Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year- and thanks

Thanks to everyone that follows this blog - it's been wonderful getting to know so many of you and especially to occasionally meet you in person! Your encouragement has perked me up during points of disappointment and having people to share the the good things completes the celebration! 
(Your support during the ubiquitous studio cleanups is critical!)

Keep being aMused and have a .....

Happy and Inspirational New Year!

Ending the Year

I received a container of Hadar's Copper Clay yesterday and thought it was an appropriate item to post as the year comes to a close. I've ended 2010  with a fascination with metal clays combined with polymer, resin and photographic images. All I need to do is to learn everything I can about metal clays!  Hadar's Clay is especially interesting to me as it can be torch fired and comes as a powder that is mixed with distilled water. Hadar has outstanding YouTube videos that serve to instruct the process. I'm hoping at some point to  take one of her workshops.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A New Look For The End Of The Year

I'm in transition and felt that a shakeup with the blog would be symbolic so here's a new blog layout. If I had time I'd figure out how to do this by myself using my own photography but I really appreciate the availability of free layouts like the ones on Pysam.
I'll be designing a new version of my header when I have devised what I'm doing. If I sound confused- I AM! I have a lot of ideas- the idea of niches is especially intriguing. Perhaps combining niches with moxie like women in pendants and brooches.
A niche depicting Cocidius- it was found near Newcastle upon Tyne- where I was born! 
Or combining a sculptural wall piece with a removable brooch- but how to make the connection?.... and then there's the idea of my hope to make every piece  one of a kind and not doing any sort of production lines but then I must consider marketability- after all, aMused Studio is supposed to be a business.
So I end 2010 on a discombobulated note and even though it's daunting, I'm excited- especially as I look forward to so many new experiences with the metal clay and silversmithing workshops I have lined up!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Some Eye Canady

Today  I'm showcasing  the work of some Canadian metal clay artists. I'm doing a lot of web image surfing, reading metal clay books and generally overloading my brain with ideas. I'm not doing any hands on work- I'm low on polymer clay and I have no metal clay not to mention I just had a spa manicure that would look nice through the holiday week.... that dull melty effect your nail polish gets after claying is just nasty. I digress.
I joined Metal Clay Gallery a huge Yahoo group for metal clay artists and there, as this month's featured artist was a Canadian- Guelph's Suzanne McNenly  her framed miniatures and elegant jewelry are a delight! 

After joining the group I "met"  Zahava Lambert  who is based in Toronto. 

BOTH of these talented women offer classes!

There's a discussion in the group about developing a Canadian based metal clay group- if you're interested, let me know. 
Back to the books and YouTube demos.....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Research - Metal Clay & Seasonal Fun!

Along with all the seasonal festivities I'm in metal clay research mode! I'm Googling for workshops that can connect with my travel plans for next year- especially when I'm in Southern Ontario for the Morrisberg Polymer Clay Gathering at the beginning of April. I did a great trade with my friend Vanessa and received a tantalizing pile of the 2009 issues of Art Jewelry. (Thanks V!) I also joined theYahoo Metal Clay Gallery Group. My sketchbook is filling with all sorts of ideas for 2011. It's an interesting situation for me because I don't have any metal clay to work with.  I decided to wait until after the holidays to get serious with ordering supplies. Usually I have polymer clay at hand and when I have inspiration I leap up and do it! Not having the materials is making this research time much more "academic" which is probably a very good thing.

Seasonal Fun? How about  lunch with good creative friends today and the annual Clayamies Winterfest Chat on Monday- Canadian Clayers from coast to coast to coast chatting and partying in MSN - always a great time!
Today's eye candy is a card my daughter designed for Victoria Opportunities for Community Youth Leadership and a window she painted at a local Subway Restaurant!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Polymer Clay/ Metal Clay Books - win a PRIZE!- contest is closed- Tina won!

My 2010 Book List (under the Etsy shop in the column to the right of this text) is approaching completion. I'm hoping to get one or two more books read before the new year. The last book I read was on a Kindle which is a new experience but now I've stopped reaching to turn a paper page and I'm quite comfortable with it. The best thing about an e-reader is the increased space I have in my bags when I travel. It's also good that I don't need to buy a new bookshelf for the 2011 collection!

A Kindle is fine for novels but I draw the line at art books! I have a couple of on my Christmas Wish List. They are: 

Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet: Making Designer Metal Jewelry  


 Making Connections: A Handbook of Cold Joins for Jewelers and Mixed-Media Artists

I'm interested in other suggestions for Polymer Clay,  Metal clay or Assemblage Art Jewelery and am inviting suggestions in the comments section of this blog. If you have problems posting a comment just email me and I'll add the suggestion for others to see. There's a prize for participating! A new in- wrapper  Fall/Winter copy of Studio- Craft and Design in Canada . I'll do a draw on December 18!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This one is for ME!

I make a lot of art jewelery and I wear a lot of it too. I just go to my storage drawers and find something to go with what I have on. It's surprisingly rare for me to make a piece specifically for an outfit but today I had a little bit of spare time in an unusually tidy studio so I made myself a pendant to wear to a reception I'm going to tonight. Here is is- it sets off a new sweater I bought on my last trip to Saltspring and will look great with some lapis lazuli earrings from Chili!

I wish I knew how to make shoes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sassafras Art Studio- Pardo Clay in Canada

Big news for Canadian Polymer Clayers- Sassafrass Art Studio in Victoria will be carrying Pardo Clay! The link will be in the online store in a few days.

Sassafras Art Clay Workshop- WOW!

My first art clay silver pendants
Yesterday I took the Sassafras Art Studio Introduction to Art Clay Silver Workshop. It was time very well spent! Tiffany is an excellent teacher and I believe I have improved my skills since my first attempt in 2001. The class was held at the Victoria Art Glass Studio which has a large well lit studio space and is minutes away from a mall so while our work was firing we were able to get some shopping done! (The Art Glass Studio kiln is available for art clay firing for a modest fee.)
There were three of us in the class so instruction was personalised and effective.
Tiffany- art clay instructor extrordinaire!
Deborah and Christine - good company!
Here I am waiting for clay to dry on a warming tray
Pieces before the firing (1200 F for 30min 
Deborah's pendants
Christine's pendants

Friday, December 3, 2010

Beginning My Foray with Metals

I'd say I'm forging ahead with metals but after Jon Stewart slammed bad punning on the Daily show the other day, I won't.
Sorry Jon, I promise to quit.
As I mentioned earlier I've been reading all sorts of magazines and books and websites and tutorials on metal work and art jewelry. I have a few ideas in my head with will combime metal with polymer clay, resin and photography. Some projects are such that I think I can proceed by myself- I tend to be self taught with a lot of things. Frequently with mixed results- this is why I'm good at repairing damage to floors, walls and furniture and have quick ways of airing the house to get the fire detector to stop blaring.

I've complied a list of materials I plan to purchase this coming Monday when I travel to Vancouver for a day. Habson's is  a terrific jewelery supply shop in the heart of the city and I always enjoy shopping there.

Here's the list- I love the alchemical sounding names of some of the concoctions! I feel like I'm landing on Mars and need a translator.

Etching mordant

I HOPE I have all I need for a couple of starting projects! Any suggestions are always appreciated- Let me know before I catch the 7:00 am ferry on Monday!

But wait- there's more! Tomorrow I'm taking a precious metal clay class here in Victoria at Sassafras Art Studio. It's a silver class- my interest is actually with copper and bronze but this will be an excellent starting point. This isn't actually my first exposure to pmc- in 2001 I was at a Clay Gathering in Quebec. We all watched a video and them tried to see what we could make. I attempted a bracelet which was too ambitious for my ability and the amount of clay I had to work with. The bracelet snapped almost immediately but I have used it since then as a texture stamp!
...hopefully things will improve!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New Online Shop!- Made in British Columbia

I'm pretty excited! Word is getting out about a new online shop hosted by British Columbia Magazine! Here's the promo page and yes- those are my boxed BeachStones!

Exploring a theme- starting points

The December image from my Hundertwasser calendar
Today I've been glued to my computer tracking something down. I'm not exactly sure what it is but as I Google images, explore my own photo files and change my Hundertwasser calendar page from November to December I am sensing a theme and it's distinctly architectural....
The necklace worn by a visitor to my show booth
A 4x6" wall hanging I purchased in Santiago Chile
Garden Gate-
A digitalised photo I took on Galiano Island