Friday, April 25, 2014

Thinking about Structures - Skeletons in Nature


One of my goals is to use my last container of Hadar’s Steel XT clay!  I want to start on some of the new clay and am determined to use patience as I deplete my stash of the older clay.  Here goes a new project!

Usually I just thumb through my new book Art Forms in Nature book by Ernst Haeckel but for this project I wanted to get serious and really think about the underlying structure or skeleton forms in nature.  Focusing on a couple of pages that reminded me of what sea creatures might look like under their shells, I sketched some ideas, closed the book and started to create.


Mixing Hadar’s clay is so easy – as long as I creep up on the amount of water and not get it too wet - and it has a reasonable working time.  After mixing the steel XT clay it went into the refrigerator as I made the molds for my creation.

Several months ago, this muffin pan, a treasure from a thrift shop, was sawed in half to fit into my convection oven for polymer clay.  It worked great.  Time to use it again.  I formed a half circle with polymer clay for the lower body of my creature and then fashioned the top part using a spoon for a form.  Then I baked the polymer for the creature’s mold. 

POLYMER MOLD FORM

POLYMER MOLD

The steel clay was rolled 4 cards thick and draped over the molds.  It was fun to use my many oval and circle cutters to create the bone like pattern.  I let the clay dry slightly before lifting out the circles.  Now I have accent shapes for something in the future – tiny circles of varying sizes.  I put those back in the steel XT bottle to help me remember what they are.

INSIDE BEFORE FIRING
OUTSIDE BEFORE FIRING

Once everything was dry, I made sure the head and body were solidly connected.  I thought I had everything connected but after firing one of the added circles came off.  It sintered but was not adequately attached. 

NOTE:  Be sure you attach pieces enough with water and paste.  These metal clays need a solid join.

After sanding the edges and attaching the oval for hanging, I fired the piece in coconut carbon over night.  I opened that kiln the next morning before coffee!  There were a couple of slight cracks but nothing major.  In fact, I thought they added to the overall effect.

DETAIL
 After cleaning it and sanding and grinding and sanding and finishing the body, I was happy! The pearls, moonstones and silver bead dangles (reminding me of things in the sea) were added with the bail and then sprayed it with PYMII.   I absolutely love my skeletal artifact! 

BACK SIDE
FINISHED FRONT
  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Do-Over Challenge




Re-do of Original Pieces Plus My Art Beads
 I’m hooked!  The Do-Over Challenge that Jeannie Dukic ‘JKD Studio’ www.jkdjewelry.com offers has become something I look forward to.  Jeannie sends pieces of her ‘old’ jewelry to those of us who sign up and we get to create something new from them.  It does not matter if we like the piece she sends because we take it apart, add beads from our stash and create a completely new piece.  It’s a great way to recycle.

Original Necklace and earrings
When I received my piece to re-create, it lay on my bead try for a while as I sorted through the possibilities.  There were 3 art beads that might work but only one yelled, “Me!  Take me!”  Fortunately I had more of the polymer cane that was used for that bead because I wanted smaller one to go with the big chosen art bead.  The green chips were to be filler beads highlighting my art beads. 

Large 'Take Me!' bead!

I made two pair of earrings.  One pair could be part of a set with the necklace and one pair that used the turquoise beads and bell charms from Jeannie’s original necklace. 



   


I like them and will look forward to the next challenge this fall!  


Friday, April 11, 2014

Telling Stories in Clay

The Dragonfly Story
The Butterfly Story
 Looking through my stash of older Hadar’s clay, I settled on Quick Fire Steel XT.  Why I have 3 bottles is still a question in my mind and now my goal is to use it!  First I started with oval links.  My idea is to make these links as my test pieces and use them in a mixed base metal chain when I get enough.  That should make another good story! 

Steel Links
Next I decided to make a steel frame to house a moving event.  That will be another post as soon as I decide on the subject of that story!  And you will have to wait to see it.

Rocks!  I found my box of special smooth rocks the correct size to use as forms for hollow beads.  Of course I had to make a pendant with a center hole.  Following the directions in one of Hadar’s books and remembering what I had learned in one of her classes, the basic form came out great.  I decided to hang a pearl (I think) in the center and made the hole for the wire.  It looked good but not that much different from others I have seen.  How to make it mine?

Adding leaves, petals and insects to my hollow steel pendant
After my recent trip to Death Valley and with spring in the air, wildflowers and nature came to mind.  I have not used the extruder much for metal clay and found it makes great stems.  My oval cutter makes great flower petals and of course I could also shape them into butterfly and dragonfly wings.  My story of the butterfly starts on one side of the pendant and ends with the story of the dragonfly on the other.  
I’m reminded of t-shirts that have a picture on the front and nothing on the back.  My favorite t-shirt has a frog that wraps around me front to back.  My pendant seems much more interesting with the two stories connecting.  And the pearl in the center reminds me of a honeycomb or a bell.

The dragonfly story in the finished pendant.

A huge ‘Thank You’ to Cindy Pope http://peaceofshine.deviantart.com/gallery/,  Lauren Bracken http://www.brackendesigns.com/servlet/StoreFront and Hadar Jacobson http://hadarjacobson.com/  in Hadar’s Support Group on FaceBook.  I asked for tips and cautions before firing the QF Steel XT clay pendant and received such good concern and helpful comments.  .


I fired the pendant at night so it would be ready first thing the next morning.  As sometimes happens, the clay did not sinter completely.  I smoothed the areas that did not become metal and put it back in the kiln.  As stories often go, this one had several repeats. 

Look carefully and you can see the space in the inside wall.
And finally after repairing a hole on the inside of the hole, I have a steel pendant that pleases me.  I just had to share the event with you.

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Yellow Bug - An inspiration piece.

It is springtime and time for bugs!  This is a framed bug (dead – pretty much the only kind I like) from Malaysia that I purchased at a Reptile Show.  I could feel a spring project in the making!






I studied the form of the body and thought about what materials I could use to construct my bug.  The result is a body made of Hadar Smart Bronze clay formed in segments.  The wings had to move and the best way was to make a hinge as an integral body part. 



 

 A nickel chromium wire feeds from tail to head.  The tail became one with the wire but the head remainedseparate. I finished the body and finally stabilized the head to the first segment by soldering. 



With the body finished, the wings were next.  The colors were mixed with some translucent clay.  I could have used more translucent but generally the combination of 672 yellow,1150 Lemonade,380 Buried Treasure, white and translucent polymer clay worked well.  



 I made the cane, sliced the wings and attached them each side of the body at the metal hinges.  Then they were textured, smoothed and cured. 



Of course the bug needed a way to attach to a chain and there was just enough room between the body parts under the hinge to wrap the wire that would become the bail.  The necklace, moving wings complete with antennae, is lightweight, easy to wear and kind of dramatic!  Today I wore this creation and I got compliments!  


Nature can inspire in so many ways and now I have leftover bug wings to continue the spring creations!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Thinking about Structures - Skeletons in Nature


One of my goals is to use my last container of Hadar’s Steel XT clay!  I want to start on some of the new clay and am determined to use patience as I deplete my stash of the older clay.  Here goes a new project!

Usually I just thumb through my new book Art Forms in Nature book by Ernst Haeckel but for this project I wanted to get serious and really think about the underlying structure or skeleton forms in nature.  Focusing on a couple of pages that reminded me of what sea creatures might look like under their shells, I sketched some ideas, closed the book and started to create.


Mixing Hadar’s clay is so easy – as long as I creep up on the amount of water and not get it too wet - and it has a reasonable working time.  After mixing the steel XT clay it went into the refrigerator as I made the molds for my creation.

Several months ago, this muffin pan, a treasure from a thrift shop, was sawed in half to fit into my convection oven for polymer clay.  It worked great.  Time to use it again.  I formed a half circle with polymer clay for the lower body of my creature and then fashioned the top part using a spoon for a form.  Then I baked the polymer for the creature’s mold. 

POLYMER MOLD FORM

POLYMER MOLD

The steel clay was rolled 4 cards thick and draped over the molds.  It was fun to use my many oval and circle cutters to create the bone like pattern.  I let the clay dry slightly before lifting out the circles.  Now I have accent shapes for something in the future – tiny circles of varying sizes.  I put those back in the steel XT bottle to help me remember what they are.

INSIDE BEFORE FIRING
OUTSIDE BEFORE FIRING

Once everything was dry, I made sure the head and body were solidly connected.  I thought I had everything connected but after firing one of the added circles came off.  It sintered but was not adequately attached. 

NOTE:  Be sure you attach pieces enough with water and paste.  These metal clays need a solid join.

After sanding the edges and attaching the oval for hanging, I fired the piece in coconut carbon over night.  I opened that kiln the next morning before coffee!  There were a couple of slight cracks but nothing major.  In fact, I thought they added to the overall effect.

DETAIL
 After cleaning it and sanding and grinding and sanding and finishing the body, I was happy! The pearls, moonstones and silver bead dangles (reminding me of things in the sea) were added with the bail and then sprayed it with PYMII.   I absolutely love my skeletal artifact! 

BACK SIDE
FINISHED FRONT
  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Do-Over Challenge




Re-do of Original Pieces Plus My Art Beads
 I’m hooked!  The Do-Over Challenge that Jeannie Dukic ‘JKD Studio’ www.jkdjewelry.com offers has become something I look forward to.  Jeannie sends pieces of her ‘old’ jewelry to those of us who sign up and we get to create something new from them.  It does not matter if we like the piece she sends because we take it apart, add beads from our stash and create a completely new piece.  It’s a great way to recycle.

Original Necklace and earrings
When I received my piece to re-create, it lay on my bead try for a while as I sorted through the possibilities.  There were 3 art beads that might work but only one yelled, “Me!  Take me!”  Fortunately I had more of the polymer cane that was used for that bead because I wanted smaller one to go with the big chosen art bead.  The green chips were to be filler beads highlighting my art beads. 

Large 'Take Me!' bead!

I made two pair of earrings.  One pair could be part of a set with the necklace and one pair that used the turquoise beads and bell charms from Jeannie’s original necklace. 



   


I like them and will look forward to the next challenge this fall!  


Friday, April 11, 2014

Telling Stories in Clay

The Dragonfly Story
The Butterfly Story
 Looking through my stash of older Hadar’s clay, I settled on Quick Fire Steel XT.  Why I have 3 bottles is still a question in my mind and now my goal is to use it!  First I started with oval links.  My idea is to make these links as my test pieces and use them in a mixed base metal chain when I get enough.  That should make another good story! 

Steel Links
Next I decided to make a steel frame to house a moving event.  That will be another post as soon as I decide on the subject of that story!  And you will have to wait to see it.

Rocks!  I found my box of special smooth rocks the correct size to use as forms for hollow beads.  Of course I had to make a pendant with a center hole.  Following the directions in one of Hadar’s books and remembering what I had learned in one of her classes, the basic form came out great.  I decided to hang a pearl (I think) in the center and made the hole for the wire.  It looked good but not that much different from others I have seen.  How to make it mine?

Adding leaves, petals and insects to my hollow steel pendant
After my recent trip to Death Valley and with spring in the air, wildflowers and nature came to mind.  I have not used the extruder much for metal clay and found it makes great stems.  My oval cutter makes great flower petals and of course I could also shape them into butterfly and dragonfly wings.  My story of the butterfly starts on one side of the pendant and ends with the story of the dragonfly on the other.  
I’m reminded of t-shirts that have a picture on the front and nothing on the back.  My favorite t-shirt has a frog that wraps around me front to back.  My pendant seems much more interesting with the two stories connecting.  And the pearl in the center reminds me of a honeycomb or a bell.

The dragonfly story in the finished pendant.

A huge ‘Thank You’ to Cindy Pope http://peaceofshine.deviantart.com/gallery/,  Lauren Bracken http://www.brackendesigns.com/servlet/StoreFront and Hadar Jacobson http://hadarjacobson.com/  in Hadar’s Support Group on FaceBook.  I asked for tips and cautions before firing the QF Steel XT clay pendant and received such good concern and helpful comments.  .


I fired the pendant at night so it would be ready first thing the next morning.  As sometimes happens, the clay did not sinter completely.  I smoothed the areas that did not become metal and put it back in the kiln.  As stories often go, this one had several repeats. 

Look carefully and you can see the space in the inside wall.
And finally after repairing a hole on the inside of the hole, I have a steel pendant that pleases me.  I just had to share the event with you.

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Yellow Bug - An inspiration piece.

It is springtime and time for bugs!  This is a framed bug (dead – pretty much the only kind I like) from Malaysia that I purchased at a Reptile Show.  I could feel a spring project in the making!






I studied the form of the body and thought about what materials I could use to construct my bug.  The result is a body made of Hadar Smart Bronze clay formed in segments.  The wings had to move and the best way was to make a hinge as an integral body part. 



 

 A nickel chromium wire feeds from tail to head.  The tail became one with the wire but the head remainedseparate. I finished the body and finally stabilized the head to the first segment by soldering. 



With the body finished, the wings were next.  The colors were mixed with some translucent clay.  I could have used more translucent but generally the combination of 672 yellow,1150 Lemonade,380 Buried Treasure, white and translucent polymer clay worked well.  



 I made the cane, sliced the wings and attached them each side of the body at the metal hinges.  Then they were textured, smoothed and cured. 



Of course the bug needed a way to attach to a chain and there was just enough room between the body parts under the hinge to wrap the wire that would become the bail.  The necklace, moving wings complete with antennae, is lightweight, easy to wear and kind of dramatic!  Today I wore this creation and I got compliments!  


Nature can inspire in so many ways and now I have leftover bug wings to continue the spring creations!