Sunday, 29 April 2018

Art Elements Horse Challenge Reveal

It is the Horse Challenge reveal for Art Elements, set by Jenny   (click on the link for the original blog post).  This is a LONG blog post and very photo  heavy as I am lucky enough to host two wonderfully talented Facebook friends, Raven from Raven Craft Creations and Paulette Scott from 'across the pond' on my blog who wanted to take part in this challenge but didn't have a blog of their own.  Please grab a beverage of choice and see their wonderful creations.

You have to read through mine first ;) 

Horses don't really feature in my muse, I love to see them from a distance but I am a little afraid of an animal so big and powerful.  I have a wonderful friend who has horses and she brought one round to my garden a few years ago and let me have a go...

This was a few years ago... 2012!  That is Tanya and the bum you can see is Jazz who came with her.  Tanya was very patient with me she knew she had a complete novice and as you can see I was terrified!  All I kept saying was 'where are the brakes!'.  It is a long way to fall when you are looking down from up there, but I did love the experience and probably would try again.. maybe... in the garden...  possibly...

My month this month has been chaotic.  Gordy, my little cat, has been very very poorly and we nearly lost him but all is well now, except we have a few more grey hairs and worry lines but with my energy completely taken with caring for him and general life stuff I didn't create anything complete, but I did dabble.

I found a photo on Pinterest of a lovely horse with a rider and decided to have a go at a unicorn.  I drew the one on the left one Sunday afternoon.  I was tired, the weather was rubbish and I had a lovely time sat doodling.  I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong with it but I carried on regardless.  I showed my husband, who was on his way to work a night shift and he took one look at it and said 'the horn is in the wrong place and it isn't very you, other than that it is ok'.  That put me in a bad mood so on my own I sat and watched a re-run of Speed 2 and sulked!  Then I looked at the drawing again and thought 'he is right.  So I doodled another (not shown).  This one was similar but the horn was moved up.  I showed the husband the next day and he said 'it is better but it just isn't right'.  I tried to tell him unicorns are not real and it is an illustration doodle but something nagged at me.  My third attempt (right) I put away the reference photo and just used my imagination, I work better that way.  I giggled my way through this doodle and when finished I showed the husband.  'That is it' he exclaimed 'that is your style.  It looks gormless'. 

I had to admit he was right!

I did a few horses in glass too, a unicorn - horn in the correct place and a horse and rider.  I might not have completed something 'finished' for this project, although the beads are finished in their own right (and off to new homes ;) ) but I was hoping to do something more but time and life got in the way.

Now I get the pleasure of introducing my first guest for this challenge, Raven from Raven Craft Creations. You can find all the links to visit Raven on Facebook and Etsy beneath her challenge piece, which is amazing!! 

Hello. Yes, my real name is Raven and I am a yarntisan.

I live in the small town of Ligonier here in western Pennsylvania, USA! I have ALWAYS loved to work creatively, however my original medium was food!! I went to Johnson & Wales University in RI and earned my degree in Culinary Arts. I worked in restaurants in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and PA before moving out to Aspen, Colorado right after graduation. Learning to ski (and by that I mean “snowplow”) became a must to say the least! I moved back to PA after one ski season and continued working crazy hours and ALL holidays in restaurants, private clubs and catering companies for the next ten years.

Then, chronic illness caused me to “retire” and go on disability in 2009 at the ripe old age of 30!!
THIS is when the true passion in my story really began. I taught myself to crochet and express my creativity in a way that I could do even on the “not so great” days. It is my outlet, my meditation and my JOY! I love working with quality fibers (none of the scratchy cheap yarn for THIS yarn snob) and making a wide range of products that are functional, artistic or just make people smile. I make everything from clothing to photo props to household decor to one of my favorites, amigurumi toys! I prefer to follow other designer’s amazing patterns so that I can skip all that heavy lifting and just PLAY with my yarn. I get to do what I love every day, work in my pajamas and watch movies and listen to books while on the clock!!! I have a shop on Etsy, a page on Facebook and sell in a local book and gift store in town called Second Chapter Books.

Pattern credit for the sea horse is by Patchwork Moose on Etsy.

Custom orders are always a blast and I love to see where our imagination can take us.

My second guest is the lovely Paulette Scott and I am lucky enough to own one of her AMAZING dragons... over to Paulette...

I have been a toymaker and seamstress for almost 40 years now. And have been making my own patterns for around 25 of those years.
I wanted to try to see I'd I still had the ability to make a pattern for a new toy..It took almost the entire month to get this little guy made...
I drew the pattern out and thought (wrongly) that I could just jump in and make a unicorn...nope.. I cut out the first one out of satin and, well let's just say it did not look much like a unicorn..( it looked more like a horse that hadn't eaten for over a month.. bad, very bad) made the pattern larger and still, no.. just no...

Next I made the pattern a bit larger through the belly, and made the head smaller...maybe it was the fabric that was the problem, so, I tried velvet, those of you that sew know this was the dumbest thing I could have done....big head and skinny body and legs and when I tried to stuff it....if I wanted something out of a horror movie maybe...nope...
Shrink the head and make the body larger but using up the last of the velvet scraps... oh God help me, I am, upset!?!..Nope didn't work and this one learns to fly across the room...4 tries 4 fails...was my ability to make a pattern lost to age??? One more and if this one fails I give up...
Pull a half yard of fleece out of the scrap box. I cut out the pattern I have adjusted (again) it is looking better... I see it out and it looks a bit skinny but will keep the fingers crossed and stuff it. This one is looking good!! So I sew the ears, horn and eyes on. YES!!!HE IS WORKING!!

Next is the mane and tail, even better!! This guy is going to work!!

Well through the tears and the laughter I found this challenging and almost gave up, but after 4 failures number 5 turned out the way I was hoping it would...Thank You Laney for encouraging me!!

You can find Paulette on Facebook if you want to send her a message.

For even more entries into this challenge please click on the links below

The guest participants are:

AE Team Members: 

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Art Elements March Theme, Nests, Reveal.

 The first themed challenged for Art Elements, since the change from Component of the Month announced in February, was set by Cathy Spivey Mendola  and it was Nests.

I spent a few weeks going round and round with birds, nesting... birds... Spring but nothing was right for me.  I searched Pinterest for ideas and again was coming up with birds, nesting...  I was getting frustrated.  Then like all good ideas this one happened as I was doing something completely different and the idea of 'leaving the nest' came to mind.  

It is a bit of a standing joke in our house that I tell my 'grown up' kids that they need to leave home as I need an indoor studio - my studio for glass is out in the garden a purpose built shed studio and I love it but I need somewhere for my paints, my paper... I need a studio in the house and the only way I can have that is if one of them leaves home....  for now I use the kitchen table!

I 'knocked' this up literally within about 20 mins.  I found a little box, some watercolour paper, grabbed my pen and paints, my new set of block letters to print - of which I get covered in ink! - and whilst waiting for some potatoes to boil I created this and stuck it all down with glue.  It amused me and so I put it on the mantle above the fire in the kitchen and really didn't think more of it.  As far as I was concerned this was the beginning of my thought process for this months challenge.  

How amused was I when I got up the next morning and my 'grown up and still at home 24 year old son' had added to my 'art'.  It has amused me so much that it is still like that now, a reminder that neither child is going to leave the nest anytime soon!

I have a love of words and puns and a chance remark from someone over on Facebook inspired this shadow box design.  I forget whom it was but on some of my doodles this person had commented that I should sell the doodles to give me a nice nest egg... I ran with the comment.

I am still smudging my printed letters, I am too eager to cut it out and stick it down I need to leave it to dry!  I wanted to layer this piece and contrast the greens of the money and background but still give a reference to leaves, nesting, trees... so used some yellow card to create the front layer of leaves which I then painted over with a light wash of green watercolour.  I rather like the contrast and effect.

To see more of the entries in this months challenge, follow the links below.. I am intrigued to see how others have interpreted the word nest.  

Guest Participants-

 AE team members-

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Art Elements Rune Reveal with Niky Sayers

This month is the last month of a Component of the Month with Art Elements as from next month we are trialing a new themed challenge to incorporate all forms of medium and that is something I am really looking forward to!  

But before we head into new waters we had the pleasure of working with a wonderful piece designed and created by the very talented Niky Sayers from the team.   A rune.  My rune was Algiz the rune of Protection, of the all seeing into other worlds and represented by Odin the God of the Gods, known for his ability to walk in other worlds amongst the living and the dead.  Odin is the God of War and is accompanied by his wolves Geri and Freki.  It is said that Geri and Freki struggled to find food so Odin gave to them the gift of sight in the form of two ravens, Huginn and Muninn who would fly high and find the prey for Geri and Freki.    The antlers from Odins helmet represent the antelope which is the animal normally associated with this rune.  I took most of my inspiration from Norse mythology but it is sprinkled with the stories from other cultures. 

I love myth and folklore and magic.  I had my runes read when I was in my late teens, I won't share the experience from that as it was quite dark - my life was very dark at the time and not just with teenage angst!  

This is the rune Niky created. It is so beautiful that I knew if I tried to create a wearable piece of jewellery I wouldn't do it justice so instead I used it to inspire me to draw.

My finished piece is not quite finished or quite right.  The mount is the wrong shape but it was one I had already!  This is the first time I have used acrylics as a watercolour, light washes and layered, but I wanted the vibrancy that the acrylic colours give as my first attempt (no photo) was too dark and heavy that I created with a different medium.  In this finished pieced I 're-styled' the ravens to give them more of a illustrative look, something more in keeping with my style and I turned the wolves around and made them howl.  This worked better than my original design (below) which was leaning too much towards realism and I lost the quirky narrative style I like.

In the original sketch Odin was too dominant and the ravens too 'real' compared to the more illustrative look of the wolves.  

I won't be doing any more to this piece, I enjoyed the process and have ordered myself some acrylic inks - watch this space! - as I love the vibrancy of the colours.  I need to concentrate more on not straying into the realms of realism, I prefer my work to be quirky although I have to admit the ravens in my finished piece do make me chuckle a little more than maybe I should!  

I hope you like the inspiration for my piece maybe one day I will execute it a little better.

I hope you will follow me and hop over to the other participants in this fabulous reveal.


Art Element Members:

Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas decoration challenge with Art Elements

I have had this snow globe since last year.  I brought it in a clearance in Hobby Craft round about this time last year and it has sat in a box gathering dust ever since, but in the recent 'tidy up' that my daughter insisted we do to all the cupboards in the house, including my art cupboards, we found it again.

Art Elements member Lesley offered up a challenge back in November to create a Christmas ornament.  Click HERE to read the original blog post.  So I decided to finally use the snow globe.  

I am not completely happy with how it turned out, it was a challenge working in such a confined area, usually I just 'go with the flow' whether it is with glass or illustration doodles and the size is immaterial until I am finished so starting with a defined space was something I had to get my head around. 

Back in October I created this 'bad Santa' in glass and he melted - forgive the pun - the hearts of many so I carried on with the same image for my snow globe.  

I have always loved those layered pictures you used to see when I was a child so I decided to create my snow globe Santa in that style.  At the moment he looks a little too stark, maybe he needs a background?  I am hoping to explore this style of illustration in 2018 so not only did I finish (sort of) a project that was gathering dust but I gave myself a new arty idea to persue next year.

Here are the others that took part in the challenge, hope you take a minute to look at their creations for Christmas.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Ugly ear ring blog hop.

I don't make ear rings, I don't make any jewellery as a rule but when Diana suggested a 'tacky' ear ring challenge I thought, why not?  my jewellery making skills are limited to simple techniques so what more do you need?

Turns out that you need more than a few skills, making ugly pieces is quite hard, so I settled for just grabbing a few bits I had found in a recent 'tidy up' and went from there, so there it is, my tacky, ugly - but actually not that bad considering they are 'bits and bobs' -  mish-mash earrings!

If you fancy a bit of fun and seeing how others create tacky and ugly then hop over the blogs below 

Laney Mead - this is me!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October Component of the Month with the Art Elements team.

This month, October, was the turn of Art Elements Blog member Niky Sayers to host the Component of the  Month and she created these amazing coin clasps.  Each one features a hare and has been hammered into shape before attaching the clasp fastening.  It was love at first sight.

Before it even got to me I knew what I wanted to do.  Life has got in the way a bit (when hasn't it just lately!) of experimenting and playing but in my head this was much bigger than it became and of course it is un-finished but I am working on it still.

I knew mine would be a story of a hare.  It was around the same time that I walked my dogs, as normal, down at the river in the morning but we were early one day and as we quietly - for a change! - entered the fields there sat looking across the river and into the early morning sunshine was a bunny rabbit.  He sat there for what seemed like ages and luckily my dogs didn't notice him so I could watch and be reminded of all the Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit stories from when my kids were little. 

I wondered what he was thinking.  

When I got home I quickly doodled him into an illustration and that was as far as I got for a few days.

The days became weeks and before I knew it I had a few days left and so I made a very simple concertina book.  My plan is to do the illustrations and text on separate pieces of paper and glue them on to the pages I have created, both covering the ribbon I have used to attach the clasp and bulk out the 'book', which is why the clasp is currently a bit more loose than it should be.  Fingers crossed it will all come out right. 

You can find more of Niky's work on her blog

I am looking forward to seeing what the others created with this clasp and you can click below to follow the blogs with me.