The Art Elements reveal: bees!

When Niky posted her inspiration post I immediately knew what I wanted to do! I wanted to sculpt the classic Minoan bee goddess…

One thing I am trying to use this Corona-time for is sculpting new OOAK tiles, as all my shows are cancelled until???? ( Trying not to dwell on that, and the implications therein…) But I also got a crazy idea to MOVE MY STUDIO. ( Pictures coming soon #quaratineproject ) Umm that means you aren’t creating much new work, doesn’t it?

I dove into researching this Bee goddess, as I do… and fell into a rabbit hole. Meet Austeja, the Lithuanian Bee Goddess:

Art by Q. Cassetti

Heavens! I was in love! The flowers. The style! The colors! “Austeja, the Bee Goddess, is the ultimate queen bee. Austeja has dominion over bees, hives, honey, and the flowers needed to make honey. She also cares for people, promoting and protecting abundance, fertility, and growth. She offers special protection to brides, pregnant women, and beekeepers, too. Austeja serves as guardian of the family but is also the one true mother of the bees. Lithuanian hives were kept high within trees partially to keep bees close to their mother.” (From this site referencing this book by J. Illes…)

Her festival was in August; dancing was involved. Offerings thrown into the air…honey was revered in the Baltic region. Luckily this morning I was able to trace the images and give proper credit here. ( Next rabbit hole – researching the artist.)

So you know what is coming…

rough outline for composition
Rough sculpt for the body and wings – will be carved later!
An exuberance of flowers….

I am so sorry that I didn’t get further! She will have at least one bee overhead. All of the roughly sculpted areas will be carved and finessed when the clay is leather hard – including carving patterns into her wings. Her hat will be carved to resemble a bee skep.

Post from the artist on doing the ENTIRE XMAS THEME for Gallerie Lafayette – Paris’ large department store! Animatronic Bee queens! Saving this for later!

And now for the Hop portion of today’ post! You know what to do! Thanks for stopping by!

AE team:

Niky

Sue

Jenny

Jen

Cathy

Marsha

Guests:

Tammy

Cat

Alysen

Kathy

Sarajo

Kelly

Evie and Beth

Hope

Foliage – the Art Elements theme reveal

This month has been a blur. I have been working towards a 2 woman gallery show with artist friend Joanna Barnum. We installed the show yesterday – more on that in another post! It looks amazing and I am beyond excited. But it made me late to this reveal….

When the theme was announced – it dovetailed perfectly into a piece I was working on for the show. A piece involving foliage, goddesses, and owls.

I am calling this series “Animal Icons” and you can see here 2 awaiting cold finishes in the studio. The owl is inspired by the Welsh goddess Bloddeuwedd. She was magically created from 9 plants, although some retellings of her tale simplify to three.

In her tale – she is created as a bride for Gwydion. She was supposed to be the ideal docile wife. Well… she ended us having an affair, and in some ways awakening as her own independent entity. She and her lover plot to betray and kill her husband. ( You can read her whole tale here. ) I think this quote from Journeying to the Goddess sums it up: “After Llew is killed, She is pursued and as a punishment, turned into an owl. Owls are associated with wisdom. Blodeuwedd has become the Crone. She has learned what happens when She accepts Herself and turns against what others want Her to be. Blodeuwedd was ‘transformed into the diametrical opposite of her previous self. From a meek, gentle, smiling, benign, beautiful and perfect Mate, She became a solitary night predator, maw gaping in silent flight, screech cutting through the forest. In a positive sense, we may say that She became assertive, independent, self-realized – and wise.’

Blodeuwedd by Hrana Janto

The base of my ceramic piece is carved with 8 of the 9 plants. ( It was crowded, and bean wasn’t as photogenic… ) I have finished the piece with multiple thin layers of acrylic washes, and then a sealer.

The owl perched atop, also finished with acrylics, is affixed with a dowel for stability. The niche holds moss and a moonstone egg.

A peak into the gallery. The show runs for the month of October at The Palette and the Page in Elkton, MD.

Thanks for reading my entwined tales of myth and art making. Please take a trip through the blogs – team mates and guests!

AE Team

Lesley  

Susan  

Marsha  

Claire  

Cathy 

Jenny  

Niky  

Caroline

Guests

Dawn  

Hope  

Alison  

Beth & Evie  

Laurie  

Kathy  

Sarajo  

Michelle  

Tammy  

Divya  

Karen  

Alysen  

Mary  

Cat  

Jill

Sarah

Anita

Back to work, back to reality

Last month when I was doing some of the creative business entrepreneur journaling stuff – year in review and all – I relaized that I felt like I was in production mode all year in 2015. Not enough time to sculpt new designs, not enough time to play and develop new pieces. So when the ceramics studio re-opened this week, it was nice to get my hands back into clay. And it was nice to play a little bit. 

New clay 1

Celtic knot cabs are destined for The Bead Binge in Cherry Hill NJ. ( March 19 & 20). The larger rectangular pieces? Who knows? Mixed media pieces? Beaded into felted pieces? 

new clay 2

Tree of Life. Triquetras. Triple Spirals… and again some large I’m-not-sure-what-for-yet peices. But I look forward to glazing them! 

new clay 3

These are pressed from an antique cookie mold – you know the Springerle style of shortbread cookies?

New figure WIP

And this lovely lady… muse… goddess will go in the high fire reduction kiln next week. JUST IN TIME for the members show at The Palette and the Page next month! I have a few days to ponder what organic/sculptural elements will be included. She has a nature/woodland/plant theme. 

Now – off to prepare for a much anticipated snow storm. I have books, and coffee, and oh! dog food. Must see that all this house’s inhabitants are cared for as we settle in for the weekend! Until later…  

 

 

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! 

 

 

Old is new again… rejuvenated shrines.

February is short and speedy. I realized that I hadn’t blogged yet all month, and I have a lot to share. This month my show opened at the Palette and the Page in Elkton, MD. We had a fabulous opening on First Friday! So many friends attended, old and new, and I thank you all! 

The timing of this show created a challenge for me. The ceramics studio where I work and fire larger pieces was closed from early December until the third week in January. I had started quite a few shrines, and some large sculptural figures… but it wasnt meant to be. I couldn’t get them dry/fired/glazed/fired in time. So I turned to some orphans I had waiting patiently in my studio. These are pieces that were perfect; no flaws or faults… but they hadn’t ever been completed with their interior elements. I was waiting inspiration, and this year it came! So I wanted to share a few of these with you. 

“Hope springs eternal”

B/F Hope Springs

It all started with the hare, a carved boxwood netsuke bead. The polymer egg is the work of Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf. From the hare and the egg, symbols of spring in many cultures, the rest fell in place. 

“Into the Woods”

Into the Woods

This was loosely inspired by the topic of Red Riding Hood and a discussion that occurred on Terri Windling’s blog. Terri is a Muse of mine, a fountain of folkore knowledge. The piece was carved with trees, intending to have a woodland theme. I sculpted polymer bread and a jug to go inside, referencing the items Red takes to Grandmother… 

And so you see – pieces that were waiting for me. This altar (below left) was a blank slate. I decided I wanted to hang elements, but hadn’t drilled holes before firing. The solution? Fabricate decorate wire hooks, or course. The bright butterfly piece shown below – that was dates 2011. The intense colors are not my usual palette, and it languished. But a polymer moth, hovering in from of a floral collage? Really visually pleasing to me… 

New shrines

Making the links

This piece is a personal favorite, a successful blending of techniques. I have been happily seed beading and adding bead embroidery to my jewelry repertoire. I want to make the wearables and the sculptures cohesive as my body of work. Beading the bottle element in this shrine adds a level of detail and color. It also makes connections to jewelry pieces displayed in the show. 

I hope people do get a chance to see the exhibit, which will remain up for this month. I am represented by the gallery, and do have other ceramic and mixed media pieces on display. Patti Paulus, one of the artist/owners created this wall for me. I was giddy! 

Gallery wall

The Palette and the Page: 

120 East Main Street ~ Elkton, Maryland
410.398.3636
Tuesday – Friday 11am-6pm  &  Saturday – 11am

Stay tuned for the next February update: February FunADay! 

 

 

 

 

 

Curves….

Hello my Focus on Life photo/journey/challenge compatriots. I usually post on Instagram – altho I missed a few, and dont get to interact with you too much. I am usually teaching ceramics class every Saturday morning, and never seem to get a post written ahead of time… Please follow my pix on FB, and Instagram, and here – when I can. 

(The scoop on Focus on Life can be found here for those of you that are curious.)

I spent last Sunday with a group of Stunners. Thats the Pre-Raphaelite term for their gorgeous ideal woman, their muse, that inhabit their paintings. I also spent time with real life beauties – my friends that accompanied me to the exhibit! It was a lovely day, hard to describe. The artwork touches a deep place in my heart and soul. It was wonderful to share the exhibit with like minded people. I ended the day feeling full, happy, sated, inspired, exhausted, euphoric…. 

Here are pix from that day – including my “Curve” themed shots. 

Grey DC

Mansfield's Atalanta

Mansfield's Diana

Diana the Huntress

Sculptures are: “Atalanta” and “Diana the Huntress” by Paul Manship. Divinely Deco, fabulously female, marvelously mythic – my style! ( If the style looks familiar – have you seen the “Prometheus” in gold that dresides at Rockefeller Center? Yup. Same artist.)

NGA fountain

I think I take a picture like this every time I am at the National Gallery. It never ceases to enchant me. 

 

 I will admit – I have not posted pix the last 2 weeks. “Wrapped up” and “Possibilities” So I submit this catch up photo – for both! I am deep into preparing for my first show, and I am all wrapped up in clay. The posssibilities are endless!

Possibilities: clay

Have a wonderful week everyone. I hope to see your pix out there on the Interwebs. Happy Spring!

 

Is your passport in order? Challenge of Travel preview (Part II)

Tomorrow is the big reveal – Erin’s Challenge of Travel. Yesterday I shared information on famous German figures in science, literature, music. Today – the arts. When I was in art school, getting a minor in Art History was a done deal. Literally! I had the credits almost completed after taking Art History electives. Art geek. That’s me!

There are so many German artists whose work I respect, especially when taken in context of history. How they were influenced by their patrons, reaction to events of the time… Art is propoganda, art as expression, art as cultural vehicle…My short list included Holbein, Caspar David Friedrich, Hans Hoffman, Kathe Kollwitz, Eva Hesse, Anselm Keifer… But I narrowed down to artists whose work I respect AND find visually compelling, evocative, inspirational…

(In no particular order)

Albrecht Durer – printmaker and painter. 1471-1528. 

Melencolia by Durer Young Hare by Durer

Melencolia I             1514.                   Young Hare                         1503. 

 

Franz von Stuck – Symbolist and Expressionist painter. 1863 – 1928

von Stuck's Spring  von Stuck's Sin

Spring                    1909                        Sin                               1893. 

 

Emil Nolde – German Expressionist painter. 1867 – 1956

Nolde Nolde's Moonlit night

The Sea                                                Moonlit Night                   1914. 

 

Kurt Schwitters – Dada and Surrealist painter and collage artist. 1887 – 1948. 

Schwitter's Miss Blanche Schwitters collage

Merz231 Miss Blanche 1923 Merzbild – for Alf Gaudenzi

 

Karl Blossfeldt – photographer. 1865-1932. 

Blossfeldt Blossfeldt

 

Sulamith Wulfing – painter and illustrator. 1901 – 1989. 

Wulfing

 Wulfing

Hope you enjoyed that ecclectic sampler. Stay tuned tomorrow to see my piece. And I will tell you – all that I have posted in the last 2 posts – not what influenced my piece at all. Hmm. What a tease…

 



Clay Camp

When I taught full time – weekends and summers were my own. Now as a freelance artist and educator my schedule is quite the opposite. I teach a two week intensive Ceramics camp every summer – two sessions in fact. There is wheel throwing, sculpting, hi fire reduction and more for the “teens” ( the 10 and up crowd). For the little ones ( ages 6-9) there is a variety of hand building – both sculptural and functional pieces. Whatever I dream up for any given summer… Currently in week 2 – glazing week,  I though I would show you what we had been up too…

fresh off the wheels

Freshly cut from the wheel…

pots: keepers and recycle

Symetry and asymetry are equally welcomed. Recycle in the back. 

Throwing Porcelain.

Emma is my oldest student this year, and she has graduated to porcelain. She is loving it!

Emma's first porcelain

Plethora of pots

Trimmed, carved, embellished… drying now. 

Plethora of pots continued

All of those pots – 8 students, 4 days. (Class is 1.5 hrs each day.) I am pleased!

Emma

 

I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps…

The Garden

OK – so technically I didnt wake up in NYC. We took the train up for the day. This was a belated trip for my birthday. Happily – the belated time frame meant we could see the Frouds’ exhibit at Animazing Gallery, and perhaps a festive holiday window or two? 

Wendy's window

“Faerie Tale” and “After the Party” – polymer and mixed media by Wendy Froud. 

Toby's window

polymer and mixed media sculpture by Toby Froud

Labyrinth sketches: Brian Froud

Concept sketches for “Labyrinth” by Brian Froud. 

Brian's sketches of Ludo

This detailed sketch of Ludo was incredible. so detailed in the face, yet so loose and fluid in the figure.

Animazing Gallery

The exhibit is a must see if you are a fan of the Frouds’ work. (It runs into February.) I was excited to go – naturally. I have my original copy of “Faeries” by Brian Froud and Alan Lee – dog-eared, tattered, and well loved. I cannot think of another artist who influenced me more during my adolescence and early teen years. To know that there were working artists, creating fantasy artwork, seriously and successfully was huge to the fledgling artist in me. I feel fortunate to have met Brain and Wendy at FaerieCon, as I have discussed previously. But this exhibit was simply outstanding. Original paintings, in luminous color, that reproductions sadly do not capture perfectly. Sketches – the doodles, thinking out loud, as it were – the look of “Labyrinth” at its inception. Sculptures in the round, textures, fabrics, leathers right there in space in front of me. Images that I know well from the Heart of Faeries Oracle, seen framed on the gallery walls. 

Recently I borrowed and watched Wendy’s Faerie Figure DVD (available at Gnomon Workshop. Thanks to Sarah!) I dont sculpt figures very often, but I do create 3D work. It is a phenomenal video, and her hands work magic right in front of you! But to have seen the process, and heard her tricks and techniques, which she gladly shares – and then to see the originals! Simply breathtaking. I am humbled and amazed. 

Story Teller and Listeners

Listener detail

Listeners detail2

“Story Teller and listeners” Wendy Froud

And always humor mixed in with the magic and the mystery: 

window peeper

(He was a tiny wee fellow. The reflection of buildings, the angle, the cropping – do give him a sense of grandeur, do they not?)

Please stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of the NYC adventure. Wait until you see the Macy’s windows…and the Flatiron art installation. Come back tomorrow. 


 

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

 

INSPIRATION

1
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
2
: the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs
3
a : the quality or state of being inspired b : something that is inspired 
4
: 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.