Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


Birds of a Feather

During the Angels Among Us workshop, the first 6 weeks were devoted to each guest artist teaching a new lesson each week. For the second half of the workshop, each teacher was paired with another teacher. They were asked to use each other’s lesson as inspiration to create a new lesson.

I decided to jump ahead to the week 9 bonus lesson with Brandi Dayton. Brandi’s lesson was inspired by Stacha Conboy’s week 3 lesson. In that lesson we created a watercolor angel.

Brandi’s lesson was quick and fun. A nice break from the more detailed lessons with longer videos. She enjoys birds so that was the focus of her bonus lesson. Materials used included watercolor, ink, marker, and pen.


Birds of a Feather



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!


Work In Progress: Ornimals and Tiny Totem Bobbles

What are you working on this week?

I’ve had a productive week in the studio making Graduate Owl Ornimals and new Tiny Totem Bobbles. Here are some of these pieces in progress.

Graduate Owl Ornimals

This group of five Graduate Owls is half of the 10 pieces I need to have finished by the end of this month. Another five are on my work table in the first stage of sculpting.

"Neked" Graduate Owls

"Washed" Graduate Owl Ornimals

I’m giving some thought to making a video on my sculpting and finishing process for the Ornimals. Is that something you’d like to see?

Tiny Totem Bobble Birds

The birds are being well-received. They make people smile. I’ve sold one already. And I put together a class on sculpting the birds. That proposal is being reviewed in a couple of places. I’ll let you know when those classes are scheduled.

For now, here are two new versions of the Tiny Totem Bobble Birds.

Tiny Totem Bobble Birds In Progress

I have this fear that the hole I drill in the bottom of the birds will close or shrink during the curing process. So I made these two little curing “mounts” for the pieces. It works pretty well. Except for the fact that the wire supporting the bird on the left came out of the mount and was stuck in the bottom of the bird after it cured in the oven. I was able to remove the wire with a set of pliers and a good yank. No damage done. Not sure why the liquid clay didn’t bond with the wire and raw clay of the mount.

What did you work on this week in your studio?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.


Here Comes The Sun…and a Bird…and a Heart

The other day I took a break from making the bobble totems with bodies. I wanted to make something a bit smaller that was quicker to put together. I am planning to add the bobble totems to my line of work and having a range of price points is always a good thing. The “tiny totems” would fit that mindset.

This idea for tiny totems first popped up in my head while making my hearts last month. I wanted to find out how one of those hearts would look & function as a totem.

Heart Tiny Totem 2012; Amy Crawley

The heart looked pretty good. Of course, while this idea was ruminating in my head, I had to think about other sculptural items that might look cute as totems.

How about a tiny bird?

Bird Tiny Totem 2012; Amy Crawley

Bird Tiny Totem (Side view)

Of course, what bird doesn’t enjoy a bit of sun?

Sun Tiny Totem, 2012; Amy Crawley

And here is the tiny totem trio:

Tiny Totem Trio 2012; Amy Crawley

The heart is 4.25″ tall. The bird is 3.75″ tall (to his beak). And the sun is 4.75″ tall to his longest sunbeam.

Have an excellent weekend everyone!


Carmen Birrdanda

One of my goals this year is to teach polymer clay classes in the fall. I’m planning to teach a series of beginner classes locally as well as offer classes on polymer clay art dolls.

The fun part (most of the time) in developing classes is working through the process of creating the artwork that you teach to your students. This is when you learn how many steps it actually takes to make the end product and whether your short-cut processes will really hold up. It is also a time to improve on your construction techniques. (Hmm, I’m sensing a future blog post here.)

One class that I thought would be fun is sculpting over a burned out light bulb. Burned out light bulbs can’t be recycled and disposing of them in the trash contributes to more waste in landfills; waste that doesn’t readily decompose. Sculpting over burned out light bulbs is, therefore, good for the environment.

Before the 4th of July holiday I started experimenting with this idea. What resulted from my experiment was Carmen Birrdanda.

Here is how she looked before her arms were finished:

Carmen Birrdanda-raw

Here she is after being cured in the oven, sanded, and antiqued (arms still not finished. She’s looking a little impatient.)

And here is Carmen in her final form. Her arms are finished with a mixed media technique. She is a bit of a cheeky bird with an independent streak. Note the red nail polish on her toes. Her sign reads “Will sing 4 seed.”

Carmen Birrdanda

She has an “inny” belly button. We discussed the possibility of a belly button ring or a little bling but decided she wasn’t quite old enough for that type of embellishment.


New in the Studio: Going to the Birds

I’ve always enjoyed birds. I enjoy watching them fly overhead and hearing their songs in the morning. When I was a kid, many of my drawings and doodles had birds in them. Maybe I was a bird in a previous life. Maybe I raised birds in another life.

It was probably inevitable, then, that birds would make their way into my work.

The Drought

A few weeks back I was looking for a way to get the creative juices flowing again. After I delivered my last wholesale order in April, I took a long break from creative, art based activities. I can’t remember most of what it was that consumed my time (which tells me something…guess it wasn’t terribly important) but I was getting scared that I wouldn’t make art again. It felt like I was going through a drought. The other scary thought I had was that maybe I didn’t really miss making art. Maybe I’m really meant to do something else and this art making was just an interlude.

Not being entirely happy with that thought, I put my butt in the chair and started sketching. And out of these sketches came birds. I sketched silly looking birds, printed out pictures of birds, and then started making small bird sculptures and experimenting with various surface designs. It felt good to make art and do something different.

Here is what I’ve created so far:

Polymer Clay Bird

My first attempt was a polymer clay bird; polymer clay armature and polymer clay surface design. In my sketches and in my head, I envisioned making wacky looking birds with crazy hair and pointy beaks.

Red & Yellow Bird

Red & Yellow Bird-side shot

This was a start. The little head decoration is map pins. I wasn’t completely satisfied with this one. What I saw in my head and what came from my hands didn’t quite match.

Mixed Media Birds

The polymer clay bird wasn’t bad, but it didn’t quite click with me. After flipping through some art books for inspiration, I decided to try a mixed media technique on polymer clay:

Red & Black Bird

Red & Black Bird 2

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. This guy is a bit more contemporary than the bright polymer clay bird. I was also experimenting with wire legs on both birds and having a dickens of a time. Either one leg was longer than the other (then I’d snip off some wire, now the leg was too short) or the feet were too big. Balance was also an issue. Birds were tipping too far forward or sitting on their rumps.

So I decided to eliminate the wire legs until I could get the shape and design down.

And then I came up with this:

Green & Blue Bird

Green & Blue Bird side shot

Now I’m starting to giggle. From what recesses of my imagination did this guy come from?

And then I decided to try another surface design:

Blue Bird

Blue Bird-side shot

I think this little guy is my favorite thus far. He looks like porcelain.

When I shared these guys with my art guild, the response was great. Lots of giggles and comments on the faces. Someone said “I don’t know where this idea came from, but they’re you. You started with faces and heads of people and now you’re putting them on birds.”

I guess that makes these anthropomorphic birds. Makes sense to me. I’ve always liked to think that animals have human characteristics.

I plan to make a some more of these little guys using the mixed media techniques on polymer clay and see where that leads me. I’ve decided not to give them feet because it was causing me too much frustration. It is better to let the piece tell me what it wants than for me to force something upon it.

I also envision making some larger birds with sculpted faces. I need to sketch out those ideas before they fly out of my head.

Thanks to this new found creative avenue I’m going to the birds.


Birds of a Feather BS

These lovely birds of a feather may not typically flock together but they certainly do in my studio.

One of my goals this year is to move away from my traditional cylindrical shaped bottle stoppers and introduce sculpted stoppers.  In doing this I address my deep desire to create more sculpted art and to have more fun in the studio. I also feel more aligned with my one year vision.

Each bird is hand sculpted which means each bird is unique as the message from my hands to the clay changes day to day.  Some days I work the clay harder.  Some days the body is more egg shaped. Some days the bird is chubby and on other days he is small.

This new trio of birds includes a crow, a bluebird, and a cardinal.  Each is available for purchase individually or in a set of three. A descriptive card on each bird’s symbolism is included.

The Crow

The Crow

In Native American culture, the crow is symbolic of being easy-going, romantic, soft-spoken, patient, and intuitive in relationships, idealistic and diplomatic.

The Bluebird

The Bluebird

The bluebird symbolizes happiness sought.  The origin of “Bluebird of Happiness” is from a 1909 play, “l’Oiseau bleu.”

The Cardinal

The Cardinal

The Cardinal represents passion, warmth, and vibrancy that is available to us.  The cardinal tells us to step into our natural confidence and to lead with grace and nobility.

Bird Trio

Bird Trio