Wire Art Jewelry by Mel: I started making jewelry over 10 years ago, even longer if you count some jewelry I made with my father while I was still in grade school. I am basically self-taught with the experience of working with several great artists and teaching. My degrees are in art and psychology from a small liberal arts college. I moved to California to go to grad school, but never made it. I started creating jewelry as my main source of income there and began working for a company (whose name I cannot legally mention) making jewelry showcases for department stores. So, you may have seen my work without even knowing it, since they did not incorporate the artists names. I moved back near Chicago a few years ago and continue my passion for art, working from a studio in Wheaton.
I have always had a special affinity for owls. One of the living room walls in my childhood home was home to my mother’s extensive collection and it was literally covered with images of all sizes and types of the beautiful birds; from simple pen-and-ink drawings to beautiful oil paintings. I could sit and stare at them for hours and I’m sure my wide-eyed stillness mirrored the very pictures that I was so fascinated by. It was years, however, before I saw a real, live owl in the wild and, even then, it was just a glimpse. I have seen only a handful since then, but that initial thrill still hasn’t worn off.
My favourite species of owl has always been the fittingly-named Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa). Bold and beautiful, the Great Grey Owl was made the official bird of my home province, Manitoba, in 1987. Said to be the largest species of owl in North America, the Great Grey Owl boasts a wingspan of up to 5 feet; however, even for such a large bird, sightings are rare. Standing at a mere 3” tall, this needle felted depiction of Strix nebulosa (above) makes up in cuteness what it lacks in stature. The tiny creature was handmade by Melanie Anne Green and is a member of the fabulous flock found at The Felt Menagerie. Melanie Ann is also the artist who created the lovely owl print at the top of this article. Her illustrations and prints can be found in her other shop, Ink Me Up.
Although they have been depicted in art for thousands of years, owls have recently moved up the ranks of pop-culture, thanks in part to the young Mr H. Potter and his schoolmates. Easy to identify by his pure white colouring*, Harry’s own owl, Hedwig, is a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus). Living up to their name, Snowy Owls are well-suited for life north of the 60th parallel, with their thick plumage and heavily-feathered feet. Should you find yourself in a northern clime, a good pair of woollen mittens like these ones from For My Darling (pictured above) will keep you toasty-warm. Upcycled from a pre-loved sweater, they also feature reinforced leather palms; perfect for gripping both steering wheels and flying brooms! (Be sure to check out For My Darling’s shop for adorable upcycled owl toys, as well.)
I am sad to say that my mother has long given up “her owls”. Once people found out that she collected them, she was inundated with owl trinkets and tzotchkes from well-meaning friends and family. Rather than allow her carefully curated collection to be sullied by dollar-store “treasures”, she packed up her art and replaced it with a very large picture of an empty branch; a rather symbolic move, now that I think about it. I would love to get her back into it, though, but on a much smaller scale. I know that she would love this beautiful 8×10” watercolour by Italian artist DIMDi, pictured above. I think this painting perfectly captures the sweet expression of the Barn Owl (Tyto alba), which are recognizable by their heart-shapes faces and lack of “ear tufts”.
*While the male Snowy owls are as white as the driven snow, the females’ feathers have dark markings. Now you know!
Today’s Shop Local post hails from balmy Tampa, Florida – and goes to show that retirement has reached the handmade & art communities of the state!
I’m totally digging this original art by Anika Easter. Combining wood, paint, and other media, these works jump off the wall. Her art appears to be conceptualized in the state between dreaming and waking. She says, “Sometimes I’ll dream up this incredible painting and when I wake up it slips out of my mind. Apparently I have a very creative subconscious. My goal is to prove it exists.”
Here in eastern Pennsylvania, many of the top indie crafters are busy preparing for the epic Art Star Craft Bazaar on May 30 & 31 in Philadelphia. Art Star is both a juried craft market featuring over 100 amazing vendors and a fab indie boutique in the Northern Liberties neighborhood. Although vendors come in from all across the country, many of my favorite Philly crafters will be there.
Linda Johnson, from Little Flower Designs, holds a BFA in sculpture from Tyler School of Art and a certificate in interior design from Philadelphia University. She has also pursued her ceramics education in various art centers in the Philadelphia area. Linda’s style combines clean lines, bold color, and folk art images to create functional home decor and kitchenware.
Leah Mackin is a book artist, punctuation enthusiast, and serious scrapple lover! The journal above is one of her new designs – writing paper, maps, printed paper, colored copy paper, and lined paper are bound together to inspire the journalist to create in the space between the covers.
I’ve mentioned before that I have a thing for ceramic jewelry – organic, bold, beautiful. Yasha Butler Ceramics takes ceramic jewelry to a new level: fine art. Her pieces are unglazed porcelain, elegant shapes that are delicately etched with simple designs. These earrings are as surprising as they are versatile.
Finally, the ever-fabulous Sara Selepouchin, from girlscantell, is a screen-printer extraordinaire, craft evangelist, and Etsy specialist. Fitting for her background in architecture, Sara designs diagrams of everyday objects – and body parts! – and prints them onto hand towels, placemats, coasters, and notebooks.
I’ll be attending Art Star early on Sunday. If you’ll be around, please let me know! I’d love to meet up with you!
I am constantly intrigued by what cut paper artists can accomplish with scissors, papers, and glue. Each artist below has embraced a unique style on this art form which is sure to captivate your interest.
Jayme McGowan from Roadside Projects is setting a new standard for cut paper art. Her pieces are intricately concocted and expertly executed. Her subject matter spans generational interest and can be displayed in any room of your house. Prints and originals are available in her shop and don’t forget to visit her project blog.
I found the cut paper art at Rural Pearl to be modern and refreshing. The artist, Angie Pickman, has made this art form her own. I am drawn to the strong black and white pieces and appreciate her use of color. You will find prints and even some pendants made from her originals.