Hot Daze

Miniature Vanity Set

I’m going to play with dolls today, and let my project dreams roll around in my head while I do the day’s tasks early so that I can get to the parts that are more fun. There’s something about the heat on long summer days that really encourages day dreaming, memory drift, vintage perfume labeland imaginative play. Perhaps its because its just too darn oppressively hot when its in the 90’s by midmorning to be comfortable in the physical world. Maybe brains let the thoughts sputter around more freely when warm, like kids playing in sprinklers. I don’t know and its really too warm to worry about it…maybe thats why its so much fun to hole up with a good book or a project in the shade! Especially if you get the heavier work done early–then its perfectly alright to spend a few hours on pursuits a but more whimsical!Not that I’m going to be entirely frivolous–the play is also work, but “funner”, as any kid would know. There are two big little projects to do this summer, and I’m making my way slowly with both. There are hundreds of miniature masks to be photographed for the upcoming “The Art Of Polymer Clay Masks” book, and its a perfect season for doing that–lots of light!

2'x4' miniature quilt store

The other miniature project is another store. Last year saw the production of “Pieces” a miniature fabric store made and stocked with polymer clay. In it, I had the fun of combining my love of textile designs, miniatures and set design, quilts, and polymer clay. I had lots of help, too, as other polymer clay artists helped stock the shelves with miniature “bolts of fabric”–which were all polymer clay. Even the plants are polymer clay. It was originally intended as a display for use in the book “Adapting Quilt Patterns To Polymer Clay” by Judith Skinner and me. That was the official excuse—but it was also SO MUCH FUN!!! I still enjoy shuffling the hundreds of bolts into different piles, and someday they will all become parts of a wall hanging…but not today!

vintage soap lableToday, I’m thinking about the NEW store, which is in the same scale (1/6, which is also called fashion doll scale and also 1’=2″. click here for a page with more information about miniatures and a scale conversion chart). If Barbie were a quilt maker, she’d shop at “Pieces” for her fabrics. And, if she were shopping for things like cosmetics, perfume luggage, and fashionable accessories, they’d all be in some fabulous storefront.

vintage hair lableminiature version of hair lableSo here I am, dreaming of little perfume displays with framed antique labels for boudoir decorating pleasure, tiny luggage with labels from far away places and more. I’m also being practical about it–the luggage is to be made with polymer clay and formed around cookie cutters and petit-four cutters, and the perfume bottles made with beads and a bit more clay..I’ve been sorting the actual beads and will do more later! (There are kits and a how-to in the making)

The perfume labels for both bottles and art come from the same source as the luggage labels. I am thrilled to have at hand cd’s of vintage art from Stan and Russell at Twisted Papers. They have antique travel ephemera, vintage labels, and textile designs all on cds at very high resolution for artists to print and use. Because I can size them to different scales, they have all SORTS of uses!!

“Vintage Label Collection Vol 1: Perfume Health and Beauty Products” is a personal fave, as is the vintage travel series. I’m showing you just a couple of the fabulous pics that I’ll be using in making displays and products for my new little store–there are 306 images available on this cd alone!!! I have plans for transfers, charms, collages—lots of ideas for a hot summer day. See some of the travel labels and a bit more info about this treasure trove here at a previous blog post.

Hats Off To Color!

dyed cotton hatsThe Annual Dyeing Days are over for another year. Almost–I still have to rinse out the bottles and put then pools away in the garage, but not today!!
My hands are sore, and so is my back…but I do love the colors that we got this year. Eggplant was the new color in the group, and is true to its name. I think I still like Black Cherry better…but Chartreuse was the winner of the Most Used award this year.

I mixed up more of it than the other colors and STILL had to make up another batch the second day!

dyed wood pieces For more information about this wonderful color, visit Maggie Maggio’s Smashing Color site–it is WONDERFUL and the section about chartreuse should have tipped me that its going to be A Popular Color. 
We dyed shirts, hats, socks, fabric, lace, ribbons, doll bodies, and even wooden pieces. I think they are pine, and we got them in bags from a thrift store. It was a great find, though I’m not completely sure HOW they will be use, it will probably be in a puppet theater set or miniature diorama or some sort.

To read all about it, visit the new Dyes page at the Polyclay Gallery. It may take a few minutes to load as it is graphics-heavy.

About…face!

Miniature Masks
Time to turn to another set of projects–we have made a timing adjustment to the dye schedule, and are waiting another week. When the white cotton crochet hats with wired brims arrived last week from Dharma Trading Co. and were tried on and instantly admired by both of us, my friend and I realised we had a math problem. That’s when 2 Hats+46 Dye Colors = Another Order (placed that very day). So our dyeing days have been postponed but we’ll be better prepared in another week, as the pale piles accumulate.

A creative mind is able to adapt to a change in scheduling. Just turn to a different project; there are ALWAYS at least ten different Things To Do visible in the corner of my mind’s eye, and thats because they block the view of all the rest of the list. A little bit done here, a few hours of concentrated effort there, and a wide variety of things do– eventually–get done.

kinds of metal leafI’m going to do a bit of polymer clay work today, and put away the messes I’ve made from taking things out for classes at my local bead store, and have some fun! That includes the glitter and metal leaf, the clay and the Jones Tones foils. One of the uses of little bits and scraps of clay is to take small amounts of colored clay and add metal leaf. This is a VERY thin sheet of metal, and can be found in silver, gold, copper, and anodized color bursts, swirls and patterns. It sticks to raw clay without any adhesive.

making miniature masks from polymer clayPlace it all on a solid color background, roll it out, and you have a multi-colored sparkly confetti-style design. Portions of this were placed on chunks of polymer clay and pressed into a mold of my own making.

Today I’m going to take some actual clay time where I can listen to music and make faces. These will go in the spirit doll kits. The faces shown here are from the 2006 Miniature Mask Swap. Its just one of 90 designs that were traded between polymer clay artists. AFTER the dyeing happens, I’ll be taking pictures of them all. That’s too big a project for the next few days, but it is the next on the list. But for today, I’m going to putter around the studio a bit!

About…face!

Miniature Masks

Time to turn to another set of projects–we have made a timing adjustment to the dye schedule, and are waiting another week. When the white cotton crochet hats with wired brims arrived last week from Dharma Trading Co. and were tried on and instantly admired by both of us, my friend and I realised we had a math problem. That’s when 2 Hats+46 Dye Colors = Another Order (placed that very day). So our dyeing days have been postponed but we’ll be better prepared in another week, as the pale piles accumulate.

A creative mind is able to adapt to a change in scheduling. Just turn to a different project; there are ALWAYS at least ten different Things To Do visible in the corner of my mind’s eye, and thats because they block the view of all the rest of the list. A little bit done here, a few hours of concentrated effort there, and a wide variety of things do– eventually–get done.

kinds of metal leafI’m going to do a bit of polymer clay work today, and put away the messes I’ve made from taking things out for classes at my local bead store, and have some fun! That includes the glitter and metal leaf, the clay and the Jones Tones foils. One of the uses of little bits and scraps of clay is to take small amounts of colored clay and add metal leaf. This is a VERY thin sheet of metal, and can be found in silver, gold, copper, and anodized color bursts, swirls and patterns. It sticks to raw clay without any adhesive.

making miniature masks from polymer clayPlace it all on a solid color background, roll it out, and you have a multi-colored sparkly confetti-style design. Portions of this were placed on chunks of polymer clay and pressed into a mold of my own making.
Today I’m going to take some actual clay time where I can listen to music and make faces. These will go in the spirit doll kits. The faces shown here are from the 2006 Miniature Mask Swap. Its just one of 90 designs that were traded between polymer clay artists. AFTER the dyeing happens, I’ll be taking pictures of them all. That’s too big a project for the next few days, but it is the next on the list. But for today, I’m going to putter around the studio a bit!

Whiter Shades Of Pale

To-Dye Pile 1No, I don’t mean the song, I’m referring to the piles and bags and boxes of things I’m assembling to dye this week. We’ve got plain old white, summer white, navajo white, eggshell, offwhite, ivory, cream, even a bit of ecru. There are turned pieces of wood, bamboo beads, silk and rayon and cotton ribbons, silk chiffon and duponi yardage, silk handkerchiefs, cotton battenburg lace pieces, and cotton lace. There are circles and squares of silk stretched over wire, and there are doll bodies and fibers for hair in rayon, cotton, and wool! There are even a few more T-shirts. And that’s just MY pile; there are others coming to the Annual Dyeing Days. I’ll be taking a few pictures as we go and I’ll be sure to post so you can see the transformations.

To-Dye lot2Much of the yardage, lace ribbons, and stretched pieces were purchased from Dharma Trading Co. and the doll bodies were found at Factory Direct Craft Supplies. I bought  several dozen of the three, five and 8 inch bodies. These color up beautifully with the Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes, and can then be painted, beaded, and otherwise hand embellished. I attach polymer clay faces to some, and some I use paints to create faces. 

Pre-made doll bodies are great as a starting point for those who get tired of sewing and stuffing.

Polymer clay facesOf course, I like to do both–use the pre-mades and also sew, starting with my own pattern and my own dyed cloth. I’m putting together kits with the pattern, fabric, polymer clay face and a starter packet of embellishing items; beads, sequins, etc….click here to see some samples of the icondoll kits and more information about them. My favorite so far is the one shown in the header for this blog; I think I’ll keep her!