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...