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…


Script for a Jester’s tear (Challenge of Music blog hop)

When I signed up at the begining of February to participate in the Challenge of Music Blog hop that Erin of Tesori Trovati is hosting – I knew the devil in me was going to spur me on. To be daring, to be different, to select a song that not only would be an inspiration to me in making a piece of jewelry; but that would represent me in myriad ways to people visiting my blog. Music that was an integral part of who I am, not simply a song I quite like. Go obscure or go home? 

I flashed back to sophomore year in college; drawing 202 – spring semester. Janet Sorensen. I seem to remember that her assignment  was to do a series of drawings, inspired by a work of music? poetry? I decided to select the same song; as it was evocative to me then, and would prove to be in very different ways now. And the contrast of a series of drawings so early in my career to a mixed media necklace now? Interesting to say the least. 

The song was “Script for a Jester’s Tear” by the British band Marillion. A prog-rock band of the 80’s – they were rather obscure then, and even more so now. And yes, I still listen to them regularly. (They are still around, but changed drastically with the departure of singer/lyricist Fish in 1989) The song is also the title of the album; which tells a story of sorts, songs flowing into the next, poetic, dramatic – hard to describe…

Script cover

The jester character is woven throughout Marillion’s 4 albums with Fish. A storyteller, an alter ego… The song “Script for a Jester’s tear” is about loss, leaving, love lost. It is about nostalgia, longing, and regrets. It also evokes growth and maturity, leaving behind of youth’s folly. (Full lyrics here.) 

The fool escaped from paradise will look over his shoulder and cry 
Sit and chew on daffodils and struggle to answer why? 
As you grow up and leave the playground 
Where you kissed your prince and found your frog 
Remember the jester that showed you tears, the script for tears”

Music sketches

Jester WIP

Brass and nickel silver pieces cut and drilled. What to go inside? So much of the album is angst driven introspection, told in the first person. It feels confessional at times –  looking inward, seeing clearly…I have an idea!  And as I listen to the album again and again while I work – I am hearing ( from the song “The Web”)


“I realise I hold the key to freedom 
I cannot let my life be ruled by threads 
The time has come to make decisions 
The changes have to be made

Now I leave you, the past does have it’s say 
You’re all but forgotten a mote in my heart 
Decisions have been made, decisions have been made 
I’ve conquered my fears…”


Jester keys

But I needed color. I wanted to reference the fool’s motley, jewel tones, diamond patterned… I thought enamel but decided to truly challenge myself with a new technique. Colored pencil on metal… I googled, and talked to my go-to-gal Cooky… After cleaning the metal and de-greasing it from oils, I painted it with gesso. (Patina can work but gesso is bright white as a primer as opposed to green patina…) Then I colored it. Berol Prismacolors are recommended as they are waxier than other brands. You can blend with turps, sand and do multiple layers… I just did one. It was so stark and intensely colored. I admit I was (unpleasantly) surprised. But after a bit of sanding – I was more satisfied… (resources here and here…)

Jester with color

I plan to experiment more with this technique and have ordered black gesso to try as well. Just now seeing the irony as I write the post. My original “Script for a Jester’s Tear” drawings in college, in the 80’s – they were in Berol Prismacolor as well. And I didnt realize that consciously until this second… My road has come full circle…

Jester finished

The pendant: brass and nickel silver shrine/frame. Engraving from late 1800’s art text. Antique key. Sterling, moonstones, smokey quartz, pearls. Assembled with micro bolts. 

Jester full view

The necklace: Sterling cones. SP chain. Irridescent seed beads to echo the colors of the pendant. Simple clasp. ( I routinely use simple closures to keep the necklace comfortable while worn.) approximately 24″. 

This whole challenge was very invigorating. I am intrigued by a new technique and plan to try it agin. I enjoyed the nostalgia and memories that I stirred up, reflecting back to my years in art school, my own feelings of leaving youth, loss and growth. I am proud of the road – with its obstacles and triumphs – that I have travelled as an artist since those formative experiences as an art student.

In fact – I did a second piece inspired by the same album… but that will have to wait until tomorrow! You have other blogs to visit! Thanks for staying with me – I know this post was epic. I would love to hear your thoughts on the necklace, and if there are any other Marillion fans out there…

Here are my fellow bloggers participating in the “Challenge of Music”: 


Erin Prais-Hintz

Marcie Abney

Christine Altmiller

Elisabeth Auld


Lori Bowring Michaud

Shannon Chomanczuk

Cece Cormier

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Malin de Koning

Beth Emery

Michelle Escano-Caballero

Erin Fickert-Rowland

Therese Frank

Amy Freeland

Tanya Goodwin

Stephani Gorman

Amy Grass

Beth Hemmila

Kristina Johansson

Jennifer Justman

Tari Kahrs

Susan Kennedy

Ema Kilroy

Kathleen Lange Klik

Kirsi Luostarinen

Paige Maxim

Beth McCord

Natalie McKenna

Alice Peterson

Cat Pruitt

Bobbie Rafferty

Johanna Rhodes

Cynthia Riggs

Sally Russick

Sarah Sequins

Amy Severino

Staci Smith

Kristen Stevens

Lola Surwillo

Stefanie Teufel

Sandi Volpe

Holly Westfall

Shaiha Williams

FaerieCon m.a.g.i.c – I is for inspiration



a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
: the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs
a : the quality or state of being inspired b : something that is inspired 
: an inspiring agent or influence
Well – FaerieCon to me seems to be all of the above! While this may seem obvious…When you attend any event and have the opportunity to meet artists and authors whose work you are familiar with, work you admire, of course it is inspirational. There can be  moments of star-struck tongue tied amazement, when you meet someone who has influenced your work, your outlook on life… (I had never dreamed I would meet and chat with Brian and Wendy Froud years ago as I showed “Labyrinth” to my 6th grade art students. Like in the early 90’s… a while ago! And some of those same students have now met the Frouds as well, with yet another generation in tow. Oh heavens!) At my first FaerieCon I was struck with the openness and generosity of the VIP’s – they were so accessible and giving of their time and energy. That continues to this day and it creates an atmosphere that is charged with energy. Where the air drawn into your lungs IS inspiration, coming from the community of like minded highly creative people gathered for fun, frolic, music, and mayhem. 
This is an atmosphere ripe with cross pollination. There is a print of Linda Ravenscroft’s called “Daughter of Avalon” inspired by the song “Rose Red” by Woodland.
Ravenscroft Avalon
Gorgeous in its own right, and more magical when you know the song… I have a tile design for a Gyspy vardo that is buzzing around my head, anxious to emerge in clay – inspired by “Caravan” by Frenchy and the Punk of course. Perhaps in time for next year?   Inspirational conversations spark up at any moment; a chat with Noelle and Stephanie about sculpture materials has me pondering sculpting skulls and bones. (And to Stephanie – the acorn! Many thanks. I will create a piece that does it justice…)
I am very fortunate to have met and developed friendships with amazing artists and creative people, growing from an initial encounter  at FaerieCon. Last year I struck up a conversation with Helena Nelson-Reed, whose work I had been drawn to for years. Her ethereal yet detailed watercolors are so rich with hidden images and symbols, they are dreamworlds in which I could lose myself. Mystical and spiritual, they continue to reveal hidden images and meaning to me over time. There is so much soul and passion inherent in her work; I was honored to meet her and thrilled to continue our friendship over social media. Through Helena I also met Antony Galbraith, a mythic painter and sculptor. His work is intense, powerful – images from myth and archetype. So often you meet new friends and talk long into the night swapping personal histories. sharing experiences. With Helena and Antony we have a friendship based on artwork, recognizing themes and beliefs each in the other, meeting on common ground through myth and metaphor. We were able to sit down Sunday morning to talk about the challenges one faces as a proffesional working artist, the long hours, the demands of family incroaching on studio time, the solitude. It is so valuable to have like minded souls in one’s life, and I am thankful to them for their sharing, their camraderie, and their friendship. We were joined by Charles Vess, and chatted companionably about art spaces, art retreats, collaborative works… and tricksters! Truly the most inspirational coffee and slice of lemon cake I have ever had!
And the authors! This year’s FaerieCon hosted the talents of: Carolyn Turgeon, Charles deLint, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman and Melissa Marr, among others. 
DeLint cover
“Dreams Underfoot” was the first Charles deLint book I ever read. The cover states – “Myth, music, and magic, and dreams underfoot…This is a book that you will never forget.” So true! (And cover art be Terri Windling! Fairy goddess-mother of the mythic arts, she is often called.)  I have been avidly reading anything that deLint writes since then. This book is a collection of  short stories set in the town of Newford, where magic and myth are woven into the lives and histories of contemporary characters. Modern day, urban fantasy. So fantastical and magical, yet so real – a place I would love to live. To those of you that know Newford – my dream would be to show in a group exhibit with Jilly! His work is a visual feast to me, and a source of inspiration. 
As is the work of Carolyn Turgeon. A friend gave me “Godmother” which I loved, then “Mermaid” which is incredible… a completely new enchanting vision of the Little Mermaid’s tale. Prince, mermaid, princess – a triangle of complex relationships with depth and grace. I look forward to her upcoming middle grade book “Under the Moon” about a girl who discovers her mother was a swan maiden. And regardless of any bookstore classifications – I will read them all! She crafts a well written, thoughtful enchanting tale – I recommend them!
Mermaid cover
Turgeon cover
After I read “Mermaid” I was in the studio creating siren themed jewelry. I wonder what the next book will inspire?!
I could go on. FaerieCon in a unique place, away from home, where one feels completely at home. Where the novice and the mentor can talk, where mediums influence and inspire each other, where like minded people share ideas and magic. It feeds my soul. Thank you one and all. 


Music to my ears…

In the studio – I always have my ipod or iphone plugged in… just to the left outside this photo’s frame…

worktable in studio

I have some podcasts, but I seem to always prefer music while I am working. Often, when I get a new piece of music, I listen to it exclusively for a week or even two. Total immersion. The current CD is “Seasons in Elfland” by Woodland. 

Seasons in Elfland

Mythic, magical, mystical, haunting… the songs reference the dark half of the year – from Samhain (Halloween) to Ostara (Spring Equinox). Shadows, seasons turning, roots delving deep in the earth, the fallow period, Earth resting under snow… to green shoots breaking through as Spring emerges. Sample it on iTunes, you have to hear it… I am not describing the music itself…

Previously it was The Gypsy Nomads – as you have probably seen in previous posts. Might see them at First Night, My Holly NJ if the weather permits… 

Nomads by R. Napoleon

(Photo by R. Napoleon.)


And before that is was SJ Tucker.  (Also here.)

Sirens - SJ Tucker

I was introduced to SJ Tucker’s music at the first FaerieCon – or was it RenCon? Well, she is a classic bard. Telling stories with words and song, very evocative. Thrilled to know that I will see her again at RenCon II – The Mythic Faire, in March of 2011. 

And of course, I do alternate with Holiday music…It is that time of year, and I am feeling festive. What are you listening to? 


a few more…making music; making friends

While I am doing new work, decorating for the holidays… I am also still feeling I have Faerie (Con) dust sprinkled on my shoulders. Perhaps it is part to the Fairy strands I have in my hair…

But a few more pictures I wanted to share: 

The Gypsy Nomads played the Good Fairies Ball on Friday night with Woodland. (Samples and photo galleries – take a look!) Had to post a few Nomad pix, they have become friends over the last year or so…

JDR and SStevenson 

GN at FC

Scott of the GN

Samantha of GN

Another FaerieCOn person that has become a good friend – for although we only see him twice a year, we make the most of it – is Mark Lewis. Storyteller extraordinaire! and MC of the event – tune in Dec 12th and see his guest appearrance on the TV show “Leverage” as Santa! (Its a good show anyway…)

Mark Lewis

Yes, he is playing 2 recorders in this picture. A few of his stories are available as podcasts. Listen to them. They are wonderful. 

One thing about FC that I am sure I have mused on in previous posts, is the sense of community. THere are no separations between attendees, performers, VIP’s, artists/vendors. It is refreshing to be respected and recognized by your peers, and adds to the air of excitement to be mingling with the famous. Lets be honest – it was exciting to have Brian and Wendy Froud seated behind me at dinner in the bar! And they were left in peace, respectfully during their meal. When they are at their table, signing autographs then its fair game, but otherwise they are usually left to mill about in (relative) peace.  

So in this shared environment of respect and creativity – I had an opportunity to not only meet but talk with two artists whose work I had known and admired for years – Linda Ravenscroft and Helena Nelson-Reed. Linda was at the Faerie Magazine booth, with her husband John, also a very charming individual. We chatted about many things, including the location of the Fairy Bridge in Wales – featured in the original watercolor sketch of Linda’s  that I purchased. (Soon to hang framed next to the Charles Vess print from last year…) Helena and I struck up easy, comfortable conversations on numerous occasions as we were out of our booths strolling around. I am thrilled to say that soon 3 of my pendants will appear in her talisman necklaces. And an incredible print of hers will be hanging in my library… Trading with another artist is the most satisfying!

JDR & Ravenscroft

( Sorry for the iphone pix. Had Linda’s husband John snap this of she and I at her booth.)


Beautiful day in the neighborhood…

RenCon was a great time – I have new favorite bands on continual loops in my head; new inspiration percolating for wonderful new tile designs; new fans and collectors of my work (Thank you all!) – but the people! The VIPs’ were open and accessible. The fellow vendors were interesting, interested, enthusiastic, sharing. The attendees were excited and appreciative. Whew!

I had great neighbors on my hallway, and I thank them for such a wonderful time!Let me introduce you:

Gypsy Nomads:  I think I need to listen to Track 3 every morning. No better way to start the day! I dont describe music well – but go listen to things on their website. They are infectious! And they are both visual artists as well, which thrills me, a bonus. These two were my across the hall neighbors providing a soundtrack for the weekend and performing both nights. And I look forward to seeing them live at FaerieCon! (Although I think they will be at Spoutwood Farms May Day Faerie Festival!)

Dancing Hands, FGM: Emma Dancing Hands (Fairy Goddess Mother, that is…) Here shown doing Fhairy strands in E’s hair. Everyone knows her, everyone loves her, she is a joy to be around. Its that simple! Not only will she be attending Spoutwood – there is a Charles Vess drawing of her for this years advertisement!  Banner

Kathryn Elizabeth Noska: Kathryn is a painter, poet, and self described ‘stonesayer’ and when you see her work you will understand. The stones speak to her, and she to them. Her paintings are exquisitely detailed painted from life, and she captures the characters in the stones themselves, showing them to us on canvas. I did not try to capture the painting’s detail on film (Just go take a look for yourself!)… and Kathyrn herself proves an elusive subject! From her booth: Noska book Kathryn’s amazing hand bound book of her drawing and poems. Noska stonesAnd her oracle stones. So lovely!


Goblin Bazaar: …” eclectic array of things from the realm of Fae captured and created by Kimberley Coffman as is inspired by the strange and wonderful world around us.” So true! Kim’s work is magical. Her fae are original, exquisitely painted one of a kind sculptures. I was enchanted!

kin faeClearly she takes good care of them, since not a one looked unhappy in their traveling containments. And her skills with a woodburning tool – really? Kim pendants

Kim and SarahKim, (onthe right) with Sarah of ToadstoolNtreestump.

Thank you one and all for making the weekend so magical! See you in November!