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)

 

New Year. New Table.

 

Happy New Year. Happy New Years week!

This week is the week I get things ready. Ready to return to work, ready to start the new year, ready, fresh, optimistic… I have a tendency to clean and reorganize which I find cathartic. Cleaning the clutter both inside and out allows for creative growth and inspiration. 

Here is the before:

 before collage

My old and dear IKEA trestle/drafting table. I have had it for…..20 years? But its a board on 2 sawhorses basically. Rickety isnt a strong enough word… I loved that it was so deep and I could have treasures artfully stored within reach. But it wasnt working anymore…

The process: 

cleaning is cathartic?

 The top left pix is the table that is leaving. The other pix show the general chaos, every surface covered…

The results: 

Moved in

 The shallower workbench (thank you Harbor Freight) opens the room up quite a bit. Many thanks to the namelass Grandpa who handed me a 20% off coupon as I was debating the table in the store! The table is rock solid – and was a bear to put together. But my husband was patient… and I love it. Drawers for tools, no carts to slide in and out from underneath. Almost everything in one spot. (Micro torch, enamel tripod etc. are on a smaller tabel across the room, on deck until needed. ) The beloved IKEA table is to the left for collage, journaling, resin etc. 

Many people start the New Year with an introsective post about goals, desires… and a word for the year. I am thinking on these things. I am not in a hurry. A year ago tomorrow I had major surgery and I am thrilled to be NOT there this year. Words I am pondering: journey, health, strength. This New Years Week I always reflect on my 2012 goals and write new 2013 goals as per the sage advice of Alyson Stansfield aka Art Biz Coach. I set up my Year-at-a-glance calendar with shows and deadlines. I clear off the bulletin boards….

This year I am looking forward to Kerry Bogert’sAspire to Wire” class in January; my Coast 2 Coast adventures with Cooky Schock and new mixed media work for shows with my art partner Betsy Mortenson.

The year is dawning brightly!

Clay. Creations. Friends. Fun…

pendants

Wow – all last week was a blur. Getting ready for Wicked Faire, firing the kiln multiple times, packing, prepping. Phew. (Wicked Faire was fun. No, there werent many pictures taken. Yes, I saw Gumby, Santa, Papa Smurf, Jesus, demons, a faun, pirates, and so many more characters. But what happens at Wicked should stay at Wicked…)

So this week – already Thursday? Show applications, paperwork, etc. Doing quite a bit of catching up…Working on Fall themed submissions for magazines, mailing my charms to Ornamentea for the “Lucky charm swap” and thinking/sketching for my Music blog hop

Exciting news…I am one of the newly selected members of the Suburban Girl Design team. Suburban Girl Studio is owned and operated by Diana Ptaszynski – who I met last fall at Beadfest in Philadelphia. (She organized a bead swap that went from fun to epic. Friends were made, hijinks ensued.) Diana makes ceramic beads and components in stoneware, porcelain and raku. Like these: 

Suburban girl beads

And these: 

Suburban Girl raku

The design team will receive a piece – seasonally, and we will create using that component, blog the results and share the love. You know the results are going to be radically different,and extremely creative. It will be interesting to see especially as the team members all have different packgrounds in art, clay, design, metal smithing. I am looking forward to the creative challenge. 

I had been thinking perhaps I would go out into the blog world, and see if there was interest in a design team of my own. My pendants are one branch of my body of work, I do quite a bit more. (Tiles, shrines, collage…) Perhaps after this design team experience, I will launch my own. What do you think? 

Stay tuned for the music blog hop next week and new tile designs in the works. 

Art Bliss continued…

So where was I? I had met and greeted, I enameled… Ooh the leaf charm swap… must take pictures of my treasures… The Trunk show was fun, sold a few ceramic components. My thanks to all my fellow Art Bliss-ers who stoped by! But it was a late night, and I wanted to be ready to roll on Sunday morning… (pun intended)

Forest Floor locket: in theory we were rolling textures onto copper via the rolling mill, shaping them into puffed rounded forms with a hydraulic press and using cold connections to create a locket. 

Forest Floor 2

Forest Floor  

As usual Melissa was a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration. I fell in love with the rounded sculptural form of the metal after it was formed in the press. And since I don’t have nor do I foresee getting a press – I made extra pieces. Each piece I formed, sparked a new idea. Windows cut away to hint at treasures inside, reversed forms filled with resin… So I have a few in progress:  

Forest floor in progress 

These two will have copper backs, and open in some fashion like lockets. I am thinking collage + resin inside…

Puffed forms 

These pieces are awaiting inspiration. It is just nice to look at them and ponder the possibilities, at times. Let me show you the details; I am in love with patinad (sp?) copper now!

 Detail1              Detail2

The leaf detail if truly incredible! 

So overall – Art Bliss was ….blissful. I know, you saw that one coming. But it was! Great location: the hotel had nothing nearby, so we were uninterrupted in our creative bubble all weekend. Food was brought in; coffee was brewed 24/7. It was just the focus on creating, networking, sharing…very much fun all around. I cant wait til next year!

 My only complaint: The crash. I rode my personal wave of euphoria and inspiration and excitement home and into Monday. Tuesday was all about reality and chores, and time NOT spent in the studio. Geez – if thats the only negative…. I have pretties to look at, and take me back when I do get into the studio… And my new tiny steel letter stamps have arrived. Later! 

Art Bliss in DC

Do you know that feeling when you have experienced something fabulous and you want to share, yet at the same time you want to hold the magic in, keep it close and personal and precious? 

I am ready to share… Art Bliss thoughts and ideas from this past weekend. There are a plethora of art retreats all over the country. I have never attended one. I am spoiled in that I take workshops and work with infinitely talented artists – at the Shepherdess in San Diego, my second home… And while that becomes a retreat in and of itself –  a seperation from the daily grind, chores, etc…I used to work there, and I relish the behind the scenes perspective I have returning there. And Cooky, the owner is one of my best friends…

 The event, the first East coast, Mid Atlantic art retreat; was organized by the multitalented Cindy Wimmer and Jeannette Blix Ryan. Held in a hotel near Dulles airport, all our needs had been tended to by our thoughtful hostesses. Meals catered, classrooms equipped…Time to get to work learning, creating, sharing…

So I departed, with the intention to arrive in Dulles before DC rush hour had fried my brain. Used to live there; know what it is like. Friday night Meet and Greet: wine and nosh, artist instructors and their work, reuniting friends eagerly anticipating the weekend of creativity and inspiration. I was a little adrift, as my friend Jen had to cancel…and I didnt want to monopolize the artist/instructors and come across as a crazy stalker student. ( If you have ever done a retreat or a class, you know exacty what I mean…) Pleasure to meet Melissa ManleyDeryn MentockLesley Venable and her OOAK husband, chief executive cookie baker husband Tom. (Didnt get to meet Kerry Bogert. Oops)  

Saturday – “Hard Candy” enameled beads created from copper, glass, fire… taught by Melissa Manley using tools I already have! Oh I love an applicable skill that doesnt require $$$$ new tools! Just point me in the right direction, and sparks will fly: Hard Candy domes The first attempts. And the finished pieces, including a few extra components…

Hard Candy 

Saturday was a crazy day: dinner, evening class (more on that in a minute) and Trunk Show: Trunk show There were quite a few of my fellow students opening their doors as well, to display their wares. I wish I could have gotten out to see everyone! 

Stay tuned for Part 2 Art Bliss DC…..

Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel! Until tomorrow…