I would rather rejuvenate than resolve. I would rather breathe new vigor into a habit or pursuit than solve a problem. And so this year, I have made some changes for the better, a fresh start with the New Year... but I am reframing it all in a more positive fashion. Resolutions are notoriously short lived. And to me the term implies that something is broken and needs repair. It doesnt resonate in a positive way...
With the New Year, I have rejuvenated some practices in my life, things that I (for the most part) enjoy, and that are good for me - body and soul. January usually is a slower month for me as to work/production/teaching so I am prioritizing these parts of my day, these aspects of my life I want to become firmly entrenched habits.
The daily art journal.
Doodles, sketches, for me, not for an audience, nothing official. A record of my day, thoughts, actions, ideas. No goals other than to draw something. I will be posting here occassionally, but many may be private. Today is the 12th. As I write this there are eleven entries in my journal. So I will draw tonight, cuppa tea, TV on... because I havent missed a day yet. I signed up for a class "Sketching and Watercolor in the mixed media journal" with the incomparable Jane LaFazio - it starts Feb 1. My goal is to make it a habit, and then class will further encourage and challenge me!
This you only get a sneak peak - I know the premise, and I collage in my journal all the time. But this time its made real, manifesting my intentions for the year. On foam core, tacked up on my wall. I do think that seeing it will be a motivating visual reminder.
I have books everywhere. I love books. One thing I have struggled with for years as a self employed/work-from-home artist is reading. I feel like reading during the day is tabu. Daytime is for working. Well - the honest truth is that many of the titles pictured here will influence my work. So I devote more time to reading, and give myself permission! I am in 2 book groups - one virtual, one local - so there will be additional novels. But I know that my Muse will blossom when I feed her words, ideas, theories, history...
And the blog...
Last year there were more times than I would like to count when I posted only once a month. And that when it was a reveal for Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month! So I will tend to this here blog, and give it more attention. I relish comments; its nice to know yo uare out there... so please comment if you are so inclined. So far we are at one post a week; that will be my minimum!
Alright - think I'll read a little before dinner.
Here's to a fruitful and creative 2015!
I hope you are all well and feeling fresh-faced, ready to tackle 2015. Personally I have "resolved" to do quite a few things... more on that in another post.
I've spent the limbo week between Christmas travels and now doing some cleaning and organizing. Out with the old, etc.
One piece of fabulousness from 2014 that needs to be attended to is the December Component of the month over at Art Jewelry Elements. We thought the timing would be best to start fresh with this reveal - showcasing a stoneware snowflake of Diana's!
Here is the scene: Mid December day. Fresh cuppa coffee in hand. Dog napping on bed in the studio. I sit down to work on gifts, and my COM... and there are flurries! The first of the year! Barely a dusting, didn't even cover the grass. But I was feeling festive...
Above is the work-in-progress shot as I planned my piece. Plexi on the left, a nickel silver banner from Beaducation, and a shrine window pair from Rings & Things. It all happened because I was so enjoying the flurries out my window...
The finished piece:
- Stamped and patina/tumbled banner
- Window framing handmade paper with silver leaf flecks. Tube riveted.
- Loops of crystal and waxed linen at top. Seed bead loops with crystal at bottom.
I was going to hang it on the tree, but it was lost amidst the leaves. It hangs in the branches of my dryad sculpture - on the mantle behind me as I write this. I do think I will keep it out all winter long! I really enjoyed doing somehting not-clay, not-jewelry. It was a creative free-for-all, and very freeing.
I have big plans for this year - stay tuned here. But for now:
Please check out the pieces created by my AJE teamates and our guests. Let's ring in the new!
This is a favorite swap hop of mine!
Sally makes it festive, and keeps it small, personal. I was thrilled to get Patti's name as my partner; we are ARTBliss friends! I sent her a silly survey, to keep our emaill conversation going, and to harvest a few ideas...And a silly Survey: 1. Fav beverage. 2. Fav color 3. If you won a million dollars you would_____ 4. fav Xmas tradition/decoration. 5. Last good book you read
Inspired by winter window landscapes, when you sit inside, snug, with a furry kid at your feet, and coffee in your hands, watching the snow sparkle. The trees dusted with glitter, a cardinal bright in the evergreen... I was on a felt jag this year, after finishing a crazy complicated felt/sequined/beaded stocking for my 9 mo. old nephew. His first Christmas - so exciting! Well, there was more felt, and embroidery floss... So there you have it.
Porcelain Celtic knot by Caroline of BlueBerri Beads.
Lampwork red bird by Lori Lochner
And what did I receive, you ask? Gorgeousness!
It's too cool for the tree. It needs its own place, and is right now hanging in the dining room window. Heavy, luxurious wire wrapped nest/wreath! Adorable house charm from Marla/Marlas Mud! Lampwork bluebird from Donna Millard. And an embellished hanger/hook... I tell you Patti has outdone herself - this may stay up all year!
I'm sorry to be so brief today - I have presents to wrap... WAIT! I still have presents to finish making! And there are blogs to hop... please join us! The links of the partner/pairs are listed below. Happy Holidays everyone!
Hello blog. I have been neglecting you. When I last was here it was for the October COM reveal for Art Jewelry Elements.
Since then I ran away with the faeries:
and retreated to the (frigid) beach to immerse myself in seed beads:
I promise more on that later!
Today - I'm actually off at a show as you read this. The holiday show season is in full swing! And the gift making! Oh my. Sprinkle a few custom orders on the top of that - and I hope you understand why I have been neglecting you. Let me show you the eye candy that is the COM. Will that do?
Kristen selected these versatile beaded circles as her component of the month offering! I have worked with these before and love them. They can go in so many direction, so many applications...
My pair was in matte black and silver. They asked to be simple, and a bit celestial. Here is the result:
Dangles include a sterling spiral, a quartz crystal point and a hematite star on gunmetal chain. They are super light weight - and I think I get to keep them...
Present for me? Hmm. I hope your present making and shopping is going smoothly so far this season!
Please hop over to the blog at Art Jewelry Elements to see the other COM offerings this month!
Until next time...
AUCTION! ART CHARMS! BEADS! A WORTHY CAUSE!
I want to introduce you to a new-to-me charity event called Beads of Courage. This year I was able to participate in this fundraiser; raising money for arts-in-medicine programs for children. As an art educator and advocate, I have seen the power that an arts experience can have on a child. At any age, at any time.
The charm swap and auction is a prodigious task, undertaken by Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions. (And my team mate at Art Jewelry Elements.) Participants made a dozen charms (or in my case 2 dozen!) and received an assortment back. Charms by each participant are being auctioned off, NOW! ( Click here.)
Beads of Courage 2014 theme: Soar!
Winged things, flitting, floating. Fairies? or their more earthy cousins - dragonflies and butterflies? Yes! These charms are hand carved, an entirely original offering. These original designs wer sculpted and carved in earthenware clay. A plaster mold preserved the image and multiple new charms can be pressed from soft clay. Each one is hand painted, and customized with "Soar" and date on the back.
Butterflies are symbolic of the soul in many cultures of the world. They are the agents of transformation, and ethereally beautiful. Their delicate wings allow them to flit, fly... and soar. Dragonflies are similar in many ways... and even represented the warrior spirit in Aztec Mexico!
But I was still inspired and signed up to do another batch! These are my newest love: the fusion of polymer and copper!
These unique mixed media charms combine polymer clay and copper. The copper shapes were cut, stamped, polished and tumbled to create the dark glowing patina. The polymer goes through the copper, holding itself in place with rounded top and bottom shapes - like a rivet! Textured impressed in the clay are accented with oils and acrylics.
Now - I have to tease you with images of SOME of the charms up for auction! These could be yours... Remember, I got a double batch!
1&2 Toltec Jewels 3. Rosebird's lamp work 4. Windbent 5. Blu Mudd 6. Lamplight Crafts 7. Pepita 8. Dream Some Design 9. Shaktipaj Designs 10. Firefly Design Studio 11. Culturezine 12. NEDbeads 13. Artisticaos 14. Wanderware 15. Zenith Jade 16. SueBeads
1 & 2-Fulgorine 3 & 4-A Half Baked Notion 5 &6- Silver NikNats
Thanks for stopping by - I'm off to look at the auction offerings!
Please feel free to visit the blogs of my fellow participants, check out their designs, and hear their stories!
2014 Art Charm Exchange Participants Jennifer Cameron: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog Alenka Obid: http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.com Alicia Marinache: http://www.allprettythings.ca Andrea Glick: http://zenithjade.blogspot.com Caroline Dewison: http://blueberribeads.blogspot.co.uk Cassi Paslick: http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/ Cate van Alphen: http://fulgorine.wordpress.com Cheri Reed: http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com Chris Eisenberg: http://www.wanderware.blogspot.com Cory Tompkins: http://www.tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com Elizabeth Auld: http://www.beadsforbusygals.com Genevieve Gabbert: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog Jami Shipp: http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com Jill Bradley: http://www.jillybeads.blogspot.com Kim Dworak: http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com Lee Koopman: http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com Lennis Carrier: http://www.windbent.net Lesley Watt: http://www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com Mallory Hoffman: http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com Melissa Trudinger: http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com Michelle McCarthy: http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com Monique Urquhart: http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.com/ Moriah Betterly: http://mlbetterly.blogspot.com Nancy Dale: http://nedbeads.blogspot.com Nancy Smith: http://wirednan.blogspot.ca Niky Sayers: http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk Perri Jackson: http://ShaktipajDesigns.com/blog/ Renetha Stanziano: http://www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com Shai Williams: http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com Sheila Prosterman: http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com Susan Delaney: http://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com Susan Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com Terri DelSignore: http://artisticaos.blogspot.com Toltec Jewels: http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com Vanessa Gilkes: http://culturezine.com/blog/
FaerieCon is less than a week away. All my thoughts, energy, work this week and next are of the Fae variety. So when I sat down a week or so ago to work with this lovely focal from Karen of Starry Road Studio...
My first idea was all crazy complicated and it involved antique images and resin and mixing the media all up! The piece asked for simple. I wanted to make the most of the center opening. All I could hear in my head was a little voice asking: "What would a dryad wear?"
The focal to me conjures up the patterns of concentric tree rings, but it has a spiral as well. The warm brown/iron oxide color was perfect. The hole in the tree---- who lives there---- friend and companion to the dryad-----owl!
- Silk and shard dangle- Marsha Neal Studio
- Sleepy owl - Rebekah of Tree Wings Studio
- Leaf imprint charm - Diana of Suburban Girl Studio
I love the result, I like the color palette of woodsy browns and greens. I would wear it long, and fiddle with the dangles all day.
PLease dont miss the fantastic creations from the AJE team and out guests this month:
September. I miss you. <sigh>
September Component of the Month is brought to you by Kristi Bowman of Dream Some Design. The colors in this amulet are WOW! It is white copper, I believe, and the style says primitive talisman to me... I wanted to bring out the subtle tones of peach/honey and aqua. Not my usual palette so I am happy for the challenge!
The linear and dot motifs helped guide me. I wanted to play up the linear quality, and decided to incorporate the wrapped chain links. They are copper and nickel parawire tumbled to a shiny finish. ( Thanks to Lesley for inspiration on these links.) The gems - jaspers and agates - repeat the dot/round motif nicely.
I wanted to give the piece another layer of meaning and keep in the primitive style. ( I mean that in the best way, naturally). I decided to stamp runes into copper discs and intersperse them with the gems. (The runes are linear in nature as they were originally carved in stone. This makes them easy enough to stamp with letter stamps... no curves needed. )
"Jera" - Harvest: beneficial outcomes to your commited endeavor. Reap what you have sown. "Dagaz" - Breakthrough: Self transformation, change. "Sowelu" - Wholeness: the path you must follow; the core of your individuality.
I liked the meanings here. I thought that made for a powerful sentiment, a personal talisman. I would love to hear your thoughts as well...
And dont miss the other pieces designed by my fellow Art Jewelry Elements team mates and this month's guests!
"...season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...
Keats said it well in his "To Autumn". Those words embody September in my mind, and in my artistic life.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Summer - what a whirlwind! I adore September, its my favorite time of year. Windows open, fresh crisp air, a cup of coffee, and time in the studio. September for me is a respite from teaching, and a round of arts festivals: travel, scenic drives, friends, and great customers.
The picture above was from my exhibitor's table at Beadfest Philadelphia this past August. My third year vending and my first teaching: a smashing success. One of the highlights as always was the camaraderie of my fellow artists and designers, especially my team mates at the Art Jewelry Elements blog! (If you are interested in pictures of my student work and my Beadfest loot, they can be found here. )
In some ways September feels like a new start, a clean slate. Is it the residual timing of the back to school schedule from my years teaching? Whatever the reason - I am starting anew at an art journal. Nothing formal, it will be just for me to doodle, sketch, paint, collage. I have a sketchbook filled with notes and planning sketches, of course. This is more for play, for journaling thoughts visually... I am trying to leave one table set up as a place to work. It helps to keep things out, to have water ready for waterolors. To steal a moment here and there. I am trying to do a two page spread each week.
The Beads of Courage charm swap and auction is the undertaking of Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions. Participants create and swap art beads/charms. Surplus charms are auctioned off to raise funds for Beads of Courage. This organization provides "innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them." I have signed up to contribute 2 charms to the swap. This year's theme is "Soar" and I have plans to donate an additional piece to the auction on November 14th.
That's all for now!
Off to pack and prepare and fire the kiln one last time.
Artsfest at Annmarie Garden - September 20-21st. Dowell MD 10-5pm daily.
Art on the Avenue - October 6th. Alexandria VA. 10-6pm
Bead Fest was two weeks ago?! Where has the time gone? Don't answer that - I know: packing, unpacking, sorting. Sleeping, fondling beads, visiting with friends, art camp, field trips... More on the latter soon.
So here are the hightlights, and the loot.
1. Bead Fest is social! Hanging out with Staci and Linda on Wednesday, the annual AJE dinner! So much fun!
2. Bead Fest is colorful and diverse. My display is for sure! I always bring a few tiles as they run parallel to my Mythic Nature pendants. Sold a few too!
3. Bead Fest is preparation - for me! So much to pack and remember for display, class, swaps... This was my class room still life from set up. Even though it was early Sunday morning - it went so well! And everyone had a great time, it seems.
4. Bead Fest is learning. Teaching. Creativity. Exploration. I was thrilled to teach at my first Bead Fest. I taught a mixed media class that incorporated quite a few techniques - that I am confident the students will apply in their work moving forwards. Here you see student work-in-progress, my concentration face, and class samples below.
Beadfest is shopping. Art beads. Glass, clay, metal, polymer, gems...
Hope you enjoyed that whirlwind recap! Now off to the studio to make more stuff! Fall shows are around the corner...
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:
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.
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...
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:
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...
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...
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.
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: