Monday, 29 August 2016

Owl Lady Jewellery Casket by Julie Ann

Hello, Julie Ann here at Calico Craft Parts with a story-book jewellery casket. Once upon a time I wrote a story in which a lonely jewellery-maker discovered a stray feather growing from her cheek. Daily more feathers appeared here and there on her body! Gradually more intricately patterned plumage sprouted from her shoulders and over her hands. She had been given a special commission for a mysterious client, a necklace that reflected the different phases of the moon, and when her project was completed she reached the final stage of her metamorphosis, sprouted massive, strong wings and flew deep into the moonlit forest - an owl woman! My story reached the final stage of a competition, but although it was not in the winning three, its symbolism remained with me. I find myself returning to the idea of 'Bird Women'. I created a set of brooches and earrings for a friend's daughter and I wondered, 'What if I had written a whole collection of Owl Woman stories and they found their way into a book?' It might look something like the jewellery casket I created for Claire.

It all started with one of the Calico barn owl shapes perched on a branch in the light of the moon.

After colouring the shape with acrylic paints, I fixed on an oval plaque collaged with a face, adding some detail in the form of feathers with a fine, pigment pen.

Putting my Owl Woman aside, I took one of the Calico Book Box Kits. Calico Kits can take no end of painting, ageing and distressing. I wanted this casket to resemble an old and mysterious tome that might have been passed from one magician to another!

Before assembling the kit, I painted a background in green, stencilling a woodland scene with birds over the top in different shades of blue; I stamped and embossed stamps of feathers over this and then dipped a juice lid into blue and white pools of acrylic paint to create a circle, which I then filled in with diluted white acrylic to form the centre of the moon! So that the moon would gleam, I dipped my lid into an embossing ink pad and then pressed it down, sprinkled with gold UTEE and melted to create a gleam!

I added layer after layer! Here you can see that I white and gold embossed feathers and stencilled some gold embossing paste through a script stencil. Spatters of melted gold UTEE and Frantage in blues and gold also found their way onto the project.

2 DecoArt products which really helped create the effect of ageing on this project were the One-Step Crackle and the clear Staining Antiquing Medium. Painting the One-Step Crackle over the project, leaving it to dry with a desk fan playing on it and then painting with a blend of equal parts antiquing medium and acrylic paint and wiping away, created a fine crackled effect.

I was pleased with the effect on the feathers. I added part of a flourish and a wren calling to the Owl Woman on her branch above his head.

A Kraft tag stamped with one of the feather stamps in an archival brown and a metal band with a sentiment provide the finishing touches. I also gilded the spine and the edges.

Some detail of the crackle on the back of the casket. Between the covers is a box where the gifts nestle.

Thank You so much for stopping by and listening to the story of the Owl Woman and how she inspired Claire's casket. Have a wonderful week full of dreams and stories.

Calico Craft Parts Used on this Project
Barn Owl and Moon Scene
Sheet of MDF Oval Shapes
Book Box Kit
Bird and Vine Flourish
Sheet of MDF Garden Birds


  1. The thought of a whole series of Magical Owl Woman Stories nestled between these covers is enchanting! The layers of imagery, texture and pigment add up to a mysterious and delicious whole...thank you for sharing your process, Julie!

  2. What an absolute delight it is to see the magic you make again and again Julie Ann!
    Your imagination and how you carry out your artistry is a joy to see.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Beautiful Julie Ann! Love it. x

  4. Enchanting. A box filled with delights. Lx

  5. I love your Bird Woman story, I hope you enter it into more competitions! Your book is wonderful!

  6. Thank You so much to everyone for the lovely comments!:) xx

  7. Love the crackle and the shimmering golden accents. I remember your feathered jewellery maker very well, and I love the idea of a box full of Bird Women stories. This is full of your usual enchantment, Julie Ann - lovely!
    Alison x

  8. Hi Julie Ann, this is absolutely the most wonderful, inventive, and heartfelt project! I adore every single detail, especially the transformation of the owl. So clever! Thanks for sharing this amazing inspiration. Hugs, Autumn

  9. How beautiful, Julie Ann! Love the colours and stencilled textures! Funny - I have just finished my next Calico project and chose that awesome book box too - but with a totally different result. I really love the format of this box! And yours looks fantastic!

    Claudia xxx