Magic on the Streets of London…

(OK – now I have the Smiths song stuck in my head… )

Part 2 of the trip! 

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? Its magic… When Lesley and I realized that my visit would coincide with the Harry Potter: History of Magic exhibit at the British Library… well, you can guess the rest. What REALLY made this day magical was who joined us there!

We took the train from Bournemouth and had a lovely scenic ride through he New Forest and into London. Arriving at Waterloo and then heading to Euston by Tube – I was thrilled to see 2 of the 270 enameled labyrinths! This public art project was the creation of Mark Wallinger. In 2013, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Tube, 270 unique labyrinths were designed and installed. One in every Tube station. The signs aren’t labeled in any way, and were enabled by the same company that created the iconic London Underground signage. The video about the project is outstanding!

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Newton in Bronze by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

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St Pancras station – next door. And no, we did not go on to Kings Cross platform 9 3/4.

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Exhibition poster: Fawkes bu artist Jim Kay

So this was a momentous occasion! I got to meet all of my team mates from the Art Elements blog! The whole UK contingent! I have to say – it was so exciting, so energetic, and yet so familiar. I have known and worked with these creative talented women for years. I treasure these friendships! And while we were meeting in person for the first time, it felt like old friends getting reacquainted!

 

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The UK team! And me! All together none place! ( From top left: Lesley Watt, Caroline Dewison, Laney Mead, Niky Sayers, me. ) 

The British Library? Heavens. I cant even find the words. We toured their exhibit first. The Magna Carta. Original Shakespeare. The Lindisfarne Gospels. Beatles lyrics scrawled in pencil on old greeting cards. Medieval girdle books. Simple awe inspiring. I was incredulous.

Then we went to the HP exhibit. ( No photographs, naturally). What a beautifully curated exhibit! Arranged in groups, mirroring the subjects at Hogwarts, the items displayed ranged from Medieval pieces from the BL collection, to handwritten notes and sketches from JK Rowling, to new illustrations by artist Jim Kay. There were also pieces from the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall. ( Drawings below from an interactive piece at the end of exhibit)

Heading home – bag filled with treasures, gifts and more than a few books…. Mendel and Malachi were rather mischievous. ( Crocheted mandrakes by Caroline!)

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And hijinks continued as I worked on my travel journal the next day…

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You can read more about my travel journal over at Art Elements. There is a nice sense of spontaneity and memory-making that I get from creating a travel collage/art journal in real time. With found papers, and a little Googling…

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Me – I am back in the studio sculpting cauldrons that Snape might even sneer fondly over… There will be a whole new series of Mythic tiles this year. Magical creatures, witches, wizards, alchemy, and the like!

Stay tuned for part three of the trip coming soon!

April is for Amulets! The AJE reveal

 Amulet beads

This month over at Art Jewelry Elements I was very excited to share my new polymer amulet beads. They are vessels – hollow and completely functional. I wanted to see how people addressed this, and what they inspired in our team and guests. See that one in the picture below with a labyrinth? That one is mine! 

More beads

I knew right away I wanted a way to have a scroll inside – that would be removeable and hold a secret ( or shared) message. I fabricated the copper V shape to act as a bail of sorts, allowing the vessel to hang. But then what? The labyrinth is a very evocative symbol to me – of journeys, of life, of the twists and turns of fate. So after pondering a while I decided to stamp words… 

my vessel

“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.” Emily Bronte

my own nature

That seemed perfect for a piece about journeys, and amulet, to be worn near the heart, a personal talisman. Labradorite, apaptite, green garnet – all pulling out the cool tones in teh polymer amulet bead. Its long – hangs down to my stomach; I knew it would be whan I selected that quote! The scrill is a piece of resin paper, very organic and fiber-y. No message as of yet – we will see what note I want to leave for myself! 

My journey amulet

Thanks for stopping in – and please take a look at the other offerings this month!
Guests: 
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio
Alison of Alison Adorns
Jess of The Copper Cat
Brooke from Artistic Endeavors
 
AJE Team: 
Lesley 
Caroline 
Niky 
Jennifer
Diana
Lindsay
Susan
Jenny

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!

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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

Labyrinths: December AJE Component of the Month

  Labyrinth collage

What a whirlwind December has been! I hope it finds you all content after holidays spent with loved ones, filled with festivities and frolic. Today – New Year’s Eve –  has us standing on the cusp of a new year, a new journey. For myself I can say that 2012 was full of challenges – some fruitful and some very taxing. I will be thrilled to begin a fresh start… ( To read more about labyrinths, here is my original post. )

And those thoughts of the journey were in my head as I was designing a piece to incorporate my ceramic labyrinths, this month’s Component of the Month over at Art Jewelry Elements. Here is what I came up with…

Welsh amulet

My “Journey” necklace – polymer, copper, ceramic labyrinth cabochon, aventurine, kyanite.

(The text is in Welsh – the words reading journey, health, strength. These speak to the challenges I faced in 2012, and the hope for the new year as well.)

Welsh amulet necklace

I wanted a halo of copper to frame the labyrinth, as I love the celadon glaze paired with copper’s warmth. A staple is embedded (hidden) in the  polymer, and that secures the copper piece. The cab is set with tabs, and a dot of glue as a safeguard. This style is a new configuration I am experimenting with, and the tabs are a bit short… I did work on two others. Thoughts? 

amulet fronts

amulet backs

 Thanks to all who participated  this month! Joining the Art Jewelry Elements team has been one of the shining moments of 2012! I look forward to a bright future working with these wonderful women. But for today, please join me in “hopping” to everyone’s blogs! There will be diversity and creativity abound – I can promise that…

And a most Happy New Year! 

This months guests of honor:
 
And participating AJE team members: 

She was only dreaming… (Music Challenge part2)

Yesterday was the reveal of the Challenge of Music blog hop hosted by Erin of Tesori Trovati. I spent quite a bit of time listening and working to Marillion over the last month as I worked on my piece, and other things in the jewelry studio. My ideas from the album “Script for a Jester’s Tear” were more than I could fit into 1 piece, so I have a second offering inspired by my favorite song onthe album – “Chelsea Monday”. 

Dreaming sketch and metal

The sketches for a 2 part setting to house a plastic lens. 

test fit lens

Test fit of the lens in its copper tabs. Metals stapled together in the back. 

dreaming pendant

The pendant: hammered copper, brass, Gilder’s paste. Image transfer of labyrinth and wisps of wool roving in the plastic lens. 

Chelsea Dreaming

The finished necklace: moonstone briolette, vintage copper chain and aquamarines. 

Here are the lyrics: 

Catalogue princess, apprentice seductress 
Hiding in her cellophane world in glitter town 
Awaiting the prince in his white Capri 
Dynamic young Tarzan courts the bedsit queen

She’s playing the actress in this bedroom scene 
She’s learning her lines from glossy magazines 
Stringing all her pearls from her childhood dreams 
Auditioning for the leading role on the silver screen

Patience my tinsel angel 
Patience my perfumed child 
One day they really love you 
You’ll charm them with that smile 
But for now it’s just another Chelsea Monday

Drifting with her incense in the labyrinth of London 
Playing games with faces in the neon wonderland 
Perform to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles 
Would she dare recite soliloquies at the risk of stark applause

She’ll pray for endless Sundays as she enters saffron sunsets 
Conjure phantom lovers from the tattered shreds of dawn 
Fulfilled and yet forgotten the St. Tropez mirage
Fragrant aphrodisiac, the withered tuberose

Patience my tinsel angel, patience my perfumed child 
One day they really love you, you’ll charm them with that smile 
But for now it’s just another Chelsea Monday

[Hello John, did you see The Standard about four hours ago? 
Fished a young chick out of The Old Father 
Blond hair, blue eyes. She said she wanted to be an actress or something 
Nobody knows where she came from, where she was going 
Funny thing was she had a smile on her face 
She was smiling, what a waste]

Catalogue princess, apprentice seductress 
Buried in her cellophane world in glitter town 
Of Chelsea Monday

 

That last bit in parenthesis is spoken at the end of the song. And yes, it does imply she was found dead, drowned. That immediately  – to me – references Tennyson’s “Lady of Shallot” ( I will post at the end if you are interested.) When I listen to the song – I dont think of her death. I think of her escape. And  I am not by nature a depressed person to select such dark songs. I just listen to the song and hear a different  ending. She followed her dreams, she escaped her fate, she found her wings…

The song is refering to the London neighborhood of Chelsea, where I loved to wander when I lived there. It was a short ride on the #49 bus from my flat in Shepherd’s Bush…My time in London was pivotal in who I am today as an artist and a person. I spent a lot of time alone exploring, alone with my thoughts…drifting through London as it were…

And the labyrinth is a powerful symbol. One path, it offers you blind turns, twists and turns, but only one path. At times you feel you are going back to where you had just been. If you stay on your path, trust in the journey, you will not be led astray. The path to the center, your center, although you may not always be able to see where you are headed, you are headed the right way. 

So I am very satisfied with the results of the time spent with this music, and this challenge. This piece I will wear often. It speaks loudly to me. I look forward to hearing your thoughts! 

The Lady of Shallot – Text: here

Images: here and here and one more – here

and the song brings to mind this painting as well…

 

Meditation, music, and mayhem?

fairy door with dahliasTaking a break from gardening – hoping to finish mulching the newly planted little floral offerings before the inevitable rain. I wanted to update you readers out there about a few upcoming events. 

Meditation:

ceramic labyrinths

Have you ever walked a labyrinth? If not – please do! No matter what your religious or spiritual bent, it is a wonderful active/walking meditation. My first experience was very profound, and I have a meaningful experience every time. The process leads you inwards, to your center… one one path, your path to the center and then guides your steps back out into the world.  ( Try the Labyrinth locator to find one near you…) Later this month I will be partnering up with Carol Maurer to teach a ceramic finger labyrinth class. Held at First & Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington – we will meet first to create, and 2 weeks later for a social gathering to walk the labyrinth and collect our finished pieces. The facts: May 31st and June 14th. 7 – 9pm. $65. To register: email – spiritedplay(at)hotmail(dot)com. 

Music: The 22nd Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival is fast approaching! 

Appel Farm

I will be there with tiles – new mermaids! Earrings – all new designs! Shrines, pendants, clay offerings galore! Its exciting to me when I can bring sculpture/ceramics AND jewelry! Hurrah!

earrings!

And if you are going to be in Lewes over Fourth of July weekend – make sure to mark your calendar –St. Peter’s  45th Annual Fine Art Show, on July 2nd. Should be a great day! And where is the mayhem, you ask? Isn’t there  a little mayhem everywhere to keep things interesting?