Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Inspired by a Fish: Toggle Clasp Giveaway

Adirondack Heritage Brook Trout c. Judith Utter

Today I would like to introduce you to my friend, Natural Science artist Judith Utter.  She painted the Adirondack Heritage Brook Trout pictured above as well as many other plants and fish of the Adirondack and St. Lawrence Valley region of New York State.  She considers herself a naturalist and an environmentalist.  Her work reflects these themes.  

I was so taken with the colors of Judith Utter's painting of the Adirondack
Brook Trout that I have created a series of toggle clasps and a tutorial to celebrate its beauty.
To further acquaint you with Judith Utter's work, I am having a giveaway of one of my Adirondack Heritage Wrist Wrap kits.  Each kit includes one of the toggle clasps I made with the palette of Judith Utter's painting, 2 yards of Leather Lace, and a printout of the directions for making this bracelet, pictured below.
Adirondack Heritage Wrist Wrap Bracelet by Mary Harding
The Tutorial for this bracelet is being posted on ArtBeadScene today.

There will be 2 winners.  To enter leave a comment below about Judith's work and be sure to leave a way of being contacted  in case you win.  You can further your chances of winning by "liking" Judith Utter's Facebook page and leaving another comment letting me know you did. 

To increase your chances of winning even more, you can
Share on your favorite social media and come back and leave additional comments for each share

Toggle Clasps I made inspired by Judith Utter's painting Adirondack Heritage Brook Trout
                               some of these are available in my Etsy shop

More examples of Judith Utter's work in her Etsy Shop



Legumes featuring Dragon Tongue BOTANICAL PRINT

And on her website you can see the full range of the Giclee prints she offers for sale--a few examples below

Beta vulgaris

Lilium longiflorum

Ilex meserveae

As you can see, Judith creates beautiful watercolors of the plants and wild life of the Northern New York region.  I hope you have enjoyed meeting Judith and will follow her work on Facebook and her website.

Thanks so much for stopping by. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ArtBeadScene Editors Take the Challenge Blog Hop: December

Choir of Sint-Bawokerk by Pieter Jansz Saenedam

This month some of the ArtBeadScene Editors are taking the Challenge for December and having a blog hop.
I enjoy a challenge but I must admit this month's painting, Choir of Sint-Bawokerk,  pictured above, has been difficult for me and has taken me way out of my comfort zone.  I looked at this painting a long time before I came up with an idea.  I decided to focus on the many arches that make up this painting.  I even made a drawing of the the shape I perceived-- inverted and reshaped a bit.

I made the sketch on an envelope handy on  my computer desk and then copied and resized it both larger and smaller on my printer/scanner.

Once in my studio I began to render it both in polymer clay and copper.  For technical help with the polymer version, I am indebted to my two master teachers, Claire Maunsell and Christine Damm who have taught me everything of the little I know about this amazing material.  I made a very large pendant in the polymer and used the burgundy brown in the painting for the color inspiration.
Polymer Clay pendant by Mary Harding

 The pendant measures 4 inches tall and 4 inches wide.  I envision it used in a freeform peyote stitch piece I might make in the future where it will fit in despite its large size.  I know to pull that off I will be again very challenged.  But I always learn so much when I travel unknown terrain and am grateful that our Editor in Chief at Art Bead Scene, Heather Powers, continues to encourage us to participate  in these adventures.

I tried a smaller version of my sketch in copper and envision these to become earrings.
jewelry components inspired by the ABS Dec. painting

I went out doors early this morning and picked some Holly and styled my large polymer pendant with a seasonal flair to wish you all Happy Holidays and an enjoyable, or at least doable winter!!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope this post will encourage you to participate in this month's ArtBeadScene Challenge.( the particulars for entering are below)  You can see what the other editors made too.  The list follows:

How to enter the Monthly Challenge:
1. You need to have a Pinterest account. Go get one ASAP if you don't have one already. It's easy, fun and inspiring. 
2. Email us at absmonthlychallenge@gmail.com to get added to the monthly challenge board.
Subject: Monthly Challenge Board Request
Indicate if you want to be added to the Jewelry Board, Bead Board or both.
You will be emailed an invite to the board within 48 hours. Accept the invite and you are ready to pin your entries.
3. Two ways to pin your entry to the board.
Pin your photo from the internet (on your blog, Etsy shop, etc.) 
Add your photo directly from your computer

Create something using an art bead that fits within our monthly theme. We post the art to be used as your inspiration to create. This challenge is open to jewelry-makers, fiber artists, collage artist, etc. The art bead can be created by you or someone else. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork. 
An Art Bead must be used in your piece to qualify for the monthly challenge.
***Beads strung on a chain, by themselves and beads simply added to wire or cord will not be accepted.***
Please add the tag or title DEC ABS to your photos. Include a short description, who created the art beads and a link to your blog, if you have one.
Deadline is October 31stPhotos are approved by our moderators, if a photo hasn't followed the guidelines it will not be approved. You may upload 2 entries per month.

• Beads Makers Pinterest Board-Art beads must be created by you and fit the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge theme. They can be made for the challenge or ones you have made before. 2 entries per month are allowed. 
One entry will be picked by the editors on the 28th of each month for a free month of advertising on the Art Bead Scene. Bead entries have to be pinned by the 27th of the month.
Beads only - do not post jewelry on this board. If a post doesn't fit the challenge it will be deleted.

What is an Art Bead?
An art bead is a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist. You can read more about art beads here.

***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads.
Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***

p.s. If you have a blog, post your entry and a link to the ABS challenge to spread the beady goodness.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Proust's Overcoat: Inspired by Reading Book Club Blog Hop


Proust's Overcoat by Lorenza Foschini is the November selection for the Inspired By Reading Book Club.  It is a true story.

I began reading this book on my ipad in a Kindle version, an excerpt, that included the first chapter or two.  Once I had gotten that far, I knew I had to have the book in hand.  So I purchased the hardcover edition, which is a small, slim book.  I am so happy I did, as one of the most moving and charming parts of this book are the photographs, beginning at the very start of the story with pictures of Marcel Prout's actual overcoat, the one he wore in bed as he wrote his maginificent, genial opus, In Search of Lost Time. Having the physical touch of the paper pages of this book was such an important part of this reading experience.  Much as Prouts' books are about associations, memories and the senses, Foschini"s book captures that essence in this short work about Jacques Guerin and how his love of books led him to preserve so much of Proust's legacy.  I was enchanted by the story and the pictures.  I was enriched by my own associations and remembrances of how I felt when I first read Swan's Way in my early twenties.  I was further enriched when I learned that Guerin helped the struggling writer Violette LeDuc by arranging for the publication of her work.  And then once more when by chance watched the movie, Violette, which my husband had included on our streaming list and I realized it was the same person.  And still more as I reread parts of the book again and again.

image from the book Proust's Overcoat 

When I think back on what inspired me to make what I did, I think it must have been this photograph in the book.  The buttons on Proust's overcoat.  I did not in any way attempt to capture the feeling of Proust.  I simply was inspired by the idea of making a piece with buttons.  I started out with the plan that I would crochet a string of small white buttons I had on hand, in the manner I learned from Stephanie Lee's Homesteader's Metalsmithing Revamped.  They came out fine but just didn't work for what I had in mind.

buttons linked together with crochet chain

Then I decided to use some very handsome stoneware buttons I had been given by Canadian artist Mary Anne Robblee recently.

Stoneware buttons by Mary Anne Robblee

I attached them with Sari Silk to a re-purposed  cord I had hand felted some time ago.
Close up of wire wrapped buttons 

Buttons attached to Felted Cord 

Necklace by Mary Harding--Inspired by reading Proust's Overcoat
Once again, I am so enriched by participating in Andrew Thornton's Inspired By Reading Book Club.  Thanks so much for doing this Andrew!!
Next month we will be reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.  You can join in by visiting the Inspired by Reading Facebook page and asking to participate.
Thank you for visiting my blog today!!

Please stop by and see what others have created for this blog hop:
Sarajo Spurgeon Wentling http://www.sjdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com/
Andrew Thornton  his post includes his work and that of Laurel Ross and Allison Herrington

Friday, December 05, 2014

Today begins the Art Walk Etsy Team First Friday Weekend.  Many member shops will have specials this weekend. You can find out here There are several pages you can scroll through and see new work and learn about specials in different shops.
This is a good chance to buy handmade!!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Thank You Sale 30% off Cyber Monday thru Tuesday Dec. 2

Thank you Sale begins now.  Thank you for your support of my work and for all the beautiful jewelry you have made with my  handmade components.  Take 30% off everything in my Etsy shop including the pieces already marked down with the SALE caption.  Please use coupon code CYBER30 at checkout.  Sale goes on until Midnight Tuesday Dec. 2.

Some of the pieces in my shop as of now:
SALE  Pendant Maple Leaf Seed Pods Heart Hand painted Ceramic Lime Green and Mahogony
Maple Wings Heart Pendant by Mary Harding

Ceramic Pendant Daisy in late fall yellow browns by Mary Harding
Daisy Pendant in Fall Browns

SALE Handmade Ceramic Rustic Tribal Style Spiral Pendant
Spiral Pendant with colorful and metallic glaz

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Art Bead Scene Editors Take the Challenge for November

Cattelya Orchid and Three Hummingbirds by Martin Johnston Heade

The Art Bead Scene Editors are taking the Challenge this month with a beautiful painting by Martin Heade, the Cattelya Orchid and Three Hummingbirds.   I am especially drawn to lush tropical rain forests so I have really enjoyed looking long and closely at this painting. Here we have a delicious range of colors to choose from and a multitude of flora and fauna.  I found myself focusing on the pod like elements of the Cattelya Orchid and the rich greens and red browns.  I experimented with the pod like shapes and attempted to create them in copper.  I imagined them entwined with vines and other worldly in appearance. 

copper pod bead   hole runs from top to bottom by Mary Harding

                    copper pod bead with curled vine in front--hole runs from top to bottom by Mary Harding

Then I made a series of long thin pods wrapped with vines.  These are more decorative than the rounder ones.
                          long thin pod beads made of copper  hollow inside  by Mary Harding

In addition to these beads, I began a free form peyote stitch bracelet inspired by the colors of the painting--those rich red browns and beige yellows.   I  built the bracelet around these 2 two hole beads.  I think the colors are very tropical and like the  painting.
                                             Tropical flora raku fired beads by Mary Harding

                                                Two hole ceramic raku fired beads by Mary Harding

I like the idea of using two hole beads since they insure that they won't be able to flip over.
Once I had chosen the beads, I found colors in red browns, golden browns and greens.

                                      one of the two hole beads attached to the bracelet

                                 the bracelet closure-- almost an echo of the orchid shape
                                    Full view of my free form peyote stitch bracelet

I expect to keep working on the  pod beads and have some in my Etsy shop by next weekend, since I will be out of town for the next few days.  The bracelet I will be keeping for now.
Thanks so much for stopping by to see how I have been inspired. I hope you will check out the others as well HERE.

Rebecca Anderson – Songbeads
Mary Harding – Mary Harding Jewelry
Heather Powers – Humblebeads Blog

Friday, November 07, 2014

First Friday Art Walk On Etsy Now

It is First Friday Art Walk Weekend on Etsy. I am honored to be included in this beautiful Treasury. I hope that you will have the time to visit the shops participating this weekend. You can find a list of participants HERE

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Inspired By Reading Book Club: October Selection The Ocean at the End of the Lane Blog Hop

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, the October selection for Andrew Thornton's  Inspired by Reading Book Club, is narrated by an unnamed 7 year old child in the form of an extended flash back triggered by a funeral which he attends as an adult.  For me the story was a poignant tale of trauma, childhood neglect and the power of love.  I truly enjoyed reading it and found all of its mystical, sci-fi and other worldly details engrossing and emotionally charged.
I chose to use a large heart that I made from polymer clay to carry the theme of the story and added small details to particularize it.  
                                                             Polymer Heart

The glass piece embedded in the heart was the feeling of  ice in his heart that the narrator frequently mentions when he is feeling scared and alone during the many frightening experiences that are woven into the story both before and after his person has been invaded by "bad spirits."

When I assembled the necklace, I was especially thrilled that the arm and hand milagro that I hung from the  double spiral bail  gently touched  the "ice" in his heart.  I felt that it was a good representation of the love and safe haven Lettie Hempstock and her family provided for him.

I actually made two different versions of the necklace using a different heart for each but in the end chose this one, as it was warmer and worked better with the piece of ice that I felt was essential to the telling of this story.

The necklace is strung on a partially doubled piece of natural colored linen  that is a reference to the wicked creature's appearance of being made of old ragged cloth.

linen straps on necklace

I used a heart milagro to highlight the child's need for protection

Heart Milagro

And Wooly Wire and a Double Spiral Bail to attach the heart 

Double Spiral Bail attached with Wooly Wire

Overall view of necklace

Overall view of necklace being worn

I think I liked this book so much because the Hempstocks recognized the narrator's need for love and  safety and were kind to him in such essential and fundamental ways that he was able to heal from the wounds of childhood trauma.

You can see what others made after reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane, on  Andrew Thornton's blog  HERE  Updated link list:

Special thanks to Andrew Thornton who is the one who continues to inspire us to read and create and invites you join in.

Raku Bead Video Part III