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July Component of the Month for the Art Elements challenge – Scarab by Susan Kennedy

Susan, from the Art Elements team chose Scarabs as her choice of COM for July’s challenge – original blog post is here – I opted to have a random choice of colour sent to me and recieved an etched coral/orange one – not got a photo sorry I am so rubbish at that bit!

Being etched my bead was matt to touch and to see but the colour did give me pause to think.

My first idea was to add greens and blues to the soft peachy coral and create a piece of jewellery but my muse is really not jewellery creations, all bar hanging a bead on a chain, but I do have a love of history.. and cats.


I love to watch the Discovery channel on Sky tv, one of the few things I do watch.  Ancient Egypt is one of the civilisations that totally fascinate me, women of power, Gods that represent truth, power, harmony…  and law to name just a few.  The people of Ancient Egypt were a  polytheistic nation where traditions and religion touched every aspect of their lifes.  They had many import symbols including the scarab which represented Ra the Sun God one of the most important Gods of the time.  Ra was often depicted as a scarab he renewed the sun each day and rolled it across the heavens, like a dung beetle moving.. well dung…

I wanted to take the peachy look off of my bead so I added Inktense pencils in blue and green aquamarine, once dried the ‘ink’ is permanent and will not wash off, it was a bit of an experiment to see if the glass would take this colouring and it did, the camera has darkened the bead a bit too much as the peachy coral colour is still prominent but the indents in the glass now have more definition.  I like it.

Bastet,  the daughter of the Sun God Ra was the Egyptian Goddess of home, fertility, keeping all disease away from woman and children.  She is also known to have walked beside the dead as a guide.  Two more things that fascinate me, life after death and cats!  Bastet is also the Goddess of Cats.


The Ancient Greeks changed Bastet to a Goddess of the Moon when she was changed from the form of a lion to that of a more recognized domestic cat, but for me Bastet is still related to Ra and the sun.

Not being jewellery inspired I ‘stuck’ my bead into my art journal, I had every intention of getting out some gold thread and designing a jewellery piece on the page – another great idea that will one day be created – but the image of a cat appeared instead.  As my art leans more towards the whimsy side of life I decided to ‘run with it’ and see what happened.  Bastet was coloured with the deep blues and purples of the night, a slight nod toward the Ancient Greeks and the Goddess of the Moon.  The piece above my Bastet is ceramic and from one of the lovely ladies of the Art Elements team (but again being rubbish I forget who.. sorry) I just liked it and it ‘sort’ of reminded me of the sun in a very stylized way, the scrolls are quite Celtic, to me, and scrolls represent no beginning and no end, being eternal.

Opposite the ‘bead’ page I drew very stylized images of a scarab and pyramids beneath the Sun God Ra.  This ‘art journal’ is handmade paper, made from elephant dung and brought from the Eden Project in Cornwall a few years ago and is really difficult to do anything on, the paper disintegrates quickly and easily and colour ‘sinks’ into it, so I gesso the pages to stop them being absorbent and give them a bit of a tooth on which the pencil will catch.  Several layers of Inktense pencils blended with water and over laid with layers of pencil (Caran d’Ache Prismalo used dry) blended into each other using application and layers.

Final thoughts on this bead was how much it made me think about art, culture, design, mythology and so much more.  Who knew that beads had that power… the Ancient Egyptians probably!

You can find more of Sue’s beads in her Etsy shop 

Links to the others that took part in this challenge are below.


Deb Fortin

Lennis Carrier

Barb Fernald

AE Team











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May 2017 Component of the Month with Art Elements… the Reveal

Back at the end of April Lesley Watts from the Art Elements group announced her component for the month.  A selection of delightful ceramic cabs with gorgeous rich colours in the recesses of a mold she made from a section of shell.  To read the full blog post of the original article click on the link above.
Lesley creates beautiful pieces in ceramics and in metal clays – you can see more of her work on her Facebook  page.   Lesley does favour the more organic style of work, compared to my wacky designs but I did fall in love with these pieces as soon as I saw them.  There were several colour choices to choose from but the green glaze really appealed to me.

I chose one of the round cabs and when it arrived I was not disappointed, these pieces are rich in colour and really tactile, I did have it on my work space in my ‘kitchen studio’ – very posh sounding corner of the kitchen dinning room where I keep all my drawings and pencils for when I take over the table!  I kept it out on the dresser so I could just pick it up and touch it, in the right hands this would make a really lovely tactile brooch or pendant but I saw dragons.  My first idea was a dragon drawn with scales using the colours of the cab to guide my choices but then I went on Pinterest searching for a quote that appealed to me and found this one…
‘Never stop looking up’.
What a lovely positive saying and I immediately thought of giraffes and was cross with myself for choosing a green cab rather than a giraffe cab that would have gone with this idea better.  For a few days I mused over this and stroked my cabochon until my husband commented on some other drawings had I done, I was lamenting (again!) about being quirky and cartoony and as far away from my realism portrait days as is humanly possible, when he said to me ‘don’t stop being different that is what makes you you.’ (once in a blue moon he can be quite sweet, usually ruins it by then telling me I have got a big backside compared to when we met 25 years ago….  such is married life!)
So I modified my saying….
I am still really new to Art Journalling just for the sake of it, I doodle and draw each day but have to commit to the Art Journal idea and experiment with mixed media which I still struggle with but lo and behold, my cabochon became part of my giraffe and lets face it… never stop looking up or being that bit different is not a bad way to live!  
For more creativity using Lesley’s work please follow the links below…. 


Art Elements team

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February COM for Art Elements with Jenny Davies-Reazor

This month Component of the Month challenge was set by Jenny in the Art Elements team.  Jenny produced some beautiful polymer clay heart beads and cabochons.
Out of the cabochons above I choose one like the centre that lovely soft ivory/white with gold flecks.
My original idea was bridal, but ‘love unrequited’ kept sticking in my head and the image of a bridal piece of jewellery just wouldn’t work for me. 
I have been experimenting with art journalling which I do find a challenge.  I have HUNDREDS of sketch books that I have scribbled and doodled in over the years, some have messages and diary style extracts next to them but the whole adding mixed media is completely new to me.  I came across a lovely quote ‘when the world says give up, hope says try one more time’ and it really hit a nerve with me.  My whole life has been a fight for survival on almost every level, whenever I feel like giving up something happens, a spark burns in me and anger gives me strength to not be beaten and try again.  
My heart had found its muse.
The Chinese coin is one that I had in a box at the back of the wardrobe, I have had it for years and it is supposed to bring luck, I can’t even remember where I got it from.  The playing card is representative that life is a game of chance – a tarot card would have worked here too…. – the shells, beautiful shell creations in bronze clay and ceramic and made by Lesley the former and I think one of the other members possibly Cathy, I wish I would stop losing the cards to say who did what!  Shells remind me of living by the sea and as a child holding the shell to your ear to hear the wind and maybe your future dreams.  The skeleton leaves are signs of death in Autumn but also that when Spring comes they will live again.  
It is unfinished.  I wanted to do so much more but mixed media is a struggle for me I want it to be so full of ideas and drama and things to touch and read and colour.. but my control freak artist side wants to just use line and structure.  I do love the idea of this though and I love how the heart inspired it.  The quote inspired me to finally stop procrastinating and print my doodles as cards and prints you can find them on my FB group page which you will need to join and eventually in my Etsy shop – link on the side of the blog if you want to come and find me 🙂

A list below of all those that joined in the challenge so grab a cup of tea and join me in blog hopping to see what other creations these hearts have inspired.

Art Elements team: 
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Leather Cab reveal for Art Elements

Today is the reveal day for Art Elements January Component of the Month, which this month of January was from Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations and of course one of the very talented admins in the Art Elements team.
When Lindsay first showed the cabs I was really keen to get started, something about them appealed to me on so many levels and her photos (and mine) really didn’t/don’t do them justice, in the hand they are remarkable little pieces of art, something you can imagine tucking into your pocket and carrying with you to just touch whilst you are walking the dogs, like when you were a child and carried that really special something with you all the time.  
When the parcel arrived it was filled with lots of little components which we could use if we wanted, the ribbon I have used in mine was included with the cab and it was if Lindsay knew what I wanted to do as it was just enough and perfectly compliments the dream catcher I wanted to create as soon as I saw that first photo of the cabs – when they were still in the USA, I was like a cat on hot bricks waiting for mine to arrive so I could get started!
I made this dream catcher and it now hangs in my bedroom with my other one.. and I think I need a collection I just love them, but you need the right ‘middle’ and as I keep saying this cab was it!
I drilled four tiny holes in mine and using some ecru crochet thread I weaved the ‘spiders web’ pattern which wasn’t as easy I first thought and I ended up re doing it several times until I was happy.  The web is over the ribbon which is over a layer of leather thong over a copper wire circle all of which I fabricated from what I had in the studio.
All dream catchers have feathers and I didn’t have any!  A friend of mine sent me some yellow feathers which I thought would compliment the colours but I struggled to tie them into the hoop and ended up getting frustrated so abandoned the ‘real’ feather idea.
I dug in my stash of amazing ceramic beads because I remembered that Karen and Lesley and Jenny – from the team – had sent me some beautiful ceramic beads since I have joined, that I was saving for the ‘right’ project and I had a ceramic feather and the acorn and the leaf, the tiny little bird and the swirly disk bead and they were perfect!  The feather I would have liked to be less pinky more wine coloured but I am willing to over look that small detail as the beads were just perfect for my dream catcher.

This is the first dream catcher I have made but I hope it isn’t the last and you can hang your treasures from it making is so special.
This is the list for the others that took part in this challenge with this wonderful piece
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Art Elements Dragon Blog Hop Design Challenge.

If I am really honest I signed up for this blog hop, hosted by Niky of Art Elements, because I LOVE dragons and I wanted to see what everyone else made for the theme. 
I have made lampwork glass dragon beads since I started lampworking and they are still evolving…

Just this winter (2016/7) I have stumbled on a  new way to design the muzzles of my dragons and I think I will be evolving that in my future dragons.

Most of my dragons have a theme and they all have personalities and stories.

Dragons are so open to interpretation that each artist will create their own and on that note I am off to visit the blogs below to see more wonderful dragons in lots of different styles.
AJE Team