Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bargello Tutorial Coming

I've received many requests on how I create my bargello veneers.  I will be sharing how I do this at the Horizon's retreat in two weeks but am also working on a published tutorial that should be available soon.

Here are some samples of a two color bargello in the Pantone Spring 2013 colors of Emerald and Monaco Blue.  This is just a small part of what I will be teaching in my tutorial.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Adding a Signature Stamp Tutorial

This is another piece I made special for the Chameleon Exhibit.  I combined my bargello technique with the CaBezels by Wendy Orlowski.  I will be teaching how to create bargello veneers such as this one at the Horizon's Polymer Clay retreat coming up in two weeks.

We like to put our logo on the pieces we create using our signature stamps.  Sometimes it is difficult to add it during the "building" process without damaging the front of the piece before baking or sometimes I would simply forget so I have found a way to add it later.

I do this by first running some clay through a very thin setting on the pasta machine.  You want it thin enough so it doesn't stand out much on your piece but not too thin or it will tear when it is stamped.

You may need to use a mold release of some sort such as lightly dusting the clay sheet with some cornstarch or spritzing with water.  Make an impression in the clay with your stamp.  I sometimes do several at a time or you may have to do a few for practice until you get one with an even impression that you like.

Cut out around your stamp using a shape cutter.

Add a little bit of liquid clay to the back and position it onto the reverse side of your piece and rebake.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

From the Vineyard to Chameleon Clay Show

My box was carefully packed and finally shipped off to the Seymour Art Gallery for the Chameleon Exhibit which starts this coming Tuesday, February 5 and will run for a whole month.  I thought I would give you a sneak peek at another one of my pieces that I made special for the show.  It is a 6 piece set of wine glasses with a matching bottle pourer/stopper.

I came across this glass rack stand and thought it would work really well for a display.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scarf Jewelry Now Available Online

Our scarf jewelry has been a very popular item for us since we first introduced them to the local stores and art show last July.  Since then we have added many more new designs to our collection in a wide range of color combinations.  Since the Christmas rush is now finally over we finally managed to find some time to list a few of our pieces in our ArtFire studio.  Click on each photo to see more about each item that is listed for sale or check out our shop for other designs listed.  We will be listing more over the next week as we finish putting them together.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Leaf Shawl / Hair Sticks

These are our leaf shawl / hair sticks which is one of our most popular items and best seller.  Now available in our online store.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Preparing for Chameleon

It is getting closer and we have only a few more items to prepare.  Chameleon, an all polymer clay exhibit starts February 5th and runs until March 2nd at the Seymour Art Gallery in Deep Cove, Vancouver, B.C.

An event such as this calls for a special way to display our work.  We have been creating our own necklace forms in papier mache so they can hang on the wall.  Each display was individually made and customized to specifically fit each piece.

Water Lily
(Featured in the gallery of Helen Breil's book, "Shapes")

You can read more about this upcoming show on the Chameleon 2013 blog.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Behind the Scenes - Photographing Earrings - Tutorial

One of the most important things about selling your work on the internet is to have good photographs.  We  like to take several photos of each item and usually from different angles so it can take a bit of time.  We even photograph the backs of our pieces to show how they are finished.  We also photograph our work as a way to keep track and document all of our inventory.

For a while I found earrings to be more of a challenge to photograph as one needs to visualize how they look when they are actually worn.  In a past blog post some time ago, I showed one method of photographing them using a photo background as a prop.

I wanted another way to photograph earrings so they looked suspended in mid air but with a clean white background that showed the colors off best and required less editing afterwards.  I saw the frame idea from somewhere on the web a long time ago and can't remember where but it stuck in my brain so I decided to give it a try with my own variation.

To start, I found an inexpensive picture frame mat.   I strung some wire (I used a piece of flex wire) across the opening and then taped it into place.  You can also use string or anything that will hold but not stretch after a while.

I then needed a way to stand the frame so it can be upright for photographing.   I had this box that was the perfect length and placed the lid underneath providing a "pocket" for the frame mat to sit inside.  This is a back view of it shown here.

This is how it now looks from the front.

We have this white acrylic base for photographing and when I stand it up behind the frame mat, it provides a nice clean white backdrop.  White poster board should work as well.

This is how the earrings look when you take a picture up close and then crop after:

Since I now have an open box as part of the prop, I lined it with some cloth and use it for holding all my earring parts between photographing them.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fibre Artist, Kathy Kinsella

My friend, Kathy Kinsella, is a fibre artist who creates gorgeous wall hangings, handbags and felted cuffs.  We are both members and take part every July in the Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts here in Sorrento.  All the artists who submit work for the juried part of the show, as well as the gift shop, get involved by volunteering their time.  Many of the artists also provide demos to the public throughout the 8 day show.  I sat for some time watching Kathy demonstrate her felting technique.  It was fascinating to learn how she would combine various fibres using different colors and textures to create her beautiful designs.

Kathy has an Etsy shop where you can see some of her handiwork.  These are some of the felted cuffs she made using our handcrafted buttons.

It was a fun collaboration where Kathy gave me samples of the colors she was using and then I made various buttons in the styles she requested.  Check out more of her work here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Shades of Gray in Polymer Clay

The Christmas rush is over but orders for our scarf necklaces are picking up again.  I enjoy creating these pieces as I never seem to run out of ideas for new designs.  To start out, we bought a supply of scarves in a variety of colors and styles and then we matched up our clay colors to coordinate.

Our scarf necklaces are sold with the scarves as a complete set in some of the local shops.  The scarf jewelry pieces are also sold without the scarves in several local yarn shops so one can knit their own scarf or  add to ones they already have in their closet.  Click here (and scroll down) to see all of the shops in the area that are selling our scarf jewelry.

One of the most popular colors is in black and white or shades of grey.  That seems to be the case with other jewelry designs as well.  Perhaps this is because the colors are neutral and can go with just about anything making the jewelry piece more versatile.  We have been making more of the scarf necklaces in these shades and even though we use the same color combination, each piece still comes out in a different pattern making each one unique.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tie Dye Flowers

I have been experimenting with a new style of sculpted flowers that sort of have a tie dye, batik fabric or cloth look to them.  The brooch pendants below were my first experiments using cane slices from my "mini-mokume" that I share how to do in my Clay Color System tutorial.

These flower bead earrings were created using a different technique and in a combination of the Pantone spring 2013 colors Monaco Blue, African Violet and Tender Shoots.  I quite like the look of these and want to explore it a little further.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Interchangeable Earring System

Our interchangeable earring system was a real hit at our Christmas shows this year.  Many of our previous customers were pleased to be able to add more of our art beads to the interchangeable ear wires they already had as well as add new ear wire styles to their collection for a different look.

In between getting ready for the Chameleon Show in February, I have been busily posting our available ear wire styles with lots of art beads for our interchangeable earring system onto our online store for purchasing online.

Many of the earring beads coordinate with our other jewelry pieces.  Whenever we make a scarf necklace or brooch pendant, for instance, I like to make at least several pairs of art beads for earrings that will go along with these items.  They might not sell together as a set but the option is there for a customer who is looking for various pieces to create their own arrangement.

A selection of our art beads and interchangeable ear wires are also now available at Chum N' Luba's Unique Boutique here in our town of Chase.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Little Friends for the Chameleon Show

I haven't made any of my chameleon/gecko friends in a while but felt it was fitting to make some new ones in honor of the upcoming Chameleon Show.  Here is a sneak peak at one of the little guys.

The opening of the show also takes place around the time of the Vancouver biannual clay retreat.  I will be teaching how to create several Bargello style veneers to be used in various projects taught by other guild members over the weekend.