Art Elements June Theme Challenge – Selkies.

This months Art elements theme challenge is hosted by the teams mythology maven Jenny Davies-Reazor and she opted for Selkies. There are many tales of these shape shifting creatures with magical powers who appear as seals in the waters of our oceans but can come onto dry land and take on human form.

The most recent version of the myth that I’ve read was the novel Sealskin by Su Bristow. This is a dark telling of the tale that begins with a young fisherman out one night checking his creels for lobster and crabs. From his boat he sees what he assumes to be a group of seals swim to a skerry whereupon they stand upright and shed their skins to reveal themselves as a group of girls. These girls make merry dancing and running of down the beach to play and find berries to eat.

He’s heard the legend of the Selkie and quietly lands his boat on the Skerry and whilst watching the ‘girls’ in the distance takes one of the shed skins and hides it among the rocks. Seeing him, the selkies becomes alarmed and run back, put their skins back on and get into the water and swim out to wait for all the group to arrive but, without the hidden skin one of them is left stranded.

That’s where I’m going to stop as that’s the point I’ve chosen as inspiration for my piece. I had one of Jenny’s selkie pendants in my stash and had an idea for using it in a framed piece.

To go with this I pulled out a bunch of ocean toned textiles to see what I had to work with.

I decided on some spaced dyed cotton scrim as it had a lovely loose texture and a good range of tones. I stitched this to some heavy weight interfacing and then added some boucle wool to give the effect of breaking waves. I added the seal focal and some beadwork to give even more texture and the effect of light sparkling on water.

I used a simple wooden box frame to hold the piece and used acrylic paint to give it some colour, sanding it back a little to give a slightly weathered effect.

I also added five eyelet hooks to the bottom of the frame so I could add some further embellishments.

I used an assortment of sea themed beads and charms to evoke the ocean along with a goddess charm to represent the stranded Selkie in her female form.

To complete the scene I added some slate from my garden to act as the rocks on the skerry with a piece of faux fir tucked into them for the hidden skin…the idea being that the last of the selkies out as sea realises that her stranded sister is not coming with them and takes one last look back before leaving with the others.

Although I had this in my minds eye I wasn’t at all sure if it was going to work right up until the last minute but it did come together and I’m happy with how it turned out.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Jenny for coming up with this theme for the challenge. I hope you’ll join me on the blog hop to see ow everyone else has interpreted the theme – just use the links below.

Guests: 

Paisleylizard.com/blog

Anordinarymiracleday.wordpress.com 

 Ebbeadandmetalworks.blogspot.com

Bay-moon-design.blogspot.com


AE team: 

Lesley

Jen

Caroline

Claire

Laney

Cathy

Niky

Lindsay

Jenny

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”

AJE COM Reveal – April is for Amulets

Today is reveal day for the AJE Component of the Month challenge for April and the pieces we had to work with this month were these wonderful polymer clay Amulets created by Jenny Davies-Reazor. I was lucky enough to get the gorgeous green swirly one at the bottom left of this image.
When my amulet arrived the first thing that struck me was that the swirly textural design and the colour palette were reminiscent of the ocean so that was going to influence my theme. I also decided I wanted to add some sort of stopper to create a little vessel – maybe for hiding secrets or special treasures in. My initial thought was that I could do this with a little round bead but I couldn’t find anything that would stay put but then, while rummaging around looking for inspiration I came across my Tracey Seder-Donoughe bead stash and this one leapt out at me. Not only was it a perfect colour match but its ‘waisted’ style made it a very secure fit – perfect.

I was also keen to add some sort of accent to the bottom of the amulet so I drilled an extra hole in the bottom and set about wiring it up along with the bead which I attached with a length of brass chain…so far so good.

 
Working with the ocean theme I added one of my own bronze shell charms to the bottom of the amulet and gave this a little accent bead that picks out the darker teal tone of the piece.

For me amulets tend to call for long necklaces and I decided to go with bronze chain but to give it some more depth and interest and to support the theme, I went for one of my favourite techniques and wove waxed linen threaded with tiny pearls through the chain.

At this point I felt I needed to add some embellishment for a bit more impact. I was thinking of this necklace as something a mermaid would wear to keep her treasures close so I added a cluster of dangles made up from bronze charms, pearls, Citrine, Ocean Jasper and Czech glass, all of which pick up the subtle tones of the amulet. I’m still thinking about what to put inside the amulet…

And that was it – job done and ‘Mermaid’s Treasure’ was complete! It’s not the easiest piece to photograph well and personally I think it looks much prettier in real life.

Many thanks to Jenny for supplying such a fun piece to work with – I got fully immersed in this challenge and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. Please do now join our blog hop to see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests created.

Enjoy

Lesley
Guests: 
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio
Alison of Alison Adorns
Jess of The Copper Cat

AJE Team: 

Ravens – AJE October Themed Challenge Reveal

This month our usual Component of the month makes way for a themed challenge chosen by Karen Totten. The symbolism and mythology surrounding Ravens is broad and varied and crosses many cultures. If you would like some more insight Karen’s original post looks at the Native America perspective while Jenny’s recent post looks at Ravens in Celtic mythology.
I hadn’t intended to follow any particular cultural viewpoint but I did revisit the Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘The Raven‘ before I started…I had several ideas for challenge pieces and they do all seem to have something of a Gothic feel to them. Most of them are also works in progress rather than the complete article.
My first piece came about through the fortunate Bead Fest purchase of this gorgeous porcelain cabochon by Joan Miller which I decided to bead bezel. To really make the beautiful bird pop I kept to very dark colours with matt beads to reflect the matt black glaze, highlighted by beads with that oil-slick appearance you see on the plumage of black birds and red beads to pull in the background. The result was this ‘cameo in negative’ like appearance which I am really pleased with. I’ve called it ‘Nevermore’ from the poem.
I’ve been trying for a while to turn this into a necklace but as yet I haven’t been able to decide how to do it. I love how these blood red pearls work with the pendant but it seemed somehow too simple to use them alone. Ribbons, silk and chain came out and I still couldn’t come up with the right combination. Black lace has been in at the back of my mind all along but I kind of discounted it for being too obvious… but now I’m thinking I might have to go get some and give it a go if only to prove myself right! Otherwise it will sit in its project tray until the perfect idea strikes.
I’d just started my foray into felting when this challenge was launched and when I found this next pendant by Jenny Davies-Reazor in my stash I thought it would be a good subject for a non-jewellery piece. I love the shape of the pendant and the way it evokes the view from a castle window or some such. I bead bezelled the pendant onto beading foundation and then did a little experiment by needle felting directly onto it. This is a very small piece – maybe three inches square and the technique seemed to work although I’m not sure the foundation would stand up to the needle felting on a larger scale.  A few beads for added interest, a silk string to hang from and a backing of ultra suede completed my first miniature art piece.

Ravens (who will feed on carrion) are often depicted sitting on human skulls and have associations with warrior goddesses and battlefields in Celtic and Irish mythology (see Jenny’s post for more info). While this may seem a little macabre skulls are actually symbolic of courage, death and rebirth and amongst the many ideas the Raven symbolises are birth and freedom.

I wanted to have a go at interpreting this aspect of the Raven in ceramic clay but haven’t had a chance to work in this medium of late so I decide to try it out in polymer clay. I don’t have the greatest skills as a sculptor so this pendant is a little naive and clumsy but it’s a starting point and I may well pursue it in porcelain where I find it easier to achieve a more detailed finish.

    Last up is a mixed media piece called ‘The Night Watch” which combines wet and needle felting with polymer clay and bead embellishment. I’d recently completed a piece using these materials and it got me really fired up so this was the ideal theme to explore it further. The rather dramatic backdrop of the moonlit sky silhouetted by trees was created by wet felting and then defined with needles. The moon and sky are embellished with seed beads and the Raven, made from polymer clay is embellished and attached to the backdrop using tiny seed beads. The beads are actually a dark oily blue rather than the silver they appear and are an absolute nightmare to photograph! This piece is not quite finished yet…the trees need a little something extra to lift the texture but I’m liking where it’s going thus far.

    So there you have my interpretations of our Raven theme and I hope you enjoyed them…now you can use the links below to see what the other AJE team and guest participants have come up with it…I know there are some great designs to see.

    Art Jewelry Elements Team:
    Jenny Davies-Reazor
    Phantasm Creations
    Caroline Dewison
    Linda Landig
    Niky Sayers
    Jen Cameron

    Our Guest Bloggers:
    An Ordinary Miracle Day
    Linda Newnham
    Michelle McEnroe
    Sarajo Wentling
    The Copper Cat
    The Paisley Lizard

    Thank you

    Lesley