Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Senator and me!

Well I am back from Cabin Fever Festival where I had a great time. The teachers were excellent and I met several wonderful and talented people. One of these people turned out to be Senator Kathy Sgambati from New Hampshire. I was thrilled when she commented on how much she liked my Obama pin. It just so happened that I had an extra pin which I gave to her. (note the word "gave" I made no money from this transaction so let's not get into Obamagate again) I was then even more thrilled when she said she would wear it when she went back to the senate. Thank you Kathy!
I learned some wonderful techniques at Cabin Fever and I promise I will write about them later.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cabin Fever Clay Festival Swap

Sorry that I have been gone for so long but I have been busy. I am attending the Cabin Fever Clay Festival that is held in Baltimore next week. Part if the festivities is a swap held the last night. We are suppose to bring 70 items to swap. The theme is Mardi Gras. I had originally designed a cane that had a black and white mask on it. As I stated in an earlier post I @$%#ed it up. So I came up with this fleur de lis design. Last year we made zipper pulls. To be honest I only used one of them. It was a beautiful butterfly made by one of this year teachers Kim Korringa. I had it hanging off my pocketbook until it broke off and I lost it. We had no instructions on what to make this year other than the Mardi Gras them so I made pendants. Of course I missed count and made too many. Dummy! You can see the cane above. When I made the actual pendants I tried something new. I added a little Genesis paint to give them an aged look. I didn't have the patience to sand all of the pieces this year so I used cornstarch prior to baking to give them a nice matte finish. I will be gone until Mar 7th so I probably won't post again until after that.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Time to get down out of the clouds

What a difference a day makes. Well I have to tell you yesterday I was flying high. I was getting great feedback from a cane that I was very proud of. My stats were thru the roof for me (868 page downloads) I had been working for two days on a cane to make some swap items for cabin fever festival. Well....lets just say my swelled head lead to a swelled head. I tried to do a masked face and broke my rule again about the starting thickness (my rule says not to be less than two inches) I had gotten away with it on the Obama cane. That and the fact I was too impatient and didn't let my cane rest long enough when I reduced it the face was out of whack (swelled head...get it) Oh the waste of time! Oh the waste of clay! (this is where I would insert a frowny face if I knew how)

Then this morning I get up and read an email acusing me of plagiarism and telling me I could be sued if I made any profit from my Obama cane. Now I know why I don't try to sell my stuff. I was going to give most of it away to friends and family anyway. I was just pleased with the way it came out and wanted to share it with those who read my blog. I also thought I was being nice to show pictures of my process. I also am a fan of President Obama.

Oh well back to my swap cane.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thank You Al Gore!

The internet is a wonderful thing. Since I have started this blog I have received wonderful emails from around the world. It touches my heart that people take the time to write or comment about my work and I want to let everyone know how much I appreciate that. I have a little confession to write. As I said it makes me happy to read a nice comment that someone has written. I was curious to see how many people look at my blog. So I signed up at so I could see the number of user who look at my blog. Figuring that some didn't lean comments but it would be a positive reinforcement to my ego if people just showed up. The first day there were 7 visitors. OK not bad. Since no one had left a comment at least it was nice to see some had looked. The next day it shot up to 70. Wow! I had hit the big time! I was curious what I would find if I googled myself. (don't laugh - I am sure we have all done it) That's when I found that I had been mentioned on Kim Cavender's blog. Thanks Kim. Ok now I know why the sudden growth in visitors. After that I was still checking my stats. OK I confess I was checking my stats every few hours! I was averaging about 50 visitors a day. What a pleasant surprise when I woke up this morning at the crack of 10:30 and there were 365 visitors to my site today already. Thanks I feel must go to President Obama. Thanks to all of you too. Those who come to my site and those who tell others about my site. Thanks for the pat on the back.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Making of the President

Ok here is my latest cane. I guess you can tell which way my politics lean. But regardless I hope you can appreciate the work. I have included some pictures that I took along the way so you can see a little bit how I work. I did this one a little differently than past canes in that I worked in rectangles instead of triangles. The reduction process still isn't easy but I am happy with the results. I also broke my own rule of never making a cane that starts less than 2 inches. I think this cane was about 1 inch thick before final reduction. I think I was able to get away with it because I had packed (and reduced) the individual parts so well. The final cane is about 1 X 2 inches and I am happy to say I have about of foot of cane to work with. Much better than my Da Vinci can which left me with about 3 inches of workable cane.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Say Hello to my little friend.

This is a gadget I splurged on before I had my shoulder surgery and I have to share with you what a wonderful splurge it was. I got it from Wal-mart and I think I paid about $35.00. It's a Black and Decker food processor. Now I never had that much trouble conditioning my clay. I usually beat it with a mallet, cut into small slices and then feed it thru the pasta machine. My problem is making my specific (and repeatable) color combinations. You may have read in earlier posts about my problems getting colors to match and how I need a lot of clay when I am doing my face canes. Well I used the food processor to grind up the clay. I first weigh the clay on a cheap diet scale to get the right proportions for the color I need. I grind it up and the food processor mixes it up so well that I can dump the "clay beads" into a bag and each handful that I pull out to condition pretty much has all the colors dispersed throughout. I don't even have to condition all the clay at one time. I have found the colors to be close enough. Well I just thought I'd share this tip with you.