After the excitement of having the moon for January’s theme, the Art Elements blog is back for another inspiring challenge – this time it’s birds of prey. I was excited by this topic from the outset and spent some time daydreaming about all the directions this could go in. Eventually I decided to focus on owls because I love them and have a generous collection of owls from which to create. Owls are fascinating creatures – I have a documentary on them from BBC Nature that focuses on how they are perfectly designed for nighttime flight. I love watching owls – one of my earliest memories of owls was at a nature rescue facility we visited on a school field trip and one owl just stared at me for quite some time and tilted its head, in the characteristic manner of owls – as if he was assessing how likely I’d be to procure him treats. Owls capture our imagination when they soar majestically in flight and are wise sentinels when perched in the trees.
A few years ago I read The Owl who Liked Sitting on Cesar by Martin Windrow, who kept an owl as a pet and I quickly fell in love with the intrepid and inquisitive Mumble. Other famous owls in my literary journey include “Owl” from the brilliant Arnold Lobel’s Owl at Home. That was a formative book in my childhood years. And I can’t forget Professor Newton, the educated owl that inhabits the world of Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, by Susan Wittig Albert.
One of the reasons that owls are popular in art and culture is that they are so amenable to a variety of styles. For example, they are magical and mystical:
Or they can be girly and cutesy:
Or scary and spooky:
Or natural and woodsy:
So many choices…. I decided to go woodsy for my jewelry pieces.
First up is “Winter Owl”. The inspiration for this piece was the beautiful ceramic pendant I received in a recent order from Grubbi ceramics. She has the most lovely delicate ceramic pieces and I resonate with her emphasis on nature. (I’m slightly ashamed to tell you how many owl pendants I have from her, but it’s at least 3). This beauty is paired with grey/peach agate stones and silver spacers threaded on cream cord. The back of the necklace is finished with grey leather lace. It has quite the frosty appearance!
And here is “Tree Owl”. This necklace features rustic ceramic beads by Artisticaos. I was introduced to her work from the Art Bead Scene blog and have become an avid “collector” of her beads. I picked up a couple owl bead sets last fall and knew for sure I needed to use them for this challenge.
Tree Owl is a perfectly hand-formed owl in a fetching shade of yellow. She came with this magnificent tree ring which makes the most natural-looking setting for the little owl. She is knotted to the tree ring with waxed linen with tiny metallic matte brass beads. The body of the necklace is comprised of river jasper stone knotted on brown waxed linen. This is one of my favorite stones to work with because of the rich natural hues in brown, yellow, and green and I am fond of the autumn ambience it elicits. You can almost feel the leaves rustling and falling gently to the ground… then you look up and spy a golden owl hiding in the autumnal foliage.
My third and final piece is called “Woodsy Owl”. This one makes use of my other owl bead set from Artisticaos. She is more at home in the winter forest given her brown and while plumage and she makes her home high in the snowy birch trees. From there she can survey her domain and take note of any stirrings in the forest. She also keeps a keen eye on signs of coming spring.
I fashioned the owl and ceramic beads into a pendant which hangs from a beaded strand made of wood chips, shell slices, and matte brass spacers. I loved the way these beads looked like winter tree bark. Nestled halfway up is a floral bead on one side (to remind one of the coming spring) and on the other side is a dark brown leaf and a little ceramic quote bead with a wise reminder. I think that the forest owls would be full of wisdom to slow down, savor, observe, and appreciate the tiny miracles that surround us. This necklace is a reminder to not lose sight of the little things that fill a life and make it meaningful.
Blessings to you,