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When I was 18 I left South Africa to travel the world. I was independent, optimistic and ready to fly! At the time I thought I should get a tatoo of a peacock feather so I would always remember that feeling of freedom and power. I never got the tatoo, and now with two small children and a mortgage I feel a little… otherwise.

As soon as I saw the theme for this year’s Art Charm Swap was Soar, I knew I wanted to capture that lost feeling of lightness and optimism.

“But a peacock is not really good at flying.” I told my muse: “It sort of flaps and hops. Eagles and vultures SOAR.”

“Good point, but a vulture feather is not really as aesthetically pleasing as a peacock feather. How about a phoenix feather?”

“Ye-es, I like the symbolism of the phoenix – that there’s always an opportunity for a new beginning. So what does a phoenix feather look like?”

“Um… sort of like a peacock feather but in fire colours – red, yellow and gold.”

“I see. But does a phoenix soar?”

“Of course, it stands to reason, with all that fire there’s bound to be thermal updrafts. Maybe that’s the reason for all the fire?”

And so that is why my polymer clay charms feature a phoenix feather :).

Phoenix Feather charms by Cate van Alphen

Phoenix Feather charms by Cate van Alphen

I used a polymer clay cane but I have individually shaped each one, so they are all slightly different. Just in case you missed the internal monologue and were wondering why I’d done a golden peacock feather…

Phoenix charm by Cate van Alphen

Phoenix charm by Cate van Alphen

The other side features the actual phoenix. If you dare, you can seize the feather and soar with the phoenix into the open blue sky.

Phoenix Art Charms by Cate van Alphen

Phoenix Art Charms by Cate van Alphen

Finally it’s time for YOU to be involved in the Art Charm Exchange…

Firstly you can enjoy the blog hop, and have a look at all the talented artists who have taken part in the Exchange. The * indicates the artists whose charms I received. I will do a separate post soon to feature my hoard ;).

Jennifer Cameron: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog
Alenka Obid: http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.com
* Alicia Marinache: http://www.allprettythings.ca
Andrea Glick: http://zenithjade.blogspot.com
* Caroline Dewison: http://blueberribeads.blogspot.co.uk
Cassi Paslick: http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
–> Cate van Alphen: https://fulgorine.wordpress.com <– You are here!
Cheri Reed: http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com
* Chris Eisenberg: http://www.wanderware.blogspot.com
Cory Tompkins: http://www.tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com
* Elisabeth Auld: http://www.beadsforbusygals.com
Genevieve Gabbert: https://www.facebook.com/MasuDesigns
Jami Shipp: http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com
Jenny Davies-Reazor: http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Jill Bradley: http://www.jillybeads.blogspot.com
Kim Dworak: http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com
* Lee Koopman: http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com
Lennis Carrier: http://www.windbent.net
Lesley Watt: http://www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com
Mallory Hoffman: http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger: http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Michelle McCarthy: http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com
Monique Urquhart: http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.com/
Moriah Betterly: http://mlbetterly.blogspot.com
Nancy Dale: http://nedbeads.blogspot.com
Nancy Smith: http://wirednan.blogspot.ca
Niky Sayers: http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Perri Jackson: http://ShaktipajDesigns.com/blog/
* Renetha Stanziano: http://www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com
Shai Williams: http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com
* Sheila Prosterman: http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com
Susan Delaney: http://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com
* Susan Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com
Terri DelSignore: http://artisticaos.blogspot.com
* Toltec Jewels: http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com
Vanessa Gilkes: http://culturezine.com/blog/

Most importantly, if you can, take part in the AUCTION which is to raise money for Beads of Courage.