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.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

May 2017 Component of the Month with Art Elements... the Reveal

Back at the end of April Lesley Watts from the Art Elements group announced her component for the month.  A selection of delightful ceramic cabs with gorgeous rich colours in the recesses of a mold she made from a section of shell.  To read the full blog post of the original article click on the link above.

Lesley creates beautiful pieces in ceramics and in metal clays - you can see more of her work on her Facebook  page.   Lesley does favour the more organic style of work, compared to my wacky designs but I did fall in love with these pieces as soon as I saw them.  There were several colour choices to choose from but the green glaze really appealed to me.

I chose one of the round cabs and when it arrived I was not disappointed, these pieces are rich in colour and really tactile, I did have it on my work space in my 'kitchen studio' - very posh sounding corner of the kitchen dinning room where I keep all my drawings and pencils for when I take over the table!  I kept it out on the dresser so I could just pick it up and touch it, in the right hands this would make a really lovely tactile brooch or pendant but I saw dragons.  My first idea was a dragon drawn with scales using the colours of the cab to guide my choices but then I went on Pinterest searching for a quote that appealed to me and found this one...

'Never stop looking up'.

What a lovely positive saying and I immediately thought of giraffes and was cross with myself for choosing a green cab rather than a giraffe cab that would have gone with this idea better.  For a few days I mused over this and stroked my cabochon until my husband commented on some other drawings had I done, I was lamenting (again!) about being quirky and cartoony and as far away from my realism portrait days as is humanly possible, when he said to me 'don't stop being different that is what makes you you.' (once in a blue moon he can be quite sweet, usually ruins it by then telling me I have got a big backside compared to when we met 25 years ago....  such is married life!)

So I modified my saying....

I am still really new to Art Journalling just for the sake of it, I doodle and draw each day but have to commit to the Art Journal idea and experiment with mixed media which I still struggle with but lo and behold, my cabochon became part of my giraffe and lets face it... never stop looking up or being that bit different is not a bad way to live!  

For more creativity using Lesley's work please follow the links below.... 


Art Elements team

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Art Elements April COM challenge

Sounds of time, like waves that flow
Endless hours that come and go.....

This month's COM for Art Elements is from Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions and was a beautiful swirly lampwork glass bead that reminded me so much of the sea and it inspired just a few quick lines of creative writing as I sat down to write this blog.. they have been in my head since the arrival of the bead.

Unfortunately for me this month has been one of the crappiest in the longest time as we lost our beautiful, young Simmy Cat...

... he was just a year old and leaves behind his sister 'Mudgy who has really struggled with his passing and of course our Gordy with whom Simmy used to play 'proper cat fighting' games but he was so good with Gordy who was brain damaged at birth (for those that don't know) and although he is 4 now Simmy being a big boy at such a young age could play with a cat that has no 'gentle button' but no malice.  Between him and 'Mudgy they helped Gordy in ways I could never have imagined or expected.  He is sorely missed by all of us and of course this impacted on the last couple of weeks, my creativity disappeared down a deep dark hole and is only really just coming back out....


When I first saw this beautiful bead and heard the sounds of the sea in my head, I reached for my bookcase and my rather dusty book of Chinese Knots - I love knots!  I had a small clean up in the studio and found my limited stash of silky cord.  

Now I love reading, everything and anything, although I do have a penchant for animal stories and like most people now I have the digital device for reading books downloaded BUT my most favourite thing in the world is holding a real book, smelling the pages and touching each leaf as I make my way through the story.  I lose myself in a good book.  As a result I love bookmarks and each bookmark I own can tell a story of their own.  I wanted this bead to be the 'anchor' of my bookmark - I don't know about you but for me objects can hold memories and although I didn't create this bead it instantly reminded me of standing on the beach, the wind blowing in my hair and the smell of the sand, the sea... I lived near the beach several times as a child and I love the solitude, the reflection of memories, it seemed a good fit to my recent loss.

Unfortunately  my concentration has been so intermittant that I have only managed the 'concept' of my bookmark but I like it so far, I will be finishing this at some point, there is always a book that needs a bookmark!  

Don't forget to blog hop around those that joined in this challenge to see what everyone else has been creating.

Guest Designers:

Sarajo Wentling

Deb Stewart

Art Elements Team:

Sue Kennedy

Laney Mead

Lesley Watt

Claire Fabian

Karen Totten

Cooky Schock

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Caroline Dewison

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Niky Sayers

Lindsay Starr

Jen Cameron

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

February COM for Art Elements with Jenny Davies-Reazor

This month Component of the Month challenge was set by Jenny in the Art Elements team.  Jenny produced some beautiful polymer clay heart beads and cabochons.

Out of the cabochons above I choose one like the centre that lovely soft ivory/white with gold flecks.

My original idea was bridal, but 'love unrequited' kept sticking in my head and the image of a bridal piece of jewellery just wouldn't work for me. 

I have been experimenting with art journalling which I do find a challenge.  I have HUNDREDS of sketch books that I have scribbled and doodled in over the years, some have messages and diary style extracts next to them but the whole adding mixed media is completely new to me.  I came across a lovely quote 'when the world says give up, hope says try one more time' and it really hit a nerve with me.  My whole life has been a fight for survival on almost every level, whenever I feel like giving up something happens, a spark burns in me and anger gives me strength to not be beaten and try again.  

My heart had found its muse.

The Chinese coin is one that I had in a box at the back of the wardrobe, I have had it for years and it is supposed to bring luck, I can't even remember where I got it from.  The playing card is representative that life is a game of chance - a tarot card would have worked here too.... - the shells, beautiful shell creations in bronze clay and ceramic and made by Lesley the former and I think one of the other members possibly Cathy, I wish I would stop losing the cards to say who did what!  Shells remind me of living by the sea and as a child holding the shell to your ear to hear the wind and maybe your future dreams.  The skeleton leaves are signs of death in Autumn but also that when Spring comes they will live again.  

It is unfinished.  I wanted to do so much more but mixed media is a struggle for me I want it to be so full of ideas and drama and things to touch and read and colour.. but my control freak artist side wants to just use line and structure.  I do love the idea of this though and I love how the heart inspired it.  The quote inspired me to finally stop procrastinating and print my doodles as cards and prints you can find them on my FB group page which you will need to join and eventually in my Etsy shop - link on the side of the blog if you want to come and find me :)

A list below of all those that joined in the challenge so grab a cup of tea and join me in blog hopping to see what other creations these hearts have inspired.

Art Elements team: 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Leather Cab reveal for Art Elements

Today is the reveal day for Art Elements January Component of the Month, which this month of January was from Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations and of course one of the very talented admins in the Art Elements team.

When Lindsay first showed the cabs I was really keen to get started, something about them appealed to me on so many levels and her photos (and mine) really didn't/don't do them justice, in the hand they are remarkable little pieces of art, something you can imagine tucking into your pocket and carrying with you to just touch whilst you are walking the dogs, like when you were a child and carried that really special something with you all the time.  

When the parcel arrived it was filled with lots of little components which we could use if we wanted, the ribbon I have used in mine was included with the cab and it was if Lindsay knew what I wanted to do as it was just enough and perfectly compliments the dream catcher I wanted to create as soon as I saw that first photo of the cabs - when they were still in the USA, I was like a cat on hot bricks waiting for mine to arrive so I could get started!

I made this dream catcher and it now hangs in my bedroom with my other one.. and I think I need a collection I just love them, but you need the right 'middle' and as I keep saying this cab was it!

I drilled four tiny holes in mine and using some ecru crochet thread I weaved the 'spiders web' pattern which wasn't as easy I first thought and I ended up re doing it several times until I was happy.  The web is over the ribbon which is over a layer of leather thong over a copper wire circle all of which I fabricated from what I had in the studio.

All dream catchers have feathers and I didn't have any!  A friend of mine sent me some yellow feathers which I thought would compliment the colours but I struggled to tie them into the hoop and ended up getting frustrated so abandoned the 'real' feather idea.

I dug in my stash of amazing ceramic beads because I remembered that Karen and Lesley and Jenny - from the team - had sent me some beautiful ceramic beads since I have joined, that I was saving for the 'right' project and I had a ceramic feather and the acorn and the leaf, the tiny little bird and the swirly disk bead and they were perfect!  The feather I would have liked to be less pinky more wine coloured but I am willing to over look that small detail as the beads were just perfect for my dream catcher.

This is the first dream catcher I have made but I hope it isn't the last and you can hang your treasures from it making is so special.

This is the list for the others that took part in this challenge with this wonderful piece

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Art Elements Dragon Blog Hop Design Challenge.

If I am really honest I signed up for this blog hop, hosted by Niky of Art Elements, because I LOVE dragons and I wanted to see what everyone else made for the theme. 

I have made lampwork glass dragon beads since I started lampworking and they are still evolving...

Just this winter (2016/7) I have stumbled on a  new way to design the muzzles of my dragons and I think I will be evolving that in my future dragons.

Most of my dragons have a theme and they all have personalities and stories.

Dragons are so open to interpretation that each artist will create their own and on that note I am off to visit the blogs below to see more wonderful dragons in lots of different styles.


AJE Team