Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

As you know if you read the last post I am headed for the IPCA retreat/conference in Chicago in less than a week. I have signed up for all three swaps and then hit a road block. I wanted to create beads that were uniquely me and still met the requirement of the two swaps to focus on "hot" colors.

I have been attempting for a while now to perfect my faux raku and have bought two books featuring ceramic raku to use as guides, and as this photo shows, I think I am almost there.

I still have a little bit of tweaking to do to make me completely happy. And I am trying very hard to use only supplies that are easily replaced so I won't have to remake my recipe later on.

This next photo shows all the bead backs I made last night. All 160 of them! I am using a method I learned from Louise F. Cozzie with alterations to fit my needs. Thank you Louise.
So today all these beads need fronts and it is time to return to the studio to do that. I will not show the finished bead sets until I am at the retreat just in case anyone wanders in to my posts. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise for the other swappers.

So until next time it is off to the studio....and the sewing machine...and the housework...and the garden....etc., etc. At least I shouldn't get bored.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Favorite Polymer Pieces

Long time no write. My bad. But today a treat. I am listing my biggest and best "jewelry jar" to date as well as a sample of my faux raku.

The jewelry jar is built around an odd shaped glass bowl/vase. It features faux turquoise, coral and bone/ivory. The spots around the lower edge are handmade with the buffalo motif and are the type usually reserved for better women's western wear. Around the lid is the necklace and it has faux and real turquoise and coral. The earrings are featured as a tassel. The inside of the jar is lined with velvet so it can be utilized to hold other jewelry items.

The faux raku bracelet is one of my favorites because I have worked so hard to imitate raku in a realistic manner. I have a lovely raku piece on my wall from a trip to San Antonio years ago. When I hold this bracelet up to it, it looks the same.

I hope to be posting photos and delightful encounters for the next few weeks. I leave next Sunday or Monday (depending upon how well I can contain myself) for Michigan to see my grand daughter and then to the IPCA retreat and conference in Chicago. I am buzzed about the trip and hope to be disciplined enough to share it properly here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guild day and demo

Today was our guild (Houston Polymer Clay Guild) meeting and I was to do a demo. The original demo was for using raw clay in paper punches and what to do with the punched out shapes once you got them. And I decided to be sure I had all ready on Thursday. My pasta machine had other ideas. After about 15 minutes at approximately 8:30 AM November 18 that puppy gave a loud, a very loud metallic roar and stopped going around and around. First I thought it was the pasta machine itself so I got the old one down. But the motor did not go. Okay, I have a spare, just for such occasions. Nope, didn't run the pasta machine - and it was only 6 weeks old. Whatever broke, broke really bad.

Since I had a few pennies from the successful show I called Rob at polymer clay express to overnight me a new one. Over 65 dollars the UPS people charge for that and it didn't show up until after dark last night. By that time I was feverish, literally. My sweet husband has given me his common old cold and I was miserable. So I went to bed and got up at 4 this morning to finish preparing for the demo. And the punched paper part of the demo went well.

But...there was a request for me to bring my big PCE ( extruder because one of our members wanted to test it thinking she might Santa herself one during the holidays. Now, it says right on the written instructions not to remove the second nut on the plunger assembly. I read it. I still removed the nut, before leaving the house to go to the demo. So there I am, pulling the plunger to show how easy it is. And it was. Really, really pull the plunger completely out of the handle which let loose a spring which let loose some metal pin which let loose part of the handle assemble which let loose the, well, I'm sure you get the picture. Luckily, no one had a camera on me in that disastrous moment. Our president who is an analytical engineer type, Bob, tried valiantly to fit the pieces together but in vain. So that part of the demo was not so good for my ego.

Can we say "Murphy" children? Remember the husband who so sweetly shared his cold germs with me? Well, he had the tools poor Bob didn't have at the meeting and was able to put my extruder back together after he took it further apart to get the sprung out pieces back in. Now it works. Now I have a fever again. But I have no obligations past folding clothes and continuing to work on the website until the weekend after Christmas. Oh joy. I love polymer clay. It is exciting to have a sale and sell my creative efforts. It is good for the ego to have a positive feedback from showing new or at least my twist on a technique. But I am ready for a break. And my tools have pretty much stated they want a day or two off as well.

Tomorrow, Harry Potter. Monday? Back to the grind. Have a safe and clayful rest of the weekend.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Checking in

Sorry to take so long with another post. I got so wrapped up in Lindly's class and getting ready for the Houston Bead Society November sale/show I just didn't make it back here.

First, the class was wonderful and so is Lindly Haunani. I learned a lot about color and enjoyed stepping outside my comfort zone. I'll have photos for that in a day or two.

Second, the show/sale was fun and, I feel, very productive. I sold a little over 10% of what I had available and traded some glass bead artists for some very special bead sets.

I'll have photos and more by Monday. Right now I am off to the studio to be sure all is ready for my demo at the Houston Polymer Clay Guild tomorrow. If you are interested, I'll be showing tips and techniques for using paper punches with raw polymer clay to add detail as well as how to use the "left over" hole from the punch. I'll be using dragonfly, flowers, frog and sea creature punches in the demo. For more information and directions to our meeting place go to . And, as an aside, the bead society meets in the same location, the same day at 10AM. Hope to see a new face there.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just wanted to get in a post before I went to bed even though it is late.
I think I mentioned about the way many of my bracelets looked good in person but the photos showed all the mistakes? Well, if you look to the left of this inventory photo it is clear what I mean. See the bent over piece of the edging? Yech. And yet, every person who sees this cuff just ohs and ahhs over it.
The lesson? Make sure my finishing techniques get much much better.
I did attempt a couple of new ways with clay today but I don't have any photos to upload yet. One effort is drying and after I cure it tomorrow I will call it a success or a lesson learned. I'll let you know.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What I Made Yesterday - Steampunk, Grannie Style

Here is a photo of my experiment in the studio yesterday. It started out from two separate needs.
First, I have gotten quite a few of those Cricut type dies for embossing because I hoped to use them for subtle texture but was not having the results I sought so I wanted to work on that. Second, after seeing all the photos David took, I was really, seriously unhappy with the edges on most of my aluminum armature cuffs. They look okay on the arm, but not good at all in the photos. Since one of my main goals is to promote polymer clay as a fine art, art jewelry material, I have to find a better, more visually pleasing way to do cuffs. And these reasons were why I was in the studio.
The first problem took multiple conditioning and set up but I finally got the embossing tools to work exactly as I had pictured when I purchased them. So now I had a piece of clay, roughly 6" x 8" with a steel & copper metallic colored subtle mica shift type pattern of gears and sprockets.
Now time to try the new covering technique I thought up. And it worked well I am happy to say. It is even easier and less time consuming than the other method. But the cuff was very plain. So I dipped into my supplies and found some of those Tim Holtz sprockets, gears and game spinner pieces he markets for paper and collage (told ya "if it doesn't run away, I'll try it with my clay" is my mantra). Still looked too plain.
My understanding of the steampunk look is to have the mechanics of a new industrial age with the romance of Victorian times. What is more romantic than pearls? Back to the supplies. Numerous pearls were tried and discarded. Originally I thought I wanted them to match on each side and then I remembered about "Pearlies". In Victorian times, these were street type performers who were known for having all sorts of pearl buttons (mother of pearl) sewn all over their clothing in a random fashion. Hence the name Pearlies. So now I was looking for two very different looking pearls. I was very happy to find one in my stash which echoed the coppery color I had mixed and to also find one with all those lines on it. Almost as if it had been given a machined edging. Perfect!
After getting my components together I put a couple of "aged to imperfection" marks on it and into the oven. No sanding on this one. The metallic clay gives it just enough sheen. Voila, subtle steampunk any Grannie can wear. Or a radical steampunk girl/guy can have one not so flashy piece as a complement to the others.
And I have enough of the patterned clay left over to make some tile beads today. I think I like the look enough I will make several more pieces. I'm thinking of mixing up a dark, mildew/mossy/verdigris green with a brassy/dull gold for the under layer and a brighter/softer metallic green for the top layer. Then doing the same thing with blues. No pinks though. I am so tired of pink from all the mokume I did. Just can't face pink right now.
Enough rattling....back to the studio.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Small Jewelry Jar

This jewelry jar started its life as a small jar of Oil of Olay night cream. I liked the shape and wanted to recycle. I used faux malachite from one of the many techniques books out there but it has been so long ago I don't remember which one. The black "lava" was my own attempt and I a not to displeased with it. This jar is so small it really holds only the one pair of oval faux malachite earrings.

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