Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday's art

You may remember that I've been working on an art bead for a Flickr group challenge. This month's inspiration comes from Van Gogh's beautiful "Almond Branches".

My initial thought was to make a landscape cane with the entire image formed into the cane. This proved much more difficult to execute than I expected and looking back, I think that I should have used an inlay technique instead. In any event, this is what I ended up with...

I tried to duplicate the look of hand painted porcelain by adding some extra accents to the branches with various pens and paints and after curing, I coated the pendant with a product called Faux Dichro Liquid Glass which gave it a lovely glazed ceramic look.

Much to my delight, the current assignment for Art Beads. com's Beaders that Blog program is Spring. We were told to pick anything from the catalog that made us think of spring. I thought that it would be fun to combine the challenges and decided on blue jasper calsilica coin beads as a complement for the Almond Blossom piece. I mean after all, what says spring better than the beautiful blues and woodsy browns that are in these jasper beads. The beads that I received are so gorgeous, that they almost outshine the focal bead that I made. I'm thinking of also using them in a multi-strand necklace. I've very happy with them. To complete the design, I made some accent beads to match and I decided on light yellow seed beads as spacers.

These challenges just might be the motivation that I needed to get out of my slump. When working on a design, I'm not usually very dreamy or poetic. The beads I chose are calsilica, actually a man-made amalgamation of various minerals and stone fragments that are held together with resin. While working with these beads and the polymer clay, I did stop to contemplate the many ways of combining natural elements with man made products. It seemed to make a statement about how we can retain our love of nature and yet use modern technology to enhance art, as well as so many other areas of life.

That's it for now. Hope everyone is enjoying their week and getting ready for the weekend. Take care and stay creative.

*FTC compliance disclosure* the products attributed to in this post where provided as a promotional gift by in relation to the blogging program. My comments pertaining to these products are my personal opinion, no compensation has been received.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A give away

I still don't have any art to post, but I'm working on it. I am offering a little giveaway over on my other blog and thought some of you might be interested. I won't give away the details here, but I will give away a cool item over there. So join the rush to enter your name at my healthy living and weight loss blog, "Let's Lose Weight This Year" and meet some new friends and maybe win something!

I'm still working on my art bead necklace and will post that later this week. Between crazy weather, a hubby with a cold and motivation that is apparently taking a vacation, I've been pretty slothful. But this will pass, it always does.

Take care and enjoy your week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In between projects

I'm in the process of making an art bead for a challenge that is due before April 1, but in the mean time I thought I'd pop in and just say hi and post a few fun links. I'll be posting some art soon, but I thought until then I would ask you a quick you have little guilty pleasures? One of mine is watching court shows. It started back in the old days with Judge Wampner and The Peoples court. These days I love to watch Judge Mathis and Judge Judy. I have to think of my little uncle (God rest his soul), of how much he loved and respected Judge Judy, so I don't feel but so guilty about it.

Anyway, what is your little pleasure, that perhaps no one knows? I have addition to my judge shows, I love watching reality shows in general. I always loved to dance, so my other little secret is that when no one is looking, (imagine me whispering this) I try to teach myself how to do those "booty shake" moves that I see on the dance shows. I know you are laughing, but I'll bet you do funny little things like that, too.

Come on, fess know I'm not alone.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's up with me

The weather the past few days has been beautiful. We went shopping several times and ate out several times and have just had a nice time recently. In between times, I have been doing my usual things... housework, laundry, listening to talk radio, and being creative.

I was quite happy with the agate cane from last post, so I put on the mad scientist lab coat to see what I could make with it. To start off, I sliced the cane into equal slices and flattened and elongated each piece slightly. This was done using a small piece of white PVC pipe that the folks at Home Depot gave me from a pile of ends that was next to their cutter. Never know where your next tool will come from, huh? Any hoo, I poked holes in the tops of the slices and baked them in my trusty toaster oven.

Side note to my Sis...I'm still using the same little oven that we placed a label on that read "polymer clay only". Upon seeing this label, our other partner in crime exclaimed "Where in the world did you find an oven for polymer clay only?" We hooted and hollered and Sister just held the label maker up, gunslinger style, blew the smoke from it and tipped her hat. Ok, well maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but it was really funny in a "duh" kind of way.

Back to the slices. This is what I ended up with.

On to another matter. I don't know if you remember, but a while back, I was contacted by Art and invited to be a member of their group "Beaders that Blog". The way it is set up, they have certain beads that we can get from them, as a promo gift and then we review them. I have made several nice pieces using beads from this program and I have been able to try new items, that I ordinarily would not have tried. I took apart several vintage necklaces and made this piece, and then I tried my hand at resin and blogged about that here. Having not used the copper bracelet with the resin, I still had it and have just been looking at it and waiting for the right time to create something.

All of this is leading up the the creation of a faux scarab type bracelet from the ends of the agate cane. I love to challenge myself to use my scrap clay in a pleasing way, so I formed little beads and pressed them into that copper colored bracelet. TAA, DAA...

I still participate in the Beaders that Blog program and after choosing and receiving my latest beads, I got stumped. I had originally visualized making a sparkly neck piece using both the garnet tear drops and the purple faceted CZ beads together, using a wire wrap technique.

This last time I chose purple CZ beads and garnet teardrop shaped cubic zirconia (CZ) beads from their online catalog. As you can see in the picture, I was going to use sterling silver wire and wire wrap the tear drops to make a loop on them to attached to silver chain. Well, this was my first time working with this type bead, and they were too delicate for this technique, so I had to put my thinking cap on. I normally have no problem with design, but when I had to go back to square one, it took me a while. After several weeks of looking at these beads I designed this necklace.

I used amber colored crystal beads from my stash, and place the teardrop garnet cz's between them. It's really comfortable and looks quite fancy for such a simple design.

I really liked the purple cz's but they weren't speaking to me until today. I had used my beading board (which is a neutral gray) to try out endless color combinations and didn't like anything. It wasn't until I took a piece of hot pink fabric and placed the beads on it, that inspiration came to me. While it didn't involve pink at all, it did make me realize that these purple sparkly beads needed aged copper beads as their new best friends. Don't you agree?

Sometimes we need to just sit back and think about simplicity. This is the simplest bracelet ever. Copper beads and Purple faceted CZ rounds on elastic. I have it on right now and I love it.

Since I always wear earrings, I whipped these up, also.

Well, that's it for me today. A little bit of this and a bit of that. I should get my treadmill tomorrow, so that will be fun. I'll be sure to let you know how that goes. Take care and remember to have fun and be creative in your own special way.

*FTC compliance disclosure* the products attributed to in this post where provided as a promotional gift by in relation to the blogging program. My comments pertaining to these products are my personal opinion, no compensation has been received. It's probably a good thing, too, because I'm sometimes way too honest in my reviews.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another day in paradise

I cannot believe it's been a week since I posted here. What with the snow being on the ground for so long, and having fallen into an indoor daily routine, I never seem to know what day it is. It used to be I knew what day it was by what I had seen on the television the previous night, but now we DVR all our shows and watch them throughout the week. If we watch our Monday night shows on Thursday, and our Wednesday night shows on Saturday, it can get a bit confusing.

I have been spending quite a bit of time working with polymer clay. One of my favorite books for ideas is Ancient Modern by Ronna Sarvas Weltman. She loves to make jewelry that she refers to as impracticable...big, bold pieces that might impede normal duties, but are still such fun to wear. Here is a bracelet made from one of the techniques.

One of the components in this fun chunky elastic bracelet is faux agate slices. I found a picture online of a really pretty agate slice and referred to it as I built this cane.

Isn't it cool how my patio table looks like water???

Using translucent clay, gives it a more realistic appearance. To get an unusual texture for the outside of the cane, I rolled it in Epsom salt and then applied various colors of alcohol ink. You can then gently remove the salt, or you can carefully make the slices without removing it, but don't run it back through your pasta machine, or the salt will scratch the rollers.

Speaking of agates canes, the bracelet also includes slices from an agate cane that my sister and I made about nine years ago. Just another confirmation as to the length of time you can keep unbaked clay. Some of you may recognize the ring and brooch from an earlier post, but since they are favorites of mine, and made from this same book, I'm showing them again.

Other than watching it snow and hoping for Spring, I have been doing a lot of blog surfing. I read all your blogs and for some reason have been lax in commenting and for that I do apologize. We did go to see a movie last week, The Crazies, and I loved it. Really scary and lots of gory special effects that were believable enough to be fun, but not so disgusting.

The sun is actually out this morning and the hubs has suggested a shopping trip to Stein Mart, so I'm off to get ready for that. Hope everyone is enjoying their week and preparing for a warm and sunny weekend.

Take care and stay creative.