Thursday, June 25, 2009

Deryn Mentock - Steampunk-Meets-Tiffany's

Deryn Montock
This is the first time I've featured a jewelry artist on this blog. However, Deryn Mentock's artistry is so unusual and exceptional that I just had to show you her work.
Caged Charlotte

Each piece of Deryn' jewelry is like a little sculpture or a reminder of the past zapped with an idea for the future. It verges on steampunk, but is more refined than that. It almost defies description. I'd say these pieces are a melding of fine jewelry elements with rough and raw materials wrapped in wire and fashioned in unusual ways to come up with something truly unique and wonderful.
Beth's Charm Keeper

One can tell, just by looking at this jewelry, that the artist who makes it draws from multiple influences. She writes, "As a kid, my parents always encouraged me in the direction of art making. My mom was very creative and I grew up in a do-it-yourself household. Consequently, I've had my fingers in a lot of different art pies! I haven't had much formal training but I've pretty much tried it all, creatively speaking; painting, leaded glass, jewelry making, calligraphy, sewing, pottery, drawing, embroidery, collage, photography, candle making and more. I think that varied background has given me a good knowledge of materials and techniques that I'm able to apply to the artwork that I do today."

Little Green Apples

Deryn's designs mingle unique, worn and well-loved finds, religious pieces and faceted, semi-precious stones as well as one-of-a-kind handmade elements. These elements are all combined in eye-catching ways that are unexpected. She titles each piece suitably with names that characterize the jewelry's unique qualities just as any artist would title a painting or sculpture.


When working on her jewelry, Daryn prefers to create the look and feel of vintage, unusual and found objects. She delights in blending these treasures into her work. Each composition, infused with color and texture, reveals an intuitive message of faith conveyed through the artist’s hands.

Koi Pond

Deryn enjoys teaching nationally and is a design team member for Susan Lenart Kazmer’s “Objects and Elements.” Her artwork has been featured in several books including “Mixed Emulsions” by Angela Cartwright. “Exhibition 36” by Susan Tuttle and, most recently, “Collaborative Art Journals and Shared Visions in Mixed Media” by LK Ludwig. You can also find her work in many articles and publications, including Step by Step Wire Jewelry, Belle Armoire Jewelry, Belle Armoire, Art Doll Quarterly, Stampington's Gallery, Correspondence Art and Stampington's book Artist Trading Cards.

Amber Collar
You can contact Deryn at and see more of her work at her BLOG; and her ONLINE STORE.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Buddhist Mandala Ceremony

Back in the 80's, when I lived in Houston, I took my Goddaughter, Petunia, to the final day of a Buddhist mandala meditation ceremony. It was fascinating to watch the Buddhist monks complete their mandala sand painting, slowly and carefully using the colored sands that were all lined up in pots like the ones above. I couldn't believe how much detail was contained in every square inch of the beautiful sand painting.

During these ceremonies, the construction process takes several days. Then, much to the dismay of the viewing audience, the mandala is destroyed shortly after its completion. This is done as a teaching tool and metaphor for the impermanence' of all contingent and compounded phenomena.

For those of you unfamiliar with the mandala and its significance, it is a design that is a representation of the cosmos or the universe, created in a circular pattern which leads to a central point. It is a symbol or wholeness, of beginning and end.

Simple mandala have been drawn by many native people in many counties, including the early Australian Aboriginal people. Many Christian churches have a circular stained glass window, with the cross as the center point of the circle.

In the Buddhist mandala, the circles represent levels of the cosmos, and the squares generally depict earthly levels. The levels may have gates, which lead into the center of the mandala. The mandala is used as an external expression to help find the universe within. Often, the mandala incorporates symbols or physical representations of the Buddha to show the transition of the spiritual journey

No two sand mandalas are ever alike.

However, each one is created using the same basic concepts.

Here is a video that I found on YouTube that illustrates what the ending ceremony is like:

(If you are unable to view the video above, please click HERE.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Steampunk Orange

Back when I was a kid, the old man who ran the local photography studio taught me how to hand tint photos with oil paints and a Q-tip. Now my Mom's album of family photos contains a number of pictures of strange-looking blue or magenta- skinned individuals.

Photo Manipulation has been practice since the 1800's. Before computers, photo manipulation was done with oil paints, as mentioned above, with ink, double-exposure, piecing photos or negatives together in the darkroom, or by scratching Polaroids. Now, with the use of Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Corel Photopaint, and other software program an image can now be edit with ease. A good quality and angle of both images is a must to achieve a good manipulation result.

Here are some fun manipulated computer images that I was able to dig up on the web. Some of them are downright amazing! :

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Connie Cohen - Spizzi Mosaics

Connie Cohen

Wouldn’t you just love to have a shower surround like this?!

Firedog Shower

If you’re a fan of modern mosaics with Old World style, you might want to pay a visit to Spizzi Mosaics, the studio of Minneapolis, Minnesota mosaic artist, Connie Cohen.

Connie began her art life as a graphic designer. Then, a friend told her about a do-it-yourself TV program she had seen about pique assiette techniques and tile cutting. The friend suggested that the two of them begin making mosaics and the rest is history. Connie very quickly became hooked on the art form. A couple of years later, she found herself in Ravenna, Italy with her Mom where she took Lucianna’s mosaic course and fell in love with smalti. Since then, she has spent much of her life creating and perfecting her beautiful decorative and fine art works. Connie works primarily with either Italian or Mexican smalti, but has recently begun to add stained glass to her work.

“I fell into the world of mosaics by chance and have discovered something far beyond what I could have ever imagined. What began as a hobby has led me deeper into the world of art, history and architecture. For me, it is the perfect synergy of my background in graphic design and architecture. I’m captivated by the process and I’m intrigued by the idea of making a fluid “painting” using a solid material. I am amazed by the magic in the process and I create to be a part of that magic.”

Whether working to music or in quiet solitude, Connie’s work reflects a deep, thoughtfulness about the designs and process.

“Whether I'm studying someone else's technique or free-forming on my own, I think my hand and personal sensibility comes through without really thinking about it.”

Connie enjoys working with and sharing her work with children and has participated in a number of Artist in Residency programs in her career. Perhaps most admirable was her stint with the Kulture Klub Collaborative, a non-profit that offers art opportunities to homeless youth. She coaches her students to find designs and colors that portray each person’s unique style.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Long Beach, CA. this summer, you might want to stop by the 2nd. Cith Council Gallery. Two of Connie’s pieces, “The Tree of Inner Solitude” and “Kissed by the Tree of Weeping Love” , were accepted into the juried show: Tesserae: The Art of Mosaic. They will be at the gallery from June 27 - August 5.

You may view more of Connie Cohen’s work HERE.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Exhibition Notice

I received the following announcement today. Imaging making 50 mosaics in 50 days!

> Hello friends, family, and colleagues,
> I’m writing to tell you about my art blog called Jude Pittman’s Studio,
> The new artwork which I’m making every day for 50 days will be exhibited with 66 other artists’ work In the 50/50 Show at the Sanchez Art Center July 24-August 29.
> Whew! It’s an exhilarating challenge to make a mosaic every day for fifty days.
> A couple new pieces will be added to the blog every few days. Please join me in this creative journey by checking out my blog! Then come to the grand opening on
> Friday, July 24 7–9 pm
> at the Sanchez Art Center
> 1220 Linda Mar Blvd. Pacifica CA
> All of these 6" x 6" artworks are for sale
> and may be taken home at the time of purchase.
> Cheers,
> Jude Pittman
> Visit my website for more artwork at


Stacy Alexander