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

Friday, June 20, 2014

You KNOW you are addicted to beads when ...

It's official ... I'm certifiable!

I had a molar extracted this afternoon.  On my way home, I saw signs "Bead Show".  What the heck?!?  I am on the email list for this bead company and did not get a post about a bead show this weekend in my neck of the woods, or would have gone in the morning.

" Bead Show!" I say to my husband.
" Tooth just out" my dear sweet reminds me.
Didn't hesitate a second .... "Still numb.  I'm going before the Novocaine wears off"

So I did, while he went to the pharmacy to get my pain meds.  So far, it has not been too bad, but I popped a pill  prior to the numbness completely wearing off. And in 6 months or so, I can get an implant so that the empty spot in my mouth will no longer drive my tongue crazy.

So, what has been the craziest thing you ever did to get your bead fix?

And now a geek moment  ....

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A bit of a change

I don't always work with polymer, even if that seems to be all I ever write  about. That and cats, can't forget the cats.
I read on another blog (sorry ... I don't remember who's blog.  I would love to give them credit), about using inks to color washers.  Thought it was worth a try so scrounged around in the garage and "borrowed" a few from my hubbie.  He won't miss them (I hope) and will never recognize them in their new colors.
Alcohol inks were applied after a base coat of light colored acyclic paint (used Adirondack Dabber from Ranger).  After they dried, resin was applied to both sides, fully curing between sides.  After that, there was a really ugly zinc color on the inside and outside edges, where the base washer showed through.  This I painted gold with a metal acrylic pen.  And yes, you are seeing pink dots on several of the washers.  Vintaj Patina was applied with a toothpick to get the dots before the resin was added.

These washers were finished before Clay Camp and have been sitting around on top of  the same block of wood since then, Finally got the idea of how to make them up into earrings yesterday. This was the first time I tried making a "sloppy" wire wrap. I really like the look of this type of wrap, esp on earrings done by Kristi Bowman.  I really don't have the technique down well, but hope to improve with practice.  Who knew it was so hard to be messy?

I was reading The Polymer Arts Blog the other day, when Sage Bray was highlighing "mystery"  artists from Pinterest.  She discussed how sometimes the artist's identification gets lost in pinning and repinning.  I have noticed this also ... sometimes I try to follow an intereting piece back to the source only to find the site no longer there.  Because of this, I am going to start "signing" my work. Nothing fancy, since I don't have any special editing software.  I just used Picasa - free and easy.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Can't seem to get beyond simple

 I spend way too much time on Pinterest.  I have three earring boards so far, polymer and non-polymer. You would think that unique designs would rub off on me.  But. ohhh noooooo!  When I sit down to make earrings, all I can do is put some beads on head pins and call it an earring.  I even sweat over which beads to use .... it can take me 15-20 minutes to find a configuration that is pleasing to me and it is just plain simple.   Fancy and creative .... that seems to elude me for the present.
    I want to expand beyond that, so I am going to be taking an earring class from Bea Grob tomorrow at ArtWorks in Edmonds.  Bea is a wonderful artist from Switzerland who is friends with Meredith Arnold (another well know mixed media artist from this neck of the woods).  Bea will be using Pardo Translucent, which I am very excited to finally break down and use.  She had some of her earrings with her at Clay Camp, and they are DIFFERENT than what I usually make.   Maybe something will rub off .... crossing fingers and wishing very hard....

These are some of the earrings that I made recently, mostly using the beads I made at clay camp.
Translucent clay. textured then highlighted with Pan Pastel Chalks. Kinda look a bit like glass.

Wonky beads made into earrings.  You can't tell from the pix, but the pink beads are bigger than the other two bead sets.
Clay was textured by rolling on a texture mat.  Beads on top were highlighted with chalk. The bottom beads were highlighted with Inka Gold Pewter colored paste.

Textured beads are colored with chalks. After baking, I used tinted Kato Liquid Clay to antique and give it a shiny gloss.  The brown bead was  created from a Sutton Slice veneer.  The light green was pearl clay tinted with ink.  Just used scrapes from my table .... no clay is ever wasted!

My favorite beads from clay camp were the green disc beads.  I really like how they turned out. The blue beads were made from the Rustic Bead Tut by Ginger Allman. The pink are simply textured with an old button, then highlighted with chalks.

During my picture taking session, I had help from a different source than usual. She was just fascinated by the dangles.
The Mighty Quinn looking to attack my earring prop.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Clay Camp 2014 Bead Review

Once again, Clay Camp has come and gone.  It is a time I look forward to every year, a time that passes far to quickly.  My work schedule has been preventing me from attending guild meetings so it was the first time this year I had seen many of my clay buddies.  Lots of fresh air, laughter, good food .... a welcome break from the stresses of everyday life.

I had plans for trying out new tuts, but somehow never got around to it.  Found myself playing around with variations of tried and true techniques.  Started out with translucent clay, attempting to recreate some beads I had made several years ago.

The bottom two pictures are my attempts at covering a base bead with translucent clay tinted with ink.  Really did not like how they turned out, so I used the rest of my conditioned translucent to try out something else.  I textured the clay and applied chalks to the surface.  I like how these turned out, esp. the green ones.

I revisited the wonky bead for a while, trying out a longer shape and a different stamp.
I must say I like the longer shape.  I think they will make better earrings.

I did start using Inca Gold Paste.  I had tried it in the past and it had come off the beads later. I discovered from more experienced clayers that I had to bake the beads again after application to prevent this (head slap ... duh!). Tried various textures and shapes.
I hear that orange is the new black.  Supposedly it is one of the summer colors
this year.  It looks good combined with pewter.
Also used chalks to highlight.  My favorite is the purple and rust crosshatched disc bead below.

Squat beads highlighted with Inca Gold, and a couple highlighted with chalk.  The teal beads have already been made into earrings.

The last afternoon, I got involved in making disc beads.  These I highlighted using chalks and finishing up with shoe polish.  The finished that parade gloss gives is just the right amount of shine.

I also had the opportunity to take a marvelous class with Marie Segal on Saturday. I have not done the final finish on those beads, so probably will have to wait till this coming weekend to complete them to the stage they are ready to present to the world.
   Every time I meet Marie, I am more impressed by her.  When she left her home in California for Clay Camp, she had no idea that within a short time that home would be in danger of being burnt down.  She conducted her class not knowing if she would have a home to return to ....  a lot of stress, but she handled herself professionally and as calmly as possible under the situation.
   Luckily, the fire was stopped before it reached their house. I have seen pix on her FB page of just how close it got ... and of some unfortunate neighbors who were not so lucky.
  It just goes to show that we never know what life is going to throw our way, so enjoy every little bit that you can when you can.

And now for your moment of cat zen
Tofur trying to help Mommy select beads to photograph.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wonky abundant

I had an uninterrupted day in the studio this past weekend (ie ... no housework).  All I wanted to do was make more of the wonky bead shape I had discovered how to make the week before.  I experimented with different colors, even added mica powder to some of them for a little extra shine.

I was asked  lately whether I colored the beads before or after baking. That is a good question.  The answer is that it depends how the beads are colored.  The ones above were colored using PanPastel chalks.  Because chalk does not adhere well to a baked bead, you want to apply it to the raw clay.  After baking, shoe polish was applied  to protect the finish and antique the textured areas.
    Below is a close up were the fine texture can be seen better.

The beads I featured last week were baked first, then painted.  There is a difference in the finish, depending upon which route you take.  Both ways work, it just depends which look you are going for.

I did have time to try one other shapes (still not tired of wonky, just looking for more ways to finished them)
Rolled beads, colored with chalks.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Early morning ponderings

Here it is, almost 5 o'clock in the morning.  I was sound asleep until about an hour ago when one of my little darlings decided to jump into the window, through the blinds mind you ... he might like the sound it makes, but it is certainly NOT a sound I like waking up to.

What to do when you can't fall back to sleep immediately ... I choose stupidly this time and decided to just take a "quick" peak at Flickr and Pinterest.  That was over an hour ago ... what a time suck! Don't get me wrong, it is a marvelous time suck ... so many wonderful artists out there stretching the creativity of polymer to higher levels every day.  I love finding new (to me) artists that others have pinned, following the pin back to their blog or Etsy site, seeing their works and wondering "how did they do that" or "that is an interesting twist on that technique".  I am sure that many of you have found yourself in the same boat.

Of course, that means that I am not in the studio creating.  Being a night owl, I could be ... but since Lord Opuson is asleep, I don't want to wake him up ... funny, me typing on the computer key board does not disturb him in the least, but if I try to get out of bed ... instant awake. Probably has something to do with the Underfoots following me and howling outside the studio door ... they are soooo needy.

It has been a while since I have written anything, but spring is finally here to banish the winter blahs. I have been very remiss and hope to do better.

This last week, I did revisit  one of my favorite techniques - Rustic Beads ( The Blue Bottle Tree )  This time I was experimenting with new shapes and color choices.  I am calling the smaller beads my "wonky" shapes - kinda lopsided, but I like the design.
These are my faves.  Light purple with rose color choice
Orange with teal overlay.  A color choice I probably won't repeat

Orange again, this time with a light purple overlay.  I like.

Lilac with a darker purple overlay.  
I had recently purchased some new texture (embossing) plates for my Criket and thought I would try them out on polymer.
Lilac and light purple comb again

Orange and teal. 
See the rough texture in the upper left hand corner?  I don't know where it came from. I like it and will probably never be able to duplicate it again.  Arghhh.

 And finally, a group shot .  Took me almost a week to make these few beads, working a short stretch at a time. Just what I need to keep the creative juices flowing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rags 2014

For the past several years, I have made it a must to attend the Rags Wearable Art Show in Tacoma.  The goal of the show is to raise funds for the YWCA Woman's abuse shelter. Last year they made their $1,00,000 mark for this very worthy charity.
    I have my favorite artists, so I visit their tables first.  Every year it gets harder to decide which OOAK piece to take home with me.  This year was no exception, as my faves have expanded their lines and have been experimenting with new techniques to tempt me.
   I have made it a point to purchase a pair of enameled earrings from Debbie Jackson every year.  This year she had new color choices that made it hard to decide.  I finally went with these light green beauties.

 I was excited to see some new jewelery designs at her table.  "You've gotten into etching" said I.  "No, I didn't etch, due to the chemicals involved.  I discovered the rolling mill." was her reply.
Believe it or not, she embossed metals for these earrings on a rolling mill using cardboard templates. I would never have thought that cardboard would be sturdy enough to indent metal, but here you go ... proof in these two earring sets:

Another favorite artist is Pamela Bellesen aka The Wide Mouth Frog.  She only does one show a year, and doesn't sell on line. She is featured in numerous galleries around the country, but locally the only way to buy her work is at Rags or her store in Poulsbo, Wa.
   She has expanded her work to include origami papers and embossed metals.

I was very excited to hear that she is offering classes at her studio in Poulsbo, not just in metal work, but other artistic pursuits. Hopefully, I will be able work some classes into my schedule. Poulsbo is a bit of a jaunt from the Emerald City, but it can include a ferry ride and that is always fun in good weather.

I bought from a new (for me) artist this year.  Darcy Thompson upcycles china and ceramics into unique jewelery pieces with the use of colorful grout.  I fell in love with the necklace, and even tho the piece of china it originated from did not include any pieces small enough to make earrings, Darcy was able to find a pair in her stash that matched pretty closely.

And last, but certainly not least, I came across Michele Rancy and her Enaminals. She had the most beautiful enameled penguin, but as I had already spent my allotment for the day, I had to pass on it. Fortunately, she also had this copper penguin that was the same design only without the color.  
My totem ... of course he had to go home with me.