Art Elements Theme Reveal Monthly Blog Hop for October: Eyes

Another month has flown by and it is time for the Art Elements Blog Hop for the October theme: Eyes. This is such a fun theme that I am definitely going to explore a bit more as there is so much beauty and emotion through the eyes.

Left: Anole eyes. Middle: Toad eye. Right Top: Beetle House NYC, Right Middle: Sarah Dressler sculpture, Right Bottom: hand carved ceramic clay stemp.
I love going out into the woods and looking to find eye shapes where branch-like protrusions no longer exist. And the dreaded spotted lantern fly (these were squashed immediately!)
Some different eye styles I’ve created out of wool (by needle felting) over the years of working at Sarafina Fiber Art.
And if you are making the eye, it is good to get perspective right. This goat is from a class with Sara of Sarafina. I love the little details she instructs everyone to do.

I will definitely be revisiting this theme a bit more in depth as we get through the holiday season and all the prep work that goes into making items to sell during this busy time of year.

Please stop by the Art Elements Blog to hop the other contributors! (I will update my post as soon as I get the list in the morning). Thanks for stopping by!

Art Elements Blog Hop September Theme: Foliage

It is time for the September Art Elements Blog Hop reveal for the theme: Foliage. Here is the intro post and reveal post from Caroline. This is such a great theme and I cannot wait to see what everyone shares (read to the bottom for the list of blog hop participants).

Foliage from my perennial garden. I look at the plants not only for their beauty at different times during their peak season, but also because of the habitat they create for the creatures that live around here too.
I wanted to get some imprints for the flower challenge back in July, but time was not on my side. Now that it is fall, and the garden is going to be put to overwinter bed, it was the perfect opportunity to gather some some cuttings and bring them into the studio.
I was so excited to work on some new texture plates, that I forgot a very important step: put some newspaper down between the plasterboard and the clay being pressed. So my clay on these larger pieces really stuck to the plasterboard (drywall) and when it shrank, it cracked.
Bottom middle was the piece dried as I got it off of the drywall.
Bottom right is the cleaned up edges and ready to use for pressing smaller bits once bisque fired.
Here is a bit closer up and you can see for me to press the plants into freshly rolled out clay, I use a dry sponge. I try to pull out the plant material when I do this so I can use them again if I need to.
Here are the texture plates once they are out of the bisque firing. I’ve rolled out some fresh clay in slab form and have gotten a reverse impression. There were some wonderful areas, and some duds. It is all about experimenting and seeing what works.
As far as what to do with those test pressings, I cut some of the areas out and will make some glaze test tiles with them.
I also plan on rolling out some of my chocolate stoneware clay into these texture plates so I can get some really rustic looking pieces to use for Christmas ornaments.
I also have started a series of new Gnome Bottle Toppers with these branches at their top end.
Their colors are of the woods with mosses and lichens.
And they carry a bit of magic with them in their handmade bead accent.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post for this blog hop. Please check out these other artists with their Foliage themed inspirational posts:

Guests
Dawn
Hope
Alison
Beth & Evie
Laurie
Kathy
Sarajo
Michelle
Tammy
Divya
Karen
Alysen
Mary
Cat
Jill
Sarah
Anita



AE Team
Lesley
Susan
Marsha
Claire
Cathy
Jenny
Niky
Caroline

Art Elements August Theme: Octopus Blog Hop Reveal

I love that Claire picked Octopus as our August theme (Art Elements Blog). They are one of the most interesting creatures that inhabit the oceans here on our planet. I love how they can transform their body shape and move super slinkily.

A few years ago I made these needle felted octopus, and I always wanted to get back to seeing about making their suckers out of some “O” ring beads. I had in mind making some small pieces that could be used as earrings, but as I started working, they just got bigger. So I embraced it and went with it. If they were any smaller, the beads would have had to decrease in size as well.

I wanted to transition from 26ga wire to 32ga wire to keep the end of the tentacle really bendy and tapered looking. Used Sarafina Chunky Core wool as the base.
Using Fireline on a beading needle, I stitched the “O” rings on with a size 15 stop bead.
I then added some spots for color using the tiniest amounts of top coat wool.

I was in the studio creating some “fall” themed beads and I thought that I could make some tentacle inspired curved pieces – and that these could be earring sized or as a focal piece. Here are some photos of the process.

The rolled out cones and balls of clay were wet when joined to make them stick well.
I love using stylus tools for carving into the balls (I use them for carving my texture plates for all my other designs too).
Bisque firing all the pieces can be touching. The glaze firing not so much.

Soon I will be fiddling with finished designs and making more tentacles with my chocolate stoneware clay body as well (for a more rustic look). These are literally just out of the kiln and put into photos, barely cool enough to hold.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this post, and thanks to Claire for picking this fun theme. Please take some time and check out some of the other participants of this months blog hop (thank you for participating if you are one of these artists!)
Guest artists:
Cat
Evie and Beth
Hope
Karen
Kathy
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarajo
Tammy
Art Elements Team:
Cathy
Claire
Jenny
Laney
Lindsay
Marsha (you are here)

Art Elements July Flowers Theme Reveal Blog Hop

Welcome to the July Theme: Flowers Reveal Blog hop. It was my turn to pick the challenge for the month, and I was curious to see what kind of flowers were in bloom now in various places in the world and how artists would find inspirations from them or from flowers in general.

My inspiration with flowers is planting flowers that are easy to take care of, mostly native plants, that help support our local ecosystems. Then comes the colors and textures of plants. I just love it.

Coneflowers (bloom July & August, and seeds provide food in winter).
Insects are plentiful in my gardens.
Mostly native plants in my garden with a few ornamental shrubs.
Inspirations, Water Color Paints and a full day of creativity just to experiment.
Enjoying just playing with paints. Donut (my cat) was curious for a short while of what I was up to.

I worked on a total of 3 watercolor pages because I realized that I had to not muddy the colors by working wet on wet. So by keeping occupied with layering on three pages, I got to figure things out. It was a blissful day of just playing and seeing what happened.

Page 1 started with just the centers and the pink.
Page 2 started by painting green on the background then the flowers. Realizing the petals were dark I spent some time layering water and white colors and dabbing off excess.
Page 3 was my attempt to look at an actual photo and try to follow the visual lines. I really did not want to stress over things and completely just went with it. I had fun, but man could I use some foundation classes on what I am actually doing. Either that or just practice a bit more and pay attention to details.
Here is page 3 overall. I added some more flowers and petals just to fill the page a bit more.

I had thoughts of also making a needle felted coneflower and just laughed at the results. I stopped at the cones because the idea I had really wasn’t working out. Here are some pics to explain my thoughts and I hope to figure things out a bit better soon.

A reverse needle pulls the wool from the inside to the exterior of the piece to increase the fuzz.
I felted the under layers on my second attempt a lot more, this made the pulling with the reverse needle more succssful.
For my third and fourth attempt, I used a Romney blend fiber (a bit longer than 1 & 2 above). Really, these are not what I had in mind, and I trimmed up the excess hairs, kept giggling that they reminded me of fuzzy bits instead of cones of the cone flowers (cone flowers get very pointy as they age). Maybe if I had to make a bunch of pussywillows this would be a great technique.

Thanks for taking time to cruise through this post. I really had fun just experimenting this time around.

Please take some time and look at the wonderful things people are creating and contributing to this theme by visiting these artists blogs (if you are having issues leaving comments, please try using google chrome as your browser).

You can also see and participate yourself via social media by using the hashtags: #AEThemeChallenge and #AEFlowers

Here is a list of our Visiting Artists:
Alysen
Cat
Divya
Evie and Beth
Jill
Hope
Kathy
Linda
Louise
Martha
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarah
Sarajo
Tammy

And our Art Elements Blog Contributors:
Caroline
Cathy
Claire
Jenny
Laney
Lesley
Marsha
(you are here)
Susan

Art Elements Monthly Theme: Luna Moth

Thanks to Jen Cameron for picking out this month’s Art Elements Blog Hop Theme: Luna Moth.

With an Entomology background I am fascinated by the scientific approach, but can get way too involved in the details. So this month I thought that I would just go along with what attracts me to these lovely creatures: The color and that long wing that looks like tail feathers…

First I began to make the wire form with pipe cleaners.
I wrapped Sarafina Off White Chunky Core Roving around the wire and stabbed it a bit to get it to hold. I used Gold core wool to wrap the antennae and left the pipe cleaner legs alone.
To get the right shade of green, I mixed gold and green, a bit of blue and a lot of sage green.
I felted the wings onto the wool wrapped wing wires and added some extra brown wool along the top of the wings and yellow wool on the top of the thorax (wings and legs attach to the thorax).
I tried to remember to get photos, but once you start going with needle felting, it’s hard to stop all that bit of stabbing and the instant gratification.
I added a little wing detail and would have worked a bit more on the long extension of the hind wing, but though this would do for a first try.
I love seeing photos of moths resting on human hands. There is something about how tender they are and often how large and fragile that gives a sense of awe.
Getting back to the scientific side of things – it is SO important to make sure to get the next generation involved with nature. And to provide habitat for these critters.
This is a Spicebush Swallowtail (left), an actual Spicebush plant (center), and the wee little Spicebush Caterpillar rolled up in a spicebush leaf that it had been munching on earlier in the day.

Luna moths and many other winged insects overwinter in the leaf litter in wooded areas. Please keep this in mind for your “clean-up” and maybe consider how your keeping things tidy may actually be doing harm to our natural populations.

Thank you for stopping by! Make sure to take the time to see what everyone else has created this month:
Guests:
Tammy
Beth and Evie
Rain
Alysen
Rozantia
Sarajo
Karin
Sarah
Divya
Colette
Art Elements Team:
Niky
Caroline
Cathy
Jenny
Lesley
Marsha (you are here)
Lindsay
Claire
Jen

If you want to learn more about needle felting, check out the shop where I work part time: SarafinaFiberArt.com

marshanealstudio

marshanealstudio

Ceramic Artist. Garden and Nature Enthusiast.

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