Coming out of hibernation… new tile designs

This has seemed like the longest winter and the shortest winter! But Spring has finally sprung – even with Her last gasp of icy weather. I have not been idle – even thought the posts here have been sporadic. With the new season awakening  I will breathe new life into this blog!

Since this is the time of year when I have no real shows to speak of – I have been designing and sculpting new tiles for my Mythic Nature line. Here is a visual journal of the 4 new designs – and one revision. These designs will be available starting with my show at Spoutwood Farm’s May Day Faerie Festival! 

The triple raven design will be a nice partner to my Triple hares design. I left the bird bodies free of feather/texture as I can customize that by hand. Some will be painted with feather detail – others will be glazed in glazes that “break” over texture.

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Mandrake tile in progress

The Mandragora – or mandrake tile is a new vision of a motif I had before. The previous version was from a Medieval woodcut. This is a more organic version – with leafy swirls and tendrils. The text will be carved into the scrollwork individually.

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” A book is a dream…” sketch

Neil Gaiman said: ” A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.”  This dreamy tile was inspired by things I love: pets, coffee, books… While I do not currently have a cat, it embodies cosiness to me. All the creatures, sharing space on a lazy relaxed day filled with fabulous reads. And coffee. Always coffee. This tile  – Im really excited – to do patterns in the armchair! Textures! Sgraffito! Glazed patterns!  SO many ideas.

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Sculpting the forms.

A fairy door – just testing the mold here. Matte finishes, speckles of moss and lichen on the rocks. Metallic glazes on hinges….

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And this is new for me. Last year I created a commemorative design, an Art Nouveau faerie, for the 25th anniversary of Spoutwood’s Faerie Festival. ( If interested – email me – there are still a few available.) I loved the figure – and decided to adapt the design for continued use. I see her with starry sky behind, holding the moon. I see her as an Earth spirit with a globe. I see her with florals, or leaves, or an orb of fire. Stay tuned!

I’m really excited and invigorated with this new body of work. I have fallen in love with clay again. Please sign up for my newsletter if you are interested in new work-in-progress pix and news of upcoming shows! (Sign up on the top left. ) 

Raven’s Knowledge: the Art Jewelry Elements October reveal

ravens banner

 Welcome and Happy Halloween! 

Its reveal day at Art Jewelry Elements, and this month was a Raven themed challenge, hosted by Karen. ( Check out our raven posts here and here!) I have long loved ravens whether they are in Celtic and Norse myth – or the Tower of London… This month I was feeling the need to spread my wings a bit and I have done some raven themed artwork outside of the jewelry realm! 

I wanted to sculpt ravens in polymer and incorporate them into a felt/beaded/mixed media piece. So here goes: 

wet felting in situ

The wet felting and coffee counter space! I’m new to this, so my book is to my left. The bottom pictures show the wool roving laid out, and after the first stages of felting. The combination of water, soap and agitation creates the felting action. 

blank slates

These three are the results of that afternoon felting session. I was trying to estimate shrinkage, which can be a third or so. The larger piece wa too big – the others were just right. 

ready to bead

Here they are with their ravens! 

felting lunch

Last week I had a work/lunch/date with Marsha. ( You know her from Marsha Neal Studio, but she is also now working at Sarafina Fiber Arts.) I sat down to embellish and bead my ravens and Marsha generously shared some of the equisite dyed curly locks from Sarafina. She was needle felting/sculpting great little gnome guys. And Peeves the cat was her normal charming feline self. 

Raven's knowledge

This one was complete with the curly/silky locks. No beads needed. I did add an antique button to anchor the piece and address a transition on the embellishments. This will be mounted and framed… how? I’m not sure yet. It was still a little too large for the IKEA frames I had. Like I said – calculating guessing shrinkage. 

Ravens detail

So the second piece was destined for beads! I had taken all this to Texas with me when I went to visit family earlier in the month. Hadn’t touched it at all… I used vintage rose montees, bugle beads, O beads, drops, you name it. I do find the irridescent dark beads rather hard to photograph. I was pleased with the shapes in the felt, and being able to position the polymer raven to echo those shapes. 

Raven flight

Now – not to leave jewelry behind totally – I already have existing designs for 2 raven pendants and a newer crow design. (You can read about the crow glazing process here.) I decided to try a few new designs – and haven’t actually gotten further than the molds! On the left is a very Pacific NorthWest/Native American style raven. It will have fine line details carved into the clay, and be glazed in a high contrast decorative style. On the right is a larger piece, inspired by the myths in which Raven stole the sun. I look forward to trying these in ceramic clay AND in polymer. 

new designs and molds

Oh drat! There is ONE more raven design – still in a plaster mold at the work studio! I will update you ASAP!

This was a great theme, rich in multicultural connections and fabulous inspiration. I feel like I have barely gotten started and the month is over! Stay tuned for more ravens – and until then please take a look at the other diverse offerings created this month! 

Guest links and AJE team links will be available at Art Jewelry Elements blog

Word Mojo Mixed Media Mayhem at Bead Fest Spring!

 Heaven! What a whirlwind. I am firmly entrenched in “catch-up-week” followed immediately with show-prep” fortnight. LOL. But I wanted to share the fun and success that was my mixed media “Word Mojo” class at Bead Fest Spring. 

Set up space

Set up the night before. Not only is 8:30 an early start time, I need to know its all ready so I can relax and get some sleep. 

student work space

I wanted the spots for students to be organized, and welcoming. I know I’d be thrilled to walk in to a spot already made ready for me… 

class samples

This is what we did – my samples. The original “Word Mojo” focals debuted on AJE in January 2014. From then til now, I have been refining the process and was thrilled it was accepted as a class. We were making molds and altering them at times, from antique (copyright free!) found objects. 

working!

Molds, polymer, paint, Oh MY! One student kept giggling spontaneously. She was having a blast! 

student work!

Some of the student work! (Sorry the picture is so off color. Wish I had taken more… )

There were shallow pieces with glaze and deeper pieces with resin: 

and now we wait.

 All in all – they were pleased and inspired. I’d call that a success!  

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)