February - how I missed you. You were gone in a flurry, frenetic, so fast. One thing that was successful, accomplished on time, and simply a positive during February was the Component of the Month over at Art Jewelry Elements! Here is what Francesca sent us:
Aren't they gorgeous? Depth of color. Variations in color. The fine silver accents. The pieces are very subtle, and have detail when seen up close. I didn't want the enamel to get over shadowed by one of my more elaborate mixed media assemblages. (You know how I am...) So I went back to simple, gorgeous gems, to accent this piece and set it off...
Strung with moonstones, pearls, aquamarine, apatite, and silver spacers...
I adore moonstones. I have a lovely strand of tiny faceted rondelles that are drilled too small for any wire but 26 gauge - and I decided this was their chance! It was the silver embedded embelishment that inspired this palette. I wanted accents of color to link to the overall blue/aqua tones, as well as silver.
These elaborate silver beads visually cap off the gem strand as it transitions to chain; the chain is just the last few inches on the back of one's neck.
I love the piece - simple, clean, with a bit of subtlety. I can't wait to see what my fellow AJE team members did - and dont forget the lucky guests who WON a pendant each! You can see it all at the Art Jewelry Elements blog. Thats where I am headed.... But before you go - I would love to hear what yo think....
Monday. So much to do! One task was great fun, and quickly accomplished... Marsha had gifted me with a pair of her new/prototype porcelain shard head pins. We were talking about the use of nichrome wire in jewelry - leave it exposed, cover it... I decided to design a pair of earrings with the wire covered. The nichrome doesnt particularly bother me, I was just being the devil's advocate, you know? (Nichrome aparently is an alloy of nickle. I am guessing it will not darken with time. I know when I use nickel silver sheet - it will not patina with LoS - I use a SHarpie!)
The stages of experimentation: (Clockwise from top left)
1. Cover the nichrome wire with a coil. I used 24 ga Parawire in gunmetal. (Thanks Kerry for the coiling inspiration!)
2. I originally thought a gunmetal link. Seeing it - it was too "the same". The coil texture was lost in the uniform color.
3. White Clover Kiln bead caps. Adorable - but I wanted to not go too floral, and decided to vary the colors a bit more.
4. Testing out a patterned copper chain link, like it! Sadly - these enameled bead caps from Sally Russick were rejected too. Marsha had done some combinations like this and I was striving to be different - not to let that subliminal influence take hold!
The results! I like the simple copper bead cap and the copper link together. These are lightweight, and I like them... but
Option A: dangles of pearl, hematite, and turquoise - the metal's palette as gems.
Option B: One single dangle - a copper pearl.
I want to hear your opinion! Which option do you prefer?
I am not going to use many words here... just pictures. Because you see - my Bead Soup arrived from the lovely Jennifer Cabic - and I want to head to the studio.
Here is what I sent to Jennifer:
Bottom - the ceramic milagro focal, resin clasp with antique postcard, resin focal collaged with vintage stamp. I know I sent a large soup. I have trouble deciding, and well... once I got started....
Here is what I recieved:
Brass focal bead, coral, jasper, lampwork, and the most FAB metal clay clasp of Jennifer's. Oh and that sweet tiny charm, too!
This is a perfect soup. The ingredients are all great quality, and I love that there is a piece by my partner herself. This is not my palette at all - the perfect challenge... and with such nice materials.... I am glad we have a little time to "live with" the treasures, you know - think, fondle, arrange, fondle...
Hi all - Quick post. Have no snow so I have to get to class. Wanted to share these with you...
As much as they love doggy daycare, Zoey always charges me at the door!
Tired, calm and clean. I treated myself to a bath - theirs!!!
Have a good week! Hope to hop after pottery class!
Its time to write the recipe, gather the ingredients, spice it up a bit...
Its Bead Soup time again!
Lori has done it again, bigger, bolde, better? Well, it was great the last two years I participated that's for sure!
I am thrilled to be paired with Jennifer Cabic! Her blog is here. ) She creates wonderful pieces in metal clay and copper, instilled with meanings and memoreies. What a perfect partner!
Her work can be seen in 2 Etsy shops: Impressionisms & Silver Peanut. Those "sealing wax" pieces are to die for! We had a nice email chat and I wish we were closer to share a coffee, or a glass of wine.
But I cant tarry here - I have soup to prepare... Until later -
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.
"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 -
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.
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...
"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 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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
*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...
As of yet untitled Raven themed collage. Inspired by Celtic goddesses - The Morrigan...
"Thought and Memory" - labradorite, polymer, copper, silver, silk. Inspired by Odin's ravens - Huginn & Muninn ( Thought and Memory).
"Raven's Token" - polymer, copper, hematite, lapis, pearls, onyx, blue goldstone.
Untitled snake collage. Inspired by the Creatan snake goddess/priestess, the Delphic Oracle, and Eve.
"Athena's Owl" - brass, polymer, enamel on copper, gems.
"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!
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
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.)
“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
Ursula K. Le Guin
“The only journey is the one within.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
“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
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.
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.
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 - The Mermaid 1910
detail: "Two Women on a sofa" Albert Moore
I loved the stamps! And of course, I never go anywhere without my journal.
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...