Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good Karma

Every month on my website, I give a free polymer clay focal bead away to a subscriber on my newsletter list. Why do I do this? Believe it or not, well, I have to be honest, to help me grow my list. But, a big part of the reason I do it is simply because I can. Why not spread a little good karma around? How many times do you get an email telling you you've won something only to find out you have to buy something else. What a let-down that is. I don't know about you, but I think I've won something once in my life. Boy, what a thrill it was. For that moment in time, I was so excited. It made me feel really good inside. Kind of special. I'm in a position where I do have a website and I can give free stuff away if I so choose. So, why not make someone's day? Why not add some excitement to someone else's life? So far, I haven't seen any finished necklaces with the beads I've passed on. I may never see what became of these beads. But that's o.k. There are no strings attached, no gimmicks, no follow-up emails, phone calls, no requests imposed. And . . . no shipping and handling charges. Just sending that little piece of me out in the world. For free. I thought it might be fun to post a picture of the monthly bead on my blog. The winner for the month of June was Carmen Anderson. Here's the bead that was sent to her. I will try to do this in a more timely fashion. So, as soon as I get permission from the next winner for the month of July, I'll post that as well. Happy beading!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Time in the Studio - well almost . . .

I've spent a lot of time "behind the scenes" lately. There's always something that I need to learn with the computer. Fortunately, there's lots of good info out there. Not to mention google. My recent success was making a pdf file. If anyone out there is looking to make a pdf, there are a number of free downloadable software programs available. I used a software program from primopdf.com. It was very simple - and it was free - win, win!
I've also been busy (when I can get in the studio) making a lot of beads for a bead show I have coming up. I actually made a bead from the "waiting to fly" palette (see July 16th post). As you'll see from the other beads I made, it has a lot less color, less pizazz, but I still love it - it still works. (Kind of like when the dog comes back from the groomer and he's not looking real cute, he's still the man!) Yeah, I'm a dog lover. The bead kind of reminds me of trees on a snowy day. I'm from Connecticut, we have red trees there . . . ahem. Here are some of the more colorful beads I've made (they are reversible as well).
I've had this plan to make an inlaid polymer pendant for a while now. So . . . I began playing with some bezel wire. Here's the process:
But then I made the polymer clay sheet and decided I didn't like the pattern nor the shape (something just wasn't quite right). So, back to the drawing board. I decided to re-shape the bezel a little. So far, this is what I have. I think I have some stainless steel shot coming out of the bail at the top. Oh well, it was a very quick shot! I think I'll let it sit until I make a polymer pattern that cries out to this pendant. To be continued . . .

I had a conversation the other day with a friend. She mentioned she was going to a Boz Scaggs concert. His name brought up a particular feeling immediately. Ever have one of these moments when you hear a song - something from your youth - and you have this very strong sense of being back in that moment in time? About a week ago, I had heard the song by Boz Scaggs "We're All Alone" - I swear at that moment, I was a teenager again. Back in my red '62 V.W. beetle. It's like every fiber of your being is back in that moment. Is this a phenomenon or something????

Monday, July 16, 2007

More color combinations




OK - I just had to get this off of my work table. Yup - I did it again. I promise this is the last time I do this from the 17 butterfly palettes (see Colour Lovers June 1st post) but I had to get it out of my system. I keep going back to that post. I love the color combinations, the skinner blends, the textures, the patterns, the canes. . . phew! I digress . . . anyway, this particular palette is very light, and subtle. Not what I usually go for. I tend to go for the bolder, richer colors so I thought it would be a good exercise for me. But this time, I took pictures of the raw clay. Not that exciting, right? But then I got busy . . .
and look at the patterns that developed. I didn't use that much red, but if I had, it would have changed the whole look of the sheets.
Color inspiration used to come to me by going on a hike, walking along the beach, or noticing that special sunset. It was getting in touch with nature. Yet the internet offers such a quick and easy fix for color palettes. We really are the "point and click" generation!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

INSPIRATION TRANSFORMATION - COME PLAY

I thought it might be interesting to take something from a post on another blog, show the inspirational picture, and then show what came out of it. On Polymer Clay Notes (6/28/07 post) there was a blog discussing the fact that there are 17,500 species of butterflies. She referenced a previous post (6/1/07) by Colourlovers who did a fabulous job for people like me and broke down the color palettes of 17 bright, beautiful butterflies. All I did was just select one of the palettes (tough choice) and went to work. Using the palette of "Butterfly Winter", I made a few beads. I sure wish I had taken pictures of the raw clay so you could really see the colors before paints were applied. I found the paints changed the overall look somewhat, but you get the idea. Wouldn't it be fun to do this sort of experiment? Blogging tag - link to me with your experiment - have others link to you and see how far and how beautiful this gets. Take the plunge! You're it . . .










Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Silk Screen



Shortly after I first using polymer clay, I got into making silk screen designs. I enjoyed doing it for a while but during the sanding process, sometimes part of the design would get sanded away by accident. I never had much success with translucent clay back then so eventually, I gave up the silk screen designs. Recently, I thought I would try it again. Who knows, a couple years down the road and maybe I'd finally get it. This time, I made a silk screen from an original drawing. I used two different metallic paints. And, fortunately, it worked! I like the frosted look it gives as well as the protection it offers!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Time to experiment

Life has been busy - I don't feel I've fallen into a summer rhythm yet. I'm hoping Monday will be the day :^) I've had a few techniques in polymer I wanted to play with. I managed to steal a few moments and planned out my experimental cane. Using oranges and blue (no particular reason) I did a test cane. I have never done anything like this before. The original piece was 1/4" in depth and and 3" square. I reduced it (had NO idea how it would turn out) and was pleasantly surprised. Of course, it didn't have the pattern I expected (or actually planned) for that matter. But when I went back to my "map" I saw where my error was and will attempt again. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the original piece. But here is my first shot (reduced from 3" to approximately 1"). The second shot is the cane reduced, split into four and put together as one.
Another technique I think is beautiful I wanted to try is Maggie Maggio's watercolor mosaic technique. Here's what I came up with.
Off to do a little summer reading!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The "First"




I've been asked several times lately, what was the first piece I ever made in polymer clay? I had to really think about that for a while. When I remembered the piece, I had to laugh. Here is a picture of the inside of the pendant. I had tried my hand at a number of ways to add color to my metalwork . . . epoxy inlay, stone setting, and enamelling, to name a few. One day I thought I would try polymer clay. I purchased a few bars of clay and went to work. I had an idea in my head what the design should look like - a bunch of different colored circles enclosed in black. I wanted to bring metallic pigments into it so I mixed resin with "antique copper" and the background to the circles was born. Oh - did I mention how I accomplished this? I made a "log" of each color I wanted. I then cured the clay. While warm, each circle was cut to the depth of the pendant, glued into place and then set with the colored epoxy. OK. First of all, I later learned these circles were called canes. So - I was new - what did I know? Then I found out how I could have made a sheet of clay canes in a fraction of the time. You can't imagine the hours involved with my method. I cut and glued every cane into the pendant frame. Then I further set it in place with the colored epoxy. After removing the bubbles, I let the epoxy set. Once it was set, I began to sand the surface down to make it smooth. For those of you that have never had the pleasure of sanding epoxy, I hope you never do. It is grueling! Especially the amount of epoxy I had to take off! So . . . anyone else have a good "first" that you can look back on AND share?? It doesn't even have to be about polymer clay. Take the challenge . . . bring it on! So from my first to yours - we've come a long way baby!