Monday, 3 July 2017

Inspired by Venus - summer wall hanging by Julie Ann

It's great to be back at the Calico Craft Parts Blog and today I'm feeling in a very summery mood! I've been spending lots of time in my garden, enjoying my plants and garden statues and dreaming of summer in Italian gardens!

I love all the summer-themed craft parts that have been appearing in the Calico shop and I really wanted to create a project that featured shells. The large scalloped sea-shell; summer in my garden and the art of Sandro Botticelli along with the very pretty young foxes who snooze on my shed roof somehow all combined to form this Calico project!

Please click here for a link to the Botticelli artwork that inspired my 'foxy' Venus! I'm sure you have seen the goddess, stepping fully grown from a shell with her attendants scattering roses around and tiny waves lapping her toes. That painting has always evoked the beauty of an Italian summertime for me. I created a rather 'foxy' Venus to help me put a new spin on a much loved work of art.

I grabbed lots of Calico Craft parts for this one, mixing up different elements. I was also excited to use the brand new 'Word Elements' that have just arrived on all different themes and which you can find here. I chose the Summer and Seaside ones, but do check out the many topics on offer.

For the flowing locks, I snapped off the scrolls either side of the rose featured here. I used part of this corner flourish for the waves either side of the shell.

As Venus is the goddess of Love, it seemed appropriate to give her a grey board heart for a face. The ears are actually from a little trio of hares! The face is my own art work.

Everything, including the small jointed art doll style 2, was given a coat of Gesso.

I mixed a pearl glaze with some hints of blue and pink acrylic paints to create a pearly impression. So that Venus would look a little more as if she was stepping out of a Renaissance canvas I painted her body with a crackle glaze.

These spiral shells were painted with a pearl glaze and decorated with an aqua frantage melted at the top and the bottom.

Once all my elements were ready and I had drilled a couple of holes at the top of the shell with my Dremel, I threaded through some thin copper wire to create a hanging. With a little gilding on the edges Venus was all ready to step into the world and introduce us to the joys of love.

I thought foxy Venus was complete when I had added tiny pearls to her joints, but there was something missing. All at once it came to me - she needed a bushy tail! I created one for her from a squirrel mdf wood shape (style 18) and she was ready! The Word Element read, 'Happiness comes in Waves' and I threaded it through the copper wire: you could also use these with ribbon or twine. I do hope you have enjoyed meeting my foxy Venus today and that you are having a wonderful summer. See you in 2 weeks' time.
Calico Craft Parts used in this project
Large scalloped shell
Baroque corner flourish
Art Doll, small, style 2, jointed
Rose with scrolls
Squirrel Wood Shape, style 18
Grey Board Heart
Family of hares
Spiral Shells
Word Elements Seaside and Summer


  1. Your foxy Venus is beautiful! Your garden looks gorgeous too.

    1. Thank you, Helen. She was lots of fun to make. x

  2. I love your foxy Venus arising from the waves - what a splendid re-imagining. The large shell is beautiful with the hints of mother of pearl, and the spiral shells are fabulous too with the touch of embossing powder. Great improvisation with the squirrel tail too!
    Alison x

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Alison. I love all you can do with the Calico shells. x

  3. Love love love your foxy Venus emerging from the waves. Such an imaginative and whimsical interpretation of the old painting!
    Claudia xxx

    1. Many thanks Claudia. This painting has been interpreted so many times. I wonder what Botticelli himself would think of its incredible fame! xx

  4. This is absolutely brilliant Julie Ann! LoVe how you made your Venus Fox look so glamorous! Chrisx

    1. Thank you so much Chris. Foxes always look a bit glamorous to me! xx

  5. This is stunning, Julie Ann. I love the detail on the fox's face and his expression and his tail. I am one of those people who doesn't mind foxes; they sit on mum's lawn in the sunshine and when you see a family with cubs and mum and dad, rolling around together it is quite a sight to behold - one of those moments when happiness comes in waves. I would love to see one on the shed roof though,

    Lucy x

  6. Thank you so much, Lucy. I'm so glad you like to watch the foxes too. I know they are not too popular with people who keep chickens, but there's no denying their beauty! xx