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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Clay Camp Productivity

Despite starting to come down with a cold Sunday night at Clay Camp, I was quite productive.
I had several projects planned, but got hooked into making controlled marble beads.  I blended several colors to try and forgot that with this technique, a little bit of clay goes a long way.  I was  making beads from the same colors Monday morning and still have some of the blended colors left to make more now that I am home.

Out of 4 basic colors, I got a plethora of beads. It's all in how you combine the colors.

 With this technique, you only get a few beads of each color run.  These 4 beads are made from one of my favorite color combinations.

 I discovered right away that I had left my smallest Kemper circle cutter at home. These were the first set of beads that I made, being forced to use a circle cutter larger than I liked for the end caps. I tried something different on these, texturing the beads slightly.  After baking, I discovered I really did not like the textured look. What to do?
    I mixed a bit of dark brown ink with my LPC and colored in the textured part of the beads, giving them a speckled appearance.  I like this look better.

I discovered that I had some eyelets in my stash, so I used them in these beads.  Unfortunately, I only had a few and they were quickly gone. I like the finished look I get using them.

My guildie Janis loaned me her small cirlce cutter, so the next beads were made using it.

There are more bead sets, but that is enough for tonight.  Tonight was my first night back to work after vacation and I am finally ready to fall asleep.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What a Wasted Week

I hate being sick.  And, even worse, to be sick on vacation.  Started getting sick at Clay Camp Sunday Night and by Monday night, I was down for the count.  I think this cold hit me so hard because I still have a touch of the bronchitis from last month's infection.

I was supposed to be in Eastern Washington this week helping with my mother's estate.  Instead my poor beleaguered sister had to handle the yard sale by herself.  I feel so bad about this ... I had taken the week off especially to help her.

Last night was the first time I felt even a little human all week, and at that all I could do was watch a little TV, catch up on emails and visit Pinterest.  Today I started putting away my Clay Camp paraphernalia - that took most of the morning. After a several hour nap to recoup my energy, I took some pictures of the beads I made at Clay Camp.  They will be posted later when I have the energy to edit them.

Lord Opuson was a trouper, watching over me and the kittens when I was sick.   We both have our faves.  Soft little Tofur is my baby, while Zinger  (so named because he Zings into the house whenever the door opens) is growing on my hubbie.
Tofur a couple of weeks ago.  Getting ready for a nap

Opus actually tucker Zinger out playing with him.
Usually he doesn't hold still for photos.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Always can use more beads

I  spent a very nice morning the other day with my guildie Patricia.
    We browsed around Hobby Lobby, where I picked up a few findings and some much needed silver colored wire. Wish I could afford the real stuff ...
    After a bit of luncheon and pleasant conversation, we got down to business - a Bead Exchange!
    Patricia was interested in my fire lizard egg beads and I was anxious to see what she had done lately.
    This is one of the things I love about the medium of polymer clay.  You can give several artists the same color blocks of clay and you will get something completely different from each one. That is certainly true of Patricia and me.  Our design aesthetics are totally different. I like bright, in your face colors, while she works in a more subdued color palette.
     For some reason, I was really attracted to her faux amber beads.  Don't know why, don't have anything in my closet to wear with them ... so, of course, I went straight home and made up earrings from them.  Now I will have to go shopping for clothing to match (hee, hee).
      I have seen photo collages on other blogs and Flickr so attempted to make one showcasing the earrings I made using Patricia's beads.  It took longer to try to figure out how to do it than it did to take the pictures.  I am so not a computer geek.
Luckily, my favorite earrings went into the center the first time.
Thank you Patricia, for a lovely morning. See you Saturday at the NWPCG Clay Camp.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Vicarious Claim to Fame

As I touched on in yesterday's blog, sometimes I get to meet in person an artist who's work I have admired on-line. Today at the Whole Bead Show in Lynnwood, I got a chance to do just that.
  I first became aware of Kristi Bowman last year, during the "52 earrings in a year" challenge.  I got a chance to see some of her work in person last November during an artwalk in Edmonds, Washington. This lead to the purchase of a set of earrings that I love and get many compliments on.
   Today when I visited her booth, I noticed familiar earrings on her display.  I couldn't believe these had not sold long ago!  Needless to say, I had to think for less than a minute before I snapped them up.  I am not a huge fan of the current trend to incorporate fabric and ribbons into jewelery, but Kristi does it in a subdued manner that enhances the design rather than overpowering it.

And yes, I did post the picture that Kristi took of them rather than retake one of my own. I wish I could take photos this well.  Mine would not do them justice.
 I also picked up a number of her copper findings.  I can't wait to see what I can design using them.
 AND Kristi has just starting using polymer!  And for a beginner, she rocks it.  Her look is what I would describe as 'primative', which looks deceptively easy - but I know from experience, the primitive look is hard to achieve.
   A link to her blog can be found in "My Favorite Things" listing.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Beads and more beads

After almost a month away due to illness and major family issues, I finally made it back into the studio.
Before getting sick, I had started a couple of veneers using the Controlled Marbling tutorial by Lynda Mosely.  Sunday, I had the chance to make them into beads, rather than the gorgeous pendants she is known for.
   This time I used a combination of light blue, yellow and ecru, interspersed with white.  I really like the light green color that appeared where the yellow and blue mixed.  I did not add any details to the veneer.

 Had a small strip at the end of this veneer where the colors blended together too much for actual stripes to appear. I added a few inlays from an old swirl cane for a bit of color.

Only had a tiny bit of this color combo.  I really like it.  Two matching beads for an earring set  And one lone bead for who knows what.  I have a box of "who knows what" beads that is set aside for "something" in the future.  Maybe I will use them in Lori Anderson's Bead Hoarders Challenge in July.  We'll see.

 I have found that in this technique, there are sometimes places at the ends of the veneer sheets, where the colors are no longer distinct.  I discovered that sometimes, these over blended areas have the prettiest colors. Add slices of an old bulleyes cane from my tiny cane stash (I really gotta try caning again - maybe I will be more successful now that I understand clay better than I did in 2006).

After these beads were made and baking in the oven, I still had urges and fiddly fingers.  An open package of translucent clay was sitting on my table, so I got out the inks and went to town.  Laid down some gold foil on a small sheet of translucent clay, rolled it through successively smaller settings on the PM, turning it 90 degrees each time to crackle the foil.  When it was thin enough, I got out my inks and colored it (used Butterscotch and Plum this time).  After the inks dried (boy, I so had to be patient here - used the drying time to finish my previously made beads with LPC, zap with heat gun and rebaked to a shiny luster), I I used the sheet to veneer white bead cores. The gold foil adds a real sparkle to the beads, and I am very happy with the depth of color.  The pictures just can't show that.

I call these my Fire Lizard eggs (homage to Pern)
This weekend promises to be a nice one here in the Pacific Northwest. Good weekend for visiting the Whole Bead Show in Lynnwood.  I will be able to visit the booths of several artists that I have "meet" on line and see their work in person.  I love how this medium has connected so many people with common interests.  Some live in my area and I may be lucky enough to connect in person with them over the course of time. Some live in other countries, and I will probably never meet face to face, but can get to know a bit through the Internet.  I guess I am feeling my age, as I still marvel at this. The beads I just made would not be possible with the Internet.  Lynda lives in South Carolina ... me, outside Seattle.  We would never have "meet" without the computer.  Maybe younger people, who grew up always having computers, can't relate to how marvelous this really is. ( OMG! ... I have become my parents .... when I was your age  .... walked to school, in the snow, uphill - both ways!!!  he,he)