All posts by Sue Hayden

Welcome to Turtle’s Anvil! Thank you for visiting our shop. We are Deborah Kelly, and Sue Hayden; two spiritually inspired fine art photographers and artists. We each possess an extremely strong passion and reverence for the natural world.

Deborah has a lifelong irresistible drive to create art from nature. A retired anthropologist, quite familiar with archaeological digs and museum storage stacks, she has developed a strong appreciation of the amazing structures and patterns found in bones, crystals and other natural objects. She transforms these natural objects into handcrafted shamanistic spiritual artifacts. A delightful mix of cultural influences can be seen in each piece. She also recycles vintage items to produce Victorian steampunk.

Sue has spent the last few decades immersed in nature and becoming quite familiar with the activities of wild creatures as a Wildlife Ecologist. Since retirement, she has a new found desire to express her passion for the natural world through photography. Sue now offers photographic images of the natural beauty around us. Her photos tend to focus on details, such as light glinting off the fine hairs of Milkweed seeds as they tentatively test the winds before they release and let go.

Deborah has intense drive and Sue has a stabilizing demeanor. We make an awesome team.
We are both passionate about artistically expressing the spiritual quality we experience in the natural world by creating images and artifacts that inspire others. Our art exemplifies that passion; from the close-up nature photos to the one of a kind handmade medicine wheels. To that end, Turtle’s Anvil was created in 2013.

All of the images you see here were taken by one of us. We photograph subjects and create pieces that speak to us and touch our souls. We have medicine wheels, dreamcatchers, shamanic ceremonial items, nature photography, greeting cards, wire trees, jewelry and more. You may find the perfect gift for that certain someone on your holiday shopping list. All our artwork is very special to us. We truly hope you enjoy them as well.

Check out our Facebook business pages at:
https://www.facebook.com/SueHaydenTurtlesanvil
https://www.facebook.com/DeborahKellyTurtlesanvil
https://www.etsy.com/shop/TurtlesAnvil
https://www.turtlesanvil.com

ANIMAL ARTIFACTS
The animal artifacts used in our artwork were either found in nature or come from Native American Powwows. We are respectful of the wildlife we photograph so as not to unduly disturb them. No animal is harmed by our activities in any way.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS
We at Turtle’s Anvil strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Much of the materials we use in our art originally come from vintage items. Recycled packing materials will be used when possible. We also recycle old picture frames.

ABOUT THE PRINTS
Turtle’s Anvil fine art prints are original museum quality, acid free and professionally printed. The paper is extremely age resistant. We currently outsource our photos to a professional photo lab. The quality is excellent. We use only the finest archival mounting materials. Each print is hand signed and dated by the artist.

COPYRIGHT
All designs and photo images in our store © Turtle’s Anvil, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thank you for stopping.

The Visitor: Preying Mantis Edition

Her entrance into my world last week was quite startling.

I was standing near traffic when she flew in and crashed smack dab into the middle of my chest, crashing to the ground. But, oh, what a beautiful creature she is! Judging from her size she is probably a European mantid (Mantis religiosa).  I quickly scooped her up and released her in my Morning Glory vine. She was probably pushed northward by Hurricane Harvey. She stayed a couple days hunting amongst the foliage. Often times, I had some real difficulty finding her; she blends in so well. However, she was very tolerant of my camera in her face. I was able to get a couple good shots. I haven’t been able to find her for awhile though, so she’s probably moved on. Nor have I found an egg mass. I was hoping I’d see more in the yard next year. I am grateful for the privilege of her visit and wish her well on her journey.

About The Preying Mantis

Of the 20 species of mantids that occur in North America, the introduced Chinses Mantis, at a length of as much as four inches, is the largest. They are large, solitary, slow moving creatures. Praying Mantis species are found in many differing habitats. They are generally located in the warmer regions, particularly tropical and subtropical latitudes. Most species live in the tropical rainforest, although others can be found in deserts, grasslands and meadowlands. 

The European mantid species were introduced in the northeast U.S. about 75 years ago as garden predators for pest control. They are very efficient and deadly general predators of most pest insects. They have enormous appetites, eating various aphids, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, mites, caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects when young. Later they will eat larger insects, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, or any insect within reach. 

Pregnant females have been known to devour mice, scorpions, snakes and lizards. While lizards, snakes and scorpions will often eat small mantids, they often steer clear of the swift spiky forelegs and ruthless fighting tactics of an adult. Frogs are another natural enemy who can kill or be killed, according to relative size. Spiders will gladly devour a young mantis captured in a web, providing the praying mantis is not bigger. Tarntulas and praying mantises eat each other, with the victory meal usually going to whoever is bigger. In Japan, the giant hornet’s toughly armored 2-inch body is topped off with cutting jaws and 1/4-inch long stingers that make it one of the only insects consistently deadly to the praying mantis. Here’s a video of a pretty cool battle between a mantis and a bee:

Care and Behavior of the Preying Mantis

These ferocious-looking animals actually make great pets. Some will even eat raw meat and insects from your fingers. With plenty to eat they usually will not stray far. If handled properly they don’t bite.  They are easy to raise and among the insects most commonly kept as pets.

Their “neck” allows the head to rotate 180 degrees, allowing for a wide visual field. They are the only known insect that can turn its head and look over its shoulder. Mantids are well camouflaged to blend in with their surroundings. They will stand nearly motionless, patiently waiting for the next potential meal to wander by; nothing moving but their head as they track their prey. They assume a “praying” position, folding the legs under their head. They snap up their prey with a lightning movement of their strong forelegs. Measurements of their reflexes show they react more than 2 times quicker than houseflies. They have very bad table manners, dropping much of their meal to the ground where scavengers and decomposers feast on the leftovers.

The male mantid takes great care in approaching the female prior to any sexual activity. He is fully aware that she is just as likely to literally tear off his head and eat him as she is to allow for intercourse. And, if she happens to be hungry, she just might eat him afterward anyway. She will lay groups of 12-400 eggs in a frothy liquid, called ootheca, that turns to a hard protective shell about the size and shape of a cigarette filter glued to tree twigs, plant stems, fences, walls and other objects.  She will die after laying. The eggs remain in the shell over winter. Small mantids emerge in the spring. Often, their first meal is a sibling. 

She will lay groups of 12-400 eggs in a frothy liquid, called ootheca, that turns to a hard protective shell about the size and shape of a cigarette filter glued to tree twigs, plant stems, fences, walls and other objects.  She will die after laying. The eggs remain in the shell over winter. Small mantids emerge in the spring. Often, their first meal is a sibling. 

Mantid ootheca (egg case)

Mantis Symbolism

These traits have lead the mantis to be a symbol of meditation and contemplation. Overwhelmingly, in most cultures, the mantis is a symbol of stillness. In fact, in China, the mantis has long been honored for her mindful movements. Usually, she will show up in our lives when we become driven by chaotically busy activity to the point that we no longer hear the still small voice within. The mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives. An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quite and reach a place of calm.

It may also be a sign for you to be more mindful of the choices you are making and confirm that these choices are congruent. Consider the overwhelming evidence that backs the mantis up as being a docile, graceful, peaceful creature…and yet recognize her propensity for deep destruction. Mantis symbolism includes both serenity and severity. So whether as a mode of self-protection or protecting our interests – let the mantis make it very clear – we are capable of extraordinary actions to guard what we hold dear. This is a message to us to contemplate and be sure our minds and souls all agree together about the choices we are making in our lives.

Praying mantids have an association with many diverse pharmacological and religious beliefs. The Greeks called them “Mantes”, which means prophets. The Chinese write of the mantis as curing anything from impotence to goiter.

Mantis Informational Links

Wikipedia’s Mantis Page

Garden Insects: A Comprehensive Guide to Safe Biological Pest Control

Entomology Dept.,
University of Kentucky: Preying Mantids

Pets On Mom.Me: What Are the Enemies of a Preying Mantis?

 

Floodwaters Receding In Time to Prepare for Pagan Pride Show

The flood waters have ceased! For days, Deborah has been trying to create her art in a very damp nasty situation. 

We did receive damage in about a third of the workshop, particularly around the work bench. The water is gone now and the shop is dry-ish. No worries, we got this! 

Well see you at our next #TableSale event, in Shopper’s Alley:

Chicago Pagan Pride | September 10, 2017

 

Click to see where our table is next! For now, we have an opportunity to finish preparing for the upcoming Pagan Pride Chicago event. Check out their website for information on workshops, entertainment and of course… vendors.

 


The Turtles Anvil Etsy Store.

Make sure to stop by the Turtle’s Anvil tent and say Hi. We’d be happy to meet you.

You can visit our Etsy store now!

 

Can we change with the weather?

I am sitting here on the last day of February, in 50 degree temperatures, looking at the activity around my bird feeder.

My mind turns to the changes occurring in the weather and their effects on wild plant and animal populations. Mind you, as an environmentalist and biologist, I have been seeing these changes slowly accumulating for the last three decades. Long before the debate over whether climate change was “a thing”, (it was known as global warming then), I was already observing, collecting data and analyzing the effects on the landscape. The shifts of both plant and animal population ranges were of particular interest.

Today, I note two new migratory bird species dropping by for a visit before they continue on to Canada. They are outside their normal flight pattern and about six weeks early. Many of the usual summer residents have also arrived already; very early indeed. It seems odd to hear their territorial calls, so loud and raucous, at this time of year. I wonder how many new species will begin to show up in the years to come, and how many will we lose. The mammals are out and about, too; the rabbits and squirrels still very plump with unused winter fat reserves. They really haven’t had a lot of severe cold to deal with for the last few years.

 

Having grown up in the mixed hardwood forests of the American Midwest, I have a particular affinity for the ecosystem. I derive much comfort and enjoyment while in the woods. Lately, I do worry for my beloved trees. I have repeatedly witnessed events that have never occurred before in my memory. For the past three years, several of my trees have produced buds in late December to early January, just to lose them during the next cold snap. Some of these trees seem to then have a hard time starting up again later in the spring, probably due to the depletion of their energy reserves. I expect that some of them will die off. My wooded childhood comfort zone is changing and that saddens me. However, I am excited to see what new species will come in to replace them; what will my new comfort zone look like?

 

I think most informed people have finally accepted that climate change is truly “a thing”. However, there is still the debate as to whether humans caused it and whether we can “fix” it. Personally, I think it is extremely arrogant of our species to think that we have the power to completely change the underlying workings of the environment. Did we contribute to the acceleration of its occurrence? Probably. Would it have happened to some extent anyway. I think so. Does it make sense for us to point the finger of blame at each other? Not to me.

One thing I learned of in my life among the wild things is the amazing resilience of natural ecosystems. As individual components are removed, new ones repopulate the vacant niches and life moves on just as efficiently and harmoniously as before the perturbation. Will we be wiped out because of all this? Maybe, if we don’t adapt. But, we are very good at that. What we could do is try to foresee the potential upcoming changes and prepare…and enjoy the unfolding saga as it happens.

Thanks For Shopping, sweetie!

Everything is on sale now until Valentine’s Day!

 

victorian-steampunk-doll
See something you like? Click the image to buy it now from our Etsy store!

This Victorian Steampunk doll is hand painted genuine fine Bisque porcelain originally made by Dan Dee. She is an animated music box that plays “Memories”.

She comes with the original certificate of authenticity. I have added adornments of garnets and antique watch parts and cogs to her hat and dress. Her necklace was created from vintage watch works.

She is outfitted with a hand sewn deerskin bag decorated with titanium electroplated quartz crystal and a pearl button. Hanging from the belt are a quartz crystal elephant totem, a wire wrapped antique watch work and a vial of cogs and gears. An eye patch adds mystery to her character.

 

nature-photography-beautiful-landscapesTake a walk on the wild side with a stroll through our Nature Photography section!

Most of our photographs are available in various sized greeting cards and photo enlargements.

We can create custom orders with backing and matting, if you wish. In addition, we often have recycled wooden or metal picture frames available.

 

alligator-snapping-turtle-shell-shaman-bagThis Alligator Snapping Turtle shell was hand sanded and polished bringing out the beautiful ivory color. The stylized glyph drawings on this ceremonial animal totem medicine bag create the perfect primitive spiritual art wall decor.

 

Shop ALL of these items and more on our Etsy store page.

Remember: Everything is discounted 20%. Use coupon code DISCOUNT at check out.

The Beginning of the Saga of Turtle’s Anvil

A few years back we decided to go into business together selling our artwork. We both, rather naively had “old-fashioned” ideas on how to accomplish the task.

Saga of Turtle's Anvil

We were both professionally familiar with using a computer at our previous jobs. Deborah was a systems operator at the Board of Trade. Sue was used to collecting and analyzing scientific data. Because of this, we felt we could easily handle the web.

Lo and Behold! Knowing how to use a computer and successfully navigating e-commerce are not the same animal. life is a turtle's sagaWe were totally unprepared for the speed of technology and the changes in what a computer could be used for and how. But, don’t ever believe the old adage, “Old dogs can’t learn new tricks”. For three years we struggled with teaching ourselves about social media and how to build a web-based business. We bought a number of books, many of which we discovered were outdated shortly after they were printed. We studied them, pored over them and struggled with a completely new language that insidiously used familiar words out of the known context. We went from merely knowing that social media exists to amateurishly using it to grow a small business.

Saga of Turtles Caught In A Web of Tech

xckd-comic-fire-wikipediaStill, we were kind of lost on the nuances, protocol and etiquette of the ether world. It is disconcerting to find out that what you thought was merely adding emphasis was actually rudely YELLING, or that what you felt was defending yourself could be perceived as being argumentative. Notwithstanding, we felt we were up to creating our own website. We thought that because we were no longer newbies to social media that building a website would be a snap.

Wrong again! That is when the Universe provided Mary Diamond, our guru of the ethernet. She helps us ensure that the connections are connected, the plug-ins are plugged in, the add-ons are added on, etc. She also provides invaluable insights and tips, translated into plain English, advancing our knowledge (and confidence) and helping to clear the fog.

This website is a work in progress. We wish to share new ideas, the expressions of creativity and we hope to inspire.