Flights of Fancy! The “Insect” theme reveal at Art Elements

Summer: outdoor living on the deck, the smell of charcoal, garden dirt under your nails… ( And festivals and clay camp but thats another story) When I think of summer insects I go to winged things. I love butterflies and moths! Their delicacy of structure and the boldness of color and design. So I knew immediately what I wanted to do:

IMG_4056

Stoneware for an earthy look, and coming soon porcelain for a more ethereal quality. Cut from slabs of clay – I drew a series of templates from vintage illustrations; my own childhood books. Carved and textured, drilled, awaiting the kiln… a moth to flame?

IMG_4097

Stoneware – waiting for stains and glazes. Sadly still a WIP.

With three shows in four weekends AND teaching every day – the moths haven’t been glazed and fired yet. I WILL have these soon, and for Beadfest if you are interested.

In my precious down time this month – I beaded. And I had to bead insects!

IMG_4313

The classic, high contrast Monarch

IMG_4315

A study in iridescence.

IMG_4312

Matte finish for contrast to the others.

IMG_4319

The trio takes wing.

 

IMG_4311

These three are all brooches, approximately 3: in wingspan. I plan to frame them in shadowbox frames so they are easy to display when not being worn. And I have to give a shout out to Caroline! Her moth pin was a gift – and started this flight of fancy!

 

 

 

 

Please stop by the  Art Elements team’s blogs – and our great guests this month!  Pour a cold iced tea, and sit in the shade!

Guests

Mona Arnott

Melissa Trudinger 

Sarajo Wentling

Divya N

Art Elements Team

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Diana Ptaszynski

Lesley Watt

Caroline Dewison

Lindsay Starr

Niky Sayers

Claire Fabian

Art Jewelry Elements Art Camp – and the COM reveal!

 August. Bead Fest. End of Summer. Back to school. And AJE Art Camp! 

This year I am thrilled to share today’s reveal with Lesley Watt! She came for Bead Fest and a vacation… We sat down Friday in my studio to work on projects… her COM was done. Mine was not… 

The ceramic piece we were working with is a rustic coin by our friend and colleague Diana P. of Suburban Girl Studio: 

Dianas rustic coins

Diana’s Rustic coins – our August Component of the Month. 

 I confess – I had an older rustic coin that I had altered. I poured resin, trapping a thin sliver of snakeskin inside. Although Diana sent me a new coin for the COM – I decided to challenge myself to finish the piece I had started… The coin no longer has the center opening so I was leading towards bead embroidery. Although I sadly covered up some of the crusty glaze on the edges, I love the matte aqua and really wanted to play up that color. The snaleskin showed best on a white substrate… and as I worked a snake emerged. Yes – that is one of Diana’s small cabs there in the “head” of the snake. It was a perfect fit. 

JDR WIP and details

 Here is the finished piece! I am happy with the results and plan to hang it on a wide silky ribbon. I liked the pearls with the 15* anchor bead – echoing the dot pattern of Diana’s hand stamped design. And the little seed pod beads were a perfect companion to the stoneware clay. 

Snakeskin JDR

Now – with out further ado I turn it over to Lesley! 

Thanks Jenny.

So as Jenny said, I was lucky enough to be staying with the esteemed designer of this months COM and was able to make my piece in her company. Ever the comedian here she is trying her best to distract me…!

 Work space LOL

My particular component was a lovely mellow sea foam colour and I just happend to have bought some African Turquoise brick beads at Bead Fest which were a perfect accent. I also brought with me from home some of Diana’s beads in the same rustic style and some leather. I went for a design strung on waxed linen and created a bail with some seed beads. I then raided Diana’s bead box for some brass spacers to intersperse between the turquoise and rustic beads.

 Lesley's COM WIP

Here’s the completed necklace which I finished with leather cord but I may well change this for some chunky brass chain when I get home. The design is simple and symmetrical but I love the way the natural stone works with Diana’s piece to give a soft but earthy feel – very me.

Lesley's COM final

Many thanks to Diana for giving us the opportunity to work with her lovely components. If you would like to see what the rest of the AJE team and our guest designers created please click on the links below.

Guests
 
AJE Team

 

 

 

 

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! 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixed Media Amulets – my Beadfest class draws near…

 Or – how an idea evolves and grows!

In just over two weeks I will be setting up to exhibit at my third Beadfest Philadelphia. But this year will be my first year teaching, and I couldn’t be happier! (Details are here!) The idea for my mixed media amulet class started with a ceramic cab I made – and a piece I designed for Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month… The theme was a labyrinth – and I dove onto the meanings of the symbol. To me it represents journeys – both inner and outer. My journey to teach at Beadfest has been both. 

BF class samples

From top left: class sample with porcelain cab, necklace with polymer cab, the original CoM piece with labyrinth. 

I have been making, and making and preparing inventory for Beadfest, or course. But I have paid extra attention to the cabochons my students will receive in their “kit”. I have made many designs, in different clay bodies. I look forward to making a few more sample pieces – all in the nature of preparing to teach… 

^10 kiln loading

There were app. 300+ cabs in this firing of the gas kiln at the “work” studio. We fired to ^10 reduction – app 2400 degreed F.  

class cabs 2

Knotwork, triskeles, labyrinths… and a few pairs for the seed bead people!

 class cabs1

Athena’s owl, cobalt on porcelain, butterflies… 

face cabs BF

Faces – porcelain, stoneware, and glazed… 

I am grateful for the support of my teamates at the Art Jewelry Elements blog! I even have three of them enrolled in class! There are spots available – although some sawing experience is needed. Perhaps I will see you there? My class is Sunday morning – on August 24th. Here’s the link: mixed media amulet class. 

Oh – and an admission coupon for those of you planning to come and shop! Enjoy! 

BF coupon #461

Fern fronds… the June AJE Component of the Month reveal

Has it really been a month? A month of creative students at Clay Camp, commissions, beads, books, and frolicking with the fae in the woods… Pictures to follow in short order. But its time for the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month reveal – that’s for sure! 

This month’s lovely focal is the work of AJE teamate Linda Landig. Linda is new to ceramic clay and was generous enough to share some of her first fired treasures with the team and readers. When I saw this fern – I called “Dibs” as fast as my fingers could fly over the keyboard. From first glance, I intended to hang the fern pendant point up, and extend the copper along the bottom to have room for dimples and dangles. The fern was a bit larger that I expected, so I decided to keep the copper tab setting more form fitting. I flipped the setting as I decided to roll the tabs over the top of the piece – not only holding the stoneware in, but creating a channel for stringing material. The bottom tabs, and hole/dangel complete the secure tab setting. 

Fern tab setting

The back has a curled fern cut out, and is stamped with the words – peace, growth, strength. These are symbolic meanings associated with the fern. My initial suede lace arrangement (seen above) was too thin, too stretchy. I was committed in my mind’s eye to the suede as it was the perfect rust tone to echo the iron stain in the super detailed fern imprint. 

Everything in me wanted to use green. I was trying to avoid that as too predictable. I mean ferns are green, sure. but there isnt a RULE… In the end there is a bit of light green, as well as pod beads, wood grain jasper, copper chain… The necklace is very long, over 30″ – but that was the place it seemed to “fit” best.  I like its eclectic, organic design. 

Fern fronds CoM

(There are jump rings employed at variable spaces to connect the suede to the chain. Keeps it loose, yet under control.)

 fern fronds details.

( I included this one for scale – as my hand will give you a reference.) 

Thanks Linda! This was super fun – any reason to design unique tab settings, and I am there!

Please head over to the Art Jewelry Elements blog to see the team members and readers contibutions! There will be diverse offerings to entertain and inspire ! 

Creating with Cabochons

 Welcome! Here it is – reveal day for the “Creating with Cabochons” hop hosted by Sally Russick. 

The challenge was to create using cabochons – no holes! I admit – I use cabochons, and make ceramic cabochons frequently. I wanted to challenge myself to set cabs four ways: 1. tabs 2. a soldered bezel 3. polymer  4. seed beads. 

I know that sounds crazy – and it was! I havent soldered a bezel since my metal smithing days in college. I want desperately to reclaim those skills, and I will – but it did not happen in time for this hop. I have set cabs in polymer before — with a textured clay bezel. My favorite is using tabs. I like the challenge of designing tabs that are decorative and functional. And I love sawing. But let me show you what I DID accomplish… 

porcelain flower

Cab #2 – just beginning. Porcelain cab/my work – irregular shape. 

 

tab set cabs

My tab set cabs. ( All my work – polymer Ganesh, stoneware butterflies and Green Man foliate head). I was using brass for a change, and left it shiny! Not my usual preference, but I was trying to challenge myself… 

first owl cab

Athena’s owl ( earthenware cab, repro of antique drachma coin) The first attempt. Its a little wonky – a few beads sticking out of line here and there. I learned peyote stitch 10+ years ago when I worked at The Shepherdess in San Diego. Never did bezels until now… I adore the painterly aspect of choosing bead colors to accentuate the ceramic glaze!

peyote backing

Full disclosure! I had an assist from Cooky Schock – she was in town for Beadfest and we had a few days of “Art Camp” before she headed home to SD. (She was my original peyote stitch teacher, BTW!) She gave me valuable insight into finishing the backs on my pieces.

From top right: 1. bezel complete – stitched onto pollon in lieu of Stiff Stuff. 2/3. The back plain and then with pellon stitched down. 4. Ultrasuede stitched down! 5. first owl cab with messy stitched sueded cloth. compared to the final of the three cabs with the clean presentable backing! 

 

final three

The final three peyote stitched cabochons. I am pleased with how they came out! It was new to me – even though I had tried peyote stitch in the past… and its very exciting to have a chance to use my own work in such a different context. While I dont know if I will ever switch to seed beads completely – I am glad to have them in my repertoire. I often sit and bead while watching tv… I am so glad Sally threw down this challenge! 

Looking forward to seeing all the diverse cabs put to use on this Hop! Here are the participants! Before you go – I would love to hear your thoughts! And thanks for stopping by… 

 

Your Host:  Sally Russick

D Lynne  Bowland

Alicia Marinache           

Lynn  Jobber           

Jenny Davies-Reazor  ( you are here)         

Jo-Ann  Woolverton           

Marde Lowe           

Dawn Doucette           

Mary K McGraw           

Gloria Allen           

Cheri  Reed           

Sonya Stille           

Elizabeth Owens Dwy           

Veralynne   Malone           

Tania Hagen           

Lynsey  Brooks           

Christina Miles           

Holly  Westfall           

Kathy  Lindemer           

Patti Vanderbloemen           

 Therese Frank           

Adrienne Berry           

Liz   E  

Tanty  Sri Hartanti           

Ginger Bishop

Renetha Stanziano           

Marlene  Cupo           

Sandi Volpe           

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson           

Niky  Sayers

 Mischelle Fanucchi           

Tracy  Stillman           

Skylar Bre’z           

Ann Schroeder           

Paula Kramer

Jess Green           

Susan Kennedy           

Stacie  Florer           

Cathie  Carroll           

Susan F.   

Michelle Caballero       

Sabine Dittrich           

Kristina Johansson           

Kimberly Sturrup-Roberts           

Melissa  Meman           

Cheryl McCloud         

Michelle  Timms           

Cindy  Pack                 

Lynda  Carson

Cynthia  Machata           

Julia  Harris           

Karin  Slaton

Ingrid  Anderson           

Karin Grosset Grange

Jasvanti  Patel  

Inge  von Roos

Molly Alexander

 
 
 

Autumn – the reveal for Suburban Girl Design Team

 I love Fall. It truly is my favorite season. The crisp zing in the air, the colors, leaves… So when Diana sent us our stoneware leaf for the Suburban Girl design team, I was thrilled. My thoughts were on leaves – as I was working with Kristen’s beaded leaf for the AJE team…and I wanted this to stand out and be unique, different…

Fall focal

The quote is from Peter Mulvey – “… and the leaves were telling secrets to the wind.” The copper was a scrap, already reminiscent of a leaf, tweaked a bit with the jeweler’s saw. I liked the way it hung, and allowed the heavier leaf to balance the enameled acorn. ( Thank you Carol Myers!)

Clasp!

The lovely copper clasp from fellow team mate Michelle! 

SBGDT fall

The whole necklace: seed pod beads, tiger’s eye in yellow and red, wood jasper… finished with seed beads and chain. 

chain detail

Hand stamped copper links: “Change”- since this season heralds the change of the year into the fallow reflective period of the winter. So much change around us – from leaves, to routines, to weather… And I liked the shapes balancing the lozenges of the tiger’s eye opposite. 

Beauty shot

I loved working with this pendant of Diana’s! It was a pleasure! Thanks for stopping by – let me leave you with a question before you visit my fellow team members’ blogs – What is your favorite aspect of Autumn? 

Diana Ptaszynski http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com/
Kristen Stevens http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com/
Jan Onipenco http://moltenmayhem.typepad.com/
Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp http://skyejewels.blogspot.com/
Sandra Basara Miller http://www.sandra5461.blogspot.com/
Michelle Buettner http://misheldesigns.blogspot.com/

Give a hoot! And vote for a hoot…

While the title of this contest makes me laugh – I had to enter, and share…

Hooters challenge

The timing corresponds with Halloween, naturally. Artisan Whimsy is an online social networking group for beaders and the like. They are hosting this contest! There are categories to vote for owl components and finished jewelry featuring owls. I make quite a few: 

1. Stoneware owls – fired to ^10 reduction for you potters out here. 

hi fire owls

Earthenware owls – more colorful, more contrast. 

low fire owls

Athena’s owl: this mold I made from a reproduction on an ancient Athenian drachma coin. I did NOT carve that myself!

Athena's owls

4. Mythic Nature pendant line – owl totem. This one I DID carve from wet clay, carving and modeling the features from scratch. I then made a mold, and can make multiples from my original design. Each one is hand painted and takes approximately 20 minutes for the underglaze only! I love the variations I can achieve though…

My OOAK owls

A few of these owls have found there way to my Etsy shop. ( Although start a “convo” with me if there is something you want not listed.) Please wing on over and take a look!

Happy Halloween. 

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