Monday, December 3, 2012

Close, but no cigar

Here is a part of a project that I started awhile back.  It is different from the mosaics that I have done in the past.  This one is made up of over 50 black, white and gray canes.  After making the canes I reduced each one to 1/2 inch square and sliced them up.  The final piece is 36 inches by 24 inches.  To bake this I needed to build the piece in sections because it all wouldn't fit into my oven.  I also wanted to give it some texture rather than have flat pieces.  To do this I built a bottom layer of scrap clay. I formed each to have even raised bumps.  I baked these and then applied the slices one by one to this base in order to create my picture.

What you can't figure out what it is.  Maybe this will help.

How about now?  Is it getting any clearer?  Let's step back some more.
Still can't figure it out?  Maybe we are too close.
If your computer allows it perhaps you would like to see this little movie.  It was my first youtube upload so I hope it works.
Are you any closer?
Hopefully you can tell that it is a man.  But do you know who?
My husband thought it was Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad.  I told him he was close, but no cigar.  But it wasn't a "Bad" guess.  Here is Bryan Cranston.
OK Here is the complete picture.  Do you know who it is?
 I am sure that many of you have guessed that it is the artist Chuck Close.  I think he is a wonderful artist and obviously has influenced my art.  My brother had the wonderful opportunity to work with Chuck Close when he was an art student.  I even got to meet him on one occasion.  He was doing his large photo realistic paintings at the time.  His illness has forced him to change his style but he is still leaving a impact on us all.  My brother who is a digital artist now created a 3d model of Chuck.  The image of this model was published on the cover of "the Village Voice" magazine in New York City.  I created my polymer clay mosaic using this photo.  Here is my brother, Glenn Dean's, photo from the magazine.

Yes, you can say talent runs in our family.  If Chuck ever sees either of these images I hope he will be pleased.  We thank him for what he has given us.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sometime things that happen in Vegas come home

Sorry it's been so long since I posted but I promise I haven't been idle.  Soon after I got back from Kansas City I headed off to the annual Clay Carnival in Las Vegas.  This is a yearly event headed up by Donna Kata.  2006 was the first year that I attended the Clay Carnival.  A lot has changed since then.  I have taken several classes, been to retreats, published a book, traveled to teach and have made many many clay friends.  I can remember the first year I attended walking down the halls of the Imperial Palace and passing Donna Kato in the hall.  I was star struck.  After all it was THE Donna Kato.  I had only seen her on the Carol Duvall show.  This was my first polymer clay class that I had ever taken.  Six years later and I am happy to say I think of Donna as a friend now, along with many of the instructors.  I even had some surreal moments myself this time with strangers coming up to me, introducing themselves and I can only guess having a moment similar to what I experienced when I saw Donna for the first time all those years ago.  Now I am not saying I have the stature/notoriety/famousness (I know that's not a word) that Donna has but I guess I have reached the notice of some polymer clay people through my blog and through my art.  One lady came up and told me she had taken my classes on craftartedu and was thrilled to meet me.  Another woman from France admitted she was a fan and that she followed my blog.  OK I admit it, it was fun, it was uplifting and I appreciated it.  But it was still weird after all it's just me.
OK that's enough about me...WTF this is my blog.  I can make it all about me if I want.  So what I did I do in Vegas.  I still enjoy taking classes.  They push me to do things that I don't normally do.  I will admit that a lot of things I make never make It out of the bag but I still leave having learned many things and also with more confidence in those area that I don't tackle that often.  If you read about my "Benjamin Button" sculpting you know that sculpting isn't my thing.  This year at Clay Carnival there seemed to be a lot of sculpting.  A new instructor this year was Wendy Malinow.  I had met Wendy before I knew that she.......let's just say she has her own drummer. She likes bird sculls, bones, teeth and other odd bits.  I just loved her class.  I think it was the most productive that I have ever been in a class at Clay Carnival.  It was the opposite of complex caning.  Just what I needed.  This class was a combined with Leslie Blackford's class of sticks and stones and creatures.  I was able to follow their examples and had fun making the bits for this bracelet.

For Donna's class we made pods.  I will be honest and going in this was not my favorite class.  Usually Donna's class is one of my favorite.  I think they had a "sculpting" theme going this year and she followed with a more sculpted piece.  She taught us a stripey/ikatish cane and then attached to a pod shape.  OK so the piece I brought home I hated.  I thought it looked like one of those yucky orange peanut marshmallow things you find around Halloween.  Now this was my choice of texture not Donna's so don't think I am saying it was her fault.  Having said all that i have to say I loved what I did with it once I got home.  First I colored it with some colored pencils and pens.   I tried darkening/antiquing afterwards to fill in the white peanut divots.  This didn't work so I had to apply more paint and then sanded if off (which of course took off all of the color)  I then reapplied the colors.  I hit the high spots with some guilders paste.  Now I can't say I love the pod shape but I love the depth of the colors that I got on the surface.  Below is a picture of how it looks when I got it home and then how it looked after I colored.

For Kim Cavender's class we were to make ..........well let's just say something that many in the rowdy room thought resembled a certain female body part.  I chose to do my own thing and came up with this.  It has holes for a pendant.

That's all for now I will write more about my fun time in Vegas.  I have been working on a new project which I hope to write about soon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm Going to Kansas City. Kansas City Here I come!

I hope you sang the title of this post.  I am leaving tomorrow to teach a face cane class and I can't get that tune out of my head.  We are going to have a great time.  Wish you here!

Who was it who said that I never get anything finished?.....Oh wait, that was me.  Well I am here to tell you that at least for now that has changed.  I got two new pieces done that I left with Ellen and Sue at the Create Journey Studio.  Of course once I did that I didn't have anything left so I got to work.  I finished a framed piece with my grandmothers cane in it.  I also did a few more framed piece centered around my mosaic faces.

 I also went back to some of my fairy tale canes.  I have written about my little red riding hood cane but I don't think I mentioned much about my Beauty and the Beast cane.  I think I was working on that when I got the brainstorm for the bowl.  Well I wanted to send a piece to my niece who was nice enough to pick up a new iphone for me.  (Verizon pisses me off but that is another story)  Anyway I came up with this cylindrical pendant.

  From it are little tiles which say "Beauty comes from within".  I liked the way they looked.  They reminded me of scrolls.  I did another Beauty and the Beast.  I just now realized, as the picture loaded, that the image is reversed.  It's funny to me because usually I have my pieces in the orientation that I built them which would have been like the first one. Oh well since they are canes it makes no difference.

I then decided to make a some with my Little Red Riding hood cane.  I managed to get the cane slice to wrap around completely.  Working the tree and the bushes together to hide the seam.  Really looks cool up close.

On one the tiles read "sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth"  the other says "wolves lurk in every guise".  I need my nephew back to take some better pictures.  I hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Life Is Like A Bowl Of Polymer

When I made the last face mosaic canes, I would cut the ends off and save them.  I was then left with a full size "slice" of the cane.  I always thought these were cool looking.  I liked that the ends were not even with each other.  I had ideas going through my head of ways of adding depth and making it more like a sculpture.  So when did I finally come up with my next idea?  Right in the middle of my last project.  I was working on the next project in my fairy tale line, beauty and the beast, when I came up with this idea to create a curved surface.  Not only do you have to step back from the piece but you have to be looking straight on to see the whole picture. This was even a larger leap of faith.  I was probably 1/3 to 1/2 done before I had convinced myself that the layout was working.  When I built my previous mosaic canes it was unbaked and I could replace some of the canes later (although it was not easy to do) if a section didn't look right.  I couldn't do that this time.  It was also harder to step back from it and see the face.  The curve was hard to prop up.  But I pressed onward and finished it with faith.   Of course since it is made of extruded canes the picture is the same on both sides.  It brought some new challenges in coming up with building the piece.  I think I still have to work on some issues for the next one.  I also think I will be going bigger next time.  This one is 9 inches round by 3.25 in depth.  The one drawback is that there is no cane to reduce to use for other items.  It is a one of a kind.  But I like it and hope you do to.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Join Me For A Class

I have a couple of face cane classes coming up that I thought I'd tell you about.  The first will be held at Creative Journey Studios outside of Atlanta on Aug 11 and 12.  The next will be In Kansas City on October 6 and 7.  I will be teaching how I make a face cane.  This two day class is jammed packed (how else can you get a face cane made in two days)  But it is also packed with fun.  Above you will see some of the canes made by my students in earlier classes.  It covers how I take a picture and create a cane based on that picture.  Tricks and rules of caning are covered.  How to reduce this giant cane and still have it looking like a face.  I show my process and I hope my students step away no longer intimidated by complex canes.  They learn that "they are the masters for their clay and it WILL bend to their will."

If you are interested in the Creative Journey class watch for information on it here
For more information on the upcoming class in Kansas City email me at the link above and I will connect you with the person in charge.

If you or your guild would like me to come teach a class at your location please email me.  I'd love to hear from you.

Here are some pictures of the cane we will be creating and some various things you can do with it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Red Riding Hood Revisited

A while back I posted about my wolf for a Little Red Riding Hood cane I was working on. Then there was nothing more about it.  Well I finished the cane and I just wasn't that happy with it.  I figured the best thing to do was to just step away from it for a while.  It worked.  When i created the pendant I didn't think that Red Riding Hood stood out enough from the background.  I decided to go around her and other things in the picture with a needle tool.  Then added a touch of paint.  The end result has a carved wood look to it.  I liked it.  For the necklace I made some beads that say " the sweetest tongue has the sharpest tooth".  Another pendant says "As you're pretty, so be wise; wolves may lurk in every guise".

I have plans for some more fairy tales.  My neice, Erin, has helped me with the sketches that I will be basing the canes on.  Stay tuned for those.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Many Faces of Columbus, Ohio

First so sorry for the long gap between posts.  Geeesh ....Feb was my last post.  You'd think I was out solving the problems of the world.  But I am back.
Just back from teaching a face cane class in Columbus, Ohio.  Thanks so much to my host Jeanette Kandray for making it such a great weekend.  Thanks also to all of my super students.  I worked them hard the first day but most got finished or near to finished with their canes.  I think they did a fantastic job.  I can spend up to three weeks on one face cane so getting this much done in a weekend is certainly a job well done.
Here are some pictures from my class.  I will be teaching this class again in Aug at the Creative Journey Studios outside of Atlanta.  We are close to finalizing a teaching gig in Kansas City in October.  Let me know if you are interested in either of these classes and I will get you in touch with the proper people.

We had a great time in Columbus so why don't you join me for the next go-round?