Octopus – the Art Elements theme reveal

Claire has a deep love for octopus. If you know her – you know this. So it wasn’t a surprise when this was her selection for the theme this month! Personally I find them alternately beautiful and creepy, yet utterly fascinating. They are chameleons, and very intelligent. (Image from this NY Times article)


CreditCreditFred Tanneau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I sat down to bead – to bead a tapestry with the perfect enameled Octopus by Anne Gardanne.

I was thinking. a felted and beaded tapestry .I tried out ideas for an embellished frame that wold have embedded shells in Apoxie clay. I wove ribbons of hand dyed French silk ribbon amongst the tentacles….. Nothing. The Muse was not a-mused. ( I set this aside for another day. )

See what I kept thinking of was a mermaid. Who says they all have to have fish tales. I mean, Ursula the Sea Witch was an octopus. So I went to one of my all time favorite artists for inspiration. Alfonse Mucha.

This is “Dance” completed in 1898. It was the figure reface I needed – clearly Mucha in style, with clear lines to alter the lower half of the figure. And I traced it – full disclosure!

I drew my own decorative elements, and did line work in sepia permanent marker. I painted happily one afternoon – a break from the studio – red hair, aqua waves, and a mottled background.And then tackled those tentacles!

I started a base coat of watercolor. I had masked off the edges a little…. I planned on using salt in a wash to get speckles. But I had small salt, and it wasn’t dramatic enough – so I started shattering! What a wet mess and SO much fun. Then I added some Brusho pigment crystals…

Wet and wonderful

I had thought about drawing in the suckers with white Gell pen? Or painting a hint of them in watercolor… but the Brusho are so intense they kinda ruin a piece for working back in. They also splattered past where I had applied Maskit and are very hard to cover! ( They reactivate with anything wet…) SO I think I am done!

This was just what I needed – to paint for pleasure. Thank you Claire for a great theme. Oh – Zoey wanted in on the octopus action too:

Don’t forget – this is a hop! Take a look at other creations from the Art Elements team and our guests this month!

Guest artists:
Cat
Evie and Beth
HopeKaren
Kathy
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarajo
Tammy

Art Elements Team:
Cathy
Claire
Jenny
Laney Lindsay Marsha

Challenge of Music – The Gypsy Nomads

 Challenge of Music

Welcome to the 2nd Challenge of Music hosted by the creative goddess Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati. This year – the challenge: instrumental music.  In my opinion, this is much harder, trying to embody a piece of music in a piece of jewelry without the usual cues and visual symbolism we read via the lyrics. But it was also easy, as my favorite instrumental music is composed and performed by Frenchy and the Punk – formerly The Gypsy Nomads.

Their music has been described as “An energetic hybrid of European Folk roots, Punk attitude, World Beat eclecticism and traveling player theatricality.”Phil Brucato  They are guitar and percussion – hearing them you will find it hard to believe there are only 2 of them. Their energy is infectious. Their music is magical, and addictive, and captivating. The first CD I purchased from them – I honestly described the song as ” the one that goes  _______” since it was on a loop in my head!  They release their own CDs and tour the country from coast to coast  probably 11 months of the year, a grueling pace. If you EVER get a chance…. run, dont walk. 

Gypsy Nomads Thread & Stone

The song I selected is Track 1 on this CD “Travelin’ band of Gypsy Nomads” and you can hear a clip here.   (I am happy to know Scott and Samantha personally. I asked Sam about this song. It may have been the birth of the Gypsy Nomads – Scott, who wrote the instrumental, was performing and Sam decided to jump up on stage, adding dance and  percussion.With this collaboration, a new concept, and a duo was formed! ) I know I am influenced by the song title – but also by their lifestyle. Traveling the county and to Europe, instruments in hand, exploring and being inspired… The song conjures up a campfire, flames leaping, as a fiddle is tuned, a guitar strummed. Music freely played, dancers skirts twitching, tamborines jingling… and I see vardos aka Gypsy wagons. 

 Vardos

( I know this is a Romanticized version, even a stereotype of Gypsy life. I mean no disrespect to Romani culture. I have started doing research – if you are interested in the Romani people, the British Romanichals or the Irish Travelers there are many articles on the Web. )

The vardo shape was what I kept seeing, and the door. So I set off to make a hinged door pendant. Yes, you read that correctly. The good news: I have 2 that work. The bad news: After making 4 pendants I have no finished necklace for the hop… So here’s what took all of my time… Vardo pendant

The copper door, Door #1. A friend gave me scraps of 1/4 plexi and I wanted to use that inside to cover the image and add depth. You can see the diagrams I drew, planning hinges. The hinges are parts of the sheet rolled with pliers. The hinge is small tubing with a balled wire inside. The piece is joined with microbolts at the bottom and a tube rivet at top – that will be the bail. Three holes are located below for dangles. The image is an antique postcard, and the door has a curtain of sorts – resined paper circa 1880’s. I am currently working on  a silver chain and copper pin that will latch the door closed. 

 I am happy with the piece, a protoype of sorts – and see that hinges will be easier in the future now that I purchased bail making pliers! Its app. 1.75″ tall so its not too massive to wear. I am imagining a triple strand – 1 of sari ribbon, 2 of beads ( one seed bead strand, one gems). 

While all that was happening so was this: 

Keyhole vardo pendants

Teal keyhole shrine – Polymer pieces, built in bail, hand painted. Image under mica. The image is “The Fool” from an Italian Tarot deck of the 1800’s. The Fool card means free of burdens, worries; living in the now, setting off to journey, spontaneity… among other things. It seemed to capture some elements of the Gypsy symbolism I was working with …

Red keyhole shrine: Constructed as the blue shrine, the image will have resin or glaze over. I am thrilled with these results even though there were hours of fiddling to shape and then after curing, carve the door and hinge. I think the shape is also the most clearly derived from the vardos’ original inspirarion. The image (seen below) is Mucha’s Moon/cresent goddess. 

round pendant window

Round porthole window: Thinking on the painted pattern and designs on a Gypsy caravan… you see here (from L to R) the front window shutter, the center image and the back. The cover will have a tube rivet, and the piece will be simply hung on a large jump ring. The image is a Gypsy woman, also from Alfonse Mucha. These are the images I was considering: 

Image references - gypsy

(All images by Alfonse Mucha except the Tarot card images. )

 

So you can see I was inspired! But I still have quite a bit of work to do! I would love to hear your thoughts and preferences from the four… I will do a follow up post when they are completed. I look forward to traveling the blogs to see what my colleagues have created; the list is shown below.Thanks for stopping by! 

The Challenge of Music participants