Thursday, December 23, 2010

Quiet scene


I 'll just finish off the the year with a few pictures of the creche my daughter has been making since she was 7.  She is 13 now.  I realized that polymer has been around in our household for longer than I thought...

The angel..

Such earnest wise men...

The small shepherd and his tiny flock..

We are all proud of our children...

The cat watches from on high...

The dog is so happy, you can just tell...
I hope you are all happy too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Working hollow

I said on my last post that I'd be back to talk about bracelets...

It seems like a timely post if you are a follower of Polymer Clay Daily, as Cynthia Tinapple is showing the new work of Ford and Forlano.  Based on using hollow tubes with multiple layers of colours (shown by slicing) which are then sliced into beads and assembled, this new work is exciting to me personally because working hollow is my preferred way to use polymer!  There are so many ways to use it, although, like every technique in polymer, it is not without its difficulties.  I just can't seem to do solid stuff and this must be a result of working with inflated forms in glass for 18 years..(I couldn't work sculpting solid glass either but if you're interested look here at the work of Pino Signoretto!)

I also want to thank Maggie Maggio for most generously sharing her 'split ring' tutorial with the polymer community.  It planted a seed in my mind about how to make hollow bracelets smaller, by enabling them to stretch over even my ham hands (18 years of  working glass has some fallout - oh the scars!) without breaking!  Being smaller, they look better on and don't clunk annoyingly round on your wrist.  Being hollow, they have a lot more flex than solid polymer, although there is a limit and you have to choose your polymer carefully.  I wonder what clay Ford and Forlano use?

My interest with these bracelets is to make this natural, tendrilly form present a canvas for decoration - colour and more particularly - texture.  It is easy enough to make a stretched smooth hollow form, because as you stretch and elongate polymer, the textures blur, so I've found the initial lump that forms the bracelet is quite (hideously) different to the final piece. It is not like reducing a cane, where, if you are good at it, you confidently expect everything to be the same but in miniature!  The thought process is more, 'How will this 4 inch piece of polymer look when it is elongated to 1 and a half feet?'  You have to be prepared to go with the flow on this....Of course, you can then fire the piece and add things to it, but those marks and additions can be really out of sync with the form unless you are careful.  I'm getting better at adding things that don't jar the final feeling.

I think of this one as driftwood for your arm, I like the minimal colour (a little odd for me).

Altogether now!


I'm still testing the durability of these - I'll be wearing some white blanks that I've made over the holidays and taking them on and off a lot so, we'll see.  Meanwhile, think hollow!  I've got a lot of new ideas for thinning out the wall thickness as well.

I suspect I won't be back to blog until the new year, so I'm sending out a very big thank you to all of the people who've taken the time to read my blog and follow it.  I have over 100 followers now (105 to be pedantically precise..) and I enjoy reading your comments and suggestions so much!  Ah, idea!  I'm going to have a giveaway in January for one these bracelets and one of you lovelies can road test it for me. ( Let's hope it doesn't end up as roadkill...)  And on that note - happy holidays and a huge rest to all of you - particularly jibby and juna, whose fingers are sore!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Voila is good to me!

Yesterday I found out that I was a 'polymerista' for the month of December on the European Clay site Voila!  It's always exciting when these things sneak up on you, when you suddenly recognize your work staring you in the face on another site.  All the more exciting as it was for a set of beads that I'm particularly fond of - another in my series of beads using metallic paints and finishes, and tiles.  This set resulted from consciously limiting the clay and colours I could use - blue and gold metallic and white clay.  Well, some black acrylic paint did creep in there, but that's where I'm at these days - enjoying the look of applied time, I guess!  (Time in a bottle..)

These beads vanished from my Etsy shop the day I posted them, so I'm thinking further experimentation is required.  Let's hope I don't start to complicate these, I'm famous for adding layers of unneccessary fussiness that kills the visual effect.  Think simple, simple....
I'll be back in a couple of days to tackle the bracelet brigade.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ingredients of a challenge

It's not hard to challenge me, I do find lots of stuff difficult.  Lately, though, putting jewelry together has been the hardest thing of all, as I seem to have momentarily lost my eye for what works.  Sadly.  But when Erin from Treasures found put out a color chip challenge, it seemed like a good springboard to gently launch myself in the right direction!  All well and good if you don't leave things to the LAST day, but I digress...

I asked her to give me colors that I'm not always unconsciously gravitating towards and she sent me these:

Working feverishly this morning I mixed these colors in clay:

At least these colors are in the ball park!  The green I mixed is actually greener than this,  it's a  rotten shot...
Then these jumped into the picture:

I started rolling out a hollow tube with the four colours in it and later, much later, I had my hollow collar... It's difficult to photograph , so I indulged myself by making a mosaic with many, many (too many) details!  Oh well, it's really the only way to show that I actually used all four colors and melded them discreetly with the judicious use of gold and black.  (Everyone looks good in black,  gold maybe not so much...)  It has an interesting amount of strength and flexibility.

Now I'm going to cheat and use words from 3 of the colors I was given to name it.  As I look at the details and the colors, a lot of great veldt herd animal horns and colorations spring to mind so, of course, Africa has to be, then, is the 'African Getaway Collar'!

Of course, if I had to do it again, I'd do something a little different.  But that, my friends, is the beauty of a challenge like this!  No pressure ( except my nemesis, time) to make production or list it or sell it.  It doesn't have to be successful or even practical!  Just a big jump into something you've never done before....with colors you usually ignore.

Thanks, Erin!  Now I'm going to treat myself and go look at the other leaps...
Please, everyone check them out!