Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A walk in the forest

One of my favorite places is the park near my home.  For me, it is a source of constant inspiration and renewal.  The most precious part of this park is a beautiful winding path through a thicket of trees.  In this space, all I have to do is take in a deep breath and gaze around me to feel the frustrations of humanity shed alongside the mounds of pine needles that blanket my steps.  This place can bring so much joy, that in those moments I am often restored to child-like amazement at the simple beauty of nature that we tend to overlook as adults.  As a visual person, I always try to be aware of even the little things, especially during my walks; because while nature can give us unmistakable grand beauty in an epic sunset, it also lies (most times overlooked) in the tiniest of seeds, insects, leaves, rocks, etc.  This awareness has turned me into a collector.  It's common that I find a small treasure while out for a walk, which I bring home for inspiration.  In every room in my home one can find either leaves, pine cones, stones, rocks, seeds, nut shells, tree bark, sticks, feathers, or any combination of these things.  So, with this small devotion I have to all things from the forest, it was a little tough for me to decide which forest item to chose as my inspiration for my guild's challenge this month.  Our theme for this month is Forest/Woodsy. 

  (obviously, because of the snow, this photo is not recent, it was taken back in February of this year)

I initially had an idea for a piece of jewelry, an idea which I may revisit another day.  But in the last week before my deadline I realized I didn't have enough time for idea number one.  My best creative brainstorm sessions come late at night when I'm waiting to be taken to slumberland.  This is a time I actually look forward to each night because I get great inspiration at this time.  So I guess you could say that the inspiration for this challenge piece just came to me on it's own, another gift from the muse.  I think this part of creating is the most rewarding part for me, to envision the final product and then work through problem solving to come up with the construction process.  The idea for this project was to create a battery operated light in the shape of an acorn.

Because the light needed to be turned on and off easily, I needed a solution to the problem of accessing the light inside the acorn.  I knew I wanted it to be entirely 3 dimensional, so at first I considered making a box like construction in the round with the top tapering to the acorn tip.  This idea was dismissed quickly, as I wanted to mimic the beauty of a real acorn cap with the layers of pointed shapes that make up the surface; plus, I always love the look of the stem coming out of that cap, so this too I wanted to portray.  I decided that the cap needed to be able to unscrew from the body of the acorn.

So, I found a wide but squat jar that would fit my battery operated tea light.  On the outside bottom of that jar, I built up a layer of transparent clay to form the tip of the acorn.  On the jar lid I built up a slighter cone shape out of scrap clay.  I decided that I wanted the top of the acorn body to reflect the subtle stripes that you can sometimes find in an acorn, so I mixed up a blend of translucents, browns and greens in the Lynda Moseley Controlled Marble technique.  After cutting wavy strips from my controlled marble that would encircle the top of the jar, I blended the bottom edge with a clay blend of dark brown and translucent clay that faded in a skinner blend to a lighter brown translucent clay mix over the acorn tip.  The acorn was baked and holes were drilled to backfill with translucent clay to allow areas where the light would filter through more brightly, and the entire piece was coated with liquid polymer and baked to achieve a satin type shine similar to a natural acorn.  The lid of the jar was covered with a lighter brown blend of clays in the shape of tear drops which were overlapped like shingles of a roof.  The stem of the acorn was added in the top of the cap.  After baking, the lid was antiqued with acrylic paints. 

This piece is about 4" long and 3" wide by 3" deep.  I was really pleased with the results of this project, and I definitely plan to make more of these to put in my shop (this one has found a home on my dining table), as well as expanding upon this idea for other projects.  Voting for this challenge is open now, so be sure to go to the PCAGOE blog and cast your vote for your favorite 3 entries before midnight on October 7th!  Here's a peek at the other entries:

Oh, and I don't want to forget to mention; Thanks to everyone who voted in last month's challenge.  I was so honored to be chosen as one of the top 3 entries of both the guild vote and the public vote!  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about my little acorn!


  1. Beth, from the tiniest acorns grow the biggest trees! It only is logical to be in awe and to receive inspiration from Nature. Great project!

    1. So true Line... a sage observation. Thanks!

  2. This is a wonderful idea I love acorns often collect them and I get so inspired by nature too!

    1. Thank you so much fellow nature lover! :)


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