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August Component of the Month reveal - and a guest blogger!

 Oh heavens August has been a whirlwind! Prep for Beadfest. The fantastic time that was had AT beadfest - hanging out with AJE team mates, shopping, selling... And now its the reveal date for the Component of the Month at Art Jewelry Elements blog. This month's component is a hand painted leather feather from Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio. Simply gorgeous! 

But best of all: Lesley Watt of The Gossiping Goddess is here in the US! We spend the last two days in the studio working on our pieces, hanging out, drinking tea/coffee and generally having a fantastic time at "art camp". So with out further ado - the reveal: 

CoM faux bone

I wanted to back the feather in Faux bone to create a studier piece as a cuff bracelet. The Faux bone can be shaped when heated. I stamped, distressed, tinted with alcohol inks and sanded it until I had the level of color/rustic/patina that I wanted. 

CoM WIP

In homage to Emily Dickinson I had to engrave the word "Hope" on the underside. (" Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul...")  The feather is stitched onto the faux bone with waxed linen. I wanted to use these rustic beads from Diana/Suburban Girl, but the wire wrap links werent flexible enough in the small span of bracelet... 

JDR CoM bracelet.

Here is my finished piece - I  selected the colors to play off the feather itself. The triple strand included lapis, blue tiger eye, seed pods... I plan to wear it today!

Now over to Lesley: 

Thanks Jenny...

So for this reveal I have none of my usual kit around me to work with so Jenny has very kindly put her awesome studio and bead stash at my disposal and the contents of that together with my Bead Fest haul have been the inspiration for my design with Rebekah's beautiful leather feather. I new before I left the UK that I wanted to incorporate the piece with metal and probably make a bracelet and that went perfectly since jenny was able to give me an impromptue tube riveting lesson  to produce this textured cuff element...

LW CoM 1

Then it was down to picking some beads to accent the cuff and I eventually decided on a beautiful Basha bead that I bought at Bead Fest which perfectly mirrored the blue of the leather. I also went for a linen strung multi-strand section combinng some brass and copper beads and a brass cone from Hands of the Hills and some lovely blue seeds I raided from Jenny...

LW CoM 2

Put all these together and this is the result which I have to say I'm really pleased with...it has something of a Native-American vibe to it and it wears really well.

LW CoM 3

It was great fun working on this project with Jenny, bouncing ideas around and seeing how our pieces started with similarities but ended up quite different...thanks Jenny.

You can check out what the other participants made using the links below: 

Guest Artists
 
The AJE Team
Jenny Davies-Reazor - http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Francesca Watson - http://francescawatson.com/
 

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

July Component of the Month reveal.

We break into the Beadfest creating frenzy with this special Art Jewelry Elements news bulletin: 

Its the reveal date. For the Component of the Month. Over at Art Jewelry Elements blog. 

Francesca sent us stunning bits of bling. I wasn't aware that glass was in her repertoire, I think of her as a metals maven. She has quite a few tricks up her sleeves. 

She offered to drill the dichroic glass cabs if we so desired. Nope! Cabs for me!

Francesca's glass

I debated whether or not I should dust off the old torch, solder, pickle routine. But I decided that I was still too in love with tab settings. Yup. I adore tab settings. There is a design challenge every time: to have the tabs be visually interesting, yet functional. To create unity in the piece and security... 

So here is what I did this month: 

Tab set bling

The piece was so dazzling - I wanted to keep the overall necklace simple. And it was larger than I expected - so I wanted to adjust the proportions so bling was the star, naturally. I pulled inspiration from the linear elements in the glass for the necklace itself. 

Whats missing here?

What's missing? Yes, the jump rings are en route to my work table. (I just didnt have it in me to make my own this month. Sorry.)

I am thinking either sari silk for a cohesive pop of color OR simple chain to finish it off. What do you think? I want it to be app. 22-24" to sit on the sternum. 

Here's one more - and you can see the small piece of chocolate brown leather that the cab is sitting on. It serves as a visual frame of sorts, and a cushion so the cab won't have issues on the copper. It also sits very securely in the setting as well. 

 Leather cushion

the flip side

I loved the challenge this month! The bling-y qualities of the cab made me leave my earthy palette/muted tones/comfort zone. I was pleased with integrating leather as a cusion and design element - in fact I made a second piece: 

copper and leather

I would love to hear your thoughts! 
And don't miss out on the other creations - links to all the participating members and our guest designers can be found HERE!
Have a good one! 

 

 

 

Polymer Clay Collective Conversation: my interview

Polymer Clay Collective, a Facebook group, is devoted to Polymer. Canes, sculpture, whimsy, jewelry, skinner blends, etc. Its a fun group of people willing to share and discuss a medium that we all have in common. In an effort to get to know each other there is an interview series - and here I am! 

 

Tell us a little bit about where you live:  I live in Newark DE - a decent sized college town in Northern DE. I love that I am within 2 hours drive of the beach, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia! I grew up in this region and am a big fan of four distinct seasons. 

 

What do I do when I am not "polymer claying"?  - well - I am a full time working artist... I used to teach art full time and now I have gone freelance, teaching ceramics classes on weekends and summers. I also teach workshops in the region. I divide my studio time between the ceramics studio and the mixed media studio. My "Mythic Nature" series is comprised of ceramic sculptural tiles and pendants. I also create ceramic shrines and altars, incorporating found objects, hand bound books and the like. My mixed media work ranges from jewelry to collage. A diverse array, I know, but I love the having the freedom and the skills to incorporated so many different mediums! 

 

What did you want to be when you were little/do you think you will ever be? I wanted to be a florist. I wanted to be my own boss, have my own storefront, and work with flowers. Will I ever? NO. I have brown thumbs. But I do get to run my own business, work with lovely materials in all colors and textures... Oh - then I wanted to be an archaeologist... 

 

Tell us something about yourself that we dont know. Hmm. I spent a semester of college living and studying in London. Its the single most transformative, influential experience on my adult/artistic life. I went to Art History class in the Tate Gallery once a week. I traveled to ancient sites and museums every spare moment. London still feels a bit like home... 

 

Tell us your polymer clay story: What made you first try polymer clay and how long has PC been part of your life?  I first tried polymer in... 1989? Kathleen Amt, Kathleen Dustin, Tory Hughes... the pioneers where my  inspiration. I taught polymer at a fine arts Summer camp. Then I put it aside in favor of earthenware/stoneware clay for years! In more recent scope, I was inspired to try it again when I had a chance to take a class or two with Christi Friesen. I started to apply my earthen clay sensibilities to PC and love the immediacy and the option for inclusions... 

 

 

What's your favorite PC technique? My current favorite is image transfer onto PC, but my work ( PC or stoneware) always has texture... 

 

What are your art/design inspirations? So many! Thematically my work is inspired by mythology, folklore, goddesses, and nature. Keith LoBue is a friend and a mentor who has influenced my found object sensibilities. Lana Wilson is a ceramic artist whose textural language, use of symbols and hand carved stamps, and slab construction methods has been profoundly influencial to me. I have had the good fortune to work with both artists in a classroom setting. If we open an Art History book - its the Pre-Raphaelites that come first in my heart for their narrative works, incorporating myth, folklore, and fairy tale. But I could  mention Brian Froud, Andy Goldsworthy, Sulamith Wulfing, Joseph Cornell, William Morris... 

 

Show us something you’ve made with polymer clay. OK! 

 

 JDR PC transfers

As I mentioned - I love PC transfers! For bead embroidery, as shown here... or mixed media pieces - I love having another layer of meaning in my work. 

 

 JDR PC/resin

Resin! Layers of meaning... you see the theme? The "Language of Flowers" pieces incorporate vintage illustrations from a children's encyclopedia. ( from my choldhood!) The text pieces  were features in January as the "Component of the Month" over at Art Jewelry Elements blog. Both will be available at Beadfest this August! 

 

JDR PC/mixed media

Tarot card inspired shrine pendants and my Athena piece from Diana Ptaszynski's Waxed Linen blog hop - this was a hollow focal and has started many new ideas brewing! 

 

JDR PC Beadfest

Last, but not least! Mixed media amulet pendants - the class I will be teaching at Beadfest Philadelphia ( August 20-24th) Tab set cabochons, textured PC and all matter of paint finishes! 

 

 

 

 Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my PC work - Leave me a comment if you feel so inclined! 

Until later... 

 

I can be found: 

FB - The Art of Jenny Davies-Reazor

Twitter - JDRshrineart

Etsy - Jdaviesreazor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 ! 

May flowers - the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month

Good Morning! ( Aside from a neighbor running a chainsaw before 7 am...)

Welcome to the reveal of the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month! This month Sue of SueBeads tempted us with two different, yet related options: 

SueBeads flower chiclets SueBeads flower cabs

How do you choose?!

When I saw these I decided to restock my Czech glass flower beads, and when it arrived I went in a completely different direction. But I still had decisions to make: 

Choose your partner

The apple green color - I love it paired with cobalt blue and/or turquoise. That combination really is eye candy to me. But I liked the rusty amber as a compliment as well. The turquoise disc won - and then the rusty color was present in the matrix. My color triad was complete. I ordered, and waited for a few rust colored seed beads, thinking they would be the base of the peyote stich bezels. Well, not exaclty...

My May CoM

I used a matte dark olive for both bases. I alternated color in the top of each bezel to unify the two cabs via color. The rust matte 8's frame Sue's cab and echo the matrix in the turquoise. I am happy with the colors! One thing I am working on - symetry. My seed bead pieces are SO symetrical, and it often seems a bit rigid for me. This one is completely symetrical, I know - but the colors do satisfy... 

Here's the back: 

CoM back

And the decisions are still laid out on the bead table: 

chain options

My seed bead/bead embroidery pieces are always pendants - its my goal to design cohesive necklaces to accompany them. My current fav I wear in tiny vintage brass chain - it floats. For this one - I am thinking copper chain, with a few wire wrapped stones to tie it all together. The green garnet is close in color, the apatite echoes the teal seed beads, the pearls tie in the warmth of the copper and the rust... 

What do you think? (Sorry its not 100% complete!) I would love to hear your thoughts on finishing... 

Thanks to Sue for another fabulous piece - I look forward to three days of fondling, and shopping your glass! ( At Beadfest. We are neighbors in Artisan's Alley!)

And I cant wait to see what people have done with those beads! Was I the only cab? Here are the links... 

Guests
Shai Williams
Erin Prais-Hintz
Kari Asbury
Carolyn Lawson
Merja Sundstrom

AJE Team
Susan Kennedy
Lesley Watt
Keirsten Giles
Caroline Dewison
Rebekah Payne
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Francesca Watson (post will be delayed)
Melissa Meman
Linda Landig

Tangled webs: the waxed linen blog hop reveal

Waxed linen. 

When I think of it I imagine the colorful options, know it is versatile, and then draw a blank. Its not in my wheel house. Friends like Linda Landig and Erin Seigel, to name a few, use it with great results. But for me... its a challenge. So thats exactly why I decided to join when Diana of Suburban Girl Studio announced this blog hop. 

I sat down with my journal - and a coffee - to try to sketch... I like to think visually on paper in doodles. The characteristics of waxed linen that I was drawn to: multi strands, an assortment of treasures, versatility for beads of varying size holes, and I wrote down one word more, that really started the ball rolling. WOVEN. 

Athena and Arachne. 

In Greek myth, Athena ( Goddess of wisdom, war, and patroness of the arts) enters a contest with Arachne. Arachne, a human girl of consumate skill at the loom, commits a fatal mistake by bragging of her talent and offending the Goddess. They weave tapestries in competition, and although Athena wins, Arachne's skill is great. Arachne hangs herself in the tatters of her weaving. Athena, in a moment of mercy, transforms the girl into a spider so she is allowed to/cursed to spin all her days.

Polymer hollow focal

I created a hollow polymer focal with aluminum tubing inside to act as a channel for multiple threads. The owl, representing Athena, is cast from a reproduction drachma. The web for Arachne is a linoleum stamp that I carved to use in clay. I toyed with various spider options, but they ended up distracting from the focal... 

thread and beads choices!

I have an amazing assortment of waxed linen from Mary at White Clover kiln. I also delved into my Czech glass treasure, from back in the days at the Shepherdess in San Diego. Just making the color decisions was the hard part! 

knotting the strands

My original plan involved all three of these strands. Two are double strands, knotted at intervals with beads spaced an inch or so apart . The third was denser, knots, 8's and drop beads, continuously knotted. I liked the contrast of the more open strand with the denser strand. But all three - was too busy. Here is what I decided on in the end: 

 Tangled web - Athena and Arachne

The front: greys, blues and golds. A linen tassle dangling from the embedded loop. ( Note the top. The channel inset in the pendant was too narrow. Wrapped loops solved that problem!)

Tangled web - Athena and Arachne (back)

The back: Arachne's web

So I was left with a knotted strand - just waiting for a pendant. Here is the bonus necklace I created with one of my ceramic fairy pendants. ( Fired to ^10 reduction for you clay people out there)

Bonus piece

 So - if I can muse philosophical for a sec, I am glad I did this. I don't see waxed linen being my go-to material. I respect it, and designers/artists who work with it. I can see using it as an accent in mixed media pieces. I am happy with my pieces, and would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Thanks to Diana for organizing the challenge. Please visit her page for the links to all of us participating! There are sure to be diverse offerings, and many beautiful things! 

Thanks to Mary Hubbard for the sample bag of the waxed linen from her shop! I purchased it from her at Beadfest a year or two ago, and the plethora of pretty colors really inspired me to try my hand at linen and knotting! 

To my fellow participants - I am currently photographing flowering cacti in Austin, TX - and visiting family. I apologize for the delay, but I look forward to "hopping" as soon as I can! 

Seeing red... the AJE Component of the Month

    Looking for the "inspired by Reading" hop? 

 

 Welcome to the April CoM reveal from us at the Art Jewelry Elements blog team! 

This month's offering is presented by the fabulous Lesley Watt of Thea Too. Lesley has recently expanded her clay repertoire from metal clays to include earthen ceramic clay as well - and made this batch of stellar clasps. I was tempted to say "Surprise me!" as so many are really my style, but I LOVE  a  dark stoneware... 

Lesleys CoM clasps

When my clasp arrived - in lightening speed from the UK, I must add - I was simply seeing red. Not in anger, but in inspiration. THe dark stoneware was accented in the spiral design with just a hint of red glaze. I was htinking a bracelet bar in black and red, with some corresponding swirl/spiral design. 

CoM option 1

I textured and cured the black polymer bracelet bars, curing them on a can to maintain their shape. I wanted to experiment with polymer in this style of component, and test its strenght... It was going to have a copper stamped bar riveted on as well - adding structure and support. And on the third and final tube rivet... I broke the corner of the polymer. The saying "Know Thyself" is attributed to the Delphic Oracle, and a favorite of mine. 

My original plan was to make a triple wrap bracelet, starting with the bracelet bar and incorporating leather. So I went ahead with that plan and created a pair of charms - polymer in copper bezels. These two echo the color and pattern in Lesley's piece.  I ended up with a double wrap bracelet.  

Seeing red CoM images

Yes, that is a fluted gunmetal ceramic bead from Caroline/Blueberri Beads in there. Ingredients also include: vintage resin, lava beads, and wire wrapped links. 

CoM WIP

I am very happy with the ingredients. I like the colors, the patterns and the textures as they are. I am not as happy with the overall composition or the fit. And I need to rewrap those wire wraps on the leather, they bug me. So I am dubbing this a WIP. I hope to revisit the bracelet bar idea in the near future, and use these ingredients again. 

Please! Help me out. Thoughts? Advice? 

Then you can check out my teamates and our guests this month. But first I would love to hear your thoughts... 

And thanks for stopping by! 

 

 

 

 

"The Interpreter of Maladies" - Inspired by Reading Book group blog hop

Interpreter of Maladies

Inspired by Reading Book Group. 

April's selection: "The Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri

I was happy to have a chance to revisit these stories, as I had originally read the book 10 or more years ago. What I was instantly reminded of was their intensity. They are haunting, evocative, heartfelt and at times so very heavy. I was not able to complete the book this go through; both due to time constraints and the need to read something of a different mood. 

It was "When Mr. Pirzada came to dine" that inspired my piece this month. 

"Before eating Mr. Prizada always did a curious thing. He took out a plain silver watch without a band, which he kept in his breast pocket...Unlike the watch on his wrist, the pocket watch, he had explained to me, was set to the local time on Dacca, eleven hours ahead. For the duration of the meal the watch rested on his folded paper napkin on the coffee table. He never seemed to consult it...When I saw it that night, as he wound it and arranged it on the coffee table, an uneasiness possessed me; life, I realized, was being lived in Dacca first... 

The watch and the ritual was so symbolic, even more than a symbol - a direct link to his family so far away. There was love and longing in that ritual. There was hope and lonliness, worry, and despair present as well. I wanted to honor that ritual and create a talisman. 

Ganesh collage

Its not lost on me that Mr Prizada in the story is not Hindu - and I have chosen a Hindu god to go into the talisman. At story's end he sends the family in the US, a Muslim New Year card - thus giving the reader confirmation as to his religion. But Ganesha is the "Remover of Obstacle" and there were so many obstacles, tangible and intangible, that stood between Mr. Prizada and his family, his future, his homeland. 

Ganesha watch

The piece is created inside an old pocket watch, lined with colorful sari fabric. I sculpted a Ganesh from polymer, and hand painted many layers, many details. There are crystals inlaid into the headdress as well. I am not sure what will happen to this piece - I can see it worn long with a tunic and leggings, but I can also see it as a hand held talisman. 

Ganesha watch 2

Dont let time be an obstacle. Make time for the people and pursuits that are important to you. 

 

Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to your comments, and seeing other's book group offerings. 

Participants links can be found at Andrew's blog. 

 

Inspired by Reading book group - Irish inspiration

 Irish Country Doctor

After a long hiatus, I am thrilled to be back on track with the "Inspired by Reading" book group! 

For the month of March - we read "An Irish Country Doctor" by Patrick Taylor. It was a good read, quick, easy, and entertaining. It reminded me in some ways of a Maeve Binchy novel - in that there was a cast of characters, richly developed by the author, that I grew to like, and care about. The story line, at times poignant, at times humorous, was driven by the characters... their growth, foibles, and interactions. I could see reading other books in the "series" - I think they are loosely related based on said characters, and can each be read as a stand alone novel. 

As to inspiration - I was immediately making associations from this small town in Northern Ireland, set in the early 1960's (?) to another fictional small town... Brigadoon. ( I KNOW Brigadoon was set in Scotland, but once I thought it I couldnt un-think it...) 

Brigadoon poster Brigadoon album

My mind seized on the idea of two. Two realities. Two visions, two versions... (In case you arent familiar with Brigadoon, the musical tells the tale of a magical Scottish village that appears into our world for one day every 100 years. Two NYC gents stumble on the town, THAT DAY. Coincidence? Hmm. Boy meets girl, falls in love, leaves, town disappears. Boy mopes in NYC, returns to find town gone... yet it reappears! True love works magic.  He joins his love in magical town, leaving our world behind.) 

So where do we stand? Irish images, but a 2 sided focal. OK! 

Irish details

To create the pendant I started with 2 copper discs, cutting in circular windows. I cut a matching circle of 1/4" Faux Bone for the center core. The copper is stamped, patina added, tumbled, etc. The images, sealed, are glued on. The piece is assembled with balled wire/soft rivets. 

Making the bail was more challenging. The shape and wire wrap were easy enough (Thanks to Kerry Bogert for causing me to rethink colored wire.) Drilling through the FB - I went a bit crooked and the 2 holes weren'e aligned. So what would have been a piece of copper tubing through one hole - became 2 microbolts and washers, with a spot of glue for security! It DOES spin now as I planned. 

  • The thatched cottage is from an antique postcard, the blackbird is from a vintage Irish stamp. 
  • The stamped text reads "Beatha agus Failte" or "Life and Health" a traditional Irish phrase. 
  • The gems are jade, goldstone, dragon's blood jasper

Cottage view 

Blackbird view

Thanks for taking this meandering journey with me! I know the Muse often leads us on a winding path, and I find it ironic that I was reading this bookwhile on a cruise ship in the Caribbean! No green in sight... 

Please join us - the links and images of other participants can be found at Andrew's blog! 

 

 

 

 

 

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