Friday, July 24, 2015

Watch Out for the Fairies!

You may not have noticed them. Fairies are notorious for keeping a low profile, not wanting to be found out by us humans. But if you look very closely with a heart filled with wonder, they will let you see the lights shining from inside their homes. I saw one once, in a dream, and made this nightlight to show my vision. This house is a replica of a home of a Sand Fairy. They are great friends with ants and nestle in among them. If you ever come across a field of anthills you may see them too. I wouldn't recommend going into the field of anthills. But if you wait, you might see the lights of the fairy houses in the dark.
OK, I made all that up but I did make a fairy house which I turned into a nightlight and it reminds me of the shape of those anthills you see in Australia. My fairy house would blend in well with the shades of the grass and sand camouflaging it well from people who do not know what to look for.
The coloring was done with pan pastels, a trick shown to me by fellow artist Izzy Hinther. I love the look of baked stone it gives to the polymer clay. The bottom is felt and you lift the whole house to put a string of battery operated led lights inside. The lights are quite bright in the dark.
Let me know what you think and if you've ever dreamed of seeing a real fairy house.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ironcraft Blue!

This, being the 14th challenge of 2015, is an exploration of the color blue. I love blue and I hadn't realized how much until I started thinking about what I could make with this color. I realized that I am surrounded with the color. From the blue skies outside, to my sheets and pillowcases in my bedroom I have so many shades of blue around me. I find it calming as well as energizing.
I chose to show this new barrette that I have made. My hair is quite short but I've been making barrettes galore. I am exploring this form and I know they will do well at my shows. They will find a home somewhere. This one is blue and purple inks on white clay. I like the organic look of it and of course, all things must have blue!
Do you feel the calming effect of blue? I know I do. It also gives me energy in the morning when I wake up to a sunny blue sky. Does it affect you the same way or do you have another color that is more inspiring?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Challenge By Any Other Name

This month's challenge for the PCAGOE was creating a texture plate and making something from the plate. I thought this would be easy. How humbling these challenges are to me. Every time I think it will be easy and every time I find myself in front of my limitations and asked to push beyond them.
I use texture all the time but creating a texture sheet is something I have very little experience with. n I was racking my brain trying to choose what I should make from the said sheet before I had made the sheet."Make the texture sheet then the creation will come." I read that comment in our forum from a fellow member and realized I was going about it all wrong. Then I saw Lisa Rapp's piece and a light went on. I'll let her explain how she made her piece but I took the idea and went another way. Thank you so much for the inspiration Lisa.
Creating a mokume gane stack of color I pressed my sculptural textured sheet into the clay then started slicing off the top until I liked what I saw. For the flower sheet I used extruded triangle shape clay to build my design. I figured that the point of the triangle would make a deep impression into my stack of colours. I was pleased with the results. I chose a simple design for my first try but I might try it again with something more intricate. The finished piece makes a great design for a greeting card. My sister's birthday is coming up. I already have her card all done. Hope she likes it.
Let me know what you think of my card and your experiences if ever you have tried to put the cart before the horse.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ironcraft Give Me an E!

This Ironcraft challenge is based on the letter 'E'. We had to let the letter inspire us. It came to me in minutes. I want to make earrings. It's summer and I wear more earrings in the summer. No hat to hide them or wool cap to get caught up in them. I have taken a long hiatus from making jewelry but earrings are always such fun to make.
If you read my last post, you saw that I used feather  canes to make Janis's feather boa. I decided to turn some of the leftover cane into cute earrings that just scream summer. I had made a monarch butterfly wings cane as well. I always get so many compliments on them when I wear them, so I'll keep making a few more designs and make a series called "Butterflies and Feathers". The ones in the photo are my first of this series. Hope you like them, they make me smile.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pearl

This month's challenge for the PCAGOE is Retro. I love these themes, they leave everything to the imagination. Retro could mean so many different things. For me it is about a time that my life was simpler and all I worried about was where the next party was. Music was a big part of that. My friends were all musicians. People playing guitar and writing up songs was a daily event. They still play music but our lives have gone in different directions.
My inspiration for this piece came from a friend's obsession of posting photos and songs of Janis Joplin. I wanted a piece that showed the hair and the smile and of course the feathers in her hair. I always wonder what she would look like now had she lived. Would she have belted out all those emotions to make her message heard? Would she had gone into the quiet night? She certainly touched quite a few people in her short life. This piece is to honor her and all those women who need someone to hear them.
The funny thing is that I thought I had captured the smile and the hair. My sculpting skills are not that great as to make it look like a photograph. I knew that it wasn't a great likeness. Then I got a good chuckle after catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror. The sun had darkened my glasses and I was laughing at something someone said and I recognized my piece. The face looks more like me than it does like her. So there is truth to the saying that the artist putting herself into her art.
I welcome conversations about what retro means to any of you or if you have had a similar experience on a piece you made. For now, I think I'll go turn on the music.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ironcraft Says: "This is Faux? No!"

When I saw the theme for this challenge I was very glad. Doing faux with polymer clay is as natural as knitting with wool. Polymer clay lends itself to so many techniques that making it look like something else is one of the first things that attracted me to the medium. The piece I chose is a bit of conundrum though. We all know that the tools do not make the artist. I cannot blame the clay for this one.
I set out to make faux leather. I've done it before and it turned out very well. I chose this bronze colored clay and made this bowl. I tore the edges to resemble torn leather. This was the same technique I've used lots before. Now this particular technique is baked first and then assembled. After I assembled the pieces together I stepped back to what in mind should look like torn leather strips. Well, it doesn't look like any leather I've ever seen. It has more of a metal sheen, some very new and shiny copper.
This is another lesson on never assuming that things always work out the same even if you do the same thing. The last time I had used different colors and the bronze color has been changed by the Premo company. Either way, it's a cool looking bowl. I'll let you try to guess what it looks like. I'm going back to the drawing board. lol

Thursday, May 7, 2015

We Were All Girls Once!

Our retreat in Morrisburg, ON is over for another year. I've finally finished unpacking and processed the new things I've learned. This year, imo, was the best so far. They are all great but this year had an extra umph. And a big part of it was the generosity demonstrated by the clayers at the retreat as well as those who donated their beautiful creations for our fundraiser. There are things about the running of the workshop that we learned and will do better next time.
The fundraiser, though, was a great success. We had gifts from various small companies and from bigger ones. We had gifts from our fellow clayers willing to share their talent and creations with all of us in order to achieve the goal. And the goal was to raise money which was to be donated to http://becauseiamagirl.ca/ . I am so proud of how much we raised this year. It exceeds my expectations and more.
I always explain the reason for this fundraiser. It is simply because I have a wonderful life where I am safe and can pursue my dreams and ideas without having to think of my survival every day. This gift (because be sure that is it a gift to have been born in the right country) is not a given to every other girl in the world. This always fills me with such sadness. And then I ask myself what can I do?

I am so proud that we raised ourselves up to the task and helped in this way. Thank you everyone! We will probably never know who this donation helps exactly but we can sleep at night knowing that we tried. It is with consistent effort that we change our world. Thank you for accompanying me on this journey.
OK, enough mushy stuff, time for some numbers. We raised 688$ at the retreat this year which is almost 3 times what we raised last year. I donated the amount through http://plancanada.ca/GiftsofHope/products/33-Matched-gifts/ . With the matched items that we bought like: help for children with HIV, bed nets, birth certificates, quinoa, harvest baskets, emergency aid, food baskets for families, a Mom shop, clean water and baby chicks. The total amount of the donation that our 688$ bought is 4626$! That is so cool. This was all possible by every one's small efforts taken together to create something so huge. We are so much more than the sum of our parts!
This photo of a piece I did at a workshop with Gera Scott-Chandler last summer, was the closest I could find to the theme of this post. She was inspired by a portrait of a young girl in my cottage. Thanks again everyone. Together, one step at a time, we can change the world.