It has been snowing all day. I didn’t feel like trudging to Herman’s Coffee Shop so I missed my Wednesday afternoon coffee group. I wasted most of the afternoon struggling with an extremely buggy upgrade to iWatermark Pro. But I digress.
The Shark Pot got its name from my studio mates who thought it resembled a shark. Indeed. Is it the mouth of the pot? Is it the flipper-like attachments? The Shark Pot brings other disturbing images to my mind which I will not share here. Suffice it to say that a visiting neighbor was so taken with its novelty and potential for horror (as a vessel for a Venus Fly Trap or maybe even sinister flora à la Little Shop of Horrors), that I felt compelled to send it home with him before Boris could break it.
I have gathered up a few tips and ideas that I am using in my workshop as I continue on my current obsession with learning how to make rings.
Plier Holder- Thrift shop find – a paper towel holder.
Rolling Mill Holder: Bench grinder stand from Harbor Freight and a couple of sturdy C clamps.
Sawblade Holder: Spice holder. Another thrift shop find.
I keep most of my stones in photo slide pocket storage pages in a three-ring binder.
I raised up my bench pin by securing it to a wooden box
I made a holder for flex shaft and rotary tool attachments. I found a wood box at the thrift store and drilled holes in the top.
And I can keep a few more items, like collets which I am always misplacing, in the box. It makes it easier to find things so I can spend more time learning and making things.
My husband is a silly man who often claims, when I ask him a question, that I am “grilling him like a salmon.” But he is a good sport. After all, he married me, didn’t he? So when we were in Pittsburgh last year for the opening of Into The Forest, he agreed when I told him I needed to make a stop at the Construction Junction. He even opened the door for me!
The Construction Junction is a nonprofit used and surplus building material retailer. It accepts all kinds of donations-construction materials, old appliances, electrical supplies, plumbing supplies, tools, lighting, building materials and many other things too numerous to mention. This keeps stuff out of landfills and gives it a second life when it leaves in the hands of a customer to be used in a new project.
But the construction junction is also a mecca for creative types. I found some embossed tiles there that make perfect polymer clay texture sheets. I got some brass pipe and metal parts that I will recycle into jewelry. If I wanted one of the vintage stoves that seem to be all the rage these days, I could pick one up at the Construction Junction and restore it to working order.
The place is HUGE, the staff is friendly and there is plenty of parking. Check it out if you find yourself in Pittsburgh.
Lindly Haunani arrived at Clayathon on President’s Day and informed us that Tory Hughes had died of ovarian cancer the day before, on Sunday. Tory was just 59. Not everyone at Clayathon was familiar with her body of work. She was one of the first to develop polymer imitative techniques. and to get on the video bandwagon. She made a series of polymer videos that are still in circulation. But she was more than a pioneer; she kept pushing herself and growing as an artist and teacher. Her work kept evolving. Cynthia Tinapple interviewed Tory in 2013, and you can watch the video here. To learn more about Tory and her work, visit the Polymer Art Archive, here.
There were a number of old-school polymer pieces for sale at the auction (which raised more than $3,000. A big chunk of it went to Ron Lehockey’s Heart Project.) An anonymous donor contributed a number of items by City Zen Cane, Grove and Grove, Pier Voulkos, Kathy Amt and others. Here are some pictures. I wish I had taken more.
And Sue Springer came through again orchestrating a collaborative mirror project. (She did this for the first time at Clayathon 2014) The finished mirror, which was also auctioned off, went home with a very happy person.
And finally, Cynthia Tinapple came to Clayathon this year and made a great video of the highlights. You can watch the video here. And if you want to learn more about pioneering polymer artists and their work be sure to check out the Polymer Art Archive.