My New Hat

     Life has its ups and downs.  Sometimes a girl’s just gotta get herself a new hat.  I got this great hat from The Hats You Want Then I decided to dress it up for the summer with ribbon and some fabric flowers. I love it because it is crushable, packable and so very me.

Ancient Patinas

     Here are some new  twists on  polymer clay surface techniques I have been working on.   You can see some earlier incarnations in the Keepsake Memory Book I demonstrated on HGTV, and my work in Ellen Marshall’s Polymer Clay Surface Design Recipes. More to come.

Life’s Rich Fabric



I have boxes of old family photographs that bring back memories every time I look at them. But the women in my family preserved the family history  with different materials.  They sewed, knitted, crocheted, tatted, and quilted.


In my living room an afghan my maternal grandmother Emma crocheted is draped over a chair. Over another chair is a patchwork quilt my paternal grandmother Mattia pieced together from her bag of fabric scraps collected over the years. My mother Rosemary, who is still living, was a marvelous seamstress and I treasure her Singer Slant-O-Matic from the early ’60’s. Clothes she made for me still hang in my closet, and I have scads of towels and aprons she embroidered.


My mother-in-law Vicky, who died earlier this month, was also an accomplished seamstress. She made beautiful jackets for a few lucky women in the family (including me) from vintage velvet, lace, and her stash of fabric scraps. I wear mine on special occasions. I was fortunate  to have  inherited her sewing machine.  I will remember her every time I use it. 


Here are some pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arlene Groch: Polyaddict

 Let Arlene Groch’s story be a warning to all of you. “My totally out of control addiction to polymer clay had such an innocent birth in September, 2004”, she recalled. “I bought some clay and a couple of books to share an activity with my 8 year old grandson. He was mildly interested; I was hooked. Within a month I had decided to give up my 30 year career as a trial attorney so I could devote most of my time to playing with clay and attending workshops and classes. I set myself a one year goal of learning enough to be able to begin to develop my own style.”  To see more of Arlene’s one of a kind Mezuzah cases and jewelry, go to her site,PolyGemDesigns.

Victoria Hughes at The Artway in May

Visionary polymer clay artist Victoria Hughes is coming to the Artway at Polymer Clay Express in May to teach classes. She was slated to to teach a class on May 25 and 26 Hinged Mixed Media Pendants, but now she is letting her students decide from among several course offerings. She is teaching a class in Pietra Dura on May 23 and 24.

Victoria’s book, Polymer the Chameleon Clay is one of my all time favorites.

There’s lots more happening at Polymer Clay Express. Their Blog is an excellent way to keep up to date on classes and new products.

If you’ve never visited the store in Damascus, Maryland, it’s worth a detour. To see some pictures from the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s visits, press here.

My Lust For Rust

I came upon Altered Curiosities by accident. It’s not the kind of book I would usually buy. But boy, I am so glad this book made it to my door. Don’t pass it by like I almost did. It’s packed with information on all kinds of crafts that seemingly bear no relation to one another. Yet author Jane Ann Wynn pulls them all together, with unconventional materials, and makes art. I didn’t try any of her projects, but I read through the book more than once and am taking inspiration from it for my own work.

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For example, I love the look of rust (but not on my appliances, please! ) and patinas. I picked up a rusty washer on the street the other day and struck up a conversation with it. When I was finished, I had this pendant. I added a silver plated spoon hammered flat, gold filled wire, turquoise and copper. I think that Altered Curiosities got me thinking in a new way.

While running errands today, I found all these cool rusty bits on the sidewalk. These are going to end up in something. I’ll wait for them to talk to me first, like the washer did.

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If any of this appeals to you, check out the art of Annette Tacconelli’s Urban Artifacts. If little washers talk to me, bridges and pieces of buildings talk to her. Not only is her art beautiful and hard to forget; it will stoke your creative juices even more.