Sunday 9 April 2017

Namaste, tea-light shrine by Julie Ann

Hello Everyone - or should I say 'Namaste'? It's lovely to be back at Calico Craft Parts. This time I have created a project that I hope will remind me to take a few moments for stillness and reflection in this busy world! When I took over my daughter's room as my studio, I acquired her 2 beautiful Buddha ornaments. They both have a tiny place for a tea-light. I love their serenity and how they remind me to be in the moment and enjoy what I am making as if it were a meditation. As soon as Matilda has finished decorating her new home she'll be claiming her ornaments back, so I decided to create something a little like them from Calico Craft Parts.

For safety reasons, I've used one of the little battery tea-lights you can buy very cheaply at the moment. The sprig of greengage blossom is from the tree in our garden, a reminder of Nature's subtle beauty.

I wanted my project to have a simple interior with enough space to hold my tea-light, so I chose one of the Calico Artist Trading Blocks - a medium-sized plain cube kit. I planned to use only 2 of the side panels and not the top. Calming shades of blues and greens recalled sky, water and leaves gently ruffled by warm breezes and I chose a stencil to complement this mood. I created a little figure to guard the shrine. She is one of the medium-sized jointed child dolls. I didn't use the arms that come with the kit, preferring to paint her some in the position I wanted, adding crackle to her face to suggest she was a garden statue that had weathered many seasons.

Matilda's statues were not only inspiration for my project, they were useful too! I made moulds of their faces and then created some little Buddha heads from these in Paper Clay.

I sealed them with a coat of white Gesso before adding some colour and a touch of gilding.

We have a beautiful book of photographs of Tibet and I wanted the reverse of the panels to suggest the colours and weathered wood in these images. I always use masking tape along the edges of the kits to avoid paint getting along the seams of the cube or shrine.

Texture Paste through a stencil added interest, but because I wasn't creating a cube I needed something to finish off those edges. I experimented with Dresden trim, but I decided to reserve this for just 4 edges and finish off the others with narrow borders of painted card.

The little guardian of the shrine offering us a lotus blossom, has some bead gel to create the impression of a dewy head-dress and I gave her a rusty diadem. I really enjoyed decorating her outfit with layers of diluted acrylics and water-colours.

A touch of gilding on the bead gel, some pearls on the dress and painted railings add the finishing touch.

Tiny gems and sequins bring the project alive when they glimmer as the sun catches them. Thank You so much for stopping by and spending some peaceful moments at my little garden shrine. I hope your days will be full of worthwhile activity, balanced with moments of reflection and stillness. Have a lovely, creative week.

Calico Craft Parts used.


  1. Clever idea Julie and I love the story behind it. Tracy x

  2. Julie Ann,
    this shrine is absolutely exquisite!What a fabulous way to use the Calico parts, making them into your own special piece!Thank you for the inspiration my friend! xoxo

  3. Such a beautiful idea Julie Ann and so beautifully created. Jennie x

  4. Oh, Julie! This lovely shrine has such an air of serenity....gorgeous design, and perfectly executed. Thank you! xox

    1. Thank You, Heather, for your lovely comment. xx

  5. Thank You so much, Jennie. x

  6. Thank You to Tracy and Jackie for your much appreciated comments. xx

  7. Wow Julie Ann, this is so beautiful. How resourceful you are too, making your own mounds for the heads. It certainly is serene and has a beautiful mood. You are so clever. Didn't realise that Matilda had flown....hoping that she is able to soar on her wings! Xx 😊

  8. Thank You, Hazel, so much. xx

  9. This is wonderful Julie Ann. I love the Tibetan panels and how you have taken the moulds from Matilda's buddhas. I bet you are enjoying having your own craft room!

    Lucy x

  10. Thanks Lucy! Oh, yes, having my own craft room is lovely! xx

  11. This is such a lovely way to celebrate the joy of moving in to your own craft space, adopting some of the elements from your daughter's time in the room, and creating this serene scene. The Tibetan panels are gorgeous, as is your guardian.
    Alison x