Inspired by Reading book group – Irish inspiration

 Irish Country Doctor

After a long hiatus, I am thrilled to be back on track with the “Inspired by Reading” book group! 

For the month of March – we read “An Irish Country Doctor” by Patrick Taylor. It was a good read, quick, easy, and entertaining. It reminded me in some ways of a Maeve Binchy novel – in that there was a cast of characters, richly developed by the author, that I grew to like, and care about. The story line, at times poignant, at times humorous, was driven by the characters… their growth, foibles, and interactions. I could see reading other books in the “series” – I think they are loosely related based on said characters, and can each be read as a stand alone novel. 

As to inspiration – I was immediately making associations from this small town in Northern Ireland, set in the early 1960’s (?) to another fictional small town… Brigadoon. ( I KNOW Brigadoon was set in Scotland, but once I thought it I couldnt un-think it…) 

Brigadoon poster Brigadoon album

My mind seized on the idea of two. Two realities. Two visions, two versions… (In case you arent familiar with Brigadoon, the musical tells the tale of a magical Scottish village that appears into our world for one day every 100 years. Two NYC gents stumble on the town, THAT DAY. Coincidence? Hmm. Boy meets girl, falls in love, leaves, town disappears. Boy mopes in NYC, returns to find town gone… yet it reappears! True love works magic.  He joins his love in magical town, leaving our world behind.) 

So where do we stand? Irish images, but a 2 sided focal. OK! 

Irish details

To create the pendant I started with 2 copper discs, cutting in circular windows. I cut a matching circle of 1/4″ Faux Bone for the center core. The copper is stamped, patina added, tumbled, etc. The images, sealed, are glued on. The piece is assembled with balled wire/soft rivets. 

Making the bail was more challenging. The shape and wire wrap were easy enough (Thanks to Kerry Bogert for causing me to rethink colored wire.) Drilling through the FB – I went a bit crooked and the 2 holes weren’e aligned. So what would have been a piece of copper tubing through one hole – became 2 microbolts and washers, with a spot of glue for security! It DOES spin now as I planned. 

  • The thatched cottage is from an antique postcard, the blackbird is from a vintage Irish stamp. 
  • The stamped text reads “Beatha agus Failte” or “Life and Health” a traditional Irish phrase. 
  • The gems are jade, goldstone, dragon’s blood jasper

Cottage view 

Blackbird view

Thanks for taking this meandering journey with me! I know the Muse often leads us on a winding path, and I find it ironic that I was reading this bookwhile on a cruise ship in the Caribbean! No green in sight… 

Please join us – the links and images of other participants can be found at Andrew’s blog! 

 

 

 

 

 

June reveal! With my components for the AJE challenge!

Hello – 

What do you mean June is almost over? I have been in “Clay Camp” – a 2 week pottery intensive class that I teach – and time seems to have flown by without me… 

This month over at Art Jewelry Elements – the Component of the Month was provided by yours truly. There was great team response, and our special guest bloggers who won free charms as well! Please take a look at their offerings!

Here is what we were working with…  

June CoM

As to mine – 

simple. organic. dangles. words. 

My favorite kind of earrings. 

Nature spirit

Mismatched charms stamped from eucalyptus pods. Words stamped with intention into silver. Earthy aqua glaze… 

(With a nod to AJE team mate Diana Ptaszynski for the mismatched inspiration…)

What words would YOU wear dangling from your ears? I would love to hear… 

 

And now without further ado… Bead Soup!

Reveal 1 Banner BSBP

Hello and Welcome to the first Bead Soup Blog Party reveal! If you are here, you are most likely familiar with Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party ( or BSBP…) but if you just arrived from the far flung reaches of the Universe then here is a synopsis: 2 people, personally paired by Lori, exchange packages, beads aplenty. Head to the studio and make magic, whether it be ornate, simple, a new style, a challenge… Share your creations here. (For all the details, including the future Hop dates – Bead Soup Blog Party. )

My partner – what a nice way to ‘meet’ new people! – is Cassie Donlen. Cassie is a lampwork beadmaker, jewelry designer, and artist extraordinaire. Her work was new to me… was I out in the far flung reaches of the Universe? I love every thing she sent me, and she was so generous! Here is my loot: 

BS6 from Cassie Donlen

( For what I sent Cassie – she has great pix on her blog. )

Donlen lampwork

The first thing that popped into my head was “Exotic blossom”. 

I need to pause here, to build anticipation for the reveal and also to give you a bit of back story/inspiration. My Bead soup from Cassie got lost. There were a few tense days – and the Postal Service is NOT to blame. I sent her my address typed incorrectly. (The whole story is posted here in my first BSBP blog. ) Clearly I did retrieve my package. While some people would attribute this to luck, or coincidence – I think there is a message here. The Universe was shouting at me. The message you ask? Well its all tied in to the ‘exotic blossom’ …

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

Exotic blossom

I kept the 2 main flower focals together, and added dangles.  The stamped copper reads “Risk” and “Blossom” to remind me to move forward and push the boundaries. I hung the blossom on a link of chain, showcasing another of Cassie’s lovely beads. The green and blue together, contrasted with the red…and the nature of the focal were all so visually appealing that I found myself designing a simple piece to accentuate the focal. I had planned to use the fab copper chain Cassie sent for this pendant, but I needed more red for balance. (Silk from Marsha Neal Studio). This is an amulet to me, and while I may add more charms – for right now it is complete. 

The pendant wasn’t the only creation… The first thing I did was this…

BSBP6 bracelet

…using Cassie’s clasp and focal bead. I admit – it was my favorite bead so it got singled out for deluxe treatment. Strung with copper and glass from the Soup, and paired with copper chain, and hand spun sari fiber. (You read that right. Its not ribbon. It was hand spun from recycled saris. YetiandYarndrygoods on Etsy) I am thrilled with this one, and plan to wear it often – whenever I am not in the Ceramics studio, that is…

On a final note – thanks to Lori and to Cassie for yet another fantastic BSBP experience! I appreciate all the time and effort went into organizing, and the creation of these beautiful beads. Each year I participate I am excited to have a chance to PLAY, to do something new and unusual, to be inspired, abe to experiment a bit. But enough of ME – you, my dear blog reader, have other treasure to view, creations to see!

Here is the link to the complete list of participants in today’s reveal: Bead Soup Blog Party July Reveal. Have fun! And thanks for stopping by…

The Challenge of Literature Blog Hop: mythic fiction, fantasy stories…

I enjoy the challenge of a Blog Hop – as evidenced by the frequency of Hop related posts lately. I am a full time working artist, in one studio or another every day. I alternate between the ceramics studio and the mixed media/ jewelry space, but as my jewelry contains ceramic components, and my ceramic shrines contain collages and found objects – you see the flow, the continuity there. These Hops give me a chance to experiment, to play, free from the deadlines of a show, hanging an exhibit, doing production work. And because I have the opportunity to share my results, my offerings, with the community, it assuages any guilt I have in not “being at work”. So without further ado: 

The Challenge if Literature Blog Hop, hosted by Erin of Tesori Trovati. (She hosted the Music Hop a little while back as well…)

I chose to pay homage to one of my favorite genres, and one of my favorite authors. Charles de Lint is a Canadian author, known for his mythic and fantasy fiction, or ‘urban fantasy’ . His work is filled with folklore, faerie, music, urban settings, and  contemporary themes. To quote Terri Windling: …the importance of myths in our modern society, the need for tales rich in archetypal images to give coherence to fragmented modern lives…” (xv, DU). De Lint’s stories are such moderm myths. 

I picked up “Dreams Underfoot” (The first deLint I ever read) a collection of de Lint’s short stories set in the town of Newford. I love all his work, but there is so much to choose from – so I went back to my beginning. These are loosely interconnected tales as he weaves a web of characters; artists, musicians, writers, dryads, conjure men…

Whispered Tales

This piece “Whispered Tales” was inspired by the story “The Conjure Man”. The story revolves around the loss of the community’s Tree of Tales – a rare Quercus robur/oak. (Common in Europe, but Newford is in Canada). ” She was a Tree of Tales…She held stories, all the stories that the wind brought to her that were of any worth, and with each story she grew.” (DU, 229) The traditional ways are growing weak with the influx of technology and people are becoming estranged; as symbolized by the loss of the Tree of Tales.  There are many new tales but “a Tree of Tales is an act of magic, of faith. It’s existence becomes an affirmation of the power that the human spirit can have over its own destiny. The stories are just stories – they entertain, they make one laugh or cry – but if they have any worth, they carry within them a deeper resonance that remains long after the final page is turned, or the storyteller has come to the end of her tale…” (230, DU) The Conjure Man, a wise old soul, inspired Wendy, a young poet to start a new seedling, nurturing it with tales and poems until it can be planted. 

Whispered Tales, detail of focal

 

Whispered Tales, detail

 

clasp and charm detail

My piece: Cedar stained with acrylic paint, nickel silver, copper wire, tree branch with bud, grommets, micro fasteners, silk, leaf/face charm, gems, hand forged links. 

My intent: Woven elements as the tales are woven; the branch, cedar and text to evoke the Tree of Tales. 

It only seemed fitting to select a tale about tales for the Challenge of Literature Hop, where we are looking to the words on a page for our creative inspiration. de Lint’s stories do resonate long after the pages are turned. He creates a real world, filled with the things I wish I could find in my real world…Perhaps you will pick up a book, or tell a tale. ( Quotes taken from Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint. 1993) 

Here are the list of fellow storytellers: 

FaerieCon m.a.g.i.c – A is for art and artists

When I was  middle school art teacher I used to show the movie “Labyrinth” to my 6th grade students. I wanted to impress upon them that there were people out there, working, and creating incredible art. That art can be a lucrative job… Just look at the film with only 2 humans and all creatures! Never did I think that I would meet, let alone go to events with Brian and Wendy Froud – the designers of said magical creatures in the movie. My original copy of “Faeries” by Brian Froud and Alan Lee is dog-eared to say the least…

FaerieCon is a gathering of all creative peoples, from far and wide. There are painters, famous and up and coming. THere are artists whose work you recognize in major retail stores, and comic book shops. There are artists with work on tote bags, calendars and tee shirts. There are sculptors and metalsmiths and designers and artisans. There are featured artists and artists vending thier artwork.

I am happy to be an artist exhibiting my work with the likes of: 

Brian Froud

Brian Froud – “Gwenhwyfar”

Wendy Froud

Wendy Froud 

Amy Brown

Amy Brown – “Restless Thoughts”

Brigid Ashwood

Brigid Ashwood – “The Locust Queen”

Ravenscroft

Linda Ravenscroft -” Maiden Spring and Jack in the Green”

Star Weils

Jane Star Weils – “Dryad Sister”

Charles Vess

Charles Vess – “Faery Processional”

Nelson Reed

Helena Nelson Reed – “Lady of the Wildwood”

 

* This list – almost exclusively 2d artists does not in any way slight my fellow sculptors out there!

* All works are copyright of the artist. Many are watermarked to prevent copying. If you like their work, support them and the arts – buy a print! You won’t regret it!

 

FaerieCon m.a.g.i.c – M is for mermaid

Once a year I get to leave the world behind and cross over into the land of FaerieCon. I won’t return aged 100 years, it is safe to partake of food and drink, but I will see glorious wonders and frolic with friends, old and new, and my gypsy faerie family. (I am not exagerating, although I may be accused of waxing poetic.) Until you have experienced an event such as this, you will have to take my word, suspend your disbelief, and read on…

Where else can a dryad frolic with a mermaid? While djinn stroll past, and satyrs lounge, strumming a banjo? Where artists share epic feats of imagination and skill; where authors read words that transport you further away from the mundane world;  and where music can spiral around you in ethereal tendrils? 

This past weekend – we arrived Thursday, settled in, noshed on sushi… Met up with friends for laughter and libations – the uber talented artists Brigid Ashwood and Jane Star Weils, and storyteller/creative genius Mark Lewis. This night alone thrilled me no end – sharing wine and witty conversation with artists whose work I admire, very nourishing and inspiring to my creative soul…

We set up Friday morning…

JDR table

Tiles, a few shrines, and my dryad sculpture reigning over all the mixed media jewels. I was thrilled to have as my neighbors – my friend Sarah of Toadstools n treestump, and Mermaid Melissa!

Mermaid Melissa

The iPhone picture really doesn’t do her justice – the carpet colors are overpowering the variations of sheen and hue in her – rather long – tail!

Mermaid Melissa, hailing originally from Florida has worked professionally as a marine animal trainer, pearl diver, and currently as a professional mermaid. She is charming, personable, and a self professed “kid magnet” as we witnessed through out the weekend. At FaerieCon she was representing Fae magazine, and their new publication Mermaids and Mythology magazine, for whom she writes a column. Her website is filled with stunning photos and even more breathtaking videos.  Saturday afternoon, like wild fire, a phrase rarely heard raced around the lobby: “There’s a mermaid in the pool!” Even those of us that had seen Melissa swim on Friday, joined in… how often do you get to exclaim that to others? 

Mermaid in the pool!

Mermaid2

And let me share Mermaid Melissa’s message here: Save the world’s oceans before all creatures become mythical!

Please check out her site. You wont regret it. Until tomorrow – when I bring you Day 2 of the “Five days of FaerieCon m.a.g.i.c…

 

 

Euphoria…

Main Entry: eu·pho·ria
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek, from euphoros healthy, from eu- + pherein to bear — more at bear
Date: circa 1751
: a feeling of well-being or elation
A simple word, a complex potpouri of sensation, emotion, experience, feeling… A patchwork of sights, and sounds; drumbeats and squeaks; costumes, artwork, faces… friends. RenCon.
It was its first year. Would it satisfy? Would it be successful? Would it draw the crowds of its sister show FaerieCon? Yes, and yes, and no…
The crowds were less crowded, true. There were fewer vendors, fewer lectures, true. The business end of the weekend came away even. But for me personally – Euphoria.
I started the magic with Fhairy strands. Gossamer metallic threads entwined with my hair, bestowed by Dancing Hands, my Faerie Goddess-Mother. Fhairy strands
The weekend was a whirlwind of music – Gypsy Nomads, Estampie and Qntal from Germany; artwork – wonderful neighbors in Kathyrn Noska and Kimberly of Goblin Bazaar; Mark Lewis and his amazing tales, (and jokes!); and being able to meet and chat with people who I admire and respect – Caitlin Matthews and Brian Froud!
Sarah Mark me Caitlin and me
But the true euphoria comes from the feeling of community, of having found my tribe – where creativity is admired, recognized, revered. Where people express themselves in costume and revelry; and unite in a shared experience. It is hard to put into words, but it is a magical feeling that resonated long after the artwork and instruments are packed away.
The euphorical feeling, the shared wonder and excitement is a creative tonic. The new ideas that are swirling in my mind, ready to be put on paper, and into clay… will carry me forward, the last traces of the magic of the weekend…
Green Man

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!