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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! 

 

 

 

 

 

On golden wings... AJE Component of the Month reveal

<sigh> I havent posted here in a month! I have many things to show you, and I will try to get caught up this week. But for today: 

AJE Component of the Month! On Gilded wings... 

Gilded wings

Caroline of Blueberri beads is responsible for the beautiful treasures the AJE team is working with this month.  These ceramic moths have flown across the Atlantic in droves? a flock? ( What does one call a gathering of moths?) As with Melissa's enameled heart last month - my first response was color. The gold called for burgundy, in an opulent, Victorian/Pre-Raphaelite palette. I wanted this large focal to be a dramatic statement piece worthy of a PRB "stunner'. In my mind's eye it was to be worn with velvet... 

DGR Monna Vanna

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Monna Vanna, 1866 

 

JWW Crystal ball

 

John William Waterhouse: The Crystal Ball [with the skull] - 1902

So here is my creation: a relatively simple triple strand of pearls and garnets. The back is finished with a ribbon of sari silk. Gilded Wings CoM1

 

Gilded Wings CoM2

Gilded Wings CoM3

I wire wrapped connectors with colored Parawire to link the strands to the fiber element. ( Thanks to Kerry Bogert for that inspiration!) I was away for a large chunk of March and was delighted to arrive home knowing this was waiting for me. While my piece is simple - its true to the feel of aht I envisioned. Right now its rather long at app 24" I may need to shorten it a bit... and there is a place I could add a dangle at the bottom of the wings. I am still debating that. I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Please visit the blogs of my AJE team mates and our guests this month to see their pieces incorporating this lovely ceramic focal! 

Guest Artists

The AJE Team

Caroline Dewison – http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk 

Diana Ptaszynski - http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com

Susan Kennedy - http://www.suebeads.blogspot.co.uk

Kristen Stevens - http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com/

Keirsten Giles - http://cerebraldilettante.blogspot.com

Melissa Meman –  http://melissameman.blogspot.co.uk

Rebekah Payne - www.treewingsstudio.com

Lesley Watt - http://thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.co.uk

Linda Landig - http://www.LindasBeadBlog.com

 

 

 

Back from Berks!

 Berks Bead Bazaar! 

What a fabulous time was had by all! There was threat of impending snow-mageddon, again... This was my first time vending at this great local show - I loved every second of it! My regrets: not buying any cabs; and not taking more pictures. But here it is: 

My territory

My home away from home: earthenware, stoneware, and polymer trays piled high. Class samples for Beadfest. And a great visit from dear friend Sally Russick. (Also great to see Sue Kennedy - who I have to thank for one of these booth pix.) 

Porcelain and glass

Porcelain and glass: (Clockwise from top left)

Louise Mehaffey, Joan Miller's robot cuties, Alice St. Germain beads, Joan's sea creatures, Louise's display. 

Marsha and Dona

Marsha Neal beads and seed pods at D7 Studios; torched copper and whimsy from Dona Jones. 

Staci !

My friend Staci and her amazing polymer creations. Happy to have her as a neighbor.

And a huge shout out to Diana of Suburban Girl Studio, and Patti Cahill - also neighbors. What a great weekend sharing time and space with these fellow artists; sadly with no pictures... 

Greg's cabs

Um - these are the cabs I wish I had... from Greg Graupp

Berks loot

But these are the treasures I did bring home! (Clockwise from top)

Top: Polymer and metal from Staci Louise Originals

Porcealin and stoneware form Marsha Neal Studio

Lampwork by Alice St. Germain

Enameled stunners from Anne Gardanne

Seed beads for my new obsession from Leslie of Twisted Sistah fame. 

Wee tiny porelain cabs from Joan Miller

Gorgeous ceramic pairs, and cabs from Diana/ Suburban Girl Studios. 

 

Thank you Joan and Louise for organizing a great show, and welcoming me into the collective. It was a pleasure, and made work truly fun! Sorry to be so breif - I have beads to go gaze upon... 

 

 

 

 

 

Colors of Spring - February Component of the Month reveal!

February has been the longest month this year. I am so happy that - as you read this - March is here. Spring can spring anytime!  

Melissa Meman of Melismatic Art Jewelry shared the love with the AJE team this month. Literally: 

CoM hearts

When I recieved mine, all i could see was the wee pops of color that embellished the heart. They were small kernels of spring time color, an I was starved for more. My necklace is very simple, no new experimental techniques, nothing fabricated for this specific focal... but to me it was all to honor the color and call in Spring! 

Feb CoM

Hearts of Spring

Feb CoM necklace

The strand of seed beads is actually a rich dark plum. The Czeck glass was a medley of turquoise and aqua with a little pop of apple green. A few flowers to complete the focal... 

Here's one more pop of green to entice Spring's arrival. 

snowy daffodils

Have a great week, and please visit my colleagues and our guests this month! Their blogs with links can be found at Art Jewelry Elements. 

Until next time... 

Allegory Gallery visit!

Allegory - def. a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

Allegory Gallery in Ligionier PA is more than just a bead store! It has a sense of style all its own, it fosters creativity and community, and supports the arts in myriad forms. The work of Andrew Thornton and William Jones, it is a retail and gallery space that I could see myself frequenting... if it werent 4+ hours away! I was thrilled to exhibit there, and glad it gave me a reason to go for a visit. 

gallery view1

 Allegory display, with collage

Gallery Montage

The shop is a feast for the eyes. From original architectural details of painted tin wainscoting, to vintage glass dishes displaying beads, there is so much to see. The space is shared with a wonderful used book store, staffed by friendly, fun people. I am sorry I did not have more time there! There are beads, glass and stone - your staples and more unusual finds as well. I did manage to shop a bit - of course! Just a few treasures, but such good ones! Those Mother-of-pearl quatrefoils are so perfect, something Medieval, images, resin... 

treasures found

And yes - a few pictures from the opening. (Photo credit - A. Thornton, borrowed from Allegory Gallery page.) It was a pleasure to spend time with local people, and friends who traveled into town. (Thanks Terri and Sue!)

JDR with gallery wall

Laughing at the camera phones. 

JDR Mythic Nature

My Mixed media collages on the gallery wall. 

Mythic Nature showcase at Allegory

My mixed media pieces in a very stylish case! 

Thanks all for a wonderful show opening! The exhibit will run until May 2, 2014. 

If you are in the area - dont miss this great gallery and shop!  

Allegory Gallery is located at 139 E. Main St Ligonier, PA. 

 

 

Mythic Nature exhibiting at Allegory Gallery!

Snake Skin

"Snake Skin" mixed media on canvas. 8" x 10"      2013

I am packing up collages today. Getting ready to ship them to Allegory Gallery for the opening this weekend. Its a whirlwind - with teaching Saturdays, creating new work for Berks Bead Bazaar, sculpting and casting new tiles for the Spring season... and I love every second of it!

(There is a newsletter link on the upper right of my blog page - please sign up if you are interested! )

I am super excited to see Andrew's gallery/retail space - I can only imagine the labor of love, and the joy such a place would be... Blood, sweat and tears! They describe themselves as: "Allegory Gallery is a creative space that's one part bead store, one part jewelry boutique, one part fine art gallery, and one part gift shop. The aim of Allegory Gallery is to promote artisan craftspeople, inspire the community to explore their creativity, and act as a focal point for classes and artistic education in the area."

Please feel free to visit their website to learn more. I am sharing this show with artist Elise Wells; there is a lovely feature article written by the local paper located here. From the article: Thornton said he finds Davies-Reazor's style to be richly layered, like a sturdy tapestry.

“Jenny mixes layers of ephemera, pattern and symbolic color to embody mythology and mysticism, creating (sometimes quite literally) shrines.”  

The show will run through March and April. Allegory Gallery is located in Ligonier PA. 

 

Many meandering paths... coming together!

MM amulets

BEADFEST 2014! 

I am thrilled to be taking the next step in my teaching career and offering a mixed media workshop at Beadfest Philadelphia this August! ( Information can be found here.) These mixed media amulets bring together metals, ceramics and polymer in a unique and colorful way. Students will design, saw, texture, and create their own personal amulet. Acrylic paint is used to accentuate the impressed designs. Whether colorful or rustic, bold or subtle - they will be gorgeous. 

The work I am am doing now is truly the culmination of many years of experience in the arts. From studying painting and metal smithing in Art school, to early experiments with sculpting polymer in the early 1990's. I have painted and sculpted my entire life, and as my full time job for over 24 years. I was fortunate to work with Lana Wilson at Penland a few year back, and she really opened my eyes to texture. ( My Penland posts are here and here.) I am thrilled to share the things I love with a new crop of students in the Beadfest environment. 

Thanks to all who have supported me along the way, I look forward to this new exciting chapter! 

A few more pictures, you say? I value the diversity of polymer: 

Dragon transfer

Testing out polymer transfers. (Original post on Art Jewelry Elements blog)

Celtic Amulet

My Celtic amulet - contains sand and amber from the Baltic Sea.  

And just for fun: Dont laugh too hard! The early Art History inspired polymer - from my days as "Jewelry Jenny" at Appel Farm Arts and Music camp. Teaching polymer over 20 years ago... ( Munch's "The Scream, A Klimt woman, and Medusa...)

AH polymer

Thanks for stopping by! 

 

 

 

 

January reveals... the AJE component of the month

(Please feel free to read the AJE post where I introduced these Mixed Media pieces, and discussed their construction.)

Jan CoM

January. Beginnings. Resolutions. Blank slate. Fresh start. Intentions. 

1:  a determination to act in a certain way :  resolve

2:  importsignificance

3 a :  what one intends to do or bring about

   b :  the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered
 
4:  a process or manner of healing of incised wounds
 
When I designed this piece, I wanted something I could wear often, if not everyday. I had chosen a word for myself that was to be a talisman for the upcoming year. I wanted to wear it and be reminded to be present, in the moment, and to live with intention.  
Jan CoM collage

 

“Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen Hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Laugh.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.”

 Mary Anne Radmacher

The piece was in olive polymer, with accents of copper and teal. The teal was so subtle - I wanted to enhance it with gems. Here its apatite. The greens are green garnet, long a favorite of mine. Copper chain, bead caps and wire are the metallic notes. The jade? jasper? beads on one side in the back are sprinkled with apatite as well. The pearls on the other side do have a coppery sheen. 

I am deeply satisfied with the focal and the necklace overall and have worn it many times this month. I do have more of these mixed media pieces in the works - and will have them at Berks Bead Bazaar March 1-2. 

I look forward to exploring the creations of my AJE colleagues and the guest bloggers this month. Plese join me? Links are below. 

Guests:

Hope of Craftyhope -

Sarajo of SJ Designs Jewelry


AJE team

Jennifer Cameron

Diana Ptaszynski

Lesley Watt

Susan Kennedy

Caroline Dewison

Linda Landig

Melissa Meman

Keirsten Giles

Rebekah Payne

Kristen Stevens

For the love of lino...

 This week is brought to you from the Dining Room table, my new temporary studio. I am tending a furry kid, who needs darn near constant watching... as he worked long and hard, in stealth, to remove his sutures. He is an angel IF I am in the room. 

DR studio

I have been working on my daily art journal cards - the ones to fill my vintage Rolodex. And I have been carving linoleum. 

Lino desk

There are new Celtic and mythic designs in the works. These lino blocks can be pressed into clay to create a detailed, low relief tile. Perfect for painting! There above - the Uffingtom horse, an ancient chalk figure from Britain. Below: previously carved Celtic knot, swirly cresent moon, with a test print of sorts, and a small triskele, perfect for pendants. 

Love Lino collage

I have always loved linoleum printmaking. And this was a focus of mine in San Diego when my ceramcis studio access was severely limited. I have been incorporating linoleum carved designs into my beads/pendants for a while, but I had a wonderful lightbulb idea... to create prints and tiles in tandem. My original drawings, whether my designs, or historical references; pressed into clay, printed onto paper. Working in a series, different colors, maybe some hand tinted prints. The idea is very exciting to me! (I wont be able to take these to all my shows as some jury processes are more limiting than others... )

Pendant designs

A trio of Celtic designs, all under 2". I want to test them in clay today! 

Uffington stamp

Working in parallel series - the Uffington horse. Pressed into clay the horse design will be raised, allowing me to easily glaze the background and keep the horse white. 

 

Ok - off to the studio, I mean the dining room. I love my job! Stay tuned for test prints and test pressings on the FB page ASAP!

 

Marking time... a mark in time

2014

I have a tendency to hibernate a bit at the beginning of the new year, write in my  journal, and make lists. I review the goals from the previous year. I write new goals for the current year. I browse the year's worth of sketches and doodles - taking a walk back in time, and evaluate what ideas are interesting and inspiring to carry over.  So many marks in time, marks reflecting time, marks to allocate time. 

This January I made a different kind of mark. 

Making marks

January 4th was the two year anniversary - to the day - of major surgery. While that wasn't the inspiration behind this design, it was an appropriate date to select as a celebration of health, happiness and moving forwards. 

The symbol is my adaptation of the Chalice Well lid - at Chalice Well in Glastonbury, UK. The design was adapted by my friend Kimberly of Goblin Bazaar - as she could get in my head, when I was in my own way... to simplify and clarify the design, and make it uniquely my own. 

Here is the actual Chalice Well design - in a painting by another dear friend, Jane Star Weils. 

Jane Star Weils Chalice well

 

 

Chalice Well is a holy well that sits at the base of Glastonbury Tor... ( I am finding it very hard to put words to the intense personal meaning that this site holds for me. Pardon me if I keep this a bit factual for now. ) 

The facts: 

  • Archaeological evidence suggests that the well has been in almost constant use for at least two thousand years. Philip Rahtz found several dozen flints from the upperPaleolithic and Mesolithic, and a sherd of Iron Age pottery nearby. Roman and medieval sherds were also found in more recent layers.
  • Water issues from the spring at a rate of 25,000 gallons per day and has never failed, even during drought. Iron oxide deposits give water a reddish hue, as dissolved ferrous oxide becomes oxidized at the surface and is precipitated. Like the hot springs in nearby Bath, the water is believed to possess healing qualities.
  • In addition to the legends associated with Glastonbury, the Well is often portrayed as a symbol of the female aspect of deity,  As such, it is a popular destination for pilgrims in search of the divine feminine, including Neopagans. The Well is however popular with all faiths and in 2001 became a World Peace Garden.
  • Wells often feature in Welsh and Irish mythology as gateways to the spirit world. The overlapping of the inner and outer worlds is represented by the well cover, designed by the church architect and archaeologist Frederick Bligh Bond and presented as a gift after the Great War in 1919. The two interlocking circles constitute the symbol known as the Vesica Piscis. In the well lid design, a spear or a sword bisects these two circles, a possible reference to Excalibur, the sword of the legendary King Arthur, believed by some to be buried at the nearby Glastonbury Abbey. Foliage represents the Glastonbury Holy Thorn. 

The lore: 

  • Legends link Glastonbury to Ynys Afallon, the Isle of Apples, also known as Avalon. Here resided a sisterhood of priestesses/faerie queens/healers... and it is to Avalon that the fatally wounded King Arthur was spirited away. 
  • Legends also relate tales of the Sidhe, or Fair Folk living in "hollow hills". Glastonbury has always seemed to be a very fae place, where the veil between the worlds is thin. 
  • Legend says that after Jesus death, Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail to Glastonbury and that it was biried in Chalice well. The Glastonbury Holy Thorn is said to be Joseph's staff, taken root. 
  • There are actually 2 wells at the base of the Tor, one red and one white. Symbolically these can represent blood/female and semen/male or, as I prefer - the milk and blood of the Earth/goddess/Gaia...

The symbol ( known as the vesica piscis ) itself appeals to me - as a representation of two worlds overlapping. Artist and teacher. Inner and outer. Personal and private. Body and spirit. Human and fae. England and Avalon. Above and below. And yes - its rather ironic that teachers all over use it as a Venn Diagram to illustrate commonalities between two seperate things. 

The design has elements that repeat in threes - three circles, sets of three dots, three swirls per side. Three is a powerful number in many spiritual traditions. Mind/body/spirit. Maiden/Mother/Crone. Earth/water/air. Youth/maturity/Age. 

Chalice well collage

Chalice well and Glastonbury Tor resonate with me on a deeply personal spiritual level. I was there on a pilgrimage of sorts in 1989, aged 20. I climbed the Tor every day...  Another visit at age 28. It seems I am overdue to return...

More information: 

Chalice Well Trust

Chalice Well wiki

Glastonbury

Avalon

Vesica piscis

 

 

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