Sunday, December 13, 2009

Que la lumière soit!

There IS light at the end of the polymer tunnel...I can almost see it now!  I just finished a large number of covers for one order and have another gargantuan one to do, but then, just a few more things and then that should be it!

The theme for this person's condo is distinctly Asian, so in addition to finding a few of my related stamps that I had been saving for JUST THIS OPPORTUNITY, I also made a small cane for "good luck" and attached it to the back of the switchplates.  Sort of reminds me of the horseshoes that used to hang over the doors in homes way back when.  I don't know if it's calligraphically correct, but I tried.  I also included the  cane in some of the plug covers.  Actually I even worked it into the design on one of them. 

The next sets of plates that I have to do are for the rocker type switches, which leaves less room to play/clay so the styles will be much less 'busy' and hopefully I can come up with a suitable design to make them 'interesting'. 

It's really strange...I've been making light switch covers for several years now, and sales were usually 'light'... about four or five at each event.  Lately however, they've literally been moving at a much faster pace, (I was going to say at the speed of ... um ...light) and I've had to make lots and lots more as samples.  I decided to start taking orders for them too, and have set up a form so that folks can just circle the type (i.e. rocker, toggle, plug or whatever) and jot down the color or special information about them.  Makes things a WHOLE lot easier.  Of course, I make them all from scratch, and never know exactly how they are going to turn out.  I just hope the folks that get them are satisfied. 

On a sad note, I had to miss my last two batik classes due to other commitments.  Well, one was sortof 'changed' by the administrating group without notifying the participants.  I was a little miffed to find that out, because I had planned everything around taking part in it, and now it already happened, last Monday, unbeknownst to moi.  Oh well, I hope I remember enough from the one class I did get to do.  If not, I'll have to do a 'retake' if they offer the session again.

So now, it's time to finish my last orders and then I can clean up around here.  Oh yah, I do have all most of my shopping done.  Just the wrapping and fol-de-rol stuff is left.  At least I don't have to trudge through the malls or battle the exhaust from the vehicles out here in the very cool snap that's befallen us lately.  Fortunately there's not a lot of snow to shovel, just ice to negotiate.  I dunno what's worse!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

If I didn't have to sleep

If I didn't have to sleep each day, I would be able to post to this blog about all the wonderful and crazy things that have been keeping me so out of the loop these days.

My days have been filled with teaching lots of different classes, everything from helping little kindergarteners tie up their scarves, not to mention zipping up their jackets and figuring out how to get their ski pants on before doing the jacket how to curl paper to make les barbes pour Père Noel.  That of course took me waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off topic and I got into how my sister used to curl her hair in rags so she could have the ringlets similar to the ones that little girl in the second grade had.  And then there were the fantastic fish the cinquieme and sixieme année made.  Complete with Generic and specific names that sounded almost believable.  Of course all they did was add 'icus' or 'aticus' to the end of the made-up names, but they sounded  Latinized.  And they GOT it!  I mean the idea of having a genus that was a cupful of characteristics and then that very specific trait that made their fish the one species that separated them from all the rest.  Sure I helped a few with some badly hip names, but the main thing was that they designed their fish according to a master plan (pretty standard...the fish had to be able to survive) but then they added the 'fun' adaptations, which made their fish fantasticus.  Some had top hats, (probably for magic fish)  while others had teeth that really cut to the quick and then there were those that were almost real...orangey-striped ones with little red bulbs on the ends of their snouts which really did make them look like circusclownimus piscatorius.

If I hadn't been having so much fun, I could be making and adding videos to this blog which I've taken on my new toy...the blackberry with the incredible array of apps that I am still learning about.  The one video I did take was so blasted boring ... it was of ABCDan coming out of one of the many electronics shops saying they didn't have the type of gizzmo I was looking for.  (I am not sure I even know what it is>)  Anyway, I got the big chippy thing (media card) that lets me save 12 000 pictures on my phone/device or 1 000 tracks of songs....something I know I will never have time to listen to, and those many minutes of videos. 

So what is stopping me from making all these fantastical videos of those flying fish or the kids trying to put their ski pants on over their winter parkas? 

Yup...the same old thing.  Too busy to get it all together.

Maybe Tomorrow...which is when my good friend Friday will get it all done for me.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What goes around...

Well!!  What a busy couple of weeks...and what troubles!  Not major things, but just those kinds of things that make you shudder and say Sheesh!  About technology..grrrmph, and don't wanna go there. 
But all is well and the world of moi is happy again!
I don't want to go into all the gory details, because they're boring to anyone and no one needs to hear more complaints about things that can go wrong with technology.   Let's just say it had a happy ending!

But the real topic of this blog is so much more fun.  It's about one of those coincidences and serendipitous occurrences that just makes one wonder ... Is there some MASTER PLAN???

It all began when I made buttons for a button swap years ago, in 2002.  As a swap mistress, I hosted this particular swap for a group of polymer clay people in Canada, and .... well, I made buttons. (lots and lots because I was new at making them!) As it would turn out, I also documented the progress of the goings on of the swap (we had participants from all across this great nation!) and as things developed, those 'notes' became the basis of the first article I wrote for Polymer Café Magazine for their very first edition.  It was also the first article in the mag, so lots of 'firsts' there! 

The article got printed, the button pictures were published and all was okay.  Some time later, (I don't recall when), I was doing a purge of some of my polymer clay things, (something I don't do often enough) and buttons were one of the things that were in the 'donate to charity' category.  I can't remember where they went, but I recollect that my criteria was that if they were 'strays' with no partners or things that they matched in my other bins, they got donated.  And duly dismissed from my memory.

And the years passed.  Many of those buttons I made were spread across the country.  I kept a few, particularly the ones that appeared in the photographs in the mag, just as 'keepers' to prove (to myself???) that I'd actually been published, and some were kept for sentimental reasons...for want of a better term. 

I have since taken many polymer clay classes all over North America, and met lots of polymer artists, and have had loads of fun playing with clay.  And my buttons have gone places too!  Tracy K., ne of my friends in Colorado, makes felted purses and she uses my buttons a lot, and her felted purses are incroyable!  I know, because I have one.  I love felted articles and naturally, I have an affinity with polymer clay.

See the picture here?  Gorgeous felted bag with ... hmmm...polymer button.  Soooooooooooooo the story unfolds. 

Last week, I was displaying my polymer clay work (buttons included) at the University Women's Club Sale, in the  prestigious Gates neighborhood of our city.  Whilst I was setting up, I noticed that next to me, the booth being set up had marvelous felted handbags.  Jane Frances Wood, of (ya gotta love this handle...) "Get a Grip" handbags that never felt so good ( I still love that!)  was setting up in the space next to me.  Her felted work is gorgeous. I was like... who's that singer...Lady GAGA? 

So we get to talking about stuff... she mentioned she had taken a polymer clay class from Jane someone in Florida...I said...It must be Jane Zhao (I remembered her stuff was also featured in that same first issue of Polymer Café) and Jane Frances (the Felted purse lady) also said she had used a few polymer buttons on her bags.  She also mentioned that her neighbor and friend had found an "unusual" button at a thrift store, and thought it was painted.  Jane Frances, having had some background in polymer said, au contraire, that it was a polymer clay button.  Well, it turns out that she used it.  ON the bag pictured above. That was in the booth next to mine at the UWC sale last weekend.  I had one look at the back of it, and knew instantly it was one of the ones I had created way back then, as it had a metal shank!  And there it hung next to my booth, and within five feet of pictures  in the magazine of its fellow buttons that had been made for that buttons swap in 2002!   I hope to meet up with the eventual owner of that particular bag, and perhaps relate this story...

Post Script...both Jane and I had a wonderful sale and the venue was lovely, and the weather was gorgeous, and just doesn't get much better than that!

NOW!  You tell it fate.  OR WHAT?!?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Back to Front Purse Views

I got this little purse finished today complete with button trim on the back and a little impromptu felting.  The colors look a little strange in this scan but actually it doesn't look all that bad in real life.  There are a lot of colors in the knitting, that don't seem to be picked up on the scan. 

The closure side is a little less busy.  The finished size of the bag is about 7 1/2 inches wide and 6 1/2 inches tall with a handle that's about 14 inches long, making it a drop of approximately 7 inches, depending on how it's carried.  With it being knit, it can probably hold a good amount of stuff, but I wouldn't want to keep small things in it as they might poke through.  This is one I did not put a lining in...dunno, I still might.  But the knit is fairly dense, so unless you really tip it over, it's unlikely that anything would fall out.  I actually used two strands of yarn together, and one of them was a variegated brown/green/gold and the other was a frothy mix of what looks like almost cellophane and some little funky ribbon with gold and purple and everything under the sun mixed together.  With all that mixing up, I just went with two main colors for the felting and even at that, the brown roving seems to be entirely gobbled up by the startkness of the yellow.  That's okay by me though, because the brown is rather a hairy mix and looks like it might serve as a  doll's coiffure. 

Button closure with impromptu needle felting

Friday, November 6, 2009

On with the show this is it...

One week to go before my next sale and this morning I have been working all over the place getting stuff ready for my journals, button cards, hangings, and things loosely categorized as polymer clay art.  I have so many things 'half way done' it's kind of a shame, but my part time work has been keeping me busy.  Even this afternoon I have to go in, but I know it will be enjoyable so I am kind of not too unhappy about that.

On the clay table these days are lots of analogous colours; in particular green, turquoise, cerulian, and shades of purple.  The buttons I have been leaning towards lately are all on the rather large size...the aubergine and turquoise one in the upper left measures almost two inches square.  Once I get all the clay in those colours worked up I am going to be working on another palette on the other side of the colour wheel.  I really don't think about it much, about which side I am working on, but I try to get a good range of all colours of buttons ready before any showing.

Speaking of showing, the event I am in next weekend, actually Friday and Saturday, is the University Women's Club Annual Sale, in the Gates area.  I have to be all prepared by Thursday as the set up is that afternoon and I don't want to be schlepping stuff in two hours before the actual thing starts.  It's my first time showing in that one, although I have been there as a shopper in years gone by.

I also have been doing a little needle felting and have incorporated that in some of my sari yarn work along with polymer buttons.  The bright colours of the roving I am using really add pop to the purses and other pieces. The polymer accents add  just the right balance to integrate the variegated colours of the yarn with the intensely bright shades of the wool roving. 

What fun this all is!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's a long long night in November

Ah yes, the days are getting shorter and the light more dim, so I have moved upstairs from the poorly lit basement 'studio' area that serves me well in the summer.  My work space now is the kitchen table, as we rarely eat there and it's spacious enough for most of my projects, just not enough room for all the little "accoutrements" that I occasionally use when doing my work.  The light in the morning is great as I have two large east facing windows beaming in natural light and the kitchen light bulb is directly overhead my workspace.  I do enjoy having good light to work with and this way don't have to power up my OTT light to see stuff.  And if I have to get something done that's really in need of task lighting, I just take it right to the window over the sink. 

The fall sales are fast approaching...I've already done two and the next few weeks has every weekend filled with activity.  My next event is at the gorgeous old (I almost wrote auld) Ralph Connor House on Westgate and it is sponsored by the University Women's Club.  It runs Friday and Saturday, November 13th and 14th, starting both days at 10 am.  It's worth the trip just to loll around the interior of the building. 

Since my last post, I've done my share of visiting schools.  In October I was busy for two weeks at Balmoral Hall while a teacher there was out of the country for her daughter's wedding.  That was a wonderful experience, and I got a chance to be with the girls in the art room and studio.  They were in the midst of working on various projects...the Senior 3's and 4's were working on painting furniture, using the theme of "Fame" and utilizing the styles of the artist of their choice.  It was a multi-layered study, and the work was progressing marvellously, although it's far from complete.  I hope to be able to see the finished projects and probably will as the pieces are often displayed in the foyer or atrium in the main building.  Because of the vast experiences and backgrounds of the girls, there is a lot of variety in the notions of the theme and the interpretive painting styles range from masters of the high renaissance to more  modern artists like Murakami, as they're all very au courant on the latest fashion trends.  Several girls have taken it upon themselves to celebrate art forms that originated in the countries of their birth, so this adds another interesting layer to the already inspiring pieces.

After that stint was over in late October, I had to get to work on my own.  I finished a number of coffrets and vessels, and about four books that had been begun before my 'regular' day job started.  I also have done a few other types of journals that incorporate mixed media...I did a few sketches while I was demoing at the school, so I integrated them into the covers.  Those still are in progress, so no pics yet. And I've made a few buttons and am revamping the style of my jewellery pieces as in Zingarella.

Speaking of pics, I got a new "toy" a few weekends ago, and am gradually learning to use it.  I love the quality of the pictures that the Blackberry Curve takes, and it saves having to share a camera (or know its whereabouts) to photograph my work.  And of course, I love the spontaneity of being able to take a picture whenever, and not having to lug it around like some tourist.

Zingarella, above, is the name I am giving to this series of necklaces.  They're inspired by the gypsies in the opera Carmen, one of my most favourite and the one I first learned and saw in London.  I've seen it many times since and although it sometimes takes a back seat to some of the other music I enjoy, the gypsy's entrancement always gets me back.  Just as Carmen seduces Don José with her words..."le charme opère", the spell of the gypsy is a tough one to overcome. 

This necklace however is not meant to be the bijouterie of the seductress Carmen; she is much too serious for it.  This would far better suit fellow tarot reading friends, Mercedes or Frasquita.  Of course, it doesn't have to be for a gypsy...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Journal in Polymer Clay

What a boring title for a blog entry.  My main intention here is to showcase the work and if the title is a trifle trite, sorry.

This artist journal measures approximately 4 " by 5 1/4" and is filled with watercolour paper, the real thing.  In most of my other journals,  I've used good quality parchment or archival type papers and they've been able to hold more pages.  The paper in this one is rather heavy and very suitable for 'keeper' work, so not as many pages per signature. 

The covers are in a scrumptious blend of golds and near coppers, with many interesting beads to match.  Most of the beads are polymer clay, but I've slipped in a few others just for variety.  And on this one I purposely left the lengths of cording almost like a fringe at the end of the rows of beads.  I figure, if the potential owner doesn't like the length of them, they can be cut off without affecting the stringing, provided they cut below the finishing knots. 

I have a couple more covers finished, and the beads are made but I just need to find the time to put needle and thread to them.  I've been working full time for the past week, but that will end tomorrow, so I can finish the remainder of the books in time for this weekend.  I have a two day event coming up on the weekend (Friday and Saturday) and want to have these books make an appearance there. 

I have a lot of new ideas for the covers of my next set of books.  I have the clay.  I have the papers and the binding materials.  Anyone care to guess what I don't have in order to finish all these things?  Yep.  But after I read the book I just picked up today, I hope to figure out some new ways to save snippets of time, bottle them up and then pour  everything out and all will  come together as brilliant compositions. For now, I have to be content with doing what I can in the time that's available!

This is the back cover with the beads moved over to the side.
I put the detail near the bottom on this one just to be different.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Picture Pages

I don't normally post non-polymer work here, but this exerpt is part of my art journal.  A few weeks back another blogger (a very famous writer) posted a list of things that would make participants at art sales better "participants".  After copying much of it in longhand, ( I hope she will allow it!) I cut and pasted the remainder and did a little marginal writing surrounding that. 

I recall reading Mad Magazine as a teenager and loved the 'marginal thinking' cartoons and stuff, so I did a little take on that here. 

I sometimes use this 'script' (for want of a better description) on my cards and even include it in some of my polymer work from time to time. 
I like it as a border. to work!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Autumn

Not such a fantastic announcement, but fall is here and with it comes the ends and beginnings of new things.                              Last Saturday was my last day at the Waterfront Market even though its official end is this Saturday. I really enjoyed the early wake-up calls (5:00 am) although as the weeks progressed, we streamlined a bit and didn't have to get up to set up quite as early.  I still had a lot of things to put out, so we were usually one of the first vendors to arrive and more often than not, the last ones to leave.  It was a great experience, even though the market wasn't as busy as it could have been.  It was the first venture at an outdoor market for that community so with it were the growing pains that any new venture has to experience.  Aside from the weather, that couldn't be controlled, there were some great positives.  One was the incredible location.  The street was closed to traffic and so pedestrians could meander without fear that their little ones (or pups) would be in the way of autos.  The park adjacent to the market was lovely.  It was picturesque and  always clean, with interesting architectural features and groups of steps intermittently placed all the way down to the dock and river's edge. Perhaps it could have done with a bit more flora, but I found the hedges and trees made an interesting contrast with the concrete of the walkway.  I am looking forward to being there next year.

The other vendors provided interesting opportunities for conversation when customers were not around. The market is quite varied, with people selling things that they either  grew, baked or made and  mostly I got a chance to chat up the people who 'made things'. Last Saturday I was situated next to the gal who did Tarot Card Readings. 

Now that fall is officially here, it's good-bye 'slumming' and back to serious work. I've already got a pretty full schedule for substitute teaching, and the next 6 weeks will not leave much spare time.   In addition to teaching, this week I'm helping  hubby get his fish derby organized.  It's a big job, with registrations, prize packaging, envelope-stuffing and phone and doorbell answering.

I'm also getting ready for the many arts/crafts events that are scheduled during the next three months. In preparation for those fairs, I'm doing a lot of buttons.  These were some of the ones I made yesterday.   Unfortunately, their colors don't show up on this scan very well, but they look nice in real time.  The one in the center is about an inch wide and nearly two inches in height and I think it would work well as a purse closure or single focal button on a hand knit sweater.  Wish I had time to knit or felt even one of those things. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Latest Journal Effort

Well, this newest attempt at making a journal with a place for a pen might be something to go with.   The pen fits in quite nicely, although I did have to add a hole and some quickly made beads to it to keep it from sliding through the holder.  I guess that's how sword handles came to be so decorative. 

I've cut down on the quantity of clay I've been using (one layer instead of two) to make the rings easier to fit on and help the book close. 

All these trials.  Wish I was getting paid for 'research and development' lol, like some of the people in the corporate world.  Trial and error is good for me, but I find I am making too many errors which puts my patience on trial.

Anyway, as the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day, so I'll just keep pluggin' away until the walls get finished.

Off to work today, so can't stay on this thing too long.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Posting a Post Card

A couple of weeks ago I found some great postcard templates and since I am going to be doing quite a few things this fall, I thought I'd print some up with the list of events in the 'message' part. 
Not knowing what kind of image to put on the showy part of the postcard, I went with something already in a format close to the right size of the template that I had in my photo files.

When I printed out the "obverse" side of the cards, (is that the right word?, there was this ugly white....ummm... border around two adjacent sides, so I colored it in with gel markers, felts and crayons, intending to paint over it later.  I decided to add a little more crayon to some of the interior fabric part of the printed picture (note the swirls) and then went and ironed the whole thing.  The ironing seemed to set the image and hopefully it will make the inkjet print a little more stable. I might even go over the whole thing with some wax paper and iron it again, and forego the idea of painting over the border. Who knows what will happen? While it's not encaustic or batik technique, it's a bit along those lines. It was kind of a fun thing to try, reminiscent of the tesselation-tee-shirt project I did with one of my classes several years ago. 
(and much easier!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Is it real or fake?

The title to this post is just a little hint as to what I've been up to.  I belong to the on-line group called "Clayamies" and one of my friends is hosting a contest about spotting the fake stones in a collection.  It's fun and there's no worries if you don't get it right. 

I entered the contest not so much to win, but just because.  You can get to it on her blog, Tina Holden Polymer Clay Bytes in my list of blogs underneath Fish Time, the little fish that are swimming around.  Go have a look at Tina's blog and try for yourself!

As for the picture here, the frame is one I received in a Winterfest Event (for Clayamie participants only) a few years ago.  The words on the periphery are what the group is all about.  Now, we have a new blog for the Clayamies group, where I'll be posting once in a while.  My question about real or fake refers to what's it real or fake snake? 

Actually, I am now on three blogs... I created another one for things not associated with my actual clay work.  I am going to list it in my links once I  figure out this new posting set-up. (Mostly because I can't remember the url.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Memorable Ephemera

I had so many things to do today, and most of them were not fun, but this part of it was actually a great thing.

It all began last Sunday when my sister asked me to do a shadow box mounting of some of her late husband's memorabilia before she passes the things on to his children. (That's a long story...) Located in his 'ditty box', a sturdy, but time-worn wooden coffre that held so many precious things, were some incredibly interesting snippets that you just don't see these days. Les documents authentiques no less! One item was a French lettre avec la calligraphie d'une plume à bille, and another was this pamphlet about this Old Port Wine & Spirit House from somewhere in England. I wish that the scan had come out clearer so the list of spirits and prices in shillings and pence were all visible. There was also a cool poem at the back of the booklet along with some other advertisements. I am a real softie when it comes to looking at this kind of stuff. I could spend the whole day imagining who wrote it, what the people looked like, where they were, what the furnishings were like and so on. Unfortunately, the fellow who wrote the lettre was in an infirmary, 'en traitement' and it was during The Great War, (WW I) so the circumstances may not have been all that romantic, but still...

After I'd read the beautifully scribed letter, I wondered if I could play Shirlee Holmes (Sherlock's sister) and do some checking about the person to whom it was addressed. I did some searching and found the family name in the area (the letter had been sent from Calais, France in 1915 to Folkestone, Kent, England) but could find no real mention of either the writer or the lady to whom it was written.

En tout cas, it was a marvel to me, and made an otherwise mundane Sunday, get ready to hum à la Mamas and Papas ..Mundane Sunday (la la , la, la la la) far less ennuyeux.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sneak Peak of prototype

So it looks like some blue ribbon from a county fair, but that's cuz I only wanted to provide a keyhole view of the's not entirely finished. And the flower...well, it really didn't start out being a flower, but that's how it ended up and I can live with that, for now.

The project I am working on today, is a journal with a place for a pen. I have done these before; I even gave one to a friend for her birthday last January. But this time I wanted to work out a mechanism (? that what it is?) that didn't take up so much space on the cover and that served the purpose of keeping the journal closed. I had a couple of suggestions from people that I kept in the back of my mind. I didn't follow them exactly. Isn't that what it's all about? We get ideas and then we adapt them to suit the way we work. I tried to troubleshoot potential problem areas ahead of time, thinking about minimizing bulk (ugggggghhhh) and yet keeping the thing operational. Add to that the sometimes temperamental and unpredictable nature of the polymer clay, I had my work (well it is labor day) cut out for me.

The way I did it works, in that it is staying in place and it does hold the pen nicely, but I am not sure that I like it. The clay on the sides of the holder-thing is a little precarious...and I don't know if it will hold up to the wear and tear that it will get. I may have to add a few strategically placed pieces of clay to strengthen potential weak spots. And then I am going to field test it by actually using it for two weeks. I'll probably fill up the pages in that time, but what else is one expected to do with a refillable journal?

And the pen for this journal? I reluctantly have to admit that it is the realm of 'cutesy'. Maybe even too cute. I generally don't do cute and don't care to hear my work being called that. I think cute should be reserved for stuff that is basically brainless and can be done in half an hour or some place where they give you all the doodads and you just stick them together somehow. Okay maybe I did spend less than half an hour making the pen. And I did stick certain parts of it together. But I made the doodads from scratch, without a pattern, and didn't buy them in a prepackaged kit for $7.95.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Little Face on Book

Last week I made a couple of 'stone journals' (not to be confused with The Stone Diaries) and they're gone now. Okay, they were a little masculine, but they did go to a woman and a girl. Since 95% of my clientele is female, I thought I'd make this one particularly feminine. The inner pages are bordered in a pinky-coral and the cover...well I think it speaks for itself. The back cover is also multicoloré, but has no body parts on it. (Heck did you think I'd put a backside on there?)

This week, I also did a series of other journals that were less gender-based, but their colors again were more of the pinky, purply, blue and green palette. I even went crazy and made some pens to go with them, although I haven't made lids for the pens. Because the pens are so textured and have little protruding elements near the nib/pont, the covers I normally make from clay won't fit. And there is no way on earth that the pen will fit into the spiral rings at the spine of the journal, although that was my original intent. Maybe I'll just have to go the stand-up route and make bases for the pens. I was kinda hoping that the pens and journal could be portable (like in a journey bag) but, we'll see.

Keeping the pen in a bag without a cover is an accident waiting to happen. The other option is to make the fabric covers out of something like ultra suede, which I'm not all that happy with. Those look a bit like sewn condoms and unless I spend more time making them decorative, I don't know if that will work either. But it could be a make-work project for a rainy day when I don't feel like claying.

That will give me something to ponder over today at the market if/when it's not too busy. With it being the start of a gorgeous long weekend, the market could be really crowded or horribly boring. I'll take my sketchbook and do some prototypes just in case it's the latter.

Last night we had a laugh. A few of us were having bubblies as I was finishing off sewing new buttons onto cards. When I showed them my newest journals, I told them that I had been busy this week, and had created a new version of ... "facebook".

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Workshop in Brandon (October)

Okay, two posts within one day, but as I said in a previous post, some times things are busy here and other times, well....

I recently got the copy of the finished poster from MCML and so I thought I'd post it here.
I think that if anyone is interested in finding out about the workshops, you can get the details by clicking on the poster and getting the information there.
I personally know two of the other people who will be presenting their workshops too, so it promises to be an enlightening, enjoyable event for anyone interested.

Moonlight Rambler

Yah, so I fell asleep on the sofa last night watching t.v. (a habit I've had since I was in junior high school) and woke up around midnight to hear hubby (a habit I've had for 40 years or so) rumaging around in the kitchen, saying "I've gotta get that thing out of there!"
Vaguely interpreting what he was talking about, I stumbled up off the couch and went to see what he was doing. I said, "No don't shoo it away, it's sleeping in there! You don't have to wake everybody in the neighborhood up!"

For once, he listened to me and the next thing we knew, the little thing was curled up in the birdfeeder/ranch house in the same manner that Molly sleeps in her sunbeam during her early morning nap.
He did take Ringo's (ABCD's name for it) picture and I guess that was enough to wake it up to look us in the eye. It's not the first time it's been spotted there...usually it's foraging for the last of the peanuts and seeds we provide at the Animal Gourmet Shelter here on Bunn's Grove. Not to mention that it costs us about $75 + a week to feed those critters...but they do provide entertainment while doing the mundane chores like dishes.

Speaking of dishes, I made an incredible lentil salad yesterday, using a couple of the tomatoes and lots of the herbs from the garden. The harvest has been very poor this year, but the salad was great just the same. Store boughts just don't make the food as tasty methinks.

On the down side of all this, I know that raccoons can wreak havoc in the yard, and they have no fear at all of humans. It makes me wonder about how attached this little critter is becoming. I wonder if it's wise to make things so comfortable for it. The way I see it, we may need to take the bird feeder down during the nights so we can just enjoy the wildlife by day, and let the animals forage for themselves at night. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Normal day, abnormally madhouse

WHOA! Am I ever going to get everything done! Today it's taking the old 'jalopy' in to be safetied and then out to look at the minivan ABCDEE found about 15 miles from here. Test drive it and check for little things that I know will irk his everlovin' soul for the rest of his born days.

Then if 'the decision' is made, we'll get the thing.

And that's just his list.

My list...finish three journals that I have ideas for, two light switch covers that I promised to someone, do some sketches for the coffrets that I need to do for Joy, and do some work on a journal that I am going to actually PUT things in. Yah, I make a lot of journals, but I rarely write or do art in them. I have some ideas and actually colored the faces last night. They're drawings I did a while back and I decided that they needed to have different expressions to suit my mood. Sort of like a mood ring without the cheesiness. Speaking of cheesiness, I love what my niece Darlene used as one of her tags...(and I'm not quoting verbatim)...When I am lacking character I'll just slather myself in CheezWhiz because... Cheez whiz adds personality (can you hum the tune?)!

so I'll leave this until later cause ABCD is on my case!

>>> much later.... After five trips to the 'old car fixer uppers'(so it can be resold somewhere) and two trips to the dealership, the deed is done. ABCD (all bankers can do) went smoothly and the cash is in the bank for to pay for the vehicle. It's not MY vehicle, but it'll be the one we'll take on trips this year. I never knew they named vehicles after kid stars, but Anne-a Montana is now ours.

And of course I got ONE thing done on my list, and all his list got done. Ain't life grand.

Now, to get ready to go and meet with the ladies of the book club. Heck, where are the notes that I made when I was reading that nearly 500 page tome!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Button it up

Not much time to blog today, as it's Friday which means getting stuff ready for the weekend. But I figured half a loaf is better than none, so I just threw these buttons on the scanner and let 'er rip.
I made several sets in similar shades (different configurations) but all with black backgrounds. May be good for fall wardrobes, and speaking of which,
it's sad, but they are predicting just a few degrees above freezing (gack!) for the early mornings this weekend and that's really pitiful. We've had no summer to speak of, and if it starts getting really cold soon, we'll feel so gypped! Guess we'll just have to head to Arizona sooner this year (like that's going to happen) to capture The Summer That Never Was. (I am thinking of calling my first book that, hehehe). It wouldn't be my first real book, but maybe the first one to be really published.
Now, to get back to work. Sorry this was such a boring post, but sometimes life is uneventful and probably I shouldn't post on those occasions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hit the bricks

This weekend I'll be participating in two events, and in an effort to make something very "provincial" I thought of the many quarries that are located within about a 50 mile radius of here. Some of the greatest limestone is within the region; I guess those deposits are remnants of the great glacial Lake Agassiz or some other geological wonder. Fred Flinstone would know more about that than moi so I won't continue on in that vein.

In preparing some of my 'art' items, I did, however, attempt to keep within the theme of one event. It is the St. Andrew's Harvest Fair, and the history of St. Andrews (in Manitoba) is one that I am fairly interested in. The area is around the Red River and is quite nearby. In actuality, Bunn's Creek, for which our street is named, flows right into the river less than a mile away.

During the last decade of my formal teaching career, I really concentrated on teaching about the social aspects of the Red River Settlers in the early 1800's. Lower Fort Garry is a national historic fort and is right in the midst of the St. Andrews region. I loved spending time discussing the location and business of the Forts in and around Red River, and the collaborative efforts of the aboriginals who supported the early settlements. About twenty years ago, I created a walking tour of the area of Winnipeg known as "The Forks" and took my classes on those field trips. One year, we wrote a play, complete with poetry and music, (with another artist in the school) and in another year, students from my class won prizes for their posters they made while participating in an event sponsored by the Hudson's Bay Company, when it was still entirely Canadian. I miss that kind of interaction now that I am not teaching full time, as the kid's participating in those kinds of events gave them a real connection to their subject fields. I hope it also helped the history to come alive for them.

This week, I created this artist journal, a little different from the kind I usually make. I used a ready-made journal and simply (well not really simply) covered the front and back in polymer clay. The coil binding was relatively easy to remove and put back, so that saved a little time from the normal Coptic binding I use. For the front cover, I attempted to make it look like some of the limestone or naturally occuring rock of the area, since when the original St. Andrews area was settled, most of the settlements used this stone for the larger edifices. Unfortunately, it looks a little like some bathroom tiles. (Maybe that was the influence of the renovations being done in one of our bathrooms this week, lol.) I didn't use a particular 'limestone' recipe for mixing the clay, and the blocks of stone are a little off, but I the next ones I make will be more like the real thing, fingers crossed.

Since St. Andrew's Harvest Fair will be located near the rectory of the historic church, I guess one could actually call this "an altared book", if you catch my drift.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fabriqué en France

One of my favorite blogs recently asked us to post about a
'fabulous' thrift store find. A few days ago, I found this item in one of my usual 'haunts' where I normally don't shop for clothing. Most of the time I look for nifty little doodads, or whatevers that I can either use as textures for my polymer clay, or inclusions that can spiff the projects up a little. I couldn't resist this t-shirt, oh so Français, that was reminiscent of the t-shirts qu'on porte pendant l'été quand le soleil brille! It's been some time since I have visited France, but these shirts are the kind that all the smart demoiselles were wearing waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back then. Some things like t-shirts are ageless, and even though this one may be a decade old (I dunno), I still loved the colors.

The tissus is a bit softer than North American t-shirt fabric, and the neckline is not the traditional ribbing. I even wore it to the market today and so many people asked where I got it. I didn't tell, but just's from France, which is correct, n'est-ce pas?

Speaking about this morning's market, finally we had gorgeous weather and the crowds were there too. It reminds me of the summer a friend and I spent in France. One of our assignments was to go to the market to do a "study" and utiliser le français avec tous les gens du village. It was there that I first learned the custom of the baguette. Needless to say, when I bought my baguette this morning from a neighboring vendor, it was already "bagged" so I didn't have to 'bag it' the way the French men do after a hard day's labor on the way home from work, if you catch my drift... Oh what fun we had making comments about that manner of carrying bread. Bien garni...

Well, I'd better quit this train of thought before I get myself in trouble. Some of my best friends are French and I don't want to sever my relationships with them over a measly loaf of bread...oops I see Marie Antoinette looming in zee distance. I really shouldn't use the word 'sever' and reference Marie Antoinette in the same sentence!

So, let's just say Ça suffit and let it go at that!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gettin' it all done by FRIDAY

Friday! Whoosh what a week! It all started in a flurry on Monday when I was trying to get caught up on the dates for all the fall shows and just as I was getting ready to go and do my Demo at the Forks Market, the phone rang. Another date on my calendar in October. We'll be taking the shows on the road to Brandon's Victoria Inn on October 17th where several other presenters and I will be doing all sorts of interesting things! It sounds wonderful, but I'll report on the details later on.

The Forks Demos (on Monday and Wednesday) were pretty fun...There was a huge (well by some standards) number of people gathered around on Monday and they were amazed at what polymer clay could do. Lots of interesting questions and a fun group of multi-ages. Wednesday the crowds were smaller...oh did I mention it was raining yet again that day. The weather! Ugh! But at least we haven't had tornadoes and hurricanes...just not any weather that seems like summer.

Thursday, I was interviewed for the Manitoba Craft Museum and Library's archives. They are doing a series of 20 interviews of people associated with the 'guild'...which it really isn't, but that's what it formerly was called many years ago when I first was introduced to it through my Mom's weaving. The interview lasted 2 1/2 hours...(well we had coffee too,) and the lovely Katie had her video recording for most of the time. (I wonder if I ate all my lipstick off!) I forbade her from visiting the den of iniquity in the basement, and brought all my stuff up to the main floor for her to see me at work. I told her there wouldn't be enough light to photograph in the basement. (Quick thinkin' huh?)

Today, I was finishing off a few pieces for this Saturday's Market. My inventory is so low; I had to take a lot of it to the display at the Forks during their stint there, and I don't know when it will come back or if it will head for the Medea Gallery when they're finished there. So, it meant "make more stuff" or I'll have an empty tent tomorrow. Fortunately I had a number of unfinished pieces left over from Sioux Narrows, so I spent yesterday afternoon and all day today sanding, buffing, stringing, carding and all that necessary stuff to make the things presentable. Now maybe I can relax a bit ... and hope that the weather prediction for NO RAIN THIS WEEKEND actually comes true!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Artist's Books

In preparation for my demos at the Forks again this week, I have been working on my latest book, and thought I'd show some pictures of the work in progress. I made the covers for this one a while back, and just "relocated" it prior to going to Sioux Narrows. I knew it was somewhere...

The stitching went smoothly. The funny thing about Coptic binding, at least for me, is that the first five or so books I made were so difficult to get the tension just right. Now, it is a 'breeze' so just a reminder to those of you who are struggling, to keep practicing, and eventually it will be easier.

After I got the spine done, I attached the little thingie that goes into the front as a 'lock'. Thanks to doing several macramé projects a thousand years ago, I got that done pdq.

Finally I added the beadwork to the spine. I combined a few glass, metal and other beads along with the faux ivory beads I had made and antiqued and strung them onto the two hanging threads and added a couple more so there are actually four strands.
I don't know how this is all going to get 'organized' when I finish this entry....Oh well. I do not compute. I am not a geek. Hope that the print version can be matched up with the pictures...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sometimes When We Teach

Okay, so I stretched a little on the old 70's song by Dan Hill, but I just had to use that little intro to what's going on in this crazy place. Everything. Demonstrations. Class preparations. Show preparations. House cleaning. Interviews.... ah, but I did digress in the house cleaning department.

Today I will be teaching a class I've hastily titled "Polymer Clay for Family and Friends" which could be an umbrella title for many of the classes I teach these days. It is perhaps not surprising, that over my long teaching career, in polymer and in the public school system, to get re-acquainted with people whom I think I have met before, usually to find out later that they were former students, who now are classified as friends. Even though the age differences may span generations, I still enjoy revisiting with those who have been in class with me. Today my encounter in class will be at a private home, hosted by a relative of a teaching acquaintance and there the family group will be learning about polymer clay. Again, the group will be very mixed in ages, but I am sure there will be something for everyone. Isn't polymer clay wonderful for bridging that age gap?

In the picture today I am showing how I attach the beads to a box lid. Everyone does it differently, but this way works for me. After the box is made/covered (sometimes I do entire vessels with lids of clay, and sometimes I cover papier maché boxes), I drill a hole in approximately the middle of the lid. Then I thread a wire through, attach a bead or two under the lid of the box, and then take the wire out the top where I add many more beads. Sometimes I add fibres to the beading array, and sometimes not.

That's the fun and beauty of working with this medium and creating your own're allowed to stray away from set parameters and even (I am saying this rather boldly) to step outside of the limits frequently imposed by teachers and those who stick strictly to the straight and narrow.

I was reading yesterday, some of Victoria Hughes pronouncements on creativity. If you ever have an opportunity to be in a session with her, it is an experience you will long remember. Did she teach me any new techniques? Well, to be honest, not really, but what she did was to help me open myself up and let my work take a new direction and help me find my 'way' with clay. I read her blog/guidance column (LOL) whenever I feel a little expressionless. Even though I don't always "get it"all, I think/hope I get the general gist of what she is saying. To entirely rephrase it for me is impossible. To my mind, the creativity process is an internalization of what you want to depict, a feeling deep inside that you often can't state in words. But then your brain/hands/materials/impetus/intention becomes the vehicle of your expression, and guided by intuitive efforts (I am a great fan of intuition), your map is set and you go forth from there. Sometimes you are on a guided tour, and other times, at least for me, that tour becomes a path of just meandering through the woods, breathing in the fresh air and listening to the brook...that tiny little rivulet that later on becomes the rushing river of expression. That is the process for moi.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's Happening?

Unfortunately, no pictures to post today, as I haven't had the time to take or scan any. That would mean that I'm busy and out and about, right? A couple of times this week and next, I will be demonstrating p0lymer clay at The Forks Market in Winnipeg under the Medea Gallery Banner. The crowd yesterday was rather small but I did see a few familiar faces and some from visitors that have come up for Folklorama and other vacationing frolics.
While I was there, one gal, a seamstress, asked me to make her some buttons while she watched. It was a unique opportunity so I did them just with the small cane I made while she was there. The buttons were pretty hastily made, but they turned out okay. She will have to bake them herself, but it was a fun thing. Maybe I need to have a sign made..."Buttons made while you wait" or something like "Buttons to go-go". In any case, I'm looking forward to demonstrating again today, and to the rest of my busy week...teaching a private class on Thursday and then doing another Art Show at Victoria Beach this weekend in the luxury of an air conditioned venue! It is supposed to be sweltering, so the air will be a welcome addition.
Off to work now....I have orders to fill!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer, what summer?

Last weekend, we journeyed to Sioux Narrows to participate in their annual arts festival. It was great, with the weather being too windy for folks to go out on the lake, so they ventured to the festival. Of course with my wierd sense of humour, I enjoyed the liberties taken by this would-be sign maker, but hope that one would never actually host a festival for that cause. In any case, the weekend was well attended and we capped it off by taking a little visit to visit family south of there. We enjoyed fabulous weather there and the pups had fun on the pontoon ride. Cap'n Kirby (the Westie) was in charge of spotting all the dogs on the shore, while first mate Penny (the Yorkie) made sure everything was okay on the poop deck. Cruise groupie Molly (the Bichon) played it cool, just soakin' up the rays trying to steal on board every chance she could. Man does that dog love water. Guess it's her heritage. I understand that bichons are distant generations removed from Portuguese water spaniels, and their love for water is second only to their love for humans and little kids. Now that we're back home, it's busy busy as usual. This coming week and next I will be doing polymer clay demo's at the Forks Market under the Medea Gallery banner. I was originally scheduled to do only two, but due to a list minute cancellation by another artist, I opted to fill in. Next Saturday, I will be at Victoria Beach again for their mid-August Northern Lights Art Sale and am looking forward to that.

Problem is...with all those things going on, who has time to make stuff? Guess I had better get off my duff and get to work. Sooner than we know, summer (what summer) will be gone!
Those little books with buttons on the covers are all gone and they go like hotcakes. Down to the dungeon now and make some more!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Being Resourceful and using what I have

This weekend I will be at another summer event where I will have an opportunity to meet with lots of old friends (well they're probably not as old as I am) and spend some time relaxing in the evenings. It's been a hectic couple of weeks here, and I am kinda glad that we haven't been having really hot weather. The dress code for the day has been time to spiff I'm glad that even when I go outside to buff the few pieces that need to be done, that it's cool enough to be comfortable in that attire.
As for this neckpiece, I got the inspiration from a Polymer Clay site...and just had to try the summery colours of a piece I saw there. The whole thing has been a challenge and I've been working on it on and off for over a week. First I had to find a suitable mandrel to form the beads on. Easy enough--I took apart an old wind chime and used a pipe from that. Then I had to drill the beads...easy enough again. I placed each individual bead on an open page from a years old phone book, and drilled straight down. Finally, I had to figure out a way to buff the beads on the bench grinder. If I had just put them on a needle, they would have spun around like crazy and I just can't hold stuff in my hands for that long to hold each one and yet move it so as not to over-do it. I found the perfect 'tool'. From my collection of weaving stuff/antiques, I selected an aged wooden spool and it was ideal for positioning the beads in front of the buffing wheel.
Stringing the beads posed a bit of a challenge too, since I generally don't do many necklaces of this type. I got out my trusty bead tray (actually took it out of the wrapper) to help sort and position the many little glass beads that go in between the polymer ones. I needed way more beads than I first imagined! Even got to use up some of my 'for future consideration' beads; you know the ones that you just make, never knowing where they'll end up.
Hopefully this will end up on someone...and if it doesn't, I have just the pair of sweats that it will co-ordinate with.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sarah N. Dippity

Omagosh! Sometimes things happen just the way you'd like them to happen all the time and of course, there are times when nothing goes right. Well, fortunately, for moi, a couple of things happened just right today as I am in the final stages of preparation for a big event this weekend. Just hope all the other preparations go this well!

I have not been doing any knitting for the last year or so, but when I was in the ironing room, ironing paper for another project, I saw this purse hanging over the East Lake dresser. It needed a bouton. I had previously taken the bouton off for another sale, go figure. Naturally, once removed, {no I'm not talking about a cousin}, I didn't sew another on. Then, as I was going through my boutons for this weekend's show, I espied this one and wondered? would it? could it? And then, when I put it up against the bag, I couldn't believe mes yeux! It was as if someone upstairs was playing with the colour wheel and found the right fibre to match the colours in the little cane in the basement and they came together and danced on the main floor. INCROYABLE!
Oh yes, another wondrous thing happened rather late last evening. Normally, I don't clay after 7 pm, as the light in the 'sub-main-floor', aka poorly lit basement, is just not conducive to working. But I put the Ott light right over the work space on the table, and set up another floor lamp close by and managed to get a few things going, like the animal that I'll post later (when s/he's cured).
I had an aha moment and found a new use for the Klimt canes that were all the rage a while back. They're the canes that come right out of the extruder and you just slice, dice and layer thrice and you get that sheet of awesome integrated colours that are so marvy. I'll be sticking my neck out so I won't say any more about it...It might get the curse and burn or something so I'll wait until later to share my ecstacy with y'all. Or I might go downstairs and see it in a better light today, and it won't be the right colour!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Martini anyone?

A friend who has a "wine accessory shop" isn't that a lovely occupation...asked me to make some olives for a corner of her display where she has accoutrements for other libations, like martinis. So here are some pretty cool olives that I fashioned the other day. I told her to post a sign nearby saying they're pretty hard to chew upon, and not nearly as tasty as the much more costly and real Manzanillas. (We know you're never supposed to eat polymer clay!)

As an aside, having 'factice' or dummy merchandise just might be something that marketing-savvy experts could try, in efforts to dissuade those loathesome passersby who "help themselves" to just a little sample of the produce as they shop. Like the lady who snitches one grape, then a cherry, and then heads over to the blueberriesand scoops up a small handful. By the times she's finished shopping, she's ingested an entire fruit cocktail. Methinks that if she were caught she'd be caught...purple handed, to match her dress. Wouldn't you know, if the savvy marketers actually used fakes in their displays, she'd also be the one who would end up breaking a tooth on a freakin' factice. I wonder if a situation like that would ever get to court and if so, what would the outcome be? Sounds like the makings for a good little skit or play for next year's Fringe Festival. HMMM,,, now there's a thought. Of course, I already have the name for la petite pièce...OLIVE ME!

Ah yes, there is an upside to all this ridiculousness. I have made these olive things many times, and finally in my infinite wisdom, remembered to record the recipe so I don't have to conjure it up from scratch all over again.

Post script...I scraped off the tiny little sea-green speck off of the accidentally speckled olive, but next time, think I might make a few that are speckled for real, but with realistically coloured spots!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beach Blanket Buttons

It's been years since I've actually seen Beach Blanket Babylon in San Francisco. Dinah Shore (well that is a pretty beachy name) was even parodied in that particular production; but her name wasn't the name of a local beach as one might think is indicated by the title. It was, I recall, a reference to something Jurassic Park-ish...wait for it...oh you've guessed it. A Dinahshore. (Sho, just whosh been drinnnnnnnking too mmmany mmmargartinis?)

What brings me to that intro? Well the Saturday sale at the Beach was incredible. There were new vendors, and some who had taken a hiatus for a while. Good variety too. And crowds. People started pouring in before the actual opening, and aside from a brief slowdown at lunch, they kept thronging in right until closing. The next one is in mid August, so I'm gearing up for that.

At Saturday's sale, as luck would have it, I was located right across from the gals who had all those tempting tasty things to try...But I resisted until ten minutes before teardown. Then they motioned for us to come and clean up all the samples with pretzel sticks. (I quashed the urge to double dip). They had new stuff; but moi, being a creature of habit, limited herself to purchasing just the Oh So Garlic Dip/Spread maker. Made some was plenty garlicky!

As for the Beach Blanket Buttons...I used that little crazy-pieced fabric collage as the backdrop for some of the buttons, to show how the buttons complemented/co-ordinated with different types of fabric. The collage, although smaller than a regular throw, reminded me of the old days when people sewed together all their fabric leftovers to make a beach blanket. I think I'll make another of a different palette for the next show. It serves the purpose so that folks can see what the buttons look like against the fabric backgrounds.
I think I have enough fabric for ummm, several blankets, maybe even my own Beach Blanket Production. Watch out Fugasi Street...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Victoria Beach Saturday

Oh I am just hoping the weather will be nice tomorrow! For the last three Saturdays, weather has played a very uncooperative role with the Market Sales, and even though I'll be indoors tomorrow, it would be nice to have a pleasant weekend weather-wise. Although I don't usually like the hot hot hot days of summer, we have not had any to speak of this year. And this week, it's been downright cold or windy and yes, rainy too. So, come on Mr. Weatherman, "BE NICE!"

During this cool spell, I've been making some new things--some interesting metal-look pendants and of course lots of buttons. Deciding I needed some summery-shades, I made the tiniest Skinner blend in delicious colours and got scads of buttons from the blend.
Maybe pushing the summer button on the weather channel will help to warm things up!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When the fisherman's away the fish will clay

I found some silver wire in my 'storage area' and decided to try making a ring. I used (of all things) the end of a pool cue for my mandrel and wrapped the wire into a shape and then hammered it a bit to give it a 'distressed look'. Then I wrapped a smaller gauge wire around the 'join' and secured it under the copper coloured polymer clay fish. I left a little bit of the design showing above and below the fish, just for fun.

Then I made another one, and this time used a simple coil, like a beehive with a slightly decorated cap for the showy part. I guess it's nice to have free time and just play. Maybe I will use some of my 16 gauge sterling wire that I have been saving when I have practiced my wire work a little more. Last time I tried using the sterling wire, I wasted about $80 worth of it, so I am reluctant to bend the stuff. Of course, I guess a meltdown might salvage some of it if I can still find where I threw the scraps.

Friday, July 3, 2009

All the city in the village

Wow! The village was so crowded on Canada Day. At least half the city must have passed by at some time or other! Of course, I was right next to the Mini Donuts truck, and although tempted, didn't have time to eat them being so busy watching the parade.
The weather was gorgeous and not as hot as last year. It was a bit tiring, and even though we had great intentions of watching the fireworks at 11 pm, our bodies said,
This Saturday morning, we are slated to be at the Selkirk Waterpark Farmers' Market and I am busy replenishing my stock of buttons, and lots of other items for 'exposure'. I hope the weather is better than the rainout last week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I love a Parade

Happy Canada Day! Today I will be joining the other members of the Medea Gallery outdoors at the Osborne Village Gathering. The weather is looking gorgeous, not too hot, and there will be plenty going on.
The event provides the gallery members with an opportunity to meet the public, and describe their specific works. As well, we'll get a chance to see the other art that will be on display, namely the passers-by. If things are anything like last year, the folks will be dressed in all varieties of garb, sporting maple leaves painted, sewn or stamped; frolicking around the village. As the day will wear on, the spectular 'sights' will become more evident, culminating with the huge fireworks that we plan to take in at Assiniboine Park later on in the evening.
Hope you all will have a wonderful day celebrating the 142nd birthday of our great land!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer's Events near the Grove

Finally, summer and all the fun events that go with it! I have to keep my calendar at the ready to book all that's happening to keep my schedule straight.
Next Saturday morning, I'll be at the Selkirk Waterfront Market and then the following week at one of the Medea Gallery's Tents during Canada Day Celebrations in Osborne Village. I'm looking forward to both outdoors events and I am keeping my fingers crossed for good weather.
I have a ton of inventory in various 'in progress' stages, which means anything from conditioned clay to books ready for binding or jewelry needing to be strung or findings added.
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately), I am just not that kind of 'start to finish' kind of worker. I find that leaving things in different stages makes for a variety of work that I enjoy. It means that I don't get bored doing 'production' type work, because after a few repeats of something, I need to move on to something else.
Of course, working like that has another side to it. It means having to to 'locate' all the bits and pieces that are needed, and sometimes that can be a neat diversion. Getting sidetracked often leads to incorporating new ideas along the way, or using something in a way that it was not originally intended. I doubt that any serious artist or work-driven individual would recommend that modus operandi...Thankfully, I am able to pick up my pieces and shift from one project to the next, just hoping that I will get everything ready for the events on time. And if not, there are always other days.
Hope everyone is enjoying a great start to the Solstice!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bichon "Cotton Ball" Bash tomorrow

Tomorrow is the Big Day for Bichons in our locale. Molly is just about ready for the event...I just need to put a few more rhinestones and things in her Princess crown so she can be the Belly of the Ball.
These items are some of the 'poopie' bag holders I will be donating to raise a few dollars for Community Bichon Activities, National Bichon Rescues, Dog Shows and Junior Handler's Awards. Of course, these bags won't raise that much, but if everyone going was able to raise $50 in support of the above causes, it would help immeasureably.
I imagine there are some other locations that have similar events, yeah, even for other breeds, but since this is 'our' pet (and to quote a certain very famous couple in the news these days) and "It's our life".
I hope the weather co-operates and that there are lots of cutie-patootie cottom balls out there, just like our Princess Mollah-Kowallah. For sure we are going to take the camera!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bella's Birthday Boutique Coffret

After plunking out what seemed to be 'carbon copies' of my Mothers Day coffrets for all the family, it was time to sit down and make something for Bella and Alex, whose birthdays will be here before I know it.
So, sitting at the clay table this morning with no real intention (sorry Victoria, sometimes things just have to be spontaneous), I found myself with some little curls of scrap clay, and I just figured that a young girly-girl like Bella might prefer something in pink rather than the staid coppery-bronze I've been working with the past while. I made the "stamp" for the image so quickly, I even amazed myself. First TRY! The eyes are a little deep, but I think I can live with them. I used the same method for the box that I'd taught last weekend at Poco. I'll tuck a little something inside and then I'll send it in the mail hopefully in plenty of time for her special day.
As for Alex, his little gift will have to take a little more planning. I do have an idea, but whether it will work remains to be seen. If it turns out, successfully, I'll post it here. If not, well, there's always those cool socks I've already bought that he can wear for his soccer games. (Doesn't seem fair, does it?)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mother's Day preparations

On Saturday, May 2nd, at Poco Créations, I will be teaching this class for intermediate polymer clayers as a Mother's Day item. It would be a great gift for Mom or some other family member to keep special little mementos of Mom inside. (Thinking...a lock of hair? or perhaps a little photo of the family or whatever.)

This box is a smaller type of the style we'll be doing, but the range of size is about 1 1/4" wide by 1 1/2" tall and can be made up to about 2" by 2 1/2", depending on personal choice. It's all polymer clay, including the transfer. The image here, which didn't show up that well, is one of my late Mother. The picture was taken years ago, as you can tell by the hairstyle, when she was a bridesmaid. I made the copy from a family photograph (the wedding party), printed it out on the Xerox machine and then transferred it to polymer clay.

It's timely, since the class is very close to my Mom's actual birthday (in early May) and I'd like to kind of acknowledge that. Maybe if there's time before May 10th, I'll make several to give to her other children, grandchildren, and maybe great grandchildren.
Of course, I'll vary the box colours and beads for the others, but I think I'll keep the antique look of the ivory frame around the image...

And it doesn't have to be worn as a neckpiece; these items look equally nice hanging on a wall or in a little niche somewhere. I have a little collection of "Mom stuff" in a spare bedroom and that's where I think this will find a nice home when it's not in use around my neck.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Next Class at Poco Beads

We had a great time at the Bead Shop yesterday during the Faux Ivory Class at Poco. All the beads were fantastic, and there were a lot of "improvisations" happening, just what I had hoped. The group was terrific...kudos to all the participants!

As for next week's class, (alas it's on a Saturday too,) we'll be honouring Moms just a week before Mother's Day. I've asked the participants to bring in a small (about 1 1/2 inch square) black and white Xerox photo of Mom, which we'll transfer onto clay. Then, we'll incorporate it either as a little treasure or as part of the exterior in the amulet we'll be making. That will be suitable to either wear or hang as a wall piece. I don't have my class sample worked up just yet, but will have one on a post very soon.

If anyone would like more information about the class, you can contact Poco Creations at 204-219-2528 or email to to get the class details. There are samples of the project at the store if you are in the neighborhood and can stop by. If the Saturday time slot doesn't work, perhaps we can try for another day and possibly in another location. I know the shop has a lot of classes going on right now! ( me)

I didn't have my camera there to snap a picture when I took the sample there, but will take a scan of the prototype when it gets finished tomorrow or Tuesday. Sorry! Too many things going on in this little mind of mine, not the least of which is getting my income tax completed by Thursday of this week. Yikes, the time goes so quickly!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Faux Ivory Samples for POCO

In between getting ready for sales and doing some teaching, I had a chance to stop by Poco Créations last week to drop off this sample of faux ivory the class will be working on this Saturday. After creating the beads we'll incorporate some fabulous beads from Poco to make the pieces truly standouts. The faux ivory will be textured before baking, but I'll also demo a scrimshaw technique and perhaps a post-baked incision, if time permits.

Speaking of scrimshaw, when I was at the Artisan's Market this past weekend, there was a fellow who did this work in old ivory piano keys. His work was marvelous, and the details were incredibly small...of course he used a jeweller's magnifier, something I have been meaning to get for a while. Even though I have new glasses with much greater magnification, I still have a bit of trouble trying to get the perfection needed for really intricate designs. That's not an excuse, I realize, so I'll have to "bone up" on my ivory or sharpen up my needle points.

Looking forward to a fun weekend. Gotta get some striated ivory made tomorrow in preparation.