Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Finished pieces

The advantage of teaching step by step is not only do the students see how it's done right there in front of them, you end up with some pieces yourself! Here are some pmc/polymer combo pieces and tile bracelets from the last couple of workshops that I just finished sanding and buffing...I'm really liking the mokume gane tile bracelets...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Thrown in at the deep end

Louisa (right) and Helen (left) have never clayed before so producing these pieces as a first effort is pretty awesome I reckon. We ran out of time to sand and polish the polymer parts of these pieces but armed with instructions and a quick demo and practice, their pieces will come up a treat. You should have seen their smiles when they left, they were pretty darned impressed with themselves and totally hooked on clay! Silver clay and polymer clay go so well together doncha think? Those delicious black to white skinner blended pieces are Louisa's pieces and Helens are the gorgeous bright tropical blended pieces. Well done ladies!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Singing more praises

While Hector and I clayed our hearts out, Curt created his own brand of art...culinary art! It's a joy to come out of the studio to delicious this case, the aroma of a garlic prawn rice dish one day, spicey indian rogan josh another, fabulous salads and finger foods for lunch, bacon and eggs for breaky. All very yum...and very much welcomed after a blitz of claying. Hectors friend John also joined us during our breaks, adding to the fun!

Hectors pieces

Thought you might want to have a gander at some of the work Hector produced during his stay here. He's been claying for less than a year and already produces the work of a pro! Some of these pieces haven't been sanded and polished yet but you sure can tell which ones have!

Hectors clay retreat

Meet Hector! He came for a two day 'free choice' clay retreat. Doncha LUV it when your claying guests choose to do some of your favorite techniques. Man, we had the best time! In a two day workshop, he learned about screen printing and how to make and assemble a curved tile bracelet, made a beautiful set beads and the most stunning pendant using the mokume gane technique with daisy bead inclusions, did my own version of faux glass (with gold foil) bead technique, practiced finishing techniques (sanding and buffing), learned how to make swirly beads using my more deliberate method (as opposed to using scrap clay) with striped canes, made some fabulous skinner blended canes (with stripes...inspired by Donna Kato) and rolled them into snaily pendants and other playful shapes (they have yet to be sanded but what a fab job he's done)...and in the last couple of hours we experimented with a technique out of Donna Katos new book which I can't stop raving about...making a laminate with liquid kato sauce and heat set Genisis paints, gold foil, stamping. Pity about the bubbling on one of the transfers eh! That's a lazertran inkjet decal which we wanted to 'test'...bad didn't work like we hoped. But he'll be able to save the rest of the thin flexible laminate for pendants and such, it's a 4inch square sheet. The fabulous thing about this flexible sheet method is that it wraps around curved surfaces...which broaden the possibilities tremendously ie inros, lampshades, votives, furniture, curved pendants (so much classier than flat doncha think?)...the list goes on I'm sure. Will definitely be experimenting further with all this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Screen printed inros

Tried my hand at screen printing my inros and using Lazertran INKJET (the new one) transfer paper, works a treat but I did notice the corner of one of them come up a bit, will have to check 'Glass Attic' (thanks to Diana Black for this very comprehensive reference to anything polymer!) to find out whether I can put a sealer over the top. Still, I'm pretty pleased with the way these have worked out. I love the screen printed look.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Japanese inros

An inro is a wearable box and they're one of my all time favorite things to wear because they're not only gorgeous and useful but being made from polymer clay, they're also pretty light for something so substantial. The box part is about two inches high and 1.5 inches wide...(4.5cm x 3cm). My camera broke on the weekend so these have been taken with our very old but unbreakable Sony...tomorrow it's off to the store to buy a new cam and I'll replace this pic with one where you can actually see the lovely effect that inks and transfers and gold leaf wrapped with translucent clay create. Still not happy with the way the translucent is plaquing up. I'm using premo frost and never had a problem with it before. Maybe it's the moisture in the air...

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Does this ever happen to you? This has been a week of clay disasters. Everything I've touched has turned to sh*t! Admittedly, I'm experimenting this week...trying new transfer techniques and inros, playing around with inks for the first time...but you'de reckon that after about 30 hours there would be SOMEthing to show for it. But nope, nothing but failures. I have half a dozen pieces that are going into the dustbin...I don't think I've ever had so many distasters in one week! And since I normally show nothing but my best, how about a reality check here as I show you my failures. Here are two of them, the rest are already in the bin, flung with great aplomb! Lisa Pavelkas transfers all developed tons of bubbles after could that be when I was so careful not to trap air under them? My own experiments with liquid clay and Canon photo paper were much better but two of the inros cracked, I think it's because they were too thick because the other three I have half-made are thinner and didn't crack. Adding a sheet of translucent over the top of all my pieces seemed to dull everything...till I remembered reading a message on PCC about hitting it with a heat gun for a mo...and lo and behold, it all became clear in more ways than one!
So yes, I've learned a lot, what works and what doesn't... and hopefully the three remaining inros I have half completed will make it all worthwhile...but I'm rather taken back with the effort of it all. Maybe it's cos I have a cold and am feeling a bit despondent. Maybe it's cos after 30 hours work I have three half finished pieces to show for it and a very messy table (see pic). Maybe it's because I was hoping that this experience would encourage me to have a go at making handbags, something I've longed to do all these years. I mean, how hard can be? Bloody near impossible this week I tell ya! If anyone of you has any tips on making handbags, paleeeeease write me. I'm thinking small first off, a bit bigger than an inro. Oh to have Kathleen Dustin living just down the road! I could drop in and have a cuppa and walk away totally re-inspired! Instead, I just have to pick myself up and dust myself off...finish these three surviving inros before they mock me.....and keep at it. Sometimes it really is just about doing it and doing it till you get it right!