Friday, December 30, 2011

Week 52 – Sheep

Week 52 – Sheep
The shape, the wire tool and the texture sheep
So here it is almost the end of the year and I have made it. A friend told me that the reason that I had trouble sleeping was because I was counting buttons instead of sheep. These little guys might not be the answer to my sleep problems but they are the last buttons that I will be making this year. Since my buttons are usually used by knitters I thought that it would be a fitting to end the year with sheep buttons.

To make these buttons I used twisted brass wire to make a wooly textures on some bake and bend clay. I used this texture sheet to give the little sheep shaped buttons a little personality. Some of the buttons are antiqued  using a little burn umber acrylic paint and the others are simple given a little polish.

Now I am looking forward to a another challenge next year. Like getting my act together.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Week 51 – Strawberries

This is it. The sun is on the way back. It is uplifting to think that from now on the days are getting longer. Red and green might be Christmas colours but they make me think of strawberries.

I have used a red and white skinner blend to make the body of the berries, not much white. The tops are three small slices of millifiori leaves that I had in my cane box. I tried to make the seeds by making a little texture plate of polymer clay and pressing into each of the berries. I was inspired by a cookie cutter that I think was a Christmas light. I am determined to think about summer. Only one more button to go and that will be after Christmas.

JOY TO THE WORLD – and all that stuff.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Week 50 – Navajo Blanket

I decided the I wanted to make a kaleidoscope cane in browns and grays. When in was finished it reminded me of the blankets that my in-laws liked to buy in the American Southwest. When I look at the images of blankets on the net,f the blankets are mostly bright colours but the ones that I have seen have all been muted colours. It must have had something to do with the taste of the buyers. Now I want to make more but it is off to the real December world again.

Here is a link to the back of the button.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Two Button Day

Week 48 – Dragon Skin
In and effort to finish this project by the end of the year I will have to have a couple of two button days. both of these buttons and the shawl pin were make using my dragon parts texture sheet/stamp. I hope to have “dragon parts” available for sale next February.

Week 48 – Dragon Skin
I have used a mixture of “mud” and variety of reds including just a bit of Fimo soft metallic red. I used to avoid the “metallic” polymer clays with the bigger mica chips but now I think a little sparkle now and then is okay, gives the earth colours a spark. The buttons are made of this earth red with the thinnest layer of black on top. The top layer is cut away to reveal the red.

Week 49 – Black Ginko

I have isolated one part of the “dragon parts” texture sheet, to make these leaves. They could be any colour.

Using the same texture sheet as the buttons, I have made this shawl pin. Again any mokumegane colours would work.

I realize now that I have never shown a picture of the Dragon Parts texture stamp. To late now - I will try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Years Last!

Whale tail whistle
Well here it is almost the end of the year. If your in Vancouver drop into the Croatian Centre on Saturday the 17th for the Farmer’s Holiday Market. It is always lots of fun. You will find me at table number #72, next to Royal Herbs’ great body care products and across from Kalley Kandy with their delicious nougat. My studio partner Melonhead Knitwear is over near the near “the seating for eating” – make sure to have a look at hers fibre before your hands are sticky with nougat and other goods. Come and enjoy! 

I have new stuff never seen at a market like these whale tail.

Stay tuned, two more buttons coming soon.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

How to Turn a Heel

So this is my little holiday gift for those who occasionally read my blog.

This is an a very simple irregular cane that can not be reduced when it is finished but it is fun. I usually make really little socks as stitch markers but a little larger they serve as decorations. So here we go.

1.) Choose two colours for your socks and roll them to the widest setting. My slabs for this are about 2 by 5 inches. Have some twisted wire loops ready to insert into the top of the finished sock.
2.) Mark of ½ inch segments.
3.) Cut and stack the segments.
4.) You can repeat one colour for the toe or cuff. I have only done this for the toe which I have made white. You can also see the red triangular piece that I will insert to make the red heel.
5.) Trim the edges of your stack.
6.) Cut into the stack half way up to give you a space to insert the heel of the sock.
7.) Insert the heel piece, it might take a little trimming to get it to fit.
8.) Here is the sock cane finished. The toe has been rounded to make is more sock like.
9.) Now the tricky bit. Put the sock foot on the table, slice a little to make a place for the wire, then make another slice to cut your sock away from the cane.
10.) Insert you wire loop and press the top closed.
11.) Make any final adjustment to the sock and …
12.) Off to the oven for baking.

So there you have it. Best I can do this year. You still have time to try it before Christmas if you are inclined.

PS to guild members. I finally figured out how to post this as a blog entry but I will still send your the PDF form.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Week 47 - Northern Lights

Week 47 - Northern Lights
One line of multi coloured clay feathered into black is easy but I would like to get more control over it. I am looking forward to experimenting and writing  notes on this technique but now I am just trying to wrap of the year. Five more sets of buttons to go – well six if you count my missing number two – but I did do double on number twenty eight.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 46 – Flower Web

Week 46 – Flower Web
I was looking through one of my boxes of canes when I came upon one that reminds me of spider webs and flowers. Now I am inclined to make new canes that emphasize the idea of flowers and cob webs.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Week 45 - Sprigged Frogs

Week 45 - Sprigged Frogs
I just discovered I have been sprigging to years. I have made little molds of polymer clay, pressed clay into them, trimmed it off with a knife and applied it to another clay surface. I have been making beads with frogs as well and star fish as well as ladybugs. Faces with the back log of buttons to complete by the end of the year I found one of my old molds, ( I am not entirely satisfied and I will remake in it in the future but what the hell …) and made a few sprigged frogs.

For a look at some one who really knows her sprigging take a look at Mari Odell’s web site.

Sprig in is the way that blue and white Wedgwood is done. I learn some thing new every day. Here is a Art ways video that makes it all clear.

On the home front, I finally made a shawl pin that I am pleased with. More to follow.

Wave pattern shawl pin

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pica Pica the Polishing Elf

Polished, Mounted and ready to go.
Here are yesterday’s squares and circles mounted and polished. I am sure that I am disappointing some that this isn’t a larger piece like a little quilt but there it is, rings. Great how a little polish brightens things up
Pika pika is Japanese for sparkly shiny, a good name for and elf I think.

Enough fun, now to pack for tomorrow and such.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Joys of Staying on Task

I have been wanting to do something new. Not finish up earrings, not card pendants, not improve my signage, not organize for the next show. So I decided that a reward for doing these things.

I found some ring blanks that didn’t arrived in time for summer markets. Big chunky rings that might go over well at the Porto Bello West Market this weekend. So my reward was making new rings. I hope to sell them so I can make some more. I am a simple soul.

It’s good getting the less inspiring tasks done and by tomorrow I will have glued and polished some new rings for Saturday’s market. There is a little more drudgery butI will think of a small reward to keep me going. I am excited about doing this market for the first time, and as always a little apprehensive.

Squares waiting to be mounted as rings and polished

Monday, November 21, 2011

Now That was Fun

Button 52/7 almost done
I was ready to the Eastside Culture Crawl on Friday at 5:00 PM. As usual, I just made it under the wire. My husband, Hugh, stood by in case it got busy but it never really did. We had a 140 visitors in and out during the evening but that is far below what we usually have the first day to the Crawl. We were thinking that this year might be a really quiet. Then Saturday morning it started, a constant flow of people to our tiny living room/studio. It one point there was a tour bus and I had to stand at the door and stop people from coming in till some others left. Too many people!!! Good thing that they were all nice and polite.

By the time we closed up at 6:00 PM last evening, a little over 1,800 had visited. Some for only a few minutes, some choose things to buy, some chatted with us for a while and other opened the door and decided that it was just too crowded for them. There were surprisingly  few people who simply looked at the crowd and ran, I confess that I might have run too if I had not been the host.

Thanks especially to Hugh, we survived the busiest Culture Crawl ever. Now to recover and get ready for Porto Bello West Market this coming week-end. That will be the last market for November and then I have some time until the Farmers Holiday Market on December the 17th. Well, as usual, back to work. If I get enough done I will reward myself by making some more buttons.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Walk Before You Can Crawl

White leaf red wool
Tomorrow is show time. It is snowing now but the forecast is for fair weather tomorrow. Rain of shine, it is fun look at what I have done over the past year. Makes me feel like I have accomplished something. ( Well - I guess it could mean that I haven’t sold a lot but the would be negative thinking – bad joan!)

This is the first time I have had all the buttons from project 52/7 out at the same time. Kind of neat. My neighbour Mayu knit to cowls and and a hat to show of my button. Lovely to have the help of friends and neighbours.

Lots to do tonight and tomorrow before opening at 5:00 PM. I better get a move on.
One side to the room almost done

Neighbou Mayu's Knitting shows off my buttons.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week 44 – White Leaves

There is no law against simplicity. I hesitate to make buttons this simple, but why not? Sometimes the simplest answer is the best. These buttons are simply cut out of white clay free hand and the veins incised  with a pointed piece of metal.

Simple in also what I need to relax a little while I get the house ready for the Eastside Culture Crawl. This year snow is predicted so it may be a quite weekend with most people sticking to the big buildings with multiple studios. We will see. It is always fun. Two more sleeps until show time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Full Circle

Down the escalator at the new convention centre.
 Well that's it. They came. They went. We packed up. We went home. I will probably repeat next year. But I am so glad to be living here - even thought it rains A LOT, it is a great place.
Vancouver Harbor - Old convention centre on the right the new on the left.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Almost Ready for Tomorrow

Adrianna helps put to stock up for tomorrow
Almost there with a little help from my friends. This time before a show is so exciting, so full of potential. One more sleep!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What Me Worry?

Three more sleeps to Circle Craft Christmas Market. I hope I can sleep. I will have to take a button vacation for a few days. It is the silly season once again. If you are in Vancouver drop by and see me at booth #550.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Week 43 – Pillow Fight

Week 43 – Pillow Fight
I took me a little thought to think of a name for these button, then I had a BWF (blinding white flash) – well not exactly blinding.

I made this cane from two feather canes using the same Skinner.  - There a lots of ways to use a Skinner blend in a feather cane. - The two feathers were fitted together like yin and yang to make a round cane. I can’t wait to try this cane with other colour combinations. Sadly I will have to wait until the winter sales are over. Then again a girl has to play a little, so who knows.

November 02 - Day of the Dead zipper pulls

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Almost Ready!

Whistle of many shapes and sizes
 Circle Craft and the craziness of the winter craft markets is fast approaching. Here are some of my products for this year.
Barrettes large and small

Inro - Made to fit a small USB stick.

Click pens that take a Cross refill

Stitch markers and knitting needles

Trinket boxes bot cute and elegant.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 42 - Purple Passion

Week 42 - Purple Passion
In the new year I hope to have time to make more biologically correct canes, but for now simple can be just as passionate.

Uncooked sheet - translucent shows and white

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Better Bears for Fred

When I made the "soapstone" bear buttons for Fred, it was a moment of inspiration and the need to do something. Indeed I made more and more bears as pins and zipper pulls - my way of grieving. I think that they are getting better – thanks Fred.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Step Away From the Clay

Pokeweed - Birds dine mammals die

Japanese Anenomes - Just a pretty face

Chayote - A cucumber in drag

Datura - A deadly damsel

Knot Weed - Charming but invasive

Hardy fushia - Pretty and edible
I am trying to get outside every day – even for a few minutes. Family events and trying to make interesting items to sell at holiday markets can leave me so focused on my own interests that I loose touch with nature. After a fifteen minute walk in the neigbourhood I had to run back in side and get my camera. Nature is an inspiration and a balm.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 41 – Soapstone Bears

Many years ago, when my husband Hugh was a child, he found a polar bear carved in the butter on the kitchen table. His father Fred had found something to do while he was having his morning coffee. Creative hands cannot be still.

Last Friday Fred passed away. Sunday he had Thanks Giving dinner with the family and by Friday he was gone. I have been wondering if I should say anything about our loss in my blog and decided that I had to.

Fred Tayler always encouraged me in my art. He was and artist too, though he never settled on one medium. He made – pottery, soap stone carvings, sumie paintings and more.

So hears to you Alfred Maxwell Tayler, a wonderful person, and great friend.

Fred in his kitchen a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week 40 – Crosshatch

This is definitely a mark one. I should have left more space between the pieces so the red backing would show through. I will revise it when I am not in such a hurry. They do have a certain charm, perhaps I will let them be.

Friday, October 7, 2011

WYSIWYG – Not Always

I am always surprised, delighted or annoyed at how much translucent colour change when they are cooked. I try to always cook a sample before I commit to a project. Here is a sample sitting on top of the raw clay from which it was made. Not only do the colours become brighter but what ever you place behind the cane slices changes the look of the veneer. I would like to spend a few days playing with this. - Something to look forward to in the new year. Now back to work.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Week 39 - Stockinette

Simple but one of my favorites. Now back to work.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Good Little Soldiers

As I put a tray loaded with a couple of days work into the oven, I can’t help thinking of the clay pieces as soldiers in another battle on the road to completion. All of these pieces have been cooked once before, and they will be cooked one or more times after this before completion. Every time I wonder if they will come out unscathed – even with my new oven I worry. Each time they are cooked the number of hours I have invested grows. I am a general in the war to complete my craft and I worry about my soldiers.                            Maybe I’m loosing it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 38 – Duplex

Duplex buttons are double sided buttons. When I started making buttons, all of them were like this. I like the idea that the back or lining of items being just as interesting as the front. (Most of my earrings have a different design on the back for just this reason.)

These buttons give the knitter a chose of which side to use. They are lightly curved – I bake then on a curved surface but I don’t push down the corners. I have used my Dragon Parts texture sheet on one side and my Japanese wave patter on the other.

A would really like to offer some of my stamps for sale but I have not found company that will do it ata reasonable price. Anyone out there who can make a suggestion of give me a link will earn my gratitude and a texture sheet if the lead works out.

Now back to production. The more I work the less I blog. I will try for a big reveal at the end of October.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week 37 – 1950’s Modern

Week 37 – 1950’s Modern
These  are a variation and the extruded cane technique that I used for the Pipeline back in week 16 my button project. This time I used translucent clay with thin levers of opaque white. I use a lot of translucent to dilute that translucent colours which I find too intense it the are used by themselves. The variation in colours in achieved by make a rainbow skinner blend and using it as a base for the layers that I feed into the extruder. The extruder has a lot of potential for making canes. Perhaps I can work into my production schedule. Now back to work – little time to blog until Christmas shows are over.