Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fairy Door Class

I taught my fairy door class today and it was tons of FUN!

The class was about half as big as anticipated because quite a few people were unable to make it due to illness, homework, etc., but that actually turned out to be an advantage. There was plenty of table space for everyone to work and one pasta machine for every 2 people, which worked out very well, no one had to wait long to use that or any of the other tools if they were in use.

I did a little overview on how I got into polymer clay work, talked about how to condition and bake clay, passed around the sample fairy doors for everyone to look at, explained how to use the tools and texture sheets, etc., and then everyone got to claying.

Look at the fabulous doors they created! Didn't they do a fantastic job? I just loved seeing how creative everyone got. Everyone came up with such great ideas and had a good time in the process. In fact, everyone had such fun that we started discussing plans for another class in the future!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Traveling By Train

We had another one of our whirlwind trips back to Iowa this past week, but this time we let someone else do the driving. We took the train!

Leaving Denver at night

We got a sleeper car on Amtrak and it really worked out well. And less expensive than flying.

We had our own compartment with 2 nice wide seats facing each other, much more comfy than being squished into airplane seats.

Our fold down table with complimentary bottles of water.

The seats folded down to make one bed...

... another bed unlatched and dropped down from the ceiling above. Note the harness that attached to the ceiling and side of the bunk so that hubby wouldn't roll out in the middle of the night!

Arriving in Iowa just at sunrise.

The only bad thing about taking the train is that both trips, there and back, were overnight, so we couldn't enjoy the scenery on the way. But it was relaxing not having to worry about the drive, meals were included and the food was surprisingly very good, we met some interesting fellow passengers while in the dining car, and we had an opportunity to sleep along the way. Not a bad way to travel.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Sample of Fairy Doors

In less than a week, I will be showing a group of people how to make polymer clay fairy doors. My friend Windy arranged for me to teach about 15 or so members and students in her circle. I've put together some basic instructions and information for handouts, and I also came up with some templates for several different door shapes for everyone to use.

My friend and I have gotten together several times in preparation for the class to make sample fairy doors so that we could show everyone a variety of ideas for creating their doors using the different templates, as well as ways to decorate them. These are the doors I came up with.

I made one with each template shape (and used one template 2 different ways), and tried to include a variety of techniques...

... faux woodgrain, faux stone using embossing powders, using rubber stamps and texture sheets, using a clay extruder for making vines and branches, simple canework...

... using scrapbooking supplies, jewelry findings, beads and metal charms for decorating...

Hopefully, I've covered all the basics! Looking forward to the class, can't wait to see what everyone makes. Just the preparation has been lots of fun.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

PAJ Week 2: Love

I really struggled with this week's topic of heart/love. I had two ideas for creating my page, but couldn't find the words I wanted to go with either idea. I'm not sure that I actually answered the prompt, I think I sort of went off on my own direction.

I'm also not sure that my journal page really expresses what I meant, but... I wrote what was in my head at the moment.

What I really wanted to express was that when I started identifying or defining myself as a pagan, it opened up so many pathways to so many different types of love. It's made my marriage better, its made my friendships better, its made my understanding of community better. And all of this started with my quest to make my relationship with God/dess better. What a journey its been! And will continue to be...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Beeswax Candles

Earlier this week my circle got together and we made rolled beeswax candles.

CM gave us a quick demo on how to roll the candles-- really very easy to do-- and then we got started. Basically we cut the sheets of beeswax for the size of candle we wanted, cut the wicking the length needed, pressed it into one end of the wax sheet and tightly rolled it up. Just that simple!

Magically, we warmed the beeswax sheet with our hands as we concentrated on our intention for the candle and continued to focus on that as we rolled the wax.

And of course, I had to ask the question-- can we add herbs? Because I love using my little green friends in anything magical, if possible. CM didn't have much on hand for herbs, but we did break out the sage, and he had a variety of essential oils, so we used some of those, as well.

My lavender candles are for everyday use on my altar, but the white candles I made for the upcoming house cleansing our circle is doing. They have rosemary oil (purification, protection, health, blessing) and sage leaves (protection, purification, health) in them.

I really loved this project and would like to make more candles this way in the future.

Friday, February 11, 2011

PAJ Week 1: Intention

Aradia's Cauldron has created and organized a fantastic year long project-- 52 weeks of Pagan Art Journaling. A different prompt every week to create your journal pages around. I've been saying to myself that I want to do more journaling, and I love this idea, so I'm IN!

As you can see, I'm much more of a rubber stamping kinda gal than one who paints or draws. And I love my colored pencils, too-- rather the adult version of crayons for me!

My intention for this project is CONNECTION. When I first started blogging, the only people I "knew" online were pagan bloggers. As I got more and more involved in the online handmade community, that connection was rather lost, and I found myself drifting closer and closer to being back in the "broom closet" online. I'm very much looking forward to re-connecting with pagans online through this project-- and meeting more pagans who are artists? Even better!

Not only that, but I hope to re-connect with myself as a pagan. Somehow along the way I feel I've lost a bit of that, and in the past year or so, I've been looking for ways to reclaim my spiritual path and sense of self. Pagan art journaling seems to be one more excellent way to do that.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Yemaya Shrine

I have been working on tiles for a new mosaic shrine, this one for Yemaya.

I've been turning the idea around in my head for a while now and after doing some reading and thinking about Yemaya, the design for the shrine started to come together.

I have been interested in Yemaya for some time now, but to be honest, I am a bit afraid of her, she seems such a strong and no-nonsense Goddess. Yet maternal, as well. I don't know that I will keep this piece when it is finished as I'm not ready to invite Yemaya into my home yet, but I do hope that she will be pleased with my efforts.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Calavera Dreaming

My fascination with all art that is Dia de los Muertos related continues, and I've fed my interest by acquiring this great book, which I learned about from my friend Sage.

This book is chock-full of ideas for creating ofrendas and nichos (altars/shrines for honoring the dead), calaveras (skeletons), and all manner of Day of the Dead decorated masks, skulls, jewelry and more. I want to create a whole line of DotD pieces, can't wait to play with ideas from this book.

Speaking of playing with ideas, I recently created a set of custom sugar skull beads for another friend who is likewise fascinated by Dia de los Muertos. These beads are about 2 cm long and 1.5 cm at their widest point. It was a real challenge putting so many details on such a small bead, but didn't they turn out to be the happiest little colorful skulls you've ever seen? They are now on their way to China!

Many more Day of the Dead ideas are brewing... more to come throughout the year.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I'm Still Here

Sorry about the 3 month hiatus-- it was totally unexpected and unplanned. I guess I needed a break from blogging?

Now its a new year, I'm working on a new focus and I've added some new features to my blog-- mainly the tabs at the top of the page just under my header. I decided to clean up my sidebar and give my shop widgets, tutorial links and blog awards their own pages. So please do feel free to peruse them at your leisure!

As for the new focus... well, its not quite so new. At Autumn Equinox I ritually dedicated my creative work to Deity and my pagan path... so part of my silence has been figuring out what this dedication really means to me, my expression of self, my art work and everything else tied in to all this, even including the way I promote myself, what blogs I read and what sorts of topics I blog about.

Quite possibly, readers of my blog won't even notice much of a difference in content. I think the difference is in my intention, my own mindset. As for my creative work-- expect less jewelry and more sculpted pieces, wall decor, and mosaic work like some of the shrines and boxes I've done in the past. I also want to get back into journaling again, whether that means written, art or nature journaling-- most likely all of the above and any other type of journaling form I can find to explore. Some pages I'll be sure to share here... and some will be personal enough that I probably won't.

If you're still following and reading my blog, thanks for hanging in there during the silence! I think I'm ready to be back.