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.















Team Members: 












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.

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 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”