Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week 10 – The Dragon’s Garden – Linking Past and Present

Last week a friend make a stamp for me out of a drawing that I did many years ago. The drawing was originally done as a promotional piece for me as an illustrator.  I did do some illustration, graphic design and mural painting before I discovered polymer clay and know I can bring the two together. I have been inspired to do more drawing and try out some texture sheets.

The Dragon’s Garden was never intended as a texture sheet but I could not resist trying it out on some clay. These are the buttons that resulted.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Atlas has gone to the Spa

On Vacation for Upgrade
My Atlas pasta machine left for West Virginia yesterday. West Virginia is advertised and being frost free and full of history but that means nothing to Atlas. He is visiting Mona Kissel who is going to modify him so he will be leaner, cleaner and not longer retain clay.

I didn’t think that I was especially hard on pasta machines but I know have two that are beyond Mona’s  healing touch. My 7” wide Makin has lost it’s ability to work on the three thickest settings. I have been told that this is because I conditioned clay on these settings and wore out the gears. Seems that you should not condition clay on wider settings. The other machine that I destroyed when I was cleaning it and removing the fenders. Seems that not all Atlas machined are put together with springs, nuts and bolts. Some are held together with a little plastic think a ma bob that breaks before allowing disassembly of the machine for cleaning. If you have such a machine and have solved that problem of cleaning and defendering please share. I am sure there are others that will befit.

So now I wait for my Atlas to come home. I will report on how he is after the operation. I think that perhaps it would have been better just to have better to have just bought a modified machine from Mona K. With out the cost of the machine it cost me $97.50 with the postage to send my machine to be modifies. A new modified machine from Mona K. would have been $106 for an Atlas 150 (5 3/4”) or $110 for an Atlas 180 (6 7/8”). Makes me feel pretty dumb. I how my machine appreciate my loyalty – well in truth the expenses just snuck-up on me.

I will report on Atlas when he gets hope. I was so impressed with Barb’s modified machine at Horizons last weekend I can only hope that my machine is as well behaved.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 4 - Another Week Filled in - Blue on Blue

I found some inspiring pictures on the net. I already had build a blue cane and I was wondering what colour to put in the background when I spotted a little vase. It is not typical but it is lovely.

"Iznik is a tin-glazed pottery, brightly decorated in turquoise, green, blue, and red, originally made in Anatolia, and dates as far back as the 16th century. Prized by sultans of the Ottoman Empire, Iznik tiles were used to decorate the walls of old imperial and religious structures. Iznik is still being made in Turkey."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Horizons is Over Till 2013

I'm always willing to give it a try
Horizons is over until 2013. It was a blast. Helen Breil and Eugenia Chan guided, inspired and booted us on to create glorious pendants – most more glorious that mine. I always lack focus at events especially when I have a hand in organizing them as well as being a participant.
Besides the main event Lawrence Smith did demo of photo transfer. Jem gave us a fresh look at mokumegane. Barb Alexander did a colour demo that makes me want to get right in there and mix, match and organize. I did a clay conditioning demo and texture sheet demo. Unfortunately we ran out of time so the Nancy Quinn will share the secret of hinges with us at the April guild meeting. Nancy has also generously offered to go to Vancouver Island to give the same demonstration to the Island guild. 

The Park Inn provided a great venue once again. It has one of the greatest views in Vancouver and they gave us 24 hour access to their Oak room (our groups clay studio for the weekend). Besides the night owls being able t oworking late into the night, it gave people who get up before 5 AM a place to hang out.

I always learn new stuff just watching my fellow clayers and I had a couple of eureka moments. I am already looking forward to 2013. For more about Horizons go to the Horizons blog.

from a sixth floor windon of the Park Inn

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 9 - Harlequin Gold & Evidence of Fingerprints

There are always things to learn. I discovered that having your clay to firm can lead to finger prints. Unusually I don’t have much trouble with finger prints, generally my finger prints are sanded and polished off and by using the sided of my fingers as much as possible I have dodged the finger print bullet. When I made the last batch the clay was a little to stiff so I found that I was poking at it more that usually when I placed in on the curved surface to cook. The results  are more finger prints than I would like to admit to. Trust me they are there – a dirty little secret.

I still like these buttons a lot. The are first cousins of Harlequin Romance ( see week 5). I think that I will be doing a lot with layered translucent canes this year. It will be interesting to try them out in a combination with mokumegane – but maybe that will be too much.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tomorrow is Horizons

Pinched Leaf Necklace by Helen and Eugenia

I am looking forward to Horizons tomorrow. Last year the British Columbian polymer clayers met in Victoria and we had a great time.

This year it is our turn to host a get-together so for the second time in the short history of our guild we will be gathering at the Park Inn watch and do demonstrations. A work shop that will given by Helen Breil and Eugenia Chan where we will get to try out Helen's Pinched Leave technique and use Eugenia's wire work technique to finish a stylish necklace.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New Twist on an Old Tie

I always fall back on slip notes and cord when I am making pendants. I really like the idea of being able to adjust the pendant to whatever neckline I choose to wear. This time I have used double holed beads which I originally make as netsuke like closures for my enro pendants. Not sure if this is a good idea or not  but it looks kind of neat.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week 8 Button - Costa Azura

Week 8 - Costa Azura

At this time of the year it is easy to dream of the Mediterranean. I love Vancouver. I even love the rain but here are days when I would love to feel a warm wind blow up from Africa.

The Bumble Bee Dance and All

left overs
When I am really happy and excited I do the bumble bee dance which consists in rapid foot stamping while turning in tight circles. This is what I did when one of my blog followers congratulated on being featured in  Polymer Clay Daily. Very nice! Thank you Cynthia, curator of polymer clay art, and all her blog readers who congratulated me. What a great place to see just what can be done with my favourite medium.

Back to more bumble bee dancing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Filling in for January

Week 5
Harlequin Romance

This is a buttonacious week so as I have promised myself I am posting a new set if buttons to make up for my slow start in January. Last week I spent some time making translucent canes. As I played around with them this buttons immerged. For once I didn’t have to search for a name. They are Harlequin Romance. Even before they were baked their character was clear. They are not styled for bodice ripping but the name seems just right.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More Inros

Inro pendants with two hole beads on the top.
I love making these things! This time I have strung them together as pendants. When I made these pendants in the past I put the cord at the top through a regular glass bead. This would allow the pendant to swing around back to front occasionally. By making a two hole netsuke type bead at the top the pendant will naturally swing around to face the right way. This is not traditional, but then polymer clay is not a traditional material.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Buttons for Week 7

Lost in the Forest
This is the second installment to my 52/7 Button project. I am really enjoying this and I am looking forward to filling in  the weeks that I missed at the beginning of the year. I am also looking forward to getting some of these buttons out there where creative people can do creative things with them. I am planning to hit the road in March and look for knitting shops and such to place my buttons. Or maybe Etsy? But that doesn’t give me the excuse to noise around knitting stores does it?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What’s this – A New Brand of Clay

Alas not a contender
Michaels had a new brand of clay on sale. I couldn’t resist trying it out. Anyone out there give in to the same temptation? I wonder it if you had the same results I did. I really wanted to give it the benefit to the doubt, but here are my sad results. Brittle, really brittle – good for maybe the cores of beads where strength is not required. I could break it into tiny bits with my fingers. The Fimo Soft that I baked with it was a as tough as usual. I won’t buy this not particularly clever "Smart Clay" again.

The red clay in the bottom picture is the Michaels "Smart Clay" which I have broken to bits with my fingers the piece in my fingers is the Fimo Soft that I used as a control.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Buttons 7/52

My friend Carmen is making one skein of beautiful hand spun yarn for every day this year, the 355 project. This has inspired me to try for the same number of buttons. I am not the competitive type so if Carmen had challenged me I would have gone the other way entirely – No buttons in 2011!  But she has not. A project like this lends a little discipline to my chaotic, though not particularly interesting, life.

I will official start today – February the 1st the 6th week of 2011. Posting one button a day is beyond my organizational abilities so I will post 7 buttons a week and if I am feeling particularly buttonacious   I will make up for as yet button free January.

All the buttons I make will be polymer clay, functional and about 1 inch across. Being a Virgo I must plan a little tedium into my life to make me comfortable. Also I am a function junky, I want everything to work. There will be not buttons fashioned out of tin foil and cat hair.

Let the buttons begin.