Thursday, February 28, 2013

More Crackle Buttons

This is another batch of buttons using Barb Fajardo's tutorials.  I was experimenting with different colors this time.  Some I really like and others I'm not quite sure.



The first batch of buttons I showed the other day were sealed with a layer of liquid Kato, baked again and then finished off with a heat gun to bring out the clarity.  It was kind of a pain really so this batch I ended up sealing the same way as I would my mica powders with several coats of PYM11 and a coat of varathane.  These have almost a ceramic look to them but without being heavy like ceramic buttons.

I'm on to my next stage of experimenting with another color series before I make up my mind which way I'm going to go with these.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Crackle Buttons

I've been experimenting with various crackle techniques to create some new style of buttons.  These are some new ones I made using a combination of two tutorials by Barb Fajardo:  Crackly Goodness and Mimbres Flora.  Barb has some gorgeous beads on her flickr site which is what inspired me to make these.


I love the deep jewel-tones but was looking for something a little more on the lighter side.  I am experimenting further with the alcohol inks so I can achieve more control over the colors I want.  Making buttons with alcohol inks also requires them to be sealed so the dyes will not run, fade or wear off so I have been trying out different methods for this as well.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Play Time at Horizons

There is something special about going to a retreat and meeting with others that have the same common interest.  Sharing with each other and learning new techniques is just part of the fun.  We maybe all didn't finish our projects we were working on but just the ideas and inspiration is enough to jump-start you for another season and get your creative juices flowing.

This year the focus was on several projects we could do such as learning how to make an Inro by Joan Tayler.  We then decorated our Inro with some "manic mokume" by Ellen Kocher or some bargello taught by myself.  There were some other fascinating demos and mini-classes such as sculpting a head by Olga and making a dye-formed dish by Jem Redlich.

Many of us didn't get a chance to finish our Inros so we have been working on them afterwards.  I finally finished mine and so I wouldn't forget what I did, I immediately started another one.  There is a lot of work in making one of these little container/purse/pendants but when it actually turns out and it opens and closes like it should, it is very rewarding!

Inro closed

Inro partially open

Joan Tayler showing us how to make her Inros.
Ellen is in the back right who taught her mokume technique.

some mokume veneers using Ellen's technique.
I haven't decided what to make with them yet.

Jem Redlich doing a demonstration on making her bowls.

Everyone concentrating on their clay projects

One of the traditions at Horizons is an optional button swap.  This is a sample of the buttons that were exchanged this year which make awesome mementos of the event.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chameleon in Person

I had such a good weekend at the Horizon's retreat.  It started out with the opening reception at the Chameleon Exhibit.  The organizers of the retreat had arranged for a special tour bus (the "poly trolly") to take us from the downtown Vancouver area to the art gallery where the polymer clay exhibit is held on the north shore area.



The exhibit was really incredible to see first hand with so many examples of polymer clay in different forms.



Here are a few photos of my work in the exhibit and you can see close-up photos for each of the items on our website if you click here.






Monday, February 18, 2013

Bargello Tutorial Now Available

I am happy to announce that my bargello tutorial is finished and available in our Etsy shop as well as our Artfire Studio.



Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery with the stitches all going in a vertical direction and arranged in mathematical patterns to create motifs.  Traditional designs are quite colorful consisting of many hues of each color which produces beautiful shading effects.

In my 25 page tutorial I show how to achieve unique color blends in the polymer clay and then arrange them to create your own bargello motifs.  Instructions for more than 10 variations are also included for different effects with more than 100 photos for easy instruction. 

This is a very easy method without having to make any skinner blends or reduce any canes.

I also show how to make several styles of beads with the bargello motif veneers to create stunning jewelry pieces.  Or you can use your veneer designs in many other ways.





As a bonus, I include how I use the same color blends to make my stripe blend tube beads and a bangle.   These beads have a unique holographic effect and almost appear 3-D with so much depth.



Sunday, February 17, 2013

To Horizons and Back

We just came back from a fantasticly fun weekend.  Dave and I headed out to Vancouver last Friday to attend the Horizons, polymer clay retreat and check out my display at the Chameleon Exhibit.  I am a little tired from the trip so will share some photos with you a little later.  Here are a few pictures of the scenery from our drive over the mountain pass.  Part of it is called the Coquihalla Hwy.  It can be quite treacherous during the winter time and they even made a Canadian documentary/reality series about it called Highway thru Hell.  We were a little nervous about making the trip but the weather cooperated for us and it could not have been better that weekend for the middle of February.

Went from no snow in one area....

to this snow and fog...

and more fog....  got so thick you couldn't see any cars in front of us....

this is the large snow shed tunnel before we hit the summit....

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cookies Anyone?

I am still getting ready for the Horizon's Retreat coming up this weekend and filling orders for our customers in between.  I made these "chocolate and vanilla" checkerboard and pinwheel icebox cookie buttons as a special order.  They are now available for sale at Donna's Yarn & Craft on northshore in Kamloops.




Friday, February 8, 2013

Chameleon Pieces for the Chameleon Exhibit

Here are a couple photos of my work at the Chameleon Exhibit that I managed to snag off the Chameleon blog.

You can follow this event and see more photos of the ongoing exhibit if you click here.



And this is a close-up of some of the chameleon pieces I created special for the event.

This sterling silver necklace I titled "Emerald Forest".

"Emerald Forest"

"Emerald Forest"

And some chameleon brooch pins: 
"Hide & Seek"

I am looking forward to seeing the entire exhibit in person when we head to Vancouver next weekend for the Horizon's retreat.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Soft Kitty ...

Purr Purr Purr ..  The ton of snow that fell over the past month is already starting to melt and we happened to notice some large paw prints (notice the claws) in the snow in our yard today.  A little close for comfort I'd say but one of the joys of living in such a beautiful area.


Just the other day I was quietly working on a bargello project when we noticed a helicopter hovering overhead for some time.  I nearly jumped out of my skin when we heard the loud blasts.  We then realized it was avalanche control on the mountain behind our house.


It was interesting to watch for a while and fortunately it didn't affect my pieces I was working on.  Here is the finished piece.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chameleon Opens Today

It is so exciting to be a part of the Canadian all polymer exhibit, Chameleon, which opens today.  This is a poster that the gallery created for the event and that is my container in the photo along with Gera's "Moxies"


Joan Tayler was the originator of this show and has worked very hard in organizing and pulling it all together.  She was the first person to introduce me to polymer clay when I took a class from her on how to make my own beads.  It was a life changing experience and from that day on I knew I had found my true passion (2nd to my hubby/claymate Dave of course :))

Click here or on the poster in the sidebar to see more about this event on the gallery website.  (It isn't posted yet but should be later today hopefully?)

Secret Garden

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bargello Veneers

I've been experimenting with various styles of bargello veneers for my tutorial and looking for inspiration from    bargello designs in quilts and tapestries to imitate in the clay.  I was quite excited when I managed to create this one the other day.


This piece is quite large actually (more than 5 inches across) so I have something special planned for it.

Getting excited about the Chameleon Exhibit which opens tomorrow.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Three color Bargello and Heart Brooch Pendant

This is an example of a three color bargello I will be sharing in my tutorial that will be available soon.  I created this heart brooch pendant and matching earrings from a veneer sheet that is shown below.