Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Expressions of Love Exhibit-Handworks Gallery of American Craft

I took a leap this month and entered one of my Ornimals into an exhibit. I haven’t entered any art into an exhibit in over a year due to some less than favorable experiences. But the exhibit at Handworks came at the right time.

The Expressions of Love exhibit focuses on art made out of love. Love for a family member, a friend, an acquaintance. Someone or some event that represents love in its many forms. Each piece is accompanied by a story. Some are funny. Some bring tears to your eyes. All are heartwarming.

I entered an Ornimal I created in honor of our first cat, Ren. We adopted Ren shortly after getting married and moving to Massachusetts. She was a beautiful calico who traveled with us to five homes and brought us years of joy.

Ren (1985-2010)

Ren (1985-2010)

Ren Remembrance Ornimal(Amy Crawley, 2013)

Ren Remembrance Ornimal
(Amy Crawley, 2013)

Here is the story I wrote to accompany this piece.

I caught your eye at the shelter as I rubbed the cage door. “Take me home” I said. And you did. I cried all the way to my new home.

We lived in a couple of apartments. You let me play in the sink water and sit on top of your fish tank. I told you I was a good hunter.

I cried when you tried to keep me out of your bedroom. You gave in and I slept on your head. From then on we always snuggled at night, keeping each other warm.

Sometimes you would take me on road trips to visit your family. Remember the time I sat on your lap and stared into your eyes while we waited to pay the toll? You got the message.

One day we moved into a big house and I had more places to run and hide. That other cat you adopted scared me. But I forgave you and still slept on your bed.

I got older and my body changed. Some things inside weren’t working right. You found a nice doctor and he tried to make me better.

You were good at giving me shots and feeding me whatever I wanted. But over time, it wasn’t enough. My body was telling me something. It was getting close to my time to leave.

When the end came, you held me close and that nice doctor gave me a shot. My fur felt warmer and my breathing relaxed. And then you helped me cross to a place where I run freely, catch fish in a big tank, and wait to snuggle on your bed again.

Ren Ornimal & Story

Ren Ornimal & Story

ExpressionsOfLoveExhibitEntry

The Expressions of Love exhibit at Handworks Gallery is on display February 2-24. The opening reception is Sunday, February 3, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. If you’re in the area, stop in to see all the great pieces.

Note: Pieces in the exhibit are not for sale.


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New Art Friday: Birds of a Feather

A quick check-in this Friday with a few more new Ornimals.

Some of my favorites ornies to make, and also some of the most popular, are birds. Living in a house that is surrounded by woods, I have lots of inspiration right outside by window. We have cardinals, blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees, and goldfinches, juncos, and titmouse. We occasionally see grosbeak, towhees, orioles, and cedar waxwing.

And then there are the big birds-sharp shined hawks, red-tail hawks, owls, and vultures and the occasional heron.

Last year, my bird Ornimals featured just the head of the bird. This year I’ve expanded my sculpting so the bird Ornimal has a body and feet. Some come with additional embellishments like hats and ear muffs.

Cardinal Before (2011 version)

Cardinal Ornimal 2011

Cardinal 2012

Cardinal Ornimal 2012
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Chickadee Before (2011 version)

Chickadee 2011

Chickadee with Earmuffs
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Baby Chick

Over the summer, I ordered 2″ glass balls. Another slight error on my part-ordering the wrong size ornament because I still couldn’t find the ones that matched the ornaments I used in 2011. These glass balls sat in the box they were delivered in for a few months.

Then I found inspiration in a few pictures on a great blog, My Modern Met. The post included pictures of baby chicks. They were the perfect size critters for sculpting on these smaller bases.

Baby Chick Ornimal
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

What do you think?

Do you prefer the “full bodied” birds or the “head-only” birds?

Ch-ch-changes

As much as I enjoy sculpting the Ornimals, I find myself yearning to return to some art that I dabbled in last year: encaustics and my polymer focal disks. I took some time in October to dig out the disks I made and laid them out on a work table. It was fun to shuffle them around, lay them out in various patterns, and think about how to assemble them into wall hangings.

Focal Disks

I pulled out several books on encaustic and watched part of a DVD on the medium. Sometimes we all need to take a break from the art we currently make and rejuvenate with a different medium. I hope to work a bit more with the disks and encaustic after I finish my last holiday show in December. Who knows, maybe I’ll combine animal sculpture, encaustic, and wall hangings.

Focal Disk on encaustic paint background

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend.


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New Art Friday: Raining Cats and Dogs…Ornimals and an Art Show

I’m happy to share with you today my newest Ornimal ornaments-two new cats and two new dogs.

Before Features are Painted

I use sculptor’s grade polymer clay to create my Ornimal ornaments. Each piece is sculpted one at a time over a glass base. After the clay has been cured (hardened) in a clay dedicated oven, I apply a thin wash of brown acrylic paint over the piece to accent the texture.

I call this the piggy-ghost phase because many of these pieces look like piggies in this first phase. The ghosty part is because the eyes haven’t been painted. The Ornimals really don’t come to life until the all features are added.

Here is what this new group looked like after the wash of paint and before the features were added.

Cat and Dog Ornimals
Acrylic wash
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

And here is how they look after the features are painted on the clay.

New Cat Ornimals

Tuxedo Cat with Mohawk
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Orange Tiger Cat with Striped Hat
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

New Dog Ornimals

Golden Lab with Cap
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Chihuahua with Top Hat
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

And here is the whole brood. Who says cats and dogs can’t live together?

New Cat and Dog Ornimals
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

These new Ornimals are 2 3/8″ in diameter (60mm) and approximately 3″ tall.

Art Show This Month

These new Ornimals will be joining me at my first holiday show of the season. You’re all invited to come to the Merrimack Valley Artisans 23rd Annual Art Show & Sale on October 20-21, in Chelmsford, MA. Admission is $3.00. You’ll also have the opportunity to enter a raffle to win select pieces of artwork donated by the artists, including this special Ornimal:

When Pigs Fly…
Amy Crawley (2012)

Merrimack Valley Artisans
23rd Annual Art Show & Sale
October 20-21, 2012

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a great weekend!


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New Art Friday: Two Piggys and A Chicken Walk Into A Bar

Sorry, were you expecting some crude joke about pigs and chickens? My apologies if I disappointed you.

Today I am sharing with you three new Ornimals that are variations on the Down on the Farm series.

When Pigs Fly…

When Pigs Fly… is a specially crafted Piggy Ornimal for the Merrimack Valley Artisans (MVA) Holiday show this October. This piece will be raffled at the show as part of MVA’s scholarship fundraiser. I am designing a display stand for this piece as well.

When Pigs Fly…
Amy Crawley (2012)

When Pigs Fly… measures 2 3/8″ (60mm) in diameter. She features angel wings lightly dusted with white glitter.

Piggys in Berets

This piece was inspired by the Tour de France which was playing in the background in the studio. It started out with the Piggy wearing a fashionable black beret. But when I started to paint on the features I wasn’t happy with how the beret looked on his head. So I added a red feather and red bead. It seemed to give him a certain “je ne sais quoi.”

Piggy with Beret
Amy Crawley (2012)

Chicken with Black Feathers

Chickens come in all sizes and plumage. This particular chicken was inspired by the Delaware breed which have black and white feathers.

Delaware Chicken Ornimal
Amy Crawley (2012)

September is Chicken Month!

In honor of Chicken Month I will be running a special sale on my Chicken Ornimals in September. If you love chickens, raise chickens, or know someone who does and you’d like to get the details about this special, sign up for my Free monthly art newsletter Studio Happenings. The sale is only available to my newsletter subscribers. (A portion of all Ornimal sales is donated to BayPath Humane Society, a no-kill animal shelter.)


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New Art Friday: Down on the Farm

I’m happy to share with you Down on the Farm, my newest line of Ornimals: Sculpted Animal Ornaments.

This line of ornies is inspired by the memory of visiting farms as a kid. Growing up in the city, a school field trip to a farm was an eye-opening experience. For many of us it was our first exposure to “wild” animals. The cows were huge, the pigs stinky, the chickens would scatter, and the sheep were sweet.

Down on the Farm
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

The animals in Down on the Farm stand approximately 3.25″ tall.

Down on the Farm-Sheep
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Down on the Farm-Piggy with a mohawk
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Down on the Farm-Piggy (back)
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Down on the Farm-Chicken
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Down on the Farm-Cow
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Yes, the cow has udders.

Down on the Farm-Cow (back)
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

The Down on the Farm ornies are free-standing for year round display. Or, you could display them year round on an ornament hanger.

Down on the Farm-Piggy
Ornament Hanger
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

A portion of the proceeds from the sales of my Ornimals is donated each year to BayPath Humane Society in Hopkinton, MA

Have a great weekend, from Down on the Farm.

Down on the Farm Ornimals
Amy A. Crawley (2012)


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New Art Friday: Boxer Dog Ornament

Last month I started selling my Ornimals-Sculpted Animal Ornaments at Country Dogs Pet Retail right here in Bolton. A pet retail shop seems to be a good place for me to sell the Ornimals. I mean, what better place to find animal lovers than at a pet shop? The ideal customer for Country Dogs dovetails with my ideal customer.

Of course a pet shop that caters to dog owners means I need to sculpt more dog-centric pieces. That is a good challenge for me because dog breeds are harder for me to sculpt. Unlike cats, which have a more common facial anatomy across breeds, dogs all vary, just like humans. Even within breeds you’ll find subtle differences. But which breed would I start with?

The Boxer Dog

I decided to sculpt a Boxer because one of the shop’s owners has a Boxer and is involved with Boxer rescues. My sister also owned a Boxer, a female, who was a very sweet pooch.

Boxers were developed in Germany in the 19th century. Their lineage goes back to two German Mastiff type dogs and later the cross breeding of a Mastiff and a Bulldog. Boxers are a working breed. They are intelligent, high-spirited, playful & curious. Boxers bond with families, are loyal and affectionate.

The Boxer Ornimal Ornament

Boxer Dog Ornimal Ornament
(Amy A. Crawely, 2012)

The Boxer Dog Ornimal is approximately 2 5/8″ diameter (60mm). He is hand-sculpted with Super Sculpey, cured, then hand painted with oil paints. Retail price $30.00. Available at Country Dogs Pet Retail.

Thanks for stopping by & have a great weekend.


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New Art Friday: Tiny Totem Bobble Birds & a Sneak Peek

Do you remember that I shared some process pictures of my Tiny Totem Bobble Birds several weeks ago? Did you think that the birds “flew the coop” because I didn’t share the finished pieces?

Well, the birdies are still here in the studio. But I lost my focus on the blog as I delved into other areas, like delivering work to a new consignment store, preparing for a studio show, and starting a year-long coaching program. I’m sure you’ve had times like this. The fork in the road takes you in one direction and eventually you circle back to that place where you started.

Anyways, several weeks ago I shared the birdies progress pictures. You can see their “beginnings” in this post here and in this second post here.

Today I’m happy to finally share the finished Tiny Totem Bobble Birds:

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird with Heart (Formerly known as “Wings”)

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird with Heart
(Amy A. Crawley, 2012)

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird with Heart
Front View

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird with Heart
(Close View)

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird with Heart
(Side View)

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird “Spike”

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird “Spike”
(Amy A. Crawley, 2012)

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird “Spike”
(Close up)

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird “Spike”
(Side View)

And a Sneak-Peek

This week I started work on a new line of Ornimals, The Farm Animals. There are four Ornimals in this new line, a cow, a piggie, a sheep, and a chicken. Sculpting them has been a bit of a challenge. A couple required do-overs. And I’m sure they’ll continue to evolve from this first iteration. For now I’ll share this group shot of the ornies with the first layer in the process- an acrylic wash.

Farm Animal Ornimals, Phase 1
(Amy A. Crawley, 2012)

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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