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

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.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sutton Slice

I was looking over some of the pieces I brought home from the PC cruise, wondering why I have not blogged about them before now.  I got very lucky during the door prize drawings to win not one, but two, of Lisa Pavelka's demo pieces.

 The first is a hollow bead she made as a demo of a foil and stamp technique.  The picture does not do it justice. It is soooo Shiny

 This focal is from her demo of the Sutton Slice.  She used a Skinner blend as the background and inserted a lovely crystal in the center.

 I tried my hand at a hollow focal, and made this shiny bead.  It has been a while since the cruise, so I don't remember if I used foil or mica powder to achieve the coloring.  From some of the smudgy coloring in the middle of the piece, it think it was mica powders.

I thought I would try my hand at the Sutton Slice Technique and just used a bit of left over clay I had sitting around on the table.  I wish I'd had more scrape, as I really like the look of these beads. Note the "bleeding" of the ecru into the purplish color on the second from the top bead. I LOVE that effect, have absolutely no idea why it happened and will probably never get it to happen again.
These beads were finished with wax rather than my usual Kato LC finish (unfortunately for me, I could smell the wax now that my cold is over)

Reminds me of Batik fabric
After this initial success, I tried another Sutton slice with different colors and texture sheet.  Again I used left over clay so these are all of this set. These I finished using Kato LC.

I liked the purple beads so well, that I thought I would try the technique again with green. Since the original beads made me think of batik, I decided to put faux stitches around the tops of the bead. Again, it used wax to finish, since I like the softer shine it gives. Just wish it didn't smell so bad.

Hey, not bad.  Two blog entries in a week's time.  Maybe I am over my slump.

This Friday I am going to visit my favorite show of the year - RAGS.  I have found some of my favorite OOAK pieces there.  Last year I meet another PC artist and had a great time talking polymer. I hope she is back this year.  And RAGS supports a great cause ... the YWCA's shelter for abused women and their children.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Texture beads revisited

So far, the weather here below the Emerald City has been pretty mild for winter time.  We had one snow episode that lasted not even a day before it melted away.  When I see what the rest of the country has had to endure weather wise, I realize how lucky I am to live where I do.  Sure, I do have to put up with SAD due to the almost constant greyness, but Vitamin D and light therapy has helped make it more bearable in the recent years.
   The one complaint I had about the snow day was that I got stuck at the hospital where I work overnight.  That would not have been so bad, but it was the day for sign up for Lori Anderson's Bead Shop Blog Hop.  We are not allowed to access things like blogs, FB etc, from work so I missed it.  No Bead Soup for me this year .... Whaaaa ....

I finally set foot in the studio again after several months of the blahs.  I revisited a tried and true method for me .... texture beads (a big thank you to Lydia Moseley from Diva Designs for the tut).  I experimented with different way to color and finish the beads and now it is time to share them with you. 

  This first picture is the overview of some of  the beads ... several coloring methods included.

 These beads where colored with Pan Pastel Chalks and then I used shoe polish to antique them.  I really like the gritty look they have.  What was great when I made these, was that I was getting over my cold, and still had a stuffy nose. I couldn't smell the polish!  I don't use polish as much as I would like, because of the smell.

 These were colored with Pan Pastels also, but I used Black Kato LC to finish. I love this stamp for creating texture (Cool Tools) 

These beads were also colored with Pan Pastel chalk.  I used black to highlight, and thought it would be too much to also use black LC, so I finished with clear Kato LC.

These beads were colored with acrylic paint and black LC used to antique.  The texture was really not deep enough to get good contrast, but this look can be nice too.

These two sets were colored with chalks.  I only colored the highlighted areas, which created more of a contrast with the black LC.

And lastly, beads that I highlighted with mica powders for the color.  I used both black and clear Kato Liquid Clay for the finishing.  The mica powders were applied before baking, and for the most part stayed on the beads.  If you look closely at the darker green beads, you can see that the powder did not stay put ... when applying the LC, it drifted down into the "valleys" and gave a bit of color there too. 

And, of course, it wouldn't be my blog unless I shared a pix of the cutest kitten in the world (just MHO, of course).  The Quinnitator is getting bigger by the day, and is swiftly taking over dominating the other Underfeet. 
I'm FINALLY tuckered out....think I'll rest a minute or two before attacking your toes again!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I LOVE Serendipity

n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

This is what happened this week when I decided to do a little first of the year (dare I say it) CLEANING in my studio.

I have a tendency to put all my left over clays to the side on my work table.  I have a tile set there that accumulates scraps of clay.  Usually I wait till I have a goodly amount, and then mix it all together for bead guts or the base of a veneer (if the color is right).  
   It was time for the wading of the clay.  I started running it through my PM to blend, but for some reason I happened to actually LOOK at the colors the blending was making.  Maybe it was because my studio TV no longer works and I was not distracted, but I noticed that the colors created stripes - so  I stacked them.
Side view of stack
Then I sliced the stack long ways and laid the slices on a base.  After braying to flatten, I rolled the resulting piece length ways through the PM to thin it.  

Used this sheet as a veneer.  I am amazed that this resulted from mixing my left over clays. This is so not the color palette that I normally gravitate to, but is the result of colors that  I normally use. Weird.  It kinda resembles wood grain.  
The shine comes from using shoe polish as a finish. I read somewhere about
using this as a finish.  Curious to see how long it lasts

Needless to say, I did not get much cleaning done in the studio. But I did spark a bit of creative fever and hopefully help get me out of the winter slump.

I just bought Lydia Moseley's latest tut on Faux Finishes.  Have not had time to do more than just give it a quick first read through.  Oh, goodie, (clapping hands with joy) there is SOOOO much information AND it looks like I HAVE to make a trip to a craft store for even more stuff.  Well, it is actually a sunny day and a trip to the outside world for something other than work will do me good.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stupor Times

Not much is going on creatively these days.  I am in the midst of my winter stupor.  Kinda like the bear (that Lord Opuson insists is my totem), I tend to hibernate during the greys.  I have gotten several new books that I have been reading and thinking VERY hard about, but the drive to actually DO something just isn't there. The SAD really has a grip on me hard this year.

A huge bright spot in my life these last couple of weeks,  has been the addition of the Mighty Little Quinn.  I know that I am already deemed the crazy cat lady, so what is one more?

She and the rest of her siblings were found under the house when DH crawled under there  to turn on the water for our new refrigerator (which started leaking yesterday, causing a mad scrabble back under the house - no new kittens this time, thank goodness).

Found homes for the 4 other babies, but this cutie I just couldn't resist (I know that I should say no to more, but when you see her pix, you will understand).  She gets along so well with the boys, she follows them around like a little sister (which was what we were calling her till I could find a good name).  According to the "name your cat" source I found on-line, Quinn is Celtic for "fifth".
Quinn bonding with Lord Opuson

Quinn and Zinger Looking down on us mere mortals from the lofty height
of their cat perch

This little face just melts my heart.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Christi Class Day 2

The polymer classes were held during our "at sea" days.  That way, when we are in port, we can leave the ship and take an island tour, go have fun on a sailboat, snorkel or explore on our own.

The claydies (+ one gentleman) were divided into 3 groups.  Each group meet with a different teacher on class days.  I was in Group C, and my first class was with my favorite clay lady ... Christi Freisen.  I have been lucky enough to take numerous classes from her and she has never failed to entertain while instructing.  We had several people new to clay in our group, so it was great that they started their intro into the polymer world with someone who makes learning so easy.

      The first time I met her was on the 2009 Polymer cruise. I was having so much fun, that I hardly wanted to leave the classroom to go into port.  Lord Opuson talked me into it one morning, but it was sooo hot and humid, that we quickly went back the ship.  I went back to the classroom and my hubbie got bored without me. Christi  was in the classroom too and  she actually talked my husband into trying his hand at clay sculpt. First time out, he made a dolphin! So impressive, as my hubby is NOT physically artistic ... he can use words like a paint brush when he writes,  but give him a real paint brush, and all the paint will end up on him, the walls, the floors ...  anywhere but the canvas.
    I ramble, but the gist of what I am saying, is that if you want to learn clay and be successful the first time out ... take a class from Christi Freisen.

Christi's theme was aquatic life.  We made little underwater themes.  (I apologize for the picture quality - I have taken better pix now that I am home, but can not find my camera's download cable anywhere. These pix were taken in the classroom with room lighting)
Love this technigue for making jelly fish

Christi's instructions for Octopi are sooo good, I made this
cutie first tme out  

 The instructor's moved from table to table each night, so everyone would get a chance to eat with them.  This was Christi's night at our table.  If you look closely a my neckline, you can just make out my Leopold necklace that I made from her focal.

As I alluded to in previous posts, the ship was chocked full of art work.  I must have taken hundreds of pictures.  Ispiration everywhere! Doesn't this piece look like it was created from extruder cane?
And every night we would come back to the cabin to be greeted by the wimsey of Andrew, our steward....