Sunday, December 30, 2007

Much gratitude to you all and Happy New Year

Being the last day of the year, I would like to thank all my friends and polymer clay buddies and the many wonderful folk who have left comments on my blog or emailed me privately to say a nice word of support over the year or who have helped me, taught me, filled my heart or made me laugh…

Some of these special people are featured below…clicking on their name will take you to their website or gallery to kick start those creative juices for the new year…

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Silver doodles

This is what I've done with some of those pmc doodles. The delicate little doodle with the gorgeous blend (I just love those 'beach' colours together) is awfully delicate...which is why I only made one. It's rolled out on a #7 on the pasta machine, a little liquid clay added to the underside of the silver clay and then I pressed the doole into the thin pc sheet and cut around the edges. I do love it although I'm not very confident it will hold together as liquid clay is for clay on clay and I'm afraid the slightest flex on the silver will cause it to snap off. I'd use the Lisa Pavelka glue that is formlated to take the oven heat but alas, it always goes gunky after only a few uses. I heard about Donna Katos new glue which I bought because it comes with special clean up material and instructons so that it can be used over and over again without clogging. Does anyone know if it deteriorates in the oven? Will have to do some of my own tests to see.

Anyhow, it's coming up christmas and I'm in the mood to get festive this year so I'm going to down tools for a few days and catch up with you all next week. I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful christmas and a very creative and fulfilling new year. Thanks so much for being your beautiful selves and coming to visit, I've loved your comments and your enthusiasm. A passion shared is so much sweeter!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Silver and polymer blended blocks

I've been meaning to try my Makins extruder with core adaptors for a while and finally did. Makes great tube beads (on the right) to which I added texture and a loop from which to hang some pretty thing. I also felt like playing around with more ideas for the the workshops I'm teaching at the Grafton Artfest in April next year. The leaf and silver earrings are finished and I'm very happy with those. We're also going to be making coloured blended plugs and adding silver overlays for pendants and earrings. I've yet to make those but this looked like such a colourful shot, I had to snap and share! Click on the pic for zoom if you're having trouble seeing the detail.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Poiple Pillow Bead Earrings and Necklace

I had enough of those purple pillow beads (below) to make three sets of earrings (one which has been tagged for the USofA already!) and a necklace. One pair of earrings has been uploaded to my new online esty store if you want them (first link in 'links' section on RH side of this page) In fact, I've just loaded a whole pile of stuff to my store. The necklace is waiting to be professionally photographed. I'm looking forward to see how these beads look in the hands on a real professional.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Feeling romantic?

Maybe this will attract some romance in your life. Another inro. I can't stop!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ta daaaa! Online store! And more pillows...

Yes finally...I have an online store. Totally wrong timing ofcourse. With having to stock up the Bead Shop cabinet and entering into two exhibitions in December, I don't have a lot to offer. But it's a start and if you keep looking in from time to time, you'll see it grow over the next few months.

I'm very impressed with the whole Etsy operation. It's like a worldwide art and craft gallery, all the items in the stores are handcrafted.

One thing I'm noticing on this three year long pillow bead journey of mine is that the more I experiement, the better these get. They're worth clicking on to get a better look at them.
The rust one is going into an exhibition and those divine poipley ones are going in my new etsy shop. Not sure whether to put them in as beads or made into something? What do you reckon? Those pearls look awfully good with them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More inros

I've been wanting to finish these inros for ages...and finally did. Some things just take their own good time eh! That delicious blue silkscreen inro uses a screen made by a friend on the other side of the world (USA). Tonja has a whole array of great silk screen stencils.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pieces, Parts and Process Examples

I realize I have a lot more to share about the Robert Dancik workshop.

I’ve just stolen Libby’s words for my title. As she said in yesterday’s comments section, “I loved all his pieces, parts and process examples.” This is precisely why I got so much out of the Robert Dancik’s “forming meaningful and lasting connections’ class. That… coupled with a really keen and creative mind and crystal clear communication. Robert got through to me on a totally different level of being than normally happens in a class. It also is making me look at my own teaching methods which to date have been very technique heavy, I don’t share so much of the underlying things that create a beautiful piece because I’m too busy getting the ‘teaching done’, and now I feel more drawn to take some time to explain the things that really help make a difference OTHER than just techniques…

There's still so much I'm getting out of it even now as some of the ah ha moments filter through.

I loved his teaching skills. I loved how he piled TONS of stuff all over the table, things he’d made over the years...encouraging us to rummage through them…talking about pieces that caught peoples attention.

I loved how there were so many interesting pieces…I really get that about making a piece interesting, getting the attention of the person holding/viewing the piece. I watched how my eyes traveled over certain pieces, noted how something attracted me, noticed the little things that kept me interested in the piece, noticed my response to hearing that it was concrete (omigod, CONCRETE!) or paper mache with some polymer squished in there! or this delicious material he uses called faux bone.

I loved how he started the workshop off with the sound of a Tibetan singing bowl. I have a pair of Tibetan chimes…two shallow bowled bells connected with a simple piece of leather. I love to use them to center myself or just for no reason at all. They’ve always fascinated me, how that tone touches the depths, opens the heart, clears the mind. I’ve never heard a singing bowl before but it has the same effect. So I hope Robert doesn’t mind me taking on this lovely way to start my own workshops…with a sound that goes on and on…

Anyhow, enough words for one day. But you get the idea don’t you? Do a workshop with Robert the next time he comes to your country (he travels allllll overrrr) and you’ll find, like me, that the workshop lingers long after it finishes.

Robert Dancik

I'm back after a whirlwind trip to Brissy doing a Robert Dancik workshop. Loved my day with Robert, learned HEAPS, had a ball! I must say here though that I discovered I am NOT a jeweller! While many of the crew seemed to have taken to sawing and riveting like a duck to water, I didn't like it at all!. Mind you, it was good for a laugh. I noticed Hector kept looking at my antics with a big smile, must've been amusing to watch Melly with a saw! But sweating over a saw and a drill just ain't me and I doubt I'll be doing much more of it. I will however be endlessly grateful for the way Robert instilled a whole new way at looking at work. There were all kinds of tasty titbits to gnaw on ideas-wise but the thing that will really stay with me is how I will look at art/jewellery now. I walked away with a new appreciation of art and will never throw another piece of mine out again! He has tremenous communication skills too and a genuine interest in each and every person and if I hadn't had all kinds of commitments planned by then, I'd have easily given the credit card another hammering and stayed for the other two days. If you get an opportunity to take any one of his classes, grab it with both hands!
I didn't take many pics but I managed to shoot off a couple. That's Roberts in the white shirt ofcourse and aussiepolyclayers Hector looking good in basic black and sawing his heart out (not literally!). Unfortunately the two pics I took of May Bartrum, our host and metal clay artist extrordinaire, didn't pan out (read: she'd kill me if I posted them!) but she will get a special mention here because she's amazing too. If you live in Brisbane and want to learn metal clay, our MayBee is the bees knees!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Where does your table face?

Libby Mills has an interesting discussion on her blog about where your work table faces. She prefers facing the room. I do too. I like it that every time I lift my eyes, I gaze out over myworkspace through to the window and the view outside. It makes such a difference to my wellbeing and creativity. A lot of my work involves sanding and I can't tell you how much things have changed to the way I feel about sanding (luv it now!) since I've had this studio set up like this.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The child is alive and well

Making the pheonix at Christis workshop got me all inspired again. Why I like making these is that it has a flow, it's not so much about left brain nutting the technical stuff out or making something 'perfect' much as I love inros, they are finicky to make and take a lot of refining. Where as these little creatures are more about letting your hands do their own thing, giving free rein to that which creates through you...I guess that's why Christis classes are so much fun too, is that it encourages spontaneity, lets your inner child out. And you know what? I think it shows in the work.
Anyhow, my favourite creature of all is the seahorse...I don't know just strikes a note in me somehow...and since I had the luxury of a whole day to play, this is the result...
You can click on it to see it up close...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More combo pieces

I'd made a silver clay leaf pendant a month ago which I finally now just filled with a beautiful translucent teal polymer leaf cane...this beautiful design is Jen Tattam's from Metal Clay Australia and the Contemporary Clay Instrcutors Program. I made a round reversed bevel fine silver one yesterday too and filled it with some old canes I made years ago. The rose cane is about 7 years old and the butterfly about three. Amazing how long canes keep. I rarely cane these days, so many other things taking my attention and I have so many in my drawers that I really want to use those up before I start on another cane frenzy. It's like that with canes, you get in the mood and pretty soon, it's all you want to do. Just about time to get into it again. There's a new caning video out by Judy Belcher which is s'posed to be fabulous so I think I'll order that to get me in the mood....

Grafton Artfest Clay workshop

See that lovely mokume gane polymer and fine silver shield pieces on the calender from the last post? If you want to learn to make those and more, come join my class at the five day Artfest in Grafton NSW in April next year!

Click this link for details:

The Artsfest has been running for thirteen years and is a fabulous
opportunity to learn all kinds of arts. There are 27 different
workshops. Teachers and students come from all over Australia to
immerse themselves for five full days of creative bliss!
It's also cheap by comparison to most workshops, working
out at $65 a full day (plus materials). I also limit my classes to 8
so that I have plenty of time for everyone.
It's a real 'event' too. Every evening there is some form of social
gathering, be it a concert or exhibition, that allows the interaction
of tutors and students. It's fun and it's inspiring and a great place
to make new friends and creative connections.
Early bird discounts apply!

Hope to see some of you there!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm a calender girl!

...although I no longer have the bod for the x-rated kind! These days I'm all about clay and Kathi Gose, my good friend and fabo fellow clayer in America, has produced a new calender displaying gorgeous clay creations from people all over the world and I'm the aussie representative. Check it (and other cool clay related stuff) out at

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Christi Friesen's workshop

I went to my first ever polymer clay class as a student on Friday! When I started claying around 7 years ago, there wasn't a teacher in WA, infact, aussiepolyclayers hadn't been formed yet and I just had no choice but to teach myself. I did get plenty of videos and books ofcourse and found friends through Polymer Clay Central who helped me a lot. Polymer clay groups are the friendliest and most helpful of any groups I've ever belonged to. It's been my experience that many artists in other fields tend to covet their 'secrets' of the trade and are stingy with their support and technical assistance...certainly by comparison to polymer clay artists. I wonder why that is? Fear of competition? Paaa! I always said there's room for everyone, we need more artisits in the world not less. Be generous with your help if others ask and encourage budding young (or old!) artisits to explore and find their own way but don't lock them out because of your fears cos you're locking your own heart out too.
ANYWAY, enough of the rant. It was triggered because I met someone who typifies the generous nature of the polymer clayer. I wanted to say thank you to Christi Friesen for coming all the way over to Australia from America to give what I can only describe as a joyous workshop! She is so much fun. And so incredibly generous with her knowledge, it was overflowing. She's going to Melbourne and somewhere else too so if you haven't booked, check her site for details and give youself a treat!
The pheonix which we made in class was BIG...a good tip for those teaching sculpting btw, it's easier for those learning to make a 5inch somethingorother than a 2 inch somethingorother. And mine got a bit squished on the drive back from Brisbane...she doesn't bake them, giving you more time to learn but there is always the risk of damaging your piece. We had to brake heavily to avoid a collision at one stage which doesn't happen normally...but ofcourse, it had to happen the day I have an unbaked piece in the car! Anyway, I resurrected it somewhat. It's actually still unbaked as I'm going to make another one of those jungley type mirrors for it to hang out in. The smaller one is only about 2 inches long, perfect for a necklace. We weren't taught this shape but Christi gives out fabulous coloured pics of all kinds of examples so that you can go your own way with shapes and stances and be guided by her examples. Next step? Buy some beads (and make some too) and create a necklace!
PS Actually, now I'm looking at these pictures, I can see that the larger pheonix needs a nose job, or a head job or something or other! It needs to be less prissy and more falcony like it's little friend. Thank goodness it's still not baked. Can still mess about with it. That's another thing I loved about Christi's class. I allowed myself to mess up...I really got into the moment of it...and Christi showed us several ways of tackling ways to change something you're not happy with. Will post another pic when I've made the mirror with the new improved head...I want it to express rebirth from the ashes, not cuckoo clutz...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I had fun with my friend Zoe yesterday and we made rings! The pics are pretty bad...sorry. But click on them and you'll get a better closeup view.
Years ago I went to a silver clay workshop run by Maggie Bergman (who's a fabulous teacher and a really nice person too) and the only item I didn't like of all the things I made was this textured band ring. Since I don't wear rings anyway, they've been on the back burned all these years. But I've had three enquiries in the last couple of months from people wanting to learn to make pmc rings and so I thought I'd better practice. I'm pretty pleased with this first time effort. Still heaps of room for improvement but by this time next month, I'll have it down!

Friday, September 28, 2007


The view outside my studio window is just amazing right now with the jacaranda tree in flower. And just to add to the picture, see what passed by us this morning! No wonder I get so 'wired' with ideas, this place is truly inspirational.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Inros Donna Kato style

I have holes and buna cord still to add but for better or worse, these are the finished inros.
Susan (see 'comments section' last post) will know what I mean when I say a really interesting thing happened when I went to add the bulbous look to the tops and black premo could only take so much stretching, so I couldn't create the lovely more rounded look I wanted. Looks like I'm going to have to make my next lot using kato clay for the tops and bottoms too. Didn't have any black kato on hand unfortunately. Trust Donna to write tutorials that suit her own clay better than any of the others. Smart cookie that one:) I'm still very happy with my Premo for most things, it's a great 'all rounder' but Kato clay sure does do a better job for some things.

Anyway, I'm still pleased with these and will know what to do in the future.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What's on the table?

Nope, not one finished thing. But a few items in progress. I like spreading out, I have two tables on the go almost all the time. I actually have three but the third one is just a mess and is awaiting the cleaning fairies. They never come when you want them!
I'm definitely on a Donna Kato binge. I really grok with her work. It's classy, colourful and often fun.
The purpley cane is basically a skinnerblend plug with lines. I've managed to suss out how Donna does those gorgoeus squiggles of hers. Or rather, I've sussed out my version, maybe hers is different but it comes to the same thing. Hopefully, I'll have a finished necklace for you to see later this week. One thing to note. I've been using Kato clay for this last lot and I found it holds the lines in the cane much better than Premo. Fancy that. See, that's why I never get stuck on just one clay. Each brand behaves differently and what may not work so well with one brand will work great with another.
In the second pic, you'll see two half made inros. Again Donna's technique. Although this one is from her great new book. If you don't have, get it. I've been claying for six years...or is it seven now? Anyway, I've learned a lotfrom this book and I've also thoroughly enjoyed the adventure...which basically means it's written well and there's no room for error except your own. I'm still trying to work out why my transfers leaked black ink a bit, had to erase and touch em up with pencils. I used the photocopy wet the back method of transfers. Premo was used for the most part, except for the translucent clay overlay. I didn't have much success with using Premo trans over my last inked inros and I heard that Kato trans stretches much better and doesn' plaque up as much...and you know, they were right. I've just pulled them out of the oven and 'look mum, it's all clear'! Will pop pics of finished pieces later on in the week.
Sooooo...what's on your table this week?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

pillow beads...yes...still:)

These beads are the result of re-writing my pillow bead tutorial using surface techniques with metallic acrylic paints, foils and crackled gold leaf. I decided to go the whole hog with that last lot of green beads, covering the entire painted/foiled sheet with an ultrathin layer of crackled gold leaf encased in translucent.
They may take a while to upload since I had to take them in high resolution...but if you click on them, particularly the last close up of the crackled leaf jobby, you'll see the wondrous layered luminosity.