Planes, Trains… or postage stamps?

 

I am an Anglophile. To those that know me that comes as no surprise. I lived in London for a semester in college and it was the most formative impactful period in my life. My husband and I went to the UK on holiday for our honeymoon and my 40th birthday. (That was a surprise, too. I have never happy cried so hard!)

My work is deeply, fundamentally inspired by my Celtic heritage, by folklore and fairy tale, by myth and magic. And every so often I try to “cross the pond”. You may know I also write for a fabulous blog called Art Elements. My team mate and friend Lesley has invited me to visit and have an art retreat of sorts. ( We have done the same here at my house the last few years). So in an effort to raise the necessary funds – I have created these pieces. This year is the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee – what better way to raise funds and nod in respect to Queen Liz than there?! The stamps come from my childhood stamp collection – and may go even further back to my  Dad’s collection.

The pendants are double sided – the back included UK map sections. Maps taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica atlas from my childhood! They are going to be listed on Etsy as soon as I finish here… and while sold as pendants with my fellow creators and designers in mind…. can easily be made into a pendant with a gemstone angel for a small additional fee. If you are interested in supporting me and my travel fund – please check them out! I am designating 100% of the sea of these pieces to my travel fund!

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Convo me if you want a necklace with gemstone dangle! 

Inner visions, Inner Harbor

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The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. 

Why had I never been here before? 

Last week my friend and blog colleague Lesley Watt was visiting. We had planned our vacation art camp with a mix of field trips and artwork projects. The weather was so insanely cooperative – very unlike late August/early September usually is… So our first adventure was the AVAM in Baltimore, on a glorious temperate, blue-skied day…

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Mosaic bluebird of happiness. 

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A museum is covered in installations.

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Bunny! On the “Magic Bus”

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This mosaic Cosmic Galaxy  egg was breath taking. It even incorporated images from the Hubble telescope. ( Artist: Andrew Logan)

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The Museum grounds are outstanding. Sculpture, installations, fountains, gardens. I felt completely enchanted before we even entered the museum.

 

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A sense of fun, a tranquil enclosure… 

There are many instances where words or a quote stop you in your tracks. I did manage to capture a few heartfelt phrases.

There is no photography allowed in the museum, so you are seeing pieces from the grounds, and in the mirror below a stealth pix of Lesley in a mirrored mosaic. The blue sculpture above? Entirely beaded, representing John Waters and Divine as a folk art weather house – you know – where figures emerge and disappear depending on the weather readings?

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No pictures allowed IN the museum, but the bathrooms were fair game! 

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In the gardens between the buildings. A true oasis in the city. 

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Need I say more? 

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Amazing views from the AVAM Bird’s nest balcony

After the museum we headed to the Inner Harbor for a tourist browse and then dinner. Crab cakes, naturally.

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The Inner Harbor – then off for crab cakes! 

Lesley has posted regarding the adventures over at Art Jewelry Elements. Take a look at her pix! And stay tuned for more here, later this week!

I love airports. 

At the international arrivals gate in Philadelphia- yet I hear Hugh Grant in my head from “love actually”. Well I may not be IN Heathrow but I’m awaiting Lesley arriving from Heathrow. 


And experimenting with WordPress on my phone. How did it work? We shall see. 

Hacienda Mosaico! (metal, magic, mexico)

Hacienda Mosaico

It was on my bucket list. <laughs> But now its on my list again. Its the kind of experience you want to have again, and again. 

Last Spring? Summer? my BFF Cooky Schock (of Shepherdess fame) and I decided we were going to attend a weeklong class taught by Jane and Richard Salley. In Puerto Vallarta Mexico. In January. Its already a win-win. It didnt even seem real, until like… Christmas when we really had to discuss packing, tools, etc. 

Here’s a little photo essay for your viewing pleasure: 

travel adventure begins

1 & 2. New Years Day flight. Talk about an auspicious start to the new year. 

3. San Diego sunset. I flew to SD so Cooky and I could go together… 

4. Delays in San Diego. Never a dull moment. 

Hacienda Mosaico

The Hacienda is gorgeous. Owned and opperated by Sandra “Sam” Leonard, it is a colorful inspired, inspiring oasis of creativity. It’s feast for the senses- from the lush greenery, the friendly pups, the glittering mosaics, the colors and textures dazzle. I am  working on an art journal sketchbook from the trip that is filled with color and pattern and designs all inspired by the Hacienda itself. 

Bar and pool

Classes include breakfast and lunch, served poolside. Yes, it sounds great already and then you see the place! And the chef Jorge? Delicious, fresh food, variety, and tropical treats to this Mid Atlantic winter palette! Imaging this: Waking to the sound of tropical birds calling, maybe a hammer tapping if an early riser was at work in the studio. Stroll through leaves, filled with dew, under the arches to the pool where coffee was ready early. Yes, coffee. The path to my heart. Then a shower, or a quick swim? journaling or work time before breakfast at 9 and class starting at 10. It became a joyous routine. I’d run into Tom at coffee, Pat was knitting by the pool… Sigh. 

Classroom

Class was the complete immersion experience I was looking for… I have had the pleasure of knowing Richard for over 10 years and taking classes with him along the way. Jane, a well recognized jewelry artist in her own right, assisted and contributed greatly to the class environment. The projects seemed so complex and daunting – but broken down were very manageable. It was great to attempt, to DO, to succeed, to commiserate, to share, to encourage, and to create with a group of like minded people from all over the US. 

And it was fabulous to work side by side with Cooky, as we hadnt gotten to do that for a few years! 

students and work

1 &2.Tom and Diana at work

3.Cheri’s adaptation of Richard’s Ketoh bracelet incorporating her beadwork

4. class work. 

Maybe I have a pang of regret for not seeing more of Puerto Vallarta. Maybe I dont. The week was realxing and invigorating. Exhausting and energizing. Inspiring and overwhelming. And I loved every. second.  I have great new friends. Reunions are being discussed. Jane and Richard agreed to be interviewed for Art Jewelry Elements blog, so that is in progress. I have pieces I am working on already and pages of sketches for when my RIO order arrives. 

My work/WIP

Above: my pieces completed and WIP from the week. I am a little obsessed with stone on stone. I have great ideas for stone on porcelain, using my ceramic pieces….  

This was such a great experience! And timely for me as well. While I do not intend to stop creating ceramic sculptures, jewelry making has been moving into the fore over the last few years. I feel I have now reclaimed my metal smithing skills and expereinces from art school. They were lost in the haze of the teaching years. And learned new and exciting things!I am excited to add those skills to my repertoire and see where my muse takes me. 

Until next time… 

(I’d love to read a comment! Are you really out there reading? LOL)

 

A lovely day at the Faire…

This past Sunday we headed out for a day at the RenFest. It was gorgeous weather and we had a great time strolling, chatting with friends, and shopping a little… 

JBR stiltwalker

JDR posie house

JBR bubbles

JDR kiln gods

JDR Beth of Feywood

JDR Greenman

JDR fountain

Thanks to my talented husband for supplementing my photos – I will post again later this week with more sculpture by the amazing Feywood. It was a great day!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the reveal of the “Create with Cabochons” challenge!

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe for vacation.

 

2 parts “Travel” Reserve one, set aside. 

Season with city traffic, add ferry ride for garnish. 

arrival collage

 Marinate in equal parts sunscreen and salt water. The more time the better. Coat lightly with sand. 

sand castles

Spice things up with Trivial Pursuit games, and epic sessions of “Angry Birds”. Serve with a micro brew Heiffeweissen. 

faces collage

Savor the weekend with family on the Texas Gulf Coast. Enjoy! 

Return home rested, pink, happy tired…  with many memories!

travel collage

Destination – Stade, Germany! Challenge of Travel reveal

Challenge of Travel

Once again Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati has created a cohesive yet diverse and individual challenge. The brief: Select a region, then a country. Create an accessory or your choice that evokes that nation. Sounds simple. Yet the possibilities are endless. 

 

I chose Europe: Germany. Seems like the least exotic choice when the world is laid at your feet, or at least your Interweb accessing fingertips. My heritage is Celtic. All Celtic. I am approximately 1/4 Irish, 1/8 Welsh, 1/8 Scottish, and you guessed it – 1/2 German. The German part of my heritage hasnt spoken as loudly as the island Celtic bits… I have lived in London and felt at home there. I have visited Edinburgh, Scotland and the bagpipes stir my blood. I have trekked Wales from waterfalls to Medieval castles. And I have seen treasures in the Rebublic of Ireland, from the Book of Kells to romantic crumbling ruins. I have never been to Germany. Ever. It seemed fair to give the other part a fair investigation. 

I wanted to stay away from the cultural icons of Oktoberfest, beer steins, the Black Forest, the fairy tale turrets of Nueschwanstein. I read lists of famous Germans, articles on Anglo Saxons, and have an enticing list of folk tales to pursue in the future. I wrote a pair of teaser posts on German notable persons and German artists. But it was still all too much…

Oktoberfest  steinBlack Forest folk costume Nueschwanstein

So I turned to the research done by a distant cousin on my mother’s side; the history of the Boesch family – my maternal grandfather’s heritage. The branch of the Boesch family can be traced back to Stade in the mid 1600’s. 

Boesch chronicles

Unified Germany is so large, with so many distinct regions – I found it much easier after I decided to focus on the city of Stade. 

Travel challenge sketchbook

Stade coat of arms griffin

I was inspired by the griffins on the city’s coat of arms, and there was also a key. I like that symbolism, unlocking a bit of my ancestry.  I have wanted to do a copper pipe shrine for a while, and this was the time to experiment… Shield shapes to reference the coat of arms…

in progress

Words stamped in German: “history & my country”. A map showing Stade from my mother’s girlhood Encyclopedia Brittanica atlas. (Yes – the days of door to door encyclopedia salesmen. My Grandpa invested in a set – and I still have them…) Slivers of mica. 

Components ready

Stade is located in northern Germany just outside Hamburg on the river Elbe. 

map north Germany

So with all this going on in my head – this is what I created: 

The top copper piece has an overlay of antique paper covered in resin. It is in German, from a book of unknown origins. Lovely Gothic font, and at least 200 years old. The griffin image is framed at the center, and key dangle. I had used a tube rivet to hang the dangle, but it was awkward going through the rivet. Turned – much better. To complete the piece – chunky stones (calcedony) and copper chain, 18-20″ long. I wanted the griffin image to be seen clearly so it is not recessed into the depth of the center chamber. 

front

The back allows you to see into the center chamber with the vintage map and a few glass beads for movement. The top two corners are joined with micro bolts that I sawed off and riveted to secure the piece. 

back view

It will be fun to wear – in the fall. I have to admit – the large area of the copper does stick to one’s skin in the humid late summer. I often use words, an dcreate pieces with a meaning. I also enjoy creating a piece with a secret. The wearer knows of the secreet and chooses to reveal and share or to concel and remain quiet. It creates an interaction and a dynamic between the wearer and the viewer. This piece certainly fulfills that, and I had a fantastic time reading and researching and creating. 

Please take time to tour the world – in under 80 days! My fellow travelers are listed at Erin’s Treasures found blog or the following map. Have fun!

 

Name Blog Region Chosen Inspiration Nation
Monique Urquhart http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.ca/ Africa Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk/ Africa Egypt
Therese Frank http://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.com Africa Kenya
Raychelle Heath http://abeadloveaffair.blogspot.com/ Africa Lesotho
Joan Williams www.lilrubyjewelry.wordpress.com Africa Mauritania
Sherri Stokey http://www.KnotJustMacrame.com Africa Senegal
Regina Santerre http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com Africa Seychelles
Raida Disbrow http://havanabeads.blogspot.com Africa Tanzania
Kristi Wodek http://livedinlife.blogspot.com Africa Zimbabwe
Sally Russick http://www.thestudiosublime.com Americas Brazil
Melissa Trudinger http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com Americas Mexico
Tracy Stillman http://www.tracystillmandesigns.com Americas USA
Sandra Wolberg http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.de Asia India
Tanya Goodwin http://pixiloo.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Susan Kennedy http://suebeads.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Beth Emery http://storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Lisa Cone http://inspiredadornments.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Tanya Boden http://fusionmusebangkok.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Inge von Roos http://ingetraud.wordpress.com Asia Laos
Erin Prais-Hintz http://treasures-found.blogspot.com Asia Nepal
Dee Elgie http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.com Asia Phillipines
Carolyn Lawson http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com Asia South Korea
Lisa Stukel http://carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.com Asia Sri Lanka
Elly Snare http://themagicsquarefoundation.wordpress.com Asia Thailand
Shelley Graham Turner http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com Europe Austria
Mallory Hoffman http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/ Europe Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim http://www.pmaximdesigns.blogspot.com Europe France
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog Europe Germany
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson http://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com Europe Greece
Evelyn Shelby http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/ Europe Iceland
Holly Westfall http://silverrosedesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Ireland
Rebecca Siervaag http://www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Toltec Jewels http://toltecjewels.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Lee Koopman http://StregaJewellry.wordpress.com Europe Ireland
Laren Dee Barton http://larendeedesigns.blogspot.com Europe Italy
Cindy Wilson http://www.mommysdreamcreations.blogspot.com Europe Norway
Kathleen Lange Klik http://ModernNatureStudio.blogspot.com Europe Poland
Shaiha Williams http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/ Europe Portugal
Jennifer Justman http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Romania
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com Europe Spain
Lola Surwillo http://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com Europe Sweden
Kim Hora http://www.kimmykats.com Europe Switzerland
Leanne Loftus http://firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll http://labellajoya.blogspot.com Europe Turkey
Marlene Cupo http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com Oceania Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle http://jewelsbyine.blogspot.com Oceania Fiji
Tammie Everly http://ttedesigns.blogspot.com/ Oceania Guam
Alice Peterson http://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com Oceania Kiribati
Elisabeth Auld http://www.beadsforbusygals.com Oceania Nauru
Susan McClelland http://mistheword12.wordpress.com/ Oceania New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland http://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.com Oceania New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman http://somebeadsandotherthings.com Oceania New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson http://songbeads.blogspot.com Oceania Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/ Oceania Samoa
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com Oceania Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier http://www.thebeadingyogini.com/ Oceania Tonga
Emma Todd http://www.apolymerpenchant.com Oceania Tuvalu
Debbie Price http://greenshoot.blogspot.com Oceania Vanuatu
 

 

 

 

 

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…

 



Start packing your bags… Challenge of Travel preview

This Saturday is Erin’s Challenge of Travel blog hop reveal. Its a creative challenge to create a themed piece – in this case the country of your choice. Germany is mine. Not exotic, not a place that is known for a different design aesthetic – like  Japan or Aboriginal Austaralia. German is a large part of my heritage (along with Irish, Welsh and Scottish. Full Celt!) yet I have never been there. It is the British Celtic lore that inspired and informs my artwork. So in reading and researching Germany – I wanted to share some of my finds. 

Part I – Thinkers, musicians, architects. 

The Brothers Grimm – linguists and cultural ressearchers, most well known for their collections of folklore. 

Grimm stamp Snow white folk art stamp

Frau Holle stamp Bad fairy stamp

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe –artist, writer, and politician.

  Goethe stamp

Richard Wagner – composer and conductor. Retold Germanic myths in “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (The Ring of the Nibelung)   Wagner stamps 

Rackam's Brunhild

(Brunhilde the Valkyrie – A. Rackam 1910)

Martin Luther – theologian and religious reformer

Luther stamps

Johann Sebastian Bach & Ludwig van Beethoven – Classical composers extraordinairre

Bach Stamp Beethoven stamp

Albert Einstein – theoretical physicist, developed Law of Relativity. 

Einstein stamp

Walter Gropius – pioneering architect, founder of the Bauhaus School. 

Bauhaus stamp

Mies Vander Rohe – Pioneering architect, “master of Modern Architecture. 

Mies stamp

( I apologize for not linking them all – but any can be found readily in Wiki for more info)

The stamps as illustrations was a happy accident – and so much more. I kept finding stamp images which were so apropos at documenting and honoring German figures from history and culture. So I searched out ALL stamp images. But what could be more perfect as a souvenir of travel? As  a child I took over my Dad’s stamp collection. His mom, my Grandmom always requested postcards when we traveled, especially our first school trips to Europe as teenagers. I myself have made it a quest to buy stamps on Carribean islands, the Owl post in Hogsmeade… not for use but to collage. I am an inveterate collector of paper ephemera, ticket stubs, wrappers and such that I collage into my travel journals. So let this post whet your appetite – for travel or for the upcoming reveal – hopefully both!

Tune in tomorrow for German artists! 

 

 

 

A glimpse of Austin. (Time Flew – continued.)

As promised – the catching up. Let me entertain you with a few snapshots from my recent trip to Austin. I had a wonderful time hanging out with family and did get to hit one or two of my favorite spots on South Congress…

Allen's boots

Jackalope cowboy?

Uncommon Objects. Mecca. Antiques, found objects, downright junk. If I had a wish – it would be to have permission to take pix inside. 

Uncommon window

hibiscus

cactus blossom

S. Congress

loot1

My loot. Enameled watch faces, a buckle to cast, a watch free of insides, full of possibilities…

And a tiny late 1800’s pocket dictionary…

loot 2

 

Tomorrow – I will show you what I have been frantically working on since I got back…