Arlene’s Birdy

Remember The Deerclayer post and how we conspired to make hounds tooth-covered animals to give to Arlene Groch at this years’ Clayathon?

BirdieBare

 

Well I have been into birdies lately and my Clayathon  hounds tooth contribution was a hounds tooth covered birdy.  I made the core from aluminum foil and newspaper which I covered with scrap clay, painted him with white acrylic paint and baked him.

   Birdgetting covered

Then I covered the birdy with cane slices

BirdieBaking

And baked again (his beak is painted with liquid clay tinted with acrylic paint)

Birdie Rear

I fashioned a birdy perch so Arlene could hang him in her studio without taking up any precious work space.

Bird3

 Sqwawk!

 

Bird6

Bird45

I antiqued him with a mixture of liquid clay and white acrylic paint for a muted look.

I think he looks content; don’t you?

Circus Beads

My friend Wilma said these beads remind her of the circus, so I am calling them Circus Beads.

2

And be sure to check out Clayathon goes to the Circus.

The Art of Sherman

Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild member Sherman Oberson made these wonderful chess pieces at Clayathon this year. I can’t wait to see the rest!

The Queen

Her(?) King

Artillery

Special Forces

The rest of the Pawns

Rook

A Second Rook

A Knight

Your Other Knight

The Bishop

Are Knights on the rim grim?

Epaulette Mate

The Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild is holding its annual fundraiser in support of its Guest Artist program this Sunday. For more information, press here.

And we have a new YouTube channel!  Awesome!  To see it,  click here.  We’ll be featuring our own  videos and playlists of  videos from around YouTube.

Cynthia Toops Came to Philadelphia

to teach a polymer clay class to the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild. I was fortunate enough to take the class in micro mosaics and other techniques.  What I learned is that you don’t have to be able to cane The Last Supper to be a great polymer clay artist. Cynthia Toops makes simple components, but she assembles them with virtuosity and imagination.  And superb craftsmanship.

And she works simply.  I took a lampworking class with her husband, Dan Adams, a few years ago.  He told us that for the first several years, her only tools were a drinking glass and a single-edged razor blade.   Her class materials list was short, but the instruction was intense and personal.  I came away with some mediocre work and the realization that I had a long way to go.  But I had fun and I am already thinking how to integrate the techniques I learned into my own work.

Detail

Detail

 

I fooled around with some techniques in these little pins and then I poured clear resin over the elements, leaving some of them poking out.

To see pictures from the class, go to the Philadelphia Area Guild’s blog.  Cynthia Tinapple took the class too,  and put up some images on Polymer Clay Daily.  To see a video with Cynthia Toops explaining her work, press here.

 

Clayathon Wrap Up with Pictures

 

Clayathon is a place to relax, mix with great people, see the work other people’s work in progress and watch demos of  polymer and non-polymer techniques.  I saw demos on caning, faux dichroic glass,  soldering solver bezels, metal fold forming, and I gave a demo on drilling glass and making ring clasps with copper washers.  Lisa Clarke of Polka Dot Creations was there with the latest books and videos and Wilma Yost was there with the latest products from Polymer Clay Express  including their Shape Frames  that Wilma showed everyone how to use.  We had a cane swap and worked on a group cane too.  To sum it up, we had a blast.

Here are some pictures. 

More Christmas Ornament Ideas

It’s the time of the year for Santa’s workshop to be in full swing.  I am making ornaments again, and this year I am incorporating felting with the polymer clay.  I could use some elves to do the needle work for me, but I find needle felting very relaxing (when I don’t stab myself with the needles-thankfully not too often) and mixing the different yarns and color of roving reminds me of painting.

The ornaments here are mostly needle felted over styrofoam balls.  I wet felted one base and decided that needle felting worked better for me.  The embellishments are pom poms, additional yarn and roving, and polymer clay canes and beads.

The Internet is full of sites offering free felting directions. Feltmakers List FAQ is a good place to start.  YouTube has lots of videos and some are quite good.  And since crafters  have diverse ways of doing the same thing,  it’s always helpful to read a few sets of instruction and watch a few different videos.

Color Inspired Natasha Experiments

OK, I admit that I’m brain-dead and dog tired this week, so I decided to post  pictures of one of the polymer side trips I made while I was working my way through the exercises in Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. You’ve heard of Natasha Beads and there are a myriad of tutorials on the Web on how to make them.  I made the pieces below by chopping up bits of clay I used for different color exercises, compacting them into a plug as for a Natasha bead, slicing the plug lengthwise and opening it to reveal the design.  I  rolled the  clay to make the two sections the same thickness but tried to maintain the integrity of the design. Then I cut out shapes with a tissue blade or a clay cutter.  After baking and cooling, I coated the tops with doming epoxy resin. I plan to finish them with bails or pin backs.

Here are the results.

Painterly Polymer Necklace

 

I had a lot of color swatches and scraps after  I completed the pattern and color sample exercises from Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.

 

Pattern Samples Bracelet

 

I layered them onto a 1/8″ sheet of clay and rolled them through the pasta machine to see how they would look as I rolled them thinner and thinner.  The well-leached clay crumbled in interesting patterns.  The fresher clay spread in a manner similar to what you see in Maggie Maggio’s Watercolor Technique.  I continued laminating clay (see the transparent layers),  noted where the most interesting patterns were and cut out  pods.  After baking, I put the pods in polymer clay bezels, baked again, drilled and strung on buna cord with o rings and polymer tube beads.  It’s difficult to see in the photographs, but I put a layer of Envirotex Lite  on top of the colored part of the pods.  The necklace has a matte finish and a bunch of tiny dings that, in this case at least, I think adds to its appearance. 

I plan to play around with this technique and will post any interesting results. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


A Trip Back to Chapter Eight: Contrast Tables

OK, I goofed.  I skipped my posts about the exercise and project in  Chapter Eight of Polymer Clay Color Explorations.  Well, this has been a rough week.  What can I say?

Chapter Eight covers  “Exploring Color Composition: Placement and Proportion.”  It is worth your time to try the proportional and contrast table exercises in this chapter.  Now that I am working on the  collage box in the last chapter in the book, the exercise makes more sense than ever.

First, I mixed eight colors from my collage.

Collage with the colors I mixed on top

Then I sheeted the colors and laid them on a sheet of mud.  The size of the color samples is determined by the proportion of that color in the collage. I eyeballed it.  So, why is the placement of the colors important?   The appearance of a color is affected by the colors around it.  We all know this to some extent, but it helps to mix the colors and study them.  At least it helped me.

You  see how each color contrasts with another by laying out  strips of all the colors across the proportionally-sized color samples.  Take a look  at the picture below with  the balls of color on the left and the baked proportion and contrast tables on the right.    The contrast table allows  you to see how each color works with every other color at a glance.  It’s much harder to do this with the balls of color.   I can see how making the tables would be useful  to audition colors for a project.

I will probably be making more of these contrast tables so I have more control over what my final project looks like, rather than my usual Hail Mary method of color placement.   Of course, a little luck never hurts, either.

My next post on my journey through  Polymer Clay Color Explorations will cover the project from Chapter Eight that puts the principles of the above exercise to work.


Pattern Samples and Bracelet

I’m up to to Chapter Nine in Polymer Clay Color Explorations,  “Exploring Pattern and Texture in Your Colors.”  The first  exercise entails  making 3 x 3 inch polymer clay pattern swatches  based on your collage and using them as veneers in a bracelet.

I made  lots of color washed sheets and ended up not using most of them.  I did use the one you see  above which  is also embellished with  simple canes like the ones you see below.

There aren’t many patterns in my collage except for the hobnail style pottery and the pattern on the seahorses.  I didn’t have much to imitate,   so I spent a lot of time auditioning checkerboard patterns, cut out shapes and randomly applied pattens.  I stuck with the  random patterns and shapes.  When I tried to get too precise, my work ended up looking sloppy.

Simple canes on solid backgrounds

Since I used random patterns, my bracelet is different on each side.  I would not normally make this style bracelet, but I found it an excellent design to use for learning how to combine different patterns and color combinations into a cohesive piece using my color collage as a starting  point.  It was fun to make the swatches and try different combinations.