Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Artist

I wanted to show off some amazing artwork Jordan has been creating in his art class at school this year. The image above is a mixed media piece of fish in an aquarium on a table. 

His class also paid tribute to Pablo Picasso by painting their very own self portrait. Jordan even wrote a few sentences below the painting explaining why he likes Picasso's style.

For Christmas he gave my husband and I this ceramic Christmas tree as a gift. The top actually comes off for you to store something small inside.
I love the wide range of styles she is teaching the classes at school. I am so impressed when I see the artwork displayed in the hallway in front of the art teacher's room each time I pass by.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Polymer Clay Jewelry

I wanted to share my process in making some jewelry for myself. I have lost several of my favorite pairs of earrings these last few years. So, I decided why not make a some of my own.
A little over twenty years ago I was first introduced to polymer clay at my local art store. I decided to give this medium a try. I loved the fact that you could bake the clay in your oven. I had not worked much in clay before really since grade school. I never thought I would be any good at three dimensional work.
Many years had passed since I used the clay again. I started using Sculpey again about five years ago.
Both of my necklaces were made with a mold.
I usually work with white Sculpey, but I decided to use terra cotta for a nice effect.

First I condition the clay with my hands to soften it up.
Then I use my pasta machine to get the clay nice and smooth.
Then I press the stamp into the clay, then cute out my shape.
For my flower, I used an x-acto blade to cut out the shape.
The necklace and earrings were cut out with the circular cut outs. Then I inserted the jewelry findings into the clay. I baked the clay according to the instructions on the box.
After the clay had dried I applied acrylic paint. I used a lighter purple, then a darker purple for the flower. For the earring set, I just brushed some gold paint over some areas of the pendant and earrings. The final touch was to seal the jewelry with an acrylic varnish.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Family Tree

I am fascinated by the website Ancestry.com and love to watch Dr. Henry Louis Gate's ancestry shows on PBS during the year. This sparked me to join Ancestry when my mom's side of the family was having a family reunion. I started to look up both sides of the family tree. My cousin Janie who is on my dad's side, had been collecting information starting back in the 1970's.  She told me our great grandfather was involved in politics in North Carolina. She discovered  that both of my grandparent's families were free people of color before the Emancipation Proclamation. She wasn't sure how this fortune happened to our ancestors.

This sparked me to Google information particularly about my great grandfather Hugh Granville Tilley. I was literally shocked when I discovered what an accomplished man he was of his time. He is mentioned in a couple of books regarding freed people of North Carolina.

Recently I discovered a book written about him online. I soon found out it was written by my cousin Teresa. We hadn't spoken in years. Many people in the family didn't know she had written a book about his life. This oral information was shared to her by her aunt (my cousin) several years before she died.

In a nutshell he was born just seven months after the Civil War began. His father Marcus was a free man before the Emancipation Proclamation. In fact there was a small community of freed people who owned land in the area.

Hugh obtained an equivalent of a college degree as a teacher and pastor. He decided to run for state representative in the Republican party. He was elected at the age of twenty-six, and served two terms during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War. During his two terms he helped write legislation to establish orphanages for white and black children. He also helped to secure funding for the establishment of colleges and normal schools. He also helped to improve and protect the states forestry and rivers during the big logging boom. He also help introduce public school bills for Native American/Indigenous People.

What is so interesting about this family search is that some of my older cousins didn't know a lot of this information. It is so important to share this information with family members.