Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. - Oscar Wilde

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hot weather claying

Luckily for me I am a night owl.  My j.o.b. has been for many years in a hospital's clinical laboratory. Hospitals are open 24/7 so workers all needed to cover every hour.  Not being a person who likes to get up in the morning, I have worked mostly evenings for the last 20 years.  That means that by the time I get home at midnight, the house has cooled down and I can work with the clay with out it turning into a gooey mess.  I know that compared to the rest of the country right now, the current temp of 83 degrees seems cool.  But we in the Pacific Northwest are not used to it so it seems sweltering to me.

I have been working a bit with some textures, pan pastel chalks and inks.  Just a bit every night. If I wait too long to go to bed, it gets too hot to sleep after the sun comes up.

Most of us Polymer artists have a needle tool.  I discovered that the textured portion of the handle can be used to make little diamond like texture on clay.  I used this tool to texture white clay tubes, the colored with blue and green PP chalk.  After baking, I used black liquid Kato clay to fill in the recesses of the texture.  When I wiped off the excess liquid clay, I found that it also removed the a lot of the color of the chalk.
    To give a bit more zing to the beads, I mixed some interference violet into clear liquid clay that I had tinted with a few drops of Sunshine Yellow ink.
 
Blue chalk highlighted with LKC tinted with yellow ink

Green chalk highlighted with LKC tinted with yellow ink
 Then I tried my hand at a different texture sheet.  I had never used this one before.  It didn't have any design, just a rough texture. Exactly what I was looking for.  Once again, the black LKC took away the color of the chalk.  These started out as a bright yellow. Again I used a final coating of yellow tinted LKC to put some of the color back.  I really like the way these turned out.  Kinda Jade like.



Since the LKC was remove the chalk color, next I tried inks on the base bead.  I colored these with a green ink and then baked.  The color is kind of flat as I did not add any mica powder to the final coat, just to see what would happen.


I made up more white based and colored them with chalks.  Am itching to get back into the studio, but it is soooo hot it will have to wait.  I don't even get tonight .... One of the graveyard techs is on vacation, so I have to work a split evening/graveyard shift to cover. Don't get off till 4 am.

I am so looking forward to retirement and not having to clay around my work schedule ... of course, then I will be too poor to afford the clay LOL.  I am thinking about trying my hand at selling online.  Unfortunately for me, there is already a Polymer Penguin on Esty.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Segal Inspired

I count myself as very fortunate to have taken classes with Marie Segal.

I first met Marie at Ravensdale 2006. At that time, I was new to the polymer world and did not know the extent of her history with polymer.  All I knew what that she was a very kind lady who encouraged me to put some of my pieces up for sale in the Ravensdale store.  I actually SOLD a piece!
  Since then I have had the opportunity to get to know her a bit more at several NWPCG Clay Camps.  And I try to take a class from her every time she has been able to attend.

This time, I couldn't wait to learn the secrets behind the lovely earrings she had been showing on FB for months.  I was not disappointed.  Since Clay Camp, whenever I have the time (not much now that summer is finally here .... so much to do that pulls me away from the clay) .... I have made more Marie Segal Inspired Earrings.
Using more of the translucent window cane 

Translucent window cane and mica powders

Translucent window cane, mica powders and mud

A bit of a different shape

Just used the shaping here, and a tiny bit of the window cane

For these, I combined Marie Segal design with the translucent canes I made
in Kim Day's class. Now I have earrings to go with the bracelet!


Left over clay when mixed gave me an olive green color that I used for the base
of these earrings



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Other Unfinished Objects

Polymer is my primary focus, and even though my stash is overflowing with beads that I have made, that doesn't stop me from buying beads and focals elsewhere.  It is an addiction that Lord Opuson wishes I was cured of. Of course, we all know that once a beader always a beader ... give up Opuson and let me expand into the garage or maybe when we remodel that back bedroom that is just being used as a "junk room" already ...

But I stray ...

My beading buddy Karen and I visited Shipwreck Beads last week.  I just had to pick up some Preciosa Ripple beads. I have been lusting after them since I first saw them on the Shipwreck website. I started  this bracelet while watching Game of Thrones Sunday night.  
    Half way through the episode, one of Lord Opuson's old friends that we haven't seen in almost 9 years showed up on our doorstep.  What a blast it was catching up.  He had been living in Arizona but recently divorced and moved back into the area.  I am so happy for Opuson to reconnect after all this time.  
    As CJ had interrupted the episode, we got to watch it again later.  That gave me a chance to finish it all in one evening. It looked a bit sparse with only the ripple beads, so I added a few floral beads to plump it out.


I have had this ceramic focal for some time, the glaze reminded me of frosted window panes on winter nights in my childhood home. My folks had no central heat in those days and our upstairs bedrooms would get sooooo cold at night.  At the time, I did not appreciate beauty of the winter wonderland right outside my bedroom window (teenage ennui and all that growing up stuff ....).  Now I wish I could look out at night and see a ceiling of stars painted from one side of the sky to the other... too many lights in the city now.
    I finally found beads to pair with it.  The crackles really add the perfect touch.
Winter Frost

I also got some earrings finished, but that will wait till my next posting.  Have to finish the laundry, or there will be nothing to wear to work.


Monday, June 8, 2015

UFO Weekend

To those of us who are makers, the term UFO has another meaning. I am talking about the infamous Unfinished Objects.

I am one of those artists who just loves making the beads, but then am at a loss for knowing exactly what to do with them when done.  I have cubbies full of UFO's, beads I have made, projects I have started ... but I am trying to get more organized and actually finish something.  Lord Opuson was out of town, so I could just sit and play with my beads all day Sunday.  Heaven (so what if the weeds are taking over ... beads are more important, right???).

I first meet Christi Friesen on a Lisa Pavelka Clay Cruise out of New Orleans.  I think it was 2008 or 2009 (as I get older, the years blend together). I had admired her work and when I finally got a chance to take a class, I jumped at it.  She is such a dynamic instructor that   I begged her to come and teach in the Pacific Northwest. After about a year (her schedule is so full it takes a long time to get pencilled in) it became a reality. She presented classes in Everett and Edmonds, and naturally I signed up for both.

Her Everett class was a Firebird, that I FINALLY got strung this weekend.

 On the next Polymer Cruise I took when Christi taught, I was lucky enough to score a few of her heart pendants. She has told her classes, that whenever she gets stuck creatively speaking, she starts making hearts and soon her juices are flowing and ideas abound.  So that is why she usually has a plethora of hearts to pass on.  I finally found stones that matched her lovely heart pendant.


On this I made pendant, also Christi inspired that I made after her Edmonds class, I combined Steampunk and Floral elements. The large bronze colored section in the middle is actually a stone that I incorporated into the piece.


 Call it just one of those things, or perhaps the universe sending a message ... but I found this heart on a grape the other day.  Even if it was just a random bruising pattern, it still made me smile.

A moment of Zen

Lazy day


Beaker found a half full can of cat food that was supposed to go to the outdoor cats and had a pig out.  So stuffed he could hardly move. I am so surprised that the rest of the Underfeet didn't join in.
What happens when momma takes a potty break.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Clay Camp Classes

There were a goodly number of classes offered this year at Clay Camp. Only wish I could have taken more, but time (and money) did not allow.

One class that I absolutely had to sign up for was Marie Segal's earring technique. I had been drooling over them since she first showed them on FB.  I am so happy with the pair that I made. If you ever get a chance to be in a class with Marie, jump at it.  She has a depth of knowledge that seems bottomless and is so willing to share .... she is awesome.

Notice the translucent windows.
Our guild's caner extraordinaire, Kim Day, present her first every class.  She did such a marvelous job, I hope she does more.  Translucent canes was the focus and I, not being a caner, could not have been happier with the results.  She present in a logically progressive format and made it all so easy.  Her handout was detailed, with pictures of every step.  And she threw in bonus material, including a flower tutorial that was easy but very effective.  We all made our own flower cane, large enough that we could cut off pieces and share with others in the case.  We each ended up with 4 to 5 flower canes for many more beads.  Learning a few tricks on how to properly reduce to prevent distortion was worth the price of admission.

    After making our focal bead, Kim took us through sanding (as anyone who reads my blog knows, I hate to sand and buffing.  Then we spent the afternoon making either a tile or bangle bracelet. As she had a bangle blank that actually fit, that was my direction.
    I am delighted with the results.

Bangle. I found it was easier to sand than the smaller bead. Who knew?

Closeup of the flowers

     Bead I made using flower cane made by guild president Betty.
I spent Sunday of Clay Camp making more components for earrings.  I hope to have time to assemble some more by this weekend, if my husband does not pull me out for anymore long walks. Today he had to try out the new opened wetlands here in town.  Would not have been so bad, but it was downhill going in, which means with was uphill coming out (my back was definitely feeling it - laid down when I got home for a short nap and woke up 3 hours later!)

Note: somehow blogger got my posts out of order. This post actualy predates my Clay Camp Earrings Post.

Clay Camp Earrings

I mentioned in my last post that Clay Camp Sunday was a day spent making more earring components.  I got a chance last night to start putting them together to make more Marie Segal inspired earrings.  I know that I broke the "rules" of photography by back lighting the photos, but I wanted the translucent windows in the colorful cane to show.

Used mica powders for highlights

Smaller earrings using only the translucent window cane.
Marie spent time with me discussing the importance of analyzing facial shape when considering earring design. Not all people look good wearing a specific shape, for example round earrings.  She let me try on various earrings she had made till I found the shape that looked best.  Even though I am very attracted to the round earring shape, in this particular design I look better in a rectangular shape.

They don't always need to be round

Oval Shaped
 A while back, Rebecca (aka Artybecca) showed on her blog experiments using liquid masking fluid as a resist. After picking up some masking fluid at Ben Franklin on the way to Clay Camp, I attempted to try my hand at it.  I did not have the fine tip applicator she was fortunate enough to find, so had to make do with a paint brush,  I like the idea and hope to have time in the near future to work with it more.