Don't you just love a good challenge? Now, I'm not talking about dumping perfectly good ice water over your head, or wasting expensive cinnamon by the tablespoons, or even trying to out plank your fellow barre friend (ok this one is a secret one, but let's be honest, we ALL do it!) No, I'm talking about a great creative challenge, complete with awesome prompts of masterpiece paintings and topped off with a Pinterest board! I'm talking about the monthly art challenge for jewelry designers created by Art Bead Scene!
This is February's prompt: An oil on canvas, titled "The Two Crowns" by Sir Francis Dicksee
I decided that with all that wonderful color, that I would make one of my paper Dragon Beads. They are crafted using well over 100 circles of paper that are then inked around the edges and adhered to a 16 mm wooden core bead. They are finished off with Ice Resin for durability.
Here is the other side of the same bead
What do you think? Do you think this qualifies as an art bead? I can't wait to start on next month's challenge! I'm thinking that one will involve polymer clay...
Henry David Thoreau once said, "Man wanted a home, a place for warmth, or comfort, first of physical warmth, then the warmth of the affections." I'll agree with that, but I want mine to be nestled into the mountainside with great wifi reception, unobstructed views of the stars and a natural gas supply! Seriously though, for as long as I can remember, I've had a love for cabins and barns...log cabins, stone cabins, shacks, horse barns, tobacco barns, barns in various stages of implosion, and more likely than not, kudzu covered... I look at them and wonder about the lives that have subsisted both in and around them. Oh the stories these vessels must hold...joy, sadness, triumph, grief...hopes for the next generation, lives lived with both grace and grit...meals shared, unanswered prayers and unconditional love...
So what does a girl do when her own life-size Walden is currently out of reach? She makes her own- in miniature! I found a really good online tutorial by Isis Mishly and created these little rustic vessels. Did you know that Thoreau spent about $28 total to build his cabin? Well, I spent more than that, but then again, a set of forty-eight soft pastels hardly qualifies for simple creating!
This little cabin reminds me of a house I might find in the hollows of South West Virginia.
My favorite red barn, complete with kudzu crackle vine, and rusting tin roof
This is an old tobacco barn made of weathered Locust wood
Abandoned hunting cabin, I imagine being surrounded by old hardwoods
I thought I'd hit you with a big, 'ole box of happiness right out of the gate! I mean really, once you start a blog post with crayons, how can you NOT keep reading! Am I right? Crayola does have a way with making the world a very happy place, especially when its packaged in 152 wonderful colors along with a sharpener AND a caddy too! And yes, they are great for coloring but I discovered a new way to make some pretty awesome beads with them!
First, I shredded a few crayons using a fine grater. You want the pieces to be very small so that they mix well with your polymer clay. I used Premo clay in both transparent and Opal colors. The crayons will melt and will color the clay to a degree depending on how much crayon and what colors you use.
I simply smushed my conditioned clay onto the pile of crayon shreds and then worked the clay into beads. You should follow your clay manufacture's instructions for baking times.
These are all in the pre-bake, aka gumball or bouncy ball stage. Aren't they fun!? After I bake them, I add a bit of my own mojo to them! They turn out looking like tiny galaxies which thrills me to no end!
What do you think? I love learning a new technique and I can't to see where this will go next!
After all, I still have well over one hundred colors to try!
Until Next Time...channel the Force and get out your crayons!
Happy New Year! The Ringmaster is in, and I am very excited about this upcoming year! I have a HUGE list of goals to accomplish, projects to tackle, places to see and tribes to assemble! It's going to be lots of hard work and loads of fun, and I'm sure there will be some cussing involved too!
Work is my word for the year. Yeah, I know...boring, yet highly effective. Did I mention I have a HUGE list of goals? The word "play" or "believe" wouldn't really match...I could "believe" in my goals, but that list isn't going to just get accomplished on belief alone, now is it??!
I plan to continue the pursuit of knowledge...not only my craft, but life in general. Did you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert or You Are A Badass by Jen Sincere or anything by Brene Brown this past year? May I suggest you start there...
I will continue to count my blessings, keep my gratitude journal, and assemble my tribes. I'm sure this year will be full of many things to be thankful for...
I will try new products and techniques and get in the habit shipping my work...and I don't mean dealing with the postal service...I'm referring to tackling my habit of perfectionism...and so far, I'm winning this battle i.e. this blog post ;)
This is going to be a magical year indeed! Grab a ticket and enjoy the Circus! I cannot wait to get started!
I don't know a single creative that hasn't swooned over the pages of that beautiful, glossy magazine, Where Women Create. The photos are gorgeous, the vignettes so perfect. Not a paint drop on the floor or an overturned glitter jar anywhere. No half baked project strewn all over the place. No real fucked up painting sitting in the corner while the artist contemplates gessoing over the whole thing because its a 24X36, and its way too expensive to just chuck. And there are always stories of how the artist picked up their fabulous supply or featured storage piece in some exotic place while on some life altering adventure. I guess a utilitarian treasure plucked from the Goodwill on your way to pick up the kids, isn't really print worthy. And don't get me wrong, I have a whole stack of those wonderful magazines right here in my studio. And yes, occasionally I do covet. I mean seriously, I would have never thought to use vintage sterling salt shakers as a way to store and display my copious amounts of glitter. I have to admit, they are beautiful AND they work. Now that tip was worth the huge price I paid for it, even if my frequent shopper card didn't get me any discount.
But it got me to thinking about how fake and sterile those studios appear and why there is a need to hide the real things, the life altering things, the messy things that happen in them. And I will be the first to admit I'm just as guilty when it comes to my own space, as evidenced by the scrubbed photos below. I have a huge space that's arranged like a small sweat shop so I can move from one project to the next without having to clean up one to start another. I like to couch that in saying that I'm trying not to mix medias, i.e. clay on one table, paper projects on another, or that I'm working on multiple projects at once, but in reality it is because I'm kinda lazy and I never work on multiple projects. My insane penchant for finite details and perfection just simply won't allow the willy-nillyness of jumping from one project to the next! And everyone that comes into my studio talks about how organized it is. When all I want to say is "no bitches, what you are looking at is my need to control being manifested right here, out in the open!" And have you ever noticed how those sterilized photos never feature the artist's true stash? I think that's because we really do covet stashes way more than spaces. And I think that's because of the endless possibilities one has with a great stash...
Have you ever asked someone to tell you about their studio or describe their ideal creating space? Well, I have yet to see a fellow creative not transform into her whole self whether she is in her studio or just talking about her studio. Magical things happen in those spaces that are all ours. We surround ourselves with things of sentimental value, odd collections, pieces of our childhoods, evidence of both dreams deferred and dreams manifesting, things that make us laugh, rocks our kids collected, pictures of our grandmothers.... physical reminders of belonging.
Our studios are our sanctuaries, our places of refuge and safety. Places where through the creation of art, we confirm our self worth, expose our vulnerabilities and become brave. We find new beginnings in each fresh watercolor page. There is hope in glitter and comfort in the well worn rusty findings. We get lost in our art and find our best selves. And here in our studios we form connections and build tribes. Our studios are our armories, providing us with weapons and armor to defend ourselves against the wear and tear of our worlds. So maybe this is the reason for all the glossy pages. They mask the revolutions that are happening inside. And by camouflaging these revolutions, it allows us to become skilled warriors in our own time, giving us resilience for our journeys. And for that, I will renew my subscription and edit my photographs.
Meet Atropos, the oldest of the Fate sisters! Being the oldest, she was of course the inflexible one. And once you met the other two sisters, meeting her was inevitable. Guess what her job was? She was the sister responsible for both the mechanism and time of your death! I wonder what she did for fun? I wonder if she had a sense of humor? I wonder if she had a favorite pair of Fiskars that she just dared her sisters to touch?
My version of Atropos
I first covered her in obituaries from the local paper, and then I went in and highlighted words that I thought were important and symbolic, such as loved, wife, was, home, sister...
Her eyes are vintage train tokens that represent both the payment and passage of the soul through the underworld. Her mouth is stapled shut with waxed linen thread, a practice still in use in modern day mortuary science. And since I am a jewelry artist, I had to make her a necklace out of vintage watch faces and ceramic skull beads, both of which symbolize the passage of time. Her hair is made from matches, representing the ritual of cremation and the moss around her neck represents burial in the ground. I decided to cover her in a glass cloche to symbolize our modern day mausoleum trend.
Are you a middle child? If so, are you flexible and diplomatic? Maybe the mediator between your siblings, as so many psychologists have reported you to be? Or are you an attention seeker and ultra competitive because your parents are too busy dealing with the other life sucking bookends in your overlooked existence? The middle child can run the gamut...a game of dice personified.
The three Fates in mythology were no different. In my last post I introduced you to the first sister, Clotho, the spinner of the thread of life. She was the over-responsible one. The controller. She managed to get your life going, being the high achiever that she was. Now, meet the middle sister, Lachesis. She was the allotter of life, the determiner of your destiny, the assessor of your thread. Oh yes, she was THAT sister! She was always negotiating lives and tried to keep the peace between her other two sisters, a difficult task that even Zeus wanted no part of. Yeah, I'm betting she was often misunderstood and that she didn't get many dates at Mt. Olympus High either. Now, depending on what kind of day she was having when she measured your thread with her fatalistic tape measure, you may have a long, joyful life or a short, painful one. I'm hoping when she measured mine her sisters were nowhere around and she was having a good hair day!
This is my version of Lachesis
The steampunk gears represent the constant motion of life, and the notion of one being a cog in the wheel of humanity. I took the literal representation of measuring life with the tape measure choker. Her ears...don't really need explanation...
Here's a tip for you-if you are going to use a gazillion screws for hair, paint them BEFORE you adhere them!
Until Next Time...quam mensurae ad te? (How are you measuring up?)