Total Art Soul - for artists

" I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me "
Isaac Newton
Tags >> inspiration


Posted by: JillyBeanPottery

Tagged in: sunset , inspiration , hurricane , elephants , colors , african , Africa


What is it about sunsets that is so all consuming?  The sheer awe-inspiring beauty of the reds, yellows, blues, shades of colors that don't even have names, but resonate with my soul has long been a source of calming comfort for me.


No matter how many sunsets I've had the pleasure of seeing, each one gives me something new and special.  I think my favorite sunsets were viewed from my balcony when I lived in Miami, FL.  Daily, well almost daily, I would take part in this evening ritual.  There is something about the regularity of viewing a sunset from the same spot that allows you to truly notice and appreciate the tiny nuances.  Never before had I been in tune to the shifting of the sun's position in the sky.  Never before had I been in tune with the effects of weather patterns.


Hurricane season was always the most beautiful time for sunsets.  The shifting clouds and atmosphere made for particularly spectacular views.  Almost as if it was nature's way of making up for the potential for destruction during this time of year, a gift of beauty for the risk endured. 


I recently met another lover of sunsets, Kimberly Turnbull, an artist from Gibraltar whose inspiration comes from the realm of African art and Georgia O'Keefe's approach to sunsets to create a wonderful piece called African Elephants at Sunset.

African Elephants at Sunset (Original Watercolour) - Kim.T 2011

I love the colors in this piece.  Kimberly has managed to capture so many of those colors that I've seen but never been able to name in my favorite sunsets.  The dark outlines of the elephants highlight even more the brilliance of the setting sun much like the clouds during hurricane season did for me in Miami.  Kimberly learned to draw and paint at a young age and has loved painting ever since.  You can see more of her work online at


So early in the morning as I draft this blog, all my memories of sunsets are crowding into my head urging me to go find one now to re-experience the wonderful calmness and connection to nature.  I'll certainly seek out a front row seat for tonight's show.  I hope you join me and find a little inspiration as well!

Twist of Fate

Posted by: JillyBeanPottery

Tagged in: sea turtles , ocean , metalsmith , jewelry , inspiration


Recently I had the pleasure of being introduced to the work of Liz Tylecki-Kuniej.  She has fallen into her art, metalsmithing, through a wonderful twist of fate and the source of her inspiration.  If every individual could be so blessed as to find their true passion in a similar way.

As I sat down to recount Liz's story for you, I found myself returning to her words and descriptions.  Her passion for her work simply leaps off the page, so I'd like to share with you here her journey in her own words.  I'm sure you'll find as I did that any attempt to tell the story differently would have been a poor man's version!

What is the piece or series of work you feel most connected to?

Liz:  Most definitely my sea turtle designs. The first two pieces I ever created were the swirl turtle necklace: and the bezel set turtle:  Both carved out of wax, and it took me months to do each piece but it was worth it. I had no idea at the time that I would become a fulltime metalsmith when I carved those two little turtles. I was just so inspired by the history,beauty and grace of sea turtles and wanted to create something tangible from that feeling.

What was your inspiration for this piece or series?

Liz:  Sea turtles have been around for over 150 million years. The first sea turtle was literally a dinosaur! But because of human interference their numbers have dwindled to where they've become critically endangered. A few years before I decided to move to the island of St. Croix and work in conservation, I swam with a beautiful green turtle in Hawaii. She taught me something that day. The way she moved with the current instead of trying to fight it. She was so peaceful and yet so powerful, and the whole experience had a huge impact on me. It actually changed the way I viewed life and it was that experience that started a snowball effect which brought me out of my cubicle in NY City and to the caribbean islands with a newfound passion and purpose in life. Since then I have been volunteering every year with various sea turtle conservation programs, trying to at least do a small part to hopefully put back a little bit of what we have destroyed. Being out on the beach working wi th these goreous, ancient creatures has fed my soul more than I could ever express.
They inspire not only my art, but my existence as a whole.

How did you get started on creating your art?

Liz:  The whole jewelry endevour started with beading for me. I used to make beaded and braided hemp turtle necklaces. I purchased the "focal" turtle beads and I would make various designs of weaved and braided hemp styles~chokers, necklaces, anklets~ very earthy stuff. I had an awesome boss who let me sell some of my work out of his shop, which I was working at part time. One day a friend of his (who is a full time metalsmith) walked into the shop and asked who made the turtle jewelry. When he found out it was me he approached me and literally dared me to try to make my own turtle carvings. He told me where to buy a wax kit and what tools I needed and said he'd come back in a month to see what I'd come up with! Well, I was never one to turn down a dare so I did it! Granted, it took me a lot longer than a month, but when he came back he was so impressed he invited me to come watch him work at his bench. He taught me some of the basics of metalsmithing and casting, and I was immediately hooked!
My wonderful boss allowed me to start selling my metal creations in the shop, and it did so well that I ended up picking up several more wholesale and consignment accounts all over the island. I started doing the local art shows, and eventually began to set up my shop along the pier where the cruiseships pulled in. After working the cruiseship circuit for about 6 months I realized that this was becoming a full time job, and I quit my day job! I am forever grateful to my boss, and his friend for getting me started. Without them, I know I would not be here.

My bosses friend, the metalsmith, is now one of my best friends. He was the one who suggested I come check out Etsy, as he thought my work would fit right in. And that's how I ended up here.~

I feel so blessed to be where I am at, and try to remember to be thankful every single day. And for me, that means stepping outside of myself to help others whenever I can.~

Liz regularly donates her work to various charities to support fundraising efforts.  Most recently she has been invovled with the American Cancer Society, SUDS (Soliders Undertaking Disabled SCUBA) and the Queen Louise Home for Children in addition to ocean conservation programs.

To see all of Liz's work online please visit her Etsy Shop at

NECKLACE - Sea Turtle Totem Sterling Silver Necklace - Individually Handcrafted 

Where Inspiration Is Found

Posted by: JillyBeanPottery

Tagged in: inspiration , inner muse , Ideas


Have you ever contemplated the source of your inspiration?  Is it a thought, an event, family or are you unsure of the source of your inner muse?

Recently, I have been contemplating the source of my ideas.  My creative attention span is limited, so it is not unusual for me to switch concepts regularly.  I tend, oh who am I kidding, I create pieces in series until I move on to the next idea.  Given my experimentation, it seemed appropriate to better understand where my inspiration came from then maybe I could seek it out!

For years, I went with whatever experiment struck me that day and didn't give it a lot of thought.  Oh, sure I could be swayed by a challenge or interesting technique I had just learned, but largely the source of my inspiration went unexamined. 
I have discovered that, for me, it comes from a variety of events that happen around me.  Unfornately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, lots of things tend to "happen" to me much to the amusement of those who know me well.  But I digress ...

I've recently been discussing a restaurant concept with a friend, an extreme restaurant concept.  I won't go into details here in case the idea turns from discussion amongst friends into business reality, but I'm sure you'll get a pretty good idea from the image featured on this post.  These Steins on Fire, as I call them ... I tend to title everything, would be perfect for our extreme restaurant concept.

Now, I know what you're thinking this isn't much of an event Jillian.  True, but you need to understand, first and foremost, that it was never my intent to open a restaurant or if I did it would serve only breakfast.  Yet somehow, and I don't really know how, I am involved in discussions for an extreme restaurant concept ... don't worry brunch is planned for Sundays!

If only all ideas were so easily gathered and turned into fruition as a restaurant discussion morphs into some wild steins.

The current inspiration I'm contemplating comes from two recent incidents that ocurred to me while driving.  Twice in the same week I've found myself driving behind another car that had its turn signal on to go left, but instead they turned right.  It made me think of Bon Jovi who released an album not too, too long ago called This Left Turn Feels Right.

So, these thoughts are swirling around in my head, one day soon they will pop out into art.  I'll have to let you know what that experiment brings!

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