Return of the doves

doves

 

My doves have returned from their Greek Odyssey to Athens and Mykonos and are home to roost. However they are looking for a good home as I don’t have much room here for them.
You can see lots of photos of them and purchase them in my new shop on the wonderful colourful website Folt Bolt.

To celebrate opening my shop I am offering you a coupon which entitles you to 25% off all my artwork in the shop until 20 November. Just add the coupon code Flock-Sale! at checkout.
(Please note: The prices maybe in Australian dollars as it is an Australian website, there is a currency converter on the website at the bottom of the page to set to your chosen currency.)

Happy Shopping!

My Folt Bolt Shop

🙂

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Starlings – are here again!

I’m on starlings again!

During the two weeks of Somerset Art Weeks I set up a temporary studio at the Somerset Crafts gallery. Whilst I was there I made 8 starlings. I wondered how long it would be before the starlings returned from Scandinavia, Germany or the Netherlands (according to the BBC nature website the ones from Scandinavia go to the North and the ones from Germany and the Netherlands come to the South) As I drove home each day my wondering was answered as I saw them stacking up on the telegraph wires.

I made these in the same way as my doves, who incidentally are on their flight home from Greece.

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Here they are at Somerset Crafts flying ahead of the murmuration “Beautiful Black Clouds”

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My work at Somerset Crafts

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The Doves Who Bring Ambrosia to the Gods

Mosaic Odysseys Festival moving on to Athens and Mykonos

The first exhibition for the Mosaic Odysseys Festival at the Hellenic Centre  in London was a great success. We had a lot of visitors and several sales.
After selling my works “The Whirlwind That Takes Me There” , “The Enchanter“,and “The Four Winds“, I decided to make new works to send to Greece.
I wanted to make 3 dimensional birds and initially thought about my gold birds that appear in my work frequently. They would be more realistic and fly on their own odyssey to Athens…(only the courier would spoil my fantasy) . However I dipped into the BOOK once again (Homer’s Odyssey in case you wondered) …and found just what I was looking for.

It’s in the beginning of the section where Circe tells Odysseus how to escape from the House of Hades. She tells him how he must avoid the sirens song, then goes on to mention the overhanging and very high rocks that the gods call the Wanderers. She says …
“Here not even a bird may pass, no, not even the timid doves that bring ambrosia to Father Jove, but the sheer rock always carries off one of them, and Father Jove has to send another to make up their number…”

I decided to make the doves so they were partly 3 dimensional but so you can still hang them on the wall. And hang them rather like Hilda Ogden’s very “tasteful flying ducks” in Coronation Street!!  (Sorry, did I say tasteful? Oh yes, so I did)

I cut out my doves from plywood with only one wing and constructed the others 3 dimensionally. I have used a little of my hand gilded metal leaf glass in them.

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For the bodies I used polystyrene eggs and cut them in half.

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I chose these funny circle design milliefiori tiles for eyes to illustrate the exhaustion the dove feels after the journey!

dove progress 1

A persistent small spider wanted to get in on the action!

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Various glass on the inside wings.

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Wings are fixed securely.

Bodies and copper wire feet are attached.

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Fly my babies…

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The Doves Who Bring Ambrosia to the Gods (take 1)

The tin of rice pudding is of course a joke, although I am tempted to use it in the exhibition.  However there are shipping issues getting tins of food through customs as well as copyright issues using the logo. I wrote to Ambrosia, but I got no reply.
So they will bring symbolic gifts …

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The Doves Who Bring Ambrosia to the Gods (take 2)

…where ambrosia is a nectar or a honey made by bees and flowers.

Close up…

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The Mosaic Odysseys exhibition will be at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens from September 9th to September 18th.

The final exhibition will be at the Muncipal Art Gallery of Mykonos, starting 23rd September and finishing 3rd October.

Exhibiting artists –

Greek artists :

Ioannis Touliatos, Artemis Klitsi, Eftychia Finou, Vasso Spanou, Lydia Papadopoulos, Alexandros Bassadis,

UK artists:

Dugald MacInnes, Nathalie Vin, Aliyahgator, Arianna Puntin, and myself.

Have a look at our website here

Want to offer sponsorship? Get in touch!

🙂

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The Four Winds

This was my third piece for the Mosaic Odysseys festival.

I love the story of the four winds in Homer’s Odyssey.

Aeolus, keeper of the winds gave Odysseus a bag of wind bound up with silver thread to help him on his journey. He stored it safely on the ship and at first it was only the fair west wind that blew. However Odysseus’ men believed it to be full of gold and silver so they opened the bag and let out the four winds  … “They loosed the sack whereupon the wind flew howling forth and raised a storm that carried us weeping out to sea and away from our own country” (The Odyssey – book X by Homer)

The Four Winds or “Anemoi” were the wind gods. Boreas was the north wind god bringing cold winter winds, Zephyrus was the west wind god bringing spring and summer breezes, Notos was the south wind god who brought later summer and autumn storms and Eurus was the east wind god bringing warm winds and rain.

After a few rough sketches I came up with another rough one …

drawing

Uh oh! Did you notice my mistake? I got east and west the wrong way around which might explain why I get lost so easily in big cities (or anywhere really!) My map reading is hopeless and if I drive or walk somewhere new I have real trouble reversing the directions to get back. I think it is a kind of map dyslexia!

Luckily I noticed before I started the mosaic so was able to flip the design!

beginning

I started with  Eurus , the east wind. To hide the cut edges of the deep foil backed glass I cut the rain drops from, I built up the cement adhesive in between to lay the hand gilded silver metal leaf glass and mirror. Then stained glass was laid on edge either side of the rain drops.

For Notos, the south wind, I used a mixture of marble, stone, ceramic and gold lipped oyster and a little silver leaf glass to depict storm clouds.

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progress

I used warm colours of Italian smalti glass and milliefiori flowers for Zephyrus, the spring west wind, the gentle curves in the design imitating the gentle breezes.

I imagined the Boreas wind would look like cold silver and white snakes, and I used smalti, hand gilded silver leaf glass, Italian silver leaf glass, vitreous glass tile, and gold lipped oyster shell.

Just like the other two mosaics the bird is made of Italian gold leaf glass.

You might notice I laid some mirror tile below the tail of the bird. This was because I was going to use transparent rods to illustrate the Notos wind coming from the storm clouds but I changed my mind, it didn’t work and I ended up using slate and smalti laid on edge with silver leaf glass as the bolt of lightning.

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I grouted the work in different shades of grey, Zephyrus was a paler grey than the rest in dark charcoal and I left the slate and marble sections ungrouted.

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detail 2

 

detail 1

 

the four winds

The Four Winds (smalti, milliefiori, marble, slate, stone, gold lipped oyster shell, vitreous glass tile, iridescent glass tile, stained glass, metal foil glass, hand gilded metal leaf glass, silver leaf glass, gold leaf glass)

 

The Mosaic Odysseys Festival

The first exhibition is now over at the Hellenic Centre in London.

I was delighted to sell all three works I made.

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My work sold at the Hellenic Centre. From left to right: The Four Winds, The Enchanter, The Whirlwind That Takes Me There

I will be making some new work for the next two exhibitions of this wonderful mosaic odyssey!

The festival will move onto Athens at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation from September 9th to September 18th.

The final exhibition will be at the Muncipal Art Gallery of Mykonos, starting 23rd September and finishing 3rd October.

Exhibiting artists –

Greek artists :

Ioannis Touliatos, Artemis Klitsi, Eftychia Finou, Vasso Spanou, Lydia Papadopoulos, Alexandros Bassadis,

UK artists:

Dugald MacInnes, Nathalie Vin, Aliyahgator, Arianna Puntin, and myself.

Have a look at our website here

Thank you to Artfinder for publicity and for sponsoring our printing costs!

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The Enchanter

This is the second piece I made for the Mosaic Odysseys festival.

I don’t think it needs much explanation except that I see the sun as an enchanter…always luring me towards him. And how enchanting he always is, how beautiful he colours the sky when he rises and sets. I want to bask in his light and feel his warmth on my skin.

drawing enchanter

I made the sun with transparent coloured glass rounds, gold leaf glass and hand gilded metal leaf glass. I also gilded the board beforehand to emphasise the gold colour and add texture to the transparent rounds.

gilding the board

 

Detail before grout

Detail before grout

As well as using Italian piastrina smalti (the red and orange glass) I have also used a strong coloured glass tile very similar to piastrina smalti that was given to me by Elaine M Goodwin. She told me she had bought it from a tile company called Marble Mosaic Company based in Weston Super Mare in the 1980’s. She said they were an Italian family. I wanted to find out more so I got in touch with the company.

It is a fascinating story of the company’s mosaic history passed onto me by the Marble Mosaic Company director Stephen Maddalena. Stephen even came to do his first mosaic workshop with me where he told me more snippets of information and then sent me photos of the some of the company’s mosaic panels from the early 1900’s.

However I can’t do the story justice here so I will write another post about it soon with all the photos he sent me to show you!

So here is my finished piece.

The Enchanter (glass tile, gold leaf glass, millefiori, hand gilded metal leaf glass, glass rounds, metal leaf on board)

The Enchanter
(glass tile, gold leaf glass, millefiori, hand gilded metal leaf glass, glass rounds, metal leaf on board)

 

The Mosaic Odysseys Festival

The first exhibition will run for a week at the Hellenic Centre in London starting on Tuesday July 19th and finishing on Saturday July 23rd.

Meet the artists: Tuesday 19 July, 6.30pm-8.30pm.

Exhibiting artists –

Greek artists :

Ioannis Touliatos, Artemis Klitsi, Eftychia Finou, Vasso Spanou, Lydia Papadopoulos, Alexandros Bassadis,

UK artists:

Dugald MacInnes, Nathalie Vin, Aliyahgator, Arianna Puntin, and myself.

The festival will then move to Athens with an exhibition at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation from September 9th to September 18th.

The final exhibition will be at the Muncipal Art Gallery of Mykonos, starting 23rd September and finishing 3rd October.

Have a look at our website here

Thank you to Artfinder for publicity and for sponsoring our printing costs!

Come back soon to read about the history of those vintage glass tiles

😉

Mary Mary Quite Contrary Bird Baths

The last few weeks I have been making bird baths for the Bishops Palace English Country Garden Festival in Wells this weekend. Today was the first day but you still have a chance to come along tomorrow or Sunday!

I thought how nice it would be to make some work based on a garden theme and remembered that old traditional English nursery rhyme …

“Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells,
And Pretty Maids all in a row”

I have read that there are different views about the meaning of the rhyme, some say it was about the reign of  Mary Queen of Scots, while others believe it was about Mary Tudor. The rhyme might suggest religious metaphors of Catholicism (silver bells) and maybe the pretty maids all in a row symbolise the rows of Protestants that were executed by Mary Tudor.
However if the rhyme was written not long before it was first published in 1744 then this would be unlikely as both queens reigned in the sixteenth century. But then it could have been written earlier …

I find it interesting that many traditional nursery rhymes appear to be all sweet and innocent but turn out to reveal a much more sinister meaning.

However I made these bird baths in all sweetness and light, taking the nursery rhyme only as it reads!

They are all hand formed shapes (some using a mould and some without) using cement mortar mixtures.

Here is a collection of the baths at the garden festival.

Silver bells, cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row, displayed in different ways, on cobbles, terracotta drainpipes, slates and balustrade plinths to help customers imagine ways they could place them in their gardens …

Silver Bells, Cockle Shells and Pretty Maids All in a Row at the Bishops Palace

 

Silver Bells

 

Silver bells

 

Cockle Shells

 

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And Pretty Maids All in a Row

 

And a flower bowl

 

At the Bishops Palace

At the Bishops Palace

 

Click here if you would like to know more about the English Country Garden Festival and visit.

🙂