Art Elements Blog Monthly Theme: Stars

Welcome to my post for the Art Elements Blog Star Theme Reveal Blog Hop.

While working in my studio this last month I’ve listened to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy on audio, then put the movies on in sequence while making some needle felted whisky gnome bottle toppers (the movies play in the background as I have seen them so many times, the visual happens automatically in my head). So automatically the thoughts of Wizards, Elves, the King, and many symbols throughout the books and movies inspires me.

Marsha Neal Studio Needle Felted Star Whisky Gnome in progress.

I usually make my Whisky Gnome bottle toppers with an ombre hat and accents in dyed curls (I work part time at Sarafina Fiber Art, helping to purchase, wash and dye sheep curls as part of my job). So this gnome is a nocturnal guy that has shadow earthy colors and stars to adorn his cap.

Marsha Neal Studio Star Whisky Gnome Bottle Topper.

I call them Whisky Gnomes because if they were to drink, I think Whisky would be more their style, but they do quite enjoy sitting atop a bottle of wine – without any metal pieces left to pull at their wooly insides – so they can see better.

If you are interested in needle felting I would highly recommend checking out the Sarafina Fiber Art Website, look at the tutorials page, and get started there. I was just telling Sara today that it is a really cool thing that she does by teaching a lot of things for free on You Tube, and selling the most awesome wool supplies out there. Jenny (also an Art Elements Blog Contributor) works there with me too. We are just 2 of the current 10 people Sara employees. Small artist run businesses Rock! Like – she is a for real Rock STAR!

Marsha Neal Studio Star Object.

This star shaped piece was in a small series of experiments trying to incorporate a lot of the shapes I use for my beads into one larger piece. It is a bit on the pointy side…

Marsha Neal Studio Decal Star Piece.

Another thing I have been working on (a friend asked if I could make him a custom Christmas Tree ornament) and I came up with using the wooden rolling pin on part of the clay, then cutting out the shape. This one above was a test piece – I’ve decided to go with all white glaze for ease of color transition. The star doodles on the front and back are both ceramic decals that I made of my drawings. I wanted to test the white glaze and it’s compatibility with the decals. The Zentangle inspired decal is composed of a lot of my doodle drawings used to make my texture plates from 12+ years ago. A star turned into a spiral…

Marsha Neal Studio Gold Glaze Overlay.

As I was testing the ceramic decals, I decided it was time for me to run some tests on this low-fire metallic glaze – made some star shapes again. So I picked up some oddly fired spacer beads that already went to Cone 5 (around 2200 degrees F) in their glaze firing. I applied the Metallic Glaze, and fired to Cone 04 (around 1971 degrees F). I like the effect it creates.

Marsha Neal Studio Star Spiral Design.

And as I was working through tests, I decided to use my Star Spiral design pieces with a translucent blue and some floaty glazes (above left). These turned out as expected (a good thing). The ones on the right though – these I applied two different metallic glaze colors onto bisqued (Cone 04) pieces and fired them again to Cone 04. In truth – I really do not like the feel of the metallic glaze alone. I definitely think these need to be used in layering to make them look as I want. An open door to play with. It took this star theme for me to break out the sparkly shiny glazes and run some tests. I am happy that I did.

Thanks for taking the time to cruise through this post. Below are links to the other participants in this monthly Art Elements Blog Theme Post: Stars. Have fun being inspired and seeing what kind of creative things others are coming up with:

Guest Artists
Art Elements Team
MarshaΒ (you are here)
14 Responses to “Art Elements Blog Monthly Theme: Stars”
  1. Jill Egan says:

    Loois like you have had a lot of fun there, the gnomes are such fun

  2. Cat says:

    I like everything, but I’m in love with the little gnomes!!

  3. The gnome hats are a real find, what a fun bottle topper! To me, all your experiments with glazes look fantastic but you know better – it is important that the challenge motivated you to experiment. That spiky star grabbed my heart πŸ™‚

  4. Wow, your gnomes are so cute and the ceramic beads are lovely! Perfect for the theme!

  5. Laney Mead says:

    I too think Sara is a Rock Star, I am a little addicted to watching her videos! I LOVE the Whisky Gnomes they made me smile πŸ˜‰

  6. Caroline says:

    I love your Whiskey gnomes, they look like great characters, your ceramics are gorgeous too, that gold glaze looks really interesting!

  7. kathy Lindemer says:

    Your Gnome bottle stoppers are so, so attractive. I think that the rectangular star ceramics would make great earrings.

  8. Alysen says:

    Marsha, Your little Whisky Gnome is adorable! Gnomes are one of my favorite little beings (remember my Fairy post of my Garden Gnomes?). These guys look so nice and squishy. A Whiskey lover here, notice the E .. Irish Whiskey is my choice, but of course I won’t snub my nose at the Scotch stuff :))).
    Your little Star Object is pointy but organic and enticing.

  9. Anita Rao says:

    Marsha I too love your Whiskey Gnomes! It looks like you did a lot of experimenting too, which is wonderful. I had to look up some terms (:P) since I wanted to understand more, but I can definitely say I like the look of all your pieces!

  10. Jenny says:

    Oh I love the Whiskey Gnome with his long luxurious locks! He’s a wizard with those stars on his hat!

  11. I really want to make a Whiskey Gnome now!! He is fabulous. I love everything about him. I also love all your experiments and test tiles. It’s so much fun to be able to play around with new ideas and designs to see what will work out.

  12. The whiskey gnome is so stinkin’ adorable. If I weren’t allergic to wool, it would be enough to tempt me to try needle felting. As you know, I’m a huge fan of your ceramics, from the many variations on spirals to the oh-so-yummy glazes. I quite like where your sparkly experiments are going and look forward to seeing more.

  13. Sarajo Wentling says:

    It’s fun to get a peek into your process of playing with different glazes. I just adore that little gnome! So cute!

  14. Karin says:

    Wow! So many different stars, your Whiskey gnome is so cute and funny! I love it! Your ceramic star piece is fabulous too!

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