Category Archives: Techniques

My Lenormand Dogs

Last year, I created 17 decks of Lenormand divination cards, using only my trusty old workhorse, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and photo editing Apps. I had great fun creating these decks, which are available for sale through my eBay and Etsy stores. Just search for my username “AlyZen Moonshadow” and you’ll find me.

These decks are still selling quite well, not enough to sustain me or pay the bills, but enough so that I get pin money to buy things like books. Anyway, I never got into this Art thing to make money, but rather to challenge myself.

For those of you wondering what “Lenormand” divination cards are, (and yes, I’m VERY eclectic in my interests 😄), here are some links:

http://learnlenormand.com/lenormand-card-combinations-2/

http://lenormanddictionary.blogspot.com.au/p/helens-lenormand-dictionary.html?m=1

http://www.divinewhispers.net/apps/blog/show/14716898-so-you-want-to-learn-to-read-the-lenormand-resources-

And some good books on the subject, if this has piqued your interest:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Essential-Lenormand-Practical-Fortunetelling/dp/B00JN8D6RE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401965558&sr=8-2&keywords=lenormand+rana+george

http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Lenormand-Oracle-Handbook/dp/1620553252

Today I thought, seeing as I love dogs so much, I would share with you some of my Lenormand dogs.(I’ve put down the names of the deck the card belongs to, below each image, in the event you may wish to purchase a Lenormand deck for yourself).

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(The Moonshadow Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. The model is my own dog, Shelagh)

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(The Modern Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(AlyZen’s Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(Diana+ Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(Geometrical Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(Olde Worlde Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(The Eclectic Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(The Mongrel Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. Shelagh, my own dog features again)

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(The Pictorial Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. This deck simply has images, not the numbers or words associated with the cards)

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(Lenormand Plain And Simple by AlyZen Moonshadow)

And then This happened…

Over the past 8 weeks, I’ve been slowly but steadily training my 3-year-old dog Shelagh to walk nicely on the lead. We’re fortunate enough to live in an area close by to several beaches, with numerous parks and pockets of green within 10 minutes walking distance from home.

So far Shelagh and Scruffy have walked on the beach, alongside the beach, all around our neighbourhood, and along various different parts of the Rockingham foreshore. We’ve also stopped along the foreshore’s busy café strip for frozen yogurt and coffee so Shelagh has gotten accustomed to people passing by.

Just a few days ago, I trusted Shelagh enough to let her run off lead in the park, after checking that no other people or dogs were around. I was so proud when Shelagh didn’t just take off and run away, but instead was happy enough to nose around the trees and bushes with Scruffy. She also came when called, and a couple of times when she chose to have selective hearing because some scent was far more interesting, I was able to get her to return to me by calling for Scruffy, my ever-reliable Control Dog, instead. When he turned around and raced towards me, Shelagh did the same.

So far, so good. In the beginning, when this experiment began, Shelagh would be too wound up and stressed to show interest in any treats I offered her while out walking. Gradually, as she became accustomed to our new routine and the environment around her, she relaxed enough to take the treat from my hand readily. Ditto with any water I offered her.

Her body language has changed too – from a tail tucked right down and under her body in the beginning, to a more normal, raised tail.

And then this happened today.

O miracle of miracles! Yes!!

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I love my dogs so much ❤❤!!

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks (Part 2)

These are some photos I took of Shelagh’s ongoing training in walking and socialisation skills. She’s a “mature student” at 3 years of age, having missed out on puppy classes…but I’m proud of the progress she’s made in such a short space of time. She really has come forward in leaps and bounds. I feel like such an idiot for neglecting Shelagh’s puppy education, but at least we’re making up for lost time now. Better late than never!

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Shelagh’s 1st outing to a Frozen Yogurt outlet, Tutti Frutti, on the Rockingham foreshore. She’s wearing a step-in harness from City Farmers; we tried out at least a dozen different types and this was the easiest to put on. Here the lead attached to the harness is secured around the legs of the table we’re sitting at. I’ve also got a chain lead attached to Shelagh’s collar. I found that with 2 leads, a shorter one attached to her collar, a longer one attached to her harness, I can effectively “steer” Shelagh and also discourage pulling. In the left corner of the photo you can just about see Scruffy wearing his red harness. It’s more of an affair getting that harness on, as it’s one where there are 2 loops – 1 for the head, 1 for the chest, connected by a strap with a metal ring the lead clips on to.

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Shelagh’s set-up: short chain lead for her collar, step-through harness, purple long lead for harness.

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Scruffy’s set-up: slightly more complicated harness, and lead.

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Boo the cat decided he wanted in on the action too!

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Poor Shelagh looking bewildered on her 1st proper outing to a public place – Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt on the Rockingham foreshore.

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Look at Shelagh’s tail, it’s nearly tucked under her body. She also was too stressed to be tempted by any treats.

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This was taken on our 2nd public outing to the foreshore. Shelagh was much more relaxed, and greeted passersby with tail wags. Scruffy was his usual friendly self.

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3rd outing in the park. No other dogs were around. I unclipped the chain lead from Shelagh’s collar but left the purple lead on, to trail behind her as she moved about, to remind her she was still on a lead. (And to allow for easy capture, if she decided to run off). So far, so good. Note her tail is still tucked under, as she is still unsure of herself.

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Scruffy makes an excellent Control dog. Here he has his lead off. Jack and I were just standing still, and both dogs also decided to stop and just stand. Note Shelagh’s nose-lick.

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Another walk, another day. This was the 1st time I had Shelagh completely off both her leads. She was a very good girl and didn’t wander off too far by herself. Recall was also good.

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This photo was taken a week after the previous one. Note how Shelagh is much more confident now, off lead, and the almost jaunty position of her tail. Recall is much better too.

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Both Scruffy and Shelagh are off lead and enjoying a good old sniff. Both are relaxed.

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And….they’re off to explore another scent trail! Happy dogs ❤❤.

I still can’t believe how far Shelagh has come in just a few short weeks, from lunging on the lead, to enjoying off-lead walks in the park.

Next stop: meeting other dogs. A truly scary prospect. So far, the only other dog Shelagh has “met” was a puppy.

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks (Part 1)

Well, Shelagh’s not exactly old, she’s just 3. But as a puppy she never got properly socialised because I was then working up in the City and didn’t have much time before or after work…yes, guilty as charged. For the first year of her life, Shelagh had only the company of my other dog, Scruffy, when we were out of the house. Jack would often be the first home, as his school was just 5 minute’s cycle away. But he was just as clueless as me about training or socialising dogs.

We enjoyed Scruffy and Shelagh’s company alright. They are very much part of the family. Scruffy has his armchair and Shelagh has the chaise. Or, rather, Shelagh has which of the 2 she likes, and Scruffy takes what’s left over. The arrangement, however they’ve come around to it, works just fine.

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Scruffy, my older dog, has always been a social butterfly. From Day 1 he was making friends with everyone he encountered, tail busily wagging in the air as he sniffed and greeted other dogs while out of walks. Looking so darn cute helps! Since the day I rescued Scruffy from being abandoned at a horse fair in Ireland, he’s hardly left my side. In Ireland, we lived in the middle of nowhere, in an old renovated farmhouse on 3/4 acres of land, and Scruffy was allowed to range far and wide. I only had to whistle for him, and he’d be back at my doorstep within a minute. An amazing dog, really. My lovely little Lotsabitza.

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When we first moved to Australia, I’d take Scruffy out for a nice long walk in the evenings. This was how we’d do it – I’d be on my bicycle, and Scruffy would run alongside me, off the leash. He’d stray off to the sides here and then, or stop briefly to check and leave a pee-mail against a tree, but he never ran too far off, and he always came back if I so much as whispered his name. I didn’t teach him any of this, he just naturally did it by himself.

When Shelagh first came on the scene, Scruffy was her devoted nursemaid. He kept her quiet at night when the household was asleep. He played rough and tumble with her during the day. He snuggled up with her, he groomed her, he play-fought with her, they jaw-fenced together, chased each other around the garden, they really are the best of friends.

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When it came to walking Shelagh and Scruffy, I found that Shelagh had grown so big and strong, and she pulled so hard each time we went out that my hands were blistered from just holding on to the lead. She would get so excited at everything, lunging at passersby and barking in frustration at other dogs. I tried using a harness on her, but she quickly outgrew that (Scruffy uses that now). It got so that taking the dogs out for a walk became quite tortuous (and painful for my hands, arms and shoulders), and when the warm Summer months rolled round and Shelagh was able to have her beloved daily swims in our pool, we stopped altogether.

Recently I started a Diploma in Canine Paychology with the ISCP, and after perusing a number of books on dog training and canine behaviour, gave myself a virtual kick in the arse and told myself that I owed it to myself, and the dogs, to do something about this problem of walking Shelagh.

This time round I had my own car, so one day Jack and I put both dogs in the back of my car. I took them to City Farmers so Shelagh could try on some new harnesses and get socialised with strangers, a strange environment and strange dogs at the same time. I know, it was a bit of a push, but Shelagh came through admirably. I’d ideally wanted to try a Balance Harness, as that’s what the Refuge where I volunteer use for their more difficult dogs. But City Farmers had none. They didn’t have any Sporn Harnesses either.

I settled for a sturdy, step-in harness which was easy enough to clip on without stressing the dog too much. You put your left foot in, you put your right foot in, you pull the harness up and around and you clip it in, et voila! All done. No need to make a whole song and dance about it 😄😉.

I made the novice’s common mistake of taking the dogs to the dog beach, before any of us, apart from Scruffy, were really ready. There we were, on the beach, trying to enjoy a walk, on leash, on the sand…then suddenly 2 distant specks on the horizon turned into 2 labradors hurtling joyously towards us. I froze, Shelagh froze, Jack froze, Scruffy wagged his tail happily at the prospect of new playmates.

I realized that I did not know how Shelagh would react to those 2 strange dogs. Would she know the correct way to introduce herself? Or would she try to fight them instead? As for myself, I did not know what I should be doing. Should I just let Shelagh off the lead to go towards them on her own accord? Let the dogs sort it out themselves? What if she ran off in a different direction? What if I couldn’t recall her? What if she bit another dog, or a person?

All these thoughts whizzed through my head in about 3 seconds. I decided to practice avoidance, as I’d been taught at the Refuge.

But those 2 whirlwind labradors were almost upon us. I needed a distraction, and fast.

So I unclipped Scruffy from his lead and told him to “Go Play”, and as he merrily darted off to meet the labradors, Jack, Shelagh and I beat a hasty retreat back to the safety of my car. Once Shelagh was in, I was then able to call for Scruffy, and to my relief, he left the doggy party and came back to the car.

As we drove on, looking for a more secluded area or at least an area where all dogs had to be kept on lead, I kept thinking – what was it that allowed Scruffy to be friends with other dogs so easily, but that made Shelagh so frustrated? Why did I instinctively trust Scruffy to get along with strange humans and dogs alike, but not Shelagh? Why was I afraid to trust Shelagh? Was it because she looks like a Pit Bull terrier and people might automatically think she’s a dangerous, aggressive dog?

Why was I afraid to trust myself with Shelagh?

I knew then that I’d have to start Shelagh’s (and my own) education from scratch. I’d have to introduce her little by little to what a walk feels like, what she’s likely to see or encounter, different smells, sounds, textures etc. Practice and repetition was the key, I felt. I would need to get Shelagh so used to going out for walks with us that she no longer felt the need to pull so hard. I’d have to desensitize her to the presence of other dogs, children, people (she’s fine with vehicles and traffic). We’d have to practice building up our trust and faith in each other, until I feel comfortable letting Shelagh off the leash. Until I trusted that she would come back when called.

And I already had my secret weapon ready: Scruffy. He would be my Control Dog. If Shelagh wandered off too far on her own, or wouldn’t come back when called, I’d whistle and call for Scruffy instead. She always followed him wherever he went. So, the idea was that if Shelagh failed to heed my recall cue, she would still turn back and return to where I was, by following Scruffy.

In Part II of my post, you’ll see photos of how things went. These were taken over the space of about a month, or 8 outings.

Dogservations : Dog Meet

As a vollie (volunteer) at the dog Refuge, I’ve so far not been privy to the process of how potential adopters meet their prospective new furry four-legged friends. True, I’ve watched such “dog meets” from afar, but only in passing. Usually while I’m out walking a Refuge dog and going past the Adoption (or Dog Meet) Yard, and the fact I have a dog on the other end of the lead means I have to move along quickly, before the dog inside the Yard notices and becomes reactive and thus spoils the Meet.

The Refuge has a couple of such Adoption Yards, for the purpose of adopters meeting dogs, as well as for dogs meeting new doggy friends. Anyone wanting to adopt from the Refuge is required to bring their existing pets to the Refuge for a Meet first, to gauge the compatibility of their animals with the Refuge dog.

Smaller animals, such as cats, rabbits, guinea pigs etc meet the Refuge dogs in a cage/crate in a room. In my 5 months at the Refuge I’ve witnessed a few cat meets, a rabbit meet and even a chicken meet(!) But dog meets are held in the large Adoption Yards, which are essentially fenced off areas about 30 x 10 m.

Just the other day, I was very fortunate to witness a Dog Meet happening. I was waiting for the bus across the road from the Adoption Yard, and the bus was very, very late. I noticed a family and their Kelpie dog walking towards the Adoption Yard with a member of Staff, then entering the Yard and shutting the gate behind them, and I knew a Dog Meet was about to happen. Just before I left the Refuge earlier, I’d spoken to the young lad leading the dog, and found out that his family were looking for a new playmate for their dog Chaz (dog names have been changed here to protect the family’s and the Refuge’s privacy). I also knew the dog they were interested in, Delia.

So, when Delia (also a Kelpie) appeared a minute later, led by another member of Staff, and my bus was still nowhere to be seen, I got excited because I was about to witness a Dog Meet in progress. Granted, my vantage point was perhaps 20m away, (apologies for the fuzziness of the photos below), but at least I was able to make these dogservations, noted down as they happened.

1. Family with Kelpie Chaz on lead enter Yard with member of Staff A. Staff A shuts Yard gate and takes Chaz’s lead.

2. Staff B leads Refuge dog Delia on lead to Yard. Staff A, on the inside, leads Chaz to fence. Staff B, still outside, leads Delia to fence. Both dogs are allowed to see each other through the fence separating them.

3. Chaz and Delia both have gently wagging tails and appear amenable towards an introduction.

4. Staff A leads Chaz away from fence towards middle of Yard.

5. Staff B opens Yard gate and leads Delia into Yard. Walks Delia towards Staff B and Chaz.

6. Chaz and Delia cautiously meet each other sideways, still on leads. Their “Sniff and Greet” ritual is brief, but apparently amicable.

7. Staff A unclips Chaz’s lead and allows him to run free in the Yard. Chaz does a quick “pee mail” against a tree, then returns to Delia. He does a play bow towards Delia.

8. Staff B unclips Delia’s lead. She’s off like a shot, and both dogs do an energetic parallel run in the Yard. Then suddenly both stop and greet each other again, side to side, tails wagging. Then off they trot, to explore various nooks and crannies together.

9. Chaz’s family recall Chaz to their side. Delia comes along too. Delia puts her head over Chaz’s shoulder, showing dominance. Chaz seems fine with that. Delia then places her paw over Chaz’s head, and he’s fine with that too. Surprisingly, it’s Delia that is the more dominant dog. As if to confirm this fact, Delia puts her head over Chaz’s other shoulder. Again, Chaz submits happily. Family and Staff appear delighted that this is going so well.

10. The body language of both dogs is relaxed. I observed no sign of aggression, no tension, just 2 dogs making friends and having a little play together.

11. Staff A clips Chaz’s lead back on. Staff B clips Delia’s lead back on. Staff A leads Chaz out of the Yard, and shuts the gate, leaving Delia and her prospective family in the Yard.

12. Staff B unclips Delia’s lead again and lets her run freely about the Yard. This part of the Meet is so the Family can assess Delia’s suitability as a family pet, whether she would fit into their personal lifestyles. Delia seems relaxed and unconcerned, and willingly goes and takes treats from the Family. She sits on cue and submits to being petted. She even comes when called.

13. The Meet is now concluded. Delia back on lead, everyone leaves the Yard, to continue the adoption process back in the Refuge’s Office.

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Introducing your dog to a new dog

(Another part of my assignment for the ISCP‘s Diploma in Canine Psychology course. The question was about how to introduce a dog to another. A harrowing prospect, and quite daunting to think about…but I’m game to test this out on my Shelagh, after a few more sessions of walking in public places getting used to people and other dogs. Poor Shelagh, when I first got her I was working in the City and didn’t have time to bring her to puppy classes for socialisation. I hold my hand up, guilty as charged. Still, we’re making up for lost time, and Shelagh’s made tremendous progress in just a few weeks. Such a clever girl! ❤)


Introducing a dog to another dog can be an intimidating prospect. The thought running through an owner’s mind would be along the lines of “What if the dogs start fighting? How do I separate them without getting bitten myself? What if one dog kills the other?”

Early socialisation is very important for dogs. As puppies, they should be exposed to the company of other dogs, humans, animals, forms of transport, sounds, sights, smells etc. The more they experience as puppies in their developmental stage (6 weeks to 18 months), the more amenable they will become, and better able to cope with everyday life. Dogs from puppy mills will not have had much opportunity to socialise, dogs at pounds and shelters even less so. Dogs accustomed to being handled by humans when they were puppies will be more trusting and outgoing with people, than dogs that were abused or ill-treated, which may be timid or show fear aggression.

Dogs that have not had proper socialisation from a young age tend to be more fearful of their surroundings, more suspicious of other dogs and strange people, more reactive to unfamiliar objects or situations. But dogs are highly intelligent and have a tremendous capacity to learn and adapt, and I believe any dog can be rehabilitated, no matter what their background or history. All that’s needed is love, time, patience, logic and the ability to put ourselves into the mindset of the dog.

When out for a walk with her dog, if an unfamiliar dog approaches on a lead, watch how the other dog’s owner is behaving, and at the same time watch the other dog’s body language. If the other dog’s owner is tightening or shortening the leash, looks despairing/frustrated/angry, and the dog is lunging forward while barking or even frothing at the mouth, it would be wiser to practice avoidance, and take a different route away from that dog. If, on the other hand, the other dog’s owner looks relaxed, the dog is on a nice loose leash, and the dog’s body language is relaxed with a gently waving tail and a soft face, then it will be possible to move closer for an introduction.

To move closer to each other, avoid moving in a straight line directly at each other. Instead, signal to the other owner to move in a curved angle, slowly getting closer to each other. If all is still well, with no lunging forward, pulling on the leash, growling or aggression from either dog, it may be possible for the dogs to meet and engage in their sniff-and-greet ritual. Both owners must make sure their leads are loose and that they are not inadvertantly restricting their dog’s movements, which can cause frustration, leading to aggression. If all is still well after that, the dogs may be let off the leash to play together, as they would have made friends with each other.

If the scenario is one where the owner is out walking her dog regularly, and she wishes to introduce her dog to another dog so they may walk together, then it’s a good idea to follow in the wake of the unfamiliar dog, about 20 metres back, so that her dog is able to get used to the scent of the other dog. If the dog urinates or defecates, her dog will be able to pick up useful information about the dog. Then, on another occasion, she could be the one walking ahead with her dog, while the other dog and its owner follow behind them, so the other dog can get used to her dog’s scent. Once both dogs are accustomed to each other’s presence, if the owners are still apprehensive about introducing them to each other, they could parallel walk the dogs. This is done having the owners walking beside each other, with the dogs walking on the outside. Then, slowly, as everyone becomes accustomed to being in the same space at the same time, the barrier between the dogs i.e the human presence, can be removed, one at a time, until both dogs are eventually walking parallel to each other amicably. So now the dogs are walking side by side, and it is their owners who are walking on the outside.

If the scenario is one where the unfamiliar dog is perhaps a friend’s dog brought to the house for a potential playdate, then all the resident dog’s belongings – bed, blanket, toys, food and water bowls, should be removed beforehand, to simulate a neutral environment. This removes the resident dog’s reason to resource guard or compete for high value posessions. If the dogs have already been introduced at a park or during a walk, let them off the lead in the garden first, before allowing them inside the house.

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Artist Inspiration : Ellen Jewett

Love animals? Like Nature? A fan of the phantasmagorical? Love it when Science meets Art? Then you will absolutely fall for Ellen Jewett‘s sculptures.

When I saw Ellen’s work on my Pinterest stream and checked out her website, I knew I just had to share with you all. You’re going to want to own her exquisite sculptures, and you won’t be able to stop at just one, either. For those armchair curators like myself, who have empty pockets, be patient, I read that there are books showcasing Ellen’s work in the pipeline.

Here’s Ellen’s web page, and here’s her Artist Statement that I’ve simply copied and pasted in its entirety, for your ease of reference:

Statement

Plants and animals have always been the surface on which humans have etched the foundations of culture, sustenance, and identity. For myself, natural forms are a continual source of fascination and deep aesthetic pleasure. At first glance my work explores the more modern prosaic concept of nature: a source of serene nostalgia balanced with the more visceral experience of ‘wildness’ as remarkably alien and indifferent.  Upon closer inspection of each ‘creature’ the viewer may discover a frieze on which themes as familiar as domestication and as abrasive as domination fall into sharp relief.   These qualities are not only present in the final work but are fleshed out in the process of building. Each sculpture is constructed using an additive technique, layered from inside to out by an accumulation of innumerable tiny components.  Many of these components are microcosmic representations of plants, animals and objects.  Some are beautiful, some are grotesque and, some are fantastical.  The singularity of each sculpture is the sum total of its small narrative structures.

  Over time I find my sculptures are evolving to be of greater emotional presence by using less physical substance: I subtract more and more to increase the negative space.  The element of weight, which has always seemed so fundamentally tied to the medium of sculpture, is stripped away and the laws of gravity are no longer in full effect.  In reading the stories contained in each piece we are forced to acknowledge their emotional gravity cloaked as it is in the light, the feminine, the fragile, and the unknowable.  

  Counter intuitively, while there is an appearance of complexity in design, there is a simplicity in execution. Each detail, down to the finest filigree, is free-modeled by hand.  Within each piece precision is balanced by chaos. The overarching aesthetic knocks on the door of realism, yet the hand of the artist is never intentionally erased; brush strokes and fingerprints abound.  Even the narratives themselves harbor a degree of anarchy as they are rarely formally structured.  Rather, I seek to achieve flow states while working to create a fluid progression of unconscious imagery.  That imagery, as manifest in tiny ephemeral shapes and beings, forms relationships and dialogues organically.  In the spirit of surrealism, this psychological approach to artistic expression creates a rich network of personal archetypes and motifs that appear to occupy their own otherworldly space. Within this ethereal menagerie, anthrozoology meets psychoanalysis as themes of natural beauty, curiosity, colonialism, domestication, death, growth, visibility and wildness are explored. 

Studio Practice

   While I seek to free my mind to the imaginative process, I am always simultaneously striving to refine my working environment.  I abstain from all materials; clay, paints, glazes, finishes and mediums, that have known toxic properties.  This, unavoidably, excludes most of what is commonly commercially available, and has sent me on a journey of unique material combination and invention. This exploration is a large part of the unconventional look and feel of my work.  Where possible I source the natural, the local, the low impact and, always, the authentic.  

Background

  Ellen was born in Markham Ontario and raised among newts and snails. She took to shaping three dimensional forms naturally at a young age.  In 2007 Ellen completed her post secondary honours degree in Anthropology and Fine Art at McMaster University.  While finishing her undergraduate degrees Ellen worked in medical illustration, exotic animal care and was teaching a childrens class on stop motion animation. By the time she presented her thesis, Ellen’s academic and artistic interests in the biological where intrinsically interwoven.

  Considered by those who know her as a natural entrepreneur, Ellen set out on her own path as a career artist while still in high school, spending long summer weekends travelling to exhibitions.  Ever the curious soul, while working as an artist Ellen has continued to study art and science respectively, most recently, through Haliburton School of the Arts and University of Guelph.  She has also accumulated certifications in other areas of personal intrigue, including applied animal behavior modification and crisis counseling. According to Ellen, it all informs her art; enriching the content of the unconscious narrative flow.

  Today Ellen’s work is achieving a vibrant internet presence making notable appearances on popular websites including Colossal, Reddit, Bored Panda, Ecology Global Network, American Crafters and many others.  Her sculptures are being featured in public and private collections worldwide. Ellen is enthusiastically expanding her studio practice, forever experimenting and meeting the demand of her time and art.  In her spare seconds Ellen enjoys hiking with her friends and dogs, kayaking, climbing, hunting wild plants and mushrooms, organic gardening, ‘upcycling’ salvaged items, drinking coffee and feeding tiny birds.  As her practice gains more international audience she looks forward to the opportunity to travel as much as her work does.

Below are just some of my favourite Ellen Jewett pieces, curated from Google Images. Ellen is really prolific, and it’s very hard to just select a few of her pieces, so think of these as “tasters”, and check out her work yourself! 😊

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Artist Inspiration : Bruce Riley

Bruce Riley makes the most amazing psychedelic abstract yet organic paintings by encapsulating them in layers of resin, to create depth and dimension. He drips, swirls, smears paint onto prepared black canvasses, then pours resin over it to seal it, before starting on another layer. He says he does not start with a plan of what the finished painting will look like, but rather makes it up as he goes along. How’s that for dynamic creativity!

Bruce Riley’s artwork reminds me strongly of colourful biological cross-sections of plant forms, flowers, segmented worms, amoeba, hydras, pathogens under the microscope, intestinal villi. All frozen in a vibrant dance of paint and resin. Absolutely mesmerising.

Check out this site, which has lots of beautiful examples of Bruce Riley’s artwork, plus a Vimeo video showing his work process. Definitely worth a look!

https://www.yatzer.com/colourful-nebula-resin-painter-bruce-riley

I’ve curated some of my favourite Bruce Riley paintings from Google, shared with you here:

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And a couple of photos showing the artist himself at work:
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Artist Inspiration : Ruby Silvious – 363 Days Of Tea

I first came across Ruby Silvious’s art on My Modern Met here:
http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/ruby-silvious-363-days-of-tea?context=featured

I was smitten by how she’s managed to coax the most amazing art out of the humble tea bag. Most tea bags I know that have been steeped in hot water and milk are simply lifted out of the teacup, squeezed and then thrown away in the bin without as much as a “by your leave” or a second thought.

Not so Ruby Silvious’s tea bags. Here’s what she says about her tea bags, taken from her website:

Ruby Silvious is a visual artist and graphic designer. Her recent work includes experimenting on recycled and found materials. While you may see a soggy, stained and used tea bag, she sees a blank canvas. On the 3rd day of this year, she embarked on a very ambitious project called ‘363 Days of Tea’. The visual daily journal records her impression of the moment using the used tea bag as a support medium, altered to create a new work of art every day for 363 days. She draws, paints, prints and collages moody, evocative and sometimes whimsical art on used teabag paper. She was born in Tacloban City, Philippines and currently lives in upstate New York. Her award winning work has been exhibited internationally and is included in institutional and private collections.

Here are just a few of Ruby’s tea bags, that I’ve curated from Google Images:

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Lagenlook Books

I was rather surprised to find that one of my recent posts, about layered and unconstructed women’s clothing, Lagenlook, was getting quite a few hits every day. It seems there’s a definite following of that distinctive style of clothing.

So, to help celebrate Lagenlook further, I’m sharing links to Amazon, of dressmaking books that fall under the category of layered, unconstructed women’s clothing, and its quirky Japanese counterpart, which is similar but more streamlined and minimalistic. There’s definitely more Japanese dressmaking books on this simple, unstructured, layered style of clothing than there are books in English. I guess you could say the Japanese have this thing all sewn up! 😄😄😄

The following books may be purchased from Amazon.com (most of my dear readers come from the USA, that’s why I’m utilising the .com site’s links rather than .co.uk).

Bold & Beautiful Easy-Sew Clothes: 15 Unstructured Designs That Fit and Flatter Every Shape, and Are Simple to Make https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250023653/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_uPFpwb4V4AM05

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(I purchased this and can’t wait to receive it! I have a love-hate relationship with my cheapo portable sewing machine that I bought from LIDL or ALDI in Ireland. As in I love to hate it. Can’t seem to get the tension just right, and threading it is a nightmare. From what I remember, anyway. I wouldn’t know how my relationship with that sewing machine would be these days…as I can’t find the darn thing in the shed! But, if I do find it, and if I decide to try my hand at sewing my own Lagenlook tunics or dresses, I’ll be sure to write about it here! My sewing skills are phenomenal – by hand, that is 😄. My machine sewing…let’s just say the simpler the better! And this book claims its patterns are “easy sew”, let’s see if a numpty like me is up for the task).

Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns: A Guide to Customizing a Hand-Stitched Alabama Chanin Wardrobe https://www.amazon.com/dp/1617691364/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_f6Opwb5VYWZ6F

Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom https://www.amazon.com/dp/0804843155/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_C4FpwbRADXEPX

Happy Homemade: Sew Chic: 20 Simple Everyday Designs https://www.amazon.com/dp/4805312874/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_Y6FpwbBRKXP91

Sweet Dress Book: 23 Dresses of Pattern Arrangement https://www.amazon.com/dp/1780671083/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_P8FpwbQBNM3AV

Interweave Press Simple Modern Sewing https://www.amazon.com/dp/159668352X/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_XaGpwbCZHS7KK

Simply Sewn: Clothes for Every Season https://www.amazon.com/dp/1620337290/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_jcGpwbB0DBEFQ