Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the wonderful world of biology

When artists speak of being inspired by the natural world, they seldom mean at the molecular level, which is a shame. Nature's exquisite forms aren't limited by the resolution of the human eye.

I just wish that I could have reached this conclusion other than by pondering the nasty cold I appear to be coming down with . . .

Monday, March 30, 2009

FAIL

Alas, if only there was a real-world 'undo' button. My lovely bottle of hope that I had thought to send to the Texas BOH Challenge fell victim to my perfecting attempts today. If only the point at which every further modification will only make things worse was evident in foresight, instead of hindsight . . .

Friday, March 27, 2009

a bit about finishes

I have an awful time trying to keep the various finishes for polymer clay straight. The minutiae of water-based vs oil-based vs whatever- always slips my mind once I'm actually at the hardware store, staring at the floor wax.

(note: I know there are finishes made especially for use with polyclay, but in my experience they are cloudy and goopy and not very hard. Perhaps I wasn't using them right, but I certainly am not a fan.)

Types of finishes referenced here:
-acrylic interior polyurethane ("varathane")
-acrylic floor polish ("Future")

These MUST be water-based, NOT petroleum-based. (For some reason, this is the hardest part for me to remember!) The most important thing is what the label says about how you wash up or clean up after using it. So long as it says you can wash the brushes or applicators with soap and water, you have the right product. Varathane is more durable than the Future, but Kato clays (and possibly other transparent and glow-in-the-dark clays) will only take Future.

Other helpful notes:
-pour out a small amount to work with anyway, for example, in a glass baby food jar
-Use a good quality, soft hair brush, (mine's about 1/4 wide)
-wait for an item to cool completely; coating a warm item makes the Varathane dry immediately and it streaks.
-dries in 30 minutes but depending on humidity, can take a week or so to fully cure
-set the coating (200 degrees, for 5-10 min.), esp. thicker coatings
-it's always a good idea to clean the clay with rubbing alcohol before putting a finish on it

This info was compiled mostly from the Glass Attic's Finishes-Sealers page - an absolutely wonderful resource!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

insecurity

I wonder how common insecurity is among crafters? Is my opinion of my own work pessimistic, or realistic?

You see, now that I'm nearly finished with the boh I am/was planning to send in for the North Texas challenge, I'm getting cold feet. (cold postage stamps?) I think maybe it's because somehow I have invested so much of myself in this project that I'm afraid to part with it to a less than loving home. Also, I think, what am I doing entering a challenge of all things? What if the organizers get is and are like 'yuck! what on earth are we supposed to do with this?'

Self-doubt is one of those ridiculous things that is dangerous to have either too much or too little.

Monday, March 23, 2009

we're in the money

I really wanted to go to Dan Cormier's class this weekend, but $250?!? There's no way. Even if the money were to fall out of the sky, there are many more important things that I could use the money on. Plus there's the little fact that I've never been to a polymer clay workshop, and so wouldn't know what to do with myself.

But I still wish I could go. (or, rather, magically learn the information)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

hope is the thing with feathers

bluebirdpair

From wikipedia: "The mythology of the bluebird of happiness has deep roots that go back thousands of years. . .It is the most universally accepted symbol of cheerfulness, happiness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health, new births, the renewal of springtime, etc."

And sweetest in the gale is heard/And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird/That kept so many warm.

bluebird

Friday, March 20, 2009

she's got a good personality

No pictures today, unfortunately. The camera is a wicked tease with its battery life.

A while back, I posted on facebook that there needs to be a word for something that obviously took a lot of time/effort, but was in the end hideous. Nobody could help me out. I was pondering some of my recent forays into new (to me) techniques and thought again of the need for that word.

Also, what do other people do with the things they make that are too awful to give/sell/display, but that took too much effort to just chuck in the trash?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

just one of those days

I'm going to try to at least prep the clay for Confucius tonight in preparation for VAharoni's baking parchment transfer. We'll see if it gets done - if it's anything like this day has been, it will somehow use all my clay, embed into itself more cat hair than even my two cats have ever produced, then bake itself and try to take over the world.

So, yeah. If you hear of a giant ratty piece of polymer clay rampaging throughout the southern US, don't look at me. Because if tomorrow even starts to look like today, I'm staying in bed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Confucius say


While looking up Confucianism this afternoon (and realizing once again how patchy my education is) I found this picture, which is perfect for something, I just have to figure out what.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cassowary Jewelry



This is fantastic. Not only the transfer, which takes advantage of the characteristic desaturation of polymer clay transfers to add a certain vintage quality to the piece, but the color scheme of the whole is just perfect. Can I be that necklace when I grow up?

Monday, March 16, 2009

creative taskmaster

I wish I knew of a good 'to-do' online widget. Right now I use listography, but it's far from ideal for that.

BOHs - soak bottles, sketch out ideas
Pansies - add more pastels before sealing
Faces box - second sepia wash
Teapot box - major repairs with ivory
Tea cozy - call Yarns Etc to see if they have the yarn I need
Knitting markers - test rings idea
Mesa beads - finish reaming

I also need to clean up both my craft area - it's starting to get a little cluttery - and the room around it (which is long past cluttery). Also I need to revamp my creativity folder and expand the area for ideas. And, unfortunately, it's time for Gikow's book to go to the library. That's a book I'd like to own.

Also the trash needs to go out. But that's neither here nor, unfortunately, there.

Friday, March 13, 2009

way back machine


I love this necklace by Heather of Humble Beads. I have such a hard time putting together things in a creative way that I am in awe of anyone who can.

(In a mostly unrelated note, I found this picture, unlabeled, in my inspiration folder and was able to do some minor internet sleuthing to attach a name to it. Go me.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

teapot, tempest optional

teapot box in progress

This is the teapot box I'm working on currently. It's my most 'in progress' project at the moment; i.e. it's the one I work on first when I have a minute. The top is built, finally. Now it needs crevice filling with TLS and some serious sanding. The bottom, on the other hand, is barely begun - and I still don't know what I'm going to do about the spout. It took me two days to figure out the relatively simple handle. Maybe while I'm sick and can't work (or sleep!) I'll look at some online and try to figure it out. Also I need to decide how closely I want to follow the shape of the actual box on the bottom. Right now I have one tier of figural decorationy stuff underway, but I'm wondering if it wouldn't look better with a second of about the same height but a smaller diameter. I can't wait to get back to work on it - a cold has destroyed all my energy and powers of concentration, and so my poor lonely teapot sits, gathering dust . . . Of course, my enthusiasm was dampened somewhat when, while trying to find inspiration for the spout online, I ran across these lovely teapot boxes. Surely I can't be the only one discouraged instead of inspired by obviously superior work? It's why I have a love/hate relationship with various professional polyclay galleries. I immensely enjoy looking, but it fills me with despair, then, when I return to my own work. This isn't that abnormal, right?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

flower power

DSC_7186.JPG

These are the pansies I mentioned before. I think I'm going to make them into magnets, once they're sealed. This was my first attempt at using pastels on clay, and I really enjoyed it. I had trouble getting a really rich color in spots, though.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lentils, lentils everywhere


I love lentil beads but I'm always at a loss for what to do with them. And I can never get double strand necklaces to hang right. But Barbara Fajardo solves both problems very neatly with this beautiful necklace.
I had a dentist appointment yesterday and then consoled myself with craft shopping; Joann's and Michael's both have good coupons this week so I was able to get two of the big bricks of clay and a new set of stamps - now if I only had time to play with them!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sea of Faces


This is the box I mentioned in my last post. It was my first foray into faux ivory. It didn't turn out that well, though that was more due to the fact I was trying multiple new things at once (faux ivory, covering a box, layering molded pieces, antiquing) than the ivory method I used (Sue Heaser's, as opposed to the layered stack or the little tubes methods). It was fun though, especially the antiquing, which doesn't look that good in the photo but looks cool in person. I also used 0000 steel wool for the final sanding pass, and really loved the result. It brings out a sheen that I hadn't been able to achieve before with most other methods. Plus it's really easy on a piece with a zillion nooks and crannies like this, as opposed to some sort of dremel-based method.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Projects Underway

These are only the projects currently not in hibernation; otherwise the list would itself go unfinished.

Mom's tea cozy - currently 2/3 done, need to get more yarn
Swallow pendant - need to paint the edges, then seal and string
Pansy magnets - not really sure what to do on these next, which is why they're not finished. they need something in their centers, I'm just not sure what
Teapot box - for some reason I'm really dragging my feet on the bottom half of the box (though not literally - that would be strange)

Also I need to decide what to do with my undersea pendant (whether to trash or try to salvage it) and my sea of faces box (it can't live on my mantel forever, but I don't think I could sell it).

Huh. That's not as bad as I thought it was. I feel less overwhelmed now. With craft projects, anyway.

edited to add: also creative simmerings on the contests ennumerated below; most notably sketching out some boh ideas

edited to add II: also the knitting markers. maybe it is as bad as I thought it was.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lethe


I have a bunch of pictures on my hard drive, saved from the web for one reason or another, before I realized the importance of saving info with the pictures. Oops. Case in point: this beautiful necklace, which I vaguely remember is polymer clay, but I don't know anything else about it. Except that it's beautiful, of course.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

another day, another blog


Found another cool PC blog today - Polymer Clay Chameleon. She features various artists, much in the same way PC Daily does,only different artists. It's cool to see the same topic from a different perspective. Plus her finds are gorgeous (see above from vickicockroft and chopoli)!

Checked Michael's and Joann's today - alas, no Fimo on sale. Also, maybe it's just me, but it looks like their variety of PC supplies are dwindling. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong. I hate ordering online.

Finally figured out what to make someone for their birthday - stitch markers! Now I just have to order the beads I want; there are perfect ones at orientaltradingcompany.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

hopefulness


I've been thinking about the bottles of hope challenge, and collected these quotes:

The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise. -Miguel De Cervantes

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. -Martin Luther King Jr.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. - Hebrews 6:19a

Hope is the golden thread that should be woven into every experience of life. -anon

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. -Hal Borland

Such is hope, heaven's own gift to struggling mortals, pervading, like some subtle essence from the skies, all things both good and bad. -Charles Dickens

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul -- and sings the tunes without the words -- and never stops at all. -Emily Dickinson

Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear. -Spinoza

Brainstorming: bottle with wings, phoenix (flaming or chick from ashes), HOPE in illuminated manuscript style, lit flame/aladdin's lamp, four seasons mosaic, yin/yang

More Contests

Contests are fun because they essentially give 'prompts' for creativity. The one I mentioned yesterday, and Two more contests to mention today.

Fire Mountain Gems' annual contest is rolling around again, with the deadline on April 15th this year. The problem with them is you have to use their components, so I'd have to design something around their sale page, rather than just what I have on hand. Possible, if I can find something inspirational on their page, but the deadline is coming up awfully soon.

The other, slightly more doable is the Bead Star 2009 contest - plastics is the polymer clay category, though several others look doable too. The deadline for this one is May 1st.

Time to get started!

Monday, March 2, 2009

bottles of hope


The North Texas Polymer Clay Guild is sponsoring a bottles of hope contest. The deadline is April 10th. I'd really like to enter:
- for the exposure (not that that matters until I can restock my etsy shop)
- in memory of D-daddy, whose bottles I was given by Deedie
- because it's a nice thing to do for people

So far my brainstormings haven't been very productive:
- Hope: clay backed butterfly topper, pandora's box, sun and clouds
- Shape: tree, mushroom, castle tower, gnome

More than the contest, I'd really like to come up with something that would inspire the eventual recipient. Intriguingly, this points to another craft/faith nexus of the type I've been pondering recently. I think my head is a rock tumbler, turning nuggets of ideas over and round until they come out polished and ready for presentation. It's just a very sloooow process, most of the time, and craft/faith nexus needs to go back in for a while.

First Post

I had so many good ideas for this blog when I couldn't get to my computer this evening. Now that I'm here, where have they all gone?

I've been toying with the idea of a crafty blog for some time. It seemed redundant given the zillions (read six or seven) other places on the interwebs where I've staked my claim, but tonight I decided that I had my fingers in enough craftalicious pies that I needed a place to organize and store my thoughts specifically related to creating things.

That's assuming I can ever come up with thoughts while actually at the computer.