Friday, December 19, 2014

Blends on Ends

Left to right, top to bottom, Start,blend and condense, flatten, add gold and cut.
I have been playing with blends used in mokumegane. I really like the effects that you get from condensing a blend so it is flat and using a thin layer on some scrap clay. It works dark or light side up. I have added a very thin layer of gold clay and use one of my stamps.

With a little luck I will make a few finished items tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Whole Lot of Tooting Going on

Glass and polymer clay - a great team.
I would like to thank all of you who have ordered my tutorial. Just the thing for a Christmas stocking or way to call children playing in the snow, or if you are in Australia, back in from the pool.

 Here in Vancouver we have neither sun or snow. We have the Pineapple Express, that means warmer than one would expect for this time if year with torrential rains. Well, we do live in a rain forest. A good day to work on Christmas ornaments at the studio or sit in the market waiting for shoppers. How would go shopping in this weather? Oh well........

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's Finally Come to Blows - Whistle Tutorial

These are examples of what you can make.
"Make your own polymer clay whistle. A nine page tutorial with photo and pictures to show you how to make your own polymer clay whistle.
In spite of the simplicity of the this design it has taken me years of small changes to come up with an efficient way to make a polymer clay whistle. You may achieve success the first time that you try but if you don't try again. It is not as easy as it looks, but once you get the hang of it you will wonder what was the problem." from the tutorial.

Give it a try. I have been working on this tutorial for a long time. I blush to admit that it has been years, but it is done. If you want to make your own polymer clay whistles for Christmas here is something to help.

Where do I get this tutorial?
Press here.

Where do I get whistle forms?
Press here

You can also made you own forms by cutting automotive brake line with a pipe cutter

These are whistle forms.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Eastside Culture Crawl

Here  is the excuse for not postin for the last month. I have been running scared. The approach of the Eastside Culture Crawl, production for the season and a big wholesale order all at the same time. I will not let the happen again. "Just say NO" is not only for drugs. Next year try for better timing and do more translucent clay.

The lights in the picture a  my project for the Crawl the year. If  are in Vancouver drop by 884 East Georgia and see the work of my studio mate Ray Ophoff and me. More tomorrow with better pictures I hope.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Knit Wit

This is my current excuse for not a blogging. KNIT CITY That and the desire to get a little work and production done before Christmas. If you are a knitter or fabric fan in Vancouver or there about this is and event that you will not want to miss.

See you there maybe.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Still Here

Shawl pins and mirrors
This is the time of year that I barely move away from production. This year is no exception.

The only show that I am doing this year besides Granville Island Market is Knit City that is fast approaching on October 4th and 5th. I am hoping to get more knitting related items ready by them but today I am meeting friends to try out silk screening on to polymer clay. Something that Nancy demonstrated at out last guild meeting.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Production Therapy

Ladybugs looking for a home.
In the shuffle to get myself settled in the market again, I have misplaced my ladybug cane. If I make a new one I am sure to find the old one but I think that will indulge myself with a simple day of production. Production therapy is almost like meditation.  That is why knitting is so popular - you meditate and you get socks or a sweater.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Finally Comes the Little Dragon

I made this stamp last year and I never put it up on Etsy. No excuses but that I am back in Vancouver refreshed and full of ideas. It is time to take care of some things that I have been putting off.  I am finally posting\my Chameleon stamp for sale.

Actually while I was away Cindy Leitz, aka Polymer Clay Tutor, did a demo of my chameleon stamp, so it seems like a good idea to get it up on the net today

So happy stamping and enjoy your day. And thank you Cindy for reviewing my stamp. You taught me a few things too. Keep up the good work. If you want to buy the Chameleon stamp PRESS HERE to go to it on my Etsy site.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Me and the Red Queen - Again

Glamour Whistle
I can't let a month go by with out a post of any kind. So here is the only post for August.

I have been running hard to shat in the same place, like the Red Queen. That is what the summer is like here. Now I am going away for a week while my son Max looks after my table at Granville Island. It has been a great summer so far, just not enough hours in the day.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sculpy III - Shrinkage

Ever wonder how much polymer clay shrinks when you cook it? I have read that it doesn't shrink but I found out that is not entirely true. This picture is the corner of a 10 inch (55.5 cm) square piece of Sculpy III. The square shrank about 1/4 (11 mm) of an inch. (Because I wrapped a little clay around the corner I had some cracking.)

I am not sure if this is the same for other brands.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Poodle Power

Use the tools you have. Or in my case, use the tools that you find on the road. This little pink poodle appeared on the road other day. I liked the way it looked so I used it to create the mokumegane pattern on these  pins. I have no idea what the poodle was originally but it makes a good texture.

Tools are where you find them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

49 Shades of Green

To get the right green some times you have to break the rules, if there are any rules. Premo wasabi green gets
help from Fimo Classic navy and Fimo soft white to creat a blend that I am happy with.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

One Class in July

This July 19th I will be offering an introductory polymer clay class at my studio space need the corner of East Georgia and Campbell in Vancouver, Canada. I will provide all the tools and enough clay for the class.
We will out with basic millefiori. Secrets will be revealed. A small bowl will be made.

This will be a very small class of four to six students. If you wish more information go to my page on classes.
You can see what we made in ;the last class by following this link.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Leaf Veins

Here is an idea of how to make mokumegane leave veins quick and simple. If I have done it right the pictures should speak for themselves. In case there is any doubt:

1. Top layer is red. This will be the centre of the leaves. The second layer is gold, which will outline the veins, and because I like touch of gold.

2. The stack is flattened and recombined three times and then scored back and forth.

3. The surface is cut back to reveal the under colour.  A cutter is used ti make leaf shapes. That's it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

How Long Does it Take?

About six hour work - not very fast
"How long does it take to make this?"

Every who has sold work in a market has heard this question at least a couple of times a day. "As long as it takes", is not the right answer but it is really difficult to determine the amount of time one piece takes when each cane takes, well - as long as it takes. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Clean Machine

Here is a way to make keep your work area clean.

I first saw a version of this idea at our polymer clay retreat, Horizons, in February.

AC thank you, if  you read this stand up and take bow.

Basically, the pasta machine is raised high enough off the table that your knuckles will clear the table top. The wooden base can be clamped on to the table at an angle that  is comfortable use.

The added bonus is that with the machine set in from the edge of the table, less clay makes its way to the floor.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Moku Dragonfly

One of the great things about  being on Granville Island is the community of artist. A lot cross pollination goes on.

I was working on my dragonfly earring design and noticed a fridge magnet made by one of the other artists. There was a bit of clay prepared for mokumegane in front of me and a dragonfly box just happened.

Roshaan  Ganief is the creator of the dragonfly and many wooden creations large and small. Go and see her work at Mokajade Wood Creations.

I am looking forward using more of her magnets to create more images in polymer clay.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wired on Dragonflies

I finally figured out how to make dragonfly earrings. Once I made the  decision to use 24 gauge copper wire and 4mm carnelian beads as base I found the rest relatively easy. Refinements can be made but I am almost sold out which is a good thing.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Glow in the Dark Boxes

More little boxes. these ones glow in the dark. To achieve this effect I have used Fimo soft glow in the dark clay. To achieve the blue I have added a little translucent blue mixed with glow in the dark clay.

For more information about glow in the dark clays, follow this link.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Little Ladybug Lockets

These are becoming a favourite on my table at the market. Those ladybugs get into everything.

The ladybug are the size of ladybugs to give the scale of the lockets.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Who Came and What They Made

A bowl made by each of the participants.
Today was the first class at my studio. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and turned out some impressive work for the first time working on Millefiori.

Fear not the millie it is your friend.

I am trying to give classes the third Saturday of every month. We will see how that goes.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Let the Slices Stand up for Themselves

On these little boxes I have not flatten the slices of cane. I just brush the surface clay with LPC ( liquid polymer clay) and gently tap the floral slices into place. This gives the box a pleasant three dimensional effect.

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Cup of Tea

Here is a puzzle

All of the earrings in the top top pictures are made using my Tempest in a Teapot stamp. See if you can see which part of the stamp each of the sets comes from.

I like to turn the designs 180 degree sometimes to give the set a kind of almost symmetry.


Monday, May 12, 2014

The Beginning of the Silly Season

The silly season is underway went the amount of work and play exceeds the number hours in the day. Posting on this blog has fallen off my wagon so I am going to start posting pictures just to keep thing a little livelier until I have some think to say. 

I start back at Granville Island Market Thursday 15th  after a week off, so if yo
u are in Vancouver I might see you there.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Will the Real Egg Stand Up

Theirs - the real deal
Mine real PC - eggs from long ago and boxes from this month

I am back at are my table in Granville Island after a short trip to California. Back to the market and the rain but one bright Easter spot is the pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter Eggs. The lady selling completed eggs and supplies to make your own graciously answered all my questions leading me to a better understanding of the time these little gems take. I am including the link to the Pysanky web site in case there are some brave souls who would like to get a head start on next year.

For those out there that are content to cover eggs with polymer clay I am including links to past posts on the subject. One is on blowing and preparing eggs and the other is on covering the eggs with a thin sheet of polymer clay.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Care and Feeding of an Extruder

I have recently been called on to organize a class which I have decided to base around the little extruder marketed be Sculpey. It is an inexpensive and fun way to introduce adults and children to polymer clay.  I seldom use an extruder in my work I thought that it was time review it's uses.

Here is a hint that I had almost forgotten until spent more then ten minutes cleaning the brand new extruder after only one use. This is not a cost effective use of time.

Here is a way to make your extruder virtually cleaning free. 

Someone gave me the plastic wrap tip but I am not remember who, but thank you.

1.A  Here is what you will need: an extruder, a bit of clay ( I have used white and green.) and the magic ingredient, a piece in thin plastic wrap cut large enough to wrap around the clay with slight over lap and to cover one end of the clay.

1.B This clay is wrapped and ready to be inserted into the extruder tube. Be careful that there are no bits of plastic covering the open end of the clay.

2. Here the wrapped clay is inserted into the tube. Screw on the extruder plate of your choice with the extruder ring and insert the plunger into the tube. (Sorry I didn't get a picture of this last part.)

3. Well this looks a little mysterious. Those are my feet pushing down the extruder which I have placed on the floor. This is the easiest and quickest way to get this little extruder to work. It is much easier on the hands too.

Does anyone else do this?  I am sure someone else must have had sore hands and decided to take it to the floor and use their feet. I think I learn this approach from my cat.

4. When you have finished extruding, take the plunger out of the extruder tube. There is only a trace of clay left clinging to the plastic wrap.

5. Remove the plastic wrap from the plunger.

6. An almost perfectly clean extruder tube and the bit of plastic wrap having done it's job well.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Why Things Break

I recently received a comment on my article on breakage from a reader.

I am pulling my hair out! I've cooked and recooked and still breaking. What is the highest temperature you would bake Premo? I'm up to 300 deg and it still breaks... thanks!

 I cook most work whether Fimo or Premo at 280 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. The excepttion would be thicker things which I cook longer. Other than that there are two or three possible other reasons for breakageThere are two or three possible other reasons for breakage: 
1.) Your oven is not as hot as you think. A remote possibility but check with an oven thermometer to eliminate the possibility.
2.)Perhaps some Sculpy III or other weaker clay has been mixed in with you clay.
3.) If your clay is conditioned thoroughly, 20 or 30 times trough the paste machine or the equivalent, should make the clay strong if it is cooked long enough and hot enough..

I hope this helps.
Other answers to this problem welcome.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Silky Elegance

One of my new bracelet finds kindred colours in a silk scarf created by Louise Valentine and Brian Provencher. If you are in Granville Island Market this week you can see more their silks but I am taking a little time off from the market for the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

On Island Time

I am into my third week this month at Granville Island Market and I really have not got into blogging from there, but I am still alive, well and producing from my Market table "studio". I will be there until the middle of next week.

Monday, February 24, 2014

First Saturdays Vancouver

Just because I needed a visual
I had been thinking of having a studio open house but some how never got around to organizing it. So when I met neighbour, Val Artzn, who reminded me of First Saturday  a group of artist open their studio to public visits on the first Saturday of the month. Not all the studios are open every first Saturday but there is always some thing interesting to see.

So this in an invitation to drop and see me at 884 East Georgia, Vancouver between 12:00 noon and 5:00 PM. You can enter via the back alley. I will leave the gate open. Just come through and knock on the door and you will be in. I will be there and  so will my studio mate, painter Ray Ophoff.

While you are in the neighbourhood you can visit the founder of First Saturday in Vancouver, Val, at her studio at AMP Studio 800 Keefer Street at Hawks. You can visit Val's site to see what she is up to.                                               

Saturday, February 22, 2014

DYI Texture Sheet from a Larger Stamp

Have you ever thought that there was a part of a stamp or texture sheet that your especially liked? Well, here is how you can make a new texture sheet from using that special part of a larger stamp.

1. I have chosen to start with a stamp I designed called Fish and Crab. I making a texture sheet using the left hand corner of the stamp. When I cut along the curves I have included the tip to the crab's foot but you will see that it sort of disappears in the final texture sheet

2. Using Sculpy Bake and Bend, I have taken a number of impressions of the chosen area. I do this by using a middle setting on my pasta machine and then use the thickest setting with the rubber stamp and the sheet of PC clay. On my Atlas machine the sheets are #4 and the stamp and texture sheet are run through at the widest setting, #1. You will have to vary these settings depending other the thickness of your rubber stamp. Don't forget to use cornstarch to prevent the clay from sticking to the stamp.  (If you haven't got Bake and Bend other clay will do but I like the flexibility of B&B.)

3. Trim the impressions to make shapes that will fit together. The clay will bend a little so if you chose a curved design as I have you can bend cut and trim to fit them together. Squares and triangle shapes should be even easier to fit together. The brushed the edges with LPC (Liquid Polymer Clay) to help them bond. This is especially important because on the cornstarch that was used to keep the clay from sticking to the stamp in #2.

4. Here is the resulting texture sheet. The darker sheet underneath is a impression of the new texture sheet which could also be used as a texture sheet. ( The little white bits are just cornstarch. I use a lot of that when I am making impressions in clay.)

5. I have demonstrated the new texture sheet by making a stack on different colours for mokumegane.

6. The new texture sheet in action. Cutting through the clay reveals one to the possiblityies for this new texture sheet.

I hope someone one else will try this and tell me how it goes.

And the usual disclaimer for those who find grammar and spelling errors in my writing, I will change it when it is pointed out to me. If I worried about it I would write nothing.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Crackle Applied

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Veneers From Scraps

Veneer on the left and potential pendants on the right.
When while back at the ranch. I am continuing on my merry caning way. I am always pleased with the veneers that result from scraps when you are developing complex caning patterns. So don't throw those scraps away. with the addition of a few unifying cane slices they can make a striking veneer. I often like the veneer better then the original cane work..

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Crackling Good Time

Yesterday at our month guild meeting, the  ten of us dug into Tina Holden's crackle tutorial. We all go results that we were pleased with. It is nice to insert an element of spontaneity into a medium that does not leave a lot of room for happy accidents. I have not used surface techniques in the pass so it is good to have master like Tina to light the way. She has other techniques that I am anxious to try out but I am getting away from the subject at hand. If you want to try this technique contact Tina and down load her tutorial.

Two things came to light during the meeting. If you are used to using Fimo clay, as I am, you made find that water will make the clay sticky. Tina recommends Premo clay for this project. If you do use Fimo as I did, you should quick blot it the water up to prevent stickiness. The other thing we all agreed on was the superiority of Pinata dyes for this project. The popular Adirondack dyes did not yield the colour intensity but otherwise delivered acceptable results. If you cannot find Pinata dyes at you local craft store You will be able to order it on line from Shades of Clay. I am sure that there are other online dealers but Shades of Clay is our go to place in Canada.

So go for it! By yourself or get a group of friends together. Get Tina's tutorial and remember to start ahead. That will make sense when you read the tutorial.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Getting to the Point

For when you need a needle
Here is a little dyi tool that I could not do without. One of the most annoying things to find in a finished piece is an unexpected bump in the middle of a lovely flat surface. This happens when there is a little air caught between the layers on the clay. I find this happen especially when I an making things with the mokumegane technique.

Simply embedding the eye end off a fine needle in polymer clay will make a tool that will allow you to prick an area to release trapped air. Make the end of your needle tool large enough that you can easily find it in your work space and pretty enough that you won't mistake it for scrap clay. It only take a second to make one of these and they are more then work the time. Much easier to find than a needle by itself.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Just Trying to Make a Good Impression

Fish and Crab - back on the menu
During the Christmas rush I got a complaint from someone who bought a rubber stamp from me. I removed the stamp, Fish and Crab, from my Etsy shop and settled with my unhappy customer. I didn't want to continue to sell the stamp until I had a chance to work with it again myself. In the past I have use this stamp with polymer clay and have had little problem but I thought that the new batch of stamps might not have been as good. After a few trials and talking with a friend that has been using this stamp I have decided that it would be alright to puts it back in my Etsy shop.

Delicate patterns are never going to make as deep a depression as bolder design so that has to be taken into consideration when choosing a stamp. My stamps contain both bold and delicate parts but I trust that the will not be a barrier to others creativity. I hope that all my stamps act as stepping stones in the path to creating original new work by others artists and craft people

Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting Ahead by Looking Back

Years ago I made some cat head fridge magnets for my mother-in-law. Some china ones that she liked kept falling to the floor and eventually broke to pieces so I made some replacements that would not break. My dear mother-in-law passed away years ago but my sister-in-law found the heads and put them back into use with the addition of a hockey sweater. These were not my favourites when I made them but with the detachment of years they don't look as bad as I remember. I will never make such things again but it is nice to be reminded of where I came from and the ones that I
left behind.

Thanks, Celeste, for the ticket down memory lane.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

When Friends Get Together

When someone gets and new clay extrude for Christmas and a mum goes and bunch of
clay and friends get together to clay. Magic can happen.Thanks for the invitation to drop in to see the fun.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Granville Island Again?

Granville Island is where I spend all my time lately.
I have spend most of my time on the island lately. I can work on clay there but I will have to be more disciplined about blogging.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Where Inspiration Comes From

I have been away from home for the last few days so there has been no opportunity to work with polymer clay. Even with no clay hands have to be busy. I have been drawing a lot, mostly from my imagination but there comes a time when the imagination needs a boost. Sometimes it will be a crack in the wall, but this time it was a cookie tin. I was thinking primulas, and this cooky tin the boost that I needed. I am hoping to get some new stamps in the spring and these primulas are in the  running.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Nothing to Say on New Years Day