New Year, New Studio

studio2014

faces-2014I graduated from Front Range Community College with my Media Graphic Design degree, and I’m going to continue taking ceramics, jewelry, and other art class as I can afford them. We have some GREAT classes and instructors there, and I will stay on as a student or community member of the FRCC Art Club. We are seeking new officers there, as Josh and I are no longer full time students on this campus.

One of the things I’m doing in this new year is new art and instruction in a new studio space. Located at 364 Main Street in Longmont, the Kay Carol & Priscila | Gallery and Working Art Studios is home to 4 artists in residence, instructors, art groups and community organizations who meet there, and a gallery plus meeting/classroom/workshop space. I’m very fortunate to be there, and I have started  a website there with a calendar and a page  that lists upcoming classes and events.

I’ve already had fun with several Spirit Doll sessions, and here you see the new faces and molds I made during the polymer clay face sculpting class. I’m looking forward to using them with polymer, ceramic, bronze and silver in the upcoming months. They’ll be useful in the upcoming Miniature Mask Swap, and in the month long exhibit of masks and art from my PolyMarket Press books in June. That may sound like a long way off, but as I have  so many things to make and write about for upcoming books as well as hundreds of masks to mount into large frames, fabric to paint, jewelry to finish and more, it seems like only a few weeks away. However–now I have a workspace in which to do it!

Please do come see me there during open gallery hours 10:40am-4pm Fridays and Saturdays. Or, book a class with a friend or a group. Individual instruction is available as well–we are dedicated to spreading  the creativity around.

Eye-Yi-Yi!

eyesWe’re almost done with Spring Semester and in between studying for finals and doing my homework, I’m working on projects for upcoming books through PolyMarket Press, my burgeoning publishing empire.

I went back to college to learn the programs needed for publishing, and I’m now one Business Math class away from an Associate of Applied Science degree in Media Graphic Design (Print and Publication). I’ve taken a lot of art classes along the way too, which, though they don’t count towards the degree, have been wonderful learning experiences in ceramics, metal work, and watercolor as well as web design and graphic arts.

I’m signed up to finish this degree during summer semester–along with finishing several new printed books and E-books. Some are mine, and some are with other artists and authors. I’m excited to see the growth of skill and projects and the forming connections that strengthen both the work and the workers.

doll-sketchesI’m also getting back to working with polymer clay now that the weather is turning warm again. I’m documenting the progress of dolls for Making Faces, Molds & Forms.

That includes new forays into ball jointed figures and making set-in eyes as well as painting eyes on clay and on fabric.

Here’s a look at a sketch for ball jointed dolls in several scales and a pair of eyes that are part of the 15 inch doll I’ve started. I’ve got the foil armature covered with a layer of paper mache, all ready to cover with polymer as soon as school is out and we are on break. It was easy to work to the right size with a sketch. Thats not something I usually do, but I wanted to give it a try along with with making the ball joints instead of a single pose sculpt.

The eyes are shown  on the back of a business card, to give you the scale. They are around 1/2 inch in diameter. I’ll be making lots more too, as I’ve got dolls to make and tutorials to write and shoot.

They just HAPPEN to be sizes that go with the projects I’m putting together for Think Inside The Box-which will feature many projects that transform boxes into beautiful miniatures in several scales and styles!

Here’s the armoire that is part of that doll’s suite. She gets an armoire, a bed, a bedside table, a rug and other decorative details, and a wall. 

There will be variations on that in other sizes and styles; but this is a start!

Events & Classes In 2011

polymer clay facesHappy New Year to all!

Last year was certainly busy–so chock full of Things To Do that I see I haven’t had time to blog since August.

I continued taking classes at Front Range Community College, and as part of that I learned more about ceramics, metal work and jewelry, WordPress and Drupal and other Open Source Code solutions, and finished the layout of my new book in Adobe InDesign. (The new title from Polymarket Press is “A Collection Of Polymer Clay Masks” and it is available now! Click here to order an autographed copy)

There are some GREAT classes to be had at community colleges, and I’m getting  a lot of value out of the ones I take as a student.

Beginning in 2011, I’ll also be teaching 4 classes in polymer clay there through the FRCC Continuing Education program. Click here to see the listings.

I’m also excited to be an instructor at the fourth annual Cabin Fever Clay Festival in Laurel, MD. This year’s line up includes many wonderful instructors, and they are also honoring Judith Skinner for her contribution of the Skinner Blend and her work throughout the years. Having written “Adapting Quilt Patterns To Polymer Clay with her, I know first hand what a very talented and lovely person she is, and I’m very happy to see her recognized in this way. She’ll be teaching a class about ways to use the Skinner Blend, and I’ll be Making Faces! Teaching a class in sculpting faces, that is, and in making molds. We’ll even be shrinking our faces from the molds to make smaller versions–learn how at the CFCF this February 18-23.  Click here for the Registration Form.

How DO They Do It?

polymer clay miniature mask by Shane SmithI’ve switched from the active production of masks, faces, and beads to taking pictures and editing, racing towards my deadline  to put together “A Collection Of Polymer Clay Masks” and have it in print by Halloween. It can be done!!–but only if I put in some serious Photoshop hours. So that’s what I’m doing; going through miniature polymer clay masks I’ve made and collected since 1997.

In the process of participating in and hosting “swaps” for these among polymer clay artists around the world, I’ve amassed an amazing grouping of these little beauties–each measured to fit inside a 3 inch square.

After I photograph them, my husband will mount them all in framed pieces for display. We have one such piece with over 50 masks–now we’ll have several, and we’ll be doing a gallery showing along with the book when its all said and done.  The book will also include photographs of full sized masks contributed by artists for this publication.

polymer clay cane made by Donna Kato and Shane SmithAs I was going through my carefully wrapped boxes and bags of masks, and going through my file folders on the computer, I found images I took during a tutorial by Donna Kato and Shane Smith. They had been making mini-masks using scraps of canes, and didn’t have enough leftover bits at this point  at our retreat, so they made a cane up special for it, and then Shane made some masks to show us how they were done. We each got a few inches of the cane to play with, and I got their permission to do a tutorial with the photos. I’ve got a “Making Faces and Figures” book planned out and in the works, but its not the  one I’m working on now–it’ll be a companion to this one that will show how-to, and I that is NEXT years’ project. For now, here’s a look at the cane that started these masks, and the finished pieces by Shane. Thanks so much to Donna and Shane!

masks made with polymer clay by Shane Smith

Skinner Blends and More!

polymarket logo1

On our PolyMarket Press side of things, work is progressing on new books. In 2010 we will see the debut of two new books from me–
Making Faces, Molds & Forms and The Art of Polymer Clay Masks. Learning a lot more about using programs like  Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign has been keeping me very busy this year, and now I’m focusing on using them to produce new books. I’ve assembled a fabulous array of hundreds of images from polymer clay artists who create masks, and I am looking forward to sharing them all in print.

skinner blend rainbowrainbow skinner blend-completeJudith Skinner is also beginning work on her new book about the Skinner Blend, the variations of it and the many uses it has for polymer clay. There is a tentative publication date set for Fall 2010.   If you are a polymer clay artist who uses this technique and you’d like to submit images for consideration, contact me at sarajane@polyclay.com Judith is seeking the best that’s out there with high resolution images (300ppi) in a size format to fit within a 9″x7″ pages. Submission deadline is March 2010, which gives you all some time to get pics of your best pieces that make use of the Skinner Blend technique. Contact the email above and I’ll respond with the full information letter.

Images will be edited as needed to fit. Each artist will be credited by name so include that along with information as to the size and listing of all media used.  Since it was first developed and shared with the polymer clay community, artists around the world have been using this color gradation  technique in amazing ways.  Just wait till you see the variety gathered into one great book!

Houston’s International Quilt Festival 2008

houston08bLast week Judith Skinner and I were vendors for our third year at The International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas. The show is the absolute best in the world, and there are more beautiful quilts and amazing wearable art pieces than I could possibly imagine–and I have a VERY good imagination!! We go every year to promote our books, including Adapting Quilt Patterns To Polymer Clay and The Business Of Professional Art as well as to sell our polymer clay jewelry, beads, faces, and Spirit Doll kits. Next year we’ll be bringing new titles as well–I think its time to ship all the books ahead, though. We take all of our booth setup and displays and all merchandise with us, and things are getting heavier the more titles we add! This year we shipped some of the books, and that worked out very well. The Houston Polymer Clay Guild helped out with Receiving and made us welcome at a lovely evening reception too! It is always great to see our friends there again.

houston08kIn addition to seeing polymer clay vendors like Jennifer Patterson and Karyn Kozak, we get to explore as much of the show as we can. There are 20 rows of booths, and thats not counting the Quilt Display areas!!

There’s an area in the farthest back block for Embellishments, where you can find us in our PolyMarket Press Booth and many other suppliers of textiles, trims, buttons and beads, and other great stuff.

houston08iLike Glitter! Barbara Trombley was there with her Art Institute Glitter. Not only do she and her sparkly assistant Nancy show off the uses of an incredible line of glitters that are compatible with polymer clay use, Barbara’s line of “Elements” make great inclusions in translucent polymer clay and all the supplies in their booth have possibilities when it comes to mixed media art that is so dear to many, including me!

As a certifiable color addict, I warn you to be careful when looking at her color samples. Many, many colors, in very many sizes–like seed beads and paint chips it can be an occasion for gazing a long time.

Where Women Create

I also had the opportunity to meet Jenny Doh, editor at Belle Armoire magazine. It was lovely to see in person someone with whom I’ve worked well and happily as a writer of the Business Of Professional Arts column there. I rthoroughly enjoy working with talented, creative people, who are very good at what they do.

It was exciting to see the “Where Women Create” booth and to meet her and the other ladies there. WWC is all about the “inspiring work spaces of extraordinary women” to quote their website. Keep an eye out for this newly debuting magazine!

Click here to see more about this exciting show.

Designing Woman

In addition to writing for books and magazines, and creating artwork with polymer clay and textiles, I spend a lot of time working with graphic and web design. I love what can be done with a digital camera and Adobe Photoshop..and several hundred fonts! (I have about 950 installed now, having had to delete about as many….it made things slow to load. Imagine!!) I have a special fondness for dingbats.

As a web designer, I enjoy working closely with my clients to create a site that reflects their work and their personal style. Click any of the graphics here to see the site I’ve built with each client–energy workers, artists, massage therapists, musicians and more.

If you are interested in having a website built or improved, please contact me at sarajane@polyclay.com and view my website page for more information.


Lightworkers Alliance Logo
by AG Creative Design, Inc
.
 

NEW book!! Making Faces Molds & Forms

Book Cover–Making Faces Molds & Forms, originally uploaded by sarajane helm.

This is the front cover of my newest book–“Making Faces Molds & Forms”

It is a how-to guide to sculpting faces from polymer clay and using 2part RTV silicones to make molds; and thats just a start! Then I show how to use the molds to make many different faces, and use them in doll making, altered art, collage, jewelry, and more.

This book will debut in late October 2008, in time for the International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas.
(Its ALMOST finished!!)

When the Spirit Doll Moves!

flowerdoll.jpgI’ve been having fun playing with face masks, dolls, and beads. All the cotton jersey that I’ve previously dyed has been cut into fat quarters for making into doll bodies and spirit doll kits. I’ve got some premade bodies that were dyed as well, and I’ve put together dozens of kits. Now I’m ready to make more sample versions so people can see what can be done with the kits. Here’s the start of one floral doll. She still needs lots of beads though! It is important to remember that spirit dolls take several sessions to really come together.

Spirit DollIt all takes a long time….but eventually it’ll all be organized together into a how-to book and a lovely display of dolls, kits, and polymer clay faces. This book comes AFTER the new “The Art Of Polymer Clay Masks” in its release date.

March Window at Bead LoungeI’m working on the text and pictures at the same time. It’s making for a very busy winter, when you also factor in my “Day Job” building web pages for other artists, musicians, and local businesses.

From here to there

masks by Melanie West
I just put up a tutorial page about using my digital camera, a portable studio box from Digital Concepts, and Adobe Photoshop. I use one of Melanie West’s miniature masks from the swap last year to illustrate the setup and the process of fixing images for better use.

portable photo studioThis is the setup that I used to do photos throughout the book “Adapting Quilt Patterns To Polymer Clay” and also for photos on my webpages and in upcoming books.

I’ve been doing a lot of work lately taking photos for my own business endeavors including The Polyclay Gallery, and for other clientele locally. Practice and camera familiarity really do help to improve the skills involved and to get me more usable images. And having good lighting sure counts for a lot!

But truth be told, for me it is the Adobe Photoshop program that lets me really make the pictures look much better. No matter what I’m shooting–beads, dolls, jewelry or step-outs to show the process in a tutorial, it is all made better looking with Photoshop. Cropping, resizing, and image editing are only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to this powerful set of tools.

learn to photograph your beadsThe Adobe Photoshop Elements version contains everything most artist would need for use. Versions like CS2 or CS3 are more powerful by far, but contain much that may not be needed by the individual who just wants to document their work beautifully. Professional graphic artists of all sorts can enjoy a lot of potential in presenting their work if they have good digital images.

I really enjoy my digital camera, whether using it outdoors for the big wide world or indoors for beads, jewelry, masks, and how-to tutorials.

There’s a lot more to come; I’m working on several projects at once. Do take a peek at some of the photos on the links here!

What Mask Today?

mask by Val Aharoni“What Mask Today?”
Thats the question that is posed in Valerie Aharoni’s beautifully articulated miniature polymer clay mask. Shown here in closed and open versions, Valerie’s mask has a variety of different looks, depending upon how it is arranged.
Submitted to the Internet Miniature Mask Swap 2006, hers is a colorful take on an age-old issue. It’ll be included in the upcoming book “The Art Of Polymer Clay Masks”, due out later this year from PolyMarket Press. There are hundreds of masks included in the collection, and most, like this one, measure less than 3″x3″ and are made of polymer clay. I’ll be featuring them here in this blog as I continue to work on the book, and you can also see more at the other side of this Creative Connections blog and at the Polyclay Gallery website. I’d say I’m about one third of the way done with photographs. If only seeing them all like this didn’t give me such an urge to go hide in my studio and make more!

mask by Valerie Aharoni

Wolf! Wolf!

Wolf Mask by Patricia EdmondsIt is Winter time, windy and cold, and the wolf is at the door….

Well, not precisely at the door. This big bad winter wolf is a picture of a miniature mask made by Patricia Edmonds using polymer clay, measuring less than 3″x3″.  And instead of at the door, it is in the folder with the pictures that have been photoshopped and are ready for inclusion in the new book “The Art Of Polymer Clay Masks”. But before I can get onto the job of laying out all the cool pics onto the pages, I have about another 200 to photograph. So I’ll be busy for quite a while, Red Cap mask by Bernadette Mangiestaying warm in the studio with the help of the lights!

Shown next is a miniature polymer clay mask created for the swap by Bernadette Mangie. This Little Red Cap has no fear of the Wolf; she’s used to them! 

These masks are both from the Internet miniature mask swap 2006. Do remember that you are seeing them at close to actual size!

There were over 90 in that swap alone, and I have a lovely collection now that reaches back to 1997. Before I can host another one of these swaps, I am pledged to catalogue the collection. Then Bryan will mount them all into framed groupings.

Masks!

Mask--Sherry BaileyWork is well started on photographs for this years new book “The Art Of Polymer Clay Masks”. There are somewhere around 350 miniature masks in my collection from a decade of Miniature Mask Swaps with my claying friends on the Internet. I’ve had them all tucked away awaiting the time for photos–and thats now! I’ll be posting more as I go with peeks at masks from the upcoming book. Most of the masks fit inside a square 3inches by 3inches. There will also be photos of some full sized masks in the book.

Its exciting, unwrapping all the little goodies from years past and taking the pics–but its daunting too. There sure are a LOT to go!! I’m lucky that each is different and its a fun, visually interesting and mentally challenging project, because it’ll be consuming most of my time for the next several months.

mask by Jeanne RheaThe mask seen above is only a few inches tall and made of polymer clay by Sherry Bailey, who started the first Internet Miniature Mask swap in which I participated back in 1997. The mask seen below is also very reminiscent of a treasure from the past–but made last year by Jeanne Rhea.

Masks and more masks!

Blue Ice Mask-Linda WeeksThe Christmas and Solstice Holiday decorations are all put away into the closet for another year, and I’ve even straightened up and vacuumed my workspaces. (Seeing the floor is a rare event).

That includes both the polymer clay and sewing room and the computer and photo space. Both are set for some serious production pushes.

I’ve got the new database for this book all set up and the digital photo work station is up and running. (More about that in a later post).

I’m going through all the submitted images of polymer clay masks that have been sent to me so far, and photographing the masks from many years of Internet Miniature Mask Swaps.

In the next few months I’ll be archiving the work of many artists and more than 300 masks. I wont’ know the exact count till its all done! And when all the pictures are taken and all the information documented, I’ll be more than half way to the next book “The Art Of Polymer Clay Masks“. Due out in June of 2008, I’ll be putting up images of some of the little lovelies (and full sized ones too!) that will be featured in the book.

Shown here is “Blue Ice Mask” by Linda Weeks, featuring polymer clay, feathers, and rhinestones. This is just one of the lovely mask images she’s submitted for the book, and its very appropriate for the weather today!

Spirit Doll Kits

spirit doll kitJudith Skinner and I are VERY busy getting things prepared because we will be doing the Houston International Quilt Festival November 1-4 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston Texas. All sorts of new faces, jewelry, kits and beads are being created and packaged for sale. I’m having a particularly good time putting together Spirit Doll Kits, and utilizing my stockpiles of hand dyed silks, cottons and rayon in ribbons, lace, and cloth, and building up each set around a miniature polymer clay face mask.

So far I’ve got 75 kits in 3 different sizes and styles! (And I have one week to finish all the packaging and packing…eek!) Some have cotton jersey cloth thats been tie-dyed, or cotton or silk handkerchiefs or cotton plush velour; with three different sizes and pricepoints there’s lots from which to choose! Visit the polyclay.com website to see some of the others.

If you are in Houston at the start of November do come and see us at the Quilt Festival, where we will be in our PolyMarket Press booth, #1951. In addition to all sorts of polymer clay beads and embellishments, we’ll have our book “Adapting Quilt Patterns To Polymer Clay” and also the new book, “The Business Of Professional Art”.

This Little Poly Went To Market…

PolyMarket Press
PolyMarket Press
is the name of my own little publishing empire. I’ve authored books with Krause Publications as well, and last year saw the debut of “Adapting Quilt Patterns To Polymer Clay” as the very first book through PolyMarket Press.  This incredibly colorful , informative and highly detailed book was co-authored by Judith Skinner and myself, and it is self-published, and printed through lulu.com .

calendar by Sarajane HelmI’ve also got a new version of a favorite set of illustrations done into a calendar for 2008–
“The Pig Family Has A Party”.

Ever wonder why those little piggies were so busy? When “This Little Piggy Goes To Market” it’s in order to prepare for the Pig Family Party! 12 brilliantly colorful, delightfully detailed pen and ink drawings by Sarajane Helm along with silk painted borders by Chris Murphy illustrate a fresh look at this familiar piggy tale.

Business Of Professional ArtAnd there’s lots more to come! We are celebrating the purchase of our first block of ten ISBN numbers and preparing for the upcoming release of this year’s new book, “The Business Of Professional Art” in November of this year.  A compilation of columns first published in Belle Armoire magazine between 2003 and 2007, this pocket-sized book is designed for artists who yearn to earn and to be successful entrepreneurs. Each column addresses a different aspect of sales and is packed with information and tips on how to present your art to the buying public.

Publication dates for the third and fourth books from PolyMarket Press are targeted for July 2008,  with “The Art Of Polymer Clay Masks” and “Making Masks With Polymer Clay”. The first will feature photos of miniature masks from my growing collection, and the second will concentrate on how-to projects creating miniature and full sized masks.

Face to Face

Amazing Mold Putty circular
There I was, standing in the aisle at Hobby Lobby looking for the mold making product I needed to locate for my students in the Making Faces And Molds class that I’m presenting today at our local bead store. And when I found it, I saw a familiar face–several of them in fact!

I recently did a photo tutorial/project and some promotional samples for the company that makes Amazing Mold Putty. I have the full tutorial on my website for those that want to see how its done.

I had not yet seen the store promotional piece in its final print form until I saw it in the aisle, and I have to say, they did a wonderful job! I’m very pleased with how good it looks. And, its always great to see your work in print out in public! Take a look for yourself at Hobby Lobby in the aisle with the polymer clays and tools. Take a little look here; I’ve reduced the scans to fit this blog.

Amazing Mold Putty adI’ll be showing all sorts of pictures and faces in the books on miniature masks and faces that will be coming out NEXT year on PolyMarket Press. What was planned as one book grew into two.

One is a photo-book of hundreds of miniature polymer clay masks and also larger scale masks.

The second is be a how-to book. Look for “The Art Of Polymer Clay Masks” and “Making Faces” in 2008.

PolyMarket Press is my small but growing publishing empire. Judith Skinner and I created our debut book last year, “Adapting Quilt Patterns To Polymer Clay”. We each have plans for more books to come, so you can tell that we enjoyed the experience enough to do it again!

Summer-izing it up so far…

miniature PC masks by Karen Cowles

oi! What a summer full of work its been so far. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a minute to stop and post here in a while. The garden is going full tilt–all the lettuce is gone and the raspberries are done for the season. (But we froze 16 lovely bags full which will be great in muffins later this year and next winter too.) Now my daily garden time is spent watering and pulling the weeds which tend to thrive wherever you water here in Colorado. We don’t have a big farm or even a little one, just a backyard in a small town with a few small plots and a few big black pots that trees once arrived in from a nursery. We recycle and reuse as creatively as we can…with the addition of some good dirt and even better compost from a local dairy, we have thriving tomatos, peppers, cucumbers, herbs and 5 kinds of squash plants!

In addition to an hour or so a day in the garden, I’ve been growing lots of website pages and blogs, both for myself and for other clients. That includes helping my husband with his musical podcasts and blogs, though he’s becoming very self sufficient at it these days. He’s got quite a bit of original music up for listening, and more to come. I’ve been hearing and enjoying it for years; now its YOUR turn!

I’ve been busy sorting and gathering and bagging beads too, preparing for show and for upcoming classes, kits, and bigger projects like the next books. Polymer clay masks are all ready to be photographed and mounted this week, with the frames prepared and databases for the artist information all prepared–its a serious lot of work just to get ready for some projects. The amount of effort that went into making all the masks is enormous, but its also been spaced out over five or six years and done by many different artists who participated. That sure helps!!I’m really looking forward to putting this one together, and its happening now, this very week. And for the next several months as well! Bryan will be mounting and framing the masks as I finish their photos.  As I sort through them now, I’m really struck again by how wonderful they all are–so many extremely cool little pices of art! Shown at top are two from the 2006 mask swap made by Karen Cowles. Check out her website at www.choosetothrive.com

Right alongside of that giant miniature undertaking is production of new beads and new polymer clay faces and more masks! Before we show off the masks on the walls and in a new book,  I’ll be traveling back to the ol’ stomping grounds in Ohio in September, where I am very pleased to be offering classes in Bead Making and Millefiore Caning through the local polymer clay guilds. More about that in my next post.

I’m also very excited to say that work is well underway on the many aspects of preparing for our “Really Big Show”, as Ed Sullivan used to say. Scripts, songs, websites and blogs, puppets and even the theatre itself all have to in place and running before we bring up the curtain. As every one who has ever participated in theatre of any kind knows, there are years of work that go into a single hour’s performance, and its done by many hands and with the use of all sorts of skills. We’re close to being able to share the progress, and thats what’s keeping me pretty busy at the moment. Visit again soon and find out more!

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.

Font Fun

Hawaiian quilt pattern with polymer clayI’m a happy font-fiend right now, because I found a wonderful  (and FREE!) program called The Font Thing at Downloads.com to manage my fonts for me. This is not an insignifigant task–I recently removed close to 800 fonts because they were making my computer a wee bit slow to load on some programs…and yet, I still have 785 fonts left. Almost half of them are dingbats. That’s a “pictorial glyph” for those who arent already familiar with them. Dingbats are used to pretty up the page by printers, and web designers. But what I like to do best with dingbats is to take them into Photoshop and use them to create graphics in black and white which I then send off to Ready Stamps in California to have made into custom unmounted rubber stamps and also molds (the matrix tray) for use with polymer clay. For more information about that, click here.

dingbat characters
With The Font Thing, I can easily view each character in every font, scale it up or down in size to view, and group the fonts into catagories. It can call up all the available information about the font and its designer! I can put all my dingbat fonts into a folder and inactivate them until I need to use them. That means I can go back and get all the ones that I recently deleted, or shop around the various font sites for those that are freeware or shareware. The black and white graphics seen above are from a font called “Schluss-Vignetten” and it was designed by Dieter Steffmann. Those are the letters/dings for e, f and g. The Hawaiian Quilt graphic was created using a dingbat called “Hawaiian Quilts 1,2 and3” overlaid onto a graphic made with polymer clay tiles, using Photoshop again.