The Emerald Casket
Create with abandon…

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I had this new stencil I love that I think is from Dina Wakely. The quote is nearly illegible, so I’ll translate. “Create with abandon. Just put the brush to the paper and see what happens. Enjoy Every second. ”

How true that was for this little doodle. I stamped a butterfly and filled it in with watercolor pencil, then made it messy with water. Then I thought it needed flowers, so I added those. They’re outlined in watercolor pencil, and then again, I messed it up with a wet brush. Nothing fancy. Nothing terribly challenging, but I did want to get at least one page finished this week. All the colors make me smile. ūüôā

Kelly’s First Art Journal Entry

I promised to share pics of my daughter’s entries as well. And she agreed, even though she’s a bit more shy than I am about doing so! I don’t know what she was worried about. She blew me out of the water with this Zentangle! Nice job, Kelly! I especially love all the different kinds of chains…kelly

It’s not as easy as it looks…

I guess I love the idea of mixed media—mixing paint, decoupage, stamping, etc.—to come up with a piece of art. It looks easy. You slap on some paint. If you don’t like what you have, you slap something else on. Huh.

Yesterday, my dd and I worked on the first pages of our art journals together. She hasn’t finished her first one, but she’s actually taking her time and doing an intricate Zentangle. She’s probably going to kick my ass.

This was my first attempt. I started with blotches of blue and green acrylic paint. Painted a swirl with acrylic paint over a stencil. Cut the outline of the woman from a Gelli’d piece of deli paper using a stamp I wanted to be the focal point of the piece, glued it to the center, and stamped over it. Then I added touches of gelato to outline and try to add some dimension. It looked pretty good—until I added a spritz of green Dylusional spray (making the overall picture too dark), which I tried to remedy by adding Gesso’d circles. Now my composition looks like it has a skin disease.

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I’m not good with failure. Even when I’m playing, so I ended up staying up late working on another page. ¬†I am determined to learn what works! This time, I began with some texture in the bottom right quadrant, then Gesso’d the whole page to smooth the paper for gelatoes. I rubbed on some colors and didn’t like them, so I misted the page and let the color drip down. I liked that better.

Next, I cut out a heart and glued it to the page and rubbed more gelatoes over the entire surface, using my fingers to move the color. I still have color under my nails! I stamped, dotted with my Copic markers, then decided I’d better quit before I screwed it up. Yeah, I know, it’s strange. What does it mean? ūüôā

I think it just means I’m experimenting and having a lot of fun.

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And there you have it—my first two attempts at mixed media.

2016 — A Journaling Year

If you know me as a writer through my other website, DelilahDevlin.com, then you also know that one of my newly found passions is art. I began fashioning jewelry from game pieces, like dominoes and scrabble tiles, mostly decoupaging, because I didn’t believe I really had an artistic bone in my body.

Along the way, I gained confidence. So much so, that I’ve added new skills—watercolor painting, mixed media art, etc. I’m learning, but also producing some things that frankly surprise me. However, art has always taken a backseat to my writing, after all, that’s what pays the bills. But while I scramble to produce new words and find new venues to sell my writings, I’ve used art as an escape hatch—a place I can still play and find real joy in creating.

Lately, I’ve become enamored with the new craze of art journaling. I’ve pinterested like crazy, collecting ideas and examples (see my Art Journals/Smashbooks board!). This year, I set a goal to explore new techniques and capture what I learn in my own journal. And I’m dragging my daughter along with me. I bought us both Strathmore Visual Journals. She’s planning to mostly practice Zentangle throughout the year. Maybe she’ll let me share what she creates here. I’ll share my efforts, whether they are successful or not. I’m learning. Maybe some of you will be inspired to give this journaling thing a go, too!

So, here goes. A fresh notebook with lovely, thick white pages. All blank. All waiting for me to fill them up! Gah! The pressure!journalCapture

Overcoming Fear

Okay, so painting isn’t a low-crawl beneath barbed wire with live rounds zinging just above your horizontal body. It’s also not dropping down a 156-foot high zipline gripping bicycle handles into a stagnant pond—both things that I’ve done. However, painting is something I convinced myself I couldn’t do, and therefore, always feared trying it.

Then I began making jewelry and discovered I loved working with color and texture to create something unique and wearable. I began decoupaging dominoes, using mixed media techniques to make fun pieces. Slowly, I worked up the courage with those mini canvases to experiment with paint and ink.

Then, my mother talked me into taking a water color class with her. I went, thinking I was only doing it for fun, but my still life of three pears was actually pretty good. When I went home, I painted a Koi fish, and it was pretty darn good. Since then, I got busy with real job. But I was hooked. When I wasn’t painting, I was collecting books about painting. And I learned to Zentangle (see my blog below).

This past week, I babysat for a day, and rather than taking a notebook to write scene notes for my next book, I took my mini-water color kit, a couple of brushes and paper along with me. This is what I did. All very different. All experiments. I have no control over the paint when I apply water, but I kind of like that too.

Here’s my continuing love affair with fruit. The apple was nice, but kind of boring all by itself, so I flicked different colors of paint at it until I liked the result.

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The fish didn’t look quite real enough or dreamy enough for me, so I decided to practice some “tangling” on top of them.

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I do love pears, but this time, I went a little crazy with the tangle.

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Finally, I really liked doing this piece. I like the deep blue sky behind the poppies. I’m not satisfied with the ground below, so I might wet it down again and go to work “fixing” it.

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So, there’s no real message here, except try new things even if you believe you won’t be any good at them. I wasn’t even sure I’d enjoy painting, but here I am, wondering how soon I can find another day away from my desk to play with my paints. ~Delilah Devlin

Just dropping in…

The months since I opened this site and my Etsy store have been incredibly busy—unfortunately, not with things to do with The Emerald Casket. My writing life is in hyper-drive, and my daughter Kelly is opening a business in town. So my attention has been pulled away from jewelry-making, which makes me sad. I’ve made a few pieces and have shared pictures of them on my Facebook page, but¬†haven’t added anything new to the store in weeks.

After the hoopla of shop opening in May, I’m hoping to do more fun stuff.¬†By the way, it’s a framing shop. Perfect, right? We both love artists, love to dabble in our own art, and now¬†she’s making it¬†part of our lives in a very practical way.

Kelly and¬†I¬†still try¬†new things out for¬†“fit.” This past weekend, we took a Zentangle workshop.¬†Here is a photo of my¬†very first piece.

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Follow your passion and you’ll find your joy. ~Delilah Devlin

What we do for love…

This past weekend, my daughter and¬†I, along with my artist mom, opened up our basement studio to strangers during an artists’ studio tour. It’s awkward, letting people stroll through¬†your home, traipse down the steps, and see where it is that you really do your work.

We decided to participate because, just as with my writing, if we don’t have a deadline to accomplish something, we¬†can’t get a fire burning to get the work done. Sure, I use jewelry making as a creative outlet. Something other than struggling for words. Working with my hands, I can paint and bead and glue¬†and¬†have something¬†beautiful in very short order. So, unlike the writing process, which¬†happens all in my head, takes hours and hours to accomplish, and then at the end of it, the story is¬†submitted and someday very far down the road, it’s published.

With¬†visual art and¬†jewelry making, I have something I can display as soon as it’s done, whether I gift it to a friend or relative and admire it on her arm, or¬†post it on FB¬†or¬†in the Etsy¬†store.¬†I love making jewelry, but maybe I love it so much¬†because I¬†don’t spend all my time¬†doing it. Like I said, it’s an outlet. My therapy. If it was truly my job, I might have the same sort of love-hate relationship with the process as I have with my¬†writing.

Here are some pictures from this weekend’s show…

My daughter and I worked¬†at our table while waiting for people to come.¬†Here, she’s making little wire hoop earrings.
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Together we made several pairs of the cute little flower-skull earrings.

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More earrings, we’ve made.

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Here’s a treasure chest of domino pendants we’ve made over the past several months.

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Painted pendants and bracelets. And yes, everything was very jumbled, but there was too much to display neatly.

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We made these rosary bead and medallion necklaces while we sat. Czech glass beads, pearls, pewter medals, vintage rhinestone beads. Kelly took home one necklace for herself. We loved doing them so much, we ordered more supplies while we sat. ūüôā

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And you may have guessed, the thing I love most about this work is that I can share it with my daughter.

A little bit here and there…

Kelly and I both have busy lives. We’ve thought about making jewelry, for fun and for profit, for a long time. We kept waiting for the right time… When things slowed down… When the kids were a little older… Finally, we realized there would never be a perfect time to open the store. We just had to do it and see what happened.

I’m a full time writer, and like most folks who are passionate about their work, it’s much more than a full-time job. My daughter is a full-time student and mother of two (very soon to be three!), as well as my office assistant, so her hands are full, too.

Where do we find the time to create? It’s not easy. And we’re stymied right now because I’m the only one taking pictures and I have to take about twenty pictures per piece to get a few that show well online. Then there’s the photo-shopping, the writing up the description for the Etsy site,¬†etc. I really have to stop making excuses and just do it, because we have lots of inventory you’ve never seen.

But back to finding time to create… We both have to use little windows of downtime. When I’m stuck in a story and need to move away from my desk to think, it’s the perfect time to pull out beads or paint. I can let my mind wander to whatever problem¬†I’m having with the¬†current story,¬†while I let the other part of my mind enjoy something really relaxing, almost like meditation, but so much more productive.¬†¬†Kelly has the added obstacle of trying to escape her house and family to come here to work, since everything is set up in our little crowded workroom.

We make time, because we love doing this. And if we manage to sell enough to pay for the supplies, we’ll be able to keep our doors open. Bead-therapy is expensive!

Did you see the latest stack?

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New Ventures

Nothing’s more exciting than starting something fresh and new. But how many of us actually follow through?

I start diets every few months. And maybe I last past lunchtime. Sometimes, I manage to last a month. Inevitably, some scrumptious¬†meal tempts me, and I fall off the wagon. I’m a foodie. I’m unapologetic about the fact I love exotic dishes and will drive hours for a¬†great¬†Indian or Greek meal.

When I decided to start an online jewelry business, I took my time, making sure the shiny new thought never lost its sparkle. I took a year. And during that time, I made jewelry, learning different techniques, figuring out whether I had any talent for it, and building an inventory which I depleted a couple of times selling pieces during a studio art tour and at a local consignment shop.

But at last, it was time to pee or get off the pot. The website was ready and waiting. I had stacks and stacks of bracelets and pendants, and tons of beads in their neat cubbies waiting for me to make more.

I’ve been here before. At the start of a new creative venture and unsure whether I’d be a success. I didn’t become a successful writer overnight. Kelly and I are hunkering down for the long haul, because we’ve found something we love sharing. That makes a difference. Sure, we’re impatient, but the journey is every bit as important as the destination.

I added this to¬†our shop this week…

Rainforest Frog Bracelet

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We finally have a store!

Since last year, Kelly and I have been making jewelry. We geared up in the summer so that we could participate in the Studio Art Tour, which is an annual event here in our little neck of the woods. Before that, we never felt particularly talented. But a funny thing happened. The more we experimented and succeeded, the better we got. Who knew we would discover we have an eye for color and shape, or that we could master so many different techniques? We still consider some of what we do craft, but a lot of what we do now is certainly art.

After we started gaining some confidence, we dreamed big, brainstorming where we wanted to be in¬†one, five,¬†and ten years time. We’re at the one year mark and we’ve reached our first goal—we¬†have an online store! It’s not on this site, not yet. We’ve had some bumps and starts trying to figure out how to set up a shopping basket and all, but Etsy¬†provides us another venue, so for a while, all we’ll have active on this site is our blog, where we will talk about what we’re doing, where we travel, and our¬†fun junk store finds. Our Etsy shop will be where you can purchase what we put up for sale!

So we invite you to come in and take a look around. There aren’t that many items offered at the moment because I’m still taking pictures, but come “favorite” us so that you can find us again, and be sure to drop by here and see what we’re doing.

The Emerald Casket on Etsy