Friday, September 28, 2012

Crow verses Raven

There is no mold - everyone is an individual, right?
One of the most popular things that I make is a raven necklace that has 11 birds in it. It sells at the Craft House on Granville Island. This is one of the reasons that I was conditioning a lot of black clay. I spent a good part of the day making little birds and I have a lot more to go. Good thing I have a good novel to listen to.

 When I took that last finished necklace in to Craft House yesterday I was asked if the birds were ravens or crows? I know there are differences but I all ways ask the questioner which they prefer. What ever that is – raven or crow – that is what they are. Tomorrow more ravens/crows

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Black Out

I spent most of the day conditioning black clay. No picture today after I quickly dismissed the idea of just posting the picture of a black square. There is a lot to be said about conditioning clay. Lucky for the readers I will not go on about for long here, except to say how a little crumbly clay will correct the consistency of clay that is too soft. Of course there are some scary moments when the clay shreds and crumbles. That is what I should have I had taken a picture of - well, next time. Even though I had cut the crumbly clay thin and gradually took it thought  narrower and narrower settings on the pasta machine before adding it to the super soft clay, there were moments that I didn't think that it was going to work, but after forty or fifty passes through the pasta machine, the conditioned clay looked pretty good. Now I have to use it up making all the black things that so many people prefer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kitty Cat Krazy

Just the beginning, a pencil sketch
I have many sketches for stamps that I might want to make some day but it is difficult to decide which one to try next. This is a sketch that I drew last May when I flew to Ontario to see my daughter. I had lots of time sitting on the plane and I could not concentrate on a novel. I divided my time between staring out the window amazed at the view which as clear for the whole trip and working on a drawing challenge that I set myself. How many cats will fit together on one sheet of my sketch book? Turns out that the answer is 26.

Now the question is – Is there anyone that would be interested in such a stamp besides me? It takes me hours to ink a sketch and longer than I ever imagine on the computer cleaning the image up and getting it ready to send to the stamp makers. I have other things to ink but I was just wondering…

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Work and Play

Oregano and Victorian Hops buttons
Shawl Pins better than expected
 If you have a real job it is difficult to blur the lines between work and play. The plus for  real job is when you go home  you can play or do the hundreds and one little things that you have to do to keep your world on track.  When you work for yourself as a craft person the line between work and play is much lest clear. Many of the craft people I know carry their work with them even if it just punching cards for a new product. Anyone who knows me has hear the line “Just wait till I get something to do with my hands and then we can talk”. The good thing working as a craft person is the occasional reward, the surprise that something turned out unexpectedly well in the middle of a production run.

That is what happened this week end. My treat was to finish the “Victorian Hops” cane that I started on Friday. The can didn’t turn out as well as I had hopes. Once I had my blend and looked at it objectively I realized that it would have been better done differently. I complete the cane anyway. Not as good as I hoped – I am not really a pink fan. I need a gradient with darker bits to be able to tolerate pink. Oh well it is all grist for the mill.

On the other hand the production shawl pins turned out better that I expected. I even got up enough of a head of steam to post some on Etsy. Production is a meditation, you don‘t expect anything but the product but that is often were my new ideas come from.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Friday, September 21, 2012

Becoming a Cane

What would polymer clay artist do without the Skinner blend! I remember the day that I first saw it – it was like the day that I opened Nan Roche's The New Clay and saw millefiori.  Thank you Judith and Nan.
That’s it for a post today it has been a long day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Victorian Hops

Here is a plant that makes me want to make a extremely pastel Skinner blend. It looks like a hop plant designed by a Victorian lady but it is an oregano plant. I never seen one like this - took my a while on Google to find it.

I think that treat for tomorrow will be to get a polymer clay bend that look like this plant. Could be a challenge.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Innies and Outies

Copper and white clay antiqued with Prussian blue acrylic.

Dragon Parts and Sprout and Dot rubber stamps.
One of the things I like to do with stamps is to make an impression of the stamp to use as a reverse or outie stamp. Here you can see the difference in the result. The two top circle were made with the original stamp – innies, and the two shapes at the bottoms were made by using an impression of the original stamp to make the impression on the two bottom shawl pin ( not actual pins shown – what do you call the round part of a shawl pin?).
It is such and easy thing to do but it sounds complicated when I try to write it down. This is to simple to make a tutorial out of, isn’t it? Try it you will be how different the innies and outies can look.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Big and the Small of It

I have almost completed two larger enros. The little ones that I usually make are about 2 inches (5 cm) long. They were designed so the a tiny 4 gig USB drive will fit inside. They are sort of twenty first century locket that will take many pictures instead of the traditional two. They will also take any data that you care to put on them. I really like making the little ones but every now and then I make  a few larger ones. The two in the picture are more the size of the traditional enros and I am now trying to think of what kind of shoulder strap or belt I should finish them with. This might take a while because they aren’t  something I usually sell over the winter holiday season – who knows I might get them completed to but right now I an concentrating on buttons, knitting needles and shawl pins for a fibre show in October.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

In Search of My desk

Cutting up the stamp image to create something new.

A thin needle to let the trapped air out.
So I get up at 3:30 AM ( not unusual for me.) I decide – tidy up – clay – yoga. I will be done by the time my husband gets up for work in two hours. 5:50 AM rolls around – no clay – no yoga but I can see the top of my desk.

I don’t think of myself as a slop but I realize many would think of me that way. I get working and the detritus of my life starts to cave in until my space feels restricted. So I spend those two hours this morning to clear my workspace – how I envy those with the discipline to put things back and the space to do it. Well this will be another goal. These challenges are a to keep slogging along.

Dogwood berries because they are so beautiful.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Friday, September 14, 2012

Heart Felt

Lydia and Harriet - years ago.
Even on days when my heart is heavy I make terrible puns. Yesterday we lost our feline companion of 18 years, Lydia. She was the best family cat in the world, with do respects to Harriet the other cat that we had nearly as long but who never really excepted the human members of the family on equal terms. Lydia was one of us and she is missed by the whole family.

But life goes on, and I wanted to share and idea that someone gave me yesterday. I am sure others have done this but it was a new idea to me. I found some little hinged tin boxes,  5 inches (12.5 cm) long at Douglas Trading Post on Vancouver’s Main Street – A store that hold more than a few surprised. I told Caroline, the store owner, what I was going to do with the boxes and she suggested that I line them with felt, also available at her store.

This is mark one trial  for covering one of these boxes. I glued the felt in with white glue but there might be something better. For mark two I am lining the bottom edge with polymer clay. I will see how that goes.

covered box mark one

the inside of mark one box in the back ground mark  two in front

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In the Land of the Lost Socks

Mom, Dad and the three kids?

I had a meditative day yesterday making socks. I have been making stitch markers for a while know to sell at farmers and craft markets. The socks are the hands down favourites. (Customers have suggested that I make mitts to. I guess they would be the hands on favourites.) Today I will be conditioning white clay – not the most creative thing but that’s what has to be done.

If you want to make some sock of your own out of polymer clay have a look at the tutorial that I posted last December.

 If you would like stitch markers for your self or some knitter friend I have posted three kinds of stitch markers on Etsy today. I seem to be on an Etsy roll this week.
Stitch markers on Etsy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Go Big or Go Home

In the beginning there were big blue horses

When I started with polymer clay I wanted to make horses. Not full sized horses but big for polymer clay. One of the first things I did was mare and foal sculpture that is over a foot high (30 cm)  and half again long. It took a lot of time and clay. Its finish is a little rough and ready but there it was, done. There were all the little bits of cane and clay left so I made some beads. That was fun and people actually bought the beads. No one ever bought the bigger horses, but some of the small one sold. Art should not be driven by commerce but there is nothing like reinforcement of a pay cheque. Generally I want my art to go away after I finish it. How else can I to get more clay and do more stuff.

What passes as large this days would be big necklaces. I made three memory wire necklaces a while ago. They are comfortable to wear but they just don’t seem to fit into my display at the market. They are not the  an impulse buy between picking out some nice apples and getting a tasty loaf of bread. So today I send them to my Etsy shop and see if someone out there loves them.

As a reward for getting this posted I am going to stay home and make little tiny socks.

On Etsy
First Necklace
Second Necklace
Third Necklace

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rain Called Because of Market

A satisfied customer at Trout Lake Market.

I am mastering over head photography – Ladner Village Market

The weather forecast for Sunday was for rain starting in the early afternoon. All the vendors at the Ladner Market  took extra care setting up so they could manage the rain without too much trouble. Saturday at Trout lake had been perfect. You can’t expect that to happen every day but the Sunday market was hopping. We had clouds and crowds, zydeco music and a killer sax player. When I wasn’t waiting on customers I danced around my tent. I sort of think that no one will ever notice that I boogie the day away at many on the markets. By the time I had packed the car at the end of the day – still no rain. Hooray!
As I pulled my station wagon up in front of our town house at 6:00 the rain started. By the time I got to the front door the rain was coming down – and not just silly rain. It was the real wet coast thing. The timing could not have been better. Not a spot of rain fell on the seven Ladner Markets this year. This has been a lucky year weather wise. Now only one momre to go and I will be home rain free for the season.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Friday, September 7, 2012

Trying on a New Scarf

Purple Asanoha pattern
Cherry Blossom
I have to go to the studio and load up for a couple of markets this weekend: Trout Lake Farmers Market and Ladner Village Market. After these two there is only one more outdoor market until May of 2013. Good thing too. As much as I enjoy the markets it will be nice to have a break from hauling that heavy tent around.

This morning I took photos of my barrettes for Etsy. I wanted to try using a scarf with them. I was going to get a wig or something but it struck me as a little macabre plus it is a well known secret that I am a little fibre phobic. Love those fluffy animals but when the fibre leaves the animal I have a little trouble with it. Smooth fibre is okay but free form felting is almost out of the question. I digress – here are the barrettes on a silk scarf. I am okay with silk, and actually most fibre is alright as long as it is not to….fibrous.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Whoa Nelly and Blow Me Down

Some whistle awaiting organization.
My whistles were featured on Polymer Clay Daily! The suggestion there was that I write a tutorial on making whistles. I have a tutorial on making enro and bird beads in the works and at the moment I am just trying to make enough stock for the fall and winter craft sales. I will get around to making a tutorial but it will have to wait until next year.
It is great to see the enthusiasm out there but I have make too many commitments – or is the I should be committed. Anyway it will happen when it happens. What am I talking about, I just have to make it happen. Thank to all that have inquired about a tutorial and please be patient.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Value of a Shot List

Barrettes destine for Craft House on Granville Island
This morning I have been updating my Etsy site. This is not a job that I relish doing but I know that if I do it more often it will eventually become second nature to me. Since the objects that I have on sale are small and each one requires 5 shots I some times can’t remember which views I have taken of which item. Today I took a hint from the movies and I made a little shoot list. It seems to work and doing the shots in a certain order helps to make sure that I have all the views I need. Now I have to improvise a tripod for my little digital camera and stop falling back on my cell phone to take shots.

 I have posted a picture of barrettes destine for Craft House on Granville Island tomorrow. I only do this  because I hate to post without a picture.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blow Down

I am enjoying making this new style whistle that you blow from the top. This design allows for new designs that didn’t work before.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to the Blues Again

Enros being blue

My blue jewelry and sculptures are perennial. That is how I started with polymer clay and it has continued. Navy and white (sometimes gold) are a comfortable fall back that allowed me to look form, design and details without the distraction of colour. Don’t get me wrong I love colour but it can be a thug. It can dazzle and leave you drunk without attention to the dance of line and form. That is why when all is rush and dash I
take solace in coming back to navy and white, aka “indigo”.

Saturday, September 1, 2012