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!