The Art Elements theme reveal: Birds of Prey

Welcome to the reveal! This month Cathy challenged us with “Birds of Prey“. I found it to be extremely inspirational. I really wanted to work with osprey – as they nested on the river where I grew up, all along the Chesapeake Bay, and I still see them often at the Delaware beaches. But the owls had their hooks in me…

First are these mixed media focal pendants. This is a style I am diving deep into pf late – getting ready for an online show, a local show, and then.. .Bead and Button!  ( details at end of post.)  These polymer assemblages feature found OOAK images, and antique lenses. Optometry lenses or watch crystals – I am not sure.  The image is sandwiched between polymer and lens. The bezel – for lack of a better term – is sculpted. All are hand painted! ( I may have to keep that Barn owl… )

Polymer and mixed media pendants.

The polymer station is simply staying set up in my studio. I have ideas bubbling up all the time! After a lovely day crystals shopping with Staci – These owl were born. I want to sculpt similar pieces with goddesses and other animals as well.

Crystal owl prototype!

2 crystal owls, one with a loop. Coming soon to “One Sweet Bead Market” on FB.

The image in Cathy’s original post haunted me. Zoomed in, cropped… I decided to try translating it to beads. I want to experiment with some beaded paintings, of a sort… I made the conscious decision to use only size 11 rounds, keeping the surface uniform. Then color and direction of stitches would take precedence…

Beaded painting in progress

At the same time – I was working on this cabochon – a barn owl. So often I am caught up in the cycle of production, being efficient, producing more. That is a cycle I strive to break this year. This piece was very satisfying to sculpt in detail, and i used antique jet beads as eyes. ! I knew it was destined to be paired with flowers. I was inspired by the Welsh goddess Blodeuwedd – who was created from flowers and later shape shifted into an owl…

New cab, colored with pastels, amongst vintage lucite flowers.

Here are these 2 bead embroidery pieces finished! I am happy with how they both came out – but thrilled with Blodeuwedd, if I do say so.

Completed as a brooch, shown in hand for scale.

Beaded piece measures 3 x 3″ , framed in a birch panel frame.

This was  a great theme, and a very productive month, especially for a short month! Please take a few minutes to visit my team mates, and out guests this month. Thanks for stopping by – see you in March!

Guests:

Tammy

Beth

Cat

Anita

Kathy

Alysen

Linda

Rozantia

Jennifer

Hope

Sarah

Sarajo

Melissa

 

Team Members: 

 

Caroline

Cathy

Claire

Jen

Karen

Laney

Lesley

Lindsay

Marsha

Niky

Sue

Inspired by reading… Paris to the Moon

(If you are looking for the Art Jewelry Elements CoM reveal – it is located here.)

Pour a coffee, pull up a chair… and welcome to the first month of the “Inspired by Reading” book/creative club. This wonderful idea is being masterminded by the tireless  & creative Andrew Thornton. Simply put – we participants, far flung though we may be – are reading a book a month. Then we are creating something – jewelry, a doodle, poem, collage… inspired by the book. Its very loose and flexible – which makes in very do-able, in my opinion. 

Our first offering: “Paris to the Moon” a collection of essays by Adam Gopnik that detail aspects of his life as a writer and father living in Paris. They were originally published seperately in The New Yorker magazine, and collected as a book published in 2000. 

Paris to the Moon

 I enjoyed the book overall, but found some of the essays not engaging to my interests. The topics of French economics and politics were not my favorites. The descriptions of life in the city, the challenges of an expatriot living abroad, and the frequent culture clashes between a former New York City resident and his now-fellow Parisians were charming and humorous. 

I was most inspired by his field trips with his son to Deyrolle Taxidermy. This Paris icon, preserving natural wonders since 1831, was their destination when rain kept them from their habitual turn in the Luxembourg Gardens. I usually find taxidermy a bit morbid, but this had me fascinated. Animals from the farm to the safari, many abandoned by their owners, bills unpaid. And insects, and coral, and butterflies, and all other diverse objects from the natural world – a cabinet of curiousities… 

Deyrolle

Deyrolle cases

Cabinet of curiousities. WunderKammer. Literally translated as “Room of Wonders”… from as early as the 16th century these collections housed “objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings) and antiquities.” The image below, “Ulisse Aldrovandi’s Cabinet” (engraving by G. Mitelli) shows the concept in all its chaotic glory. 

Wunderkammer

 

Pendants. Amulets. Housing treasures – both natural and relics… Hmm… 

Amulets WIP

From top left: boxes – showing folded corners and inserted wires. They are cut from metal sheet, one piece; with tabs that fold to overlap at corners. There are wires inserted as staples to hold tabs and provide loops for attachments/bails. Then the boxes are filled – with ivory polymer, 2 part epoxy putty, black polymer. 

Wunderkammer amulets

Stained. painted… The shell piece (top left) had a chance encounter with the floor, sadly… The bottom two are my favorites. I prefer the layers of transluscent color I can achieve on the ivory base. 

The set of four

These will be finished with dangles and mixed media necklaces. They are rather heavy – but had to be deep to accomodate the items. I think they are reminiscent of specimen trays, and would be worthy additions to a WunderKammer. They are artifacts, and natural items, and become amulets as well. I think a future series of these will be stamped on the back with a quote, a secret word of power or mantra to wear next to your skin. 

I hope to finish them this week for my first big Spring show – Spoutwood Farm’s May Day Fairy Festival. Its a wonderful, magical time… 

And I hope you follow me to “Hop” and see what others created – inspired by “Paris to the Moon”. The list and links are on Andrew’s blog. 

Thanks for stopping by – I would love to hear your thoughts on these new experimental amulets… 

 

 

 

History Hop… My Medieval muse, my Celtic roots.

Hop to it! (Just a wee pun for our hostess, Leah of Beady Eyed Bunny…)

The brief – select a period of History – which in and of itself was a HUGE challenge for me. I liked and was inspired by so many… and create a piece inspired by that time, those people, their materials, their style…The choices: 

I had to choose Middle Ages/Medievel. In my minds eye I was seeing enameled pieces from Sutton Hoo, golden torcs, spirals, amber, pearls…My Celtic heritage was not going to be passed over. But gold – not going to happen. 

Celtic inspirations

My Celtic heritage has been a great influence on my work since I studied abroad while in  college, living and traveling on the soil of my ancestors. I designed and created Celtic penannular brooches in my final semesters studying metals in college. I wanted this piece to be informed by and inspired by – yet be modern, and reflect my current tastes in mixing materials and making pieces with meaning and intention. 

The Celts wore amber. and quite a bit of gold. They enameled, and created intricate knotwork designs, both geometric and zoomorphic. Knotwork seemed too obvious. Amber… My parents had given me a tiny bag of sand and raw amber chunks they collected on the beaches of Skagen, Denmark. I became intrigued with the idea of encapsulating the amber, so it moved freely within an amulet. 

But thinking on Celtic art, I was also thinking of runes and ogham script. In my associations, runes are more Scandinavian while Ogham is more Irish/Welsh. I usually include text in my pieces – so ogham was a must. I perused books in my personal library – La Tene period, Hallstadt…

Ogham stone Ogham

Sketchbook

The plan was to inset a plastic lens into faux bone thus creating a niche for the amber. I started that – last Wednesday. Not going to happen in the time I had remaining. Plan B – polymer. I have recently been reintroduced to polymer by the multi talented Christine Damm. I knew it would do exactly what I envisioned. 

polymer process pix

Top: working. Ivory polymer. 

Bottom: Ogham writing around pendant. Copper overlay to be sawed. Amber and lens in place. 

The pendant

Here is the finished pendant! Three chunks of amber for the Goddess of the Celts – in her three forms of maiden, mother, and wise crone. The Triquetra – a three lobed symbol, also representing trilogies – body, mind, spirit; earth, water, sky; youth, maturity, age…… The ogham translates as “Goddess guide me”. The back – a subtle pattern of knotwork and a central triskele motif. 

Back of pendant

I had intended to pair this with amber beads. I am not sure. I have taken pix with a few different gemstone combinations. What do you think? 

1. Amber 2. howlite and emeralds

1. Amber 2. Howlite & emeralds

3. aquamarine & emeralds 4. Labradorite, howlite emeralds

3. Green aquamarines & emeralds 4. Labradorite, howlite, emeralds…

 

Please tell me what you think… I am thrilled with how this turned out, and thank Leah for initiating this challenge. I think I have a few more pieces rolling around in my head still! Please check out my fellow participants and their historical inspirations. (I may be late to the hopping, everyone! Teaching all day today. Monday over coffee at the latest, but I will jump in my Time Machine and meet you there. ) 

Ahowin – Art Nouveau www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com
Alicia Marinache – Victorian http://www.allprettythings.ca/
Becca’s Place – Renaissance www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
Beti Horvath – Ancient Egypt and Art Deco www.stringingfool.blogspot.com
Cherry Obsidia – Ancient Mecynae Greece www.cherryobsidia.blogspot.com
Cooky – Renaissance www.shepherdessbeads.com/Blog.html
Jennifer Davies-Reazor – Medieval www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Kathleen Douglas – Indus Valley www.washoekat.blogspot.com
Kashmira Patel – Etruscan www.sadafulee.blogspot.com
Lady Grey – Victorian www.beadsteaandsweets.blogspot.com
Laney Mead – Pre-Columbian www.laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk
Leah Curtis – Ancient Roman www.beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk
LiliKrist – Persia www.lilikrist.com
Melissa – Mesopotamian www.design.kcjewelbox.com
Melissa Trudinger – Art Nouveau www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Micheladas Musings – Ancient Romans www.micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Sandra Wollberg – Art Nouveau www.city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.com
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson – Art Deco www.sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com
Tracy Stillman – Victorian www.tracystillmandesigns.com

 

 

Fifteen minutes of Fame, winners, and the like…

Halloween

Spook-tacular news: After three (?) years of waiting and wondering – my episode of HGTV’s “That’s Clever” will air on Monday October 17th, 2011! I am excited, and a little anxious. It has been so long, its all a blur in my memory. I am excited to see it, and feel a little self-conscious – will it be cool? Silly? Hmm. So check your local cable listings for time and channel! I am interested to hear what you think. 

Winners! – I though I was being so smart – deciding on 1 random winner and 1 that I selected. Completely impartial, I know, but my perogative. Well, that was a hard decision! There were great ideas for talismanic words and phrases – many that I will use! Thank to all who entered, that was the creative impetus I needed. I will post pix as things are hammered out. 

The random winner is…’Serenity now’ from Angela

And I could not resist…‘Empowered‘ from Rachel. ( Hard decision! SO many great ideas!) 

Other points of interest: 

FaerieCon – November 4-6, in Baltimore. A truly magical weekend of music, art, festivities, and the like. Great authors and artist, a chance to meet and see their new work. The line-up this year is the best yet! And the costumes! And the Green Men parade! and the Masquerade Balls! I cannot wait. 

The Arden Holiday Shop – November 27th, 11-4 pm. A tradition in Arden DE, this small gathering of local artists and craftspeople is very festive! Great place to start – or finish – your holiday shopping! 

And yes! I will have ‘word mojo’ necklaces at both events. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you can tune in on Monday!

The goddess and the lunar hare

Faux Bone – just what the name implies, a relatively new material, related to PVA plastic, yet non toxic and high quality. It was launched on the market by Robert Dancik, and I have had it on the workbench for months! Wanting to try shaping, sanding, carving, impressing, staining… this versatile material. So here is the first attempt: 

Faux bone goddess

The ceramic oval on the left is my goddess/poppet. To me She is the self, the soul, the creative muse, the feminine divine. Her shape is inspired by Cycladic idols and other ancient sculpture. I wanted to see her in faux ivory of a sort. The copper acts as a structural base for the piece, the dark rich patina of the copper setting off the subtle tones in the FB. From a design sense it serves as a halo, and allows holes at hands (for attachment to a necklace) and feet ( gemstone dangle, of course!)

Cycladic idol  Nile Goddess (Left: Cycladic Idol, app. 2500 BCE. Right: Nile Goddess, app 3500 BCE)

I was happy with how she turned out, although I am still considering giving her breasts… I turned my focus next to me second favorite of my ceramic pendants – the lunar hare. The  hare is a bit of a totem animal for me, and I am greatly inspired by the many myths of the moon hare. From so many cultures, so diverse, yet illustrating a commonality…

Lunar hare

The crescent on the right – is polymer clay. I was baking some other pieces for the Blue Hen and I made a few crescents to test. While i like the sculptural possibilities – this one is too bulky. I think Faux bone will work best here, too. Other things in progress: 

Copper and nickel silver windows/ frames. Images are sandwiched under mica, tube rivets, stamped words… This was a direct inspiration from Melissa Manley – and although she wasn’t the first to ever use this technique – it is only proper, and respectful to give credit. (Her work is amazing, and I am happy to have studied with her, and to call her a friend. ) The piece on the far left: “Such stuff as dreams are made on…” quoted from “The Tempest” – houses an image of Miranda from a painting by my favorite, John Williams Waterhouse

copper frames pendants

The piece on the right is a bit different. It is carved wood, housing a collage. The collage is set in a plastic lens and resin. The front image is an Irish stamp, copper, and the word ‘Journey’. The back: 

MM bird back

It is an idea I am experimenting with – crating sculptural frames for collage/lens. My text, as always, is from 200+ year old books. It is a meditation of sorts, to thumb through the yellowing pages, eyes flitting and darting, until the right words present themselves to me. Words I would not have chosen; phrases I would not have composed…

I would love to hear your thoughts, out there in the ether. Do you have a personal talisman? A totem animal? 

 

A to Z: amulet

I have been ruminating on this alphabet concept for almost a year. 26 letters; 52 weeks. There is a beautiful symmetry there. I have lists of inspirational words, topics, and the like in my journal. So I am going to begin, on this first Friday of the first month to wend my way through the alphabet, from A to Z. 

A is for…

art? artistic? No. A is for amulet:a charm (as an ornament) often inscribed with a magic incantation or symbol to aid the wearer or protect against evil (as disease or witchcraft) From the Latin amuletum; first known Use: 1584 Synonyms: charmfetish, mascotmojo,periaptphylacterytalisman (Thank you Merriam Webster online.)

"Mojo" amulet

My personal amulet; my “Mojo” pendant. When I started it – I wasn’t even sure if I would end up wearing it, but I wanted to experiment a bit. It started with the bone game piece, altered with antique paper, and aged. It was a paper-centric class I took with my friend Keith at the Shepherdess. I tend to focus on trying a new technique and creating samples to take back to my studio – as opposed to manically attempting an entire piece of art in a class scenario. Doesn’t that sound logical? You would be surprised…

 Anyway – it reads “Happy in her studio” found text from a turn-of-the-century art book. It is drilled and adorned with three garnets.  The paintbrush, sacrificed, cut short and topped with a copper bail. (The component missing in this picture is a ceramic shard from Marsha Neal Studio. It needs to be replaced.)  A delightful woman met me at a show (Artsfest at Annmarie Garden) and offered me antique doll parts. A treasure to have, for sure, but this one is the first I have incorporated into a wearable piece. The sea glass and river stone were drilled through by me, another skill accumulated in a class with Keith. The copper “trapeze” shape is simply forged wire.  

This piece reads on many different levels for me. It is a compilation of the materials I love to work with: clay, paint, paper, metal, found objects. It represents all these materials unified in a  mixed media piece. I have been gravitating more and more to mixed media, and think that is a strength and source of creative inspiration for me. I am so fortunate to be able to work with my hands, at what I love, every day. I felt that needed to be honored, and appreciated – with the hand itself. There is a magic to creating an object of beauty and/or meaning out of seemingly insignifigent and disparate objects. Something from ‘nothing’. It is my idea, my intention, my creative spark that brings the parts together into a whole. My intention was clearly to create a piece that embodied my personal artistic journey, and would act as an amulet to attract creativity, happiness, success…

Many of my wearable pieces have a deeper meaning. A symbolism behind the image, an inspirational word, the properties of a certain gemstone. Yet others are simply a harmonious arrangement of elements, pleasing to the eye. I think the jewelry we wear speaks volumes about us. Our histories, likes and dislikes, our passions, our choices, our culture. What piece do you wear that speaks out, a self portrait of sorts? What piece has a strong personal meaning? (Of course – I am thinking beyond rings – they are the most potently symbolic piece that many of us wear daily. Wedding rings, engagement rings, even school rings.) I would love to hear…

 

* Please forgive the delay. This type of post – longer, more thoughtful and hopefully thought provoking – is new to me. I wrote and edited it for a couple days, although I had wanted it up on Friday. Please stay tuned for a related “amulet” post this week as well as the second “A” post on Friday.*