Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sea Change

Welcome to Magpieheaven! I'm snatching a little time in between cake baking and preparing Sunday lunch, to blog about a project I've been working on for the last few days. I'm linking the project up to PaperArtsy where the theme is 'Words' because the words of William Shakespeare play a large role in inspiring the piece as well as featuring on the project itself. I suppose what I have created is partly a shrine to some of my favourite words from one of my favourite plays - Shakespeare's 'Tempest'.

The title of the piece is 'Sea Change' and this beautiful phrase features in one of the little chambers which you can see more closely here -

I always loved art at school and for a few years I wanted to become an artist, but that dream faded. Time passed and with my children grown up and no longer dependent, I re-discovered an old love through crafting and the world of craft blogs. At about the same time I came upon two inspirational blogs that truly brought about something of a 'sea change' in my life: Leandra's PaperArtsy blog and that of Sandra Evertson, the American artist and writer. I wanted to explore how beautiful poetry and inspiring artefacts and products ignite the imagination and enable us to turn the most mundane of objects into 'Something rich and Strange' and to combine PaperArtsy paints, stamps and papers with Sandra's new Relics and Artifacts in a project.

It all began with me wanting to find a home for one of Sandra's heart relics, which I had decorated, and some tiles left from our kitchen renovations - yes - the kitchen is still a WIP, now entering its second year! As you can see, the shelf unit I used for my shrine is a rather uninspiring creation in MDF! Sandra's heart was painted with Jade Fresco, rusted and embellished with my own artwork image transferred onto fabric and finished with PaperArtsy Satin Glaze. Further additions are broken jewellery pieces and Prima Art Sugar in charcoal.

I wanted to create a weathered, sea-battered object that contained some of the magic Shakespeare conjures through his poetry and Prospero through his magic books! I gave the unit two coats of black gesso on the outside and a coat of white gesso inside. I was going to use PaperArtsy Fresos and Chatsworth papers, and, although I probably didn't need the white gesso inside, I wanted to make sure I lost that mass-produced look of the shelving unit.

Once I had created the 'blank canvas' as it were for my ideas, my imagination could really take flight! I used this little figure from Sandra's Relics and Artifacts for my Ariel. His wings are the words of Ariel's song 'Come unto these yellow sands'. They are printed out and read 'Pearls that were his eyes' and '...into something rich and strange'. I painted them with Yellow Submarine and Tangerine Twist Frescos, edged them with gold and green frantage and then coated them with Versamark and Ultra Thick Embossing Powder.

In each of the chambers, which are inspired by the idea of Prospero's 'cell' on his magical island, I've played with different textures. I used stencils, Grunge Paste through a Prima flourish stencil and Gel Medium and Fresco paints over gauze and mesh fabrics.

Treasure Gold in Green Amber, Aquamarine and Sapphire really highlighted the textures. I used torn and curled Chatsworth papers some Lynne Perrella script stamped in Toffee Fresco to suggest pages torn from magical tomes and arcane jottings!

Lynne Perrella's beautiful stamp designs, Chatsworth paper with Gold UTEE spatters, Sandra Evertsons' Relics and Artifacts and Shakespeare's poetry combine to 'Foot it featly' in this little compartment.

Those are pearls that were his eyes...

I used napkin tissue, resin flowers and Lin Brown's leafy stencil with Grunge Paste, while on Sandra's heart I blended Frescos in Blue China, Jade, Hey Pesto and Smurf and some Sapphire Treasure Gold.

On the enchanted island, Prospero has all kinds of spirits to do his bidding, but his overwhelming desire is to bring his erstwhile enemies to an understanding of how they wronged him; to forgive them and to be reconciled with them.

 Could this be the kingdom from which he has been exiled for so long? This is a tile sprayed with Fresco washes and stamped with a Lynne Perrella design.

Maybe this is Miranda - more Lynne Perrella stamped with black Archival onto painted tile and then with some finishing touches of PaperArtsy translucent paints.

'A brave vessel' created from napkin tissue and 3D Gel Medium touched with Classic Treasure Gold.

To create a weathered, 'sea-change' look to the project I covered the black gesso with some Prima crackle paste with a little turquoise primary element added. The mysterious gold words along the edges are Wendy Vecchi gold texture paste through a ledger stencil.

I was able to use shells and a piece of coral that I was given long ago so the project is a combination of many elements, all of which have significance for me.

Thank You so much for stopping by my blog today and taking the time to look at all these images. Creating my Sea Change shrine felt a little like stepping onto an enchanted isle. Shakespeare's poetry; the creative possibilities that PaperArtsy open up with their wonderful colours and stamps and Sandra with her inspired Relics and Artifacts helped to make Prospero's Isle real to me for a while! I hope your week will be one of enchantment, creativity and happiness. 


  1. Well you must be having a very late lunch, but this is gorgeous!! I am using pages of a copy of the Tempest too, but not for the words piece (although I did earlier, come to think of it) Some good is coming out of your prolonged kitchen re-fit then... this looks fabulous.

  2. This is stunning Julie Ann! As always your attention to detail combined with narrative have me mesmerised and reading it through more than once. Absolutely wonderful project.

    Lesley Xx

  3. OMG! What an amazing piece. If I may borrow from The Tempest "There's nothing ill can dwell in such a temple. If the ill spirit have so fair a house. Good things will strive to dwell with't". It's perfect :oD Lx

  4. A beautiful work of art, full of meaning & emotion.

  5. Oh my Julie Ann, you beautifully weave such a touching narrative to your stunning creativity. I never studied Shakespeare, but you have given me a visual insight into The Tempest and your thoughtfully created chambers. What a pleasure for you to combine your interests so perfectly! ~Leandra

  6. This is absolutely gorgeous !!! Love every detail, Julie.

    Have a wonderful day

  7. Stunning piece of work and beautiful narrative. XxX

  8. Julie Ann!!! This shrine is exquisite!!!
    I am so very happy you were able to shoot close-ups to share! The work, thought and design you put into this is amazing! I love! love how each compartment is individual but marries so beautifully with the others! And for sure you totally masked the original look of the piece! Your colors,designs and layout-perfect! And to see your tiny face from the other post,resting in her new space- again-perfect! You rocked this girlfriend! heehee(had to tell you so!) xoxo

  9. How did I miss this! In my opinion this is a fabulous masterpiece! So many treasures stored in such special little places! Love the mixes of textures and artefacts! Well done talented lady! X

  10. Wow just stunning Julie Ann, really beautiful. All those little touches had my heart all a flutter.

  11. Love all the little niches and the items to go in them. Have to admit, did my usual, only looked at the piccies, didn't read anything!!! Great make xxx

  12. Stunning work, Julie Ann - from the crackle texture, ocean hues and gilded text of the frame to the marvellous, magical, eerie and beautiful objects gathered in your niches... I think you've really captured the dreamlike quality and mystical beauty of Ariel's songs. A really special project.
    Alison xx

  13. Oh, and if I haven't thanked you for your lovely email, my apologies... W.S. has been distracting me, but I was really touched. Thank you. xx

  14. You have left me almost speechless dear Julie Ann ♥
    you have created another absolute treasure here full of beauty and deep meaning.
    Your choice of materials is an adventure in itself and you describe it all so well.
    I have not studied Shakespeare but certainly have enjoyed this.
    Every detail is really splendid.
    You were definitely born an artist and how lucky for the mixed media world that you are here sharing your passion and creativity (OK I did find a few words ;-) )
    Love this so much!

  15. This is a feast for the eyes, I absolutely love every square!!!! The patina over the black gesso works so well and your artwork on the ex voto is,absolutely precious!


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