Follow your bliss.
I know this J. Campbell wrote may be used overmuch - but it is a mantra for my chosen life and creative career. And it relates to the past weekend where I spent a blissful time with friends, old and new, creating, learning, experimenting, sharing and socializing.
Many heartfelt thanks to Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix for the community they have created. Yes, its an art retreat; classrooms and a small sales venue. But its much more. Lifelong friendships are started, and nurtured. Support and encouragement offered freely. Inspiration and creativity are the daily norms.
The only complaint - there arent enough hours in the day. Or night for that matter! So refreshing to meet faces that priviously had been a computer avatar. Equally satisfying - spending time with like minded people...
The annual charm swap - gorgeous, diverse charms created and swapped amongst particpating students. Amazing packaging! Great work, a priceless momento.
Saturday I had the pleasure to work with Christine Damm for a second year. The pastels and crayons dazzled the eyes! Class mates Terri, and AJE teammates Karen and Diana working, each piece stirring new ideas...
Friday and Sunday I was taking class with Richard Salley and Jessica Papke. Two rings of their "Three Ring Circus" class series. It was so phenomenal... I am going to go a little more in depth into that experience in another post. Really.
My weekend's treasures. A polymer work in progress - a palette, and a process to work with going forwards. The rings - as I said - the class was so rich, and so fantastic... and it carried extra weigth with me. I am giddy with pride at the results of my labors and so excited moving forwards. And yes - I am wearing them now - a talisman to keep in touch with the energy of the weekend.
I will save my philosophical musings for another time - I have supplies to order, and artwork to create. Thank you one and all for making the weekend so magical!
Its the end of September already!?!?
Welcome - its the reveal day for the CoM over at Art Jewelry Elements blog! This month we are working with bronze clay bead caps from our one-and-only Lesley Watt! When I saw them I had a brainstorm. One of those far fetched, push the boundaries ideas that leaps to your brain fully formed. An idea that challenges you to go beyond your current level of experience. Lesley very graciously send me 2 - as the grand plan/challenge/hare brained scheme... required 2.
I am not done. (ArtBLISS happened. More on that tomorrow!)
The original plan, a sculptural piece - build a polymer pod with a flanged lid, using the bead caps as ends. They are organic, and so perfect... I have never build hollow forms in polymer before...
The revised sketch - only using one cap and drawing more inspiration from the shape of a poppy pod. I decided I would like the piece to be wearable, and researched Japanese inro boxes. The tops slide up the cord from which the piece is worn, allowing access to the interior.
The pod form in cured polymer. The color Lesley sent me is a gorgeous muted eggplant, inspiring a palette of olive greens, yellow ochre and the eggplant color. At ArtBliss I was in a polymer class with the inspiring Christine Damm and I spent time with the charismatic Erin Prais-Hintz, both polymer influences of mine. So I feel primed to get back to this ASAP!
Here is a picture for scale. I have to address the lid, I think I will drill into the sides horizontally and insert wire/wrapped loops. Paint, patina, Gilder's paste.... Fall is in the air, crisp cool air comes inthe open windows, leaves are starting to turn. A perfect time to work on a fall themed organic pod form!
Lesley - I am so sorry I did not have it finished! I hope I will make you proud regardless! Thank you for a gorgeous piece - I look forward to adding color - and I will post pictures ASAP! In the meantime - please check out the work my friends and colleagues created!
Here are the links to the other artists participating this month:
Erin Prais-Hintz - Tesori Trovati
Welcome! Here it is - reveal day for the "Creating with Cabochons" hop hosted by Sally Russick.
The challenge was to create using cabochons - no holes! I admit - I use cabochons, and make ceramic cabochons frequently. I wanted to challenge myself to set cabs four ways: 1. tabs 2. a soldered bezel 3. polymer 4. seed beads.
I know that sounds crazy - and it was! I havent soldered a bezel since my metal smithing days in college. I want desperately to reclaim those skills, and I will - but it did not happen in time for this hop. I have set cabs in polymer before -- with a textured clay bezel. My favorite is using tabs. I like the challenge of designing tabs that are decorative and functional. And I love sawing. But let me show you what I DID accomplish...
Cab #2 - just beginning. Porcelain cab/my work - irregular shape.
My tab set cabs. ( All my work - polymer Ganesh, stoneware butterflies and Green Man foliate head). I was using brass for a change, and left it shiny! Not my usual preference, but I was trying to challenge myself...
Athena's owl ( earthenware cab, repro of antique drachma coin) The first attempt. Its a little wonky - a few beads sticking out of line here and there. I learned peyote stitch 10+ years ago when I worked at The Shepherdess in San Diego. Never did bezels until now... I adore the painterly aspect of choosing bead colors to accentuate the ceramic glaze!
Full disclosure! I had an assist from Cooky Schock - she was in town for Beadfest and we had a few days of "Art Camp" before she headed home to SD. (She was my original peyote stitch teacher, BTW!) She gave me valuable insight into finishing the backs on my pieces.
From top right: 1. bezel complete - stitched onto pollon in lieu of Stiff Stuff. 2/3. The back plain and then with pellon stitched down. 4. Ultrasuede stitched down! 5. first owl cab with messy stitched sueded cloth. compared to the final of the three cabs with the clean presentable backing!
The final three peyote stitched cabochons. I am pleased with how they came out! It was new to me - even though I had tried peyote stitch in the past... and its very exciting to have a chance to use my own work in such a different context. While I dont know if I will ever switch to seed beads completely - I am glad to have them in my repertoire. I often sit and bead while watching tv... I am so glad Sally threw down this challenge!
Looking forward to seeing all the diverse cabs put to use on this Hop! Here are the participants! Before you go - I would love to hear your thoughts! And thanks for stopping by...
Your Host: Sally Russick
Jenny Davies-Reazor ( you are here)
This past Sunday we headed out for a day at the RenFest. It was gorgeous weather and we had a great time strolling, chatting with friends, and shopping a little...
Thanks to my talented husband for supplementing my photos - I will post again later this week with more sculpture by the amazing Feywood. It was a great day!
Stay tuned tomorrow for the reveal of the "Create with Cabochons" challenge!
It was a treat to have a deadline right after Beadfest. No, I am serious. It meant I was obligated to be in the studio Friday, not cleaning, or glazing, or running errands. Sure - there was a bit of pressure as I had one day only. But this focal was easy/lovely/inspiring...
Made by Melissa - they are copper, solder, and charms. I received a key - and knew right away I away going to do a bracelet.
It started here with these amazing lampwork beads from Kaz Balidon of Cheeky Cherub. They are planets to get lost in, deep rich jewel tones with flecks of silver. I wanted to play up the bead palette, and finally use them! Melissa's focal was SO versatile that I knew I cooudl go in any direction...
I wanted a multi strand bracelet. This fiber was too big; that fiber too small. Colors were off... so seed beads. Looking for a color to enhance and not compete with the lampwork. Here is the result:
The seed beads are a bit dark, but I like the volume of the three strands. It is well balanced and doesnt get to floppy when worn:
( I was parked in the driveway, people!)
Please stop by the blogs of my AJE colleagues and our guests this month! I look forward to seeing what designs they unlocked with their treasures... I have keys on the brain now and am headed back to the studio to work on a mixed media bracelet. Coffee is perked, I am inspired!
Thanks for stopping by...
... aka the LOOT post!
But first - a message from the business woman -
Beadfest 2013 was great. Sales were up from last year. There was networking, talking to magazine editors, teachers, and general personas inthe bead community. I will be submitting paperwork for 2014 this week, with glee and anticipation. My new pieces were well received - as in scooped up. And my signature Mythic Nature line held its own. All in all a good show. Event staff and security were on top of things, it ran smoothly...
Now - the artist's perspective: I spent a weekend surrounded by creative people who speak my language! I was immersed in my tribe, and it was exhilerating and rejuvenating. Seeing work that sparked ideas! Chatting with colleagues about materials and methods. I lef the show tired, yet ready to make more things as thoughts blossomed in the fertile environment. ( Yes, I really do think in images like that...)
This was my second big bead show - although I have been involved in the online community for longer. I am continually inspired and encouraged by these friends and colleagues. It honors me that they often choose to trade beads/art with me... as I am drawn to and appreciate their work, and flattered that those feeling are reciprocated. I look forward to working with your creations - and seeing how you integrate mine into your work!
I am home and rested and unpacked now and I miss them all!!! So to soothe my lonliness I look at my treasures. Magpie? Why yes, I am!
More Beadfest posts coming in the next few days... but I am off to start - and finish my COmponent of the Month for the Art Jewelry Elements blog team... Until later...
After 2 months of focused preparation, the weekend is here. I have hundreds of pendants.
They are almost all priced.
The process of planning is a visual one. I will have an 8' table in Artisan's Alley - #461 is you were wondering. I wanted to maximize my space and create a pleasing display. A display that showcases my "Mythic Nature" series of original designs. But I have SO MUCH inventory - I need to use every inch.
So I do a mock set up in the basement studio:
There are trays for pendants, necklace displays to show finished pieces... I really like the antique cigar boxes - I can pin up samples in the lid and set out more stock in the bottom.
I have new work, featuring new pendants... Half the fun is planning waht to wear, and display... I made a new batch of necklaces featuring my pendants and time in the studio was a joy after marathon glazing sessions - 6+ hours a day, 5 days a week.
Now I just have to pack up:
Hope to see you in Philly!
Taking a glazing break - actually I am almost finished, having met the epis task I set myself! I will have a plethora of pretties at Beadfest this month in Philadelphia - my classic "Mythic Nature" designs and new items as well. Needless to say - I havent been doing much else lately. Heres a recap of the last weeks...
Milagros - sorted into piles, 4-6 colors each! in the designs, fresh from the kiln...
A new, OOAK batch of vessels and goddesses. High fire stoneware with a wash of iron oxide. Very happy with these...
Matroska cabochons, raw glaze before firing. There will be pendants too.
Limited edition pendants - some will have resin inserts of vintage illustrations/antique text. Others will be open...
If you are a beader, wire worker, metal smith - or even a newbie bead stringer... please stop by and sat Hello! I will be at Booth 461 in Artisan's Alley.
Update from the studio...
!. Glazing all day.
2. Bisque firing what may be last load before Beadfest.
3. Mopping up basement as its a monsoon out there.
4. Waiting... to unload new goddesses from the ^10 reduction firing at the "work" studio!
And thinking of printmaking.
My friend, fellow clay artist and AJE member Diana P. wrote a post this week regarding her foray into carving stamps. She is working with EZ carve - similar in consistency to white erasers. Its great to carve, but a little springy. Too soft for what she wanted to do in clay, but great fun nontheless.
So I decided to share some linoleum I had carved, and stamped into clay. This is the economy "battleship" linoleum that I used to use when I taught art/printmaking as a public school teacher. Its shallow but very firm and worked well for my new dseries of icons.
Yin Yang and Om signs in clay - awaiting finishing.
Here's my carving area, complete with bench pin, and a few other "icons" in progress. This series I designed to keep simple and have the symbol itself be very clear and legible. I like the texture the carving leaves - as contrasted to the smooth background surface. These are going to be glazed in an array of colors...
And one more example of linoleum and clay in tandem: this is a clay tile/print from a linoleum block I carved in San Diego. When I lived there I had an amazing artist/mentor in Sibyl Rubottom. This was from a printmaking and letterpress workshop I took at her studio, Bay Park Press. It was carved to print and accompany text set in letterpress. And so I tested it in clay - was thrilled the depth was sufficient to give me a print to glaze. This was the test piece; I plan to do more for my fall shows.
I am excited to be able to draw on the creative energy of that fruitful time - although I work in such different materials. I am glad the block carved 10 years ago and across the US can be reborn here, now. In many ways my series of "Mythic Nature" tiles and pendants are similar to a run of prints... but that philosophical musing will wait for another day. I have more to glaze...
These might be a limited design - so check her shop now!
Now - I saw this picture, and I decided to challenge myself a bit... and asked for lavendar. Nothing against pinks and pale purples - they just arent "me". The bead I received was lovely... I went to my amethyst stash, logical. It was too boring. (The combo, not the amethyst!) I heard my sister Heather in my ear... lavendar green and yellow. Great combination... We window shop in boutiques on South Congress St in Austin and look, and discuss, have a coffee whenever we get a chance! It gives me insights into her tastes, and potential presents for her... So with Heather in mind, here goes.
A double strand of gems: wire wrapped amethyst, yellow jade, jade... and tourmaline. The darn tourmaline was sooo tiny is was barely stringable, since I wasnt willing to go smaller than 24 ga wire. But it was essential to play off the glaze color as the amethyst was so dark.
Finished with silk cord and a sterling hook clasp I whipped up. It hangs long-ish at 25". I was working on it at a "Girl's Beading Night" and have to thank Kim and Marsha - they advised on length, and Marsha had brought her silks... that helped decide the closure as she had the perfect green!
I love the way it turned out, the colors are fresh and spring-like to me. The silk makes it super comfortable to wear - something I always consider. Thanks Diana for the beautiful piece in a rare (to me) color! Please take a gander at my colleagues creative interpretations of this focal - and the lucky monthly winners.
That's all for now... have 2 other posts in the works here for this week. I am trying to nurture my blog that gets so neglected when I am in the midst of teaching Clay Camp. And I am in a Beadfest frenzy - so when I emerge from the "glaze cave" aka the basement studio, I can tap tap away here... Thanks for stopping by - hope to see you again soon.