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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

With the Help From My Friends

I'm off to our long awaited Polymer Clay Morrisburg Gathering tomorrow. We are in for a fun 4 days of claying and laughing. I can never remember how many years this gathering has been happening. It will be my 4th. It will also be our 2nd year at joining the event along with a fundraiser for http://becauseiamagirl.ca/ . We have lots of great prizes from all over and I promise to take photos of them all and post them when I get back. I can, however, post those donations who came to my house before the retreat. The ones in the photo below come from my fellow PCAGOE members. I thank those who took the time to share their works of Art. This will enable us to share the wealth with others who need it most.
From the top left, going clockwise, we have a filigree bird ornament from Beth Petricoin of  https://www.etsy.com/ca/people/createmyworld. The beautiful green cuff is from Susan O'Neill of https://www.etsy.com/shop/11boldstreet. The magazines of from Sage Bray of http://www.thepolymerarts.com/. And last but not least is the cool Bib necklace from Betsy Strebe of https://www.etsy.com/ca/people/polyclaycafe. I, for one, am bringing extra cash for this silent auction type of fundraiser. It's lots of fun, your chances of winning are pretty good. And the money goes directly to the organization and the girls who need it. Thank you fellow PCAGOE members, you guys rock!

I Love Making Fish!

This month's challenge for the PCAGOE was 'fish'. I started early in the month and the hardest part of this challenge was to stop making fish. Not all my fish were worthy as a challenge piece. I made a sculpture that was to be a Beta fish. You know the type you buy your kids when they are young because they only need a bowl of water instead of expensive fish stuff. They have long flowing tails and are deep colors. My Beta looked great until I took a photo. There is no way it looks like a fish. I didn't see that though until I took the photo. It was such a strange experience.
Then I made a bowl shaped like a fish and that turned out cool until, again, I took a photo. The bowl has ripped edge that are highlighted with antiquing paint and when you hold it up close it is really cool but the camera does not pick up those nuances.
I decided to go with a necklace I'd made a few years ago that is one of my favorites. It is one of my first attempts at jade and sculpting. The beads are sculpted into fish and the focal bead is two fish together, head to tail. Let me know if you like it and if you have ever had the same experience about the photography. My skills are not at a professional level but I get by. It was almost like the pieces could not translate to photography. I'm sure a professional photographer could get beyond the problems. For my part, I'll keep trying and I had lots of fun making fish for the last 3 weeks.