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Its the Journey... Focus on Life #2

“Not all those who wander are lost.” 

 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Journey year

This year is a journey, an ongoing adventure, a process. A return to health after surgery, a return to my creative voice. I had a productive year last year all things considered, but felt that feeling of being behind, of trying to catch up... all year. Doing enough to get by, to stay afloat, to make do. This year will be an exploration of the new, new inspirations, new techniques, new territory. But I believe we are the sum of our journey, past experiences impacting the self profoundly. So here are a few photos I have taken on places that have had a profound impact on me... (All pix are untouched, unedited. Hover over picture for information.)

 Notting Hill Gate Tube, London

“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” 

Ursula K. Le Guin

 
 Skidmore College walkway, Saratoga Springs NY
 

“The only journey is the one within.” 

Rainer Maria Rilke

Penland, NC

 

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.

You must travel it by yourself.

It is not far. It is within reach.

Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. 

Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.” 

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

 

La Jolla beach, CA

Please visit my fellow participants at Sally Russick's "Focus on Life"photo challenge/week 2. 

 

" Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey." Alex Noble. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Musings... on the Muse?

 I took myself on an Art date yesterday to the Delaware Art Museum. Its a small museum, but has a stellar Pre-Raphaelite collection. I honestly can't remember how it happened as a teenager. Did I go to the museum and fall in love with the PRB? Or did I fall in love  with the PRB and then visit them at DAM? The latter I think. I think the Lady of Shallot started it all, but that another story. 

self portrait with Muse

Here I am with Rossetti's "Veronica Veronese" - one I have long adored. This year I am participating in Sally Russick/Studio Sublime's "Focusing on life - 52 photos" challenge. Week one was to do a self portrait... I wish I had long flowing Pre-Raphaelite locks... 

Howard Pyle's Mermaid

Howard Pyle - The Mermaid 1910

DAM collage 1

DAM PRB collage 2

DAM PRB collage 3

"Two women on a sofa" Albert Moore

detail: "Two Women on a sofa" Albert Moore 

sketchbook and stamps

I loved the stamps! And of course, I never go anywhere without my journal. 

DGR's Veronica - hand detail

detail - "Veronica Veronese" 1872. by Dante Gabrielle Rossetti. 

It was a lovely afternoon, calm, serene. For the most part I had the galleries to myself. It was a nice visit with art that has moved me, spoken to me... for over 20 years. Returning to the source of some of my earliest inspirations. And it was a diverse array of inspiration - the galleries have accents of William Morris wallpapers, there are Arts and Crafts style pottery and silver on exhibit, Evelyn de Morgan tiles, and jewelry. The time spent was rejuvenating... if a bit nostalgic, longing for a time I feel called to, yet born too late. 

Perhaps today I will wear velvet...

 

 

 

New Year. New Table.

 

Happy New Year. Happy New Years week!

This week is the week I get things ready. Ready to return to work, ready to start the new year, ready, fresh, optimistic... I have a tendency to clean and reorganize which I find cathartic. Cleaning the clutter both inside and out allows for creative growth and inspiration. 

Here is the before:

 before collage

My old and dear IKEA trestle/drafting table. I have had it for.....20 years? But its a board on 2 sawhorses basically. Rickety isnt a strong enough word... I loved that it was so deep and I could have treasures artfully stored within reach. But it wasnt working anymore...

The process: 

cleaning is cathartic?

 The top left pix is the table that is leaving. The other pix show the general chaos, every surface covered...

The results: 

Moved in

 The shallower workbench (thank you Harbor Freight) opens the room up quite a bit. Many thanks to the namelass Grandpa who handed me a 20% off coupon as I was debating the table in the store! The table is rock solid - and was a bear to put together. But my husband was patient... and I love it. Drawers for tools, no carts to slide in and out from underneath. Almost everything in one spot. (Micro torch, enamel tripod etc. are on a smaller tabel across the room, on deck until needed. ) The beloved IKEA table is to the left for collage, journaling, resin etc. 

Many people start the New Year with an introsective post about goals, desires... and a word for the year. I am thinking on these things. I am not in a hurry. A year ago tomorrow I had major surgery and I am thrilled to be NOT there this year. Words I am pondering: journey, health, strength. This New Years Week I always reflect on my 2012 goals and write new 2013 goals as per the sage advice of Alyson Stansfield aka Art Biz Coach. I set up my Year-at-a-glance calendar with shows and deadlines. I clear off the bulletin boards....

This year I am looking forward to Kerry Bogert's "Aspire to Wire" class in January; my Coast 2 Coast adventures with Cooky Schock and new mixed media work for shows with my art partner Betsy Mortenson.

The year is dawning brightly!

Labyrinths: December AJE Component of the Month

  Labyrinth collage

What a whirlwind December has been! I hope it finds you all content after holidays spent with loved ones, filled with festivities and frolic. Today - New Year's Eve -  has us standing on the cusp of a new year, a new journey. For myself I can say that 2012 was full of challenges - some fruitful and some very taxing. I will be thrilled to begin a fresh start... ( To read more about labyrinths, here is my original post. )

And those thoughts of the journey were in my head as I was designing a piece to incorporate my ceramic labyrinths, this month's Component of the Month over at Art Jewelry Elements. Here is what I came up with...

Welsh amulet

My "Journey" necklace - polymer, copper, ceramic labyrinth cabochon, aventurine, kyanite.

(The text is in Welsh - the words reading journey, health, strength. These speak to the challenges I faced in 2012, and the hope for the new year as well.)

Welsh amulet necklace

I wanted a halo of copper to frame the labyrinth, as I love the celadon glaze paired with copper's warmth. A staple is embedded (hidden) in the  polymer, and that secures the copper piece. The cab is set with tabs, and a dot of glue as a safeguard. This style is a new configuration I am experimenting with, and the tabs are a bit short... I did work on two others. Thoughts? 

amulet fronts

amulet backs

 Thanks to all who participated  this month! Joining the Art Jewelry Elements team has been one of the shining moments of 2012! I look forward to a bright future working with these wonderful women. But for today, please join me in "hopping" to everyone's blogs! There will be diversity and creativity abound - I can promise that...

And a most Happy New Year! 

This months guests of honor:
 
And participating AJE team members: 

Snowflakes!

8 ball

Just a quick note to announce the winner of the snowflake earrings! Lucky #8 is  Saraccino

(I asked Random.org, but asking the 8 Ball is a fun flashback! The image above is linked to a virtual Magic 8 ball, btw!)

snowflake earrings

I will send the snowflakes to you! Just email me with your address!

 

On a different note - thinking of snowflakes... I saw this over coffee this morning: Snowflakes for Sandy Hook. 

cutting flakes

diagram

flakes

What a lovely idea, to cut snowflakes and send them to show our love and support to the community. Now where are my scissors? 

 

 

Spirit of the season...

My hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by the tragedy in Connecticut. And at this time of year, let us remember the season is one of love, family, and friendship. Hold your loved ones close, and remember to breathe...

 

It seems like ages ago that Sally of The Studio Sublime sent out a call for participants - the 2nd Annual Ornament Swap. I worked on mine and sent it away before Thanksgiving - that also seems like so much time has passed... ( My original partner was unable to participate - so I will be sharing what I made. Sally adopted me as her second partner, and I will be sending her something along these lines in the very near future. Sorry for any confusion. )

And so it begins

My idea started with a tiny vial of snow, of ice, of crystalized winter. I prefer to do seasonal motifs, as everyone's beliefs are personal and varied... I set up the polymer oven - as I have been doing more and more of late. Polymer is versatile and immediate. Earthenware and stoneware have such a long process time: dry, fire, glaze, fire... For something like this polymer suits the bill nicely. 

Comes together

The swap brief said to include an artist bead. Although I am creating the entire piece, I wanted to be true to the challenge, and created these snowflake charms. You will see them again...The bird and tree are stamped and hand painted onto ivory polymer. Here it is all together:

Winter wonder

Ornament reverse

And my partner/friend? So sweet! Sent me this ...I may have to keep this up in the studio all winter!

Oh Christmas Tree!

Ooh! I love the flame patina on the copper, the SueBead with silver, the accents of olive and aqua! Its so lovely...

Light and shadow

So - those extra snowflake charms... They ended up here: 

Snowflake earrings

Two pairs were already sent on their way to lucky winners of another challenge. I think I will save one pair for my MiL... So that leaves YOU dear reader. If you want to be entered into the give away - mention that in your commment! ( And it would be so easy if you were willing to leave your email as well...)  I will pick a winner Monday afternoon! 

So - thank you all for celebrating and hopping with me. Here are my friends and fellow swap partners. Happy Holidays!

Sally Russick 

Lesley Watt

 Jenny Davies-Reazor 

  

Therese Frank 

Andrew Thorton

 

Jeanette Blix Ryan

Maryanne Gross

 

Rebecca Anderson

Melissa Meman

 

Veralynne Malone 

Miranda Ackerley

 

 Jen Cameron

Sandi Volpe

 

Susan Kennedy

Kristen Stevens

 

Shirley Moore 

 Cooky Schock

 

D. Lynne Bowland 

Tiffany Smith

 

Patti Vanderbloemen 

Pam Ferrari

 

 

Alice Peterson 

Bette Brody

 

Julie Anne Leggett 

Lola Surwillo

 

Kathleen Lange Klik 

Erin Prais Hintz

 

Mowse Doyle

Kristi Jaro

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Krampusnacht!

 Be wary if you are out tonight. Should you see a devilish dapper beast abroad - you would be well aware if you met Krampus on Krampusnacht! Could it be the devilsih appearrance, cloven hooves and horns? The lascivious grin? The bundle of switches or the basket on his back - from which muffled cries of kidnapped naughty children can be heard? What gave it away? 

 Krampus

Krampus travels abroad this night - searching out naughty children. He might switch them, rattle his chains, scare them witless, or stuff them in his basket to take home to torment. But he usually returns them on the morrow - and they are most often never so naughty again! Krampus is the companion of St Nikolas - who's feast day is celebrated tomorrow. This is the St Nicholas ( aka Sinterklaas) who leaves delectable treats inside your wooden shoes left by the fire; oranges, chocolate, peppermints...

St Nick and K

Mischief!

scary one

But as scary as some images of Krampus are - I find the cheeky Victorian era postcards the best! Naughty takes on a whole new meaning...

While Santa Claus expanded shop and sold products in mid-1800s America, the holiday card craze exploded in Europe.In Austria and other parts of Europe, countless season’s greeting cards featured Krampus, often emblazoned with the phrase “Grüß Vom Krampus” (Greetings from Krampus). While the lurid images are suffused with a modern sense of the comic and the surreal, they still resonant with mythic power and primordial horror. And with Krampus representing the naughty side of the season, the sexy subtext is hard to ignore in these often very cheeky cards. A century later, the brilliance of these magnificent works of pop art is now gaining global recognition. (Krampus.com)

Krampus devil

Saucy Krampus

So however you decide to celebrate Krampusnacht - be you naughty or nice... Enjoy! 

And please check out:

my friend Grace wrote a great post on her blog Domythic Bliss! 

Ten fun facts about Krampus

Krampus.com

St Nikolas' array of diverse companions

Feeling festive! The November AJE component reveal!

 Its hard to believe we are on the cusp of December. I just posted the Art Jewelry Elements December Component of the Month - my turn next, and its hard to think about that reveal being on New Year's Day!!! But I digress, and get ahead of myself...

For the current month of November, filled with fall leaves, and roasting delicacies... we have this harbinger of the season to come... a bronze clay snowflake from member Lesley Watt in the UK. 

Lesley's snowflakes

I immediately wanted to make it spin, to wear it on a long necklace over a tunic sweater... but the actual size was larger than I expected. I think my design is similar to what I had imagined, but as I started creating a new idea formed... I was working in polymer as time was limited, so earthenware clay was out. No time to make it, dry it, fire it, glaze it... you get the point. I wanted to frame it with an ornate, even Victorian type pattern... 

 sketch and front view

... but when I put the polymer and the flake together, I needed a visual rest to focus the eye on the snowflake. I used leather scraps in a deep teal, wrong side up, and the color picked up accents in the polymer very well. The back is dealt with as well, since both sides of an ornament are on display: 

sketch and back view

Te leather and polymer "snowflake" button also camoflauge the wires where the front bead is attached. 

AJE CoM November

I had been reading and re-reading some seasonal folklore on the plants holly, ivy, and mistletoe for my AJE Holiday Open House posts. It was so much fun to create polymer leaves and bead berries. I even have extra - perhaps a sprig for my lapel? The snowflake theme had me feeling very festive, and I made a few additional polymer snowflakes. I think a give away is in order! 

Winners will be randomly selected - 2 winners - from comments here and  on my Facebook page (Please leave an email in your comment so I am sure to find you if you win!) Let me surprise you with a pair!

snowflake earrings

Happy Holidays! I am starting to think about decorating the house....

But wait! There is more... My team members offerings: 

 

OH! Dont forget! This is the last day to enter for a free Labyrinth Component of the Month! ANd I have 5 to give away! The post is here: December CoM at AJE. 

AJE CoM

So many things...

Happy Thanksgiving.

I have so much to be thankful for... my husband, family, my work, my friends.

Photo: One more leg. #holidaze

I travelled yesterday without any stress or mishaps. I am visiting my parents and my sisters, and my little nephew. While I miss my husband and his family - I am so thankful to be spending time with my far away sisters! There are delicious smells wafting up the stairs, and I think another cup of coffee is calling my name...

Photo: Festive. #holidaze

centerpiece

I hope you have a wonderful day with you and yours!

I am also thankful of my online community of friends and family. I recently joined Art Jewelry Elements and am thrilled to be working with such a diverse and talented group of women. We are hosting a Holiday Open House tomorrow! Blog posts every half hour or so, recipes, articles, sales, folklore, and beads... of course! Whether you are shopping Black Friday in the stores or staying at home - stop by and visit with us. Many of the sales will run all weekend. I know I will be adding items to my Etsy store throughout the weekend, and especially on Cyber Monday! Thank you for your interest and support! Until later...

 

 

 

FaerieCon 2012 - a feast of friends, folklore, and fantasy

 FC 2012

Its hard to know where to begin. FaerieCon this past weekend was a reunion, a celebration,  and a homecoming. It has taken me all week to write this post. Monday, back at home, I felt cocooned in what I refer to as the "Euphoria bubble" and was unwilling to venture out into the "real" world. Its a feeling of internal warmth, of euphoria and yet bittersweet joy that the time together has come to an end. I feel connected to my friends in a finely spun Internet web, connected yet seperated by miles... After a weekend of mayhem and madness, mirth and mystery it is hard to settle in and grocery shop or stand in line at the Post office.  

fae friends collage

I have many life long friends that I have met at FaerieCon. Some may think it odd that 2.5 days of  a retail fantasy themed convention would yield such closeness. But its not to be measured in hours on the clock. These are people who understand me instantly, no explanations needed. These are poeple who may share similar upbringings, or life expereiences, or challenges and frustrations. But we meet on common ground, with so much shared experience. Attending my first FC in 2009 I instantly felt at home and so wanted to be adopted into the tribe, of these like minded creative people. And I was welcomed with open arms and open wings. So many friendships were of long standing I felt a bit of an outsider - my baggage only... In subsequent years - I feel truly part of the tribe. This year was even more intensely joyous, and thus bittersweet as we left the Realm and headed "home" 

Our Magical Emcees

 In my life - I have worn many hats: awkward smart kid, art student, art teacher, artist... When you are 11 its not cool to have your head stuck in a book of myth. I found Elfquest at age 10 and had a physical reaction to the story and the art. Heart pounding, face flushed, incredulity and love. I read all the mythology i could get my hands on....In High school - it was Arthurian legends, Celtic myth...and the Pre-Raphaelites. My amazement at discovering artists creating with the same inspirations, having read the same materials; that sense of connection through time. When you are an art student in college, so many classmates are all angst and turmoil... I was fabricating sterling penannular broaches and painting surreal compositions with archetypal mythic themes - snakes and apples anyone? As a teacher, I found good friends - but not colleagues who understood the passionate desire to create and express myself through my work. I think life is so often arranged in circles. Some circles where one part of your complicated self is welcomed; other circles satisfy other needs. Can you imagine the joy in finding a circle where you can feel whole? Where all of your interests and attributes are recognized, welcomed, and appreciated? Thats how this Mythic community makes me feel. Green Men handing out acorns and blessings, discussing Waterhouse and Burne-Jones over a glass of wine...discussing kitchen witchery and runes, living with intention.  

Portraits

I have the good fortune to be a working artist. I do teach part time, but my days are split between creating in the studio and the chores of running one's own small business. I can keep living in this creative space as I work and travel to shows. At times I feel like a Mythic Ambassador - setting up at a regular fine arts festival... with my mermaids and dryads, Celtic dieties, totem animals... Its lovely when your work resonates with people and they stop to talk, ask questions... and perhaps make a purchase. And it is interesting to see the mythic icons spark interest anew, speak to that collective uncosciousness. And the teacher in me loves to share...

I started the arts festival circuit in 2004(?) after returning East from a brief sojourn in San Diego. After making the leap to put my work out there I knew it was the right path for me. And I was happy doing that - thankful for the Internet that gave me access to thinks like Endicott Studios... But never in my wildest dreams did I imaging meeting Terri Windling, or the Frouds, Caitlin Matthews or Charles' Vess & deLint... Artists and authors whose work was so influencial to me. Knowing there were other creative people out there - like me - was huge. Getting to meet them as peers and discuss art, pets, myth - I can't tell you what that means to me. I may be alone in my studio with my dogs, sawing metal or glazing clay; but I am never alone. Thank you new friends and old for having helped me find my place in the mythic world. 

 

 

 

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