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2013 Explorations – The Adventure Continues into 2014

December 30, 2013 , In: Ceramic Clay, Clay, Inspiration
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I have explored a number of new ideas this year… I will talk about just a few here.

Themed Bead Assemblies

All year, I’ve been wanting to play with the idea of putting beads together into a themed assembly or composition.

Cuckoo Clock bead assembly

Ideas I’ve been toying with include:

  • Cuckoo clocks with dangling leaf pendulums or possibly baby birds.
  • Log and branch slices, bark textures, and leaves, assembled in layers.
  • Trees with birds inside or on them, Bird houses with birds inside them.
  • Branches with leaves attached or hanging off them.
  • Treasure Hearts with a hollow space for a little arrow bead, or a flower bead, or maybe a bronze key, or who knows what?
  • Word Clouds – clouds that have little words all over them and letters dangling below like rain.
  • Bird houses with bird beads in them, eggs, and other little discoveries.

The idea would be that all the parts can be removed and used independently by the jewelry designer, or all together as a pendant or even an ornament. For example, the bird bead can be removed from the bird house and each can be used separately.

I finally got around to trying some of these ideas out…

 
Cuckoo Clock with tiny leaf charms
Cuckoo clock detail: a cobbled roof!
Log slice and leaf layered composition
Other “tree parts” for layered compositions: tree slices, leaves, seed pods, bark.
Owl in Tree Home
Owl in Tree Home
Owl Tree Details
Owl on branch
Branch assembly with tiny leaf charms

I plan to continue this exploration into 2014. I have been working on some sketches. I want to try a variety of themed assemblies for beads. I also want to try this for pottery and other media.

 

 

Other Thoughts for 2014 Based on Explorations Begun This Year…

This past summer, my husband Don had to clear some trees, and I asked him to make me some tree cookies (log slices).

I used these as little jewelry, bead and photo displays. They are wonderful and have inspired other ideas…. like this one with ceramic and wood elements (by the way this was also the inspiration for a version in ceramic, in the photos above)… I want to explore this further. I’m contemplating setting up a little woodworking bench for this!

The other day, Don split some hardwood cherry wood for our wood stove (from trees that had blown down in a fierce storm – so sad that this lovely wood could not be sold and used for furniture!)… I could not resist snagging a piece to use for photographing my work. The naturally split wood grain is so beautiful – so rich in the red cherry color! I definitely want to try some ideas using this in projects other than as a photo prop!

 

Well that’s all I have in mind so far, for 2014, but honestly, they way I work is an inspiration will typically hit me and off I go in a new direction, working in the flow of ideas. So I can’t really say for sure what I will be doing throughout 2014. Some or all of these ideas may get done or they may get displaced by some new exploration. We’ll see!

Karen Totten

Karen has worked professionally as an artist and designer for over 30 years in a variety of creative disciplines: architectural design, illustration, art direction, mixed media art, interaction design. She currently works full time as a User Experience (UX) Design Principal for an international consultancy. When not flying to work every week, her other passions are ceramic art, sketching, and occasionally, jewelry design. “For me, the creative life, from UX to fine art, has always been one of exploration and adventure. As the daughter of an air force navigator, I grew up a traveler. To this day I am intrigued by stories and motifs that transcend time, culture, and geography.“
  1. Reply

    Such wonderful ideas, Karen. I loved taking a peek inside your sketch book and I had to smile when I saw the little talking bubbles for the owlies and birdie! Somehow endearing.

    • Reply

      Sometimes I get a little carried away and imagine those critters are real ha!

    • Reply

      You mean they're NOT real??? gasp!

  2. Reply

    Lovely pictures – that owl in the tree is just fantastic! Thanks for sharing your process! You always take such beautiful pictures!

  3. Reply

    I love the owl in the tree house!

  4. Reply

    Great view for 2014…would love an interview about this!

  5. Reply

    Love them all!!!!!

    • LoriF
    • December 30, 2013
    Reply

    Awesome ideas! Can't wait!!

  6. Reply

    Love them all! Artistic genius!!

  7. Reply

    I love this post with pictures of your sketches, assemblies, ideas and your beautiful work. So inspiring!

  8. Reply

    They are all so wonderful, clever, fun and cute! Love the Cuckoo Clock!

  9. Reply

    Wonderful, Karen–I love the idea of themed assembly parts. The possibilities are vast! <3

  10. Reply

    Love it all. Thank you for sharing your inspiration. Esp loved seeing your sketches. So talented.

  11. Reply

    The themed collections is a brilliant idea – can't wait to see what more you do with it!

  12. Reply

    I am so in awe of how you took your designs from your head to the finished product and they are spot on. You know I am up for whatever you create!!!!!!

  13. Awesome ideas,love your sketches too. If you get tired of jewelry I think you could do very well with drawing.

    • Reply

      Actually I began my career with drawing and worked as a illustrator many years ago.

  14. Reply

    super cute and clever

  15. Reply

    Do you have any more of the aqau colored gear?? Love them all… but would love to purchase.

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