Sunday 16 July 2017

An Owl Princess - altered anchovy tin by Julie Ann

Hello, it's my Monday at Calico Craft Parts Blog, my favourite place to be! Today I have another little anchovy tin shrine to share.

An old friend and I have been researching fairy stories together, exploring recurrent themes and situations and then coming up with our own tales. I'm fascinated by stories of metamorphosis that often seem to express how we long to emulate animals with their gifts of flight, speed and agility. I love to create hybrid creatures in my art work and for this project I created a human princess, imprisoned by her evil magician uncle. By night she escapes through her casement window to become wise queen of the owls, counselling the creatures, free to glide above the trees in the moonlight.

The craft project provided me with plenty of ideas for my story! Here is my anchovy tin, painted and lined with some card with stencilling in clear 3D Gel Medium. Behind it you can see the branches of one of the beautiful,large Calico skeleton tree MDF shapes. I just loved the effect of those branches stretching out and I knew I wanted this as my basis. I painted the tree in different shades of green acrylic and melted gold UTEE on the tips of the branches to symbolise the moonlight.

Next it was the fun part, gathering Calico art parts that would help me tell my story. I am completely in love with these little grey-board hearts. They are so adaptable. At first I had intended to use the blue, stamped heart as a skirt until I changed direction and decided to really emphasise the Princess's owl wings.

Here are the wings, some of her owl attendants and the rambling roses from around her bower.

Bead Gel either side of the tin helped create a textured background. These tiny keys have been threaded through with fine copper wire and - with some gilding - they have the look of real metal keys. I used layers of paint, sanding and dry brushing with a translucent brown acrylic to age my tin. I touched the owls' wings with gilding to suggest the moonlight on their feathers.

The rose patterned heart became the Princess's coat of arms in the finished project. Fragrant roses climb about the walls of the tower where she is imprisoned and grow through the lock on her door.

My story is still a work in progress, but I have fixed a hook on my anchovy tin shrine and have it on the wall close to my desk to inspire me as I write my fairy tale. Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you're enjoying your summer. I will be returning in a fortnight's time with a new project to share with you. Until then I wish you happy and creative days!
Calico Craft Parts used in this project
Skeleton Tree MDF Wood Shape Style 10, Large
Thorned Rose Scroll, Flora and Fauna Flourish Style 24
Sheet of  mini MDF wooden keys and escutcheons
Sheet of mini MDF wood wings style 3
Hearts mini Greyboard Shapes
Sheet of mini MDF wood owl shapes
Flying Barn Owl Wood Shape style 3


  1. Julie, what a most fabulous creation.
    You always takes me on a tour to fairy-land. Your beautiful princess, -so gorgeous with the wings, placed behind her lovely head,-and your fantastic texture in the tin. The gold gives it all a kind of unearthly shine , making more magic, and the owls are wonderful in the tree , waiting for her to come advising them, and shine with her beauty.
    Thank you, Julie- Xxx

    1. Thank you so much, Dorthe, for leaving such a lovely comment. Calico Craft Parts always stimulate my imagination. xx

  2. Masterpiece!!! I love every single detail Julie!
    Lula oxo

    1. Thank you so much, Lucyna. I'm so glad you liked this little creation. xx

  3. This is gorgeous Julie Ann. What a masterpiece in such a tiny space!

    Lucy x

    1. Thank you so much, Lucy. I love making these little shrines. xx

  4. Beautiful the tin shrine Julie. Each calico parts is effectively structured and her fantastic story seems to develop in the future. I love her wings idea and other beautiful details. This is really lovely. xx

    1. Thank you so much, Etsuko. I do love to try to transform little everyday things if I can. xx

  5. Truly magical - your Owl Queen looks wonderful perched within her casement, ready to fly out to the moonlit forest beyond and dispense justice, mercy and counsel. I love the golden tree top texture, and the glorious owl at full wingspan stretch. Another art-story delight!
    Alison x