Sunday, November 16, 2008

Elements & Artifacts: Winter Collection III

I have just completed the release of my winter collection for Elements & Artifacts! Each item in the collection is featured in this post, and the two preceding posts.

The Holly King
The golden Oak King, the light twin, rules the earth from midwinter to midsummer. The Holly King, the dark twin, rules the dark half of the year from midsummer to midwinter. Every year at the winter and summer solstices, the two twins fight for dominance. In reality, they are two parts of the same thing: the waxing and waning of the yearly cycles of the earth.

The Oak King
The golden Oak King, the light twin, rules the earth from midwinter to midsummer. The Holly King, the dark twin, rules the dark half of the year from midsummer to midwinter. Every year at the winter and summer solstices, the two twins fight for dominance. In reality, they are two parts of the same thing: the waxing and waning of the yearly cycles of the earth.

The Snow Queen
The queen of the snow. The sorceress, who lived in perpetual ice and snow, abducted Kay after he fell victim to the troll-mirror. She kept him from his true love, Gerda, and only promised to free Kay if he could spell "eternity" with the shards of ice in her palace.

The Ice Queen
Beneath the crystalline, sparkling ice and white cloak of winter lies the darkness of long nights and life-stealing cold. Beware of The Ice Queen's embrace.

The White Witch
Always winter
Break the spell
Come deep magic
Stop this coldness
Oh, Aslan
Our salvation
Make the frost come
Thaw our hearts out
Hear the birds sing
Water flowing
Make us warm inside

Elements & Artifacts: Winter Collection II

The personification of December.

The first time I fell through I was scared
Taken away from the light that surrounded me
The chasm opened up and swallowed me

When I'm away my mother cries
When I'm lost the earth dies
She is in mourning
This is her warning
When I am gone the sun doesn't burn
She'll laugh no more 'till I return

I live the cycle of the year

Holle (Holda)
The maiden Holle, also known as Holda, is the ash girl; her face is half black with soot. She was destined to marry the King of Winter and Frost but was first tested with a riddle. Her cleverness shone. As crone, Holle was known as the wise woman, Old Mother Frost, who heralds the arrival of winter.

My tears are ice drops
My breath was warmed by your touch
My freezing sleep is death
I showed you too much

Rusalka represents a female ghost-demon and water nymph that lures handsome men to the cold, dark river floor to live with her.

Elements & Artifacts: Winter Collection I

Solstice Night
Sun, standstill in winter.

Morozko, or Father Frost, was sent to freeze the hated stepdaughter of an evil woman who forced her husband to leave her out in the cold to die. Though tempted to freeze her with his icy grip, Morozko saw her strength and stoicism and brought her a warm fur coat and downy quilts instead.

The personification of January.

It was damp in the mountain
Creeping down into caves
The wind gathered outside
I grew nervous and wanted to hide

How I want to feel fire
How this ice chills my bones
How I want to be free again
From the bend in the air again

With winter, sometimes comes sadness. A young girl is lost in a meadow. Ice, wind, cold, skin, darkness, cold, wind, sleep, cold, shiver, lie down.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hecate's Crossroads

When the ebony moon shines, Hecate appears at her three-way crossroad, each head facing in a certain direction. The blackest of onyx pendants glistens as the light hits it, and two of Hecate's keys are suspended from the antique brass chain. Sparkling black Swarovski, hints of gleaming sterling silver, and tiny red garnets adorn this asymmetrical piece.

The inspiration for this piece came from my experiences at an annual spring festival. In it, Eleusis was recreated with theatrical skits and shrines for the deities involved. I was always drawn to many of them such as Persephone, Demeter, Artemis, Aphrodite, Apollo, and Hecate. This expresses her essence.

Athena's Hale

A call to the everlasting companion to Athena, the wise owl. Antique brass and gold-tone findings give way to sparkling copper and topaz Swarovski.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I have been fascinated by bees for some time now, but it was only recently that I began to learn more about their symbolic meaning in many cultures throughout history. No matter the origin, the most commonly held belief is that the bee represents the human soul. It is selfless, immortal. This inspired me to create a series of necklaces about bees. Here is the first:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Introducing... Elements and Artifacts

A little background info:

The idea for Elements & Artifacts started in the most unlikely of places: a strange melding of my own research into old folk and tribal customs of masks (and their belief in the magical properties of such) and my fascination with Kostnice, the bone church. I combined the two concepts into one painting, which I titled False Faces. The painting holds the essence of my research into both subjects as well as a nod to an old painting of mine from age eleven. To that I added nuances of artifact, tribe, mystery, femininity, power, and the element of fire. One can be both hidden yet visible, quiet yet strong. The end result is a lasting canvas snapshot which captures my state of mind during the time in which it was created.

Separately from this painting, which was created during late spring 2008, I was already a number of months into a reinvention of my jewelry style. I had gained an interest in further exploring stones and deities which had already been a part of my creative work but which had not quite been fleshed out to their full potential. At the same time I threw in the use of more than simply sterling silver, more than simply gemstones, more than simply one technique, and more than simply one theme or style. What still lacked, however, was a cohesive theme. That is, until my prolific ideas and my False Faces painting started to come together into one concept and I saw a series of patterns emerge.

I see both simple and complex mystery in life. History, elements, myths, legends, traditions and customs, old cultures, artistic movements, and spiritual and magical beliefs have all found their way into Elements & Artifacts.

The result of all of this, which feels like it has been a long time in coming due to a crazy and chaotic 2008, has been very rewarding and inspiring to me on a personal level. Yet through change and new creative endeavors, one thing always remains a constant with me: no matter the medium, I take no greater joy than from being able to share my work with others.


With this release I have sought to share a melange of work from my framework of categories: The Elements, The Seasons, Myths and Legends, Fanciful Oddities, Tokens and Traditions, Steam Queen, Victorian Grunge, and ARTifacts.

I have spanned everything from The Day of the Dead to the seasons, the Autumn months, Halloween, steampunk, deities, absinthe, and my very own art pendants. Over the course of the next year, I expect to delve deeper into these categories as well as explore new ones including Eleusis, elementals, Kostnice, the elements in relation to myths and legends, and more cultural traditions.


A preview:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

To be unveiled...

For about a month now I have been working on a new series of art and jewelry. Before that, there was about 6 months of brainstorming, gathering of components, and general wandering as I took my idea from a spark to something that will soon be tangible. This is less a continuation of my past work; rather, it is a completely new and exciting leaf.

It has been so interesting to spend time doing research and development, to seek out components and stones that I need to complete my ideas, and to work up a new name and identity design for this new venture.

Stay tuned. =)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Strange Dreamscape?

Check out this amazing piece by Markus Neidel:

The Way of the Sheep

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Brian Despain Art

I stumbled upon an art portfolio that I thought was worth marking. This isn't just a display of artwork; there are amazing artist's insights paired with some of his paintings that strike me as very honest and real. One of my favorites:

"I think if you were to ask any artist which painting of theirs they liked the most they would, to a person, say "none of them"... At least the ones I've talked to have, (You may have to ply them with libations.) It's a hard fact that as artists we get way too close to our own work to really enjoy the piece as much as an outsider would. It's just too familiar to really be that intriguing. Also, every artist will also tell you, if you get them in the right circumstance or, again, with enough booze in them, that we really don't know how we do what we do. Sure we know in the greater sense, “apply paint to canvas with brush” kind of knowledge, but it's the other finer points of creating art, the stuff that's happening waaaay down below the surface that we just can't put into words. As a result there's always "happy accidents" that occur. It's these little gems that intrigue me about my own work.

For the most part I look at the entirety of a painting always aware that no matter how "good" I am I could always be better and yet without fail there's always a spot, sometimes two, in every painting that just sings. It's an odd experience to try and explain, so just trust me, it's true. For example in this particular painting my favorite spot is the area just behind the brim of the fish's hat over on the left hand side. The way the clouds come together there and play off the light illuminating the tops of the cypress trees just happened so nicely that I wish I could achieve that level of perfection over the entirety of every painting I ever do. Unfortunately that's not the way it works and so I struggle boldly on.

So the next time you're at a gallery opening or happen to be chatting up an artist in line at the coffee shop or at waiting to see a Metallica cover band at the bar up the street, don't ask them which is their favorite piece of art, you already know that answer. Ask them instead, of any given painting, which is their favorite part… You may need beer."

Check out the rest of his gallery at

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Stones

I just completed a commissioned set in a mix of Sleeping Beauty turquoise, onyx, and sterling silver. It's a revisit on an old piece that I did a couple of years ago but I think that this incarnation allows the turquoise to speak for itself rather than it being forced into a symmetrical and over-designed piece.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Comic Book Tattoo

From the Tori Amos website:

This July the ever-growing relationship between comics and music reaches new heights as Tori Amos and Image Comics release COMIC BOOK TATTOO, a 480-page, full color anthology adapting the themes and ideas behind her songs into a lush volume of sequential art.

Not only will it be interesting to see a comic book-style anthology inspired by Tori's music, but the art itself should be fantastic, and her friend Neil Gaiman has penned the book's introduction.

I love it when multiple art forms mingle.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Carnaval...

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab recently released Acts IV and V in the Carnaval Diabolique, a limited edition line of artistic and evocative perfume oils that are like nothing you have ever found before. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to create the label art for Act V - The Wunderkammer. Check out the Carnaval Diabolique here, and don't forget to browse the rest of the website for this amazing etailer.

Artwork Copyright 2008 Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Where Metal Fishes Go to Die

This was a rare and stunning find on Urban Decay, a community for photographers who find beauty in decay. Old, dilapidated, and abandoned places are given new life, and sometimes they even take on a life of their own.

HDR Photo by HoloGhost on deviantART. Check out his gallery.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

All works of art start as potential.


Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working on a design for a steampunk-inspired scent locket for Black Phoenix Trading Post. The Trading Post specializes in unique, archaic, and sometimes cheeky items, fantastic garb, and beautifully scented soaps, bath oils, massage oils, and scrubs... just to name a few things. The fragrances come from the ever-fantastic Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and are also not to be missed. The Clockwork locket is a fitting extension to the Lab's new line of steampunk fragrances!

The Clockwork locket is hand cast in 925 sterling silver and has been partially gold washed and oxidized.

Clockwork Copyright Black Phoenix Trading Post

Thursday, May 8, 2008


This piece is part one of a series of paintings on the Elementals. I began with the water element since I am most familiar with its nuances. That I ended up with a mermaid is a bit of a surprise to me, but I went with it instead of forcing an undine to appear.

Earth, air, and fire will follow...


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On Art...

So much of visual art, to me, lies in the way a piece can affect the emotions of the viewer. I don't mean severe swings from laughing to crying, though that is certainly possible. Rather, I think of it as successful if it can invoke subtle shifts of mood or act as impetus toward a new thought, discovery, or inspiration . When I can glimpse something in a piece that opens up my mind in a way that I can briefly feel the emotions or culture or history of the subject matter; when I suddenly find a long lost memory stirred to life again because of something I am viewing; when I find myself transported, even for a moment, as I am caught up in viewing the flow of an ink line or the lighting or the mix of color... that is when it is art to me.