April is for Amulets! The AJE reveal

 Amulet beads

This month over at Art Jewelry Elements I was very excited to share my new polymer amulet beads. They are vessels – hollow and completely functional. I wanted to see how people addressed this, and what they inspired in our team and guests. See that one in the picture below with a labyrinth? That one is mine! 

More beads

I knew right away I wanted a way to have a scroll inside – that would be removeable and hold a secret ( or shared) message. I fabricated the copper V shape to act as a bail of sorts, allowing the vessel to hang. But then what? The labyrinth is a very evocative symbol to me – of journeys, of life, of the twists and turns of fate. So after pondering a while I decided to stamp words… 

my vessel

“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.” Emily Bronte

my own nature

That seemed perfect for a piece about journeys, and amulet, to be worn near the heart, a personal talisman. Labradorite, apaptite, green garnet – all pulling out the cool tones in teh polymer amulet bead. Its long – hangs down to my stomach; I knew it would be whan I selected that quote! The scrill is a piece of resin paper, very organic and fiber-y. No message as of yet – we will see what note I want to leave for myself! 

My journey amulet

Thanks for stopping in – and please take a look at the other offerings this month!
Guests: 
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio
Alison of Alison Adorns
Jess of The Copper Cat
Brooke from Artistic Endeavors
 
AJE Team: 
Lesley 
Caroline 
Niky 
Jennifer
Diana
Lindsay
Susan
Jenny

The Goddess project – one month at a time

 This year I have undertaken a project, a goddess project. Inspired by the fabulous bead artist Cathy Mendola, I am doing one seed beaded/bead embroidered piece a month incorporating a goddess cabochon. I met Cathy on Instagram!!! – she was doing a goddess project last year and used a few of my polymer goddess cabochons. We have talked and struck up an Internet friendship… and she has passed the torch of inspiration to me!

The time frame fits me well. I like to have something to bead on when I have a little late afternoon down time, with a cuppa tea. Or coffee. I do find bead embroidery to be very meditative. Over the course of the year I want to experiment with bead shapes, composition, movement… and plan to have a combination of wall hangings and pendants by year’s end. I hope to exhibit them next year. 

So here is the beginning: 

January goddess WIP

January – named for the Roman god Janus, whose 2 faces looked backwards and forwards in time… He’s often seen with a key… The key I used is a gorgeous lampwork key from Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictons. It inspired the purple accent tones in the piece. I chose this goddess, and the spiraling composition because I was thinking of New Year’s Eve and fireworks. No specific goddess was on my mind, but a piece that was symbolic of the year’s beginning. 

January Goddess

The completed January goddesses. She is wearing a crown of hematite stars. I havent decided yet how these will be mounted/displayed… but I have all year. 

February – starts with the festival of Imbolc, marking the mid way point in winter. Associated with the Irish goddess Brigid, whose domain was fire. Fire in the head of inspiration, fire in the forge… I created this polymer goddess with the stylized fire in her belly specifically for this month. But I was reading “Brigid: Sun of womanhood” (published by Goddess Ink) and thinking on Brigid’s association with healing and water and holy wells… of the symbolism of the light of spring emerging from the dark of winter… and my plans were changed… 

Brigid sketches

Brigid as “fiery arrow”, snowdrops, flames, water… so many sketches. But what else does one have to do at Jury duty? 

February WIP

Brigid in progress showing the fires of inspiration… little polymer flames made for this piece. 

February goddess

Finished! Thanks to Leap day as I needed a bit more time. 

Here is some of my inspiration from Cathy – who I will be interviewing over at Art Jewelry Elements blog on April 8th! Stay tuned! 

Cathdola montage

And yes – the 2 goddesses on the left are polymer cabochons I sculpted. While I look to possibly showing this series next year – I am also doing it as pure pleasure. The beads, the colors, the textures… and revisiting Cathy’s pieces I am drawn into the enticing movement in pieces and the composition. I want to play with symetry and asymetry. I want to push my color sensibilities out of the comfort zone. I look forward to a year of exploration and challenges! 

Find Cathy on Facebook: – www.facebook.com/CathySMendolaJewelryandFiberArt/

Her blog is www.cmendola.blogspot.com 

Instagram as cathdola

 

Permission to Play: Christi Friesen at The Palette and the Page

What a week this has been! I’ve neglected the blog already this year when I had mentally recommitted to weekly posts. Let me catch up a bit over the next week!

I am in full production mode for the “Bead Binge” show sponsored by the South Jersey Bead Society. AND Bead Fest Spring. But nothing was going to keep me from the Palette and the Page this past Wednesday. Because Christi Friesen was stopping by for a class after her weekend at the ACC Craft Show in Baltimore. (See my ACC post over at Art Jewelry Elements)

the incomparable Christie

Christi is a polymer maven, a master of the clay. She is a creative and generous teacher, and a consumate professional, full of character and charisma. If you ever get a chance – take her class – any class. I always learn fabulous things that I can apply to polymer the way I work, in my style. The class I attended was going to include some free form more unconventional techniques: painterly swirls and impasto. 

working collage

That leafy squiggle up there? I have finally met a cane I like – free, loose, organic…  

permission to play

I love this picture! Christi teaching, and Lynn and Patti (2 of the 4 gallery co-owners) diving in. Lynn is a polymer person, as am I – Patti is not. She had permission to play and thoroughly enjoyed herself! As we all did… 

my workspace

This was my workspace. These swirls are so me… The purple/grey/white piece at the top left may end up with a goddess on it… Christi – in her incomparable style called it a “vortex of lovliness”! Too fun. 

new techniques

This was my experimental piece. Squiggly canes, swirls… and spirals – because spirals! I think I may mount it in an old wooden drawer, floating – and then hang it on the wall. It will serve to remind me of this class, and the “collision course with excitement” we were on… But it also remends me of the value of sharing, of exploring, and the sense of community that can blossom from a shared love of art, expression, and polymer. 

Collision course with excitement

 Thanks to Christi and The Palette and the Page for a great evening! Here’s to following your Muse! 

 

November Component of the month – I’m “lichen”it!

November! As I write this I have second Thanksgiving in the oven – the goal being turkey leftovers… and the first of my Holiday shows happening tomorrow! Its here! The holidaze is upon us… But as November draws to a close, let me share with you the phenomenal ceramic focals that Caroline Dewison of Blueberri Beads has created for the COM this month: 

Carolines lichen pendants

Crusty amd organic! Saturated color! Matte and glossy! And the texture… She calls them Lichen pendants and I totally see that. I confess – I have taken to calling mine barnacles. When you see the stunning colors I have you will understand – pewter, deep teal, smoky plum… The barnacles spoke to me of the sea, of sirens, and treasure and depth and age. So the barnacles were the inspiration – to create a nest of similar shapes… 

additional barnacles

I created a few small polymer barnacle shapes to embellish around my cab. ( Caroline made pendants and cabs… ) And I created 2 clusters/connectors – to transition from multi-strands in the front to silk in the back. They are painted and stained in smoky plum and dark grey/blue. I have added Diamond glaze on the inside only to echo the glazed areas on Caroline’s cab. Here they are together; I am content with the colors. 

plan comes together

The small polymer barnacles are in place, and the peyoyte bezel portion is complete: 

Beads begin...

The beading was so much fun! I had set up a balanced/asymetrical composition with the additional polymer pieces and tried to keep going with that… I particulalry like the lentils standing up on the top right of the piece. 

Beads are done

The plan is to do short strands of seed beads, three on each side – you can see the Beadalon in lace below. Sadly I had the larger size, and needed smaller in order to string 15’s! So the piece is on hold for now… The triple strands will be app 2.5″ long, loop into the barnacle connectors, and the piece will have silk from the connectors all the way around the back. 

COM waiting

Sorry I can’t show you the finished piece I am in love with this cab and this palette. Thanks to Caroline for such an inspiration! 

Please check out the diverse offerings from the team and our guests this month!

Guests

Back in time: my Celtic inspiration

 One last timehop, one last stop on the Beading Back in Time travel schedule. This final installment encourages artist to select their favorite time period. Mine will inevitably be Celtic, time and time again. For fresh inspiration, I grabbed a few books and a cup of coffee… started sketching. No pre-conceived idea, just browsing at first. 

celtic sketches

The crescent “lunula” shape has been on my mind for a while. Its a recurring motif in Celtic, Slavic, Russion cultures. As a lunar symbol it is associated with women. The moon rules ocean tides, and a woman’s tides. The moon, seen as female, embodies the stages of one’s life in the lunar stages – from Maiden to Mother, to wise Crone.

lunula references

Diagram of lunula pendants - I'm trying to translate the text from Russion, with Google's asistance... 

Blessington Lunula  Crafty Celts lunula

1. Gold lunula from Blessington, Ireland, Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age, c. 2400BC – 2000BC, Classical group ( from Wiki)
2. Lunula pendant in bronze from the Crafty Celts. "Lunula amulets date back to the end of the Bronze Age, and continued to be worn into modern times. They were common in Egypt as well as among many farming peoples of Europe and Asia and reflected the worship of the moon, which was associated with fertility. Earrings, pendants, metal details of headdresses, and other 
ornaments had the form of lunulae. Lunulae were especially widespread in Rus. in the tenth to 12th centuries."

I was contemplating doing a lunula pendant for myself in sterling, but time was not cooperating. The polymer was out… I was creating ornaments for my local gallery. These pieces – 2 styles – are polymer crescents with a hammered metal frame. The frame curls around, allowing a space to attach chain. I have stitched the small gems on with 26 gauge wire. I love using the tiny gems here – holes so small its hard to string them otherwise, but perfect in this application. 

my lunula pendants

The top pendant in cream and brown features the word “self” in the Celtic Ogham alphabet. This linear font was used for carving, and had many layers of meaning, among them trees and months of the year. I wanted an amulet – trust yourself. Take care of yourself. Center yourself. Have faith in yourself… it all comes back to “self”. The gems are green garnet. The blue lunula below incorporated sterling and aquamarine. This is more lunar to me, evocative of the Moon goddess – the three stars for her three aspects. 

I plan something simple to finish these, maybe just chain, or one wrapped gem each. I may make more, but these each feel personal to me, and I plan to keep them and wear them. 

Thanks for stopping by. I have thoroughly enjoyed the creative challenges of these historical “Back in time” hops. Thanks to Sheri and Lindsay for organizing! Please stop by the other blogs! A full list can be found at: Phantasm Creations

Until next time… 

 

 

 

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

May Component of the Month: beaded beads!

May. I miss you already. But before you depart – its the May Component of the Month at Art Jewelry Elements

Sue of SueBeads sent these lovelies! I told her to surprise me because I think all her color palettes could easily inspire… SueBeads beaded beads

But Sue knows me and sent me these delicious beads: copper, garnet red and aqua. 

My beaded beads COM

The palette gave me a plethora of ideas! I started early as I wanted to bead embroider something to play off the beaded texture. The beads were small, but I wanted them to relate directly to the focal, inspiring the whole necklace palette so they would be a major player regardless of size. 

pc beaded focal

Polymer cab of mine; an Art Nouveau woman, in copper with patina accents. glass flower beads, garnet pearls, and corresponding seeds. 

details COM

 I knew I wanted the beaded beads at the junction of necklace and silk, with some visual rest between them and the focal. I selected simple pearls and amazonite to go between. I am happy with the results! 

Please join the rest of the team and our guests this month in the AJE COM hop: 

Guests
 
AJE Team

 

Heart of the Forest: the April COM reveal for AJE

 When Rebekah of Tree Wing Studio posted these hearts – I was smitten. But silvery grey? Or copper? How to choose/ I am usually not so into hearts, but the wood texture on these appealed to my “woodland” inspired self. 

Tree Wing Studio hearts

Copper it is! So its a dryad inspired piece. That was a given. This popped into my head, almost complete: 

first stages

That is a stoneware cab of mine, with a polymer leafy surround. I wanted to create a tangle of vines to hang the heart. Should it be wire wrapped or seedbeads? Branch fringe? Seed beads won. 

Heart of the foret

It was all a bit freeform – in other words, I winged it. A drop here, a flower there… It IS a bit off center, but as her face is tilted it didnt bother me too much. 

And the back- I drilled small holes along the bottom edge so I could stitch and loop. As of right now she is a focal only, but I have a show this weekend and HOPE to have her finished to take along… 

Forest back view

Thank you for stopping by, please let me know what you think! And  take a tour of the other blogs – we have several guests and AJE team members participating this month! 

 Guests

 

 

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!  

DEFunADay! This Friday at the DCCA!

February is the shortest month. 

28 days. 

The Delaware Fun-a-day project is simple. Create something each day. Exhibit them. Its a free, volunteer run event, and I cant wait to see everything this Friday. The opening is at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts at the Riverfront in Wilmington, from 6-9pm. 

DE FunAday1

FunAday2

Since February starts with Imbolc/Candlemas – the feast day of Brigid… I decided to do sculptures. Goddesses, clearly. The Celtic goddess Brigid was a fire goddess: the fire of the forge, the creative fire in the head, and so, to me, the fire of the kiln as well. I was inspired by ancient and archaic goddesses from all cultures, from teh Venus of Willendorf through Cycladic idols. It was a great pleasure to sculpt freely, with few limitations. I kept the size small both to keep them intimate in scale, but as a logistical, practical requirement to the Fun A Day project. 

I have a few orders for goddess cabochons, to be used in jewelry, and I do foresee making more of these simple, evocative figures in the the near future. 

Hope to see you on the 6th at the DCCA!