Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Polymer Clay Mixed Media Bowl Underway

My new glass ceiling light mold is wonderful, it gives a graceful form to work with. I wish I had been able to purchase the glass alone but this one was perfect so I ended up having to buy the entire fixture. I'll put it down to a long term $20 investment. I used scrap polymer clay for the starting layer and here's the first stage of the bowl.

By the end of the day Serendipity put her oar in my water. My original colour scheme went off the rails because my printer decided on a different colour interpretation than my laptop screen. I'm used to this though, colour mixing never starts until I have the fibre/fabric ingredients selected. I had a session of clay prep and by day's end I had the basis of the interior of the bowl underway. A tip if you want to make a bowl using a similar process- always fire a polymer clay bowl with support, simply place the piece in or over the mold- this will prevent heartbreaking collapses.

The work day ended with an a-Ha! moment that resulted after a rummage in my treasure box and the retrieval of this stunning chunk of rust.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Closing a Studio & Starting A Mixed Media Polymer Bowl

Lots going on in  aMused Studio these days- actually, the studio has been disassembled! Everything that is not currently being used for my current projects is in accesible storage in tagged and labelled bins. It's like having a large scale filing system. What remains is a pared down and very roomy workspace. Next week we're getting quotes to have this space renovated and my son will take over the area for his college years. My Studio will move upstairs to the main floor. We're all very excited about the project!

Work continues for me here, I'm still waiting for resin so I've been focused on BeachStone work. I do want to complete some larger projects through the year, perhaps sales of larger pieces will pick up as the economy improves. Today I began making a mixed media bowl. I found a super 13" glass domed light fixture at Home Depot to use as a mold. I'm planning to go back to my Leggy Bowl method and combime it with  silk collage. Here's the photograph I'll be using as the central image to build upon. I'll document the process through the next week or so.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First Forays with Polymer Clay

We are doing a spring cleaning here and as I rooted through various boxes I uncovered items that followed my first explorations with polymer clay! 

This is my first ever polymer clay project.  I was in art school and made a pair of earrings to match a painting I had in an exhibition. Here's one of the earrings, it's partner is missing. I had no idea about the cane concept then- it's assembled in a blob-technique.
I spent a couple of years making soap until I decided I preferred making the labels to making the soap. These were my Soap Stones... I would get a stone effect by grating different colours of cold process soaps then hand forming the rounded chunks  into stone shapes. I made the paper mache boxes by hand too. If you look very closely at the label on the box to the right, there's a tiny polymer clay bead hanging from the was at that time I began making polymer clay BeachStones" to hang from the tags...this led me to joining online polymer clay groups.

Along with soap in the 90s I was involved in paper arts and I went to the Alternative Artfest in Bellevue, Washington. I took a Gourd workshop with Gloria Skrovonsky and became hooked on gourd art. It wasn't long before polymer clay became the primary embellishment on the gourds and gradually I simply left the gourds behind.

Here's a gourd with a slab of stamped black clay highlighted with Rub n' Buff

I'm going to get back to the spring cleaning- it might take a while... full time claying commences next week.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I was able to travel to Ireland in November so tonight I'll be recalling a memorable visit and the many unforgettable people that gave us such a warm welcome.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all wherever you come from!

Here I am on Grafton Street in Dublin!

PS- Some Oak Bay leprechauns in Oak Bay have left their mark on the waters of Bowker Creek... apprently it is bio-compliant with the resident wildlife.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Crackle Technique Polymer and Resin Pendant- on Etsy

The resin and claywork continued through the weekend. I'm absolutely hooked. I love the way the colours light up and background textures are magnified. I am going to have to stop for a while because I ran out of resin. My new big 6 oz bottle is on the way from the States but it will have to go through Customs Canada so who know how long I'll have to wait.. I've also ordered a nice UV curing unit because the set up I rigged with my OTT light takes too long and is subject to my Studio cat who likes to jump on top of things that look "important".

Here's the last Crackle one I made before the bottle went dry. It's currently for sale in my aMused Etsy Shop.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Magic Gloss on Mixed Media Pendants

I've been experimenting with Magic Gloss on several pendants using photography printed on fabric, polymer clay and found organic ojects- primarily seaweed. I really like the results. Here are four of the first five- my daughter claimed the first one which is a great sign! I just ordered a second bottle...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Some inspiration... Anne Marie Chagnon

The first time I ever saw Anne Marie Chagnon's work I hit the brakes and spent an hour  trying to decide on which piece to purchase to treat myself for my upcoming birthday (even though the birthday was  several months away).  A year later my husband went to Quebec City and without knowing I was a devotee, chose a second piece of her work for me! When I had my ears re-pierced this summer, the first pair of earrings I purchased to celebrate the event were a pair of Chagon's.

She uses metal, resin, rubber, wood, acrylics, glass and whatever seems to come to hand with genius. I'm sure a visit to her website will inspire you!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Polymer Clay Belt Using a Bracelet Technique

I purchased a very cute grey silk tunic to wear at shows- it matches my booth perfectly colour-wise. I made a belt for it with using a variation of my bracelet technique. Here's a detail.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

ethni'Zen Necklace #2 completed

Am I ever happy that the second ethni'Zen necklace is finished. It's been an interesting and sometimes irritating  process but I always find the ones that are the biggests "pitas" provide the most in the way of learning. This one won't be the last , I have an absolutely gorgeous skein of green silk blend yarn but I have a new project in mind for the beginning of a new week...

Polymer (clay) and Fibre Necklace- the exasperating experimentation continues

If this was MSN I'd type "ack!" and add a few frustrated emoticons. This necklace has a steep learning curve. The first one flowed beautifully. "R&D" (research and development) is often time consuming and crazy-making and I alway get this feeling that I'm getting behind in the race to chase my own tail. I spent half of yesterday working on the project before going outside with a book to read and reflect on the early spring weather and decide to officially begin delaying the garden weeding. While sitting there I realised what was wrong with the necklace- it's the wool! It's gorgeous mohair but the strands are very thin and when I double or triple strand them the fibres matt together in fuzzy tangles. There's also an unattractive droopiness too. The first necklace was made with thicker more stable handspun wool that could hold the weight of the beads.

So- here's the new colour selection with appropriate wool.

The saga continues.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Polymer (or is it Polymer Clay?) Distraction- crafthaus

First of all- thanks for all the positive comments on the polymer clay and fibre necklace! Encouragement was timely as #2 is in progress. I have a pile of discombobulated beads and a pile of wool that I've strung and re-strung for a certain "look". There's a definite learning curve on these, all- squared beads isn't working, so a second  batch of round-ish beads is in progress. I'll be needing to order some interesting clasps too. Here's the work in progress- not ready for prime time quite yet. I do like the colours though!

I'm following the on-going "polymer" or "polymer clay" debate in various blogs - I am absolutely on the fence. As one who connects with the polycommunity online far more than in "realtime" the first thing that comes to mind is how much harder Google searches will be if people call their work "polymer" without the "clay". There'll be a lot more weeding out of sites from manafacturing and science websites. I think even the most die hard "polymer" advocate will add "clay" on a google search! From experience I know that saying  "polymer" alone is clearer and sounds more sophisticated at a show. There are far fewer "Oh you mean Sculpey, I used that in pre-school" comments. As I say, I'm sitting on the fence.

Finally, I joined crafthaus . I'm having a fantastic time exploring the work of some stellar artists in every media imaginable! I recommend a visit or an investment in membership. Warning- you may be distracted from hands-on work for a while but you WILL have a high octane dose of inspiration!  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Revisting the ethnizen concept.. polymer and fibre.

I first began to find my own "voice" with polymer clay a long time ago when I was at Long Beach and saw bull kelp on the shore and connected the formation with the idea of combining fibre and polymer clay. I began making wall-mount figurative sculptures/dolls that I called "ethnizens". I loved the textural interplay of fibre and polymer and the colour mixing to coordinate and match with the fibres was always a pleasure.  The skirts, hair and head-dresses of these rather haughty women were made with a cascade of assorted fibres and polymer and glass beads. ""Salmon Woman" (above) is a sample of one of my ethnizens but by the time I made her I had begun calling the women "Muses".
I was inspired to combine fibre and polymer clay in a wearable art mode after my inspiration explorating session on Saturday- here's the first "ethni'Zen Necklace". 

 This one is made with polymer beads and handspun and dyed wool from Pender Island. It's soft and drapey. It's interesting to twist it for different effects too. My storage drawers are full of gorgeous wool, these are a delight to make- I'll start another today.... here are the next colours....