Art Elements October Challenge – Petroglyphs

This month’s Art Elements theme challenge is petroglyphs. My mind immediately went back to just a few days ago, to the Banksy ‘petroglyph’ in the British Museum which I had read about. I have to say it put a big smile on my face. I hope you enjoy seeing it too if you haven’t already seen it.

Then I got to thinking about Neolithic and Bronze age rock art in the UK, which is mostly cup and ring art. There are some great images here

I like the idea of making a garden sculpture with cups and rings and little connecting channels so water can flow between them. Maybe just rainwater and over time the ‘rock’ would weather and maybe grow mosses and lichens. But I have little time this month so I need to keep this challenge simple, I don’t want to do what happened last month and run out of time.

A couple of weeks ago I visited a stone circle at Castlerigg, I always take visitors there as it’s such an amazing place and I enjoy their reactions to the site. So I thought I’d look on the internet and see if there were any petroglyphs on the stones. I saw some visible lines in the rock but I didn’t see any obvious carvings, only contemporary graffiti. The University of Durham have done some 3D scanning of one of the stones which shows a vanishing spiral carved in the rock.

Next I had to explore the rock art carvings of Northumberland, the county of my birth. I do remember seeing some when we were out on family picnics. They are all quite simple but I like that, it confirmed my decision to work with cups, rings and connecting channels.

I think I have a plan!

Bear in mind I don’t have a lot of time just now so my original plan of making a water feature for the garden became a plan for another day 🙂

Looking at the petroglyphs on these websites I started thinking of points and adjoining lines, a bit like join the dots. Then I thought about a join the dots shopping trolly, thanks to Banksy; which took my thoughts to the Plough and other constellations, as a child I used to look at the Plough from my bedroom window and always thought it was a pan and not a plough.

I made some balls of clay and pressed them between my palms to make pebbles which I would decorate with petroglyphs of the constellations, and on others I’d carve some rings and press in to make cup marks. Sorry I forgot to take photos.

My pebbles were bisque fired, then tumbled to give them a lovely smooth feel.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

Then I connected the dots with china paints and fired again.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

I am going to use my pebbles as scent carriers for room and drawer fresheners . Hopefully I can keep those pesky moths out of my woollens. I think lavender oil works well for keeping moths away but I will have to check.

Art Elements theme challenge Petroglyphs.

Now I’m heading over to Art Elements to see what everyone has made 🙂

Guest Artists:
Jill Egan:
Tammy Adams:
Alison Herrington:
Sarajo Wentling:
Jenny Kyriach:
Kathy Lindemer:

Art Elements Team:
Lesley Watt:
Jenny Davies-Reazor:
Cathy Spivey Mendola:
Sue Kennedy:
Caroline Dewison:
Laney Mead:
Marsha Neal Minutella:
Claire Fabian:

29 thoughts on “Art Elements October Challenge – Petroglyphs

  1. marshanealstudio

    These are wonderful! Love the designs and the ideas on them being scented oil carriers (lavender oil would be a good choice).

  2. Chatelainecreations

    Love your pebbles Jill…. I also love the idea they are going to be scented for drawers 😀

  3. Cat

    What a sweet idea!
    I have been thinking of constellations for Christmas gifts a few days ago, and your pebbles inspire me to go through with it!

  4. Saraccino byCF

    I love your pebbles! And I am curious how they feel after being tumbled! They look like one would play with them all the time 🙂

  5. kathy Lindemer

    Your petroglyph pebbles are wonderful. I am thinking they would be perfect for holiday gifts along with scented oil. Scented oil is really big in the US too. Great idea that is perfect for this challenge. Well done!

  6. cathysmendola

    Your scented stones sound like a marvelous idea! Definitely try lavender oil. Although cedar or eucalyptus would probably work as well if you wanted a more woodsy scent.
    The constellations created by connecting the dots is so perfect:-)
    And thanks for the links- Banksy’s shopping cart is hilarious.

  7. Hope Smitherman

    Sounds like you were bubbling over with ideas and not quite enough time. I’m smitten with what you were able to accomplish though! I hadn’t seen this latest Banksy piece, so I think you for sharing it. How funny!! Enjoy your scent carriers. They are lovely.

  8. jdaviesreazor

    I love these! I want to reach out and touch them. Did you tumble them with steel shot? Ive never tumbled my ceramic before… I love them plain and simple, very tactile. And they will smell divine! Thanks for joining us!

    1. eganj1 Post author

      Hi Jenny, yes I tumbled them with steel shot. It’s the first time I have done this but they came out very smooth. I have a range of pebble ideas now that I want to pursue

  9. Karen Totten

    What a lovely idea. I enjoyed reading about your past experiences with rock art and I love this idea of making actual stones and applying the glyphs to them. Thank you so much for joining our challenge!

  10. alysen55

    Jill, love your big idea of a water feature, I’ve been planning one of those for 22 years! I hope you’ll do it soon and I bet this assortment of rocks would be willing participants in the hardscape. Seeing Banksy’s take gives me some inspirational ideas. I also like the idea of using these little works of art in your drawers, infused with scented oils.

  11. Tammy Adams

    The pebbles are lovely, and what a wonderful idea to use them as diffusers. I thought about constellations for this challenge but didn’t follow through. I like how you connected the dots with paint on yours. The cup and ring designs are especially fabulous.

  12. Sarajo Wentling

    Your pebbles are fun! I enjoyed following your links too… Castlerigg may need to get on our itinerary for our adventures in Great Britain next summer!


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