All about ammonites – the July COM reveal at AJE

Its no surprise I love ammonites. I mean – organic design, natural, spiral… So this month for the COM Lesley shares these lovely ammonite pendants with us! Here is the one I received, already paired with some jasper in a corresponding teal tone.

paired with this jasper - a natural match

paired with this jasper – a natural match

I had in my head a plan to keep the front simple and create a braided triple strand in the back. I wanted to make matching cones from polymer to accent the pendant and transition to the triple strand. I made them – and they were “meh”. So I made some beads to go with…

Polymer beads and cones made to match Lesley's focal.

Polymer beads and cones made to match Lesley’s focal.

Ok – that’s better! Lets see – kyanite, smoky quartz, that teal jasper ( what IS that variety called?) and a little mother-of-pearl for brightness. Now which color palette of seeds? I had a little too much fun spilling them all and swirling them around on the bead mat. 

pearls? seed beads? colors?

pearls? seed beads? colors?

Here it the finished piece! 

The finished necklace

The finished necklace

I did end up with a loose braid of sorts. It is seed beads in matte olive and matte aqua with a slim strand of soft leather threaded through… I am pleased with the way it visually connects to the black glaze in the impressions. 

the loosely braided back of the piece - seed beads and leather

the loosely braided back of the piece – seed beads and leather

Please take a look at my fellow AJE members and our guests! See what else people have created with these lovely ammonites. 

Summertime – the Art Jewelry Elements theme reveal

Summer collage

Sumer Solstice has come! Summer is fully upon us: this weekend market by fireworks, trips to the beach, barbecues… And the reveal of the Summer theme over at Art Jewelry Elements.

What you see above is my beach summer compilation, I set myself the challenge to NOT do a beach theme this month. Just to make it more interesting… My motif is the moth. Flitting about in the indigo twilight, circling summer candle flames… colorful and interesting but often playing second string to their more illustrious butterfly cousins.

il_fullxfull.623029714_duu2_blogsize

I have a handful ready to glaze. And like all best laid plans, the kiln at the studio is down for repairs so I am delayed in high firing these porcealin prototypes. But no worries. I will keep making them until I can glaze fire! I am drawn to the downward arc of the top wing shape… and want to see them glazed with fine lines of iron oxide to allude to the striations on the wings, with spots of color accents… So many possibilities.

Porcelain moths

porcelain batch 2

In the interests of the reveal I glazed a few as tests. And broke one… I am thinking gold leaf on the repair? Kintsugi-like.

First glazed tests

The broken white moth also is glazed in a crackle glaze – I am thinking some sepia ink to accentuate the crackle. But for me – its the little aqua one. I amy not have a finished piece – but I have plans…

Mine.

What do you think? I think there are more moths to be made for Beadfest!

Until then – please hop along with the AJE team and our Summer theme guests!

Caroline Dewison
Susan Kennedy
Lesley Watt
Jen Cameron

Half a year of Goddesses?

I know June has just begun, but I am already finished my beaded goddess for this month. I am thrilled with the progress I am making. The design aspects flow more readily each month. I have abandoned symetry – which can be a challenge for me. And I have NOT hit a slump. If anything, the last 2 months went easier and faster… I know the blog has languished a bit, more htan a bit. There is a revamping in the works for this summer – thats all I’ll say for now.  

So take a look at half a year of goddesses:

6 goddesses. Jan - June

 

Glass treasures – the May COM reveal

Once again – a month comes to a close. I may not have blogged much – but I do have treasures to show you! Its time for the Art Jewelry Elements COM reveal!

I am spoiled. Sue gave me a selection of these new wee gorgeous cabochons when we briefly met up at Bead Fest April in Philly. I was greedy and asked for THREE (!!!) of these stars. I envisioned them as a crown over a celestial goodess face. 

Sue star cabs

But its Spring, and I have had a chance to go to the beach a few times. Walking dogs, with a coffee, early in the morning is my favorite pastime. And beach combing. Very quickly this became a starfish, destined to be nestled in a mermaid’s hair. (Late in the month I realized that #MerMay is a thing on social media. Google it). So when a new batch of stoneware face cabs came out of the high fire gas kiln… this happened: 

May 2016 COM

Shells from Bethany DE, antique coral, abalone from NZ (long story)… Sue’s cab sets the palette, and Caroline’s sea urchin bead completes the piece! Here are some detail shots: 

COM details

I need to stitch on some beaded loops or closed rings. That part always happens last as it seems like a chore to me. 

Umm – so I was at the beach this past Memorial Day weekend – and I always pack beads. The weather was a bit grey… so while tired dogs napped after morning hikes… 

Mermaid tapestry

This is a small tapestry. The enamleled mermaid is from Anne Gardanne. I have been treasuring it… You know I am doing a beaded goddess each month? Well, I have further challenged myself to sculpt all those cabs. So this is a bonus! The May goddess is done; the June piece is laid out. I am not sure where I am going with this – but that purple! It was as if Sue’s cab and Anne’s mermaid were destined! I’d love to hear what you think… 

I was very inspired, and rather prolific; please visit my team mates and our guests to see other creative designs featuring Sue’s wee cabs!  

 Guests
Allison Herrington
Lola Surwillo
 
AJE Team Members
Susan Kennedy – host
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Jenny Davies-Reazor ( here)
Caroline Dewison
Lindsay Starr
Lesley Watt
Jennifer Cameron
Niky Sayers
 

April is for Amulets! The AJE reveal

 Amulet beads

This month over at Art Jewelry Elements I was very excited to share my new polymer amulet beads. They are vessels – hollow and completely functional. I wanted to see how people addressed this, and what they inspired in our team and guests. See that one in the picture below with a labyrinth? That one is mine! 

More beads

I knew right away I wanted a way to have a scroll inside – that would be removeable and hold a secret ( or shared) message. I fabricated the copper V shape to act as a bail of sorts, allowing the vessel to hang. But then what? The labyrinth is a very evocative symbol to me – of journeys, of life, of the twists and turns of fate. So after pondering a while I decided to stamp words… 

my vessel

“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.” Emily Bronte

my own nature

That seemed perfect for a piece about journeys, and amulet, to be worn near the heart, a personal talisman. Labradorite, apaptite, green garnet – all pulling out the cool tones in teh polymer amulet bead. Its long – hangs down to my stomach; I knew it would be whan I selected that quote! The scrill is a piece of resin paper, very organic and fiber-y. No message as of yet – we will see what note I want to leave for myself! 

My journey amulet

Thanks for stopping in – and please take a look at the other offerings this month!
Guests: 
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio
Alison of Alison Adorns
Jess of The Copper Cat
Brooke from Artistic Endeavors
 
AJE Team: 
Lesley 
Caroline 
Niky 
Jennifer
Diana
Lindsay
Susan
Jenny

The eyes have it! The March theme reveal at Art Jewelry Elements

Welcome! Its the end of March and time for the reveal over at Art Jewelry Elements. This month’s theme was very illuminating. I found myself thinking of and researching so many eye motifs… 

Eye inspirations collage

The Egyptian Eye of Horus, Lover’s Eyes and an eye brooch designed by Salvador Dali. (clockwise from top left)

By happenstance, Rachel Helinki of Dida Metals posted a glorious eye pendant/necklace she has created – incorporating one of Joan Miller’s porcelain eye cabochons. I was planning to use a similar cab – so I asked Rachel to appear here with me as my guest… Here is her offering, words and images: … 

“The lovely Jenny Davies-Reazor asked if I wanted to partake in the AJE Monthly Challenge & after seeing the theme — it was a total no brainer for me.  Eyes are a major design element that I like to focus on with my work, so I couldn’t resist participating!  
 
Eyes are actually why I got into metalsmithing to begin with.  Two years ago I was diagnosed with an chronic autoimmune disease of the eyes.  Metalsmithing had always been a dream of mine & the thought of experiencing any kind of vision impairment really put everything in motion for me.  I took a weekend workshop where I had access to materials & tools and never looked back!  
 
Eyes & chronic illness are themes I like to explore personally through metalwork.  I have several eye pieces that I wear as talismans that give me strength when I need it.  I know that many people look to the eye as a symbol for so many different reasons & that it has roots in many different cultures (Thank you Lindsay M Starr for pulling together a great list — I’d not known of the Lover’s Eye before your post!)
 
For this challenge, I’d like to feature one piece in particular — a pendant featuring a gorgeous porcelain cabochon made by Joan Miller!  Joan’s piece was perfect for setting — it has a fun iridescent, detailed iris, but still allowed me to add interest with the setting.  The entire piece is hand fabricated from fine & sterling silver using traditional metalsmithing techniques.  One of my favorite details on this is the bezel which is shaped to look like eyelids!
I’d like to thank the Art Jewelry Elements ladies for hosting this challenge & allowing me to participate (& Jenny in particular for letting me guest post on her blog)!  “

Dida eye1

Detail shots

See? I am utterly enchanted with that necklace! I hope to finally meet Rachel next weekend at Bead Fest Spring – we have been Instagram acquaintances for a while! 

So… the cab ended up in a very different setting for me… 

the beaded eye

I was going to do a wall hanging in an Egyptian style… no – then I was thinking crystals and a teardrop a la Dali… I definitely was keeping to the blue palette in a nod to the traditional evil eye amulets. Then this happenned: 

Eye beading WIP

Now I have to engineer a backing and attach it all together… The frame is polymer from a large! mold I made. It is colored with paint and Gilders paste. I want to use the Latin phrase ” Respice, Adspice, Prospice” somehow in this piece. (It translates as “Look behind, look here, look ahead” or so I have read. Translation apps arent cooperating with me today.) Maybe small stamped brass strips riveted to the frame? Ill keep thinking on this – any ideas are welcome! 

Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to leave comments for me and for Rachel! We would love to hear from you. Oh – and dont forget the other participants: 

Guests – 
 
AJE Members – 

 

 

 

 

 

Journal 52 – one week at a time

Journal table

I have three work tables in my “clean” studio. This year one of them is designated the journal space. I have tried unsuccessfully many years running to put a consistent daily/weekly art journal practice in place. I have tried loose papers, even vintage Filofax cards. This year I signed up for a FREE challenge – called “Journal 52“. Run by the dynamic duo of Effy WIld and Sarah Trump – I recieve a themed prompt once a week. Two actually – so you have options. There’s a FB group for sharing and building community. I love it. And I am happy to say I am consistent, and consistently loving it.  

journal montage1

The whole art journal thing for me is play and practice. A chance to doobde, to recontitute my dried up, forlorn drawing skills, to try new media and techniques, to get messy and push paint around… all with the caveat that NO ONE HAS TO SEE IT. Or I can share if I desire. The freedom to play and produce work for me, for my soul, from my soul… with no show deadline. Its refreshing and joyous.  

journal montage2

 

True self

I am a little behind as I was away last week – but the weekly prompts are so good I look forward to catching up… 

Stay tuned for more as the year progresses! 

The Goddess project – one month at a time

 This year I have undertaken a project, a goddess project. Inspired by the fabulous bead artist Cathy Mendola, I am doing one seed beaded/bead embroidered piece a month incorporating a goddess cabochon. I met Cathy on Instagram!!! – she was doing a goddess project last year and used a few of my polymer goddess cabochons. We have talked and struck up an Internet friendship… and she has passed the torch of inspiration to me!

The time frame fits me well. I like to have something to bead on when I have a little late afternoon down time, with a cuppa tea. Or coffee. I do find bead embroidery to be very meditative. Over the course of the year I want to experiment with bead shapes, composition, movement… and plan to have a combination of wall hangings and pendants by year’s end. I hope to exhibit them next year. 

So here is the beginning: 

January goddess WIP

January – named for the Roman god Janus, whose 2 faces looked backwards and forwards in time… He’s often seen with a key… The key I used is a gorgeous lampwork key from Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictons. It inspired the purple accent tones in the piece. I chose this goddess, and the spiraling composition because I was thinking of New Year’s Eve and fireworks. No specific goddess was on my mind, but a piece that was symbolic of the year’s beginning. 

January Goddess

The completed January goddesses. She is wearing a crown of hematite stars. I havent decided yet how these will be mounted/displayed… but I have all year. 

February – starts with the festival of Imbolc, marking the mid way point in winter. Associated with the Irish goddess Brigid, whose domain was fire. Fire in the head of inspiration, fire in the forge… I created this polymer goddess with the stylized fire in her belly specifically for this month. But I was reading “Brigid: Sun of womanhood” (published by Goddess Ink) and thinking on Brigid’s association with healing and water and holy wells… of the symbolism of the light of spring emerging from the dark of winter… and my plans were changed… 

Brigid sketches

Brigid as “fiery arrow”, snowdrops, flames, water… so many sketches. But what else does one have to do at Jury duty? 

February WIP

Brigid in progress showing the fires of inspiration… little polymer flames made for this piece. 

February goddess

Finished! Thanks to Leap day as I needed a bit more time. 

Here is some of my inspiration from Cathy – who I will be interviewing over at Art Jewelry Elements blog on April 8th! Stay tuned! 

Cathdola montage

And yes – the 2 goddesses on the left are polymer cabochons I sculpted. While I look to possibly showing this series next year – I am also doing it as pure pleasure. The beads, the colors, the textures… and revisiting Cathy’s pieces I am drawn into the enticing movement in pieces and the composition. I want to play with symetry and asymetry. I want to push my color sensibilities out of the comfort zone. I look forward to a year of exploration and challenges! 

Find Cathy on Facebook: – www.facebook.com/CathySMendolaJewelryandFiberArt/

Her blog is www.cmendola.blogspot.com 

Instagram as cathdola

 

Phaedras! The February COM reveal at Art Jewelry Elements

 Welcome to the February Component of the Month reveal! This month the piece was something new, and for me very challenging. Its a chain mail “Phaedra” piece made by Diana. I love it – its bling, sparkle, the gorgeous blue crystal nestled inside. But it was a challenge as it is far outside my usual asthetic… 

The interlacing links of the the weave made me think of Celtic knotwork, and from there an idea started to form… 

First I tried metal...

Here ( above) is the first attempt. I had decided that silver was required, and perhabs crystal, naturally. But the triquetra would be a great shape, easy to link the rather fragile Phaedra too… This one is sawn from nickel – a prototype. I like the shape! But I wasnt happy with the flat silver and the tall Phaedra.  

Then polymer...

So I turned to polymer, to sculpt a more 3d triquetra. This is more like I was thinking… I like the Pheadra floating between the 2. The polymer pieces are silvered with mica powder. They may get a coat od Diamond glaze to increase the shine. Im also much happier with the 2 polymer links, and plan to use two lengths of chain – as shown here/WIP. Now – I need to go shopping for some crystal….

Thanks for the challenge Diana! 

Please take a look at out team mates and guests offerings this month! 

AJE team: 

Susan

Diana

Lesley     

Jennifer

Caroline 

Guest Participants ( aka winners)

Shaiha Williams

Renetha Stanziano

 

 

Permission to Play: Christi Friesen at The Palette and the Page

What a week this has been! I’ve neglected the blog already this year when I had mentally recommitted to weekly posts. Let me catch up a bit over the next week!

I am in full production mode for the “Bead Binge” show sponsored by the South Jersey Bead Society. AND Bead Fest Spring. But nothing was going to keep me from the Palette and the Page this past Wednesday. Because Christi Friesen was stopping by for a class after her weekend at the ACC Craft Show in Baltimore. (See my ACC post over at Art Jewelry Elements)

the incomparable Christie

Christi is a polymer maven, a master of the clay. She is a creative and generous teacher, and a consumate professional, full of character and charisma. If you ever get a chance – take her class – any class. I always learn fabulous things that I can apply to polymer the way I work, in my style. The class I attended was going to include some free form more unconventional techniques: painterly swirls and impasto. 

working collage

That leafy squiggle up there? I have finally met a cane I like – free, loose, organic…  

permission to play

I love this picture! Christi teaching, and Lynn and Patti (2 of the 4 gallery co-owners) diving in. Lynn is a polymer person, as am I – Patti is not. She had permission to play and thoroughly enjoyed herself! As we all did… 

my workspace

This was my workspace. These swirls are so me… The purple/grey/white piece at the top left may end up with a goddess on it… Christi – in her incomparable style called it a “vortex of lovliness”! Too fun. 

new techniques

This was my experimental piece. Squiggly canes, swirls… and spirals – because spirals! I think I may mount it in an old wooden drawer, floating – and then hang it on the wall. It will serve to remind me of this class, and the “collision course with excitement” we were on… But it also remends me of the value of sharing, of exploring, and the sense of community that can blossom from a shared love of art, expression, and polymer. 

Collision course with excitement

 Thanks to Christi and The Palette and the Page for a great evening! Here’s to following your Muse!