About Me

Lindsay M Starr is a beadwork and mixed media artist currently based in Nashville, TN. She spent her early childhood in Alaska, and her school age and college years in Oregon. Lindsay has a great appreciation for history, science, and nature and is consistently inspired by insects, sea life, color, and the significance of beads and beadwork throughout human history. She spends her days beading, walking at the zoo, and practicing yoga. Lindsay loves to share her knowledge and passion for beads and beadwork to hobbyists of all skill levels.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Art Elements February 2019 Challenge Reveal - Birds of Prey

Where, oh where has this month gone!?  February seemed extra short to me this year.  Somehow I still carved out some time to create, so can't wait to show you how my birds of prey challenge went this month.  

For years I volunteered at Chintimini Wildlife Rehabilitation Center outside of Corvallis, Oregon. The organization  rescues, cares for, rehabilitates, and releases as many wild animals and birds as possible each year.  I specialized in training new volunteers, and rearing older orphaned (fledging) songbirds and raccoons.  Raptor care was handled strictly at the volunteer center, due to the specialized handling and housing needed.  Over the years that I volunteered, I was able to care for and observe most of the different raptor species that reside in the Pacific Northwest.  The main goal was always wild release of a healthy animal, but every year there were some birds of prey that could never be fully rehabilitated.  While some could be rehomed to other facilities, such as zoos and regional wildlife centers, some were kept at the center to be part of the education program.  Only birds of prey were kept on as education animals for Chintimini's outreach programs, as they never become fully tame and appear unappealing as a potential pet.  They are always a good example of why it's important to rehabilitate and release wild animals as quickly as possible.  Even after working closely with many types of wild animals and birds of prey, one species in particular is close to my heart.  

I have long known that barn owls are one of my spirit animals.   I had some outstanding encounters with them at Chintimini's, and also in the wild.  There is nothing quite as eerie as the scream of healthy barn owl...unless it's a night encounter as a ghostly pale shape soars silently past your head.  One time we had both an abnormally pale morph barn owl, and a melanistic barn owl in the clinic at the same time.  It was super interesting seeing such dichotomy in the same species!

I had glued down and partially bezeled a barn owl face cab by Jenny a couple of years ago, intending for it to be part of a completely different project.  When that idea went a different direction, I stashed this away in one of my boxes.  When this month's challenge theme was announced, I finally knew that it was time to finish my barn owl cab into something I could wear to share my love of this fine raptor.  

Barn owl face cab by Jenny Davies-Reazor, lampwork heart by Beth Mellor of BeeBoo Beads.  Peyote bezel, bead embroidery, brick and picot edging, and framed fringe.  Strung strap and sterling toggle
While I was pinning ideas for the barn owl necklace at the beginning of the month, I stumbled across pictures of what I at first thought was a kind of "goth" artist's interpretation of a barn owl.  I came to discover these beautiful owls are actually Greater and Lesser Sooty Owls from Australia.  They are of the same genus as barn owls - Tyto - which consists of 15 species world wide.  Just look at these gorgeous creatures!  They look so similar to a barn owl, but for some reason I was completely smitten with the coloration and had to try my hand at a sooty owl as well.  

First came the sketch.  You can see the list of pattern pieces I knew I would need to the left, and multiple ideas in between the two sketches.

I then drew, cut and tested a pattern for the owl.  I just realized, I'm missing the "bib" piece that goes under the face in this picture...pretend it's there!

Then I ordered some gorgeous fabric from this Etsy shop.  Beautiful long pile minky!  From left to right - Black/silver became the wings, gray lizard print became the body and underwings, mid gray is the bib, light gray tie dye is the belly and bottom, and the ivory is the face.  The short pile medium gray is the feet. 
And it all became this beautiful creature!

The body, wings and feet are all sewn from the fabrics pictured above.  The eyes and beak are ultrasuede, and the eye shines are vintage sequins. 
Meet Tenebrous - my plush sooty owl.  Not sure if he's a greater or lesser sooty...he's still shy.  I'm pretty pleased with myself that he turned out so close to my original sketches.  And the name fits too - tenebrous means "obscure" or "murky", and the latin root tenebrae means "darkness".  Fitting, isn't it?  I'm not sure if he will end up as a bed pillow or throw pillow on the couch, but either way, he's very good at cuddling.  Maybe I'll try my hand at patterning some more plushies in the future!  I've had enough practice sewing other people's pattern's at this point, it's a fun challenge to take the ideas in my head and turn them in to reality.  

I do hope you'll hop along and see how everyone else was inspired by birds of prey this month!  I can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to!


Team Members: 

Lindsay  You are here!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Art Elements January 2019 Challenge Reveal - Mooning Moon Moons...

Hello Everyone!  I promise, I'm still here!  2018 was just not a good year for us in so many ways, it sapped my energy, both creative and physical.  Perhaps my new years resolution last year was a bit grandiose, so I'm starting out a bit smaller this year with simply resolving to participate in the Art Elements blog challenge every month.

So to kick off the new year, I hosted the Moon theme challenge this month!  I knew I had plenty of kinds of moon themed beads and components stashed away, but nothing quite like what I had in mind, so I reached out to one of my leather worker friends.

Mel is a ceramic artist, and has branched out into leatherwork in the last few years.  She had already planned to come spend a weekend with us earlier in the month, so I was super excited when she agreed to try to make a few moon themed tooled leather cabs for me.  She held off on the dying, and we had a fun creative evening dying and painting.  Dying leather is something that plagues many a leather worker with anxiety and doubt, however it is the only part of working with leather that I enjoy!  We set up on my coffee table and went to town.

After she left, a few days later I completed a couple coats of finish so they are now colorfast.  The gloss also brightens up the color and detail considerably, as it removes the dullness that the surface of leather normally has.

As I dyed the small moon, I had my little moth bead by Diane Hawkey on the table.  From the first second I saw it, I thought this little moth looked like a rocket ship.

And so...we now have a necklace titled "Rocket Moth".

The necklace consists of four sections - the moth and beadwork flames, almost like the sections of rocket that part from the main space ship...
The journey to the moon - Black and purple velvet 11/0 seed beads are mixed with a few silver duracoat 15/0's, vintage lucite moonglow ovals, and the last of my itty bitty lampwork spacers that a friend made years ago.  He was a stained glass artists as well, and experimented with melting down some of his excess glass sheets for lampwork beads.  These little spacers look black at first glance, but if you hold them up to the light they are the most lucious shade of dark grape purple...I know the picture is a bit blurry, but it's the best representation of the color - between the angle of the light and the proximity to black, you can actually see a hit of the color.  To me, this is the color of space.
The moon - Mel's tooled leather cab has a peyote bezel, a few rows of embroidery, and then a few rows of brick stitch finished off with a picot edge.  I would have done the whole piece embroidered, but I was using scraps of ultrasuede and hit the edge of the scrap after 3 rows.  Because it wasn't quite large enough at that point, brick stitch added some more bulk until it reached the size I wanted.
And the galaxy!  Or really, the necklace strap, but why be all boring and call it that?  I raided my stash of large Czech pressed glass and came up with these two jumbo flat ovals - one in montana blue, and one in transparent dark gray.  A smaller size of black flat oval is mixed with textured dimes in a sunny orange with full AB coating.

I am really happy with the results of this piece, and it went together way faster than I was anticipating.  So much faster, that I had time to start and finish a second piece with another one of the cabs...  I am happy to introduce to you...(insert cheesy overly long drum roll here)....

Moonbob Squarepants.  I half-jokingly asked Mel for a mooning moon cab...I mean really, how could that even be done?!  But she did it, and I dyed it...and he ended up reading so much better than I could ever have anticipated!  I've worn the necklace a couple of times already, and the reactions of my coworkers are priceless.  It makes me giggle all day long!
The fringe looks ornate, but is actually simple...there are 3 layers in different lengths.  I started with a base layer of looped fringe that arks from one side of the embroidery to the other.  The next layer alternates glittery blue daggers and thorns as the terminal bead, and the shortest is another looped layer with teeny pink seed beads and purple velvet mini-daggers.
I love how quickly a large cab turns into something substantial enough for a necklace.  Just a few rows of peyote bezel, and a few rows of embroidery and picot edging and DONE!  Isn't he cheeky?  I can hear your eyes rolling from here...but wait, I'm not done!
(To the tune of the Spongebob Squarepants theme)
Who lives in a rocket ship, shiny with glare?
Moonbob Squarepants
Sporting his luminous rump in the air?
Moonbob Squarepants
If celestial nonsense is something you wish....
Moonbob Squarepants
Then pick out a star and make a quick wish!
Moonbob Squarepants
Moonbob Squarepants
Moonbob Squarepants
Moonbbooobbbbbbb Squarepaaaannnnntttsssss
Yeah...I went there...(I really hope you don't have the song stuck in your head now...)

I do hope you will hop along and see what all of our lovely participants and crew were inspired to make this month!  I'm off to do that right now!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Art Elements Challenge - Tide Pools

My post for the Art Elements monthly challenge is a bit different this time.  I still feel super bad that I wasn't able to have a project for last month's challenge, and again this month I did not have time to create something inspired by our awesome theme.  However, I am still posting - why?  Beause the ocean, all of her creatures, and tide pools are one of the major influences in all of my work.  So I do hope this showcase of some of my previous work will prove inspiring to you all, and also to myself!  I need to get back to beading this month, for my own sanity's sake!
Cetaceans - whales and dolphins.  The center necklace is my reaction to the film "Blackfish", which if you haven't seen, I highly recommend.  The necklace on the right, is inspired by Disney's Fantasia 2000, "Flight of the Whales". 

Fish:  Fish beads make me happy, so I try to grab more for my collection whenever I find them.  Egyptian plaster, Peruvian ceramic, Czech glass, and numerous artist beads and other materials that aren't pictured - all end up in my "fish" box...hmm, maybe I should rename it the Creel?  I also like to stitch fishes, and the orange fish brooch is one of my very earliest pieces of beadwork, from before I knew how to embroider, bezel, or even do a proper picot edge!
Cephalopods:  Octopus, squid, nautilus and prehistoric cephalopods all show up in my work regularly.  There is simply something mesmerizing about their alien gaze and intelligence that inspires me. 

Organic:  I regularly incorporate ocean made components into my beadwork.  Coral, shells, pearls, kelp, beach stones, and many other items - these items already look like they belong in a seascape, and are fun to use to add to the environment I create.
Jellyfish:  Jellies, along with cephalopods, are some of my favorite sea creatures.  I love watching deep sea documentaries, with all of the varieties of jellies that never see the light of day.  Growing up, jellyfish were regular encounters while beach combing in Alaska and Oregon, and seeing them flattened on the sand or rocks always made me curious about what being with them in their element would be like. 
Artisan Fossils
Fossils of Sea Creatures
Fossil Shark Teeth:  As you can see from all three of these collages, sea fossils are very prevalent in my work.  The fossil records of ancient seas are one of the most intriguing aspects of our world's geology.  I just love encountering a new stash of fossils to incorporate into my work, and tend to hoard these pieces so that I have them ready to hand when inspiration strikes. 
Tidepool Environment:  I consider all of these pieces "tide pool-esque".  The jiggly wiggly wavy seaweed and kelp, snails, starfish and other critters, the combination of dry and wet looks and textures, plus the look of a shallow body of water all say tide pool to me. 
Oregon Tide Pools:  This piece is directly representative of tide pools in Oregon.  The blue-black color of the rocks, large orange starfish, miriad of snails, sea urchin, sea anemone, mussels, barnacles, kelp and jellyfish - I worked to create all as realistically as I could in beadwork.  This is still one of the largest bead embroidered pieces I have ever made!
I hope you enjoyed this showcase!  Please hop along and see how everyone else was inspired this month!


AE Team Members:

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Nest - Art Elements Challenge March 2018

Ugh, y'all, where the heck has March gone!?!?  I hope you can overlook the lack of text in this post, as I very much procrastinated my writing, and don't have a finished piece for the first time in a long time.  I've been slacking a bit with my creative renaissance, but some of it is that other things have been going like day job overtime that uses up extra energy.

This month has been the launch of a new era over at the Art Elements blog.  We are now starting to do theme challenges every month.  I am SUPER excited about this because now I can participate in our challenge with any of my myriad of hobbies.  Perhaps one challenge will inspire me to make a doll wardrobe.  Perhaps one will get me out of the box on my bug collecting.  Mixed media?  SURE!  Photography?  Why not!

2014 at the Knoxville Zoo with my friend's daughter.  This kid-sized nest is in the parakeet aviary!
I have always been a nest builder - I much preferred as a kid to build a nest out of pillows, cushions and comforters rather than a fort.  I love to be surrounded and supported on all sides by warm soft comfort, like a baby bird.  Add to that, my love for birds, especially baby birds.  Precocial or altricial, it doesn't matter.  We have had parakeets, chickens, quail, and for several years I was an active volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center and raised orphan songbirds every spring while in community college.

Several years ago I had a "great" idea for a necklace.  I asked Sue to make me some of her gorgeous robin egg beads, beaded them a nest, and had the whole thing connected to some leather straps, intending to twine branches, leaves and flowers up the straps...but it was just ...ugly.  Too much brown on brown on brown, with three little eggs floating in the middle.  So I cut it apart and started pulling new things to go with it. 
Here is the original nest with the little eggs.  I had some feathers already stitched that matched the color scheme, and pulled out this little sparrow netsuke as well.
Sparrow looks cute on the nest, but not quite what I had in mind.
In digging through my stash, I started to go another direction, but the original nest just wasn't doing it for me.
I cut the eggs out so I could use them in a new attempt...and then the little sparrow moved in.  I will probably just keep the nest and sparrow like this now, he seems so at home!
I captured the apple green face in blue, and then started building a tree in square stitch. 
After the tree was built up, I tucked a nest foundation behind the edge of the trunk and added the eggs.
I built it up with some strange hybrid of peyote and netting, then added intertwined strands and short fringes.  I will probably work back through this with some fine yarn or other fiber for some more authentic texture.
The back of the face is fully captured in more green and capri blue. 
I'm on the fence now.  Trying to decide if this buttefly wing is the way to go, or if I would rather head down the leaves or flowers road...
Additionally, I have been seriously considering sewing myself an adult human sized nest!  Surely I can just scale up this tutorial, right?

 I hope you had fun looking at the metamorphosis of this project!  I hope to keep going forward and finish this piece for wearing soon.  I just hate leaving something unfinished...and these little eggs deserve to not be crammed in a box anymore!  Please hop along and check out how everyone else has been inspired by nests this month.  The very best thing about our new challenges is that ANY of you can participate along with us!  Even if you don't have a blog but would like to play along, all you need to do is message me or any of the rest of the Art Elements crew!  We would be happy to include your pictures in a post!

Guest Participants-

 AE team members-

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Runes Component Challenge - Art Elements February 2018

Hello all you bright and shiny new 2018 creatives!  Is the new year bringing you inspiration and joy?  It definitely is for me, as I am continuing to make 2018 into my creative renaissance year.  The last few years have been a bit more stagnant than I prefer, for various reasons, so I am making a real effort to indulge in all of my ideas and creative desires with no reservations now.

This month over at the Art Elements blog, we had the opportunity to create with one of Niky's lovely little copper clay rune components.  The one I received is called tiwaz (pointy up arrow), which is also the letter in the Norse god, Tyr.  Strangely, other than American pop culture (I am sure you can infer what I mean), I have never been exposed to any of the Norse pantheon, and didn't even know what runes are.

Tyr's rune, tiwaz is part of the Eldar Futhark language, or Old Norse written alphabet.  These letters each have a specific origin in Norse history, and several besides tiwaz are also named after specific gods in the pantheon.  Tyr is also the origin of our modern second day of the week, Tuesday.  I found a lot of interesting information on the Youtube channel of Dr. Jackson Crawford, especially this one, this one and this one.  While I know Eldar Futhark runes are often used symbolically in art, charms, talismans, what have you, I didn't go that route.  Thanks to Dr. Crawford, I tumbled down the rabbit hole that is Tyr's own story and made my piece reflective of this fascinating tale.

Tyr's rune typically represents a warrior or sacrifice, upholding law and justice.  This is because Tyr was a warrior that offered of himself for sacrifice.  The gods were struggling with containing the wolf Fenrir and his supernatural appetite.  Fenrir continuously escaped the chains that were intended to bind him.  When they forged magical chains that were powerful enough to finally bind Fenrir for good, the wolf became suspicious.  Fenrir balked at these new chains and said that he would only allow himself to be bound if a god was willing to offer his hand to be held in the wolf's mouth while he was bound, as a pledge of good faith.  Tyr was the only god willing to make this sacrifice.  Once the bindings were complete, Fenrir knew he could not escape and devoured Tyr's hand as the price of this betrayal.

I started off by using epoxy to affix the rune to a beautiful slice of moss agate I've had for awhile.  I liked the look of the copper against the green and other colors in the stone.  After the epoxy cured, I captured the stone to suspend from a solid brass D-ring. I have a bit of epoxy exposed, but I felt the need to make sure there was no unattached edge that could potentially get caught and cause the rune to come off the stone.

I used one of Lesley's bronze clay pendants to represent Fenrir.  I think she intended it to be a fox originally, but to me in this setting, it looks wolfy enough!  Once I got the wolf stitched in, I attached the captured stone and added some little "finger" fringe to represent Tyr's sacrificed hand.
After I was done with the central part of the necklace, I set the piece aside for a few days because I could not make up my mind about how to do the strap.  Leather was high on the list but what I have that was appropriate didn't do anything for the color scheme.  I contemplated a piece of tubular woven brass, but felt like there was too much of the same color all together if I went that direction.  Suddenly, I remembered these vintage glass beads - matte green swirl rounds, and tablet shaped brass pearls.  It came all together quickly after that.  I don't know if you can tell in the pictures, but the texture on those green beads is to die for - so much rougher than modern matte beads, with none of the strange nails on chalkboard feeling that smoother matte beads have ... maybe that's just a me thing...
I'm really happy with how the whole piece turned out, but I'm not the most pleased.  I won't get to wear this necklace because it has been claimed by my other half.  That's ok though, he was due a new man-cessory!

I hope you will hop along and see what everyone else has made this month!  My PIB Kelly received the exact same rune and I am excited to go see how her interpretation differs from mine.

One more thing before we go - The Art Elements blog has updated how we do challenges now, and you can participate every month.  Let me tell you, we are all excited about this change.  A little bird has whispered some of the upcoming themes in my ear and I already have so many ideas.  I hope you will check out the March announcement here and think about playing along with us!

Kelly Rodgers
Deb Fortin

Art Element Members:
Laney Mead
Lesley Watt
Caroline Dewison
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Susan Kennedy
Cathy Spivey Mendola
Jennifer Stout Cameron
Claire Fabian
Lindsay M Starr
Niky Sayers

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Art Elements Use Your Stash Challenge January 2018

Well, the first month of 2018 is gone...how did that happen?  I've made the resolution that this year is going to be my creative renaissance.  I intend on creating every day, in whatever capacity I am able.  With that being said, this month got away from me once again and I procrastinated WAY too much to get my project done fully!  I think this might be the first time I have ever posted a work in progress.  But some of that is due to enthusiasm...because this is what my project box looks like for January...
With the best of intentions I raided my artisan components after Christmas.  I pulled out components, accent beads, and seed beads so that I could just pick up a little box and go and create without thinking about anything.  I have a seperate bag of tools/needles/thread and other necessities, so all I need to do to take a project on the run is grab a project box, bag of tools, and a surface.  It is definitely helpful to be prepared like that!  I had hoped to have more than 1 project for the reveal, but instead...
I found this partially completed project and was inspired to finally finish it.  These two ceramic leaves were a gift several years ago from a friend.  Neither of us remembers the artist anymore.  At the time I made a really long lariat strap for them, but it was too plain.  Needed more to create an environment for the leaves to live in...
I went with transparent rootbeer brown and matte olive lined olive seed beads for the strap, because I wanted the leaves to look like they belonged on the ends of this vine.
Then I made two large beadwork flowers in raspberry tones.  I love the combination of raspberry and olive.
So here we are.  In order to make this look like something other than flowers stuck on leaves on a string, I needed something to add more texture and background color.
I made three lacy spirals using netting and fringe techniques.  For the brightest one, I also stitched up 3 little bud shapes to match the flowers.  I like the look of 3 points of contrast in a piece, so I hoped that these buds would help balance the flowers.
The tendrils are not yet stitched in place, but this is what I'm going for!
There should be lots of ways to tie this when I'm done.  Not only can you tie the two sides of the strap together in various ways, but you will also be able to pull up one or more tendrils and wrap them around the strap to help keep it attached to the other side.
What do you think?!  I wish I had gotten farther along on my project, or done and been able to work on more, but oh well.  Baby steps - after all, I am working to create a new culture of creativity for myself.  None of this happens in one day, or one month, or one year even.  I have the entirety of 2018 to build on this for myself.

I hope you will hop along and see what everyone else has been up to!  I can't wait to see!
Kelly Rodgers
Sarajo Wentling
Samantha Wescott
Kathy Lindemer
Patty Miller
Linda Landig
Renetha Stanziano
Art Elements:
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jen Cameron
Claire Fabian
Sue Kennedy
Niky Sayers
Lindsay Starr (you are here!)