Monday, October 28, 2013

Owl Assemblage

Last week, we a Virginia Artists meeting for the first time in several months. We've been together for quite a few years, and it was so good to see everyone and catch up. Each of us made an owl assemblage during the meeting.

I had the song "Royals" by Lorde stuck in my head, so my owl turned out to be a bit regal. The face is a prize ribbon, the eyes are earrings, the neck piece is a resin pendant, and the body is an oblong wooden bowl that I found at Goodwill. As usual, I can't make just one. I'm already working on an idea for my second owl.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Mischief - Day of the Dead Barbie Heads and Pumpkin Family Portraits

by Leslie Brier, Brier Design Studio

It's been a drizzly-miserable week here in Virginia - perfect weather to get me in the mood for Halloween. This year, I thought I'd try some Day of the Dead inspired pieces in addition to the vintage Halloween items that I love so much.

This are my Day of the Dead Catrinas that I made using Barbie faces in vintage tart tins. (An appropriate setting for Barbie, wouldn't you say?) They have a coating of ICE Resin on top to preserve their makeup.

I think the ladies that volunteer at the thrift store must really feel sorry for me, because I buy the rattiest dolls that I can find. Messy hair, missing arms and legs... it doesn't really matter. I just want to harvest their faces. (The dolls - not the thrift store ladies. I love those ladies!)

I did a bunch more "punkmen" this year, too. I decided to line them up for a family portrait before they got shipped off to shops.

I'm going to miss these little creatures, but I know they'll all go to good homes.
Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Upcoming Classes

I'm getting excited about teaching my fall classes.
Saturday, October 12  PonShop Studio and Gallery
Day of the Dead Collage Workshop
We’lll transform an image of a woman into a Day of the Dead Catrina complete with skull face paint and a halo of flowers. This is a fun introduction to collage techniques. All supplies are provided.
Ages 12-Adult

PonShop Studio and Gallery, Fredericksburg, VA
Vintage Tart Tin Ornaments Workshop
Saturday, November 9
10:00 am – 1:00 pm,
Aristic Artifacts Annex, Alexandria, VA
Saturday, November 3

We’ll use ICE Resin® to create up to three unique, heirloom-quality ornaments using vintage tin molds and holiday ephemera. All supplies are included, but feel free to bring favorite greeting cards, ribbons, trims, buttons, pieces from costume jewelry and other trinkets to create your ornament in the style of your choosing.
Ages 12-Adult

Artistic Artifacts Annex, Alexandria, VA
Upcycled Textile ShirtTuesday, November 12, 2013
10:00 am – 4:30 pm, ½ hour lunch break

Using simple sewing skills, suitable even for beginners, you will piece together your own one of a kind altered art to wear. This is a wonderful way to repurpose worn or outgrown clothing...or use thrift store finds!
Photo by Sylvan Brier

photo by Sylvan Brier

Here are some more examples of the upcycled shirts. I wore the short-sleeved version to class, and some of the students asked if my mom and I would teach a class on making them. It's a great way to upcycled vintage linens and shirts.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Playing with Knives -Perseverance Pays Off!

 September was not the quiet month that I thought it was going to be, and before I knew it, it was almost over and I was up against a deadline. I spent two days pushing things around on the table and got nothing accomplished. Then, I looked to Stephanie Lee's  book Semiprecious Salvage for inspiration and came up with this tintype buckle pendant.

And after that, I got stuck again. I knew I wanted to work with some hollowware knives that I had, but wasn't sure what direction to go in. This is what I made next:

I was happy with it, but I still wanted to do something different. After another day of trying and failing at a bunch of different concepts, I was starting to panic a little.

 I finally hit on a pendant that had the look and feel that I was going for, and my Knife Rocket Pendants were born.

Of course, now all I want to do is work on knife rocket pendants! Unfortunately, the real world has other plans for me, but I'll be back in the studio as soon as I possibly can.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Keys to the City and New Robot Assemblages

Scarlett Pons and I had the pleasure of teaching a workshop to a group of travel writers who were visiting Fredericksburg. The students made a "key to the city" with me, and a pottery box with Scarlett.

 Each bezel was collaged and then filled with ICE resin.

Here are the finished projects. I think they turned out beautifully!

I took a new group of assemblages to the PonShop last week.
Sprocket, the dog, looked a little worried!
This piece was the first one to sell:
These two are still waiting to be adopted:

 This is Sprocket, looking much happier.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Uniquely Spotsylvania

 This piece is part of the Uniquely Spotsylvania show that is currently at the Salem Church Library. It is titled Spotsylvania 22553 -- one of the Spotsylvania zip codes.

I spent a fun day with my daughter shooting photos of some of my favorite weathered and worn places in the area. Then, I printed the photos on the fabric, and incorporated them into the assemblage which also includes zinc stencils, a vintage level and an old spark plug. The quilt remnant is from a quilt that was sewn in 1874.
I was delighted that this piece was awarded first place in the mixed media category.
After we left the Uniquely Spotsylvania reception, we went outside to find that Mother Nature was putting on her own art show. I don't think I've ever seen these cloud formations before.
   In jewelry land, I have been combining lots of my favorite things: gears, keys, buttons, filigree and ICE resin. This series includes pendants and earrings and is currently available at LibertyTown.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adventures in ICE Resin

I've been working with ICE Resin a lot lately. I like the idea of creating custom focal pieces for my jewelry.  I colorized the metal in the top piece.
Vintage stamps were used for the background of this piece.

I offset the gear in this piece. For some reason, that makes it look like it's in motion to me.

The little fawn in this piece is resting on a background of Chinese silk.

To add a little depth, I  poured two layers of resin on this piece. The octopus is in the first layer. The gears are in the second layer.

This camera piece has a snippet of an old tintype in it.  
I'm also working on some pieces with Susan Lenart Kazmer's new bezels that are available through Spellbinders. They're beautiful and affordable, and Spellbinders has cutting dies that match the shapes. It makes cutting the background images so easy!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Newest Robot Assemblages

By Leslie Brier, Brier Design Studio.
This is Elephant Joke, one of my newest robots. His body is made from a vintage wasp trap.
His eyes reflect how I feel lately. An appliance malfunction flooded part of our house, and the resulting damage was a little overwhelming!

Samovar the owl is made from a Russian tea samovar that is more than 100 years old. He carries a rusy pistol adorned with rabbit bones.

 This is The Jacobean. He's a very proper fellow. Possibly a distant cousin of C3P0.

 Hygenica is a little old-fashioned. She  never goes out without her Franco-American Standard Complexion Powder, and a nice red lipstick. She was purchased from the PonShop ( by actress Sally Struthers.
Flash has also gone to a new home via the PonShop as well. When I drilled into the magicubes that make up Flash's legs, the flash actually went off!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Little Things from the Big Flea

This past weekend was the Big Flea at the Fredericksburg Expo Center. Friends Suzanne and Janet and I got there right when it opened and worked our way through the entire show.
I noticed a few trends. Linens are huge - vintage printed table cloths, hand crocheted doilies and embroidered anything are all the rage. Luckily, I have a nice stash at home because the prices were, well, pricey.

Ceramic dog figurines are also hot, as well as vintage books. I didn't see a lot of furniture moving out. Maybe we got there too early, or maybe people are shifting toward smalls. I know I am.

This was my haul from Saturday.
The piece in the back is a cup holder made of an old spool and spoon handles. I think I'll use it to display bracelets. I made a classic rookie mistake, though. Always buy heavy things at the end of the day so you don't have to haul them through the entire show.

I couldn't resist this sweet little bride and groom, or the cute little boy in the aviator suit. Buttons are another one of my weaknesses, but I was very frugal. I managed to get a nice handful of them for just $3.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Paper Mosaic Necklaces in GreenCraft Magazine

by Leslie Brier, Brier Design Studio
The February 2013 Issue of GreenCraft Magazine will be in stores February 1. My paper mosaic necklaces are one of the projects featured  (page 64).

The project features recycled milk caps, lace, and magazine pages.

The paisley piece, below, is the first one that I did. I wanted to create the look of a vintage micro-mosaic piece. I have a small collection of micromosaic pins, but I don't often wear pins, so I was looking for a modern alternative.

In other news, the office cleanup and organization continues. I'm very happy with the progress I've made so far, but I want to get it finished, so I can go back to spending time creating!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Getting real in the new year.

I resolved in 2013 to get my housework, calendar, paperwork and antique booth back on track before going back to full-time creating. I am sticking with my resolution, but have discovered that everything takes about three times longer than I think it does. Or maybe it just feels that way!

th; text-align: center;"> I moved into a shiny new booth of my own. I was sharing the last space and we all had found so many wonderful treasures, that we just didn't have enough room for everything. I still have a lot more to price and bring in, including large pieces, but I'm very happy with the process. My parents and husband have been a big help every step of the way.
Because I've been so busy "being good" I am more excited than ever to teach some classes!
Kids can join me on Sunday Januray 13 and January 20 at the PonShop to make Recycled Robots.
Shown are some examples from the class that I taught this summer.
On Thursday, January17 I'll be teaching a resin class at Artistic Artifacts Annex in Alexandria, Virginia. We'll be repurposing costume jewelry into beautiful resin pendants. This class is a wonderful opportunity to turn an unwearable piece of jewelry into  a new, wearable piece.
Thr little bug on this piece was a broken pin. Now it is a new, wearable necklace.
I'll be posting more about classes soon. I hope you can join me!

Second Half of the Twelve Days of Christmas Swap

I just took my little tree down, and enjoyed every one of these all over again. Here is a peek at the days you haven't seen yet.

Day 6 was this sweet fabric ornament by Martha Brown. It has lots of white-on-white layers. The photo doesn't do it justice!

Day 7 was this wonderful Jello Jane created by Janet Moss.Her neck is a bobbin with thread on it, and her skirt is a vintage jello mold. I love those vintage molds!
Terry Pitzel created this mixed media ornament. Lots and lots of layers of paper plus fibers and buttons and it all goes together seamlessly. You can see more of Terry's artwork at:
This gorgeous poinsettia ornament was created by Melissa Terlizzi.
There is so much detail in the veining of the leaves, and the leaves are as thin and delicate as an actual poinsettia. So beautiful. She is an Artful Dimensions artist. Hop on over and see the new, wonderful, big-haired ladies she has created!
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Linda Morgan's work. Once again this year, her piece blew me away. I just love the way everything comes together in this piece. You can see more of her work here:
This ornament came from our group coordinator, Elizabeth Woodford. This ornament is created on a tiny canvas.
I had to show you the back, too. It's wonderful every way you look at it. Elizabeth is an Artful Dimensions artist and has a blog as well. Her blog is:
Sadly all good things must come to an end. This swap has a happy ending, though! This delightful box was created by Fredericksburg painter Nancy Williams. She has a unique style of brushwork, and I'm so happy to own one of her pieces.  My little tree of handmade ornaments was so lovely this year. I can't wait to see what next year brings!