Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Find

I was going through some boxes in my closet looking for something when I came upon this bracelet. I used to wear it a lot and then it disappeared. I love when I find things! I remember working on this piece. I made this probably in 2004. First, I made the inlays flat. One of my teachers had suggested in the past that I give my metal more form. It makes the work more interesting. Makes sense, right? And with polymer, the possibilities are endless. So, I curved the tops of the inlays. It really did help the piece. My favorite color combination is purple and green. So, no surpise it's in this piece. This actually was the start of me experimenting with crackling, metallics, etc.
Yesterday, I found this great texture photo in the pcagoe flickr group. My favorite texture is the one in the middle - how about you?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Inlaid Polymer Pendant

Previously, I had blogged about an inlaid polymer pendant I had set out to make. First Imade the bezel and blogged about it here. That was back in July. I finally got around to making a leaf pattern for that pendant. Well, actually two.

Marvelous Monday

Monday's pictures for inspiration this week has a nice line pattern, colors and texture. Some possible canework?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Miscellaneous Attempts (Cont'd.)

Yesterday I did a post about my silly attempts at Jeanne Rhea's tutorial of her "line ladies" with polymer clay. Today, I'm posting my results. After four attempts, this is the best I could come up with. The first two pictures are my cured line design with a fine layer of liquid sculpey.

I then took an impression of this, cured it, and stamped the design. That clay is still "raw" in this picture.

Would I do this again? Although I think my design is rather uneven and childlike compared to Jeanne's work, I think her technique is brilliant and worth pursuing. Actually, now that I think of it, there was a nice wallpaper pattern I wouldn't mind trying. Actually, I've had this design in my head for a while and today it appeared on Polymer Clay Notes. Well, I guess that's my next design for this technique.

This weekend I'm heading up to Vermont to attend an open house at UVM with my daughter. This is the last college visit until the spring when we have to make decisions . . . applications are just about done, SAT's are behind us, it's just the SAT II's and the waiting game. Oh yeah, school.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Miscellaneous Attempts - What Not to Do

Yesterday, I read Jeanne Rhea's tutorial on how she does her "line ladies". Her tutorial was wonderful. I thought I'd give it a shot and put my "to do" list aside for an hour or so. My daughter had requested a necklace from me. Something that happens once in a blue moon. We decided on a peace sign. Originally I was going to silk screen it but decided on trying Jeanne's method. You have to know, I have never used my clay extruder. As a matter of fact, I had no idea where it was. Fortunately, in my kid's craft area there was a box marked miscellaneous and had a caption under it saying "extruder". Zowee - I hit the jackpot! I conditioned some scrap clay and put it in the extruder. With my design on a tile and under glass (ok - I didn't tape it, first mistake). I started pushing the extruder. I now have a new appreciation for people who use this tool. The words carpal tunnel kept coming to mind. I put it on the edge of my work table and thought I would push down on it. That was a little awkward. So I went back to the original method. Now, if I really planned this, I might have gone on glassattic and looked for tips and tricks. But I'm on a mission, remember? Once I got my adorable little log out, I proceeded. You may think a peace sign is rather easy, correct? I started with the outside circle. That went well, blended it, fine. . But now I'm looking at my 1/2 = 3/4" peace sign and that little log is looking rather thick. Do I stop??? Nope! I continued with the inner lines. As you can imagine, by the time I got to the "crow's feet", I knew I had to give in and start over as there was barely a space between the lines. Next attempt. I've made note of it and now make some changes. First of all, I realized it would be easier to do the inside lines first. I rolled the log thinner for the inside. Things are looking up. Then I did the outside circle with the original log size. Uh oh. I will now have a stamp that the outside will be deeper than the inside because of the different log sizes. This was not my intent. So what do I do? I look for my favorite tool (some might think it rather lame but don't forget, I make lots of lentil shaped beads). That would be my 6" acrylic square. I lift that little baby up and smoosh my peace sign. Now . . . what do you think happened???? The outer circle became much thicker than the inner lines. I'm not done yet . . . I can fix this. I looked at my circle cutters and yes, I have one that will trim the outer circle fine. OK, actually it made the log too fine. Attempt #3: Thinner logs on all. By the way, I'm getting pretty good at making the design over my pattern. Done, finally! I grab my liquid sculpey and proceed to "fill in" the interior. Time to cure. When it's done and it's time to make my stamp . . . I'll give you three guesses where I went wrong this time. Too much liquid sculpey! (I went back to Jeanne's tutorial and it did say "fill in the cells with a thin layer of liquid polymer clay"). I'm now hearing that little voice say "pay attention" (although it's loud and clear now). Some people might throw in the towel at this point. But, you see I'm pretty "focused" at this point. I CAN do this, I know I can! Attempt #4: My metabolism is slowing down, my caffeine has worn off and I'm realizing I'm pretty hungry. I make the design, fill in the gaps with liquid sculpey (with my downey "quicker picker upper" in hand in case I get heavy handed with that squeeze bottle). Done. And now I'm done. So, in my studio this morning is a little peace sign ready to be cured. That is the first thing on my agenda. So, I'm putting this out there. I've now journaled all my mess ups (as my daughters would say). My expression at this point wouldn't be so cute. I will photograph it. I will make the impression and make my first peace sign. Hurray! Or is that premature??? So Jeanne, how would you like a student like me in your class?

HEY . . . and HOW ABOUT THOSE RED SOX??????????

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

PhotoEZ Silk Screen Tutorial Part 3

Forget the cardboard, forget the shirt. Bring out the polymer clay! Here's Chris demonstrating a two-color silk screen. This is the same concept as the one Gwen Gibson uses for her crane bead tutorial.

PhotoEZ Silk Screen Tutorial Part 3

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

PhotoEZ Silk Screen Tutorial, Part 2

Yesterday, I posted a video by Christopher where he prepared his images for silk screening. Today, here's step 2 on how he develops the silk screen.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Silk Screening Tutorial - Part 1

Last week I did a tutorial on building a light table for silk screening. This week I thought I would show you the process. This video was done for silk screening on fabric, the the same process applies to clay. I use Golden metallic paints - they must be "fine" or they will clog your screen. The first step to this process is the image. Any royalty-free images may be used (Dover Publications has over 400,000 of them). Or, you can make your own images.

Marvelous Monday

Taken from the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel, this is probably one of the most photographed ceilings. Makes you want to go play with color!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Do You Have Any Great Sayings on Your Studio Wall?

I got to thinking about inspiration. What kinds of inspirational sayings do you have in your studio. In my studio, I have a Reed Babb Poster Book. Inside the book, you'll find many sayings with it's own artwork. You just take out the poster for the day that resonates. Today's poster that will be hanging is a notice at the Police Deartment - in the Art Homicide Division - It reads "I'm on a creative rampage - out of control. Stop me before a paint again." I love this book - I think I got it at the MFA bookstore.

Here are some other sayings I've seen recently:

"I've never wanted to be anything but the boss of my own career" - Thomas Mann

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible" - Walt Disney

"The trouble with keeping an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and putting things in it" - (Terry Pratchett - in Diggers, the Bromeliad Trilogy)

On a child's room - a picture of a basketball hoop that says "You will always miss 100% of the shots you never take"

"Imagination is more powerful than knowledge" - Albert Einstein

"Limits exist only in your mind" - unknown

"Find something you really love to do and you will never work again!"

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but having new eyes" - White Stripes

"It's only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." - Antoine deSaint Exupery

"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time" - Steven Wright

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving well-preserved, but to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, and still screaming, “Whoo! What a ride!”

Art is our one true global language. It knows no nation, it favors no race and it acknowledges no class. It speaks to our need to reveal, heal and transform. It transcends our ordinary lives and lets us imagine what is possible" - Richard Kramer

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams

"The best way to predict your future is to create it!"

"Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life" - Pablo Picasso

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." - Salvador Dali

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso

"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries." - AA Milne

How about you, any inspiration sayings you love?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Building a Light Table for Silk Screening on Polymer Clay

In the past I've made silk screens on polymer clay via Gwen Gibson's method. You can read a previous post here. I'd go out in the sun and develop the screen. Some days it wasn't so sunny, though. I thought I would "time" the cloud movement and capture the exact amount of time I needed for light. Wrong! Never happened. I think someone up there was laughing at me. "Yeah, there she goes again - let's really mess with her today and blow those clouds over real fast now . . . he he he!" So, after numerous attempts on overcast days when I knew I was taking a risk, I decided it was time to build a light box. Why, you ask? Because sometimes I get a thought in my head and it won't budge. I like to think as it as being very determined. Being very focused, I went about building a light box. I found the directions to build the table here. My first trip to the hardware store wasn't so successful. They didn't carry the two 20-watt double fluorescent light tube fixtures measuring 24" long with cords and plugs. I believe that was the first time I contacted Ginny (who has the patience of a saint) at Photo Ez Silk Screen. Great site, and wonderful customer service (usual disclaimer, no affiliation, just a happy customer)! So I thought I would put finding that item on hold for now (otherwise known as procrastination) and head to Home Depot. I got the side outlet elbows and the threaded nipples. The cost was about $12.00. No stopping me now! I went back to Rocky's Ace Hardware. I had to order two Shop Lites (ballasts) by Lithonia because they didn't have them in stock. At the same time, I asked if they could put it together for me. I assumed this meant attaching the plugs. I was vague in my directions as I had no clue what I was talking about and hoped they knew what I needed! I was surprised when I went to pick them up. They were put together alright, but I saw no cords, no plugs. Oops. They were hard-wired. Yikes. Electrical work, me??? Or worse, my husband??? OK, a minor setback. I purchased the ballasts (new word for the electrically impaired) for a cost of $19.99 each. At the same time, I purchased 4 - 20W fluorescent bulbs, 24" in length, for a cost of $7.49 each. I also picked up the 3/4" tubing needed. They wouldn't cut it there, so I invested $6.49 for a hack saw. The tubing cost $2.99 for 10'. They did cut it in half for me so I could get it into my two seater (which is not a convertible). Moon roof, though. I had a vision of the Flintstones (Dino sticking his head through the roof) with my 10' tubing sticking out of the top. I also purchased (they cut it for me) 18" x 24" plexiglass for a cost of $9.99. Total cost so far . . . $101.41. Keep in mind, I still have the hack saw and leftover tubing. My husband had an electrician friend put two plugs on. Cost - $0.00. I googled an 18" x 24" light box. The closest I could find was one that had three 20W bulbs for $304.88. I love when that happens! (Thank God it wasn't 34.98!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blind Artist

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That's exactly what John Bramblitt did. John had a dream to teach classical literature and creative writing. That dream vanished when he went blind. You'll be inspired when you see this video and hear his story. If you're wondering how he gets those lines on his work, watch this. How many times have you heard someone say, if I hadn't _________ than I would have never have _______. It kind of makes you wonder what is really going on in the universe when someone's life path changes in a moment. Is there a force bigger than ourselves? How do we adapt to the change? Do we get angry? Do we rebel? Lessons in life sometimes can be very hard. It reminds me of the saying, "when men plan, God laughs". I love to talk to people about this and hear their stories. John's is just one of the many I find fascinating.

Seeing this video reminds me of the conscious life I strive to lead. So many times we get caught up in the "stuff" that we fail to pay attention. When something goes awry, step back and ask yourself "what am I supposed to learn from this?" Does this lesson come to me frequently? In what ways? Maybe, just maybe there's a reason why this keeps happening to me. Today, I'm going to try to pay more attention . . .

Monday, October 15, 2007

Marvelous Monday

Here are some inspirational pictures to start your week off.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Necklace Display

I thought I would share a display I've had for years that can't seem to part with. An artist friend of mine went for a walk in the woods. She found this small very clean branch. She picked it up and brought it back to her house not knowing what she would ever do with it. Later that day, I stopped by her house for a visit. I mentioned how I was trying to think of an unusual way to display my necklaces. "Ahhh ". . . she said -"this must be for you. " It had these little stubs on it that were perfect for holding necklaces in place. I took a coffee can and covered it in sections polymer clay that I had silk screened. It kind of has an ethnic feel to it. After that was cured, I filled the can with plaster of paris and then painted the top. I always liked the statement it made. But I can't help but wonder, if you were walking through the woods and saw this branch, would you stop and pick it up?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Marvelous Monday

A little color and texture to start the week.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday News & Update

I'm following up with the eBay listing for the female spartan I previously posted about. The final bidding price was $2222.00! To see the listing, click here. The artist is very talented - you may or may not like or agree with what he does, but you have to admit, he sure has talent. And at least some of that money is going to a very good cause.
As for me, I've been busy getting ready for my Bead Affaire show. Beads, beads and more beads. I haven't taken many pictures, because as some of you know, my camera has been in the shop. I got the call yesterday with the repair estimate. $200.00. Gulp! But here's what I did in the meantime. I put a bid on eBay for the exact same camera. It was listed as a camera with a few minor scratches but in good working condition. I took the risk and won the auction. Bottom line . . . for shipping and the camera, it was $73.00. A lot less than the $200.00, plus I now have a working camera in hand. I've only taken a few pictures, but am pleased with the results. So, I'll use the battery and card from my old camera as a back-up.

Speaking of pictures, I took some pictures (with my new used camera) and finally got a shop at Etsy. As soon as I have time after the show, I'll be listing more items. To see my shop, click on the bead below.

Women In Art

Here's a cool video of women in art.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Free Bead of the Month, Synergy

The winner of this past month's free bead was Paula Dunn.

I got an email today regarding the Synergy Conference. There is a Yahoo! Group that is now set up where they'll be posting information as soon as it becomes available. So far, there's been info regarding the hotels and airport shuttle. To join the group, click here.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Marvelous Monday

Here are a few pictures to start your week off.