Artist Appreciation Month!

Little did I know that August was Artist Appreciation Month! Hooray to all of us artists who deserve to be recognized for bringing beauty into the world!! This fact was brought to my attention by a gal named Marietta Gregg who is the daughter of Patience Brewster. images-3While I was not familiar with the name (as unique as it is!) when I first heard it, I know her work and as a matter of fact, am pretty sure that I have one of her charming little ornaments! (though I will have to wait until December to see for sure!)

patience copy


Anyway, Marietta had contacted me to say how much she loved my work, which I so appreciated.  She also mentioned because it was Artist Appreciation Month,that she and her mom were asking artists to do a blog post about other artists who inspired them and wanted to know if I wanted to participate. I did want to participate because I wanted to share the work of an artist who has definitely inspired and influenced my work…..but more on that in a bit.

I wanted to say that when I went to Patience Brewster’s site, I spent a very long time there reading the story of how her business has grown….and about her family and the impact that cancer has had on their family, for Patience losing a beloved son and for Marietta, her brother. Having just lost my brother to cancer a few months ago, the story really hit home.
But more than that, I could just tell from the videos that I watched and the stories that I read, that these were good people who worked hard to create a thriving art business. Patience Brewster has a wonderfully whimsical vision that she shares with a world-wide audience and I am happy to share her work here!images-2



So now onto the second part of this post…..sharing with you the artist, Ayala Bar, a jewelry maker from Israel whose work I adore.

ayala bar

Ayala Bar at work in her studio

Many, many years ago I started seeing Ayala’s work….back then the designs were far simpler but equally beautiful in their beaded glory! Even her models are stunning!  I love the Frida Kahlo reference.

frida ayala copyI was fortunate enough to teach in Israel a few years ago and actually visited her shop in Tel Aviv, but unfortunately she was not there when I visited.  I would have loved to have met her….maybe one day. In Israel, there are many incredible bead/jewelry artists. I love the whole Israeli aesthetic with its attention to detail and color.P1060810 My favorite shop in Tel Aviv

So for Artist Appreciation Month, I wanted to share some of Ayala’s work and then show a few pieces of my work so you can see the influence. Though I work in an entirely different medium, her small jeweled pieces inform the look of what I do. Here is an example of a new piece I have been working on (below) and then a rather new piece from Ayala Bar:

My embedded mosaic

My embedded mosaic

Detail of a necklace

Detail of a necklace

I have quite a few examples to share….

The entire necklace

The entire necklace

A recent mosaic mandala I did

A recent mosaic mandala I did

A few other beautiful beaded jewelry pieces from Ayala:005514-2 ayala earrinmgs

Jeweled mandala detail

Jeweled mandala detail

In Israel, as in many other cultures the hand (Hamsa) is a very important symbol and is often used in jewelry making. Many of my friends in the Israeli polymer clay guild also make polymer clay hamsas which they hang on their walls as a symbol of protection and to ward off evil spirits, hence the “evil eye” that is often seen incorporated into the hand design.



and here is my version which was inspired by both Ayala Bar and the polymer clay artists I met throughout Israel. (especially Pinki!)



I also see a lot of Indian influence in Ayala’s newer work which incorporates pieces of fabric for a more ethnic look. I have been very inspired by all things Indian for the last few years as well! That love affair started long before I knew who Ayala Bar was, back in the 1980′s when I was doing my hand painted dresses and using Sari borders as trim pieces.

Ayala Bar designs

Ayala Bar designs

Detail of a clay quilt

Detail of a clay quilt

Overall my work is a blend of Medieval/Early Renaissance art and Mexican folk art yet I owe the jewel-like look of my work to Ayala Bar and the other Israeli bead artists! ayala earrings AYA_130450-2IMG_9153IMG_0504 copyjeweled icons 1

The fact that I was fortunate enough to visit Israel and see much of the work that has inspired me has left a profound influence, even on current work that I am doing now, years later, as seen with these two tin boxes that I finished recently for a class called Journey To Jerusalem.



Lastly, I wanted to share a few of my own jewelry pieces that are a little bit Ayala Bar and a lot Mexican folk art inspired! This first piece is a rather muted palette for Ayala Bar but I wanted to show it here because my jewelry pieces tend to be in just silver and gold tones…but I may want to try some colorful jewelry pieces after doing this post!!!


P1090708P1090776P1090731 copy


Thanks for letting me share one of the many artists whom I truly appreciate! Many thanks to Marietta for the inspiration and nudge to do this post.






13 thoughts on “Artist Appreciation Month!

  1. Thanks for this wonderful view of an artist who was new to me. Loved seeing how your work has evolved with wonderful influences over the years. I’ve long been an admirer.

  2. Laurie, this is wonderful. I didn’t know about artist appreciation month either
    and your tribute to Ayala Bar as an inspiration is fabulous. I too have loved and own some of her jewelry and can truly see it in your work now. Great post!

  3. I love Ayala’s jewelry and yours!!! I am fortunate enough to own a few pieces of Ayala’s AND a beautiful heart necklace of yours:-)
    A friend told me the best place to buy Ayala’s jewelry is at the airport—better prices.

  4. Wow! I love how you developed your story lines of influence. While I know your art, now I know the WHY of your art, better! I appreciate YOUR influence on me as you already know. Keep growing mentor friend:) xo Laura

  5. What a wonderful post, Laurie! Fascinating!
    Seeing your work and Ayala’s side by side is sooo interesting. Are you influenced by her… Or is SHE influenced by YOU?!???
    I think you two should do a combined art show somewhere! Wouldn’t that be spectacular!!!
    Thanks for the reading pleasure!

  6. OMG, I have admired and purchased many pieces of Ayla Bar jewelry for years. And now I know why I became so enthralled with your work! I love your jewelry pieces, that would a fabulous class for one of the art retreats. I’ve taken your classes and loved every minute of them!

  7. thank you so much dear Laurie I remember the day that we visit Ayala shop like it was today what a wounderful post
    Love you and your art so much and I hope that next time when you will come to Israel we will be able to meet Ayala personal
    Much love :-)

    • Thanks to you Pinki for making my trip to Israel a reality. David and I would love to come back! Yes, meeting Ayala would be fantastic! xoxox much love to you too!

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