Look Hear

Ample Parking circa 1982Creative Connections is more than just the name of this blog–its how we live our lives at my house. All sorts of stuff comes together, goes elsewhere and wraps back around into our lives again eventually. This weekend finds us getting ready for the Dyeing Days starting Monday, and while I sort things into the various bags for each color, I’m listening to music from my past, because my husband is going through 25 years of  recordings and digitally archiving them. He’s a musician as well as a landscape and mosaic artist, and I’ve recently set him up to do podcasts. He’s coming round to where the computer meets the music, and thats a challenge for someone who claims to be a techno-primitive in style. The fingers are faster on keyboards of another sort, not the PC. But hey–he managed to move from acoustic to electric guitar, and I’m betting that this too will be a more comfortable medium eventually.

Some of the old recordings even include me, back in the days when I split my time between art and music, before adding children to the mix. (Ample Parking was the name of our ’80s band) Then I retired from the music scene and made art and family and writing my full-time jobs. I don’t miss the smoky-bars-3AM scene but I do sometimes miss playing music with others.
And now, the kid who’s persistant kicking along to the music decades ago while still inside  made me put away the bass guitar is making his own films, and coming home to work with his Dad on some soundtrack music; isnt it just convenient that there happens to be hours and hours of it available?!! If you’d like to hear some of it, visit:
http://feed.at-the-helm.us  or his accompanying blog: http://bryanhelm.wordpress.com

 I think I’ll turn the volume up and go back to sorting–its great to be able to use my eyes, ears, hands, and brain all at the same time.

Please follow and like us:

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!

Please follow and like us:

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!

Please follow and like us:

Sparkle Plenty

JonesTones Foils That’s the name of a comic strip character but its also what a lot of people liketo see in their polymer clay or textile or other wearable arts.

A great example of another place it all connects is with the JonesTones Foils that are often used in fabric embellishment, or on on already made clothing like tshirts, sweats, or even shoes.

It comes in sheets in solid colors or in holographic and oil slick effects. You can follow the package directions to create sparkling and metallic effects on cloth, and it can also be used with polymer clay. You can sometimes find it in hobby supply stores, or order online from Puffinalia.com

JonesTones Foils on clayTo do that, roll out a sheet of clay. Place the foil pretty side up–so that you see it–and then burnish it onto the raw with your fingers. It particular helps if you have warm hands; a little heat really helps the transfer. I then use one of those credit-card come-ons that arrive in the mail. Use the edge to burnish the foil down in one direction, then another. Rip the sheet of foil away like a bandaid removal and the colorful part should transfer to the clay, leaving a clear sheet of acrylic. Sometimes only part of it transfers. You can do it again to fill in with the same foil or different, or use Pearl-ex mica powders to fill in spaces as it will not stick to the foil, only the exposed clay. The clay and foil can then be used in making beads, jewelry, collage and mosaic pieces and more.  

From the Dollar Nail Art siteAnother source of a very similar foil is the Dollar Nail Art Store. They have five foot long strips of foil a bit over an inch wide for a dollar! and they have them in a very wide variety of colors. They are used in exactly the same way as the Jones Tones foils on polymer clay. Intended for acrylic fingernail decoration, these strips are very useful in many decorative ways.

They also carry iridescent and holographic filaments, tiny rhinestones and pearls, a wide variety of glitter, and more. They even have rolls of teeeeeeny gold and silver strips for pin-striping! Everything at this site sells for a dollar. There is a minimum purchase and it was very easy to fly right on past that point, even just trying a few things I simply HAD to have….

Both kinds of foils will react with clay over time if left to sit. Some start to lose color. Some change color when baking, so don’t over do it in the oven—cure fot the needed amount of time and take them out promptly to minimize this. The green hologram/herringbone effect shown above turned silvery on baking, but with bits of green fading in and out. The fuchsia foil turned a silvery lavendar–you can see it in the decoration on the red hats of the polymer clay ladies here. I heard about the dollarnailart.com site from one of my online friends over at Polymer Clay Central. Its wonderful when people share their sources for interesting supplies!

Please follow and like us:

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!

Please follow and like us:

From Black &White To Color

This Little Pig bookA lot of my endeavors tend to collect up against each other or tie into each other eventually, and not just in the piles that accumulate all over the studio. I have a love of pattern, a deep and abiding joy in colors, and I just adore a good black outline. And although I am willing to admit that I am addicted to buzz I get from a good strong jolt of color, I also do a lot of work in black and white and find the clarity of composition in a pen drawing to be very compelling. Am I caught betwixt and between the B/W vs. Color issue? No indeed, there’s room in my heart and my studio for both.

Coloring Book pageAs an example of how things tend to mix it up, both in my head and in my eventual finished product, here’s a look at a drawing I did a long time ago. It began with black ink and my trusty Rapidiograph pen, long since traded in for Micron pens that don’t clog!

I made sure to make a master copy of the drawing before I colored it in, because I though other people might enjoy coloring the pictures too–so I have sold the set of 10 drawings as a coloring folio over the years. I still get a kick out of the details, if I do say so myself.

After I finished the pen and ink drawings, I had a lovely week of coloring fun for myself. It was a treat! I prefer Prismacolor markers, the kind with a chisel tip on one end and a point tip on the other. They are very versatile. They can be used to ink in designs on polymer clay as well as on paper, and don’t bleed into the clay.

This Little Piggy calendar Here’s a look at the same page, with the color added.  I used the Print On Demand publishing capabilities at Lulu.com to create a calendar that features my Little Piggy drawings and silk painted borders by Chris Murphy. The calendar is available through my own publishing imprint, Polymarket Press. Lulu makes it possible for the enterprising author/artist to create and publish with no minimum print runs. It is a fabulous online resource for all creative entrepreneurs.

Recently, I took the scans of the drawings that were used to create the calendar and reduced them using Adobe Photoshop. Using photopaper copies printed out here in the studio, I transferred the colorful images to polymer clay. That’s the bitty-book you see at the top of this post. It won in last years designer competition sponsored by AMACO. All the pages are made of FIMO polymer clay with liquid clay transfers. For more info about this process, click here.

Please follow and like us:

Moving In

Box MaskAs I learn more about the potentials of blogging, I am refining and adding to the structure of this one as well as trying to find time for the actual posting! Today I am adding to the “blogroll” or list of links. I have so many wonderful sources of information and supplies and inspiration, and I want to share them. So I’ll be adding more as I go. AND I’m getting things ready for Major Undertakings–all sorts of things happen around here in the Spring, and not just planting the vegetable garden. We are only a week away from the annual Dyeing event, and I’m working on pictures and words for several new books, including the Miniature Masks collection. I’ll post more about that later this weekend.

The most recent Miniature Mask swap yielded a fabulous matchbox mask from Ellen Rumsey Bellenot. The mouth opens and closes–I love it!

Please follow and like us:

Hello out there!

Japanese Girl PinAlthough I’ve been building websites for several years, blogs are a new phenomenon to me. My own Polyclay Gallery site just keeps growing and growing, and yet I feel a certain discontent when I see wonderful interactive sites like Cynthia Tinapple’s Polymer Clay Daily blog. Her clean, colorful, and constantly changing page is a “must see” for any polymer clay enthusiast. She made it irrisistable–blogs are a great way to be visible AND in touch with others. Although I update my web site with new pages and quarterly updates, its just not the same. And, many of my interests don fit neatly under the polymer clay “umbrella”, although they mostly all DO interconnect there!

So, it seems time to follow my own advice and start blogging on a regular basis. Please do come back and see how things progress, and I welcome comments.

Please follow and like us: