Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Week 1 – Indigo

Today my studio space expanded unexpectedly. I can actually spin around. I can invite others to come and work with me. Space the final frontier!!! This is so exciting! I have no pictures yet but I had to post something so I will post my favouring patterns. Indigo.

I started with white and navy about ten years ago when I started with polymer clay. I still love it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Week 14 – Garden – Happy Equinox

It has been a busy week though I am hard pressed to think of what I have accomplished but I did get at new texture sheet to play with. My design made by a friend – thanks S.

The texture sheet

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week 13 – Resurrection

A couple of weeks ago I made some buttons that I was not happy with. I didn’t even take pictures of them. I held on to them because I hate admitting defeat. Since I have been making veneers and generally playing around I decided to cover the buttons with a thin veers and here they are with the added advantage of the edges covers in rather a neat way. Now I am thinking of making buttons to cover with veneers. That might allow me to do something that I hadn’t thought of before.

Embrace your mistakes. It’s your mistakes that teach you. I have a lot of learning opportunities. Lucky me.

The studio is cooking these days. Beautiful fibre every where. Well almost every where. Carmen’s 355 project is going beautifully and I am dazzled by her productivity. Kristin is spinning and knitting up a storm. It is great to be surrounded by such positive energy.

Skinner blend and beautiful wool

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gingko Dream

When make a cane using a Skinner blend I can’t resist making a series on of booked (or Natashia ) beads or buttons. This is so simple, but it is a natural bonus for the work that goes into the blend. People who don’t work with polymer clay are always impressed and even when I make this kind of button over and over each, slice is a little like opening a present. I guess the primate mind just loves symmetry.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week 3 – Cinnabar

I have been holding back on these buttons for a couple of weeks. I am not sure why but I guess I just wanted to keep them to myself for a while. I have using this technique on enro and vases but this is the first time on buttons. The technique is simple but a little time consuming. Cutting applying and sculpting. What could be easier than that? As usual, the devil in the details and I am still working those out.

So why did I send these out today. Well I have noticed that there seems to be a few people out there that keep dropping in to my blog and I didn’t want them to get bored. - Hello out there.

Life at the studio these days is sweet. Lots of spinning, knitting, dyeing, crocheting and such. The only fibre work I do is gently remove stray strands from my clay, but it is worth it to be able to work in such fine company.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Life Between the Buttons

This past week I have had a cold which left me lying in a heap making noises that my husband describe as those of  “a small motor boat” (that was when I could make any noise at all).  The rest of the time I worked my way through an order for olives and bar fruit, played around with bas-relief vegetation and sketched while listening to the radio. So all in all it was not an unproductive time and really makes me value my good health which is so rarely compromised.

Sometimes being given a little time out is not a bad thing. Now if I can avoid it again for the next year of so I will be happy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week 11 – Gingko Bug

I have made these buttons in the past and since they are a favourite I find myself making more every once in a while. I have included them in my year of buttons not because they are new but because any record of my button making activity would be incomplete without them.

When I sit at the kitchen table in October I look out and see our Gingko about to drop yellow leaves any minute and I can’t help but think of how Gingko trees were around with the dinosaurs and we humans are just the new kids on the block. Sort of makes me feel like the tiniest speck in time – to small for a speck actually.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kicking the Tires on a Pasta Machine

Recently I have bought a number of inexpensive pasta machines with an aim to give classes, where I would supply the equipment. I found that many of these machines were not wel assembled and would not be serviceable as clay machines or for pasta for that matter. Here is my check list for buying an inexpensive ($35 or under) pasta machine. Most of the machines that I bought were Amaco, some of which I had to take back, because I had not checked them thoroughly enough in the store.
So here we go. Don’t be shy. Get the sucker out of the box and put it through its paces:

    1. Does the knob to adjust the thickness settings to move smoothly and
    click into the setting notches? I found this a common problem and a
    number of machines didn’t pass this test.

    2. Are the rollers parallel? Check just by looking, or slide a piece
    of card or a coin back and forth between the rollers to see if they still
    seem parallel on all the thickness settings.

    3. Are the rollers smooth, without dents or pits that will transfer
    to the clay? I didn’t find any machines with this problem, but I have
    heard of it.

    4. Are all the little rubber feet on the bottom of the machine
    accounted for?

     5. Does the crank turn smoothly without difficulty? To test this,
    find a little counter space and hold the machine down with your left
    hand and crank it with your right. This is the step I missed the
    first time around.  When I got home and tested the
    machines clamped to the table, I found that one sounded little a handful of
    sand was a major component in the assembly and the other refused to
    crank at all. You might be able to live with the sound of sand but
    the other was completely useless.

    6. Keep your receipt because your never know! 
So that’s the list. If you can think of something to add, please comment and I will revise.
If you find a machine in a thrift store, lucky you. If this is an older machine it may be better than the ones that are being produce now.