Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Explorations - The Adventure Continues into 2014

I have explored a number of new ideas this year... I will talk about just a few here.

Themed Bead Assemblies

All year, I've been wanting to play with the idea of putting beads together into a themed assembly or composition.

Cuckoo Clock bead assembly

Ideas I've been toying with include:
  • Cuckoo clocks with dangling leaf pendulums or possibly baby birds.
  • Log and branch slices, bark textures, and leaves, assembled in layers.
  • Trees with birds inside or on them, Bird houses with birds inside them.
  • Branches with leaves attached or hanging off them.
  • Treasure Hearts with a hollow space for a little arrow bead, or a flower bead, or maybe a bronze key, or who knows what?
  • Word Clouds - clouds that have little words all over them and letters dangling below like rain.
  • Bird houses with bird beads in them, eggs, and other little discoveries.
The idea would be that all the parts can be removed and used independently by the jewelry designer, or all together as a pendant or even an ornament. For example, the bird bead can be removed from the bird house and each can be used separately.

I finally got around to trying some of these ideas out...

Cuckoo Clock with tiny leaf charms

Cuckoo clock detail: a cobbled roof!

Log slice and leaf layered composition

Other "tree parts" for layered assemblies: tree slices, leaves, bark.

Owl in Tree Home

Owl in Tree Home

Owl Tree Details

Owl on branch

Branch assembly with tiny leaf charms

I plan to continue this exploration into 2014. I have been working on some sketches. I want to try a variety of themed assemblies for beads. I also want to try this for pottery and other media.

Other Thoughts for 2014 Based on Explorations Begun This Year...

This past summer, my husband Don had to clear some trees, and I asked him to make me some tree cookies (log slices).

I used these as little jewelry, bead and photo displays. They are wonderful and have inspired other ideas.... like this one with ceramic and wood elements (by the way this was also the inspiration for a version in ceramic, in the photos above)... I want to explore this further. I'm contemplating setting up a little woodworking bench for this!

The other day, Don split some hardwood cherry wood for our wood stove (from trees that had blown down in a fierce storm - so sad that this lovely wood could not be sold and used for furniture!)... I could not resist snagging a piece to use for photographing my work. The naturally split wood grain is so beautiful - so rich in the red cherry color! I definitely want to try some ideas using this in projects other than as a photo prop!

Well that's all I have in mind so far, for 2014, but honestly, they way I work is an inspiration will typically hit me and off I go in a new direction, working in the flow of ideas. So I can't really say for sure what I will be doing throughout 2014. Some or all of these ideas may get done or they may get displaced by some new exploration. We'll see!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Serpent Mound Revisited

Some time back, while I still lived in northern Kentucky, I made a visit to ancient sites in Ohio: Serpent Mound and Leo Petroglyph Rock. This journey was part of a series of explorations following a vision I had of a Copper Star.

Serpent Mound

Copper Star
This drawing (above) is just a fragment. In my vision, the star was surrounded by crows.

I was advised by a friend to visit these sites to see what I might find there related to this vision. I did not find a copper star, but I found other interesting things, including copper water in a nearby stream. I also saw glyphs that reminded me of Mishipeshu, the Copper Monster of Lake Superior (as a young girl, I lived near Lake Superior - ever since, I have been fascinated by the stories and myths of that region).

After visiting the sites in Ohio, I happened to meet an elder Hopi woman who was living in the area. She had been asked by her teacher on 3rd Mesa to go there and start up teaching circles. According to Hopi history, this region had been home to ancient Hopi migrations, and many of the mounds and other sites are remnants of that time. The Serpent Mound in particular is said to be of Hopi origin. I joined one of Grandmother J's teaching circles and over time learned that the copper star was a Hopi sign. She showed me a "dreaming blanket" that had on it a picture of a copper star surrounded by 24 crows! I was stunned.

Anyway, here are some images of the area, and glyphs related to my story here...

Map of Serpent Mound

Bird figure with a spirit coming out or in of it's mouth!
It seems to be some kind of transformation concept.

A bear track image - my foot fit inside it perfectly.

A creature on the Leo Petroglyph Rock - an Owl?

Mishipeshu - the Copper Monster of Lake Superior

Copper Water near the Leo Petroglyph Rock

During this period, I also had a dream of a strange being gazing at me from beneath water.  My note at the time: "...from beneath a veil of swamp green water, a blinking eye gazes back at me."

So... I recently reviewed some of my old sketch books, whereupon I decided to revisit this dream image, and make it into clay.

Then it hit me... my dream image of the eye was related to my visit to Serpent Mound (duh!). Perhaps it was my subconsciousness morphing my experience into the image of a living serpent-like creature that could literally stare back at me, or on a more esoteric level, maybe I was able to connect with a strange being out of an ancient time. Who knows? It doesn't really matter - I don't need an answer. I prefer to leave my imagination to it's own devices - much more fun!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Latest Doings and Makings...

I've been slowly getting ready for the holidays with various ideas for beads. Still haven't thought through what I want to do for ornaments. Not sure I will do any this year. Hmm...

Here's just a few photos of what I've been up to...

First some sketches for sets of beads in a "Holiday Birds" series...

Here's some of the beads in progress...

I'm also working on a set of Chanukah beads, here is a dreidel bead, one of the beads in the set...

A new Owlie bead! Meet Owlie Chick:

I've also been watching over the building of the new studio. Still so much to do! I noticed out back that several cobblestones had been dug up and were laying around. This area is full of cobblestones, smoothly worn stones from the glaciers that used to be here. Some are quite large. They look like dinosaur eggs!

Last week or so, I found an enormous mushroom near the cabin. It was about the size of a pie!

I decided to remove it so I flipped it over ("TIMBER!!!"). The underside is so amazing. 

That's it for news - other than the wind storm blowing through here the past couple of days. Sounds like waves crashing on a shore. Just amazing.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween / Day of the Dead Blog Hop

So....Diana Ptaszynski decided to host a Day of the Dead and Halloween Blog Hop. She announced it on her blog last month.. And since I have not made jewelry since FOREVER ago, I jumped in, thinking this would be a good kickstart to getting back into the jewelry-making groove.

First, I needed a Day of the Dead focal. I had nothing in my bead collection and because I had gotten very busy with studio construction and a trunk show in Rochester NY, I ended up with very little time to make anything. So I needed to go shopping. The very first person I thought of was Staci Smith. I love her Day of the Dead bronze focals. Thank goodness she had at least one left, which I promptly snatched up and which she immediately shipped to me! Yay Staci!

Almost as soon as I got it, I started thinking about the style I wanted to design in. I definitely wanted a tribal / indigenous feel with LOT's of color. I have a wonderful collection of small czech seed beads that remind me of african and indian beads. Once I started pulling them out I knew I was on the right track. I added a bit of black chain I had been saving, one of my rustic ancient blue grotto gears along with a chestnut brown stick toggle, some gorgeous sky blue beads by Shannon German (Missficklemedia), and a stone textured black Wing Ding by Genea Crivello-Knable.

That's it! Hope you enjoyed my little creation - feels good to be making jewelry again!

Be sure to check out all the other blogs participating in the  Halloween / Day of the Dead Blog Hop!

Karen Totten (me!)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Exploring Ancient Forms

I've been playing with a lot of ancient forms and textures lately, along with symbols and glyphs. Really digging this stuff.

Once glazed, these will go to Bead Fest, then when I'm back later in August I will introduce these and many others to my shop.

I also did a quick glaze test... liking the results...