Wax and Clay Talisman mini-workshop

Last week my friend, fiber artist Mary Ann Johnson, arranged a workshop for a small group of four, including her sister Rosalie who was visiting from out of town. The other two participants were artists whose work I have long admired – so it was a very creative afternoon!

This is a workshop that I’ve taught before, but always love, because of the variety of techniques. We worked with clay, paper, wax and fiber to make personal talismans. One of the most amazing parts of the process is rolling paper into beads, then (optionally) adding fiber for texture before painting them with beeswax.

Jean Dahlgren, one of the participants, brought some of her fabric beads (top right in the photo above), and they also took the beeswax beautifully.

One of the nice things about these beads is that you can write a secret message along the inside of the paper before tightly rolling the strip. Rosalie chose to make her beads very simple, without fiber embellishment, so she can see the structure better.

When we started working on the clay faces, some of us chose to add only walnut ink to emphasize the contours, and others added beeswax and metallic finished – bling. The formula for a raku-like effect is a bottom coat of silver, another of blue metallic, then red metallic, then gold metallic to blend all of the layers together randomly.

The handmade beads were strung on strands of Sari silk and sinew.

As an added attraction, we made simple paper origami boxes to hold our beads and our clay faces.

Besides making wax and paper beads for their talismans, workshoppers brought meaningful objects to tie into the silk and sinew strands. Rosalie added charms symbolizing each of her children and family members.

See how her Family Blessing Talisman turned out, filled with magic!

Speaking of blessings, there’s nothing more wonderful than creating meaningful work with a group of like-minded friends. Thanks, Mary Ann, for requesting this workshop!

Email me if you’d like to suggest a small-group workshop at my studio, and if you’d like to play with your own clay talisman faces, you know where to find them! Yep, my Etsy shop, Earthshards.

Stay cool and creative!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest artsts show their faces

One of the most enjoyable aspects of offering workshops, particularly on how to make face shards, is to see how they are used by the artists who attend. I’ve already posted photos of Spirit Dolls and jewelry – now here are some new ideas.

These are by Sheri Lenora from Austin, who took a class at the Studio recently on building earthenware faces – she’s used them in her beautiful mixed-media hangings – spectacular rich color and texture:

The nebookxt example (left) is the cover of a small book created by Zinnia Galliher, founder of Roses On My Table and a student in my online Making Faces class! I have a already warned her that I’m stealing her idea – it’s wonderful, and the air-dry clay is easier and lighter to work with than earthenware would be for adding to artisan paper constructions.

Don’t forget that there’s a workshop this Sunday at the Studio on making faces with air-dry clay with all kinds of beautiful finishes. Here’s the info, and here’s where to sign up.

 

 

 

 

 

Pieces of clay

I unloaded the kiln yesterday and took out lots of little puzzle pieces. The new Guardian series of mixed media constructions is getting assembled for a show at Cathedral House in mid-May, and I need to get these little guys completed. I hope they are not too pagan-esque for the venue! The fun part is matching the right face with the right bodies. Somehow, they know who goes with what. Here’s a picture of the just-unloaded earthenware tiles and shards:

pieces of the puzzle

pieces of the puzzle

And here’s the first yet-unnamed Guardian piece assembled:

Untitled (so far) Guardianassemblage

Untitled (so far) Guardian construction

 

 

Spirits abound

Yesterday’s Spirit Doll workshop at the Studio was magical! We started with sticks and clay and cloth and ended up with enchanted beings! I am going to have an exhibit of Spirit Dolls by these talented creators and those in the March 24 class on Friday, March 29th. Stay tuned for details, but I think you’ll agree that these sculptural forms are much more than the sum of their parts.

Sunday earthshard workshop

There’s something about the new studio space that is inspiring – either that, or I had some incredibly talented clay workers in yesterday’s workshop. Could be a bit of both, but take a look at some of the earthenware ornaments they made –

I love the combination of clays and the embellishments! These will be fired late today or early tomorrow, and then we will meet at Ann Pearce’s Jewelry Design next door to pair these works with beads, leather cord and findings to make one-of-a-kind necklaces and pendants. I’ll take pics of the final creations.

Next workshop, March 3rd, Spirit Dolls, is already full but I’m going to have a second one later in the month on March 24th – email me if you’re interested.

Nueva Street Gallery

I went down to La Villita yesterday to visit with Susan Carlin, one of the owners of Nueva Street Gallery. It always does my heart good to walk into that beautiful light-filled space. It’s the gallery where I showed my work back in the 80’s an 90’s when Richard Conn owned it – it was lovely then, but it seems to¬† have a whole new persona since Susan and Uger made it their own. Susan has given me the whole table in the middle of the gallery for my work display. Yay! There are some Shard Faces there, some little Earthshard dishes, and some of my small collage-on-canvas work.

When I got to the gallery, Susan had just received a new piece by Reggie Troilo that I loved! I think it’s called “the Gathering” – but it is fantastic. Brian St. John also shows there – he’s the San Antonio Art League’s Artist of the Year. Here’s the gallery – I’ve always been a huge fan of the place, and not just because my work is there. It’s a wonderful space to stop by, hang out – and a perfect starting place for exploring historic La Villita during the holiday season. I just love San Antonio!

Nueva Street Galllery

Alice Ballard

I’ve just come across the work of potter artist Alice Ballard. It’s one of those revelation “aha” moments – this came right after my favorite local nursery, Shades of Green, requested my work for their shop yesterday. They are putting air plants in my Sprig Shards (thanks, Gloria, for showing them) and it’s made me rethink the form and function aspects of my earthenware. Take a look at Alice Ballard’s work, particularly this Pod series. Beautiful.

 

 

Spirit Doll from Louise

I love receiving comments and photos from other artisans who have used my faces in creative ways, particularly in Spirit Dolls because there is so much meaning, positive energy and symbolism in those constructions. Look at this photo and read the comments from Louise in Washington state, and you’ll see what I mean – the face and body have almost come to life:

Several months ago I purchased some of your lovely face shards and although it has taken me a while, I finally completed a Spirit Doll which I named, “Plant Woman of the Pacific Northwest Woods”, in honor of my commitment to deepening my knowledge of the medicine of the local plants. ~ Louise