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.


AE team: 










Art Elements Theme Challenge Reveal – Forest

Hello and welcome to this month’s Art Elements Forest theme challenge reveal hosted by Susan Kennedy. I love forest and woodland and have a small one right on my doorstep so this challenge was a great inspiration for me.

The first piece I set to work on was actually a textile project I began a few years ago but got distracted from.

As you can see half the tree is missing its branches so I set about rectifying that and also adding some embroidered leaves to the canopy for extra interest.

Then comes the tricky bit…this piece is designed to be a cutwork project with the majority of the tree trunks being worked away from the fabric so that the background can be cut away. It’s the first time I’ve done this and it’s a little nerve-wracking as you have to cut as close to the stitching as you can but being careful not to snip a stitch. Oh well…nothing ventured nothing gained…

Phew – I managed to keep it one piece! At this point I came to stop because I haven’t yet decided how I want to complete the piece. I could just have a simple contrasting background in the cutaway but that doesn’t seem very exciting. I did play around with greetings card I found with a photograph of some trees and quite liked the effect that gave…

I’m thinking maybe I could paint something similar as a background but it will need some experimentation to see what works and I didn’t want to rush it so I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Next I moved on to watercolour painting. You may have seen some work I’ve been doing lately inspired by some online courses I’ve been taking with Australian artist Laura Horn. One of the techniques she teaches is making these lovely trees with drippy trunks that she discovered through a happy accident.

As soon as Susan mentioned forests this technique popped into my head and I thought that by adding a lot more of the trees I might be able to get a more heavily wooded effect. I set about adding lots of layered shapes in autumnal shades allowing each one to drip gradually moving down the page.

Once that was done I added lots of varied detail using Posca paint pens in black, white and gold.

I quite liked this piece but the white space was niggling at me a bit so I had a play about with cropping and image and matting it in Picmonkey and I much prefer this version. I think cutting out the white space gives it a much denser feel.

I really enjoy the process of painting like this so I did another version in a green palette…

I also did a couple of quicker studies in my sketch book but I left the drips out of these simply because they take time to do and dry. The sketches were fun to do but I prefer seeing the shadow of the trunks in the background as again it gives more depth. I think there will be more of these to come as they’re very therapeutic to paint.

My final piece is a very quick bracelet I put together after clearing out my studio and coming across a set of ceramic beads by Tracey Seder Donoughe that reminded be of the textures and colours of tree bark. I dug through my stash and found a polymer clay heart focal with tree rings by Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio and an electroplated ceramic acorn by our own Caroline Dewison. A Tierra Cast tree of life button made a perfect fastener and with the whole thing strung on waxed linen with copper accent beads, there you have a bracelet in my favourite earthy tones.

So those are my offerings for the month and I hope you enjoyed them. Many thanks to Susan for this inspirational theme and I home you will join me and visit the other participants using the links below.




Evie & Beth






AE Team








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 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”