Saturday, December 21, 2013

This Season's Blessings




Blending Old and New Memories
 Attentive Care
 The swag over the window behind my Christmas tree combines old and new memories.  The celluloid reindeer were my grandfathers and the ornaments represent memories made over the years.  For me 'attentive care' means caring for each other, for friends and family and for myself with loving attention. I like the term 'attentive care'.  It reminds me to be in the moment - the here and now!  It reminds me to appreciate the life experiences that made me who I am.


The Curious Angel
Curiosity! 
I never tire of watching the birds and animals in my world.  I am curious about their habits, their colors, their field marks and how they interact with each other and with me.  Yesterday I went out the front door and found about 14 (yes I counted) Ravens in my neighbor's and my yard.  They were on the ground hopping around and calling to each other.  They were in the trees calling to each other.  I felt like I had interrupted a holiday party!
 
Our lizards are so much fun to watch.  They are curious and so are we!  Built-in entertainment!

I am curious about ways to improve - myself, our relationship, our hobbies.  Of course all that means being curious about tools, toys and books! 

Holiday Wrapping - Add some Magic
Whimsy!
Whimsy is really my thing and always has been.  It's the sense of wonder and finding the unusual around me.  The magic of creating brings me daily joy.

These are some of my blessings this season.  Thank you friends for being part of those blessings!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!   
Bring it on!



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Needle Ice and Good Friends


Pam and Linda
photo by Ken Barr
It was a cold sunny Prescott day and good friends were in town.  A day to share stories and memories and to explore new places.  We decided to explore the trail in the Granite Dells across from the Phippen Museum here in Prescott. It was an easy trail and with 3 Nikon cameras and a cell phone we knew there would be lots of picture taking!

A piece of the plane at the crash site
Each of us noticed the same and different aspects on the walk.  We looked at the site of the U.S. Constellation crash that occurred several years ago while we took a few pictures. 
We took the left fork for a short distance before deciding we should have taken the path on the right.  There were a lot more giant patterned boulders along the other path!   Before we turned back we found patches of ice.  And we found needle ice formations.  Of course, we did not know they were called ‘Needle Ice’ until we got home and researched.  What an amazing find. 
We almost missed this tiny patch of Needle Ice!
Detail of Needle Ice

Needle ice forms when the ground freezes and the air stays cold.  They can form any place and the ice crystals grow upward starting underground.  It would have been easy to just tromp along the path and crunch these crystals but fortunately, one of us saw a sparkle and explored.  Looking at this tiny patch of vertical ice crystals was like looking into another world. 

This is about 1 1/2" tall!
I could imagine being very very small winding my way carefully between the ice columns looking for?  something.  In a way it would be like winding my way along the path in these giant patterned boulders in the Granite Dells.

Giant Rocks at Granite Dells
As we walked along the trail between Oak and Manzanita trees, boulders and frozen plants, we continued to watch for icy patches.  And we were captivated with the patterns of frosted ice and with the patches of frozen ice starting to melt with the water running under the top ice sheet. 


Water running under the top sheet of ice
Melting Ice Pattern
Frosted Ice Pattern
Of course, I was thinking 'Texture Sheets!' and my friend said, "What are those?"  I explained how I would someday take my photos, turn them into black and white pictures and make photopolymer plates that would allow me to press the patterns into unbaked clay.  I'll invite her back to see that process! 


San Francisco Peaks in the Distance
At Granite Dells
Later we had lunch and the men went to explore more of the land and the ladies went shopping!  But the morning will be one of those memories we will often refer to as ‘very special’.

Friday, December 6, 2013

How a Series of Seed Pods Came to BE

               
When I took the original picture of the white seed pod, I had no idea it would be the beginning of a series. 

First there was the challenge of making a translucent polymer seed pod, then came the seed pod jewelry.  Now the seed pod made of sterling silver metal clay.  

I think this is the last of the series.  It was fun to take the idea from photo to translucent to solid forms.  I've learned a lot about forming and joining shapes in different mediums and about patience and experimenting!  So here is the procession of the 2013 Seed Pod!









Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Sterling Silver Seed Pod

I've been stuck in seed pods this fall! This is my sterling silver piece. 

I thought it might be difficult to mold the silver clay into the correct shape and of course I tried several forms to accomplish the support. Among some of the solutions were egg cartons (they were not quite the right shape), paper (it did not hold its shape) and microsphere clay (it was too crumbly or I did not have the expertise to use it).


Finally I rolled the clay to 4 cards thickness and used my paper pattern to cut 4 sections of the pod.  This is the same pattern I used to make the translucent polymer pod.  Then I used big bead of air dry clay as supports for the sections.

  I also used a special form I made to be sure the 4 sections would fit together correctly and dried them separately.  Once dry, I knew I could sand and glue them together with water and clay and they would keep their shape.  The same texture plate was used as in the previous polymer seed pods and love the way it turned out in the silver. 


I used sterling silver wire in a heavy gauge to make the center dangle and the bale.  My idea was to make it look like the stem when it attached to the chain.  This is the only part that did not work.  After firing, the wire broke in two places as I tried to harden it.  Plan B = make a new bale with new sterling wire.  That works fine.  The inside dangle is working well. 



Black Max Patina was dabbed on the outside and then I polished the high parts.  I’m very happy with the results.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Making My First Polymer Tubes

Tubes – what to do with them?

Recently I took Cynthia Tinapple’s class ‘Extrusions’ at CraftCast.com.    They have great classes!  https://www.craftcast.com/recordings/learn-make-extraordinary-polymer-clay-extrusions-cynthia-tinapple  
One of the new tools I learned about was the tube adapter for the Makin’s Extruder.  I would tell you the make etc. but after I unwrapped the three adapters (each was for a different size tube), I threw away the packing. I think I got mine from Cool Tools.  I did not find this video until after I made my tube and even though it is for metal clay, it is a good demo by Cool Tools to show how the adapter works in the extruder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTdD8MVifWc

This is what it looks like.  It’s the circle with the raised stem.  There were few directions so I played around with it and put the clay in the extruder, put the adapter with the stem side out next to the clay and the round disc in the cap and screwed it all together.  I extruded!  A long tube came out and I was so excited. 


Then I wondered what I was going to do with the tube!  I played!  And here are a few ideas I came up with.  Not bad for my first tubes!  What do you think?

vertical tubes with retro extrusions wrapped around the tube

Horizontal tubes become beads

Fun necklace with curved tube beads in different sizes


Friday, November 15, 2013

Colds, Rest, Seed Pods and Wild Animals!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/124597313/go-a-little-wild-brown-black-necklace?ref=shop_home_active

Having a cold really slows a person down.  I rested, drank liquids and ate chicken soup.  Finally I just had to play.  

Since seedpods have been on my mind lately, I made a polymer cane that I think looks like the inside of a nut!  I made earrings, beads, and buttons with it.  I made a bangle bracelet. 






Then I decided to play with animal skin canes.  Leopards, zebras and giraffes!  More beads and buttons and bracelets to add to the collection. 


Animal Skin Bangle




It is probably a good thing I just had a cold because I could really get carried away with wild animals and even nuts!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My First Lizard!



Basking Polymer Lizard

Today I needed a distraction and as I was browsing through tutorials on the internet, I came across Kathy Weaver’s “How to Make Fimo or Sculpey Polymer Clay Lizards”. http://creatorsjoy.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-to-make-fimo-or-sculpy-lizards.html 

Sounded like fun and I remembered a bordered cane in browns left over from another project and decided to make my first polymer lizard.  Since I have the real things it was easy to see how legs and feet and heads really look.  They made great models.  And my first lizard was fun to make.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mating Dance of the Sand Hill Crane - Another of Nature's Dramas


Taking a side trip to Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, we made a sharp right turn off the highway onto a side road and were treated to one of nature’s dramas.  Fortunately I had my camera ready!


A group of Sand Hill Cranes were in a farmer’s wet field and I started taking pictures of them.  I was so excited that they were close enough to get some details.  








All of a sudden two of the cranes started jumping in the air spreading their wings and dancing.  The mating dance can take place all year and is quite the athletic event! 


Sand Hill Cranes, their take offs and landings, their calls and dances and their sheer group numbers make them unforgettable and one of my favorite birds.  Read more about them at




Friday, November 1, 2013

Another Experiment with Translucent Polymer Clay


One sunny fall day while walking by Willow Lake I took some photos of lovely translucent white seed pods.  They were worn by the wind but still standing.  Their shapes were ragged and lantern like.  They hung from straight white dried stems and I just had to see if I could recreate them in translucent polymer clay. 

I've been thinking about how to do that for a few weeks and decided it was time to jump in and experiment.  I thought I’d share some of the steps I took.

First I bought my 3 packages of Pardo Translucent Clay at Hobby Lobby (all they had).  I had not worked with Pardo before and I love it!  Not sticky like some of the other brands of translucent.  I’m hooked!

After making the lantern pattern, I found a great texture plate to give a cell like organic texture to the clay.  The clay was rolled to #6 on my Atlas machine because I really wanted the translucent quality. The first time I did not use wire and I like the look but it was not strong enough.


The next time I used thin wire at the edges to give some structure and I used Sculpey Bake and Bond to attach the wire to the clay.  It was fairly difficult to control 4 pieces of the lantern to meet at the edges but I managed to get it together and stood it in an egg carton for support. The first one I made like this broke in   tiny pieces.  The second one worked much better.

wire on edges
.
using egg carton for support while curing
too opaque

Then I tried painting screen wire white and layered the clay between the texture sheet and the screen wire.  Lightly rolled the clay and make a pod with the clay and wire.  It was the best shaped but of course the finished product was gray and not translucent enough.
layering
painting the screenwire
curing in the egg carton
Sometimes I do my best thinking on walks!  I came home and tried another technique.  I covered thin wire with translucent polymer and baked it. 

polymer covered wires -cured

Then I textured and cut more sections for the lantern pods.  Using the Bake and Bond, I glued the covered wires to the sections.  The wires were flexible enough to bend to the lantern shapes and I was able to put the 4 sections together with the help of a center ‘ball’ that looks like part of the pod.  Then I baked them in the egg carton.

covered wire on edges
I am happy with the result and if I were going to do a collection of ‘seed pods’, I would keep refining the technique…..but I’m not!  I just wanted to see if I could!


I used brass wire to make the seed pod dangles and the chain to remind me of the stems of the pods.  I added some amber chips for a little more color and interest.  Yes!  I wore it and it is very comfortable, definitely strong enough and a one of a kind creation!!


Now I want to make it in metal clay for a totally different experience!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

This Season's Blessings




Blending Old and New Memories
 Attentive Care
 The swag over the window behind my Christmas tree combines old and new memories.  The celluloid reindeer were my grandfathers and the ornaments represent memories made over the years.  For me 'attentive care' means caring for each other, for friends and family and for myself with loving attention. I like the term 'attentive care'.  It reminds me to be in the moment - the here and now!  It reminds me to appreciate the life experiences that made me who I am.


The Curious Angel
Curiosity! 
I never tire of watching the birds and animals in my world.  I am curious about their habits, their colors, their field marks and how they interact with each other and with me.  Yesterday I went out the front door and found about 14 (yes I counted) Ravens in my neighbor's and my yard.  They were on the ground hopping around and calling to each other.  They were in the trees calling to each other.  I felt like I had interrupted a holiday party!
 
Our lizards are so much fun to watch.  They are curious and so are we!  Built-in entertainment!

I am curious about ways to improve - myself, our relationship, our hobbies.  Of course all that means being curious about tools, toys and books! 

Holiday Wrapping - Add some Magic
Whimsy!
Whimsy is really my thing and always has been.  It's the sense of wonder and finding the unusual around me.  The magic of creating brings me daily joy.

These are some of my blessings this season.  Thank you friends for being part of those blessings!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!   
Bring it on!



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Needle Ice and Good Friends


Pam and Linda
photo by Ken Barr
It was a cold sunny Prescott day and good friends were in town.  A day to share stories and memories and to explore new places.  We decided to explore the trail in the Granite Dells across from the Phippen Museum here in Prescott. It was an easy trail and with 3 Nikon cameras and a cell phone we knew there would be lots of picture taking!

A piece of the plane at the crash site
Each of us noticed the same and different aspects on the walk.  We looked at the site of the U.S. Constellation crash that occurred several years ago while we took a few pictures. 
We took the left fork for a short distance before deciding we should have taken the path on the right.  There were a lot more giant patterned boulders along the other path!   Before we turned back we found patches of ice.  And we found needle ice formations.  Of course, we did not know they were called ‘Needle Ice’ until we got home and researched.  What an amazing find. 
We almost missed this tiny patch of Needle Ice!
Detail of Needle Ice

Needle ice forms when the ground freezes and the air stays cold.  They can form any place and the ice crystals grow upward starting underground.  It would have been easy to just tromp along the path and crunch these crystals but fortunately, one of us saw a sparkle and explored.  Looking at this tiny patch of vertical ice crystals was like looking into another world. 

This is about 1 1/2" tall!
I could imagine being very very small winding my way carefully between the ice columns looking for?  something.  In a way it would be like winding my way along the path in these giant patterned boulders in the Granite Dells.

Giant Rocks at Granite Dells
As we walked along the trail between Oak and Manzanita trees, boulders and frozen plants, we continued to watch for icy patches.  And we were captivated with the patterns of frosted ice and with the patches of frozen ice starting to melt with the water running under the top ice sheet. 


Water running under the top sheet of ice
Melting Ice Pattern
Frosted Ice Pattern
Of course, I was thinking 'Texture Sheets!' and my friend said, "What are those?"  I explained how I would someday take my photos, turn them into black and white pictures and make photopolymer plates that would allow me to press the patterns into unbaked clay.  I'll invite her back to see that process! 


San Francisco Peaks in the Distance
At Granite Dells
Later we had lunch and the men went to explore more of the land and the ladies went shopping!  But the morning will be one of those memories we will often refer to as ‘very special’.

Friday, December 6, 2013

How a Series of Seed Pods Came to BE

               
When I took the original picture of the white seed pod, I had no idea it would be the beginning of a series. 

First there was the challenge of making a translucent polymer seed pod, then came the seed pod jewelry.  Now the seed pod made of sterling silver metal clay.  

I think this is the last of the series.  It was fun to take the idea from photo to translucent to solid forms.  I've learned a lot about forming and joining shapes in different mediums and about patience and experimenting!  So here is the procession of the 2013 Seed Pod!









Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Sterling Silver Seed Pod

I've been stuck in seed pods this fall! This is my sterling silver piece. 

I thought it might be difficult to mold the silver clay into the correct shape and of course I tried several forms to accomplish the support. Among some of the solutions were egg cartons (they were not quite the right shape), paper (it did not hold its shape) and microsphere clay (it was too crumbly or I did not have the expertise to use it).


Finally I rolled the clay to 4 cards thickness and used my paper pattern to cut 4 sections of the pod.  This is the same pattern I used to make the translucent polymer pod.  Then I used big bead of air dry clay as supports for the sections.

  I also used a special form I made to be sure the 4 sections would fit together correctly and dried them separately.  Once dry, I knew I could sand and glue them together with water and clay and they would keep their shape.  The same texture plate was used as in the previous polymer seed pods and love the way it turned out in the silver. 


I used sterling silver wire in a heavy gauge to make the center dangle and the bale.  My idea was to make it look like the stem when it attached to the chain.  This is the only part that did not work.  After firing, the wire broke in two places as I tried to harden it.  Plan B = make a new bale with new sterling wire.  That works fine.  The inside dangle is working well. 



Black Max Patina was dabbed on the outside and then I polished the high parts.  I’m very happy with the results.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Making My First Polymer Tubes

Tubes – what to do with them?

Recently I took Cynthia Tinapple’s class ‘Extrusions’ at CraftCast.com.    They have great classes!  https://www.craftcast.com/recordings/learn-make-extraordinary-polymer-clay-extrusions-cynthia-tinapple  
One of the new tools I learned about was the tube adapter for the Makin’s Extruder.  I would tell you the make etc. but after I unwrapped the three adapters (each was for a different size tube), I threw away the packing. I think I got mine from Cool Tools.  I did not find this video until after I made my tube and even though it is for metal clay, it is a good demo by Cool Tools to show how the adapter works in the extruder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTdD8MVifWc

This is what it looks like.  It’s the circle with the raised stem.  There were few directions so I played around with it and put the clay in the extruder, put the adapter with the stem side out next to the clay and the round disc in the cap and screwed it all together.  I extruded!  A long tube came out and I was so excited. 


Then I wondered what I was going to do with the tube!  I played!  And here are a few ideas I came up with.  Not bad for my first tubes!  What do you think?

vertical tubes with retro extrusions wrapped around the tube

Horizontal tubes become beads

Fun necklace with curved tube beads in different sizes


Friday, November 15, 2013

Colds, Rest, Seed Pods and Wild Animals!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/124597313/go-a-little-wild-brown-black-necklace?ref=shop_home_active

Having a cold really slows a person down.  I rested, drank liquids and ate chicken soup.  Finally I just had to play.  

Since seedpods have been on my mind lately, I made a polymer cane that I think looks like the inside of a nut!  I made earrings, beads, and buttons with it.  I made a bangle bracelet. 






Then I decided to play with animal skin canes.  Leopards, zebras and giraffes!  More beads and buttons and bracelets to add to the collection. 


Animal Skin Bangle




It is probably a good thing I just had a cold because I could really get carried away with wild animals and even nuts!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My First Lizard!



Basking Polymer Lizard

Today I needed a distraction and as I was browsing through tutorials on the internet, I came across Kathy Weaver’s “How to Make Fimo or Sculpey Polymer Clay Lizards”. http://creatorsjoy.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-to-make-fimo-or-sculpy-lizards.html 

Sounded like fun and I remembered a bordered cane in browns left over from another project and decided to make my first polymer lizard.  Since I have the real things it was easy to see how legs and feet and heads really look.  They made great models.  And my first lizard was fun to make.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mating Dance of the Sand Hill Crane - Another of Nature's Dramas


Taking a side trip to Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, we made a sharp right turn off the highway onto a side road and were treated to one of nature’s dramas.  Fortunately I had my camera ready!


A group of Sand Hill Cranes were in a farmer’s wet field and I started taking pictures of them.  I was so excited that they were close enough to get some details.  








All of a sudden two of the cranes started jumping in the air spreading their wings and dancing.  The mating dance can take place all year and is quite the athletic event! 


Sand Hill Cranes, their take offs and landings, their calls and dances and their sheer group numbers make them unforgettable and one of my favorite birds.  Read more about them at




Friday, November 1, 2013

Another Experiment with Translucent Polymer Clay


One sunny fall day while walking by Willow Lake I took some photos of lovely translucent white seed pods.  They were worn by the wind but still standing.  Their shapes were ragged and lantern like.  They hung from straight white dried stems and I just had to see if I could recreate them in translucent polymer clay. 

I've been thinking about how to do that for a few weeks and decided it was time to jump in and experiment.  I thought I’d share some of the steps I took.

First I bought my 3 packages of Pardo Translucent Clay at Hobby Lobby (all they had).  I had not worked with Pardo before and I love it!  Not sticky like some of the other brands of translucent.  I’m hooked!

After making the lantern pattern, I found a great texture plate to give a cell like organic texture to the clay.  The clay was rolled to #6 on my Atlas machine because I really wanted the translucent quality. The first time I did not use wire and I like the look but it was not strong enough.


The next time I used thin wire at the edges to give some structure and I used Sculpey Bake and Bond to attach the wire to the clay.  It was fairly difficult to control 4 pieces of the lantern to meet at the edges but I managed to get it together and stood it in an egg carton for support. The first one I made like this broke in   tiny pieces.  The second one worked much better.

wire on edges
.
using egg carton for support while curing
too opaque

Then I tried painting screen wire white and layered the clay between the texture sheet and the screen wire.  Lightly rolled the clay and make a pod with the clay and wire.  It was the best shaped but of course the finished product was gray and not translucent enough.
layering
painting the screenwire
curing in the egg carton
Sometimes I do my best thinking on walks!  I came home and tried another technique.  I covered thin wire with translucent polymer and baked it. 

polymer covered wires -cured

Then I textured and cut more sections for the lantern pods.  Using the Bake and Bond, I glued the covered wires to the sections.  The wires were flexible enough to bend to the lantern shapes and I was able to put the 4 sections together with the help of a center ‘ball’ that looks like part of the pod.  Then I baked them in the egg carton.

covered wire on edges
I am happy with the result and if I were going to do a collection of ‘seed pods’, I would keep refining the technique…..but I’m not!  I just wanted to see if I could!


I used brass wire to make the seed pod dangles and the chain to remind me of the stems of the pods.  I added some amber chips for a little more color and interest.  Yes!  I wore it and it is very comfortable, definitely strong enough and a one of a kind creation!!


Now I want to make it in metal clay for a totally different experience!