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Goddess of Winter, Goddess of Spring...

 It may have been a year ago that I started this necklace. And as another turn of the wheel goes by, I am finally finished this necklace. I want to thank my friend, and our hostess - Sally Russick, for the incentive and inspiration to finish this!

I have been working loosely in a series lately - necklaces inspired by goddesses. Trying to embody the concepts of the feminine divinity and also incorporate the attributes of that goddess, in that certain culture, in that mythos. My heritage is Celtic and I am most often drawn to the Goddesses of that culture.  This necklace was started with a focal of vintage lace in resin - symbolizing the ice/snow/frost of winter. 

Winter focal

The Cailleach

"Cailleach" derives from the old Irish caillech, or "the veiled one." The modern word cailleach means "old woman" or "hag" in Gaelic. The Cailleach is a widespread form of Celtic hag Goddess tied to the land and the weather Who has many variants in the British Isles.

The Caillagh ny Groamagh ("Gloomy Old Woman", also called the Caillagh ny Gueshag, "Old Woman of the Spells") of the Isle of Man is a winter and storm spirit whose actions on the 1st of February are said to foretell the year's weather--if it is a nice day, She will come out into the sun, which brings bad luck for the year. The Cailleach Uragaig, of the Isle of Colonsay in Scotland, is also a winter spirit who holds a young woman captive, away from her lover. (Thanks to Thalia Took of "A-musing Grace" )

In Scotland, where she is also known as Beira, Queen of Winter, she is credited with making numerous mountains and large hills, which are said to have been formed when she was striding across the land and accidentally dropped rocks from her apron. In other cases she is said to have built the mountains intentionally, to serve as her stepping stones. She carries a hammer for shaping the hills and valleys, and is said to be the mother of all the goddesses and gods.

The Cailleach displays several traits befitting the personification of Winter: she herds deer, she fights Spring, and her staff freezes the ground. (Wiki)

The snow, the rocks, the ice... the frost patterns on a cottage window; here is my "inspired by winter" necklace - 

Cailleach necklace

Spiral charm - K. Totten/Starry Road Studio

Lamwork - Anne Gardanne

materials: moonstone, blue ribbon jasper, chandelier crystal, smoky quartz, mother-of-pearl, river rocks, chain and seed beads. 

Cailleach necklace

 

Thanks to Anne Gardanne for her gorgeous lampwork - they inspired the palette of this piece!

The Cailleach is related to another Celtic Goddess - Bride (or Brigid). Her "day" is February 1, known as Imbolc on the ancient Celtic calendar. I have included a bit of her story, as it is her time of year, and the two goddesses are often seen as associated...

Thalia Took's Cailleach  Thalia Took's Bride

"Bride (or Brigid) is a beloved goddess of the Celts known by many names, Bride being the Scots Gaelic variant. Her names mean "the Exalted One." She tends the triple fires of smithcraft (physical fire), healing (the fire of life within), and poetry (the fire of the spirit). In balance to this She also presides over many healing springs. Cattle are sacred to Her, green is Her color, and, perhaps one of the reasons She is so beloved is that She is said to have invented beer! Her feast day of February 1st is called Imbolc (the Christian Candlemas), when the predictions for the coming spring's weather were made, a remnant of which is seen in the modern Groundhog Day. She is daughter to the Dagda, and invented the first keening when her son Rúadán was killed.

The Cailleach, crone Goddess of winter, is said to imprison Bride in a mountain each winter; She is released on the 1st of February, traditionally the first day of Spring in parts of the British Isles.

Bride the Goddess proved so popular that when Christianity came by, they converted Her to a saint. Called "Mary of the Gaels" by the Irish, St. Brigid is believed to be the midwife to Mary at the birth of Jesus, and so was thought the patroness of childbirth. Her importance is such that She is one of the three patron saints of Ireland, with St. Patrick and St. Columcille. Her nineteen nuns (a solar number) kept an eternal flame burning at Her monastery at St. Kildare." (from Thalia Took at A-musing Grace)

Now - a necklace for Bride? Fire, a woven wire Bride's cross, green gems... that may be next... Thanks for stopping by. Please visit my friends and colleagues also participating on this hop:

January's end?! The AJE Component of the Month reveal.

 January has flown. I always have dreams of hibernating and catching up on the stacks of books that inhabit all rooms of my house. This year I was in the studio every day. Collages (4 new) and mixed media necklaces ( 6 new) for a gallery show that opens tomorrow. When that show was hung, it was with great pleasure that I got to return to this beauty from Karen/Starry Road Studio. I had been thinking on it for weeks, literally, and wanted to make my design become reality...

Testing

Playing with pictures - but you can clearly see the colors and textures here. Dimples on the edge, a spiral, and a great earthy green, hints of rusty brown, turquoise... I wanted to do a bracelet - partially because of the size ( app 1") and because it is double sided. I get rather annoyed when a bracelet focal flips over all the time... The irony - in my final design the ceramic focal can't flip over. Ha. Outsmarted myself. 

hinge clasp bracelet

The focal is framed with chunky faceted jasper nuggets. The bracelet is copper, stamped, forged, with patina. The hinge is formed directly from the sheet, and creates the clasp. A pin of wire ( chunky, like 12 ga?) is on a leash of vintage chain. 

open view

The spiral and dimple design was intended to reflect the bead's design. I created the dimples with my center punch, punching on wood to get a deeper impression, and alternating sides to have rasied and recessed dots. 

texture detail  wearing it now

Detail of the design, and clasp when worn. The pin is short and smooth, and not too uncomfortable. I would wear this on my non-dominant hand on a normal day, but mousing and writing with it on wasn't very practical. ( I am really focused on the wearability of jewelry. Why design a cool looking piece if it's uncomfortable, or impossible to wear?) But I digress. 

I am pleased with the piece, and will wear it myself. I do see experimenting with the design a bit, offsetting the hinge for comfort...Thank you Karen for the challenge and the inspiration! Please see what my AJE teammates have created! The links can be found here. Until later... 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New work

 *Please allow me to do double duty with this post - and count it as my "Focus on Life" post. I have been in the studio all week finishing new work! Also - there are additional images tagged on Instagram. Thanks!*

As January draws to a close, I wanted to share with you the latest. I have been in a flurry (pun intended) of activity in the studio, preparing for a new show. Betsy Mortenson and I are showing at the Palette and the Page in Elkton, Md. The opening will be Friday February 1st, and the show will be up for the month. Betsy and I have done collaborative work in the past, sharing ideas, and sparking creative thoughts one off the other. This year we discussed animals/totems. While the work isn't paired as directly as Oceana/Detritus of Dreams from last year, we are happy with what is happening...

I am particularly excited to show collages and mixed media necklaces together. Many venues don't allow for such diverse offerings in one show. Let me give you a sample...

Raven collage

As of yet untitled Raven themed collage. Inspired by Celtic goddesses - The Morrigan...

Thought and Memory

"Thought and Memory" - labradorite, polymer, copper, silver, silk. Inspired by Odin's ravens - Huginn & Muninn ( Thought and Memory).

Raven's Token

"Raven's Token" - polymer, copper, hematite, lapis, pearls, onyx, blue goldstone. 

Snake collage

Untitled snake collage. Inspired by the Creatan snake goddess/priestess, the Delphic Oracle, and Eve. 

Athena's owl

"Athena's Owl" - brass, polymer, enamel on copper, gems. 

Lunar Hare

"Lunar Hare" - polymer, enamel on copper, stamped copper, labradorite, pearls, iolite, hematite, blue goldstone. 

Not every necklace has a collage partner, and I will be exhibiting ceramic shrines as well. Should be a truly mixed media showing. PLease do stop by if you are in the area. I will post pictures of the opening at a later date! 

 

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

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