Thursday, November 27, 2008

season of hope

I picked up some bottles from the guild last month, so that I could make some bottles of hope. I've made two using those bottles that I've submitted to the challenge for CHA. Yesterday I bought a box of bottles on ebay so that I can make some more. It's been a long time since I spent a day making a bunch of bottles for BOH - long overdue. But, as it's the season of giving and doing, and I've been busy donating to Seva and Oxfam and Heiffer, I'm reminded to do those things that require some more of me, more personal involvement.
So, here are my two guys for the BOH challenge, and we'll see how creative I can get when my box of bottles arrives.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

time for time off

Judging by today's crowds - or lack of them - the economy is speaking. The art show seemed quieter today than usual. Two of my favorite dolls sold; always a bittersweet feeling. I think they went to good home. I came home and rearranged to fill in the bare spaces, so they won't stand out. I may take a few days off over the holiday weekend, and take stock of where to go next. I do have one project I know I want to work on. I've been waiting to get it started for a while now. I just have a few details to work out still. I know just how I want to turn a vase into legs and feet and how I want the head to look; just have to figure out the coffee pot middle. Then there's all the fun of the adding on and filling out.
I also want to work on some metal work. I have some etched beads floating around in my head pushing to get out.
Happy Thanksgiving. Have a creative holiday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

back to simpler times

In the midst of the planning for more complex projects - deciding how to attach, what materials to use, how to balance, etc - i decided to take a break. As I was cleaning up my work table - to make space for yet another project to begin - I gathered up some left over pieces of color blends. They weren't really big enough to do anything with, but I hated to throw them away, and didn't want to just roll them into one more bead. So I ran them through the pasta machine on a very thin setting to get the most surface, cut them up into pieces and created a single sheet of clay fabric. Again rolled very thin, I had enough to cover a bangle-sized snake. I haven't made just a simple bangle in a long time. I was pleased with it, in a silly way - pleased by how easy it had been and how pretty the colors were. The lure of the colors is what got me into polymer clay in the first place, lo those many years ago (about 16 or 17 I think). So, here is my present to myself.

All bottled up

My husband is used to my "junk" collecting. He's learned to ask before throwing anything away. Even so, he was a little surprised when I saved a beer bottle from the trash. Usually I'm a little more discriminating than that. But it made the perfect base for this doll. I wrapped a silk paper fusion around the bottle and let it dry before painting and adding pigments. I wrapped a Skinner blend "dress" around her, and made her a matching hat. I may have to make my husband drink some more beer....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

when is a sardine can not sardine can?

When is a sardine can not a sardine can? No, this isn't a philosophical or metaphysical question. Merely an artistic one. My doll is finished. I started with a Mexican heart shaped tin piece, which I used as a cover for an accordian book, and placed inside. My heart is an open book. I used Laurie Mika's mosaic style to cover the can, then stood the little man on heart and key shapes. He's probably not the last of his kind - I have a whole basket full of tin cans!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

time flies...

Today was full of inspiration. A trip up to Pasadena to the Norton-Simon Museum meant a day full of incredible beauty. The museum has an interesting mix of paintings and rooms full of Degas bronzes. Also some Henry Moore sculptures that prompted some ideas.
Once again, I'm not short on ideas, only short on time to create. Hence the spice box doll I'm working on, using Laurie Mika's mosaics combined with some sculptural components (not yet attached). Not finished yet, but here's a picture of the work in progress....

Monday, November 10, 2008

ode to a sardine can

My work table is starting to look like the land of unfinished projects. But at least I feel like I'm making progress. I haven't quite figured out whether my newest small doll is going to stand on his own, or have some sort of base. Seeing as how he started out as a sardine can, the body is open, and I'm working on the mini-book that will sit inside. It's almost done. Then his hat goes on, and I'll have to make that last decision.
In the meantime, I did start on another doll, with a bottle body covered with silk fusion. Given that we lost our warm and sunshine on Sunday, it's taking a little longer than usual to dry (but we really did need the rain). More on that one soon.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

finishing touches

A number of polymer artists have added PMC to their toolbox recently, in order to create their own findings and add fine silver finishing touches to their polymer clay pieces. I have been using sterling wire for years in my pieces, but haven't quite gotten into the metal clay swing, yet. (I have a few pieces sitting in a box that I may dig out some day.) I did run across some great silver and bronze bezels from Susan Lennart Kazmer a while ago while drooling over her work. (You can purchase them from They really finished off my polymer canes. Even simple canes become nicely finished jewelry in the metal bezels. Great way to get a quick pick me up to your canes or your outfits!
Some days it's more about feeling like you've done SOMEthing than really creating.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

something old, something new

Sometimes "found objects" aren't only found out and about. Sometimes they are lurking right in your studio. I decided to look through some old pieces and partS of projects and give them a new life. I reclaimed some of my old pins, worked some metal pieces to accompany them and created some new, more interesting pendants. It's interesting to see how one's work changes and evolves. There are pieces with which I was perfectly happy once upon a time, but deconstructing them, adding to them, rebirthing them makes them so much more. Ah, the evolution of the artist.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

so much art, so little time

A luxurious day off from work, to spend on art. Why do those days always go by so fast? It was hard to decide which project to work on. There are always so many ideas I want to try and things I want to make. There never seems to be time to just experiment, a day or two to just try out different things. The time I have to spend on art is so short, I always hate to just play around without accomplishing something. Yet, artists need to do that. I need to do that. Sometimes I think that's why i take classes - more for the time to just do something with techniques without needing an end.
I took a great class with Laurie Mika last weekend. Not that I don't know how to use stamps and paints and powders on clay; I've certainly been doing that for years. But the chance to play with those things, doing something very different from what I normally do, while learning the cool tips Laurie had to share was great. So, I spent part of today with more stamps and paints and powders, along with an old sardine tin (empty and clean), a freshly sculpted clay head, some mulberry paper, a few odds and ends and - voila - a doll.
Even had some time left over to read a book.

Friday, October 31, 2008

i have a good shape - round is a good shape

My fellow polymer artist and talented sculptor, Dawn Schiller, sent out a picture of her newest witch. She was very shapely; round in all places, which elicited not a few comments from her colleagues. I said I was reminded of myself; Dawn quipped that, indeed, round is a nice shape.
I tend to use a lot of female forms in my jewelry and fiber art work, and my females are always rounded and well endowed (look back to my post and photo from the SLK workshop in Seattle).
So, for today's post, I dug out a (partial) photo of a piece I did last year - entitled "women of a certain age"
It's not necessarily a pretty picture, the lumpy roundness so many of us seem to find ourselves in, but it is real and it is us. So, rejoice and be comfortable.
Later this weekend, I promise to take pictures of the results of today's labor in my studio. So, stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

a sign of a sick mind?

They say a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind. Well, my mind is certainly very healthy, by those criterion. Too many different project running through my minds and hands at once. I tried straightening up a bit, but that never lasts for long.
The beginning of the week is always devoted to work, but I'm hoping to get back to my studio before the end of the week. Maybe I can get some more projects completed.
Otherwise, heads may roll!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

pinned to my workspace...

In the spirit of keeping my fingers in art more consistently, and in getting ready for the Talmadge show (for those of you here in San Diego, that's Nov. 23), I'm still clearing up those previously unfinished projects that have been haunting my work table. While most people would say that the beading on these pins is the tedious part, I'm fine with all of that. It's sewing on the darned pin backs that gets me. These girls have been sitting for a couple of months now, just waiting to be pinned. I finished off a couple of pendants, too (no pix, yet).
I'm gearing up for a class with Laurie Mika next weekend. I've been brewing up some ideas of how to work her interesting mosaics into my dolls and their assorted parts. So, stay tuned for those.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

one last seattle memory

Here's a picture of one more project I worked on in Seattle. On the last day I wanted to try one last technique for attaching objects. I pulled out a small ammonite I had brought with me, an interesting metal disc I had found in Portland a few years ago, and copied the curving shape in a sheet of silver. Add a little movement to keep it interesting, and - a pendant.

A little closer to home - I used the same technique to attach this polymer faux bone fish carving to a sheet of textured copper. I wanted to use the toggle clasp bars to attach the chain through the chinese coins, but the toggles wouldn't fit. So, a small change in plans, but I think it works. I'll take it to the Talmadge Art Show next month. I haven't done a show in a long time, and need to have some fresh jewelry to show. I'm also going to be taking some dolls for the first time.

I have a lot of ideas for new dolls. I keep laying awake at night planning out various ideas; figuring out how things will work, whether they'll work.... Now, I just need time in the studio to make them work! Also, need some sleep....:)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

fill me up with creativity

The first project in Susan's class was forming a vessel shape. She is very into forming shapes and negative shapes and thinking about the relationships. So she had us start with this neat conical vessel shape. Of course, everyone's turned out differently. I had some fun with patina (which doesn't show in the photo so well), and added an old polymer bead I happened to have with me. I'm not too happy with the tassel - I had a fine Artistic wire, but not a silver I could hit with the liver of sulfur, so it's too bright. I'll have to change it now that I'm back to my whole studio.
It was interesting working with only a limited supply of "stuff." I had a bead box with some odds and ends of beads, found objects, and Susan and Linda had a stash for us to use, but while it was nice not to be overwhelmed with wanting to look through everything I owned for just the right item, it was also frustrating knowing I had exactly what I'd want back at home. But, you do push your creativity when you're forced to limited choices.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

leave a woman hanging....

I had a fabulous time in Seattle with Susan Lenart Kazmer a week ago. Lots of creativity, lots of polishing up techniques, lots of good food. We played with forming, enameling, riveting, pouring resin, connecting, dangling, and more.
Since I find myself using female forms and faces in so much of my work (even the jewelry, not just the doll making) I made a pendant that incorporated much of what we covered.
After cutting out the piece, I formed the shapes of her, added a resin face (molded from a polymer face I had sculpted) in her womb (using tube rivets and a rusty washer), a piece of ancient Roman glass Susan and Linda had brought, a piece of torch fired enamel with which I had experimented, some found objects and flowing silver wire and copper mesh hair. Lots of fun. It's a theme I want to explore more, and I already have plans for more pieces - perhaps a bit smaller.
As to the food, we ate out well at night. I hobbled to the Pink Door one night, and had nowhere to put my cane. Thankfully, a helpful young fellow helped out. One of my classmates took a pix.
Hope he brings a smile to some faces.

Monday, October 20, 2008

i'm a basket case

In the spirit of finishing things (for a change) I also finished a doll this weekend. basket case started as a wire basket found at a thrift store. After working with Dawn Schiller on polymer faces, here I had this huge space just asking for someone to peer out of it. She's looking, and reaching, but just not quite getting out of this spot she's in. Sound familiar?
Here she is. I've already got my next doll planned. Just need time to start.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

tick one off the list

Well, one more project accomplished! I'm sending off one of my doll jackets to the Textile Center show - Nothing New: fiber arts from household materials. Quirky as I am, I chose to use feminine pad wrappers; hand dyed and painted, hand stitched. If it doesn't get accepted into the show, I guess I'll just have to design a doll around it. Can't let it go to waste, now can we?

Friday, October 17, 2008

jumping into art & technology

now that technology pervades my professional life, i guess it's time to add it to my art side.
i'm hopeful that talking about my art will help keep me moving and producing.
i have lots of projects planned and, as always, just need the time.
i did take last week out to attend a week-long workshop in seattle with susan lennart kazmer. it was exciting and got the ideas flowing. she really pulls the creativity out of you, and it was wonderful to have the time to work with no deadlines or interruptions or obligations.
i need more weeks like that.
pix to come....