Thursday, January 29, 2009

Da Vinci cuff

Here is a picture of my latest cuff bracelet. I wish I could take better pictures. I like the way it turned out. I don't do a lot of Mokume Gane but I like the way it came out on the bracelet sides. Hope you like it too. The nose still bugs me. But my friend Maggie says I am too hard on myself. I think when I look at something for a long time I begin to see only the flaws and not what was good about it when I first looked at it. Oh well that is why I avoid mirrors!

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Pieces

Hi folks,

Well here are some not so great pictures of some new pieces I am working on. The pendants don't have any backs on them yet but I wanted to share with y'all. I have done a lot of different things with my One Armed Bandit cane and this cuff bracelet is one of them. I have also done some with smaller slices of the cane and also some with kaleidescoping. (is that a word?) I'll try to get some pics up soon. Lately I have been trying to get my act together so that I am somewhat prepared for Cabin Fever Clay Festival which takes place at the end of Feb. I am going to try to make some stuff to sell. I don't do this very often. I did this last year at Synergy and I can't explain the insecurities that brought out. Here I was at show where I was right next to Jana Roberts Benzon and Maggie Maggio. I almost groaned. OK I admit it I did groan. It was a fabulous experience to see and purchase pieces from some of my favorite polymer clay artist. I came home with a pendant from Jana, earrings from Lindly Haunani, a necklace from Maggie Maggio and earrings from Elise Winters. I actually sold two of my pieces. Thank You to whoever you are!! I promise I will share more about my experiences at Synergy. I think my work has improved since then so I hope I won't be as embarrassed this year. Until next time happy claying!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Da Vinci

Hi Gang. Well here are some slices of my newest cane. I have included my inspiration which is a sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci. What do you think? I was trying to get that "sketchy" look. I am somewhat satisfied with her. I think her nose is a little too big and man did I end up wasting a lot of clay. That's because of the way I did some reduction. I was too impatient for my shoulder to heal and I ended up trying to do a rectangular reduction instead of my usual "triangle slamming" technique. I didn't want the clay to look "clean" so I added some embossing powder and some ground up clay. I think I like this but I think I went too light with the color on her forehead and cheeks. (you think I would have learned this from my African woman!) I like her nose (besides the size) which is definitely a hard part. I am actually going to make something from this cane so keep an eye out for some finished jewelry. Rarity for me. I also have some pieces that I have started made from my One Armed bandit cane. I'd love to hear your comments about my canes so please post if you have time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Lesson Learned...or Do Fairies Boobs Glow?

Ok I am going to share with you a hard lesson I have learned with my face canes but first I want to tell you more than you want to know about how this cane came about. Last September I was lucky enough to spend some wonderful time in Utah with several polymer clay artists. One of these was Lori O Follett who makes beautiful fairies and mermaids out of polymer clay. I was inspired by her work and decided that when I returned home I would do a fairy cane. Now you have read about my troubles with matching the browns on my African woman cane so I decided to go back to the Kato flesh color. (I knew I had plenty) Well one of the things I am trying to tackle with my face canes is shading. I want to have shading so they don't look quite so cartoony. The above picture is a picture of a the cane before it was reduced. (Ignore the green blobs and other stray blobs of clay - I can't keep my work surface clean!) Now notice the lovely shading in her arms. See the lovely shading and shape of her breasts. Notice now the lovely fingers and detail in her fingernails. You can alos see the folds in her clothing. Oh Yes, this was some time consuming work and attention to detail here. I think I spent a week building this particular cane. OK now comes the reduction. OK not too bad the middle of the cane where her mouth and nose must not have been as warm as the rest of the cane so her eyes ended up being a little big but I think to myself well she's a fairy. A mythical creature. Maybe they have bigger eyes. But then the killer (and the hard lesson) comes. When I bake a slice of her I see that since I used Kato flesh and this has a large amount of translucent in it so everywhere that I added white to lighten it became more opaque. Thus the "glowing" boobs. I don't have a picture to show you. Anybody who was at Clay Carnival and got one of my poker chips with my fairy is now nodding their heads and agreeing. Well she is mythical so maybe fairy boobs do glow. The lesson of course is that now I mix all my flesh colors (with formulas so I can make more). Here endith the lesson.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's done!

Ok First I have to apologize for last nights whining. Did I fail to mention I also started a diet. Thanks for those who wrote and advised me to step away from the clay. I took you up on that and I returned with a blade. GOODBYE GRINCH! Here is the finished "One Armed Bandit" cane. I will admit I did have a little use of my right hand by the end but the name remains the same. As you can tell I did cut down on the size a little. I am pleased with the way it turned out. Removing the Grinch made the colors better. The one small part I am not completely satisfied with is the small squares that I used the extruder on. It was early on when I made that portion and I really only had one arm and I used a vise to hold the extruder to the table so I could use it with one arm. The finished can is 4 X 4 X 2. I won't be able to reduce it until my shoulder is more healed. I plan on making some cuff bracelets for the auction at Cabin Fever Festival which they are having to raise money for charity. Some have written and asked why I made the cane in the form of a triangle. To answer this I say look to my friend Jana Roberts Benzon. If you haven't seen it yet I would highly recommend her DVD on Arabesque Caning. I owe the success of my face canes to the techniques I learned from her.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I need help.

Is it OK to whine on your blog? I am stuck on my one armed bandit cane, my shoulder aches and I am beginning to think my cane looks like I vomited leftover canes. I want it to be colorful but have I gone too far? I was all set to post on this "mother" of a skinner blend. (Which I really loved) when the whole thing started to look like too much. And I repeat I don't like the Grinch green! Well I thought to try to incorporate more of it (that's real smart huh if you don't like it add more?) I made the "brainy" parts with a skinner blend of yellow and this grinch green. Didn't like it(what a surprise) Didn't take a picture of it either. I will post some of the skinner blend and a modified cane idea. Please if anyone is still reading please give me your thoughts. I think I suffer a little of caning ADD (as in attention deficit disorder) I really want to get back to my face canes. I have been doing a lot of thinking about that and if what I want to do comes out like a planned it it will more than make up for the Grinch Green! OK I'm rambling and I have reached my limit of parenthesis for this post! (just kidding!)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The bandit continues

OK so I'm not crazy about some of my color choices. The green reminds me of the Grinch but alas I said I would plod on and if it turns out like @#$% then I have done it in public. Here are some pieces to this One Armed Bandit puzzle. The pieces are not packed well because this is hard to do with one hand. I know I am going against my therapists orders and using my right hand too much but it's hard to keep from using it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

One armed bandit cane

Finished a little section of the cane. Here is a picture of a slice of it. Did someone say COLOR?

Africa here I come!

A good friend of mine and I are going to Africa in May. In honor of this trip I made two canes. The first was a lion that I entered (and won) in Polymer Clay Central's monthly challenge. The second was of a Masai woman. I tried some new things with this last cane mostly with how I did some of the shadings and her nose. Let me tell you noses are the hardest when it comes to face canes. One of the problems that I had with this cane was matching colors. Unlike some of my previous face canes I used Kato brown straight out the package. I thought I was making it easier on myself because one of the challenges in my face canes is the shear quantity of clay it takes and being sure you have enough of the same color. Well my problem came when I ran out of brown and the old formula brown did not match the new formula brown. I am not really happy with her forehead because of this but it is another lesson to be learned. I did like the way her fabric turned out and I do hope when I actually get back from Africa I can tell you more about the beaded neck rings they wear.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Color, Color, Color???

Do y'all struggle with color? I do. I am pretty good at mixing colors but not great at coming up with a pleasing palette. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. For my one armed bandit piece I decided to go with the bright colors. The cuff bracelet that I have posted pics of here was one of the first pieces that I made that I really liked. I had discovered the greatness of fine grit sandpaper and I loved the smooth finish I got. Unfortunately it was before I discovered Kato clay and the bracelet cracked. The canes were just a mish mash of canes but I liked the vibrant colors and thought I'd go for a more planned attack for this cane but get similar end results. (And hopefully better results). I have included a pic of a colored in picture to give me a better look at the colors. I use my computer a lot when planning my canes but with one arm I went back to colored pencils for this. It still gives me a look to follow. I also have included some Ikat cane slices that I made. I made these after watching Donna Kato's DVD. (I just have to add that I just love Donna Kato! It was watching her on Carol Duvall that got me into polymer clay and for that I thank her. Well more on her later) Sometimes I have a habit of creating too complex a design and it gets lost in the final results. That may be happening here but we shall see.
I hope you all had a Happy New Year!.