Every month Art Jewelry Elements blog contributors participate together to make something with one of the artists “Component of the Month”.
April 2016 was this handmade Amulet by my friend Jenny Davies-Reazor.
Jenny and I were at Bead Fest April right next to each other, so when I saw she had a few of these available, I just had to have one!
I have been a bit obsessed with small hanging vessels for a couple of years now and have graduated to getting a “Now That’s a Jig” for making some really interesting wire forms to suspend pieces with.
I knew that I wanted this piece of Jenny’s to be out where I could see it every day.
I just LOVE the spirals and swirls. It is like being taken into swirls and spirals of water by a rocky coast – just falling deep into the meditation that it brings to mind.
I used Dark Anodized Steel Wire (sealed with some Renaissance Wax to keep it from rusting) and made this decided upon steel form. I then cut a long length of the 20ga wire to attach the amulet.
This is what it looks like finished and ready to use.
I am a collector of seed pods and dried garden blooms. So I added some to the amulet to hold some of the memories of those seasons now passed – time spent exploring the garden with my little kids.
And for now, it graces my working area of my bench along with another swirl steel holder waiting for another vessel to join it.
Please make sure to stop by the Art Jewelry Elements blog hop to see what these other wonderful artists have created with their Jenny Davies-Reazor Amulet:
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio (you are here)
Alison of Alison Adorns
Jess of The Copper Cat
Brooke from Artistic Endeavors
Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10, 2016 you can find a lot of handmade jewelry supplies, tools and classes, including a lot of newly made beads from my studio.
I will be at this show representing my business Marsha Neal Studio, LLC and I can be found at Artisan Table #520.
If you are planning on stopping by, here is a discount coupon pass for you to use. If you register online, please use Marsha Neal Studio (Artist Table #520) as your Referring Exhibitor as they keep track and do some drawings for advertising for the business that gets the most referrals. Use Code BFSPEP16 at BeadFest.com to register in advance for your $5 weekend pass.
I will also have some wet and needle felting items for sale (and my ceramic needle holders too).
If you are not able to make the show, you can always shop online in my Marsha Neal Studio Etsy Shop!
I have been absent from my ceramics studio for long periods of time in the last couple of years. In some ways I just needed a change. I needed a bit of grounding inside my head and to do that I needed to get out of my creative space and go work for someone else a bit. But now I am coming around again – looking at things with fresh eyes and ideas for where I think I am heading with my business.
First up is my need to make some ceramic spoons. I looked up a lot of stuff on Pinterest and Etsy to see not only what people are making in clay, but also in other materials such as wood (I love the thought of carving wood – getting those nice peels and curls coming off). There are some great things out there and I wanted to see from my own sense of feel and use – how to design some of these spoons.
Three of the designs I drew out are meant to be spoons, one is more like a tea bag holder or spoon rest (still not settled on that completely).
I rolled my paperboard onto a clay slab and cut out the spoon shape.
I then added another layer of clay to give the spoon a bottom (I have since made another series of slab molds which have yet to be fired and tested).
As these press molds set up, I went in and rounded out the edges and made sure there were no undercuts.
At the “that is as good as these get, I need to STOP touching them” phase, the press molds were dried flat (slowly) then bisque fired to Cone 04.
To make the actual spoons, I tried two techniques: soft slab pressed into mold and coil pressed into mold. Both worked ok, so it is really what is going to work best for me. I then used some of my handmade bisque stamps to press in the designs into the top of the spoon (just imagine the possibilities!!!).
The newer molds I made will allow for a slightly thicker spoon that has a bit more allowance for a curvy area at the end. And I need to figure out how to keep track of having my designs stay a bit more centered.
And all of this is happening in the warmth of the studio while outside it looks like a winter wonderland.
Delaware Fun A Day is a great project that I have now participated in for two years.
I love that it is a way to light a fire under ones creative tush to make something every day for the month (this year it is January 2016 – 31 days = 31 items made). I decided to work from where I have been recently in my transition between working with ceramic clay in bead and jewelry making and learning about wool dying and blending of colors through my part-time work at the Sarafina Art House.
Not to mention all of the cool artists that are participating! You get to expand your creative artist group by participating in events like this!
I should have been blogging about this all along, but my MarshaNealStudio Instagram seems to be my preferred instant sharing these days (blog posts require way more work). So here is where this adventure started: at work back in October 2015.
This is something I am learning to do through SarafinaFiberArt and these are my first attempts at dying what I call “Zombie Locks” because they are cut short, a bit discolored, and contain some bits of vegetable matter and some other things from the barn yard. My goal was to make some needle felted zombie ornaments for my sister for Christmas, and all of the other locks I had were just too pretty and nice. I needed something that looked like it belonged on a decomposing corpse. These are a bit too pretty too, but when there was some matted v.m. or beetle parts – it was like a bonus!
Fast forward to December & time to sign up for Fun A Day 2016. I decided I wanted to make some wet felted “vessels” of some sort. Was not quite sure if I was going to make various shapes and colors, but I wanted to try it out then find my focus.
I decided that I liked the triangle form and that they would easily be hung, just as I do with my ceramic vessels – with a wire wrapped handle. So I set off to figure out exactly what I wanted to do.
Once the color palettes were sorted, it was time to begin to work on the 31 objects for the Fun A Day opening (if you have not guessed – the 31 objects are representational of 31 days of being creative. There are days into weeks where all that was done was blending colors. My work is about the process as much as making the work.
And with that a new item is created and put into the world. They are far from being done with potential. I can completely see these being adorned with seed beads, fiber embroidery, more layers of felt. But for this project, this is where I feel I can stop. That they are finished and I have accomplished my goals of spending a bit of every day in January making a bit of art. Perfecting the colors and process to the best of my knowledge and skill set a this point in my life.
Delaware Fun A Day 2016 will ONLY be on display from 5-9pm on Friday, February 5, 2016 at the DCCA in Wilmington, DE. 200 South Madison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. Check out the Social Media posts: #DEFunADay or #DelawareFunADay to see current and past entries.
If you are interested in learning about wool, I highly recommend visiting SarafinaFiberArt.com and learning about sculptural needle felting, wet felting, 2D Wet and Needle felting through the many videos and workshops Sara provides. Then come and visit the shop in person or order supplies online if Elkton, MD is a bit too far for you to drive. You can even find some of my Marsha Neal Studio work in the Sarafina Art House Gallery and through the Artists link on their website.
Thanks for taking the time to read up about this process and enjoying art!
It has been a number of years since I myself have sold my work at Bead Fest Philadelphia.
In fact, it was 6 years ago because I was pregnant with my son.
I have picked up an Artist Table (570A) around the Artisan Alley section of the show and will have some great new stuff.
Darlene from D7 Studio (booth 366) has her booth and will have lots of my beads at her table.
I will have my new bracelet kits, and more of my sculptural work with me.
So make sure to swing by both while you are cruising the show!