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Artist Spotlight, Top Picks from Crafty Saturday

Thanks to all who participated in our Dog and (Cat) Days of Summer Crafty Saturday link party. We do these link ups once a week and all handmade artists are invited to participate. Usually once or twice a month we do a themed link up.  Here are my top picks for this week.

treasuryI couldn’t resist this whimsical miniature by Eel Monkey Art StumBuddy – short for “Stumpy Buddy” is a new EelmonkeyArt Original Series!  Custom made Buddy to look just like your pet. Each totem is hand sculpted from polymer clay, painted and sealed. Each is then adorned with ears fashioned from vintage dictionary pages and decked out with a fancy hand gathered crepe paper collar or tag. Each Buddy sits atop a hand flattened bottle cap. Signed and dated on bottom .



owl

I love the look of this owl pendant by Defiant Jewelry with the green background and metal detail. The owl has beautiful black gems used for the eyes and a dark teal background that brings out the brass coloring and beautiful details of the owl. The pendant also includes a matching brass chain and lobster clasp. 

 

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DSCN0144I’ve been vacationing in Europe the past few weeks so I thought I would take a break from my usual posts and share a bit about the art and/or architecture in the countries I visited. As an art major, that seems to be the first thing my eyes gravitate to. For the most part, we toured the Mediterranean coast and the countries included Spain, France, and Italy.

Today I will share about Barcelona which we found to be a lovely city. I remember from my art history course a bit about the Spanish architect  Antoni Gaudi. It is easy for that knowledge to slip away so this was a good refresher. Gaudi’s work reigns supreme in Barcelona. For Americans he’s like the Frank Lloyd Wright of Spain, though his style as nothing like Wright’s. He lived from 1822-1926. Work had already begun on the cathedral the Sagrada Famalia (Church of the Holy Family) in 1882 when he took over its design. Gaudi died before its completion. It is still under construction today. The outside, with its tall spirals, reminds me of the drip sandcastles I learned to make as a child. It has a newer wing that was not in his plans. This was implemented by the present patron who is contributing to the church’s completion. In my opinion, it doesn’t blend well. Even without that jarring difference the exterior stands out as truly unique.

The outside has the 7 fruit of the spirit represented in the colored bunches of fruit (tiled I believe). There is a tree that looks like a Christmas tree added which is the only other color and then multiple groupings of sculpture representing different scenarios from the holy family.  On the other side of the church the façade is not Gaudi’s work at all but the work of Josep Maria Subirachs whose modern style has a cubism format.  So you can see, that the various styles do not necessarily complement each other but it is certainly a sight you will not want to miss if you visit the city.

DSCN0146Inside are magnificent arches and stained glass but all with Gaudi’s modern style that incorporates the feel of caverns and trees. Gaudi was going for a feel of a forest.  It is much more cohesive and awe-inspiring than the exterior. I am including a photo of a model so you can see the church as a whole.

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We also visited the Parc Guelle, also designed by Gaudi. He originally intended it to be a village with (if I remember correctly) 25 homes. He died before it’s completion  but did finish three houses. It includes a pillared entryway, fountains and arched columns, again with the feel of caves and forest.

Beautiful gardens of colorful flowers surround the park. A undulating tiled wall skirts a sanded terrace. You can see the buildings (including the groundskeeper’s house) in the photos. These remind me of gingerbread houses with a bit of Dr. Seuss thrown in. I can’t help but wonder if Gaudi was also influenced by St. Basil’s cathedral in Russia with it’s colorful, playful style roof.

Gaudi also designed homes for the bourgeois (nouveau riche) which are filled with cavern-like arch designs and colorful tile. What impresses me most about the man is that these designs were all done before he died in 1920 so they must have been even more jarringly different at the time for they are still amazingly unique today.

I am inspired to work more with colored tiles from this experience.  Barcelona is truly a beautiful city.  If you haven’t already seen it, you might want to add it to you bucket list of places to visit.

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DSCN0149DSCN0156Here’s a wikipedia link to more info on Gaudi.

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Top Picks from Crafty Satuday

We had a great turn out of handmade artists sharing the work this week. Maybe more and more artists are sharing about this great way to promote each others work.  Here are my two top choices from Saturday. It was very hard to choose with so many great handmade gifts.

fusedglass

Wall art fused glass sculpture by Rose Glass Jewelry.  Coral Fused Glass sculpture. Unique blending of color. Greens, browns, grays, creamy white and a wide variation of each shade. Works on a wall, window or plate stand. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

chessboard

Folding wooden chess board by Hand Carved Wooden Gift

* Made of seasoned wood with nice buff finish & velvet lining inside box.
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Crafty Saturday Show and Sell #27

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WGabyWatercolore’re in the throes of summer and I thought it appropriate to share a summer painting I did several years ago. Pictured is a water color I did of my middle daughter, Gabrielle (Gaby to us) floating leisurely in an inner tube when we visited a friend’s house on Smith Mountain Lake several years ago in Viriginia. I have three children and I turned my hand to doing several water colors of them. I found a water theme that tied several in together. This is probably one of my favorites.

I’m not doing water colors much these days, though I did bring a miniature set of water colors and paper with me on my trip to Europe thinking I might have time to kill in the airport, on the plane or in the hotel room. I like to work from photos so good composition is important to me. I typically use an art projector to project the photo onto the water color paper in a darkened room. Then I draw lightly to capture the basic shapes. From there I do the water colors.

Here’s hoping you have time this summer to float leisurely in an inner tube.

 

 

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This Week’s Handmade Picks

I’m still in Europe and celebrated the 4th of July in Barcelona, Spain. Today I am posting from Nice, France, but I have to say what a priviledge it is to live in a free country. I never want to take that freedom for granted. Thanks to all who participated in our patriotic link party. Featured are the handmade works of several artist to to me represented our red, white, and blue theme well.

flagkeychain

Here is  a red, white, and blue key chain by Creations HBH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

boardflagAlways a fan of creative reuse, I also couldn’t resist this American flag made from a pallet by M Squared Home Decor. 

 

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Handmade Ceramic Bead Coin Bead Bracelet

brb001cI am learning the ins and outs of using my dual media kiln (does glass, class, and ceramics). I wanted to make my own beads. Pictured is a handmade ceramic coin bead bracelet, my first official piece of jewelry made from kiln fired beads I did myself. It incorporates a glazed pastel blue coin bead, recycled wire wrapped glass like beach glass wrapped with copper wire and brass wire. I tumbled the glass from recycled wine bottles. Also included are  white glazed round beads, also kiln fired.  The bracelet has two green accent beads and closes with a handmade “S” clasp.  I can take orders for these in the following colors: bright yellow, pink, lavender, blue, green, and white.

To make the coin beads I rolled out low fire Lyman Red clay to 1/8″ using a rolling pin on a scrap of sheetrock.   Clay can shrink up to 20 percent during the firing process. Normally, for larger items, I roll them thicker, 3/8″ but for the beads I reduce it.

I cut these out using a round drink top, the kind you pop onto a plastic cup to make it into a bottle. Almost any round bottle cap will do. You have to be able to push the clay out of the cutter so having one end open on the top makes it easier. It’s the same principle as using a cookie cutter.

Next, I used metal buttons and an ornate metal earring to make an imprint design.

2014-06-09 19.03.42I reshaped the edges of each coin bead since pressing into them and removing them from the cutout mold can distort them. To do this, I gently picked them up and rolled them on their edges.

I moved the cut out pieces to a plastic lined metal tray to let them dry to the chocolate hard stage. This is the stage where you can still work with the clay but it’s a little less pliable and retains its shape better. I used a wooden shish kabob skewer to make holes in them. If using bead racks you want to make sure the hole after firing with fit the wire on your racks.

Afterwards I cleaned up any “boogers”. The cleaner you get your clay at this stage, the less clean up you have to do after you bisque fire.  If you find your clay bead cracks on the edge when you make the hole, you might want to spritz the 2014-06-24 19.11.14beads with a fine mist of water.

The next step is letting them air dry to the leather hard stage, another day or so.

Now they are ready to be turned into bisque. I fired them at slow bisque (cone 04). Since they are not glazed, you can lay them right on the kiln shelves or use bead racks, or tile racks with Nichrome wire, a heat-resistant wire.

After bisque firing, take out and clean up, sanding as necessary. Blow off or wipe off each bead so the glaze will adhere.

Glaze each bead according to your glaze directions. I found that the red clay showed through the Stroke and Coat glaze after firing . Stroke and Coat is more for ceramics. By painting them with an undercoat of white Stoke and Coat, and them painting two coats of glaze, I got a more pronounced color. Place on bead racks or tile racks with Nichrome wire. Be aware that the heavier the bead and the thinner the wire, the more sag. When using the tile racks and wire pieces I only put three beads on each wire. I loaded more on to the bead rack since the wire used for those is much thicker. The photo on the left shows you the results after firing them.

I won’t go into the entire process of making the bracelet. I used wire wrapping and basic jewelry design techniques to put it all together.

This bracelet is available in my Etsy shop but from July 2 – July 13 the shop will be on  vacation mode while I travel. I can take custom orders on color and size. If you are interested, email me with your desired color. If you email me before July 14, you will get it at half off. It will list for $40 but I’m offering it at $20 if you pre-order. (I may not be able to respond to your order until after July 13.

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Every Saturday handmade artists are invited to share their handmade gifts on Serendipitini. Today two I’m featuring two selected handmade gifts from Crafty Saturday.

caketopperIt’s that time of year when many different couples gathering friends and family around them to say, “I do.”  Here’s a great personalized wedding cake topper from Martinela Cartoons.

Easy DIY paper cake topper and centrepiece decoration, includes wedding couple figures customized with features, clothes and colours plus a banner with the names.

A unique super easy DIY paper cake topper that will impress your guests, a great wedding gift for the bride and groom, 2 brides or two grooms. Make as many as you need for personal use, Decorate the cake and centerpieces!

 

 

 

 

 

SoyCandleTobacco cedar scented soy candle house in an a green  hand painted mason jar by Curious Carrie.

 

This is one special listing, for a fantastic soy candle, that comes in an amazing, vintage (style) green mason jar!
The candle has been scented with Tobacco Cedar, which begins with notes of fresh citrus; middle notes of tobacco leaf and western cedar are blended with undertones of sandalwood, for a truly delightful aroma.
(This is one fragrance that can be enjoyed by both men and women!)

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