As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a member of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. This brings with it an instant love of owls, keys, and fleur-de-lis. Our chapter also happens to be pretty crafty. We like to have craft nights where some of the girls get together and do craft projects.
Our most recent craft project was making miniature owls out of baking clay. We were inspired by a picture of clay owls based on the owls of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I’m not sure who created the owls in the picture which originally inspired us, so I’m hesitant to post the picture without giving credit. I can however direct you to similar clay owls I’ve found on Etsy (two shops).
Here are some owls by GryphOriginals of Etsy.
Then there are clay owls by Calicoowls of Etsy.
We figured these looked like they would be pretty easy to make. They were so adorable we couldn’t resist. So I bought some plain white Sculpey baking clay. We shaped the clay into little balls and added some details with our fingernails and the back tips of paintbrushes. Then we baked them and painted them with acrylic paint. The end result is pretty adorable. I’ll share some pictures, but I didn’t get pictures of everyone’s work, and not everyone painted their owlies.
The owls my sisters and I made.
So we have a really neat resource on campus, called the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History. It’s right here on campus at the College of Idaho, under the math and science building, Boone. It has a lot of fine specimens available to study. I’ve visited this museum a few times with art classes, and used the museum’s displays for sketching practice and inspiration.
On my most recent visit I was charged with creating a portrait composition, inspired by things on display. I ended up settling on a sketch of our model sitting in front of a stuffed and mounted zebra bust. Later, when I went to pursue the project further, I ended up blocking out the values of the stripes and the shadows on the model’s face, comic style. As I was doing so, I was inspired to combine the stripes of the zebra with the hair of the model. I flushed out the idea with water-soluble pencils. It took me about three days to finish the very tedious piece, but I very much like it. The most difficult part for me, aside from the stripes, was deciding how to capture the value of the model’s face. I felt like the face needed three values – white, gray, and dark gray – but I was limiting myself to only two. It was challenging for me to ignore the mid-tones. I don’t think it’s my usual style, though the illusionistic morphing of the model and the zebra reminded me of my figure drawing final project.
My cousin has had two Barred Plymouth Rock roosters for pets, both of which she adored. I thought it would be a creative and personalized gift to create her a custom rooster necklace, similar to some of the owl necklaces I’ve been making lately.
To start off, I shaped some black sculpey clay into a flat, rooster-shaped charm, paying particular attention to the tail feathers. I added a small red comb to the top of his head. Then I inserted a jewelry wire through the middle, and baked it for about 10 minutes at 275 F. After baking and cooling, I used white paint and a very fine liner brush to paint on the white stripes of the Barred Plymouth Rock. I also added a little more red around the comb, and painted some yellow on the beak. After allowing the paint to dry, I sealed it with a quick spray of fixative, followed my a clear coating of lacquer. (I found out the hard way that sometimes the lacquer eats away my acrylic paint, but the fixative layer prevents this from happening.) After further drying I curled the ends of the jewelry wire into loops. On the top loop I connected a jump ring, through which to string ribbon. On the bottom I hung a charm, consisting of a real feather from one of my cousin’s roosters. I put a couple of coordinating beads on shaft of the feather before clamping the top with a special metal piece.
My cousin loved it, and raved about it. Although I worry about the feather charm being buffeted around, I’m certain it can be repaired if needed. I’m so glad my cousin was so pleased with her Christmas gift, and I look forward to seeing her wear it again.
A while back I spotted some spectacular graffiti on the side of a train. Two separate cars featured massive ape faces rendered with surprising realism. I wanted to stop and take a picture but decided against it, and regretted it ever since.
Yesterday I was driving through the same area and spotted another car with monkey graffiti. It’s a different design, but undoubtedly by the same graffiti artist. This time I made a point to stop and take photos of it.
I have since made it a goal of mine to chronicle the different monkey graffiti I encounter on this particular set of tracks, and I’ve photographed several since. These graffiti are definitely a step above the amateur scribbles all too common on the sides of train cars, and I think the clear effort put into them makes them worthy of being called art.
In my last post I mentioned attending a presentation on vintage clothes. The presentation was done by my mother on her mother’s (my grandmother’s) clothing from years past. As a thank you for doing the presentation, the women’s organization who hosted it gave my mother a thank you gift of a bird feeder. This bird feeder is so creative and darling I just had to share it. The artist who created it had great vision, and I thought other creative minds out there would appreciate his or her efforts. The birdfeeder was created by Classy Glass Bird Feeders, owned by Bee Wee and Danny Downs. The business card says they’re located in Emmett, ID, but I was unable to locate a website. (If you’d like to contact them, let me know and I’ll give you their email.)
As you can see in the photograph, the feeder was created with various glassware saucers and bowls, as well as an upside-down glass jar rigged so as to be unscrewed and refilled with birdseed when necessary. I think the design is very cutesy and might appeal to vintage/antique collectors and glassware fans.
Classy Glass Bird Feeder - from Emmett, ID
A while back a friend, who is a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, requested a piece of art from me. The owl is her sorority’s animal, so I decided to do a painting of the elegant barn owl, tyto alba. Other important symbols etc. of ΚΚΓ include the color blue, fleur-de-lis/irises, keys, and sapphires. You can see how I incorporated these into the final acrylic painting. I spent about three days actually working on the piece. I still might make a few minor touch-ups, but otherwise it is finished.
*Update* I decided the composition still needed something to balance out the bottom right corner. I’ll be adding the silhouette of some pine trees soon.
(UPDATE: I think it’s pertinent to say I’m now a proud member of Kappa Kappa Gamma)