Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Monday, September 15, 2014

How to Make a Cloche Display- Step by Step

I have been browsing around the creative playground known as Pinterest this morning...and I'm feeling inspired to dig out my cloches (aka bell jars) that have been stored away for several months. I've curated a board with inspiring cloche arrangements, so if you would like to take a look, follow this link- Pinterest/JujuQueen/Cloche .  Anyway, I'm pulling together some possible items that would look pretty for some new fall displays and I've taken pics along the way, so come along with me as I share my musings and teach you how to put together a cloche display!

First, you need your cloche- this can be the traditional bell jar, a cake dome or an upside down glass or canning jar.  Anything works as long as it's transparent and can capture and hold the items to be featured.  It can be a tiny cloche or a really large one.  I have a variety of sizes, and a collection of cloches can look really nice if they vary in size and height.  

A variety of cloches ready to use...

You will need something to serve as the bottom piece that will hold the items on display. Trust me, you do not want to put the items directly onto a tabletop with the cloche topping them...you will inevitably have to move them if you do.  Find a suitable bottom plate to use- an actual plate, cutting board, slice of wood from a tree, cake stand, bowl, ironstone serving piece, architectural column fragment, piece of reclaimed marble.....anything that has a flat top surface and works with the scale of the cloche.  See some possibilities below.

Some items that could be used as bases or lifts.

Then, if you want to add height to the display, find something to use as a riser.  This can be a stack of books, wooden fragment, small wooden box, a bowl turned upside down, or a corrugated shipping box that's been covered with a pretty cloth or napkin.  Use your imagination and look at things in a different way...this is part of the fun!

Now, start gathering the items to be featured.  Try to tell a story, rather than haphazardly just adding nice things which can become cluttered looking.  I'm telling a story for fall, so everything will relate in some way and the display will have a cohesive look.

Then, you will need to find what I call "softeners" or "fillers" to soften and fill!  This can be cloth, lace remnants or moss.  You don't always need these elements, but it's nice to have them handy just in case.

Now that I've gathered some things, it's time to get creative!  I remembered this black hook on a base that I picked up a couple of months ago and had never used.  Maybe it could work in my arrangement...

As I started playing with the pieces, I got the idea to hang the bird fragment (shown in pic above) from the hook.  Using hot glue, I attached a loop of natural jute rope to the back of the bird.  I used the same jute to tie three feathers onto the base of the hook.  As things evolved, I found myself going with a very natural bird theme.  It's going to look great for fall!

Jute rope wrapped and tied to hold
feathers in place...

After adding elements and subtracting some back out, it begins to take shape...It's a very organic, evolving process until I get to the point that it feels right...I decided not to use the game pieces that spelled "fall" and the book page leaf.  Those additions created a very "mixed-media" feel which I'm normally known for, but for this display, I felt it needed to be more natural.  


I'm finally pleased with the organic, natural, fall-ish bird composition.  Words are not needed, as it tells the story right by itself.

I put the arrangement onto a silver plated plate with a piece of old lace underneath and I finally have something that I like!

Look at the details in this delicate feather!

For my softeners, I used reindeer moss and lichen that I found in the woods on our property. I decided to completely cover the black base of the hook. I also added more feathers to the base...(We once had chickens and guineas, and the feathers were picked up off the ground whenever I spotted some pretty ones.  I have used them over and over...)  

Once I had it exactly like I wanted it, I topped it with a cloche that would fit.  


I let the lace extend over the edges, underneath the cloche.  Here's a closer look.

And, the entire tablescape- 

As you can see, I've placed the large cloche at one end of the table.  At the opposite end, I added a second cloche that's just a little smaller and holds a simple pine cone candle on a small dish.  Near the center, I've added a tiny cloche that holds just a single feather.  Now the entire table tells a story of birds, apples and fall.  Soon, I will make another apple cake and the apples will be replaced with another seasonal fruit....and this is how it goes with the ever evolving tablescape at my house.

Simple pine cone candle on a dish softened with moss...

Single feather in a tiny cloche- I used a
butter pat for the base and simply
stuck the feather into the moss.


Don't ever apply glue to any vintage or antique element that would change its quality or appearance.  Any alteration of a genuine vintage or antique piece could cause the value to be diminished.  I frequently use hot glue as I rarely use anything really valuable in my displays.  I like to use things that I've picked up from local estate sales and I usually don't spend big bucks on these things.

Now, if you do have a fabulous valuable piece, it too can look fantastic under a cloche. These pieces don't usually require additions of other things...they are probably great enough to stand on their own.  

I hope I've inspired you to create some cloche arrangements.  I would love to hear from you with your ideas.  

Thanks for stopping by!


If you like what you see here, I would love to have you follow along.  To make sure that you don't miss anything, you can follow by e-mail.  Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and put it in the space  provided, or you can enter it at the top of the sidebar.  I never share your  addresses  with anyone, so  you  can  feel at ease by sharing it with me.  Also, your first mail from me will most likely end up in  your spam folder, so you will need to go look for that one, then click on my e-mail address and save it to your address book.  That will assure that all future e-mails will go  to your e-mail folder so that you can   actually  see them.  I would be honored to have you follow along as I play!

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