Art Elements Theme Challenge – Luna Moths

So this month the Art Elements theme is chosen and hosted by Jen Cameron and it’s all about beautiful Luna moths. I actually got my act together for this theme and started in good time so I have a few things to share with you today.

Continue reading “Art Elements Theme Challenge – Luna Moths”

Art Elements Theme Challenge – Birds of Prey

This month The Art Elements challenge was set for us by Cathy Mendola and she chose Birds of Prey. Now these are not creatures I know at close quarters other than an Eagle Owl and a Lanner Falcon I had the privilege to meet at a falconry display years ago but, I do think they are rather wonderful creatures. My first thoughts were to go with Owls as I knew I had a number of these in my bead stash and that would be a good starting point.

I’ve had this lovely stoneware owl pendant by Duane Collins for years and never done anything with him because he’s a bit on the large size. I did however think he would be perfect as one of those owls who sits silently in a hole in a tree and that would be a good textile project – hence the selection of yarn.

Immediately I pulled out a bundle of mixed cut yarns that had lots of lovely textures that I thought I could work into a bark effect.

Before doing anything else I marked the owl position onto a piece on a piece linen with some stabiliser at the back and embroidered a black shadow around it to give the effect of a hollow. Then I tacked the wool roughly in place which gave a rather wild and wooly look so I went over it with my sewing machine to tame it a little resulting in a nice bark effect.


To build up an edge around the hollow I tacked a piece of thick wool around the outline and then whip stitched around it with a contrasting woollen thread to give an organic feel. I then used the same wool to add some loose abstract stitching to represent lichen on the bark.

Finally I trimmed and backed the fabric and added a silk hanging cord and then glued the owl into place and this is how he finished up. He’s fairly simple but I do like the naturalistic feel so I think I’ll be trying more of this style of design.

At the start of this challenge I bought this beautiful polymer clay Barn Owl in flight by Monika Duchowicz and I really wanted to use this as part of a story box, developing a technique I recently started with this secret garden story box. My aim here is to use a quote or literary reference to create an embroidered piece and present it within a box with a secret keepsake compartment in the bottom.


I found a poem that I really liked called ‘What Sees the Owl’ by Elizabeth Sears-Bates and an image of an owl in flight (The flight path by Connor Stefanison) that gave me me some inspiration for the panel to go in the top of the box. Unfortunately though, I’ve not yet worked out what I want to do with the base of the box. I realised when making the secret garden box that this type of project needs to be planned out carefully in advance to make sure the layering gets done in right order, so for now I’ve put this one aside but I’ll be sure to let you know when I do get it done.

With just a couple of days I wanted to get something else made so I decided to try doing something a bit more life like by embroidering a small piece from a photographic image. This is a new thing for me – I’m not good at realism in any medium so whatever I make is usually stylised but you need a challenge one in a while so I picked this image of a barn owl…isn’t he lovely?

This is how my interpretation came out. He’s not quite finished yet and I took some liberties with the colouring to get some contrast but I’m pretty happy with him and might even try a bit more realism.

So that’s my offering for this months challenge and I’d like to offer my thanks to Cathy for coming up with this great theme. I’ve seen some sneak peeks this week so I know there lots of other great contributions so I hope you’ll join us on our blog hop using the links below.

Guests:

Tammy

Beth

Cat

Anita

Kathy

Alysen

Linda

Rozantia

Jennifer

Hope

Sarah

Sarajo

Melissa

Team Members: 

Caroline

Cathy 

Claire

Jen

Jenny

Karen 

Laney

Lindsay

Marsha

Niky

Sue

February Shop Sale

As you may know I also write for the art Elements blog and we’re having a special “Meet the Team’ month throughout February (more details here). In conjunction with this event I’m offering a 25% discount across all products (subject to a minimum order value of £10) in my shop from today. Use coupon code ARTELEMENTS25 at checkout and your discount will automatically be applied.

Happy shopping!

Art Elements December Theme Challenge – White

This month’s Art elements theme challenge was chosen by Claire and in choosing white she gave us a very seasonal challenge and great scope to work with which at this time of year is no bad thing. Since December is such a busy month I decided to kill two birds with one stone and use the theme in some of my gift making. My efforts are mostly off-whites and creams since I think bright whites are quite hard to work with and wear.

First up was an Arctic hare ornament I made as a gift for a friend… made from felt and embroidered with a folk art design. Simple but effective and I think he was appreciated.

I was very much taken with the bead woven earring tutorial Marsha posted just before Christmas and made several pairs as gifts including this lovely winter white and bronze combination.

Having got a couple of quick makes under my belt I did go back to an idea that’s been percolating in my mind for quite a while now. This is my mothers wedding veil which is getting on for 70 years old and made of a very fine silk tulle with embroidered floral motifs. The tulle is full of holes and disintegrating rapidly but the flowers are still in good condition so I’ve been wanting to do something to preserve what I can.

I’ve been thinking of creating a piece of visual art by combining the floral motifs with other textiles and embellishing it with some of my own embroidery to pull together the generations but I’ve not yet been able to make up my mind exactly what I want to do. Under the circumstances I decided trying to rush something through for this challenge in such a manic month would not be a great idea so I’m leaving it until I have more time.

I did however think it would be an opportunity to play around a bit and just see how I could work with it in a simpler form which might in turn help when I come to a more complex piece. The veil is pretty fragile so I cut around one of the flower sections leaving some of the silk tulle intact and pinned it gently to a piece of linen. I then found I was able to hand stitch the embroidered sections to the linen and then snip and pull the tulle away quite easily.

I did this with a couple of sections of embroidery and them embellished them with some tiny seed beads to add some extra texture.

I then made these up into lined draw string pouches and used them as gift bags for my sister-in-law’s Christmas gifts. We’ve been friends since the age of 11 and she knew my mum for many years so it was nice to be able to give them to someone for whom they would have some meaning. She loved them and is using them to store jewellery.

 Hopefully in the new year I can find some time to sit down and plan a project to incorporate and preserve more of  the veil.

Many thanks to Claire for inspiring us with this theme. If you’s like to see what the other participants created please join us on out blog hop using the links below.

Art Elements November Theme Challenge – Stars

So this month the Art Elements challenge theme was picked by Laney and she plumped for Stars – very fortuitous for me. Around this time of year I usually make some bead embroidered Christmas ornaments for friends and family and since stars are a traditional festive icon I decided to kill two birds with one stone.

The ornaments are all designed around my own ceramic cabochons with bead palettes picked to match. So my post is very short on words this month but hopefully the pretty pictures make up for that…please enjoy!

Many thanks to Laney for picking a theme that kick-started me into starting my festive projects. To see what the rest of the participants have created for the theme please join our blog hop using the link below.

Guests
Art Elements Team

Art Elements October Theme Challenge – Petroglyphs

This months design challenge From Art Elements is hosted by Karen Totten and she chose to go with Petroglyphs as her theme. petroglyphs are images carves or engraved in rocks – usually thought of as, but not necessarily old or prehistoric.

After some consideration I decided to use embroidery as my medium for this challenge. I did some eco rust dying on my art retreat in the US in the summer and I though this pieces was evocative of sandstone rocks and would therefore make a good backdrop. Continue reading “Art Elements October Theme Challenge – Petroglyphs”

Art Elements July Theme Challenge Reveal – Seed Pods

This months Art Elements design challenge is hosted by the lovely Jennifer Cameron and for her theme she chose seed pods. I’ve used these as inspiration for my work a number of times in the past and I started off with an array of ideas for projects in various mediums. However, for one reason or another I’ve  been in a particularly uncreative frame of mind this month. Heatwaves are not helpful as the hotter it gets the slower I go eventually grinding to a halt altogether. Anyway, to cut a long story short I got to this past weekend with nothing sorted so I had to curb my ambitions and cut my cloth accordingly…or rather my polymer clay as that’s what I decided to go with. Continue reading “Art Elements July Theme Challenge Reveal – Seed Pods”

Art Elements June theme Challenge Reveal – Sunflowers

So another month quietly and swiftly slips by and once more it’s time for a reveal for the latest Art Elements theme challenge hosted this month by Sue Kennedy. Sue chose sunflowers as her theme and these bright and bold beauties turned out to be the perfect pick for the heatwave we’re currently experiencing in the UK…no room for delicate blooms here right now! Continue reading “Art Elements June theme Challenge Reveal – Sunflowers”

Art Elements May Theme Challenge Reveal – Tide Pools

Well 2018 is certainly racing away with itself and here we are at the end of May already and that means it’s time for another Art Elements theme challenge.

I have the privilege of hosting this month’s challenge and when I decided on Tide Pools as the theme I had an image in my head of a big textile piece full of colour and texture and covered in lots of beach finds. Then I blinked and found myself left with only two days before the reveal and nothing started yet…why does life do that so often? It can’t be anything to do with my (lack of) organisation can it. Anyway, I had to downscale my plans and started by pulling out art beads and looking for anything suitable for the subject. I could have spent half a day on this but since after just five minutes I had a tray full I decided it was probably best to stop there. Continue reading “Art Elements May Theme Challenge Reveal – Tide Pools”

Art Elements Theme Challenge – Horses.

It’s Challenge time again over at Art Elements and this month Jenny hosted the challenge and picked Horses as here theme. As soon as this theme came up I knew exactly what my them was going to be – The White Horse of Uffington. Continue reading “Art Elements Theme Challenge – Horses.”

Art Elements March theme Challenge – Nests

So today sees the first of the new monthly theme challenges we are running over at Art Elements and this month Cathy chose nests as our inspiration theme. Back when she announced this I had a million and one things in my head that I wanted to do but for some reason none of those came to fruition…funny how creativity works. Continue reading “Art Elements March theme Challenge – Nests”

Art Elements Component of the Month Reveal – It’s all in the Runes.

This months Component comes in the form of these lovely copper Runes made by the very talented Niky Sayers. Sadly, the first thing I have to do this month is apologise for only having a work in progress to share with  you as time just ran away with me this month and I didn’t get the chance to start on my piece until yesterday. I hope however you can get some sense of what I’m trying to do.

Continue reading “Art Elements Component of the Month Reveal – It’s all in the Runes.”

Thoughts on a New Year…

Well here we are in that lull between Christmas and the New Year and I hope you all had a great time and are are not suffering too much from over-indulgence…I can probably do without seeing another chocolate for a while! Continue reading “Thoughts on a New Year…”

Art Elements Christmas Ornament Challenge Reveal 2017

So here we are at the last Art Elements challenge of 2017 and of course it’s to make seasonal ornaments using any materials we have to hand (the lead picture for this post shows some handmade ornaments I’ve been gifted over the past by Cathy Mendola, Erin Prais Hintz and Diana Ptaszynski). I actually managed to get ahead on this one and ended up making several different ornaments, mostly utilising my ceramic components. Continue reading “Art Elements Christmas Ornament Challenge Reveal 2017”

Art Elements October Component of the Month Reveal – Coin Clasps

I know I say this every month but really? The end of October already…10 months of the year gone…how can that be. Oh well – not a lot to be done about it but at least we had great components to work with this month thanks to our lovely host Niky Sayers who provided us with these lovely old silver hare threepenny Irish coin clasps. Just one slight problem here though…I have so many trays of beads and jewellery and boxes of components spread around the house at the moment that I’ve actually managed to mislay my clasp. It’s not lost… It’s here somewhere but that somewhere isn’t where it should be and if I stop to turn out every box to find it we’ll likely be at the end of November! Continue reading “Art Elements October Component of the Month Reveal – Coin Clasps”

September Component of the Month – September Reveal…Zombees!

It’s the end of September already – how on earth did that happen…wasn’t it just Christmas a few weeks ago? Anyway, on the positive side this month we got to play with o e of these cute little lampwork Zombees by Laney Mead…like normal bees but a it green around the gills as you can see.

I’m not usually one for designing for holidays or events but since Laney gave us such a whimsical little fellow and halloween is drawing nearer I thought maybe I should give it a go. I had a rummage around my bead stash to see if I had anything suitable and managed to dig up a few things: black polymer clay roses by Leah Curtis, orange pumpkin beads, some leaves that match the beads and one of my own skull buttons…about as spooky as I could find.

A bracelet seemed like the obvious way to go with this and I’ve kept it fairly simple so as not to overpower my little bee who appears to have been spending time in the pumpkin patch killing off the roses that have rambled their way into it…seems like they could do with a good dose of bone meal!

The bracelet is simply strung on beading wire with brass accent beads and finished with the skull button and a beaded loop.



This was a fun project to work on so many thanks to Laney for the opportunity  and I hope you’ll join in with our blog hop to see what everyone else has made using the links below.
Guests
Art ElementsTeam
https://www.lesleywatt.com/ – Lesley  Watt
http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog  –  Jennifer Cameron
https://jdaviesreazor.com/blog/  – Jenny Davis-Reazor
http://blueberribeads.co.uk/ – Caroline Dewison
 http://cmendola.blogspot.co.uk/– Cathy Spiey Mendola
http://laneymead.co.uk/ – Laney Mead

 

Meet the Mudlarks

Mudlarks is the meeting off two minds that are equally obsessed with the infinite possibilities that working with clay (or mud) provides. One of those minds in mine and the other belongs to my good friend Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads.

Caroline and I recently attended a bead show together and during the run up to this we got to talking about bead shows in general and how difficult and expensive it can be to find good ones. We don’t really have the equivalent of Bead Fest in the UK but we do have a big one day event called ‘The Big Bead Show‘. This show is very much geared to commercial bead sellers and is not cheap to attend so very few artisans exhibit there. Somehow though, in the course of one conversation we managed to find out the cost of the show and convince ourselves that if we pooled our resources and exhibited together we could hopefully do well enough to make it cost effective. Continue reading “Meet the Mudlarks”

Art Elements Component of the Month – August Reveal

Well that’s it then…summer (such as it was) is all but gone and Autumn is ready to take the over the reins. August has been a manic month devoted almost totally to shows and unfortunately left me very short of time to do anything else including create something epic with these wonderful lustre glazed star beads that Caroline so kindly created for us. So my post this month is a very flimsy work in progress. I hope to work on my piece in the next month although that to is dedicated to shows… no peace for the wicked! Continue reading “Art Elements Component of the Month – August Reveal”

Art Elements Component of the Month Design Challenge – Glass Scarabs

For this months Art Elements design challenge we were fortunate enough to get to work with these wonderful glass Scarab beads made by Sue Kennedy and I chose one of the turquoise ones with an etched finish.

Scarabs always bring to mind Egypt for me and when I did a bit of research I found a lot of rings like this one and did thing about going that route but the bead was too wide to make it work in the same way. However, I was also very taken by the the use of brick red stones like Carnelian and felt the colour would work really well with my turquoise scarab – Egypt meets South-Western!

In the end I decided to go with a with a wire cored bracelet that mimicked the shape of the rings. I used 1.6mm copper wire for the core with Sue’s bead at the centre and flanked by greek coppered ceramic and lovely red lampwork beads by Outwest. I also found some etched turquoise beads from Outwest that were a pretty perfect match for the focal so I added these and some copper beads from Hands of the hills. I struggle to get bangles over my knuckles so I left the core open and added a hook clasp. A bath in Liver of Sulphur and a tumble and job done.

It’s a fairly simple design but hopefully makes the most of Sue’s lovely focal.

Many thanks to Susan for hosting this months challenge – if you would like to see what the rest of the team and our guests created simply follow the links to out blog hop below.

Guests

Deb Fortin

Lennis Carrier

Barb Fernald

AE Team

Jenny

Diana

Lindsay

Claire

Lesley

Caroline

Laney

Cathy

Niky

Sue

Art Elements Design Challenge June Reveal – Insects

This months Art elements themed design challenge is hosted by Diana Ptaszynski and the theme she chose is insects. It’s been a rather hectic month here and I didn’t think I was going to be able to take part but having spent best part of an hour trying to usher a huge Dragonfly out of the house and the clutches of the cat on Tuesday, I decided this was a sign and I should try and find time to do something.

Continue reading “Art Elements Design Challenge June Reveal – Insects”