Thursday, February 28, 2019

Art Elements Birds Of Prey Theme Reveal

This month's theme over at Art Elements is Birds of Prey. I was the lucky host for this theme and chose it particulalry because I love owls, hawks and eagles. But specifically owls!! I know many people who share my obsession so I figured it was time for this sort of theme challenge.
I had sooooo many ideas for projects that I wanted to create this month but here it is the end of the month & I finished a few but not nearly the list I had in mind.
The first thing I started was a VERY lengthy freeform peyote beaded piece. That consumed quite a bit of time. I generally only bead at night for 3-4 hours while watching tv. So this piece was created mainly at night for about 9 consecutive nights plus I spent a Saturday & Sunday afternoon beading as well. All in all it took about 45-50 hours of beading. I probably could've done it quicker if I had known what I was doing-haha. I had never tackled anything quite like this. So here is Athena's Owl.
I glued the porcelain cabochon (by Laura Mears Designs) onto stiff stuff & beaded around it. I cut the stiff stuff as though I was going to make a pendant out of it then started some free form peyote around the beaded owl. Once I had enough beading I wrapped it around a stick and kept doing freeform peyote.
The stick was nice an smooth with a 'Y'  shape. There was one knot on the branch that I left open for the knot to poke through. There is a slight ruffle around the wing area of the owl. It's been awhile since I attempted a ruffled peyote piece. I need to work on that a little more, but this was enough of a ruffle to mimic the wings.

Athena's Owl perched in a tree

Next piece was also a Laura Mears Design cabochon. I paired it with a teardrop labradorite and a moon snail shell almost the same color as the owl. Originally I was going to make a necklace but had a change of plans.
Various views of the beaded pendant placed on wet felted fabric and embellished
 I decided that this piece needed to be a mixed media wall 'jewelry'. I created a wet felted piece approximatelly 12' square and placed it on tan wool (thanks to teammate Jenny's upcycled skirt). I did some free motion machine quilting then stitched the beaded owl pendant in the center. Added some hand embroidery and beading, then stapled the tan fabric backing to a stretched canvas to hang on the wall.
Full view. The color is distorted in this full view. The above collage is much more accurate.
If you follow me or our monthly challenges you know that I am creating a goddess or spirit doll eacah month. So this month's doll is Athena-goddess of wisdom & war with her faithful owl riding on her shoulder.
Various stages of the doll development

I used a pattern that I had never used before from Patti Medaris Culea's book, 'Creative Cloth Doll Making'. I have had this book for years and had never made one from her patterns, so this was another new thing for me. Especially since I hate following patterns. I prefer to wing it. About halfway through the process I did ditch several of her ideas in favor of 'doing my own thing'.  I made mistakes galore but learned quite a bit in the process.
Making the needle-felted owl was another 'new' thing for me this time. I have never attempted anything 3-d so this little guy was one of those things where I watched a YouTube video and then did my own thing. I 'winged it' no pun intended-haha!
Red headed Athena with her owl on her shoulder. Complete with warrior shield and spear

Athena in her full glory sitting on a pedestal. I am really jealous of her gray velvet cape. That turned out better than I expected. Maybe I'll have to make one for myself.
Last but not least. I tend to procastinate when tackling something that is new and daunting-like the art doll and the needle-felted owl. So while pondering how I was going to go about making her I ended up making a quickl little journal cover using the needle-felted owl I showed you all in the theme announcement post. It was gifted to me by team mate Caroline.
I actually made it to fit a small sketchbook/journal. The leather strips slip over the outside covers. Took about 15 minutes!
I thoroughly enjoyed this month's theme, but then again I love every month's themes and the whole creative process.
I do hope you will all take some time to visit everyone's blog and see all the creations from this month's theme.
Here's the list of participating guests and team members.


Team Members: 

Cathy You're here!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Art Elements January Moon Challenge Reveal

It's that time of the month again-Art Elements theme reveal. It was Lindsay's turn to choose the theme and she chose the moon. I was so thrilled! I love depicting the moon in creative projects and have used it as inspiration for many past fiber art pieces.
This time around I had soooo many ideas I was torn as to which ones to try and accomplish. Plus I also created a rather long list at the beginning of the year of various projects I wanted to make during the course of 2019.
This is a photo I took about 8 years ago when I lived in Illinois. The moon was FABULOUS. Plus I played around with it in photoshop and added some texture layers .
Some of my moon pieces were accomplished, some are in the process and I have realized that my year-long list is just a tad too grandiose and overhwhelming. So I reworked my to-do list and worked on my moon pieces while trying to overhaul my studio.
First moon piece was something I had been thinking about for a while. I do a lot of rust dyeing and eco-printing on fabric so I can have a supply for random projects. Rust dyed fabric was the perfect thing for a moon. So I rummaged through my bin of rusty linen and found the perfect piece.
Rust dyed fabric cut in circle and fused to solid black cotton.

Then I started stitching trees onto the fabric to be in the foreground of the moon.

I love how this turned out! I stitched some dark gray over the black threads along the branches so the moon appears to glow between branches. I stitched a random 'ground' below the trees and added some french knots for start. It is mounted on a 12x12 canvas and framed.
The above moon cabochon is from fellow AE team member Caroline. Perfect for this theme. I had almost forgotten that I had it. I beaded around it and it hangs off a brass metal tube.
    I added the same seed beads I used in the bezel to create the necklace along with some coin or moon shaped freshwater pearls.
The next piece is a cabochon I got from Jenny, another fellow team member. I actually beaded the cabochon sometime last year and never created a necklace for the cab, so I decided I just had to make a necklace to finish off this lovely lunar hare.
Beaded lunar hare cabochon hanging from silver metal tube.
Full necklace created with amazonite beads and silk cord from another team member's Etsy shop-MarshaNealStudio
My final (completed) moon piece is part of my 2019 year-long series that I have planned for the year. I am creating a 'spirit doll' each month. I am going to attempt to blend our monthly theme with each doll. I want them to have some beading, maybe some stitching and lots of character and possibly relate the spirit doll to a particular mythological goddess.
In honor of this month's full/wolf moon my spirit doll is loosely based on Artemis, daughter of Zeus & Leto. Artemis was a shapeshifter who morphs into a wolf. Artemis is also a moon goddess. I also thought of calling her Lupa which means she-wolf in latin. In Roman mythology Lupa was a she-wolf who nursed Romulus & Remus. There is a bronze statue in the Piazza dei Conservatori in Capitoline Hill in Rome (I failed to photograph that statue while I was there last October). The she-wolf suckling the twins has been a symbol of Rome since ancient times.
The fabric on the left is a piece of black fabric that I found in my stash of discharged fabrics. This particular piece was created by laying an old crocheted doily over black fabric and spraying with Tilex (yep the cleaner with bleach) let is sit a few minutes and then pull the doily off and rinse the fabric well in vinegar water then plain water. The wolf cabochon is from Laura Mears Designs and the carved wood crescent moon is from cabcabana on Etsy.
I beaded around the wolf and the moon cabochon separately. Then I stitched the beaded wolf onto the fabric that I cut out in my goddess shape.
Here is my January 'spirit doll', Artemis-shapeshifter and moon goddess.
She has extra long wool locks for hair and a white fur hooded wrap. She has captured the moon above her head.

Full view of the wolf moon goddess

I left a portion of her body unstitched on the bottom. I think I am going to insert a wooden pole/stick and mount it on a wooden base. Unless I can find a decent shadow box to house her in.
close-up of her body using the discharged fabric

 The white fur wrap is a rabbit pelt that I bought at the Cherokee Indian Reservation at the western NC/eastern TN border about 24-25 years ago. I have been waiting for just the right project ;-)
I didn't use the whole pelt so this white fur may show up on another spirit doll later in the year.
Her backside. Long wool locks hanging out from beneath her fur wrap.

 I had so much fun with these projects this month. Thank you to Lindsay for choosing such a perfect theme to start the new year! I am anxiously awaiting the reveal so I can see everyone's creations.
Here is the list of guests and AE member participants-

Art Elements Crew:

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Art Elements WhiteTheme Reveal

It's that time again...Art Elements theme reveal. December's theme challenge was hosted by team member Claire and she chose white. I am a huge fan of a monochromatic palette and have done numerous pieces in shades of white/ecru/beige so I was really excited about this theme.

Per usual, I wrote down about 5 ideas that I thought I would create. Yet again, I did not get a chance to create them all.

First piece was created on natural colored linen and I chose an array of white, ecru, winter white, beige & tan threads to use. I was gifted some lovely natural cheesecloth by my Art Elements' Secret Santa so I just had to incorporate that. I also found the ceramic cabochon in my Secret Santa package. The colors are perfect and it appears to be a goddess. 

Full view of 'Climbing the Tree of Enlightenment'
When I started this I had no idea where I was going with it. I just took the cheesecloth, ripped it, stretched it and started stitching circular motifs. Then I ruched the cheesecloth around the goddess cabochon (with a tad of glue on the back) placed some more stitching around it and said, "what now?" I had no idea what I was making.  Just stitching intuitively and randomly. Then I got the idea to create a tree with the goddess sort of sitting on a limb. This whole thing would've probably worked much better if I had planned in advance. I just tend to fly by the seat of my pants without a lot of forethought. Anyway, the tree started to grow and it is very chaotic and busy on one side with the tranquil tree on the other side. I decided to name it 'Climbing the Tree of Enlightenment'.
Close-up of tree, cheesecloth and the background linen which is a linen/poly blend.
Close-up of cabochon and a better view of the cheesecloth
I love the colors and shades of white & tan that are in this piece. Very calming.

Next up is a small little wintry scene done in some of the same color threads. I really wanted to create a wet felted piece in winter whites/beige and pale gray that I could stitch on, but ran out of time. My Secret Santa gifted me with some gorgeous undyed merino, silk tussah, silk hankies and silk ribbons.
I know that I will have to create a wet/dry felted piece with those beauties! So stay tuned for that.

The linen I used for this piece is a higher quality 100% nautral linen.
Since this is a small oval hoop  I decided to keep the stitching very simple and the design very simple.
Full view of wintry scene  

I had fun with this as always and I know for sure this color palette is one that I will continue to return to.
I am looking forward to seeing eveyone's white creations. Please have a look for yourself.
Here's the list of guests and AE members.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Art Elements Star Theme Reveal

I know I sound like a broken record BUT are we already at the end of another month?!?

Laney is the hostess of this month's theme at the Art Elements blog and she chose stars. What a fun and appropriate theme for this time of year. It prompted me to make a few Christmas ornaments as well as an embroidered piece.
First thing I made was a star/pentagram & moon design. I drew the design I wanted and cut out a pattern. Traced it on muslin and started stitching. I began stitching the moon first, then my original plan was to do the star/pentagram in beads as well as the little squiggly designs in the moon. As usual the more I stitched I changed my mind about doing the star in beads and just went with a stitched pentagram. I was still planning the areas of the moon to have sparkly beads but when I started stitching beads on I really didn't like it. So about a third of the way through, I ripped the beads out and just used french knots that kind of mimic beads. I like this version better than my original plan. I have seen some pentagrams interwoven with the moon but I left mine in front of the moon and just stitched the pentagram as though it's interlocking. The pentagram/pentacle is supposed to represent Mother Earth, prosperity and protection. The crescent moon is representative of intuition and the feminine nature. Supposedly, when pentacle & moon are layered together they represent wisdom and intuition.
Close-up of the collaged embroidery hoop and stitching

I thought the muslin looked a bit too clean & new so I saved some black coffee and let it sit for a few days then 'painted' the background with coffee to lightly stain it and tone it down. Normal people would have stained the fabric BEFORE embroidering! Then I decided to use a technique I had seen on IG from one of my favorite artists, Andreia of Black Cat Creative Studio. She collages and sometimes paints her embroidery hoops which really finishes it off nicely. I used some leopard print tissue paper to collage onto the outside embroidery hoop. Making sure to give it a couple coats of mod podge to seal it.
Full view of hoop

Close-up of my French knot 'beads'

While I was working on the above piece I started thinking about making Christmas ornaments.
I made a bunch of felt ornaments with embroidery last year and I also made some wood burned ornaments. I decided to do the same this year. So I'm trying out some new designs and ideas for both the felt and wood ornaments.
Star themed embroidered felt ornaments
I failed to make any sort of pattern when I made these. So they are similar but not exactly the same since I just cut the star motif out freehand.
Next up, some thin balsa wood stars that I bought then drew designs on with a felt tip marker and wood burned. I used a brown stamp pap to 'antique' around the edges of the stars.
Wood burned ornaments with wire hangers
The final ornaments are actually a kit I bought probably 30+ years ago. I made a couple ornaments when I purchased the kit and then tucked it away. The kit has moved with me from PA to KY to CT to GA to IL and now here with me in NC. Luckily I was able to locate the paper strips and instructions since these are PERFECT for the star theme.
Instructions for German Folk Art Stars

I guess these little stars could be considered origami stars as well. But I bought the kit in PA in an area where the Moravians settled back in the 1700's. These are supposed to be Moravian Stars and according to the kit it is considered German Folk Art. My husband's hometown actually had a Moravian church that was so lovely to visit on Christmas Eve for their 'love feast'. Almost everyone in that town puts up Moravian stars on their porch or doorway during the Christmas holiday.
We used to have one we put on our porch also but all those moves took its toll on the star.
Moravian Star ornaments 

When I first pulled the instructions out, I forgot how tedious the process was! At least for the first couple of stars. It took me a while to get the hang of folding, turning and tucking so the first several are a bit wonky. I ended up using all the paper and am happy to report that I think I may have it mastered. I say may because I'm sure if I don't make any more this year, I will forget by next year-haha! Fortunately there are a ton of websites with these instructions as well as YouTube videos.
Close-up of Moravian Stars.
I am so glad I was able to find this little kit. I can now cut paper strips to any width, length & color to create more. I think a small tree with nothing but these little Moravian stars would be so cool!

I am really looking forward to blog hopping to see all the starry creations. I am sure there will be a wonderful variety represented by all our members and guests. Thank you Laney for hosting this theme.
So come along and let's do a blog hop!

Here's the lists of guest participants as well as our members who are joining in the fun:

Guest Artists
Art Elements Team
Cathy You're here

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Art Element’s October Theme Reveal-Petroglyphs

This month over at Art Elements Karen chose the theme. She decided on petroglyphs. And as usual I love the theme. This lends itself to so many art forms. I actually did a mixed media piece last year inspired by the cave paintings in Lascaux, France. You can check it out here.

This time around, I considered doing another mixed media piece similar to the Lascaux one but I was out of town the first 2 weeks of October and when I returned I suffered from jet lag and re-entry to the real world. And then we did a silly thing & got a new puppy---I know, we’re crazy!

My plans for this month’s theme got sidetracked. I knew I wanted to use rust dyed fabric regardless of what direction I went. The first thing I did was grab a Speedball Speedy Carve Block that I had laying around. I drew a design I had seen on Pinterest and started carving. you can see I never finished. Those darn circles got the best of me when I started carving around them. I have to say that the pink carve block is easier than the gray lino blocks for carving but small circles are ridiculously difficult when you have limited time. I intend to finish this one of these days. Then I will use it to stamp images on rust dyed fabric and either machine stitch or hand stitch around the images.
stamp carving in progress

On to the next idea-I grabbed a smaller piece of rust dyed fabric that I did back at our Art Elements Art Retreat back in August.  I love the colors and the patterns the rust created. It made it the perfect background for some petroglyphs. Again, I used some images I saw on Pinterest (mostly Native American symbols from Utah rock carvings). I used symbols for the sun, a heron, a rain dancer/rain maker shaman and the. Then some symbols for water or possibly lightening and a labyrinth. I did a quick sketch directly on the fabric with a white gel pen then started stitching. I didn’t like the solid ‘new’ look of the thread so I used some pan pastels in red oxide and burnt sienna to smudge it up in places to age my ‘cave drawings’.
close up of rain dancer shaman petroglyph

Raindancer, water/lightening and labyrinth symbols

Sun and heron symbols

Full view of rust dyed fabric with hadn stitched petroglyph symbols
I think I will still go back and do some random background stitches around the images. Mainly just stitching to highlight ‘cracks & crevices’ in the ‘rocky’ texture of the rust dyed fabric.
I am looking forward to checking out everyone’s creations. Sit back and take a a tour of all the participants.

Art Elements Team:
Lesley Watt:
Jenny Davies-Reazor:
Cathy Spivey Mendola: You are here!
Sue Kennedy:
Caroline Dewison:
Laney Mead:
Marsha Neal Minutella:
Claire Fabian:

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Art Elements' September Reveal-Faeries

Caroline chose the Art Elements' theme for this month--Faeries!!  I was so excited until I realized that this was such an enormous category and I didn't know where to start. I mean, do you create a typical fairy, water sprite, wood nymph, dragon, druid, mermaid, troll, toadstools, etc.  Such a fascinating amount of creatures and objects that could fall into this theme. My head was spinning....

So I pulled out my wonderful book by Stephanie Law titled 'Dreamscapes-Myth & Magic'  I adore this book. I love to study how she draws and paints these mythical creatures. I still have not attempted to use this book for painting lessons because I am afraid I will fail miserably. But I did use it as inspiration for some very quick sketches to try and jumpstart some faerie magic!
Quick sketches of dryads and water sprite
As soon as I drew the water sprite I knew what I wanted to create. I found some beautiful mottled black/charcoal gray print fabric in my stash that looked a little like branches against a night sky. That was my inspiration for creating the moonlight over a lagoon surrounded by brambles and branches with the silhouette of the water sprite in front of the moon.
Moon and night sky with hand embroidered water sprite

I painted the fabric with textile paint. The water sprite was scanned, enlarged and printed on cardstock to create a template. Once the paint on the fabric dried I used the template to trace the water sprite onto the fabric. Then I hand embroided the sprite-body was done in black and wings in charcoal gray.
Close up of machine stitching on the water
After hand stitching was done, I backed the fabric with quilt batting and used my sewing machine for some free motion stitching. I stitched a horizon line between sky and water with some stitching on the water. Then I added trees and marshy grasses to frame the lagoon.
Water Sprite in the Moonlight
Once all the stitching was done, I stretched the piece on a stretched canvas and stapled it on the backside. Voila, textile art-ready for hanging. Finished size-16"x20"  I am really happy with how this turned out.

While waiting for the paint to dry I decided to grab a stick and make a magic wand. Faerie wand, or witchy wand? Maybe it depends on how I use this wand. But I have been wanting to make one since we had the Dragon theme at AE a few years ago. I wanted to do one with a dragon claw on the end. I still may have to do one like that but this one has a huge optical calcite crystal with a labradorite stone on the end.
Optical Calcite with Labradorite stone
I used apoxie sculpt clay to create the bezel and hold the crystal on the end. I texturized the clay and created some sort of medallion beneath the labradorite. Once the apoxie sculpt cured I played with SO many different colors and paints, inks, etc. Trying to get the color and ageing just right. I tried alcohol inks, regular inks, Pinata paints and StazOn ink pads. In between all those applications I would sand it down with fine sandpaper and try a little more color using different products. Finally, I had to tell myself to just STOP. Leave it alone!! Then I used the Midnight Blue StazOn ink to dab on the stick. I also used Deco Arts Metallic luster in Rose Gold to rub over the painted areas and then buffed it.
You can see all the different colors that I used-midnight blue, lime green, denim blue, verdigris, dark brown and the metallic rose gold.
My magic wand
It's about 12" in length. That little nubby area I have my finger on above is where I broke off a stem. I used it as a design element (it's like a magic button;-)  I used extra Metallic Luster on that area.

The month slipped away as it always does and I didn't get to make anything else, but I am happy with the pieces I did create. The wand was super fun to make. I really want to make a whole bunch of them. And I always enjoy creating with fabrics and threads!

I can't wait to see what all the AE members and our guests have created for this month.

Here's the list of participants, so go take a look at everyone's creations.

Guest Artists


Art Elements Team

Cathy That's me!

Art Elements Birds Of Prey Theme Reveal

This month's theme over at Art Elements is Birds of Prey . I was the lucky host for this theme and chose it particulalry because I lov...