Thursday, May 31, 2018

Art Element's May Theme Reveal

This month for the Art Element theme challenge Lesley chose 'tide pools'. SO esciting!! But of course I was excited about last month's also. I am definitely a 'water' person-I love the beach and have collected sea shells my entire life, so this was right up my alley.

The problem...what medium, what design, where to start? The pictures I perused on Pinterest were a great source of inspiration. I have been fortunate to have been to many beaches along the east coast, the caribbean and Hawaii but I have never seen the tide pools of the northwest.  It seems they have a bounty of anemones that are brilliant along with gorgeous bright orange starfish. Those tide pools were my first choice of inspiration. Alas, I abandoned that one for now and went in a different direction.

Tide Pool Inspiration

My original plan for tide pool theme. Layers of fabrics, cheesecloth, sheers, tulle. Eventually I will do some machine & hand stitching, add some brilliant little anemones and fuse down that starfish.
 I went back to photos I have taken of beaches and tide pools and remembered the amazing coral beaches on Grand Cayman Island. There are vast areas along the beach on the northern side of the island where it's just huge chunks of fossilized coral with nooks and crannies everywhere with snails living all among the coral. I thought about doing that but instead chose these photos below for my inspiration.
Photos on the beaches of Grand Cayman. Pieces of coral and shells caught in the sandy tide pools along the coast. Bottom right photo is just a huge chunk of fossilized coral instead of a sandy beach.

After studying the above photos I decided to try wet felting a background that I could attach coral & shells to, then embellish further with hand stitching and beads.
'Cayman Tide Pool' -Felted background with coral, shells, hand stitching & beads

 I have written a blog post for the Art Elements site that will go live tomorrow explaining the process for creating the richly textured felt background.
Close-up of sections of the Cayman Tide Pool piece
I had so much fun with this one. My biggest issue was deciding when to stop adding coral and shells and stitching and beads! It just kept growing.
Please check out tomorrow's AE website to see more.

After I was almost finished with the Cayman Tide Pool piece I found myself still wanting to do another tide pool with COLOR. Yes, I will go back to my first piece eventually but I also started pulling elements and playing around with some tyvek to stitch down on fabric and embellish.
Another tide pool project in the works. Inked, distressed tyvek on batik fabric. The green buttons will serve as anemones. Hand stitching and beads will be added. I tucked in a green ceramic turtle bead (top R) and a brass starfish charm near the bottom.
I was also working on a bracelet that wasn't really intended to be a 'tide pool' piece but it does mimic the rocks and swirling water so I am adding this to my tide pool theme challenge.

Tide Pool cuff bracelet

I LOVE freshwater pearls and these are some of my favorite colors of pearls. I simply tacked some pearls down on ultrasuede and used seed beads to encircle the pearls then created some trailing tendrils with seed beads and glass pearls.
Beaded ultrasuede before gluing onto a brass cuff and edging. (sorry for the poor quality photo)
I cannot wait to see all the lovely tide pool projects created by our AE team and guests!
So come along and take a look at what was created this month.

AE Team Members:


  1. Your Cayman tidepool is so beautiful, I love all the textures, so are your other pieces of work

  2. What a wonderful ad varied selection of tide pool designs and all very lovely. I do have to say though that I fid the Cayman piece rather special... I just love the limited neutral palette and the textures and embellishments are perfect. Thank you very much for taking part.

  3. I think the felted background tide pool is gorgeous - so natural looking! The dark iridescent freshwater pearls are my favorites, too, love that bracelet!

  4. Thanks everyone! I reallly enjoyed this challenge and look forward to finishing my other tide pool pieces.

  5. OH MY! Amazing! Your pieces are fantastic, it's hard to pick a favorite! You are so talented! I do love all your stitched little details in the Cayman piece!

  6. I absolutely adore the felted Cayman piece, and I can't wait for your post about it! :) The freeform layout of the beading in the bracelet is eye-catching as well. Looking forward to your updates on the colored piece.

  7. That Cayman piece is STUNNING!'s so richly textured -- I could see it being a whole series study in a gallery. Wow!

  8. Wow. I am speechless over the Cayman piece. The level of depth and texture you created with the felting process, wool locks and beads is just fan-freaking-tastic!!! I actually like the natural muted palette of that piece even better than the bright color that most would expect. Amazing!!!

  9. Your felted pool is simply a work of art! I was already so curious seeing all the sneak peaks (and can't wait to see and read more about it tomorrow!) and it so gorgeous! I so want to see it in person (and touch it even if this may not be the best idea... still...the texture!), to really go close for all the little details. If you ever tire of it, it will always have a home with me! :)

  10. I absolutely love the felted piece with beach artifacts. It is amazing. The pearl bracelets are pretty special too. Great job!

  11. I am sure I'll be back to have another look, there is so much to see, so much detail that I think it can't be done at first look. Beautiful work of art!!

  12. Love the felted tide pool it looks so real! Your bracelet is pretty special.

  13. Such beautiful pieces it would be near impossible to choose a favourite, I love all the texture and details you managed to incorporate into your work!

  14. Whoa. I look forward to reading ( today's) post as to the texture. Wow. I love it. Really hard to find descriptive words. I wan to touch it. And another and a bracelet. gorgeous. But the Cayman tidepool piece is stunning, evocative, delicious.

  15. Cathy, your wet-felted piece is as spectacular and WOW! as I'd imagined from your sneak peaks on Insta!! Using an exclamation I learned from my English colleagues, "I'm gobsmacked"!
    Going straight over to the AE site to read about your process. Even if I'm a self-proclaimed color hound, I love all the tones of a unicolor item such as this.

  16. Each of your pieces has such fabulous textural interest. They are all wonderful interpretations of the theme.

  17. oh wow your felted piece is amazing! I love it!

  18. Amazing work Cathy, I wowed at the first design, the second is stunning and the bracelet is gorgeous. I'm off to look up your blog post... can't wait to see the process!

  19. Love the diversity of your pieces! Your Cayman project is really cool (I still need to read your Art Elements post about it) and I agree that your bracelet fits into the challenge perfectly!

  20. You are a master of all! I just love your mixed media fiber pieces. Just amazing. I cannot imagine how much time and work goes into your pieces.


Wishing you peace, love & chocolate!

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