Saturday, January 31, 2009

Musings on Dilemnas During Studio Cleanout

I have a plan to unload this studio and edit as I go.
I visited numerous websites that offer strategies on decluttering.
We artistic types face deeper challenges here though. Consider the avalanche of dilemnas we face as we try organise a creative zone using a "mainstream" view of "stuff"- (these suggestions for decluttering are come from a variety of websites)

To declutter a space:

Ask yourself these questions:
Do I love it? Do I need it? Is it essential? Does it enhance my life?

Sort your things into 3 piles
Keep- Give- Toss

Start with the easy stuff, things that are clearly garbage: (sic)

Empty grocery bags
(but they are good for packaging items at shows!)

Plastic, glass or cardboard storage containers you might use someday
(hey- my glass bottles are not going anywhere! Look at the cool shapes- I've collected these for years! I paid $50 for that bottle of vodka just because of the shape of the bottle)-

Medication past its expiry date
(n/a- see above)
Coupons that have expired -
(n/a- Michaels coupons are used well before expiry-
btw- what happened to their sales on Premo?)
Clothing you haven’t worn in a year
(-non-issue in this space- my closet is for another day)

Toys your children have outgrown or no longer play with

Cosmetics that have dried up and you no longer use
("old cosmetics"- aka- "inclusions & pigments"
makeup bottle caps are super for shpe cutters )

Food that has spoiled -
(oops!- the mug of tea with a layer of mold on top is gross-
I didn't spot the cup under that pile of wool- so one mug is removed)

Food past its expiry date
(see above)

Broken items that aren’t worth repairing
- have you ever heard of mixed media or collage?
My rusty stuff collection is dear to my heart and
those wires and circuit boards aren't going anywhere!
Old take-out menus - see above
Old maps and travel guides -
see above
Broken or rusty tools -
see above
Bills that have been paid - see above
Old greeting cards - see above

Tax records that are past their retention date-
n/a my dh is an accountant- he has all that stuff in HIS office

Old magazines -
well, maybe some can go.... but not Polymer Cafe!
Books you no longer read - toss a book?! who wrote this list?

Shoes that are worn out -
if that means I can buy new ones there's no problem
there but the only shoes in the studio are on my feet...
Sports equipment you are no longer using -
Dried up paint and painting supplies-
ok- but only if it's dried up but then it may work as an inclusion....

Out dated household chemicals -
n/a- all my toxic supplies are current
Worn kitchen, bath and bed linens -
-used for wrapping polymer clay pieces being fired and all sorts of other applications

Plants that are dead or near dead -
I have one plant and it's healthier than me.

Hobby supplies that you haven’t used in more than a year
... apart from that hateful word "hobby" this is perhaps the best rule of all

Partly used candles
.... hmmm... batik may be fun to try....

Here's the studio at the beginning of day 2 of the cleanout - it's not aMusing...


It's time for a shake up here! I'll be starting the day with a trip to Island Blue to pick up the sketchbook and pencils. There's something about an unopened sketchbook and the smell of freshly sharpened pencils that sets an optimistic tone towards finding a fresh perspective on my creative process.

I also plan to get the biggest trash bags I can find and REALLY clean out my workspace. This will entail removing everything from the area so I can paint the walls and do some sort of floor treatment.

My studio is my creative zone and the idea of temporarily destroying it is very unsettling. I'm decided to designate an alternative zone for myself so the sketchbook and this laptop will reside on this window seat in my living room though the duration.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Diagnosis: Midwinter Blues

TodayI feel like the weather.
Overcast and predictable.
Midwinter Blues have struck..
I need a new sketchbook, watercolour crayons and a nice cup of tea.
Other suggestions for inspiration...?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

aMused Bangles on Etsy

I spent more time bangling today and decided to put a few of these up for sale in my Etsy Store.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Continuing with the bangles and a new cuff with flex appeal

I spent the day continuing work on the bangles and a new style of cuff bracelet. Yesterday there was a small mountain of rejects but today most of the pieces are keepers! Here's the first presentable prototype of the new wrap-around cuff bracelet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Polymer Clay Leggy Bowl- Twilight Trees

I finished the Twilight Trees Leggy Bowl yesterday... technically I wouldn't call it a "bowl, it's " more of a "vessel". I'm delighted that the legs are so wonderfully splayed and yet they hold the weight of the piece. It's 11" tall.
While the vessel was firing I spent time absorbed in polymer clay bracelet research and development. These ones are similar to my Fusion Bangles that I've been doing for the last few years. I have an idea for something new though. I did a few prototypes but there are still some bugs to be worked out.
Between getting a much needed haircut and walking in a rare snowfall here in Victoria, bracelets will be the focus for the day.

Monday, January 26, 2009's, it's a Major Award-! making lemonade

I've won a major award! the box says, "F R A G I L E" ....It must be from Italy.... no, it isn't a lampshape with a fish net stocking-ed leg- it's My Lemonade Award! I was nominated by Terry Spier.

Here it is and it's going in my front window so the neighbours can see!

Bloggers conferred with this award have shown a positive attitude and gratitude. I'm certainly positively grateful- thanks Terry! In keeping with my responsibilities as a winner I have to:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude.
3. Be sure to list and link your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Nominate your favorites and link to your post.

I am now delighted to pass along this honour to:

About the number- I was never very good at math.
It's sort of embarassing to nominate Sandy because she currently has a lovely entry about yours truly on her first page but scroll on by that and you'll see why I nominated her!
Check out their blogs-you'll be inspired!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gung Haggis Fat Choy!

January 25th is that much loved conjuction of Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day. It's also my husband's birthday. We'll be having a Chinese appetiser platter and haggis for dinner! sounds offbeat but quite delicious- and very filling. One year we'd love to celebrate at the annual Toddish McWong’s Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner Spectacular in Vancouver. Here's the poster from a couple of years ago- the menu features haggis dumplings... yum!

Gung Haggis Fat Choy to one and all from Canada's deliciously multicultural west coast!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Leggy Polymer Clay Bowl- Day 2

The first large Leggy Bowl is coming along very well.... a flower theme this time.... here's a detail. The final reveal will be at Horizons!

I'll have a tree theme and a different bowl shape for the next one.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Bowl- interior

I'm finally getting some actual polymer clay work done today! Here's the interior of the first in a series of large Leggy Bowls I'm doing.
I have added a second prize on my One World One Heart Page, so drop by and enter the draw!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back to Polymer Claying with Springtime Inspiration!

Is it Wednesday already? Between The Inauguration and exploring One World- One Heart Blogs, my head is spinning!

Did anyone else notice the similarity between Dick Cheney and Mr Potter from It's a Wonderful Life? I expected Cheney to use his cane to clear a path in front of his wheelchair. One last offering to the Daily Show- what will they do without him?

I urge you to go to the OWOH site to explore some or all of the more than 300 participating blogs and remember to comment - you can WIN some incredible pieces of art or simply fantastic collections of ephemera or other supplies. I have a polymer clay pear tile in the draw so remember to make a comment before you go... creative people need exposure and encouragement. A little comment can go a long way for someone slogging in a lonely studio with many months before a show and the chance to have some feedback.

So now it's time for me to actually turn my eyes but not my ears away from CNN and reduce my OWOH visits to a few a day and get back to work with polymer clay. I have a Feb. 7th deadline for a portfolio photoshoot and I have my Leggy Bowl Workshop coming up at Horizons in Vancouver in February. As we will be using toaster ovens the workshop bowls have to be small scale but it would be good to show the possibilities a clayer can have with a full-sized oven so I'm going to make some larger bowls. It would be great to get some good photos of leggy bowls at the photoshoot too.

I may have some inspiration for one of the bowls here....

While walking up the road yesterday I spotted a chilly cluster of forsythias in bloom and this shower of snowdrops. Little signals of hope for better days ahead and an inspiration for art.

Monday, January 19, 2009

One World- One Heart


How much fun is this?! Over 900 Artsy Bloggers from around the world are offering art giveaways in the One World One Heart 2009 event. Here's the first prize in my draw -
Polymer Clay aMused Pear Tile 3.25 x 3.25"

Second Prize is a set of three of my aMused Notecards

"Three Muses" "The Flower Seller" &
"Summer Serendipity"

All you have to do to enter is to make a comment on this page of my blog. I will draw a name on February 12. Double click the logo above to see all the bloggers that are participating then visit their sites and enter their draws. You have over 900 chances to win!




Good Luck!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama's Playlist- A Canadian Project

How wonderful to watch CNN and join in the celebratory countdown to Obama's inaugeration. The sense of optimism and happiness is shared well beyond the borders of the United States!

As a one of the celebrations here, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation asked radio listeners to send suggestions of the best Canadian musical pieces to put together a Playlist to define Canada for Obama. The top 100 sugestions is fantastic- check it out. The top 49 will be announced on the 20th. My vote was for Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers.

More Time with Polymer Clay

In spite of wonderful happenings on CNN, I've had time to work and the little clocks are where I want them to be - the legs are higher and more defined. I'm using a heart theme which seems so appropriate at such a happy time. These clocks are heading over to Sidestreet Studio.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Marttin Machacek- Upcoming Artist's Show and Demo in Victoria

If you are in Victoria on January 24th be sure to check out Marty Machacek's demo from 2-4 pm at Artevo Gallery, 616 Fort Street Victoria (in the Bay Centre). There's a reception to celebrate his new show there from 4-7.

The first time I ever saw Marty's work was at Oak Bay's wonderful Blighty's Bistro. I ended up wandering around the restaurant to get a good look without disturbing too many fellow diners. The colours are juicy, the handcrafted frames are fantastic and the interpretations of local landmarks are inspiring for one who loves contorted lines. I think most people in the area have a fervent wish that their house will catch Marty's eye and be interpreted in this wonderful way.
Check out Marty's website to see more of his work and follow the links to his blog and Etsy site.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wired Time- Polymer Clay Clocks

... here's the new twist on the little tile clocks. I originally made these to be hung on the wall but as wall space is at a premium most shops and galleries have displayed and sold them with plastic stands. Now an integrated wire stand accents the design. it's hard to see in the photo but I added a little shot of spray paint on the wire to add a splash of colour.

Perhaps a Hearts Theme might be timely!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Polymer Clay Clocks and Time for Some Fun...

I had a request to send some more of my little clocks to a gallery here in Victoria so I got to work making some clock tiles. (It wasn't too hard to defer that basement cleanout. ) Here they are fresh from the oven. I had one of those lovely a-Ha moments with these and I'll post the latest "twist" that came to mind when they are finished tomorrow.
To celebrate Thursday here's one of my favourite You Tube videos. The message is particularily uplifting and the music "Boum" by Charles Trenet is a delight!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Polymer Clay Tile Assemblages

"Twilight Trees" 3x10" Polymer Clay

I'm stalled on my Leggy Bowl work while I wait for some supplies to arrive in the mail. I spent the day putting together two of the polymer clay tile assemblages. This involved locating my juigsaw and deciding that a basement organizational overhaul is in order. The tiles are glued on fiberboard. The large one is 10x10 and the smaller one titled "Twilight Trees"is approx 10x3".

Floral Tile Assemblage 10x10" polymer clay

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lovespoons, Lee ValleyTools & the CBC

While listening to North by Northwest on CBC Radio I heard an interesting interview with Victoria's uber talented wood carver David Western. It was a treat to see his amazing carved Lovespoons on the cover of the January Lee Valley catalogue. If you visit his blog
you can see more of his work as well as link to his interview.

If you don't live in BC to listen in realtime, The North by Northwest site offers interview downloads with some terrific artists from BC as well as discussions on food, books and music. Look for Arts under the Regular Featureslist on the right side of the page.
Lee Valley Tools is a fantastic source for tools, supplies including my favourite Super T Glue- Canadian polymer clay artists love the place!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Polymer Clay and Colour Matching

I absolutely love mixing polymer clay colours to match a selection of fibres. That being the case I had a wonderful time today making polymer clay Leggy Bowls which are accented with fibre.

It's important to remember to choose fibre first them mix the clay to match the fibre. Inventing a luscuious colour and then searching for fibre to match is an exhausting enterprise .

I used a section of recycled sari silk and put together this colour match with an extruder cane.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Taking control of the process

The cyber and realtime versions of aMused Studio have been organised and tidied for the beginning of a new year. Tomorrow I'll get back to work with polymer clay.

There'll be two main projects. The first is to make a series of Leggy Bowls to have on hand at my workshop at Horizons.

The second project will be to assemble some tile collages and wall hangings. I thought that people at shows would enjoy selecting tiles to display in a composition on their walls. Thinking like a school teacher I made the booth interractive by backing the tiles with velcro and inviting visitors to mix and match and "have fun" on the display screen. As the show progressed I saw that many people became overwhelmed. One lady became so stressed that she actually left the booth- she explained that after walking through the whole show with all the crowds she wanted some tiles but trying to coordinate a set was too much for her to process. She was exhausted and had to go home. I felt better the next day when she came back and asked me to put a composition together for her. Lesson learned. What is fun for me may not be for someone else and people at a show want to shop- not "work".

I'll enjoy myself putting some groupings together and spare innocent shoppers the angst!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Rainbow

Here's a fun site with a little quiz to determine your own personal rainbow. Thanks for the link Sandy!

Your rainbow is strongly shaded violet and green.


What is says about you: You are an intelligent person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

Friday, January 9, 2009

A sister blog- resolutions and hopefully a self fufilling prophesey

In following one of my four New Years Resolutions I have spent the last few days working on aMused Studio which is this blog's sister site. It's designed to show my work and upcoming workshops in a more concise way. I'll be adding photos of new work as the year goes on.... second resolution is to try to use less paper in my studio. It will be good for the environment and my financial bottom line.
The third resolution is to try do a daily post here. It won't neccesarily be polymer clay related but hopefully will serve as a spring board for the creative process.

Finally I'm going to try make the predictions mentioned in my 2009 horoscope from the National Post come true.... bring on the increased travel, prestige and recognition. Mmmm I better work on my fear of flying asap.