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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. 

 

 

 

Autumn - the reveal for Suburban Girl Design Team

 I love Fall. It truly is my favorite season. The crisp zing in the air, the colors, leaves... So when Diana sent us our stoneware leaf for the Suburban Girl design team, I was thrilled. My thoughts were on leaves - as I was working with Kristen's beaded leaf for the AJE team...and I wanted this to stand out and be unique, different...

Fall focal

The quote is from Peter Mulvey - "... and the leaves were telling secrets to the wind." The copper was a scrap, already reminiscent of a leaf, tweaked a bit with the jeweler's saw. I liked the way it hung, and allowed the heavier leaf to balance the enameled acorn. ( Thank you Carol Myers!)

Clasp!

The lovely copper clasp from fellow team mate Michelle! 

SBGDT fall

The whole necklace: seed pod beads, tiger's eye in yellow and red, wood jasper... finished with seed beads and chain. 

chain detail

Hand stamped copper links: "Change"- since this season heralds the change of the year into the fallow reflective period of the winter. So much change around us - from leaves, to routines, to weather... And I liked the shapes balancing the lozenges of the tiger's eye opposite. 

Beauty shot

I loved working with this pendant of Diana's! It was a pleasure! Thanks for stopping by - let me leave you with a question before you visit my fellow team members' blogs - What is your favorite aspect of Autumn? 

Diana Ptaszynski http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com/
Kristen Stevens http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com/
Jan Onipenco http://moltenmayhem.typepad.com/
Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp http://skyejewels.blogspot.com/
Sandra Basara Miller http://www.sandra5461.blogspot.com/
Michelle Buettner http://misheldesigns.blogspot.com/

Art Jewelry Elements - October reveal!

AJE

 October is going out with a bang... at least here in the Mid Atlantic. I am writing this ahead of the reveal date, as we have a predicted date with Hurricane Sandy... 

You may recall that a month or so ago - I shared with you that I had become a member of the Art Jewelry Elements team - a fantastically talented group of bead artists, jewelry artists, designers... here and in the UK. At AJE we have a challenge of sorts... Component of the Month. Components are made, and offered to the team, and in a give away to the readers. Magic happens, and we post the pix here!

October's CotM was this crazy fabulous seed beaded bead set and leaf charm by Kristen Stevens of "My Bead Journey". Take a look : 

AJE Oct. components

 I knew I wanted to showcase the leaf and give it a little more visual impact as it was really delicate. I have a tendenacy to incorporate text into my pieces, as you most likely have gathered by now...  In keeping with the organic concept of the piece, I chose to pair it with seed pod slices, pearls, rough emeralds, and citrine. I utilized the seed pod beads as cones of a sort, where I attached seed bead and leather strands for the back of the piece. 

AJE Oct.

Here's a detail of the pendant...to me the leaf was asking to be embellished - so I enameled a small flower and attached it with a soft rivet, using an enameled headpin. (Thank you SueBeads!) The quote reads: "dance on the edges of time" - an excerpt from this quote by Rabindranath Tagore: "Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf." That quote really struck me; so perfect for the season. 

AJE Oct detail

I will say - I had never used beaded beads before and wasn't sure how I would incorporate them into my aesthetic. ( Hence the challenge, I know...) I am very pleased with the result, and love the beads. I like the texture they add, and a bit of volume visually while being lightweight. I look forward to working with them again! Thanks Kristen!

PLease stop by the Art Jewelry Elements blog to see what my colleagues have done! 

Give a hoot! And vote for a hoot...

While the title of this contest makes me laugh - I had to enter, and share...

Hooters challenge

The timing corresponds with Halloween, naturally. Artisan Whimsy is an online social networking group for beaders and the like. They are hosting this contest! There are categories to vote for owl components and finished jewelry featuring owls. I make quite a few: 

1. Stoneware owls - fired to ^10 reduction for you potters out here. 

hi fire owls

Earthenware owls - more colorful, more contrast. 

low fire owls

Athena's owl: this mold I made from a reproduction on an ancient Athenian drachma coin. I did NOT carve that myself!

Athena's owls

4. Mythic Nature pendant line - owl totem. This one I DID carve from wet clay, carving and modeling the features from scratch. I then made a mold, and can make multiples from my original design. Each one is hand painted and takes approximately 20 minutes for the underglaze only! I love the variations I can achieve though...

My OOAK owls

A few of these owls have found there way to my Etsy shop. ( Although start a "convo" with me if there is something you want not listed.) Please wing on over and take a look!

Happy Halloween. 

Pumpkin spice and polymer skulls...

So I think I havent posted for a week. Sorry. It was a busy week. At times I think fall will settle down, when shows are over for the season and I resume my teaching on Saturdays. Not so. FaerieCon is 2 weeks away. I have workshops and classes going on in addition to the regular Sat kids cermaics class. I am thrilled !!! to be a member of the Art Jewelry Elements blog. Working on the October AJE design team reveal, as well as regular blog posts. All good, but busy. So here are a few snapshots for you...

pumpkin spice

The flavor of the season...

Muertos

From my ofrenda table/altar in the house. And yes - he has a gold tooth!

bee and flower

Last of the harvest...

muertos2

Waitresses and a happy couple...

polymer sugar skulls

Sugar skulls! Read all the details at the AJE blog or shop for these on Etsy!

Coast 2 Coast piece.

A collaborative piece from me and Cooky Schock. Read more about out shared creative ventures at Coast 2 Coast Creative!

lunar hares WIP

Copper, enamel. faux bone... work proceeding nicely for FaerieCon. 

Steampunk cameos WIP

Steampunk cameos... some with a bit of cheekiness...

 

So pour a coffee, enjoy the weather on the deck, and stay tuned for more work in progress as I create magic in preparation for FaerieCon!

History Hop... My Medieval muse, my Celtic roots.

Hop to it! (Just a wee pun for our hostess, Leah of Beady Eyed Bunny...)

The brief - select a period of History - which in and of itself was a HUGE challenge for me. I liked and was inspired by so many... and create a piece inspired by that time, those people, their materials, their style...The choices: 

I had to choose Middle Ages/Medievel. In my minds eye I was seeing enameled pieces from Sutton Hoo, golden torcs, spirals, amber, pearls...My Celtic heritage was not going to be passed over. But gold - not going to happen. 

Celtic inspirations

My Celtic heritage has been a great influence on my work since I studied abroad while in  college, living and traveling on the soil of my ancestors. I designed and created Celtic penannular brooches in my final semesters studying metals in college. I wanted this piece to be informed by and inspired by - yet be modern, and reflect my current tastes in mixing materials and making pieces with meaning and intention. 

The Celts wore amber. and quite a bit of gold. They enameled, and created intricate knotwork designs, both geometric and zoomorphic. Knotwork seemed too obvious. Amber... My parents had given me a tiny bag of sand and raw amber chunks they collected on the beaches of Skagen, Denmark. I became intrigued with the idea of encapsulating the amber, so it moved freely within an amulet. 

But thinking on Celtic art, I was also thinking of runes and ogham script. In my associations, runes are more Scandinavian while Ogham is more Irish/Welsh. I usually include text in my pieces - so ogham was a must. I perused books in my personal library - La Tene period, Hallstadt...

Ogham stone Ogham

Sketchbook

The plan was to inset a plastic lens into faux bone thus creating a niche for the amber. I started that - last Wednesday. Not going to happen in the time I had remaining. Plan B - polymer. I have recently been reintroduced to polymer by the multi talented Christine Damm. I knew it would do exactly what I envisioned. 

polymer process pix

Top: working. Ivory polymer. 

Bottom: Ogham writing around pendant. Copper overlay to be sawed. Amber and lens in place. 

The pendant

Here is the finished pendant! Three chunks of amber for the Goddess of the Celts - in her three forms of maiden, mother, and wise crone. The Triquetra - a three lobed symbol, also representing trilogies - body, mind, spirit; earth, water, sky; youth, maturity, age...... The ogham translates as "Goddess guide me". The back - a subtle pattern of knotwork and a central triskele motif. 

Back of pendant

I had intended to pair this with amber beads. I am not sure. I have taken pix with a few different gemstone combinations. What do you think? 

1. Amber 2. howlite and emeralds

1. Amber 2. Howlite & emeralds

3. aquamarine & emeralds 4. Labradorite, howlite emeralds

3. Green aquamarines & emeralds 4. Labradorite, howlite, emeralds...

 

Please tell me what you think... I am thrilled with how this turned out, and thank Leah for initiating this challenge. I think I have a few more pieces rolling around in my head still! Please check out my fellow participants and their historical inspirations. (I may be late to the hopping, everyone! Teaching all day today. Monday over coffee at the latest, but I will jump in my Time Machine and meet you there. ) 

Ahowin - Art Nouveau www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com
Alicia Marinache – Victorian http://www.allprettythings.ca/
Becca's Place – Renaissance www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
Beti Horvath – Ancient Egypt and Art Deco www.stringingfool.blogspot.com
Cherry Obsidia – Ancient Mecynae Greece www.cherryobsidia.blogspot.com
Cooky – Renaissance www.shepherdessbeads.com/Blog.html
Jennifer Davies-Reazor – Medieval www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Kathleen Douglas – Indus Valley www.washoekat.blogspot.com
Kashmira Patel – Etruscan www.sadafulee.blogspot.com
Lady Grey – Victorian www.beadsteaandsweets.blogspot.com
Laney Mead – Pre-Columbian www.laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk
Leah Curtis – Ancient Roman www.beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk
LiliKrist - Persia www.lilikrist.com
Melissa – Mesopotamian www.design.kcjewelbox.com
Melissa Trudinger – Art Nouveau www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Micheladas Musings – Ancient Romans www.micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Sandra Wollberg – Art Nouveau www.city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.com
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson – Art Deco www.sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com
Tracy Stillman – Victorian www.tracystillmandesigns.com

 

 

Catching up...and puppies!

Its been a week of catching up. The house was a bit out of control - I needed to neaten and organize as much as clean. Laundry, groceries, restock after the fridge died... And get back to the studio! I have a collaborative piece freatured on my now blog with Cooky Schock Coast 2 Coast Creative. ( And you could win it... Go take a look!) I also have a very exciting piece on the table for tomorrrow's History Blog hop...

Until then a look back. Last weekend was Art on the Avenue in Alexandria; my last arts festival of the year. (FaerieCon not included!)

Old friends

Great to see Jaime and Christina! 

New friends

I know its blurry. Marina kept dancing in her stroller. 

Display 1

Lovely to be able to bring shrines, tiles and jewelry - to show my cohesive body of work!

My set up

The overal set up... 

Ganesh and Buddha

Ganesh and Buddha...

New collars Old collar

On the left: the purchase of the day. On the right: the old and new collars. 

Thrilled to find Persnickety Pup again! These are the best collars ever, well made, gorgeous, and so sturdy. The worn collar - is 4 years old! Daily wear, rough and tumble! And yes - I bought the same pattern. I loved it. They have a great selection, and are really helpful in sizing...I recommend them. 

Zoey fashion plate

Zoey in her new collar. Oscar loves his simple tribal design, but refused to be interviewed for this post. 

Autumn

And I got to meet Autumn! The new furry kid at my friend Beth's house. This show gives us a mini reunion, and we had so much fun!

Alright. More coffee, off to the studio, I have polymer to cure!  Yes - I said polymer. Stay tuned!

 

Respect the polymer...

Polymer collage

So - Art Bliss - I know it was over a week ago, but I am still digesting some of what I learned. I took 2 classes with Christine Damm, a polymer and jewelry artist from Vermont. I had a phenomenal time, in fact I was only signed up for Saturday's class but at the day's end added Sunday's class becouse I wanted to soak up more knowledge and inspiration.

I have been on a quest in recent years to respect the polymer. Its a clay. I love clay. It can be used sculpturally and texturally - as I use "real" clay. (Can you see my bias there?) Best yet - you can embed things in it and cure it in the oven. Cannot do that with stoneware...I see polymer work by other artists that I like, and others that I dont like. I have no desire ever to do cane work or color blends. The exacting nature of those techniques, the fiddli-ness, the precision, makes my creative muse curl up inthe corner and refuse to play. I worked in polymer a bit in the late 80's/ealry 90's. Teaching jewelry making at a Fine Arts camp - polymer was cost effective, user friendly and versatile. I was creating Art History pieces as brooches, all inlay - no painting. Imagine "The Scream" in polymer - that phase didnt last long.   So here I am: a sculptor, a jewelry artist, working in mixed media - and I was trying to add polymer to the mix. 

I am happy to report that I now like AND respect the polymer. Layering colors appealed to the painter in me. And a painter can create layers of subtlety that make me think: patina, age, weathered surfaces.I can now achieve intricate colors, detailed definition, shimmer, and a bit of mystery in the polymer. I am so taken with it: I went shopping immediately after returning from ArtBliss:

Heat set oils

RTV and blanks

And I made a new bunch or molds - I can use these for earthenware/stoneware as well - But I have some polymer ideas percolating!

Molds!

Oh - my work from class, you ask? ( Let me go snap a pix in natural light...)

Polymer from class

Top: ring and cuff bracelet. Bottom - experiment with copper bezel, Boudicca earrings. 

I have three bangles as well - LOVE them. Wear them all the time, and plan to make many more! So please stay tuned for more polymer pieces popping up soon. 

 

 

 

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