New Year, New Plans!


A couple of weeks before Christmas, my mind always turns to plans for the new year. I can’t say I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to 2016, it’s been a bit dramatic to say the least! and I’m looking forward to the clock rolling round to begin a brand new year filled with opportunity. 

I asked the members of the Art Elements team, what plans they had for the coming year. Here’s what we’re hoping to achieve…

Cathy Spivey Mendola

I plan to revisit my year long project I had planned for this year. Moving got in the way! So I will finish the ‘five elements’ project. My other goals for the year:try working with PMC clay, continue exploring beaded leather purses/amulet pouches, work on my soldering skills & start beading decorative objects instead of so many jewelry pieces-maybe ‘jewelry for the wall’. I also would love to get back to wet felting! And if I find time-I would love to find a clay studio & get back to hand building clay pieces. Sorry I have such a long list but I have been mulling this over for the past week. 

In case you missed it, Cathy wrote a great post recently about her year of art journalling, which prompted her plans for next year, read it here.


Mixed media gorgeousness by Cathy!


Diana Ptaszinsky

Since 2016 was really a bust for me and my business because of my move to NY, I am hoping to make up for it in 2017. The first big goal is to paint and move into my new studio space. Once that is done, I want to finish the new website and open the online shop. The third goal is to work on the details and logistics for the glaze-your-own-bead classes that I’ll be holding at the bead shop. And while all this is going on, I’d like to continue making bead embroidered jewelry and do more needle-felting.

Diana’s amazing new space ready for moving in!


Lesley Watt

I’m still not making resolutions and haven’t given next year much thought except that I have yearning to try some much bigger fibre/mixed media pieces. I have no idea if I can maintain the attention span since I always want to finish something as soon as I start, which could mean weeks without sleep! It will have to be a gradual process but I’d like to get my teeth in to something meaty. 

Lesley has been inspired by the beautiful textile work of Karen Nicol


Karen Totten

I suppose mine would be make more time for clay and other artwork at home. After multiple moves, Nellie’s cancer and getting her back to the US and her care lined up, new job, setting up home studio, things are finally settling down. I am finding time to make stuff. This week I made a batch of beads that are even now cooling in the kiln. So exciting! Also, I’ve been wanting to do a series of animal totems, an homage to the art and mythos of indigenous peoples of this continent. In particular, the stylistic tradition of the pacific northwest peoples. Birds… Ravens, Crows, Magpies, Owls, Hawks, Eagle, etc. I have been studying this for some time now, and indigenous art in general, for many years. It’s my art history / archaeology background that creeps into my work, but mostly my personal experience studying with native teachers over the years.

Karen’s latest glaze tests cooling


Claire Fabian

For my art / creations there is a long to-do list: One for the marketing and one for the experiments. I have to get my “stuff” out in a better and more controlled and regular way, getting a good example portfolio with great images and layout that I can send out (I would love to have more of my work in actual stores). There are also so much images in my head that I want to get out more. Not the simple things but the strange ideas. I love the idea of bigger tile murals with strange creatures and organic surfaces. Did I mention creating my own glazes and test my own recipes for egyptian faience? Finally I also want to play with torch fired enamel.  I am trying to experiment and play more and to get more bold and big in my work.

Hand Carved clay tile by Claire


Cooky Schock

Though we’re about a year behind schedule, we plan to start full time RV living this spring. So my main focus currently is to downsize yet be able to create a workshop in a 34′ RV. The way I’ll be creating art and the art I’ll be creating are undergoing some big changes, even now. I think lots of exploring on many levels is definitely in my future. I’m not a resolution maker, more an explorer of possibilities!

Stunning silk bracelets by Cooky


Niky Sayers

 I aim to not buy ANY more art beads for the whole year and actually use some of the 72 art cabs, 53 pendents, 73 focal beads and 49+++ bead SETS (I got fed up of counting at this point) that I have amassed in my stash! Plus I would love to actually use some of the craft supplies I have shoved in my bottom draw (encaustic painting set, lino cutting, salt water etching, calligraphy set, knitting stuff, felt sheets to name just a few)!!!

Niky’s awesome bead collection!!!


Jenny Davies-Reazor

This past year was a prolific production year, and that’s fine. But I used to do complex pieces multilayered, full of meaning, researched and loaded with myth and symbolism. Shrines and collages. So I want to return to doing more intense meaningful pieces. Yes, I will continue beads, tiles… especially new tile designs as I feel my style has evolved well. But more thinking, sketching, planning, more depth and meaning. My collages and shrines also tended to be more mixed media. Bound books in shrines, images on fabric stitched to collages. That mixed media approach and execution I am really missing.

Mixed media Shrine by Jenny


Laney Mead

I have almost abandoned the ‘grown up book’ after 60,000 words but I have a plan to turn it into children’s stories with illustrations, so next year that is plan, to write more for younger readers, like my bead stories… to create more beads with stories and illustrate those and maybe books/stories for those too. I am trying to merge all my ‘talents’ together. Everyone loves the stories with the beads and they always get the best smiles (and sell first!) and I have sketchbooks of doodles. This has been percolating for a while now, ever since I found that writing novels isn’t my forte, even though I love to write I favour the short bursts of creativity, no more than 2000 words at a time (which is something I have ‘grown’ into writing for the magazine each month, a story no more than 1500-2000 words!). I have doodled FOREVER so it is time to do something with that and I have over the years figured out that small doodles give me more pleasure than big canvas’s of ‘real art’. Illustration and doodles are real art, they bring out the child in me anyway. I love it when people message me that my beads and stories have cheered them up (even when most of the time my best writing is during my darkest days – ironic!). So that is my 2017 all planned out.

Beads with a story – soon to be books by Laney


Susan Kennedy

With the slowdown of the lampwork bead market and my carpal tunnel symptoms, I have been moving away from making lampwork beads for the time being. I need to concentrate on my real-life paying job at this point, so creativity for me will probably be limited. I still enjoy bead weaving, and will be continuing my exploration with the bead loom. In addition, I am taking a metal clay class in the summer, and hope to take a large loom weaving class at some point mostly because of Lindsay’s mom’s loomed towels!

Beautiful embroidery by Sue


Lindsay Starr

I’d like to carve out more creative time. There are so many projects sitting on the back burners at this point I don’t know where to begin. High on the priority list is more beading and posting on my own blog, including a year long project I have been dreaming about for a year and a half. 2016 conspired against me, so hopefully 2017 will allow me to do it. First on the list though…put my creative space back together after the holiday sewing projects…

Incredible Bead Weaving by Lindsay


Caroline Dewison

And me… inspired by Jenny’s year long embroidered Goddess project, I’ve decided I want to do something to keep the creativity going through 2017. The biggest problem I had this year is keeping my motivation, it’s been hard with all the ups and downs, so I’ve invested in a couple of wall shelves with little compartments, enough for 1 a week to fill with a little bead or sculpture. I think I’m going to do animals, but it might develop in to something else as I go along. I also want to focus more on my wheel throwing and making some of the weirder ideas I have in my head. I’d like to try automata and more sculpture, as well as making some functional items in clay.

Ready to fill (with lemon for scale)


So what about you? Our lovely readers… do you have big plans for 2017? I hope it’s a fantastic, happy, and prosperous year for all and I’d love to hear your plans for the new year… leave us a comment below 🙂 


Caroline Dewison

Caroline Dewison is a lifelong addict of anything creative. She settled on ceramic beadmaking 3 years ago and can be found most days at the bottom of her garden playing with mud in her studio. She draws her inspiration from the natural world and wishes there were more hours in the day to explore all the ideas in her sketchbook. You can see more of her work on her blog - blueberribeads.co.uk.
  1. Reply

    Now there is no pressure! Love that piece by Lesley, definitely want to see more of that work 🙂

      • lesleyhw
      • December 28, 2016

      Oh heavens Laney I wish it were but that piece is not by me – I aspire to try something like it but I’ll never achieve that perfection!

  2. Reply

    I read my goals and nod my head. Then I read my team mates goals and get all excited! I wanna do that too – oh great idea! Oh thats cool…. This team is a creative whirlpool and I LOVE it.

    • artelem2016
    • December 28, 2016

    I love reading everyone’s plans. Inspires me to commit to mine.

  3. Reply

    I am reacquainting myself with my torch after a seven year hiatus from lampworking, hoping to find my niche. I also want to work on learning some jewelry making techniques so that I can create finished pieces. Mostly though, I want to learn how to balance creative life with “domestic life”, because my brain just wants to create all day 😉

  4. Reply

    I love reading everyone’s goals! This is such a great team. Goals number 1 and 2 are to start a new business and to re-learn how to teach and inspire in my new job of evening Ceramics instructor. I also have been inspired by seeing Jenny’s progress on her goddesses and production work and have been working on steady measured progress on working in series. I am working on setting up production schedules in order to help with the “what to work on now” question. I have also been working on tiles and non-bead work with the goal of getting back into doing a few shows in the spring and summer season. I would also like to get back into writing and blogging and that form of journaling my work.

  5. Pingback: » Committing To Creativity

  6. Reply

    I can relate to each of you. I have a demanding job, too large of a stash, projects that need finishing and a wandering mind always looking for another great opportunity. You inspire me! I look forward to reading about your adventures in 2017.

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