"...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:
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.
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...
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.
Knotwork, triskeles, labyrinths... and a few pairs for the seed bead people!
Athena's owl, cobalt on porcelain, butterflies...
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!
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!
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:
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.
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.
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:
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, 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!
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.
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!
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!
I can be found:
Twitter - JDRshrineart
Etsy - Jdaviesreazor
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.
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.
(There are jump rings employed at variable spaces to connect the suede to the chain. Keeps it loose, yet under control.)
( 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 !
Good Morning! ( Aside from a neighbor running a chainsaw before 7 am...)
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:
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...
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:
And the decisions are still laid out on the bead table:
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...
And I cant wait to see what people have done with those beads! Was I the only cab? Here are the links...
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.
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.
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...
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!
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:
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!)
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)
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 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!
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...
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.
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.
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.
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!