Sonntag, 30. Juli 2017

"Time-worn" - Scarabs - Component of the month july (AE)

Scarabs... what a wonderful fitting component, like made only for me! (I guess there may be several people thinking that ;))

The component of the month was a lampwork bead made by Susan Kennedy (you can find her shop here and her blog here). Actually I cried out for this special scarab during a bead sale she had... and she send me this one for the component of the month challenge over at Art Elements! Thank you so much!

You can easily see why this bead was (in my mind) made only for me: Insect, rustic, turquoise, ancient looking, crusty, organic... and with a definitive tribal vibe.

This time I went again for an overall quite simple necklace shape but I wanted the scarab to be the focal piece while having an easy to wear necklace. I try to balance the jewelery I create. Here all the special details are in the single parts.

Being extravagant with the parts as well as the shape can be gorgeous (and I do and love that too) but it ends up in pieces for only few special occasions. I wanted something more suited to have the piece with you on (maybe nearly) every occasion - like your own little ancient amulet hidden in plain sight.

I combined the scarab with some rustic beautiful beads from Kimberly Rogers (numinosity) and some seaglass like beads from Julia Hay (yes, both some of my favorite lampwork artists ever), some matte greyish-lilac faceted beads (from The Curious Bead Shop) knotted with deep purple waxed linen with basic macrame and finished with oxidised brass fishbone chain (my all-time favorite chain - would it not be for the fact how much time and trouble it makes to create this finish).

Thank you so much Sue for my scarab (still convinced you made him only for me)! Now please have a look what the other participants made with their scarabs.


AE Team

Claire (you are here)

Donnerstag, 29. Juni 2017

"All that bugs me..." - Insects (AE June theme challenge)

This months theme challenge at Art Elements (AE) was given by Diana Ptaszynksi: Insects. What a perfect topic for me and actually one that came up quite often in my work. Bet it the use of beetle wings in my jewelery or paintings or handcarved stamps.

It is a long time ago since I carved my own stamps. But since I love monoprinting, mixed media and handmade books, I wanted some bigger motives to use. I also had some new rubber carving material to try out (the blue "stuff" and new being relative meaning unopened but lying around for a long time). I love carving rubber because I don't need a press to get good impressions. But in the past I used real rubbers (to hard or stable to really carve well) or a rubber carving material at my craft supply store (at that time the only available but it sadly crumbles a lot).

What shall I say? I love it! It is smooth and easy to carve and IT DOES NOT CRUMBLE! The "crumbling" problem was one of the reasons I stopped carving my own stamps - to frustrating and heartbreaking. The motives of course insects, in this case I started with a beetle. 

Here you see my reference image. I actually cut it out in the desired size and draw the silhouette on my stamp to have some guidelines. You could also use some copy paper but test it first with the rubber. The one I had didn't work at all on the rubber surface while it worked perfectly on paper.

And printed on a colorful background (MDF) with black archival ink. Since the background was quite dark I used some coloured pencils to draw around and play a little bit with it.

Just look at the background, love it!

In my carving process I stop in between and stamp the image just to get an overall impression and see where I still have to change something.

With a lot of background and the wings not finished...

Nearly finished but with some broken lines I didn't like. Take care to really stop in between. I know myself, after the first rough carving I need a break (or start another one) and leave the fine details for another day. Never ever worked out if I did it all in one go.

Of course I also had to test them with ceramic clay. They leave a nice impression. 

I only smoothed out the outer areas where you would see the carved background lines and a little bit in the middle. 

Both will be decorative tiles (I think).

They are still drying but I am so curious how they will turn out. I will add some black underglaze to highlight the details (not covering the whole stamped image) and am thinking about a transparent glaze on the insect and an opaque around. What also could be interesting is to add some graphic designs on the background. Mh... still thinking...

After I got my love for carving back I thought also to give linocuts another try. Our professional art supply store takes care to only provide fresh linoleum for carving since it gets hard and brittle after some time.

It is still in progress but I am surprised how easy and nice it was to carve (also way cheaper than the blue rubber "stuff"). There are differences but I just need some training to adjust. Oh, and better tools...  but that is a wish for nearly any technique, nai? *sighs*

Also I don't have a printing press and just with hand pressure it really doesn't print as well as the rubber ones. But I'll see if I can somehow adjust a little bit. All these prints are still test prints in between just to see how the carving comes along.

You know, I have a lot of my own stamps and I was thinking to show you my older insect stamps made with different rubber materials. I also love to see how my own abilities evolved (or are not so restricted anymore with problematic materials? Who knows ;) ). 

So I went to have a look and thought, oh well, why not show you my whole collections? Here it is! (there could be some smaller ones be missing but then I wouldn't even know where to start looking for them). 

As you see I used every tiny wee bit! I so loved the big dragon fly image but sadly it crumbled (right side). It is a good material for stamps like the birds and leaves (top row, middle image) because they don't have small areas but are rather massive. But I am handling my octopus stamp with the most utter care! 

And I nearly forgot my pegasus, and my tree, and my spider, and my little owl, and my flower....! I definitely need to use them all again somehow! I hope I am not the only one sometimes forgetting the little treasures in their stash.

As a last impression: Here are all my other insect stamps I made a long time ago. As a reference I stamped the little beetle on my finger nail too.

Diana, thank you so much for this theme, it was perfect for me!
Now please have a look what everybody else made!


Art Elements Team
Claire Fabian (you are here)

Dienstag, 30. Mai 2017

"Treasures" - Art Elements component of the month (COM)

Time seem to fly, way to fast to be honest... Strangely enough the COMs over at Art Elements (AE) are a stark reminder that again a month has gone by. It is finally warm again, even hot, around here and the days are long and sunny. It feels good and I needed this. Still, I am not back into full mood.

This is probably why this time I was not challenging myself but rather stayed in my comfort zone. After all it is called comfort zone for a reason, nai? This month Lesley Watt send us beautiful ceramic pendants or cabs (if you want some too, there are some left in her shop). I you follow my blog for some time, you know how perfect they were for me looking like treasures found in the sea and also she chose the perfect colour combination for me. Although all variations of her pendants are nice, turquoise gets me, always!

I made a knotted necklace with grey waxed linen that is long enough that one don't need a clasp but can simply pull it over the head. I chose these matte and silver lined glass beads to go with it. I bought a lot of them several years ago but I never found the exact shade again. I love how they shimmer against the grey. 

I added some accents with some other beads closely but asymmetrical arranged around the pendant. There are some african recyled glass beads, some from thailand and several of my own ceramic clay beads. I think I used up all of my small and tiny beads I made. Mostly I tend to work lager but seeing how well the smaller ones fit here... uh... I need to make more!

 Here you can see the knots a little bit better. On the left side I had to make one a little bigger since the hole was also quite big even with a little bead as "stopper" added.

They way how the end of the waxed linen hung after I finished the necklace was something that I liked somehow. I entangled the single strands and cut them a little bit.

 Although I have to admit I am still not sure whether I should keep it like this or rather cut them completely...

So here you go, all my favorite colours, my favorite theme and one of my favorite techniques... all in my comfort zone... and sometimes this is exactly what I need :)

Thank you Lesley for this beautiful pendant!

Please have a look what all the others created with this months COM! :)

Art Elements team
Laney Mead
Claire Fabian (you are here)

Dienstag, 2. Mai 2017

Take a deep breath...


There are still a lot of things on my to-do list that I just didn't manage to do in the last weeks/months. I am sorry but I am not ready to write about this here, at least not now. It will take a little bit more time to be processed by myself.

But the sun is finally out again, the temperatures are getting mild and all the plants around us are in full growth mode. It makes me feel lighter and like I am finally breathing free again.

This month's component of the month (COM) at Art Elements (AE) is a gorgeous bead made by Jennifer Cameron. She had the Northern Lights in mind while creating these beads but actually felt they rather have an ocean feeling to them. I agree and for me this is perfect.

The bead I got has a deep and clear blue that remindes me of the surreal wonderful colours of the Mediterranean sea in the summer time. The blue you can only see when the sun is on its peak of power and the skies are cerulean blue.

And it makes me smile. It brings me to the moments on Formentera in spain in the summer time when everything is just as it should be. The air is filled with the fragrance of pines, rosmarine and thyme, the light so stark at the white sand and red rocks, you can taste the salt on your lips and the ocean so powerful vibrant and clear showing all shades of blue to turquoise.

I believe we are all lost from time to time. Struggle with the world around us and even more with ourselves. Formentera always brought me back to myself. Let me take a deep breath...

So for me this bead was a wonderful inspiration and reminder. Thank you very much Jennifer!

PS: Just for the record: I used actually some wool from my stash and some cotton thread. Both were fiddled through the bead, knotted and then I wrapped the wool around the cotton thread. At the end I also added some turquoise waxed linen to add some highlights. The ceramic bead is from Grubbi ceramics by Natalie McKenna and the small ones are african glass beads.

PPS: By the way, the necklace looks great when worn with a very tribal but elegant look. They weight of the bead is perfect for this, not too much, not too light weight :)

PPPS:Please have a look at what everyone else made this month!

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

Samstag, 4. März 2017

Have a Heart – February Component of the Month Reveal at Art Elements

This time I really have to say sorry. To Jenny as well as the rest of you who came here from Art Elements (where the component of the month is hosted) to my blog in the hope to see what gorgeous heart I got and what I created with it. I managed the creation part, but let alone have some time during the daylight hours to take pictures... didn't happen. The last weeks were quite full with work, more work, illness, did I mention work?, some family related things...

Somehow the part to take the pictures, edit and upload them seems to take way longer than anything else. Not that this is true. It is rather that I still need to buy a new cable for my digital camera (or rather finally buy a new one! If you follow my blog you know that I plan this for years now...). Until that I have to use my phone. It is not that I don't like the camera at my phone. I have a Huawei and the camera actually is quite good. But it makes too good pictures in the sense that it already changes the image. I hate that. I want to do my picture editing myself and don't want to first readjust my image before I change it again... arghs! I have to admit I just used the preinstalled app, maybe with a different camera app it wouldn't happen. 

Jenny asked us whether we had any preferences (colour, pendant or cabochon, ...). I just said that I would love to be surprised. So she send me this blue heart with the golden crackle. Now we come to my other dilemma (my blog post sounds rather grumbling, no? ;)). I like the heart and the crackle and the wire stitches to hold and mend the broken heart. I just don't do hearts. I can't explain it. Of course I knew this from the beginning and I chose to go along since I love challenges and I know that the only way to overcome this kind of hesitation with materials, shapes or colours is through using them.

Not that that it worked with yellow so far...

...but with pink!

I was tempted to incorporate the heart to a mixed media piece, I even had several perfect fitting backgrounds. But it felt wrong, it felt like the easy way and not a challenge so I used it as for was it was: A pendant.

I shredded an old chiffon neckerchief. On one side of the necklace I braided the fabric while on the other side I let three strands lose. Maybe I will braid them too in the future, not so sure about the rawness...but I like the look. 

I connected the fabric and the heart to a bronze chain. Bright gold was too golden for me (and I don't have real gold here just brass). To repeat the blue and to bring it all together, I added blueish beads to the bronze chain.

I am quite pleased with the organic look of the combination of fabric and how from the blue heart the blue beads seem to grow up. 

Only not so sure about the side with the open chiffon stripes...

So, thank you again Jenny for this heart. I got more comfortable to work with it while I tried different things and the next heart will hopefull be a little easier for me to work with (and as I said, I am not sure why hearts are so difficult for me even when I like them!).

If you are curious how the other hearts looked like and even more what the other contributors and guest at Art Elements created with theirs, please have a look at their blogs!


Art Elements team: 
Claire Fabian (you are here)


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