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

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.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Clay Camp 2015

Another Clay Camp has come and gone.  Once again the NWPCG met at beautiful Camp Huston just outside Goldbar, Washington.  This year, we expanded it to 4 day and offered numerous classes. The response was fantastic.  We had more people want to sign up than there were beds for. Luckily for the guild, there was no other group meeting the same weekend,  so we were able to upgrade to the larger cabin.

                                     My room was the one in the middle.

 This cabin had a much larger common room that was perfect for classes. Good thing, as the two I took were totally full and would have had a hard time fitting into the smaller cabin.

View of the walkway going from the lodge to the cabins
The weather was somewhat cooperative. It did rain (hey, it is outside Seattle) but not all the time.  Not hot enough for sticky clay.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take a class from the great Marie Segal. She was teaching her new earring technique. We were introduced to the new Fimo  Profesional clay. I love it! From 6 basic colors, over 150 colors can be blended. The color mixing chart included was worth the price of the class.  I will post the beautiful earrings I made when I have time to photograph them.
    I  got to take the first class ever taught by our resident caning guru Kim  Day. She taught us several translucent canes. Then she showed how to make a flower cane. Each of us chose different colors, so we ended up with a garden of blooms. We'd made enough cane to share around so we all ended up with at least 4 different canes to take home.  I am not a caner, but I was able to produce a lovely flower. Kim then taught how to make either a tile or bangle bracelet.  I am so proud of my bangle ... I hope to have time to take pictures and post tomorrow.

One of the best things  about this gathering is getting to spend time with people who share a similar hobby. We get to walk about and see what other artists are doing, sharing tips, techniques and ideas. And seeing what new tools are out there. I fell in love with the cane slicer from Lucy Tools. It resembles a small guillotine but it sure makes slicing a cane easy. I would have to be a production artist, though, to justify  the cost.

 Kathy's new toy.

you can barely see the birdie sitting in her nest hidden in the walkway outside our cabin.

I had treated myself on Mother's day to a new Nook Tablet. All my pictures were taken on it. I have yet to figure out how to  edit them, or how to share with social media  (such as FB).  I feel pretty good about writing this entry using the tablet and I figured out how to add the pictures to it. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Newest earrings

Spent the day trying to learn how to download and edit pictures on my new laptop.   I have been really hesitant to upgrade because the new Windows is such a pain to use, but my old standby is just getting to be too slow.

I took pictures of earrings I had made with from my newest beads, and spent the last several hours trying to figure out how to edit them.  That was after I cussed repeatedly at the computer because it also makes downloading from the camera so difficult. Old computer, I plugged in camera, turned it on and it downloaded automatically.  New computer, I have to find the "my computer" function and them manually move the pictures from the camera. Probably is an easier way, but have yet to find it .

Darn thing is even giving me problems as I type this ... the screen keeps changing it's resolution and I am doing nothing but typing.  Very frustrating  ,,,.. I foresee a large learning curve.

At the last Puyallup clay gathering, Kim showed me how to make a leaf cane.  I am not a caner. I don't seem to have the patience for it, but I was assured it was an easy one to make.  Still have a problem with keeping the form of the leaf when reducing, but am told that too comes with practice.

Here is an earring made from one of the multicolored spiral beads I showed yesterday.
While putting away old beads on my worktable, I came across a pair dragon egg beads that I had made several years ago.  Finally made them into earrings.

And for my final pair ....these are not polymer, but I fell in love with these seahorse beads at Michael's.  Bought the string and made up these for me and a pair for my scuba diving friend. Hope she likes the beads as much as I do.


Wow, as many postings in 2 days that I have done in 3 months. Maybe the greys have ended?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Left overs

Some members of my guild (the NW Polymer Clay Guild) have been getting together for a day of claying around in the South Puget Sound area.  It is closer to home than the official Clay Days in Shoreline (north of Seattle).  We have had two gatherings so far and hope for more.

I had not played with clay all winter, so at my first gathering I got ambitious and tried for Mokume Gane.  I really did not like the look I got.  I forgot to add Julie Picarello's secret ecru blend that really make colors more harmonious. So, I had half a block of stacked clay left. What is so great about polymer clay, however, is the fact that (repeat after me) "there is no such thing as wasted clay"!.

I took the block home and it sat on my table for about a month, till I had some time to work in my studio.  I ended up cutting the stack into sections that I thought I could make a jelly roll out of. It wasn't wide enough however, so I ran it through my pasta machine at a thinner setting. This caused the lines to widen, but they were no longer straight.  They had waved a bit.
    I then took this wavy section, laid it on a thin layer of black clay and made a jelly roll.  When I sliced into the roll, I found that each slice had different colors meandering though the spiral.  Kinda neat.  I wish I had taken pictures of the process, but since I was just playing I had no idea that it would turn out cool.

Here are the beads that I made from the jelly roll.

I love how the colors blend and overlap in the spirals.

Catching up

I can't believe it has been two months since my last blog, and it wasn't even about beads.  To tell the truth, I was not feeling too creative this winter. Have been focusing on other things.  I had a birthday in January and had to get a new driver's license, with a new picture. I am no raving beauty, but that pix was HORRIBLE!   I am getting older, and with age comes certain changes in the body ... that I know I have to deal with.  And I have not been dealing with the changes too well.   However, that picture acted as a catalyst.

     I hauled our butts down to weight watchers the day after my birthday ... have been tracking and eating right now for the last several months.  Right away I noticed that I have more energy and some of the aches are gone.  I have lost 9 pounds and my hubby a bit over 20.  Sometimes it doesn't seem fair that he is losing it so fast, but he pointed out that he has a lot more to lose than I do.  He is also becoming a walking champ.  We bought fitbits, and he is determined to get in his 10,000 steps a day.  He has gone from couch potato to someone who is searching the Internet for walking trails. His best find is a lovely 2.5 mile trail in Des Moines that ends at the waterfront. An easy walk for me as it is mostly downhill.  I even bought a good pair of walking shoes!
Des Moines trail in February. Dig that blue sky

Des Moines Trail

Pier at Des Moines Waterfront

View at Des Moines Waterfront.  Vashon Island in the distance.

Friday, February 6, 2015


You know you have too many cats when you download 250 pictures from your camera, and they are ALL pix of your cats.

Maybe I should change the name of this blog to "Too Many Cats" ... ?

Quinn trying to find some space at the foot of the bed

How many cats can fit in one laundry basket?

Two is decidedly more comfortable.

Newest Underfeet (Domino and Beaker) helping Dad pay the bills.

Zinger and Quinn vying for a bit of winter sun.