Another month (and most of the year) is drawing to an end and now it’s time for another Art Elements theme challenge reveal. Niky chose the theme for this one and I was more than happy when I found out it was fossils… lots of ideas came to mind almost at once. Sadly, a bad viral infection and various domestic issues intervened and in the end I only managed to create this one piece
When I was thinking about what to do I came across this gorgeous polymer clay ammonite made by Jenny which I’d glued to bead backing some time ago but never progressed so I took that as a sign and decided to complete it. After picking out a selection of beads I started creating a peyote bezel and as you can see, the shape of the cabochon left me with a gape at the bottom so I had to work out how to deal with that.
I decided to run three rows of beads across the top of the cabochon and draw the thread tightly to pull the edge in and better define the ammonite shape.
I didn’t want this to look like it was just some sort of practical device so I made a design feature of it by creating dangles and bails from the same beads which gives it a nice flow.
I like to keep my beaded pendants as the centre piece so I finished the necklace of with a simple heavy copper chain with a hand made clasp.
I really like the earthy appearance of this piece – the mellow oxidised chain has a nice aged appearance even if not as old as a fossil!
Many thanks to Niky for giving us this challenge which I really enjoyed despite my limitations. If you would like to see what the rest of the participants have made please join us on out blog hop using the links below.
Welcome the the September Art Elements theme challenge which is hosted this month by Caroline Dewison and the theme she chose is, very appropriately for the time of year, Foliage. Autumn is my favourite time of year so I love the gorgeous colours that it brings with it but leaves are wonderful at anytime since they have the ability to completely change the landscape.
The header photo for this post is a watercolour sketch I did a few months ago but it did inspire a new piece for this challenge. At the beginning of this month I was feeling a little off colour so spent a couple of days camped out on the sofa in front of the TV. I can never watch TV without having something to do with my hands so I found big A3 pad and started sketching out leaf shapes with the aim of completely filling the page. Once done I broke out my Inktense pencils and started filling in batches of leaves. Once each colour was done I painted on water to bring the ink to life which is a lot less messy (and safer) than trying to use watercolour paints whilst sat on a sofa.
I continued using different colour combinations until the page was completely full and then embellished each leaf using Posca paint pens and Gel pens.
It’s a very simple process but effective and very therapeutic if you’re not feeling one hundred percent but need some sort of distraction.
Next up I did some very simple layered water colour pieces with stylised foliage motifs, again using paint pens. I often do these simple design as a way to warm up before a painting session or if I’m stuck for ideas and just need to get in the flow.
Later in the month I was feeling the urge to do some bead embroidery…it’s been a while and leaves throw up plenty of ideas. I found a large teardrop Labrodorite cabochon with gorgeous flashes and inclusions and dug out some beads to complement and enhance it. I kept the design very simple so as not to detract from the stone and I love the way it turned out.
However, once finished I did realise that the veins are actually running the wrong way, not that it matters but I decided to do a second one just to calm my pedantic brain. This time I used an asymmetric oval Jasper cabochon and more earthy tone which I really like – although I can’t help thinking it looks like a turtle or tortoise!
Then I got my sewing kit out planning to do some embroidered foliage but as you may have seen from my post earlier this week, I couldn’t make my mind up what to do. In the end I decided to stitch some samplers on Khadi paper just to play around with stitches that could give a foliage effect. If you’d like to see all the ideas I had check out the post here.
I never actually got around to transferring these to a final piece but I did finish up having a little play with some printed Khadi paper I found while rummaging.
I was just interested to see what could be done with the paper so I stitched motifs resembling the design and it held up really well. I really enjoyed stitching with paper…it kept me more loose in my approach and I may explore stitching with different materials in the future.
So thats me for this month. Many thanks to Caroline for choosing such an inspiring theme and please now join in with our blog hop to see what all the other participants have created.
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.
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.
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”→
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”→
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”→