"The Cream Puff"

"The Cream Puff"
"The Cream Puff" was shown by request @ Liberty Art Gallery, Long Beach Ca. April '12

Monday, September 14, 2015

Painted Pachyderms - Elephants on Parade

    I have been a lover of elephants ever since I was a little girl.
    I'm not even sure where or how it started.
    I have a collection of elephant trinkets that's been amassing since before I can even remember.
    When I was a little, my aunt and uncle would travel the world and bring me back elephants from many of their exotic vacations.
    I have an elephant formed out of a starfish with seashell ears from Hawaii. Beaded and mirrored elephant Christmas ornaments from India. Hand carved Mahogany wood elephants from Africa. A milk glass elephant perfume bottle. A giant paper mache circus elephant. More stuffed elephants than I can count. And the list goes on and on and on.

    As an artist, I am all about color and texture. Bright bold beautiful colors is my standard palette. I make my own handmade textiles. And I almost always weave some form of textile into my jewelry. Whether it be recycled sari silk ribbon, felted beads, or hand spun art yarn.
    I've been known to refer to my creations as "Rainbow Colored Sugar", much like the candy straws from which PyxeeStyx derives it's namesake.
   You've heard the term minimalist? I often refer to myself as a maximalist. More is almost always better in my book. I love to layer elements to create interest.
    So the first time I ever saw an elephant painted and decorated and bejeweled, I fell head over heels in love. What could be better than several of my favorite things all rolled into one.
    I have always found elephants to be such beautiful and majestic creatures. To see them adorned in all their glorious splendor of paint, textiles and jewels feels like they are elevated to the status of royalty and respect that they so very much deserve.

    The reason I chose this as the theme for the 18th round of the Blogger/ Non-Blogger challenge, was to inspire me to complete a project I've had brewing on the back burner for a while. I just hadn't found the time to do it.
    I collect East Indian hand carved wooden textile blocks. Most of my textile blocks are very large scale motifs, but I have 2 smaller ones I've been wanting to use for etching. An elephant and a paisley.
    I was hoping to stamp directly on my copper sheet to etch, but discovered that the block was so worn that it wouldn't imprint clearly. I was however able to get a decent print on paper. I cut that out to use as a template for the shape and then had to draw the details in by hand.
    I etched with Ferric chloride, for a very long time to get a deep etch. About 4 hours. This is risky because it's possible to etch all the way through and leave holes, so it's pertinent to check on it often.
   You also risk getting flaws like the crawling effect left on his legs and trunk. It did however work out well for my piece because it just looks like the texture of elephant skin.
    I then patinaed and buffed with steel wool to create the highlights and shadows. I drilled holes to add jewels.
    Originally I had flame painted him, and he had beautiful hot pink, orange, and purple iridescence, to go with my beaded palette. But of course the age old question of how to seal that color in still stands. I tried sealing it with Renaissance wax, but the colors just buffed out.
    So I flame painted again, and left it unsealed. Unfortunately my fingers managed to buff out all the color while wiring on all his jewels. :(
    I considered trying again, but didn't dare for risk of destroying the glass beads and gemstones.
    Fortunately he still looks pretty spectacular with out the extra color.
   Embellished with brilliant orange faceted Padparadscha Sapphire briolette tassels that swing freely, glass seed beads in hot pink and lilac, and a beaded and fiber tassel tail.
    Strung on a mix of beaded and wire wrapped paisleys, Glass pearls (the large knobby orange ones are vintage), vintage hollow brass beads with a distressed silver coating and seed bead embellishments, and an array of brilliantly colored sari silk ribbons. It closes with a hammered copper hook with a swirling cut glass cane bead, and a sari silk wrapped and beaded loop.
    Of course being the hostess, my entry was not eligible for voting, so this was purely to motivate me to complete this project.
    If anyone is interested, this sweet little baby will be going up for auction this week on the Jewelry Designers Open Market. My show runs from Monday night, until Wednesday night. Come check it out.

    Now, onto the beautiful entries.....

    I'm really quite impressed with the array of different styles that were entered. I love to see everyone's unique spin and how they interpret the images.
    Thank you to everyone who participated. You all did an amazing job!
    Here they are in the order they were received.

"Lita" necklace by Divya Narasimhan
    "Inspired by the splendor of embellished forehead ornaments worn by elephants during temple processions, Lita is an exotic combination of metal components, braided yarn, crystals, and is edged with painted embellishments. The black portions showcase the hairy head of  elephants that is visiblebelow the cutwork and the painted druzy is reminiscent of the velvet fabric that is often used as the base of the ornament."
"Analetta" earrings by Divya Narasimhan
"Patterned glass cabochon set on a hand cut painted brass tab with hand formed ear hooks. Long long ago, there was a gypsy Ana, who had traveled as a singer in a music troupe. There she met a royal parade elephant mahout and his gorgeous elephant Latha and fell in love with both of them. The mahout and the gypsy fell in love and lived happily ever after, painting the elephant in myraid colors for special processions."

Divya Naraimhan and her Jewels of Sayuri can be found on facebook and on her blog Jewels of Sayuri.

"Hano" by Betony Lee Maiden
   "Inspired by the actual events of Hano the elephant (circa 1514). This challenge was extremely inspirational for me. The amazing array of colors, fabrics, and paint, the elephants themselves are incredibly beautiful animals. I wanted to actually challenge myself as an artist and incorporate items that I have never worked with. And thus I was on a mission. Hano is a gorgeously made polymer clay pendant, made by the talented Staci Louise of Staci Louise Originals. This is the first time I have ever worked with polymer clay in my designs. I fell in love with Hano at Bead Fest, he called to me, and so Hano was born. I didn't want to do my normal style of wire work, so I thought long and hard of materials that were new to me. Then I met Marsha Neal of Marsh Neal Studios, also at Bead Fest. What caught my eye right away were the silk ribbons, and I knew I wanted a bright color. The gorgeous orange popped right out at me and Hano agreed. He said it wouldn't make his but look big. With the orange silk I also chose a smaller cadet blue silk to add an extra pop and pull in the gentle blue tones in Hano. Added to that was one of Marsha Neal's Ceramic discs, another element I've never worked with, and attempted to wire wrap several times. Hano also has a patina brass elephant stamping for company, and ceramic beads by Gaea Canody. I did manage to incorporate my copper wire work throughout the design, finishing off with a hook and eye clasp that each hold a brightly yellow bead by Kim Quigley Nunn. Hano also carries some glorious trinkets, such as an orangeish lampwork bead and copper component (artist unknown), and a vintage painted heart tag.
    It has been an absolute pleasure to meet Hano. He has been a huge inspiration and has taught me some things I never knew, and has inspired me as an artist to try new things. (Artists also become addicted to new things.) Hano measures a very light and comfortable 18" long."

Betony Lee Maiden and her Fair Maiden Jewelry can be found on facebook and on her blog The Beadwenches Blog.    

by Robin Kae Reed
   "Luscious colors of sari silk and round glass beads combine with a bronzy bangle as a foundation for keys and saying tag and silver toned drops. I was going for the colors but more for the opulence and vivid brightness."

Robin Kae Reed can be found on her website Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs.

by Rachel Mallis
    "Here is my piece! I chose the one that was a straight on shot of the elephants face. I knew I wanted to use my Lucite flowers from the moment I set eyes on it. I knew that that is kind of going for the obvious, but I knew I could put a new spin on it. I hammered out each copper bar out of wire, and then I wrapped each one with wire and white seed beads. To connect them, I used copper jump rings. How to finish it on the bottom was a huge challenge for me. but I finally decided to use a gorgeous chunk of Kyanite. It reminds me of the rustic elephant juxtaposed next to the colorful, man painted flowers. To finish off the necklace, it is meant to be worn with a white suede cord. This necklace was cheerful and fun to create! Thank you so much for providing a great inspiration."

Rachel Mallis can be found on facebook and on her blog Mint.

    And the winner is.................

with a grand total of 43 Likes, 
              Betony Lee Maiden with Hano!

    Clearly her challenging herself and working outside her comfort zone has been a very good thing.
           Congratulations Betony! 

   Can't wait to see what you'll come up with to challenge us for the 19th round of the Blogger/NonBlogger challenge.

    Thank you all for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little adventure. Leave us a comment and tell us what you think.
    Have a brilliant day!
        Until next time, Peace, Love, & PyxeeDust! 


  1. FirSt I'd like to say thank you Kelly for always being an inspiration to all of us. This has given me such an inside look at you as an artist. Second congrats to all of the artists who entered I have enjoyed each gorgeous design. You all did such an amazing job!! And last but not least OMG I WON!!!!!! Hano is currently whopping and we both want to thank everyone who took a moment of their time to vote for us. Thank you all so very much

  2. FirSt I'd like to say thank you Kelly for always being an inspiration to all of us. This has given me such an inside look at you as an artist. Second congrats to all of the artists who entered I have enjoyed each gorgeous design. You all did such an amazing job!! And last but not least OMG I WON!!!!!! Hano is currently whopping and we both want to thank everyone who took a moment of their time to vote for us. Thank you all so very much

  3. Wow! Really, parade with elephants is awesome! So many bright colors and beads! Everything is exactly the way I like.

  4. Do you need free Google+ Circles?
    Did you know you can get these AUTOMATICALLY & ABSOLUTELY FOR FREE by registering on You Like Hits?