My New Polymer Clay Heroes

I’ve always known that I was a late bloomer.  I’d heard of Ana Belchi but never knew about her videos and free downloads until I subscribed to Studio Mojo.

I haven’t watched all Ana’s videos yet, but I’m working  on it.  I was delighted to learn that she also offers  some free templates on her web site for the projects she demonstrates in the videos.

Fiona Abel-Smith also has an incredible video where she demonstrates how to construct a 6-sided polymer box and how to cover it with a geometric cane pattern that she explains in great detail.  She has a number of other fascinating looking videos that are on my must watch list.

On another note, I recently came back from a trip to Spain and  Portugal and my head is swimming with all the beautiful tiles I saw in both countries.  I’ll post more on that later.

You never know when a stuffed animal will make you a new friend. Our traveling companion Le Mutt broke the ice when my husband and I dove into a Nepalese Restaurant near our Lisbon hotel seeking respite from the many fish and potato meals we had in Portugal (where the people are lovely but the food not so much.  This is a contentious subject.)   If you are ever in Lisbon, drop by Himchuli 

USThis is not the first time Le Mutt has  made friends in a foreign land.

Pictures from Seville and Granada

And on the way to Lisbon . . .

More to come!

Repurposing Challenge

I decided to enter the repurposing challenge on the Art Elements Blog. The reveal date is April 30. As of today (April 29) I do not have a list of participating blogs thru an Internet snafu but will post them when I get them. Hey! I wanna see everyone’s work too!

Repurposing is the first and last refuge of the poor artist. I’ve been using repurposed materials in my art for a long time.   In honor of the repurposing challenge,  I have added a new item to the menu area of my blog that contains a selection of posts where I have repurposed or recycled materials.  Just in case this does not post as scheduled, you can access it here.

And now for the challenge.  The cuff bracelet base is made from a piece of brass hardware that in another life was part of my mother-in-laws dining room chandelier.

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The silver corrugated section had another life as a butter knife in my Grandmother’s house.

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A friend gave me her deceased father’s enameling supplies.  There were a number of copper switch plates.  I cut one up and that comprises the copper section.

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When I got married, I bought a set of brass charger plates at a house sale imagining that I would use them for entertaining.  Screw that.  I am annealing them and cutting them up one by one and making jewelry out of them.  That’s where the fold-formed element comes from.

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All the sections of the bracelet are riveted together (except the brass fold formed part is soldered to the copper beneath it.) with rivets made from stripped electrical wire.

Some older pieces

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I challenged myself to make a necklace completely out of materials I found on the sidewalk.   The above necklace is made of drilled stones,  a twig, electrical wire, and a cable from an old window.

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This shield pendant is made from the body of an old lock I probably picked up at a flea market.  I soldered some jump rings to the back after some attempts at texturing and patination.  The chain is from another piece of jewelry.

Here are links to  the participating bloggers and to the Art Elements Team.

Guests 
Tammy
Alysen
Evie & Beth
Karin
Hope
Divya
Anita
Sarajo
Kathy
Rebecca
Martha
AE Team
Niky
Laney
Cathy
 Caroline
Jen
Jenny 
Sue
Claire
Lesley



Lesley

Lesley Watt - Artisan Elements







Vintage Items at Clayathon Auction

We had a few vintage items this year. Not everyone at Clayathon was familiar with the work of Mike Buessler who specialized in landscape canes. The pin you see below is a cane and it is the exact reverse image on the other side. People have made landscape canes since the time Mike retired his tissue blade, but he was the first and the best.

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Mike Buessler landscape cane pin

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Carolyn Potter mosaic inlay pendant

I am not sure if Carolyn Potter is still working in clay. Her work was certainly beautiful as this mosaic pendant attests.

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Lindly Haunani Inclusion Swap Pendant

Lindly is still working in polymer, teaching, writing, and she taught a very popular class at Clayathon. I warned her that one of her pieces from the 1990’s swaps was going to be in the auction.

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Barbara McGuire Face Canes from Angel and Barrette swaps

Barbara McGuire is still very active in polymer as an artist, teacher and writer. It’s hard to retire when you have so many great ideas.

Voulkos Earring and Pendant
Pier Voulkos Earrings and Pendant

Pier Voulkos retired from polymer more than 20 years ago. She set standards of artistic excellence for everyone.

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Pier Voulkos pin

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Grove and Grove Earrings

Michael and Ruth Ann Grove were artists who became involved with polymer in the early days who no linger work in the medium. The earrings above are a good example of their work.

If you want to learn more about the early days of polymer, go to the
Polymer Art Archive.

Spring Finally!

It happened while I was at Clayathon.  Dark chilly days and then POW!  I was sneezing and blowing my nose.  The allergy fairy took hold of me and fairly rattled my teeth, even though I usually don’t suffer from Hay Fever, the pollen levels were off the charts!

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Spring has come to Philadelphia and to my neighbor Bob’s sidewalk garden

 

Flowers are popping out all over my part of Philadelphia.  The tree  blossoms are only blooming for a few days before they fall from the tree limbs and collect on the sidewalk.  until then, every walk is glorious Spring.

The Mirror We Made at Clayathon

I am back from Clayathon and I am exhausted,  But it’s a good kind of exhaustion.   I will be posting pictures in the coming weeks when I catch up on my sleep.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of this years’ group mirror project which went into the Clayathon raffle/auction.

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Linda explains the project at the opening reception.

Detail Pictures

IMG_5064_GroupMirror                             And here is the finished mirror.

Sue Springer was the lucky winner!  Half of the proceeds from the auction will be split between Ron Lehockey’s project, Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies, and  Cynthia Tinapple’s project, Inside Out Creatives.   

 

We have already started planning next years’ Clayathon which will move back to February.

 

No Work and All Clay

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Clayathon logo by Robin  Milne

Clayathon starts in a few days and it won’t be too soon for me.  The hotel where we hold it was sold last year  and ensuing renovations meant we had to move Clayathon from February to April.  Nicer weather but too long a wait!  Fortunately, Clayathon will return to its February time slot next year and make that dreary month seem a little less miserable.

Here are some pictures from last years’ Clayathon.

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Experience the Golden Age of Swaps at Clayathon

We are having a bit of polymer history this year at Clayathon.  I have donated the items I received years ago in polymer clay swaps for Sherman Oberson to curate.  Some items will be auctioned off.   But everybody will be able to see the collection of polymer pens, beads, canes, jewelry and more made in the late 1990’s.   Most of the work is primitive by today’s standards and most of mine is downright ugly, but the learning curve was higher in those days than is now. Many swappers included notes and cards with their stuff sharing what they did and how they did it. None of this would have happened without the Internet.

 

Polymer Clay didn’t  come into its own  as an art medium until the advent of the Internet.  Before then,  polymer artists found one another pretty much by serendipity.  A few of these artists founded the National Polymer Clay Guild.  The National Guild started holding conferences.   But as the Internet came into its own, more and more people started surfing, found one another, and connected.

The most popular polymer site in those days was Polymer Clay Central.  This was back in the mid to late 1990’s before Leigh and Stephen Ross took over the site from Arlene Thayer.   (I  was not able to find a screen shot on The Wayback Machine because it only started tracking the site in 2000.)

People flocked to Polymer Clay Central for information, news, and to participate in swaps.  It worked like this: Someone would volunteer to host a swap, decide on a theme and would post a call for participants in Polymer Clay Central.   People would sign up and make items according to the theme-one for every participant-and mail them to the host or Swap Meister along with a small amount of money to cover postage.  The Swap Meister would sort through everything and send each participant a box filled with everyone’s creations.

Leigh Ross recalled the excitement of receiving a swap box: “Swaps were sometimes the only way that we could actually see, in person, someone’s work besides our own! I remember the excitement of opening the “swap box” when it arrived in the mail, and the joy of seeing others who were as crazy about polymer clay as I was!”

Here are some of my favorite things from the swaps.  There will be more at Clayathon.

 

You can see many more swap pictures on Polymer Clay Central here and here.

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War at Clayathon

I am cleaning out my workshop for two reasons.  The first one is to clear out things I will probably never use like all that novelty yarn that looked so pretty at the time, and all those unopened stamp pads that I acquired from various rubber stamping conventions,  goody bags and sales too hard to resist.

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Yarn

These items and many others are now packed in bags on my workshop  floor, ready to be taken to Clayathon for the Junque Table.  This is my second reason for clearing things out.  Because clearing out your workshop is so much easier if you know that your former treasures will find new life with someone else.

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Wire

The Clayathon Junque Table is a time-honored Clayathon tradition and the brainchild of Sherman Oberson, a serious collector of Junque, oddities, taxidermy and various art supplies.  Sherman invites Clayathon attendees  to sort through their supplies and bring anything from the “unwanted” category, the “no longer needed” category,  and the “OMG what was I thinking? category” to Clayathon where he and his crafty pack of  minions sort through everything,  The really desirable or costly items go into the auction.  The remainder go to the Junque table and are covered by a white sheet until the moment when Sherman whips the sheet aside, bellows,“Cry Havoc!,’ and let slip the dogs of war!” and retreats to a safe place while frenzied Clayathoners pick the table clean.

Here are some other things I am bringing for the Junque table:

 

Clayathon runs from April 4 to April 11 at the Seaview Resort in Stockton, NJ.   It’s sold out,  but I will be posting pictures.

Pottery Surface Design

I made two pieces this year that I actually like.  Imagine that!pot

This one’s going into the  fundraiser for Clayathon.  It is hand built (using the tar paper technique ) and stands about 9 ” tall.  The surface is screen printed, painted and carved.

This next one, also slated for the fundraiser, is hand built earthenware, screen printed and painted and is about 7″ wide at the base and 11″ tall to the top of the lid. It is perfect for a cookie jar.

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The last piece is a failure.  It went into the bisque fire looking like this:

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and came out missing a side piece.  I decided to glaze it anyway.  I like the surface effect  but this one goes into the reject pile.  I kept the pattern, however, and am going to attempt this one again.  It’s about 14″ tall.