from the combustible sawdust – which darkens the clay body itself. ( Ceramicists: simple definition for the lay people, forgive me) The mosaic catalog on the MPTW website showcases the New World series and has many examples of these “cindered” tiles used in mosaics. The New World Series? It ranges from Vikings,Atlantis, and  Aztecs, to Raleigh and Powhatan!

A polychrome zodiac!

I find this place to be infinitely inspiring. It makes me love terra cotta all over again. And I will admit to ideas and plans for some smallish mosaics of my own. There are classes and apprenticeships available. An tours, of course. So if you are in the area – please take a look. It’s truly living history.

As to the show? The tile festival itself? More on that – Stay tuned.

Inner visions, Inner Harbor

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The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. 

Why had I never been here before? 

Last week my friend and blog colleague Lesley Watt was visiting. We had planned our vacation art camp with a mix of field trips and artwork projects. The weather was so insanely cooperative – very unlike late August/early September usually is… So our first adventure was the AVAM in Baltimore, on a glorious temperate, blue-skied day…

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Mosaic bluebird of happiness. 

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A museum is covered in installations.

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Bunny! On the “Magic Bus”

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This mosaic Cosmic Galaxy  egg was breath taking. It even incorporated images from the Hubble telescope. ( Artist: Andrew Logan)

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The Museum grounds are outstanding. Sculpture, installations, fountains, gardens. I felt completely enchanted before we even entered the museum.

 

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A sense of fun, a tranquil enclosure… 

There are many instances where words or a quote stop you in your tracks. I did manage to capture a few heartfelt phrases.

There is no photography allowed in the museum, so you are seeing pieces from the grounds, and in the mirror below a stealth pix of Lesley in a mirrored mosaic. The blue sculpture above? Entirely beaded, representing John Waters and Divine as a folk art weather house – you know – where figures emerge and disappear depending on the weather readings?

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No pictures allowed IN the museum, but the bathrooms were fair game! 

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In the gardens between the buildings. A true oasis in the city. 

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Need I say more? 

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Amazing views from the AVAM Bird’s nest balcony

After the museum we headed to the Inner Harbor for a tourist browse and then dinner. Crab cakes, naturally.

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The Inner Harbor – then off for crab cakes! 

Lesley has posted regarding the adventures over at Art Jewelry Elements. Take a look at her pix! And stay tuned for more here, later this week!

Glass treasures – the May COM reveal

Once again – a month comes to a close. I may not have blogged much – but I do have treasures to show you! Its time for the Art Jewelry Elements COM reveal!

I am spoiled. Sue gave me a selection of these new wee gorgeous cabochons when we briefly met up at Bead Fest April in Philly. I was greedy and asked for THREE (!!!) of these stars. I envisioned them as a crown over a celestial goodess face. 

Sue star cabs

But its Spring, and I have had a chance to go to the beach a few times. Walking dogs, with a coffee, early in the morning is my favorite pastime. And beach combing. Very quickly this became a starfish, destined to be nestled in a mermaid’s hair. (Late in the month I realized that #MerMay is a thing on social media. Google it). So when a new batch of stoneware face cabs came out of the high fire gas kiln… this happened: 

May 2016 COM

Shells from Bethany DE, antique coral, abalone from NZ (long story)… Sue’s cab sets the palette, and Caroline’s sea urchin bead completes the piece! Here are some detail shots: 

COM details

I need to stitch on some beaded loops or closed rings. That part always happens last as it seems like a chore to me. 

Umm – so I was at the beach this past Memorial Day weekend – and I always pack beads. The weather was a bit grey… so while tired dogs napped after morning hikes… 

Mermaid tapestry

This is a small tapestry. The enamleled mermaid is from Anne Gardanne. I have been treasuring it… You know I am doing a beaded goddess each month? Well, I have further challenged myself to sculpt all those cabs. So this is a bonus! The May goddess is done; the June piece is laid out. I am not sure where I am going with this – but that purple! It was as if Sue’s cab and Anne’s mermaid were destined! I’d love to hear what you think… 

I was very inspired, and rather prolific; please visit my team mates and our guests to see other creative designs featuring Sue’s wee cabs!  

 Guests
Allison Herrington
Lola Surwillo
 
AJE Team Members
Susan Kennedy – host
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Jenny Davies-Reazor ( here)
Caroline Dewison
Lindsay Starr
Lesley Watt
Jennifer Cameron
Niky Sayers
 

The eyes have it! The March theme reveal at Art Jewelry Elements

Welcome! Its the end of March and time for the reveal over at Art Jewelry Elements. This month’s theme was very illuminating. I found myself thinking of and researching so many eye motifs… 

Eye inspirations collage

The Egyptian Eye of Horus, Lover’s Eyes and an eye brooch designed by Salvador Dali. (clockwise from top left)

By happenstance, Rachel Helinki of Dida Metals posted a glorious eye pendant/necklace she has created – incorporating one of Joan Miller’s porcelain eye cabochons. I was planning to use a similar cab – so I asked Rachel to appear here with me as my guest… Here is her offering, words and images: … 

“The lovely Jenny Davies-Reazor asked if I wanted to partake in the AJE Monthly Challenge & after seeing the theme — it was a total no brainer for me.  Eyes are a major design element that I like to focus on with my work, so I couldn’t resist participating!  
 
Eyes are actually why I got into metalsmithing to begin with.  Two years ago I was diagnosed with an chronic autoimmune disease of the eyes.  Metalsmithing had always been a dream of mine & the thought of experiencing any kind of vision impairment really put everything in motion for me.  I took a weekend workshop where I had access to materials & tools and never looked back!  
 
Eyes & chronic illness are themes I like to explore personally through metalwork.  I have several eye pieces that I wear as talismans that give me strength when I need it.  I know that many people look to the eye as a symbol for so many different reasons & that it has roots in many different cultures (Thank you Lindsay M Starr for pulling together a great list — I’d not known of the Lover’s Eye before your post!)
 
For this challenge, I’d like to feature one piece in particular — a pendant featuring a gorgeous porcelain cabochon made by Joan Miller!  Joan’s piece was perfect for setting — it has a fun iridescent, detailed iris, but still allowed me to add interest with the setting.  The entire piece is hand fabricated from fine & sterling silver using traditional metalsmithing techniques.  One of my favorite details on this is the bezel which is shaped to look like eyelids!
I’d like to thank the Art Jewelry Elements ladies for hosting this challenge & allowing me to participate (& Jenny in particular for letting me guest post on her blog)!  “

Dida eye1

Detail shots

See? I am utterly enchanted with that necklace! I hope to finally meet Rachel next weekend at Bead Fest Spring – we have been Instagram acquaintances for a while! 

So… the cab ended up in a very different setting for me… 

the beaded eye

I was going to do a wall hanging in an Egyptian style… no – then I was thinking crystals and a teardrop a la Dali… I definitely was keeping to the blue palette in a nod to the traditional evil eye amulets. Then this happenned: 

Eye beading WIP

Now I have to engineer a backing and attach it all together… The frame is polymer from a large! mold I made. It is colored with paint and Gilders paste. I want to use the Latin phrase ” Respice, Adspice, Prospice” somehow in this piece. (It translates as “Look behind, look here, look ahead” or so I have read. Translation apps arent cooperating with me today.) Maybe small stamped brass strips riveted to the frame? Ill keep thinking on this – any ideas are welcome! 

Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to leave comments for me and for Rachel! We would love to hear from you. Oh – and dont forget the other participants: 

Guests – 
 
AJE Members – 

 

 

 

 

 

Hacienda Mosaico! (metal, magic, mexico)

Hacienda Mosaico

It was on my bucket list. <laughs> But now its on my list again. Its the kind of experience you want to have again, and again. 

Last Spring? Summer? my BFF Cooky Schock (of Shepherdess fame) and I decided we were going to attend a weeklong class taught by Jane and Richard Salley. In Puerto Vallarta Mexico. In January. Its already a win-win. It didnt even seem real, until like… Christmas when we really had to discuss packing, tools, etc. 

Here’s a little photo essay for your viewing pleasure: 

travel adventure begins

1 & 2. New Years Day flight. Talk about an auspicious start to the new year. 

3. San Diego sunset. I flew to SD so Cooky and I could go together… 

4. Delays in San Diego. Never a dull moment. 

Hacienda Mosaico

The Hacienda is gorgeous. Owned and opperated by Sandra “Sam” Leonard, it is a colorful inspired, inspiring oasis of creativity. It’s feast for the senses- from the lush greenery, the friendly pups, the glittering mosaics, the colors and textures dazzle. I am  working on an art journal sketchbook from the trip that is filled with color and pattern and designs all inspired by the Hacienda itself. 

Bar and pool

Classes include breakfast and lunch, served poolside. Yes, it sounds great already and then you see the place! And the chef Jorge? Delicious, fresh food, variety, and tropical treats to this Mid Atlantic winter palette! Imaging this: Waking to the sound of tropical birds calling, maybe a hammer tapping if an early riser was at work in the studio. Stroll through leaves, filled with dew, under the arches to the pool where coffee was ready early. Yes, coffee. The path to my heart. Then a shower, or a quick swim? journaling or work time before breakfast at 9 and class starting at 10. It became a joyous routine. I’d run into Tom at coffee, Pat was knitting by the pool… Sigh. 

Classroom

Class was the complete immersion experience I was looking for… I have had the pleasure of knowing Richard for over 10 years and taking classes with him along the way. Jane, a well recognized jewelry artist in her own right, assisted and contributed greatly to the class environment. The projects seemed so complex and daunting – but broken down were very manageable. It was great to attempt, to DO, to succeed, to commiserate, to share, to encourage, and to create with a group of like minded people from all over the US. 

And it was fabulous to work side by side with Cooky, as we hadnt gotten to do that for a few years! 

students and work

1 &2.Tom and Diana at work

3.Cheri’s adaptation of Richard’s Ketoh bracelet incorporating her beadwork

4. class work. 

Maybe I have a pang of regret for not seeing more of Puerto Vallarta. Maybe I dont. The week was realxing and invigorating. Exhausting and energizing. Inspiring and overwhelming. And I loved every. second.  I have great new friends. Reunions are being discussed. Jane and Richard agreed to be interviewed for Art Jewelry Elements blog, so that is in progress. I have pieces I am working on already and pages of sketches for when my RIO order arrives. 

My work/WIP

Above: my pieces completed and WIP from the week. I am a little obsessed with stone on stone. I have great ideas for stone on porcelain, using my ceramic pieces….  

This was such a great experience! And timely for me as well. While I do not intend to stop creating ceramic sculptures, jewelry making has been moving into the fore over the last few years. I feel I have now reclaimed my metal smithing skills and expereinces from art school. They were lost in the haze of the teaching years. And learned new and exciting things!I am excited to add those skills to my repertoire and see where my muse takes me. 

Until next time… 

(I’d love to read a comment! Are you really out there reading? LOL)

 

Art Jewelry Elements Art Camp – and the COM reveal!

 August. Bead Fest. End of Summer. Back to school. And AJE Art Camp! 

This year I am thrilled to share today’s reveal with Lesley Watt! She came for Bead Fest and a vacation… We sat down Friday in my studio to work on projects… her COM was done. Mine was not… 

The ceramic piece we were working with is a rustic coin by our friend and colleague Diana P. of Suburban Girl Studio: 

Dianas rustic coins

Diana’s Rustic coins – our August Component of the Month. 

 I confess – I had an older rustic coin that I had altered. I poured resin, trapping a thin sliver of snakeskin inside. Although Diana sent me a new coin for the COM – I decided to challenge myself to finish the piece I had started… The coin no longer has the center opening so I was leading towards bead embroidery. Although I sadly covered up some of the crusty glaze on the edges, I love the matte aqua and really wanted to play up that color. The snaleskin showed best on a white substrate… and as I worked a snake emerged. Yes – that is one of Diana’s small cabs there in the “head” of the snake. It was a perfect fit. 

JDR WIP and details

 Here is the finished piece! I am happy with the results and plan to hang it on a wide silky ribbon. I liked the pearls with the 15* anchor bead – echoing the dot pattern of Diana’s hand stamped design. And the little seed pod beads were a perfect companion to the stoneware clay. 

Snakeskin JDR

Now – with out further ado I turn it over to Lesley! 

Thanks Jenny.

So as Jenny said, I was lucky enough to be staying with the esteemed designer of this months COM and was able to make my piece in her company. Ever the comedian here she is trying her best to distract me…!

 Work space LOL

My particular component was a lovely mellow sea foam colour and I just happend to have bought some African Turquoise brick beads at Bead Fest which were a perfect accent. I also brought with me from home some of Diana’s beads in the same rustic style and some leather. I went for a design strung on waxed linen and created a bail with some seed beads. I then raided Diana’s bead box for some brass spacers to intersperse between the turquoise and rustic beads.

 Lesley's COM WIP

Here’s the completed necklace which I finished with leather cord but I may well change this for some chunky brass chain when I get home. The design is simple and symmetrical but I love the way the natural stone works with Diana’s piece to give a soft but earthy feel – very me.

Lesley's COM final

Many thanks to Diana for giving us the opportunity to work with her lovely components. If you would like to see what the rest of the AJE team and our guest designers created please click on the links below.

Guests
 
AJE Team

 

 

 

 

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

 

Old is new again… rejuvenated shrines.

February is short and speedy. I realized that I hadn’t blogged yet all month, and I have a lot to share. This month my show opened at the Palette and the Page in Elkton, MD. We had a fabulous opening on First Friday! So many friends attended, old and new, and I thank you all! 

The timing of this show created a challenge for me. The ceramics studio where I work and fire larger pieces was closed from early December until the third week in January. I had started quite a few shrines, and some large sculptural figures… but it wasnt meant to be. I couldn’t get them dry/fired/glazed/fired in time. So I turned to some orphans I had waiting patiently in my studio. These are pieces that were perfect; no flaws or faults… but they hadn’t ever been completed with their interior elements. I was waiting inspiration, and this year it came! So I wanted to share a few of these with you. 

“Hope springs eternal”

B/F Hope Springs

It all started with the hare, a carved boxwood netsuke bead. The polymer egg is the work of Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf. From the hare and the egg, symbols of spring in many cultures, the rest fell in place. 

“Into the Woods”

Into the Woods

This was loosely inspired by the topic of Red Riding Hood and a discussion that occurred on Terri Windling’s blog. Terri is a Muse of mine, a fountain of folkore knowledge. The piece was carved with trees, intending to have a woodland theme. I sculpted polymer bread and a jug to go inside, referencing the items Red takes to Grandmother… 

And so you see – pieces that were waiting for me. This altar (below left) was a blank slate. I decided I wanted to hang elements, but hadn’t drilled holes before firing. The solution? Fabricate decorate wire hooks, or course. The bright butterfly piece shown below – that was dates 2011. The intense colors are not my usual palette, and it languished. But a polymer moth, hovering in from of a floral collage? Really visually pleasing to me… 

New shrines

Making the links

This piece is a personal favorite, a successful blending of techniques. I have been happily seed beading and adding bead embroidery to my jewelry repertoire. I want to make the wearables and the sculptures cohesive as my body of work. Beading the bottle element in this shrine adds a level of detail and color. It also makes connections to jewelry pieces displayed in the show. 

I hope people do get a chance to see the exhibit, which will remain up for this month. I am represented by the gallery, and do have other ceramic and mixed media pieces on display. Patti Paulus, one of the artist/owners created this wall for me. I was giddy! 

Gallery wall

The Palette and the Page: 

120 East Main Street ~ Elkton, Maryland
410.398.3636
Tuesday – Friday 11am-6pm  &  Saturday – 11am

Stay tuned for the next February update: February FunADay!