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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cut and paste and pass it on....

Research and Development Mode-I need a fresh book

I have a LOT of sketchbooks. I usually buy a new one at the beginning of a vacation --- it feels fresh and open for completely new visions. I love going back through them and recalling where I was and realising that I had an idea a while back that is perfect for now!

I did a lot of reading over the last few days and made shopping lists but no sketches. I'm heading downtown today to pick up a fresh new book and a new pen.  I'm hoping some sketches I come up with will inspire me for my pmc class on Saturday!
some of my sketchbooks 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Desk is Clean and Organised

I finally finished organizing all of my findings and getting the "Dry Desk" tidied up. The "dry" refers to the fact that this desk is not used for clay, glue or resin. Tea, coffee, wine and martinis are acceptable.

I came up with a few more ideas for the findings storage system. I put chains in 30 dram containers and cut a hole in the lid so I can pull a length out as I need it . A pin holds the end of the chain so it doesn't "pour" out. I also think that a longer velcro strip on the acrylic and container gives a more secure hold than the little round velcro buttons.

I have a lot more room for containers on a second sheet of acrylic but I have to wait for Industrial Plastic to get a new shipment in- I sort of bought out a lot of their stock!

A nice chunk of Sunday is still awaiting me- I'm rewarding my cleaning with a nice reading session booked with my new Kindle!

The Desk is Clean and Organised

I finally finished organizing all of my findings and getting the "Dry Desk" tidied up. The "dry" refers to the fact that this desk is not used for clay, glue or resin. Tea, coffee, wine and martinis are acceptable.

I came up with a few more ideas for the findings storage system. I put chains in 30 dram containers and cutting a hole in the lid so I can pull a length out as I need it A pin holds the end of the chain so it doesn't "pour" out. I also think that a longer velcro strip on the acrylic and container gives a more secure hold than the little round velcro buttons.

I have a lot more room for containers on a second sheet of acrylic but I have to wait for Indistrial Plastic to get a new shipment in- I sort of bought out a lot of their stock!

A nice chunk of Sunday is still awaiting me- I'm rewarding my cleaning with a nice reading session booked with my new Kindle!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Joy of Felting!

Today I'm featuring another local artisan - Joy Garnett. Every time I visit Joy's booth I have a sharp intake of breath  and I emit a joyful "ooooooh!" She is a colourista and her booth is always a glorious tumble of beautiful colours that swirl in a glorious warm dance of felt.

Joy  makes stunning and beautifully tailored jackets  that are  adorned with Kandinsky-like circles and ovals of colour . I watched customers crowding to try on her hats, scarves, and shoulder wraps and through the show I was happy to see many satisfied customers strolling about wearing their new purchases!

Joy's felted flowers are always a delight and they have been gradually evolving over the years so every time I attend the show I look forward to see the latest installment!

Joy is currently at the  Out of Hand Show in Victoria Nov 26-28. Her work is also available at Sidestreet Studio.
She will be setting up a blog in the near future.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Good Chaos!

I'm still working on organising my worktable. Simce I'm in a State of Confusion and can't find my camera under a pile of magazines and curled up velcro sticker sheets my photo for the day shows Dee Wilder's current experiments.  She's partially responsible for my chaos! Thanks Dee- it's a good kind of chaos!

Dee Wilder
The table is piled high with books, magazines, notes and travel itineraries. I'm about to have a big shift in my direction. My trip to a Polymer Clay Conference in Colorado was an epiphany for me and I began to adjust my focus from that point. Dee Wilder encouraged me to get involved in metal work to accent my polymer clay and resin designs and I have taken her advice to heart. Now that the Christmas Show is over and 2010 is drawing to a close it's research and development time! I'm very busy reading articles all about copper etching, mordants, pickling and pickle pots- (yum?), neutralising solutions and all sorts of alchemic sounding methods, mixtures and concoctions. I subscribed to Art Jewelry Magazine. I have a shopping list to take to Habson's Jewelry suppliers in Vancouver in a few weeks. I'm booked for a precious metal clay workshop next Saturday. I have a  wire hammering class in January and a few days later I'll travel to Bellingham Washington for a soldering workshop. I'm  looking forward to attending the Morrisberg Polymer Clay Gathering in the Spring!
I have a few hotels to book and I have to get on the phone to use some airmile points and I'd really like to find a cold connections workshop somewhere in the Pacific Northwest...(or for Canadians- the Pacific "southwest") Any leads would be much appreciated.

The desk will be organised eventually- exactly WHAT will be on it through the upcoming months remains to be seen... there will be polymer clay women next year. For some reason I've been toying with a polymer clay woman with a dark side- perhaps a voodoo woman with pins.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snowfall, Great Bargains at an Artists' Clearance Sale and My Etsy

The view from my studio window
I'm in an upbeat mood because it's snowing outside.
 This is a rare event on the wet coast of Canada!

I've decided to stay at home and watch the flakes drifting by my studio window. So far today I've organised work that's going to the Island Artisan Associations Studio Clearance Sale It will be held on Friday, November 26.  at the Selkirk Montessori School, 2970 Jutland Road, Victoria. If you go make sure your vehicle tires are not slightly on the rise between the road and the sidewalk - it's a very subtle " curb" and there's an eagle eyed traffic officer who loves slapping tickets on cars that are on the rise. Ask me how I know. I  digress- if you avoid a parking ticket it's a fun sale and the artists are as eager to snap up deals as the general public!
I have been busy stocking the shelves in my Etsy Shop. I have art jewelry and I'm also offering findings that will appeal to anyone using resin.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Neighbour at the Show- George Pearlman

I'd like to share the work of some of my neighbours at the show last week. Today I'm featuring George Pearlman- whose contemporary ceramics were absolutely stunning! (He's a terrific show neighbour too- !)

George lives alternately in Victoria and Maine which shows he has excellent taste in locales. He has a gallery in Maine and I don't think it will be long before his work is showcased in the very finest galleries in British Columbia.

Have a peek at his website gallery- you'll be impressed.
He'll be at the upcoming Out of Hand Show in Victoria Nov 26-28.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My New Storage System for Findings

My desk isn't ready for a close up quite yet but I am making excellent progress. today I went to INDUSTRIAL PLASTICS  and purchased thirty 7 dram pill containers and a 14 square inch sheet of plexiglass. Then I went  to Michael's and picked up some Velcro Sticky Back 5/8" white coins.

6 dram pill container with velcro coin

I sorted as many of my findings as I could in the pill containers. I Stuck velcro coins on them and then simply stuck matching coins on the plexiglass. I need more bottles but this is my new portable storage unit.I can see what's in the containers, remover the container, spill some findings on my hand and pour what I don't need back in. The unit can stand on my desk or go in a drawer or at the bottom of a travel bag when I go to workshops .

I'll have all the findings in order on Monday after another trip for pill containers.