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

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Been too quite

Been long time since I have posted anything, hasn't it?
Mostly dealing with real life, not much time for art. But, my friend Kathy and I are going to setting up a booth at the winter Shipwreck Artisan show at the end of this month. I had done the summer show with a bunch of my claydie friends in August, and enjoyed the experience.Kathy had wanted to do it then, but it was smack dab in the middle of her vacation. Now we are joining together and hoping for a good show.
     Really need to get my creative juices flowing and make some more fire lizards, or maybe other animals ... but hard to find the time.  Lord Opus on and I are still house hunting.  We have finally settled on an area to live after retirement, and thought we'd finally found the perfect house. Unfortunately,  it failed the inspection. .. water damage under the flooring caused by, according to the  inspector, improper installation of the french doors. The flashing was missing, which allowed the rain water to wick under the door into the flooring. Thousands of dollars in damages.
     So it is back to square one.
     I have had little time to experiment,  but did play around a few days ago with translucent clay.  The beads on the top are translucent lava beads with Pan Pastel chalks brushed on the raised areas. The darker ones below are made from translucent clay that first applied chalk to, rolled into the lava form, then brushed with another color on the raised areas.

this is the first time I am attempting to post a picture taken with my phone. Yes, I have finally given in and upgraded to a smart phone.  Also, this post is being written on my nook. I am slowing being pulled into the 21st century.  I think the pix is too dark ... have to figure out how to edit on my phone.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fire Lizards Revisited

Several weeks ago, I joined up with 4 other members of my guild and bought a table at the 3rd annual Shipwreck Bead Artisan show.  We had a fun time despite the heat and sunburns we obtained.  It was a more successful venue than the last one I attempted (where I sold one item for $15 and vowed never to attempt to sell again)

I had made a lot of new earrings, and when I was going through my supplies from the last disappointing show, I came across some Dragons I had made a few years ago. They had been created using techniques I learned from Christi Freisen's Dragon Book.  I included them in the stock I took to the sale, and was very glad it did. They were my best selling item, and I got several leads on possible venues for later sales.  I only sold one pair of my new earrings, which surprised me. I thought they were such a unique design that there would be more interest.  Maybe it was not the right venue.

When I got home, I took stock of my inventory and found that I had few of the little guys left.  It has been a while since I tried my hand at sculpted these critters, but at last Saturday's clay play day, I dedicated my time to relearning how.

I call my little  friends Fire Lizards, in homage to creatures from one of my favorite series of books, The Dragonriders of Pern.






Monday, July 13, 2015

Future Fossils

I took advantage of the 4th of July sale at Craftcast and signed up for Staci L Smith's Fossil Talisman video.  I was very happy that I did.
    Since then I have been spending more time in the studio, creating what I have dubbed "Future Fossils".  The process is one that lends itself to batches, since each step takes time to dry or cure.

For my first attempt, just some basic shapes .... just to test out the technique.
I liked them, but thought the colors where a bit dull.  They had started out brighter, but when adding the different layers, they color was toned down.  
   So next time, more color was added as a base to see if the final pieces would be brighter.
Success ... much brighter color

The next experiment was using brighter colors still, and an unusual shape just to spice things up.
Started out as pepper red and sunshine yellow.

Darn blogger is acting up.  It will not allow me to insert the images in the order I want.  So I guess I will have to share the rest of my creations in another post.  Just as well that I am signing off, as I have to get ready for work.  I have tomorrow off, and may get time to blog then ... but maybe not, as my friend Jen and I are going to see the Minion Movie. Hope it is as cute as it looks in trailers ....

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.

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.