Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ornaments, troubles, fun and great stuff

Sheesh!  I cannot believe how fast the last month has flown.  Once again, the same old thing, busy as all get out...get out!  Finally, I have a few moments to spare to create some nibbles for the big game later on this afternoon.  I made a load of chili in the crock pot and have some shrimp and cocktail sauce and the usual veggies, chips, and other junk to last the game through, and all the pre-game shows too! 

Our GREY CUP football championship pits the Montreal Alouettes vs. the Saskatchewan Roughriders and for me, just like the teams have been preparing for the big game, I have been working at full steam.  This past week was particularly haried, with several days of teaching, (both art workshops and regular subjects), book club meetings,  a very funky art sale on Friday night, and a birthday celebration left little time for anything but driving there and shovelling snow.  As well, I had signed up for the annual ornament swap, and wouldn't you know, the date for them to arrive coincided with all this other folderol.  I know I shouldn't be posting the pictures before the swappers get them, but   since this blog is not just for the swappers, I figured I would go ahead. 

I know they are not particularly Christmas-y, but then some of the ornaments on my tree range from things like skiers, to school desks, to almost anything that can be hung.  So, I took some liberties and let them be on my Christmas Fish List for this year.  I ran in to a few snags and trying to fix the ornaments was a waste of time, so had to redo a couple and they are noticeably different from the rest.  Hopefully the swappers won't mind. 

I revisited the technique of using UTEE on the tops of the ornaments.  I haven't used this much and after this weeks experiences (and experiments) I know why.  Although the UTEE makes for a terrifically great finish, putting it on these fish was quite troublesome.  Of course, the first time I went to set the stuff on, I used the heat gun and the mountain of dry UTEE just went flying all over the place.  In order for me to get the stuff 'semi-solid' I had to place all the coated ornaments on a flat tile and heat it up in the oven.  I suppose I could have just baked them all there for forever, but nooooooooooooo...I wanted to use the heat gun.  It was really tricky trying to get the stuff evenly 'domed', and after several coats, realized that it was not going to happen.  I used nearly an entire large bottle of the stuff, and even then the results are not that great.  To add to my woes, I burned my finger in a couple of places, trying to take the 'warm' fish out of the oven in order to complete the sealing of the UTEE.  I never realized how badly until I felt the raised bubble on my knuckle tis morning.  It doesn't hurt that much, but if the blister breaks, I am in for a helluva time.  So, maybe I'll just stick to same old same old for a while, at least when I am rushed to get things done. 

Amidst all this bellyaching, I want to say a few positive things about the week.  I had awesome classes, ranging in age from junior kindergartens to eighth graders and they were all fun to teach...even those teenage boys who just had this 'look' yah.  polymer clay.  woopdeedoo.  After they got to crank the pasta machines a couple hundred times, I believe they actually enjoyed it.  It was part of their art experiential morning. 

Later on that same day, we trundled over the city to set up for This Ain't Your Grandma's Craft Sale.  Of course the parking lot was full of snow and we nearly got stuck :--)))  but when the music started to play and the wine and beer was flowing, we forgot all about those troubles.  One group of performers...THOSE GUYS did a great a capella set.  Watch out Four Tenors...this was a sevensome of very talented singers.   It was a great concept for a craft sale, and one of the few times I've seen men actually enjoy being paraded past tables of mostly feminine stuff.  There were a variety of vendors with not the usual plastic canvas and knit dishtowels...and I noticed more than one guy pulling out his wallet to spring for blacksmithed stuff, funky clothing and even some of my light switch covers.  The turnout was great and there's going to be a follow up sale next Sunday night, the 5th of December. For those who missed that first one, head over to the Park Theatre where the same type of event will be happening. 

Speaking of sales, I will be wrapping up the fall events next weekend, with a full day at a local school on Saturday the 4th...the only school event I do, and then the night sale at the Park.  Then, I can finally get started on my own preparations for the holidays, and the packing away of my polymer clay stuff for a much needed hiatus. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall Sales taking Priority

I have been calling these pieces of wearable art "Le Coffret Secret" based on ad I saw in a French magazine several years ago.  Actually, what the container in the ad held was a type of coffee, and these, at present have nothing secretly hidden inside of them.   I was able to match up the gold/black polymer combination with some beads I got at an antique sale this summer while on a short trip to Wisconsin.  I had high hopes of using many of the beads, but for whatever reason, few of them have found their way into my works.  I have incorporated some into bracelets, but the ones I acquired were very large and my original intention was to make some ginormous necklaces with my own polymer beads and the antique ones I obtained.  Many are silver plate (I am pretty sure they're not sterling) and lots are brass like these accordion bellow types here.  Maybe as my inventory for fall sales and shows accumulates more of them will be added to fashion unusual fusions of old and new.

As for the coffret itself, the view above is the back side, or the one that would hang next to the wall if it were a wall piece.  I made the container over a glass bottle that was round on the front and flat on the back.  The more decorative view is pictured here.  The cording is adjustable and there is room inside for a picture, a charm or a note, (like some folding money, lol) or whatever else a person would want to keep.  When I made these before, I placed some French lavender seeds in a small sachet inside the coffrets, thus keeping with the French thème.  If I can find the appropriate sachet fabric, I will do that with these too.                           
The coffret pictured here is going to be used as a donation for the first in the November sales.  I'm involved in several this month:  The University Women's Club Sale at Ralph Conner House on 54 Westgate on the 12th of this month.  The Snowflake Boutique follows on Saturday the 13th which will be hosted by my friend Joy and then the following weekend I will be doing the Artisans Market hosted by the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library.  It is being held downtown in the new Manitoba Hydro Building Foyer on the main floor.  It runs Friday, the 19th and Saturday the 20th.  The Signature Craft Event is being held right across the way from there at the Convention Centre and visiting the two would make for a fun afternoon. I believe there is a pedestrian walkway that one could use to connect the two buildings if the weather should turn frightfully cold.  Entry to the Artisan's Market is free, but donations to the MCML are accepted.

I have a number of doll heads on the clay table right now...I was going to say chopping block, but that would be taking the French thème of La Guillotine a bit too it's back to work.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Curtain Up, Light the Lights

rockin' light switch covers
The song finishes with everything's coming up roses and being the optimist that I am, I hope it's true.  Although's  it's been difficult to post the last few days, I'm working steadily on getting ready for the fall season's shows.  We've had 'weather', civic elections, work, and all those other things that are part of life and the time has just flown by, with Halloween here in a few days. I haven't even had time to plan my costume...or Molly's for that matter, and she does come first, lol. 

I've tried to fit in some clay work in the in-between times, but it hasn't been easy.  For some reason, this show season's just kind of HAPPENED, and I am not prepared! My inventory seems to be smaller than usual this year.  I even had to turn down a big show because I didn't have enough stuff to fill the booth.  That being said, I am gradually increasing production of things that have been moving well, mainly the light switch plates and other 'affordable' items.  I've taken to buying boxes of the plates as that way they are a little less pricy and if I get in the mood, I can make a dozen or more.  These neutral-colored rock ones are quite popular, and even though I enjoy making them, I find them a bit tedious. So every once in a while I shift the color palette to much brighter things, like these tropical ones.
colorful palette 'subtropical' plates

With the horrible weather we've been experiencing the last couple of days, our climate is anything but tropical but  maybe that's why I made them.  Actually, part of my inspiration for those was at my last book club meeting about a week ago.  The hostess of that get together lives in a building that has an enclosed atrium that reaches all the way up to the top floor, probably sixteen or more levels.  Although not at the very top, she lives above the full grown trees  and her outer balcony, which actually is enclosed, looks out on the lush foliage below.  Her balcony space is decorated in a very south-sea fashion, like a lanai, and it's all so warm feeling.  She even has the natural 'music' playing to complete the setting.  The bamboo curtaining sets off her one side from the neighbour's and she is on a corner, so the privacy is complete.  I'm thinking the first or third of this triad would go well there.

It's funny how the opening of this fall's show season is so much like preparing for an actual stage production.  I've purchased a few new 'props' to help display my stuff and hope they'll work.  Some of the shows I'll be in are new for me and the spaces allocated are not quite boxy regular shapes, so I'm thinking that having 'portable' racks that can be moved will do the trick.  I bought a clothes rack on wheels that I'll used to showcase my longer hanging things, and am going to use my 'womanakin' that I purchased at Winner's a couple of years ago.  Standing about three feet tall, she has no head and arms, but she wears a sequiny-beaded dress that's very flashy.  I've come up with a way to insert some 'arms' that are just right for hanging ornaments and other pendants.  I still have to come up with a way to position her at eye level so the objects can be viewed more easily. 

All this staging is starting to make me hummmm, would that tune be Bali H'ai, or Shangri-la...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Signs and tags and cards

In an effort to be somewhat original, practical and yet not so ordinary, I decided to print my own cards.  This was just a prototype and cut it very hastily so it is a little 'off' in the corner.  On the final copy, I'll do it a tad neater.

I have probably 8 or 9 full boxes of fabric, some for quilting, others of various sorts, that I inherited after my mom's passing, and over the years, have attempted to utilize it in my work.  I don't sew much and do not have the time to make quilts, yet I don't want to just give it all away.  Today, at the top of the stash I found this gorgeous batik fabric and thought it would make a nice backing for a business card.  That way instead of using cardstock I could just run off my card on regular paper and then attach it to the fabric to create a durable card.  At first I thought of collaging it to the fabric using some fusible webbing, then I remembered another technique that's fun...sewing over the thing in every direction.  Started with an entire sheet of labels and cards, then stitched willy-nilly all over the thing and then when they got cut out, this is what happened. 

I think they'll be good for button cards and business cards as well.  Maybe I'll come up with a different layout for some tags for objects where I like to add a bit of a hand-written description.  But, that's a while off.  I've been very busy teaching lately, and sister and I are going on a Thelma and Louise getaway (minus the crimes) so won't be able to test the final product completely for a week or so.  During the relaxing moments of our little trip I'm going to try to get a pedicure (my former excellent esthetician moved to Florida); finish the third Steig Larsen novel, ...The Hornet's Nest, and catch up on some shopping which I rarely do.  I still have 500 pages to go (ahem....) in the novel, so methinks the shopping might end in a café where I can just read for a couple hours.  Our book club meets next Wednesday, so I've got some readin' to do and then some splainin' Lucy.  (Lucy is in our book club too). 

Hoping this beautiful fall day finds everyone brimming with creative juices.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lady Buttons are gone

No pictures today...too busy making turkey range hen... and getting caught up on things polymer clay wise.  The buttons of the lady faces went first thing last weekend.  A lady from Iowa snaffled them up within five minutes of the show opening.  Maybe I didn't price them high enough...or maybe she REALLY liked them.  She was a button collector and was going to give them as gifts to her fellow collectors.

I've been really busy and no time to take pictures...Will try to post tomorrow with new items.  Nobody really wants to READ what I have to say anyway.  LOL... Well, I know a few of you do, but most of the lookers out there are more interested in seeing, and quite frankly I have to admit that when I visit blogs, I am usually taken by the pictures. 

I have been working on more art journals and book-stuff.  I am contemplating putting together a little 'how to' now that I've made a dvd of my work.  Actually I didn't make the dvd, just burned a copy of one that was made last year. I actually watched the whole thing and was tempted to try to load a part of it on here, but for the life of me, do not know how to just use part of a home made dvd on this thing.  So for those of you who are really tech-savvy and can give me a quick e-how, I'd love to attach a little bit of it here.  Of course it's rather a simple technique, but still gives a little bit of a glimpse into what it is that I do.  (I loved hearing my friend Gilles saying that in English...what is it that you do?) 

Anyway, gotta go give little Molly, the delightfully diabetic dog her needle cuz she just ate ... again.

I am thankful...really that she is with us.  And that we're healthy.  And that we've had GORGEOUS weather for the last ten days.  And for lots of other stuff.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Polymer Buttons

I've called these "Let's Face It" buttons for obvious reasons on my part, but I'm hoping that the eventual locations of these becomes a little less mundane and a lot more meaningful in their final destinations.  Last year I incorporated a face of this type in one of my books which I titled 'The Maharincess of Franistan's Journal' because the cover of the book was very textured in a geographical kind of way.  But I wanted to imply the humour aspect of the intention so I utilized Lucille Ball's pseudonym from one of her very early shows with Desi. 

The faces I am now doing include real sculptured noses, as is quite discernable on the scans, and some of them are very  ethnique  with almost detectable facial characteristics, especially in the nasal regions.  The scans don't quite do them justice as the picture is a little shortened as far as the facial lengths go, making them a little pudgier than they are in actuality.  For example, the one on the top left when viewed straight on looks more like Bernadette Peters or Marisa Tomei than she does in the scan.   Of course, the headdress is strictly Lada Gaga, so there's a lot of input into these little compositions.

They're going to be part of my fall display of buttons and other accessories that I'll be taking on the road and to some of the local shows.  The first road show is to Dryden, Ontario for their annual Fall Art Sale on October 1 and 2, and I am very much looking forward to it.  Last year was my first time there, and the show is set at the Golf and Country Club in a very picturesque region near the town.  Hopefully this nice weather will hold (we actually put the air conditioner on yesterday) and we won't have to shovel our way in and out of the clu! 

But I have had to hold production for a week as this week finds me working until Thursday.  Then on Thursday night my former school will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, so I'll be involved in that. I've completed my donation item but it's a secret so no one but the committee and myself knows what it is.  Over the decade that I taught there, I helped out with a lot of art projects with the students and some of the vestiges of those still are in the halls of the school in the form of ceiling tiles or on the walls of the gym and hallways in general.  Now when I go there to substitute, I still like to incorporate a bit of art in everything I teach, even if it's only to write good morning in Calligraphy on the chalkboard. 

So, it's off to get ready, because, let's face it, it is going to be a busy week.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Closing the book on another season

Once again summer has come and gone and by the looks and feel of things here, fall is definitely upon us.  The days are rainy and cool and the nights, though cold have not yet brought that first frost, but it's been close.  I thought I'd celebrate the end of summer with this art journal which is definitely one the birds in the back yard can relate to.  There have been so many flocks and types this year, especially now, that identifying them is not possible without the aviary companion.  I once made a 'birdie' tree in which I did watercolor pencil drawings of 18 species of birds common to our area, but I don't know if I could even name them now.  I am not really a bird watcher, but do enjoy seeing them from the kitchen window when I am washing up the dishes, making coffee or whatever else I might do in the kitchen. 

I think the thing I will miss most about the exit of summer is the lack of sunlight and the longer days.  I've really started to notice the early onset of dusk lately and my own internal clock telling me it's time for bed much earlier than during the summer months.  I say the above for purely selfish reasons of course.  I find it so much more difficult to work when the light is not good and need to see the colors in good light.  I recall making a pendant in the evening  a few years ago, thinking it was in one color and astonished to see in daylight that it was completely off.  I do have an OTT light and that helps a bit, but need more than that one illumination to carry out big projects. 

So the sunflower, with its radiation of leaves and face to the sun, is my salute to summer past...Maybe I will write about that in my art journal today. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who came first?

In the world of Chicks, there's always a race to see if indeed we'll ever finish, or if we will beat out the 'competition' which in this case is ... an egg.  No big deal, except of course if the race is downhill in which case the egg will win, presuming of course that it's hardboiled or in some other way not prone to breaking. 

In making this chick, (as part of a larger composition that I have planned) I utilized a portion of a  technique I saw on a recent episode of Beads, Baubles and Jewels.  Not one who's that into peyote or chevron bead stitching, I usually watch the show and then in a few minutes, it's out of my head.  I do like to see the pretty baubles that they show, and on occasion have seen a few techniques that I think I might use...someday...  But this past Saturday's show had something that I could actually use, immediately, in my polymer clay work! 

I have to state, right now, that I seldom see the show at its actual broadcast time which is quite early on Saturday morning, but thanks to my recorder, I can watch episodes at times that are more convenient.  So, when I saw the re-broadcast the next day, I immediately went to my clay table and did it!  It was the burnishing of foil atop an already leafed piece of polymer clay.  I had this foil (not leaf) that I had been trying to get to stick to the clay.  I had done this in a Donna Kato workshop years ago, but hadn't been able to get it to transfer properly to the clay.  I don't know if I was using a different kind of foil (I think we used Jones Tones in Donna's class) but I know I had tried the type of foil before, and I remember having much better results.  The secret was simple.  After burnishing the foil onto the already leafed clay that had fractured, the raw clay that was exposed had to be warmer to accept the foil.  Hence, the two toned effect in the colors of the clay. The foil adheres to the raw clay that's exposed after the leafing on the clay has been spread thanks to the passing through a thinner layer on the pasta machine.  It produces a multi-toned glitzy look, which is what some chicks are after.

This little chick (well she's about 3" by 4") has a bit of a pained expression about her.  Actually, I'm glad she looks a little concerned. It fits very well into the plan.  When all the finishing touches are added, and the piece is complete, I hope it will be clear why she's a little ... chicken about what she's going to have to endure!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Light altering device

I was going to call this "Another Boring Post" and then decided that was too .. um .. banal.  (I couldn't remember a synonym for commonplace so I had to think back a few years when I had a chat with Lucy...I love her.  She is sooooooooooo interesting>)  But I digress.  So I called this a light altering device.  Which it is.  Well, it is part of it.  The fun part.  I am not going to get into the electrical goings on of the thing, because frankly for me, that IS boring. 

Today I made several of these.  Not all the same and some with different colors and number of caches for those rockers or dimmers or toggles or plugs.  It was kinda fun.  I basically used non-spectral colors as I have been doing way too many of these in blues and greens and wondered why I never have any of the more neutral colored ones in my inventory.  DUHHH!  The light just turned ON!  Because those are the ones people buy more of, and so that means that those should be the kind that I MAKE more of. 

I really am very bad at business projections.  I usually like to make things I like to make, and don't pay enough attention to making things that are good sellers.  I remember when I took the one class in Economics (101 with a sleepy drony prof) that the one thing that he said (in amongst all those supply and demand curves that I copied, and then drew all over) was that companies have to have a business plan that is feasible.  Well I did hear it, but never really paid much heed to it.  At least not in the traditional economic way.

During my career as a teacher, I seldom had to think about a business plan.  Objectives.  Yes, many of them.  Outcomes, yah those too.  But I wasn't really selling stuff, except of course if you consider that I was trying to sell 'learning' which, probably, I did try to do a LOT of. 

When I  started to do this polymer clay art (is it okay if I call it art?) I never considered it  from a business point of view.  I just wanted to make things because I liked working with the material and it was fun to see what I could come up with.  Naturally, I seldom record specifics in  inventory of things that I am making, but just know that I have X number of light switch covers, and ^Y^ number of buttons and "Z" number of books, the colors and styles seldom get recorded.  That would be far too organizationally challenging.  Since most of the items I make are 'original' and I don't want to have them all the same, I usually try to forget exactly what I did on light switch 248 so that when I go to make # 249, it might be in similar colors, but the style and artistry will be different.  About the only times I get really specific  in describing the items is when I have to make an inventory list for a gallery.  The rest of the time, it's basically just in stock or not in stock. 

It kinda sucks though, when someone asks you to duplicate something like a button, because they want them to be the same as the one they bought six months ago. Nightmare city!!.  Even if I have the object in my hands, I can usually not duplicate exactly the same shade, color or hue of purple, since I make the mixtures of clay spontaneously.  It might be close, but what about this:  If you asked Van Gogh to make every petal of his sunflower in exactly the same way, do you think he'd pay any attention to you?  He probably wouldn't hear of it ... ah, but I make light of that fact...

And hopefully, the folks who read this will understand that I really did GET what he (V.G.) suffered, and not be too critical that I made fun of his frailty.  We are all fragile and frail.  And when I say I don't do business things well; that is one of my frailties. 

I say....Make light of it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Polymer Clay Buttons

Last week I got an email from a lady who has been "gifted" with some of my buttons by a mutual friend.  I was very honored to learn that she'll be using one of the buttons in a piece of wearable quilted art designs that she's submitting in a jurying.  It's good that she got a match to her fabric choices as the buttons were made probably before the fabrics were chosen.  That leads me to pose a question about matching.  How matchy-matchy do things have to be? 
I used to be one of those gals who had to match purse and shoes right down to the cobra skins and unusual shades of turquoise.  I believe I once had seven wearable pair of shoes in that color because they had to "go" with the outfits I was wearing. Now, I still love to have 'different' colors of shoes and purses, but gone are the days when I wouldn't think of wearing those forest green shoes with the two-toned emerald handbag.  Heck...I am lucky if I can even find said forest green shoes.  And as for which handbag I'll be using, well, it's the one that's got the car keys in it.

I think for buttons, it's a little less 'laissez-faire' but still, there's a little more latitude when utilizing a hand-crafted button on a purse, sweater, jacket or whatever.  Of course, I could make drab, go with everything buttons in beige or off-white, but what would be the point?  I make buttons in strange and sometimes unusual colors because I CAN.  I figure if I am just going to cookie-cut some shapes out of some color of polymer clay straight out of the package, why bother?  I must admit that several of the buttons on this page are similar in style, particularly the ones with the 'frames'.  But I like making that kind, and feel they are versatile enough to be a match for lots of different projects.

The other concern I'd like to address is the actual color that appears in the pictures after they've been scanned.  For example, the button in the top right hand corner is really not at all the color it is in actuality.  The background of the for-real one is an ochre-gold color.  And of course you cannot detect the greeny-brown 'antiquing' that's in the second from the left in the top row.  It's oh-so subtle in the background circles...almost looks a bit like an ancient reptilian skin. 

I posted these buttons in response to a couple of requests by folks who wanted to see more buttons.  I also had a digital image taken of the same sheet of buttons.  I am going to post it in a subsequent blog and perhaps the colors there will be truer...or maybe they won't!  Of course the best is to see them in person.  For that, they will be available in my fall shows.  I'll be posting that list too, soon. 

Addendum:  added on the following morning...  Here is the posting of the digital image of the aforementioned buttons.  See the difference?
The colors on this are much truer to the originals so in future I will be posting digital photos rather than scans of things that have to be in the way the movie Sex and the City II ended...with  True Colors.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Polymer Clay Fish

This big brother fish was finished a couple of weeks ago and I just got this scan done.  I called him "Fish with a Checkered Past but Good Luck will Follow" because on the bottom of his other side he has some checkerboard caning, which unfortunately I didn't scan.  On the tailfin (again on the reverse side) I added several cane slices of the Chinese Symbol for Good Luck. 

He is a 'keeper' measuring a good 12 inches plus wire and I am pretty sure he's got a fair sized girth too!  He (it's a he because the lips are not that menopausal pink colour) isn't quite as decorated as some of his fellow fish that have gone to happy havens; but he is a pleasant sort.  He can hang free like a mobile from a long length of fishing line (what else!!!) or can be up against a wall or window.  I haven't placed him anywhere...I don't want to get too attached and I certainly don't want him to think he's part of the grouping in the computer room of Dan's taxidermed collection.  He's much too colorful for that grouping.

Today I have been making buttons and more light switch covers.  I have several in the oven right now and just thought I'd take a few minutes to post, since my posting has been very irregular of late.  Sooo, happy offishal back to school. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is summer really over?

Last Saturday marked the end of the 'official' summer at Victoria Beach, with the roads now open to the cottages and kids back to school.  We took part in the final Northern Lights Art Sale there this past Saturday, and while the turnout was a little bit lower than during the high summer days, it was still a great day.  As can be seen from this picture, Molly and Dan were welcoming folks at the table helping to raise funds for the East Beaches Animal Shelter and once again they did a great job, thanks to Molly's winning smile and Dan's friendly banter.  I am not sure how much money they raised for the cause, but I know they got several new memberships and lots of contributions.  It is sad how often the animals near the lake are treated and abandoned.  Suffice it to say that now a few more kitties and pups will be neutered and well cared for and perhaps permanent homes can be found for them. 

On another pet-related note, this marks the 10th anniversary of when we 'got' Molly.   She was nine months old at the time, and we were actually her fourth 'parents' so to speak, so it was almost like a rescue.  In actual fact, she rescued us; as I recall.  I was going through some tough times dealing with my Mom's terrible bout with shingles, my own very painful and sleep-depriving frozen shoulder, the loss of our dear Mr. Peabody, and also the loss of a dear student who passed away at the age of 18 from ovarian cancer. Even though Miss Molly was a bit of a 'live-wire' in her younger days,  she has  brought unmeasured joy to our home.  For the first time yesterday, she went to Gimli, on the other side of Lake Winnipeg supposedly to help her dad fish, but that was not the case.  It was quite windy and so instead she simply enjoyed the walk on the long pier and wagged her tail at all the folks there. 

I am not quite sure where this picture was taken while the two 'fisherfolk' were out there, but seeing the choppiness of the water I can imagine what the wind must have been like.  Normally Molly loves going in the water, but I guess she felt that surfing wasn't her style yesterday.  When she got home, she was tired, but not too tired to greet some other family members (whom she dearly loves) when they came over for a barbeque to finish off the summer.  

Now I am in high gear preparing for the fall sales.  I have a few more stints to complete at the Selkirk Waterfront Market over the next few Saturdays, and then the next big show takes me to Ontario again during the first weekend of October.  Following that, I am going to be busy on several subsequent weekends until the first week in December when I call it quits for another season.  I'll be posting the upcoming events in some upcoming blogs.  I have my schedule pretty full and am just waiting for one more confirmation before I can make the official "list".

I have often heard it said that the end of summer is like the beginning of a new year.  School resumes, the colours change and all the new 'events' get underway.  Contrary to a popular advertisement, I don't believe "It's the most wonderful time of the year", but it is an exciting time, especially for all those kids and teachers going back to school and hitting the books. 

And hitting the book is what I'll be doing this afternoon.  I have not finished reading The Girl who Played with Fire yet, and our book club is discussing it tomorrow.  So, polymer clay and computer are off limits for the rest of today.  And as for dinner...we'll have the leftover steak, corn and other goodies from yesterday's BBQ, thank you very much.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Too pooped to post, snail mail rant, and the case of the missing wheels

Sorry, no picture today. Actually I forgot to take a pic during the intimate, but fun polymer clay class today where I had a few dedicated charges. Those who were there know they were there, and they have the bad jokes in their memories to prove it.  In all, it was a fun day and there was a lot of good claying going on, but after it all got put away and the dishes were done, I am pooped.

My schedule has been soooooooooo hectic this summer, I fear I have missed one or two deadlines for sales, and am going to be begging tomorrow to try to get in one of them.  Missing the deadline was due in part to this danged computer breakdown we had a couple of months back which lost all the emails and attachments.  I sort of remembered many of them and had haphazardly copied some of them manually into my date book, and others I had imprinted the show dates on my mind, but without my screensaver calendar (lost) and the email attachments for the applications, I have been in a dither trying to collect all the application forms etc.  So, I am going to spend much of tomorrow backtracking and contacting by email and phone to try to  get all the pieces back together. 

Now for the rant part.  (If you'd rather not read this, I give you persmisison to hit the exit key now.) I am getting really disgruntled with snail mail.  I have been waiting for so many things to arrive in the mail, and for things to get to people and places.  I fear that there is some WICKED FORCE out there committing subterfuge to prevent me from getting payments, sending checks and cheques, and all other sorts of mail-gone-bad stuff.  It's like there is NOBODY working in the post offices any more, and they've left all the work to malevolent little gremlins who live in the  boxes on the corner of the streets.  Seems those critters are eating up all the mail or at least the envelopes.  It's like they are on a gummy feast and they open the envelopes and party away by sucking all the gum/glue off the envelopes and then just leaving the interior bits, the stuff we the "mailors" are interested in, to fend for itself having no destinations and no return addresses.  And another thing they do, those dastardly gremlins, {and this thing I can attest to, not just surmise,} is that they wedge the envelopes in between the hardware that keeps the actual mailbox together, so that when the HUMAN BEING (aka Post Office Employee) comes to dump the mail into his big bag to take it to the post office, the wedged mail just stays put in the box.  For how long, I don't know, but I do know that I have seen with my own eyes, (and they don't my hips), I've seen the same piece of mail wedged in there on two consecutive days.  Don't those mail collectors ever LOOK inside the boxes?  Sounds like they need to take an advanced class in Mail Collection 302 where the syllabus reads 'How to really collect mail from those multicolored boxes'.  When the mail boxes were blandly colored worn-out-red, it never used to happen, the collectors collected the mail.  But now, now that the boxes have gone all colorful and decorated, I guess the collectors (who are being paid I bet, snicker, snicker,) are so taken by the chaotic and colorful decorations that they forget what the boxes are for.  Another tale of Just Another Pretty Face. 

And OH YAH!  Something I should have posted a while ago...The Sad Tale of the Missing Wheels.

Nearly a month ago, when we returned from our little hiatus/(I love that word except when it introduces hernia) busman's holiday, I espied a  nice bike attached to the Stop Sign very close to aforementioned prettily-decorated mail box.  It looked expensive...I dunno.  I am not a bike groupie.  But,  it was there one day.  It was there the next day.  And the third and oh, for at least a week. Maybe even longer since we were gone for about a week prior.  Even though I didn't mail something each day, I would see said Bike attached to the stop sign.  All shiny and tapioca colored; a Shimano I think it was...never looked that close.  And then, this week when I went to said mailbox, the bike was gone.  It wasn't until I looked down, while the divine Miss M (MOLLY NOT MIDDLER) was doing a dainty little curtsey aka pee, I saw it!!! The lock from the bike.  On the ground.  In two pieces.  One the curved part and the other close by, which someone had obviously hack-sawed off.  Guess they saw the bike there day after day as I did.

What I am wondering is this:  Did the person who locked up the bike in the first place FORGET about the bike?   Was he/she parking the bike there for some geocache search to do the rest of the search on foot?   Or, was it, heaven forbid, something sinister....Oh I don't want to go there.  Why was the bike there for over a week?  And who hack-sawed it off?  Perhaps it was the little gremilins from the mail box, who, having had one too many envelope frappés, decided to live outside the box and take off on the bike.  In any case, not a happy ending.  Except of course if it means that the gremlins didn't return to the mail box and the mail will go through from now on.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lighter than light

Not much time this week to post.  After the tentlake and hurricane wind problems last weekend, I vowed that this weekend's Festival will be better.  Sounds a little Scarlett O'Harish I know, but that's where determination, or is it plain ol' stubbornness reigns.  I did make a few more sets of buttons the past few days, since the area I'll be in is replete with quilters, and added these few light switch plates to my inventory.

They have a very earthy feel, as you can probably tell.  I went pretty heavy into the texture and hope they end up in some room where there's a wall space just waiting for them.  I could have spent more time on the clouds in the beachy one, but since it's Thursday and I have to leave early tomorrow a.m., I once again, decided less is more.  The ivoryish one is a little cave-like and the soapstone-y effect on the double looks like the entrance to my fantasy secret garden.  I always loved the carving in some of the old soapstone vases we used to have...wonder where they are now?  If they don't turn up, maybe I'll tackle making some as a fall 'spare time' project.  Like spare time exists.  Spare tire?  Yes.  But time?

Off to the Morden Corn and Apple Festival.  I'm as corny as Morden in la la. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Some things are fishy...

Well, I am posting again.  Same picture.  I want to describe the polymer clay now.  I did a little line drawing a couple of weeks ago of a partial school of fish.  Then I reduced it on the photocopier (toner based) and made about twenty little printouts.  In the focal area of this book is the faux ivory clay with the drawing.  It is not a transfer, but a tear-away.  I was so happy that it turned out so well (not the drawing, the tear away.)  The etching accepted the antiquing umber paint very readily and I purposely didn't sand all of the paint away.  It is soooooooooo smooth.  I only used 600 grit sandpaper on the ivory, and it feels so delightful, that I didn't bother to buff it.  I wanted to just run my fingers over it over and over. 

After the ivory piece was done, I added a little gold piece using liquid polymer as a 'glue' and then more liquid polymer between the book board and the gold. I had sculpted a few other little fish and used some for beads.  A few of the fish got filleted and were used as adornments atop the gold on the book.  (More adhesive liquid polymer.)   I baked the entire cover  45 minutes (or maybe an hour) and then placed the painted book boards between two larger tiles to cool them and make sure they were flat.  The baking really helped to set the paint ... I had used Jacquard Liquitex (I think) in a mixture of antique gold and bronze, and then did a little feathering with some other acrylics.  You can't see much of it on the front cover, but the feathering is more visible on the back cover and inside the covers. 

As for the side features, I didn't have too many beads and my selection of bronzy colored fibres is rather limited, so I put in some variegated/recylcled Silk Sari Yarn and a few other textury-type bits.  And yes, the little fish are bronzed with Pearl-Ex, so I did put a little sealer coat on them. 

Ya gotta love doing this stuff.  When I sit and describe it, I realize that there are so many steps involved in making something work.  Luckily, I don't have to describe it to myself when I do it.  I just DO IT!

Hope you all have a great weekend.  Wish me's going to be very warm in the tent and I am not looking forward to that.  Methinks a little spray bottle of water and a thousand fans might help.  (Both the kind you hold so I can keep my cool, and the kind that come up to look at the work, lol.)

Something's Fishy?

With this Friday comes the final 'edition' of the Lockport Preparations.  I made four new hardcover journals for this weekend's market event and hopefully with the fish theme someone who wins the $20 000 will step into the art tent.  Of course this journal won't take up much of that; but perhaps the winner would like to record the event.  Even if the winner isn't into journal keeping, there's a lot of use for a book like this.  It measures about four and one half  inches high and is not quite that wide.  I may make a simple little cloth cover for it, just in case, so that the fronds don't get tangled with other things if one is carrying it in a fishing creel or other carrier.

I am really enjoying my art journal activities.  I used my sample book at last weekend's Victoria Beach Festival, and had a lot of interest.  Someone actually inquired about purchasing the partially finished book... Of course that book wasn't intended for sale, but the person said it would help her 'get started' on a book.  I agree that getting a journal going is one of the most difficult tasks, but if you make it a daily thing for a specified amount of time over your morning cup of tea or coffee, it can be quite an engaging experience.  I have been a follower of several magazines that encourage this type of activity, so I can imagine how difficult it would be for someone who is a complete novice who has never seen those publications to know how to begin.  After seeing the collages, the cut outs, the drawings, the 'scribbles' and other elements, a lot of the folks seemed to want to do some art journalling on their own. 

I also chatted with an English teacher who thinks she may use the idea in her classes.  When I taught, I never minded if kids 'doodled' on their pages and encouraged it if it helped to bring home a concept...As a matter of fact, it was mandatory in several of the subjects that I taught that kids incorporate drawings, colored and not, in their notes.  I especially remember doing French vocab in this way, as well as more intricate features like illustrating the  logs being positioned at right angles to each other as an example of how the early settlers built their log homes for Social Studies.  For the kids who said they "couldn't draw" it didn't matter.
Any and all attempts were worthwhile.  

That is how I feel about  doing the art journals.  I am no great artist, and have a good deal of trouble with perspective etc. Once the line drawing gets done,  some careful positioning of dropped leaves, or snippets of phrases strategically placed, lots of obvious 'mistakes' can be skilfully masked.  And there are so many acceptable things to go into journals...My box of journal ephemera keeps getting larger and larger and soon may engulf my polymer clay workspace.  But no...that would not do!!!  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tagged Fish

Wowsa!  The Lockport 100th Anniversary starts tomorrow and hubby tells me they released the three tagged fish into the river on Tuesday so they're swimming around somewhere.  Evidently, there is a $20 000 prize for catching and verifying the release of the tagged fish...only one of which is the twenty grand one.  I couldn't resist this little pun and believe me, no bait, minnows, hooks or any other type of fishing tackle was used in securing this little guy.  He has a 'waggly tail' (sort of like that doggie in the window) and is much cuter (imho) than the real ugly catfish that will be the contest winner.  I'll be having a few of these at my booth in the Tent at the Locks Market this weekend as well as a lot of other items, several of which will be fish-related.  I am at the finishing stages of getting it all together.  Since this is a one hundredth anniversary event, there's never been a market associated with the Locks, it's hard to tell what size the crowds will be, but should I have an excess of inventory, I can always use it for next week's Corn and Apple Festival in Morden.  That's a bit of a longer drive and it goes on for three days, but it's a first time for me to be in it.  Looking forward to both of the events. 

Yesterday our book club went to see Eat, Pray Love and then went for dinner.  In keeping with the theme of the 'Eat in Italy' we tried to go to The Olive Garden (the closest thing to an Italian Restaurant in the area of the theatre) but there were no parking spots; needless to say that it was over an hour wait for a table for five.  Instead we hopped over to Moxie's and each of us chose something close to a Meditteranean dish/drink.  I had a Bellini and then had Caesar Salad and Calamari.  I know traditionally that Calamari is a Greek dish, but didn't opt for a pizza since I had some the day before.  We discussed the movie and agreed that it was good, even though it deviated from the book just a little, embellishing and adding here and there to make it a little more theatrical.  Too bad it wasn't in smell-a-vision to add to the sensual intensity of the Margherita Pizza in Napoli or the fragrant blossoms of Bali.  I could have done without the smell of the cows in India quite frankly, so guess I should be thankful that s-a-vision hasn't hit the screens yet. 

Now, back to getting items finished in preparation for the Market.  Hubby has relayed that they are still in need of more volunteers for the if you're not too busy, can be in the Lockport area and have a couple of hours to spare this weekend, then by all means drop him a line at to volunteer your services.  I know it's late, but every little bit helps.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Can't Catch Me, I'm already caught up in everything!

Am I EVER caught up?  Now depending on how you look at this, I could be 'caught up' as in all my work is done and I have loads of time on my hands.  Or, as this fish in the net, I am tangled up in all the things that have to be done.  Or, I could be trying to get caught up in a big event next weekend.

My upcoming schedule is about as busy as it ever could get.  The next four weekends are loaded with sales, anniversaries, festivals and of course getting ready for back to school during Labour Day.  Intersperse those commitments with meetings and a couple of demos and throw in a class or two for good measure, and you can see why this is one busy fish! 

This Saturday (the 14th) is the second of the summer's Victoria Beach Art Festival (it seems like the last one was just yesterday).  I believe it runs from 10 am to 4 pm. The previous one was at the Sports Club, and this one may be at the Senior Scene (which if the weather is like it is today, will be a plus since it's cool in there!) or it may also be at the Sports Club.  I am certain that the Northern Lights Committee will have signs posted as you drive in the community telling you where to there's a job, lol. In any case, the two venues are in the same general area so not to worry if you're not sure where to go!

Next Tuesday, the 17th, I'll be doing a demo at McNally Robinson (Grant Location) as part of the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library organization.  I believe it will be around 7 pm and there will be other Guild members illustrating their art work as well.  For those who are unaware of how polymer clay is done, I'll be doing a brief demo.  It's very casual and relaxed...great format for asking questions.

The following weekend, the 20th to 22nd of August, will be the 100th Celebration of the Lockport Community  .  The event is not only a celebration of the historic site, but has all sorts of events associated with it.  Hubby of course is helping out with the Fish Catch (a whopping $20 000 to anyone who catches the tagged fish) and I'll be in the big tent along with lots of other local artisans.  Our tent is near Gaffer's, to those who know the area, and I'll have fish like these and lots of other polymer clay stuff there.  Parking might be a bit of an issue, but there are shuttle buses organized so access shouldn't be too much of a problem.  Hope to see lots of folks there!

On the weekend after that, August 27 to 29th, I'll be at the Morden Corn and Apple Festival.  That is a festival that's been going on for decades and even though my work won't be as 'tasty' as their delicious pies and food offerings, I will have some fun things there too.  It'll be my first time there, and I can already smell the corn on the cob!

I have a couple of class dates scheduled after that (during the transition from August to September) where I'll be doing introductory techniques in polymer clay.  It might be a two day continuum, or two one days separate classes, depending on the needs of the individuals.  Anyone who is interested, please get in touch with me by email,   I have a sign up list at home here, and if you get in touch with me, I can let you know more of the details.

Finally to wrap up the summer, on Saturday of  the Labour Day Weekend I'll be near some lake or river north of Winnipeg.  Nope.  Not fishing.  Hopefully, relaxing, but YOU NEVER KNOW!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mixed Media Journal

Finally a few minutes to post. We were on a Road Trip (Yay!) and made our  journey to the Sioux Narrows Art Festival and then followed that with a few days visiting relatives in Wisconsin.

Of course the weather was gorgeous, as was the scenery.  The Shield and lakes of Western Ontario were outstanding.  Due to circumstances I won't go into (none of which were our doing) we had to stay about 25 miles from the event, but the extra driving was worth it just for the view from our lakeside room.  The mist on the first morning we were there covered the entire lake and I wished I'd had more time to savour it, but duty called.  The show was good, not as good as in previous years sales wise, but most people said that, so I am not complaining.  Once again, the show was very well hosted and aside from the accommodations aspect one couldn't ask for better.

When we got to Wisconsin, we played, went for pontoon rides and I got to 'shop'.  (More about that later.)  As well, I demonstrated how I did my Coptic Binding on the books that I've been making recently.  I didn't go overboard in decorating this one, as my main purpose was to show the binding, and only added one polymer element (so far) to the cover.  Since I was 'describing' the Coptic technique (should coptic have a capital??), I somehow got my pages turned topsy turvy about half way through.  Since I don't feel like ripping them out, I decided to keep this book for myself.  I also promised I would do a page a day, as in Marlene Brady's blog "Do art every day" and since I returned, have kept up.  I'm not a journal artist by a long shot, and I have lots to learn, but I gave it the old 'collage' try.  Mostly so far I've used my own 'stuff', pictures I've drawn (and photocopied) or wording I've done.  That brings to mind a million questions, and a few answers I've figured out.  Does one acknowledge sources of images in a private book?  What does a title page in a journal look like?  Does one even need a title page?  I mean it is not like I am ever going to be organized to have a table of contents in the thing...

On one  page I did a take-off on the word 'type'.  I was tickled during my shopping trip to  find an antique Smith Corona in great shape.  I had sold our old Underwood upright in a garage sale many years ago, and when the gal accepted my offer (the same amount I sold the Underwood for) I sealed the deal.  After sharing a little secret about my high school typing experiences with her, I decided that the word needed to be exploded a bit.  I didn't do much exploding.  I only linked it to a few phrases, but since I have a tendency to [overdo] things like that in my work in general, I hoped in this case that less was more. 

The colorful rainbow background for the page (I'd gesso'd it up first) was from an old painting kit I purchased at Mall of America kiosk about ten years ago.  I'd love to be able to do that effect in other colors and maybe when I have time I'll try to recreate another way of doing it so I am not confined to the colors of tempera that are in the kit.  I glued the little typed excerpt into the middle of the opened page, and thank goodness for that feature of coptic binding I love so much.  The remainder of the page is some journaling in every which way direction using a purplish-mauve gel pen.

Now that I've completed another page (it's still drying) I'm off to work on polymer clay and replenish stock.  Also have to make some butterfly pendants for my sister's friend in SK...BTW, she returned from a three week stay in Australia and brought me back a scarf done in the traditional Aboriginal dot style.  One day I am going to try my hand at that.  When one of the exchange teachers from Adelaide (I think) was at our school, she had the kids emulate that style and their paintings adorned the hallways for weeks. 

I rather like that technique, but need to do a little more research on it before I attempt it on my own.  Perhaps one day a page of it will get into my art journal.  In the meantime, I'm letting it sit open on a book stand.  Drying.  Although on this sticky humid day here it may take longer than usual.  Now if I were in'd be dry before I finished the page!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Polymer Clay Button on Quilted Purse

I am like the carpenter with no furniture and the decorator whose house needs a paint job.  I have been making buttons for several years and aside from a few added on to garments that I acturally 'wear', I seldom have examples of  finished works with buttons on them.  Often at sales, I am asked how the buttons I make can be used.  I don't mean to offend, but, umm, well, here is an example.  I realize it doesn't exactly match the colors in the quilted purse here, but I can't MAKE fabric (well, technically that is incorrect...I DON'T have time to make fabric also) so that's why I've used a bit of off-color polymer clay in this sample. 

When I do shows, I hate carrying around a cash box and those 'fanny packs' just don't do it for me, so I use either a draw-string reticule or some make-up bag to keep my float in.  This one has a shoulder thing that I can attach so it can be worn and tucked inside a jacket if I am walking around in an area and want to have my hands free.  It's about 5 1/2 inches, relatively square and has room for the essentials.  I didn't make it, a quilter and I exchanged.

I will still be making the former  "Let's Face It Buttons" with the canes design surrounding the faces, but I also have  this updated version...I've added arched eyebrows.  This one didn't quite meet 'spec' (as she has one eyebrow arched more than the other) but I figured it was the  perfect signature for moi.  As luck would have it, when I have to 'draw' on my own personal eyebrows (mine blond ones have faded into oblivion), I can't see well enough without my glasses on to draw.  As for the finished 'results', (with my glasses on,) sometimes the  brows are quite comical and are rarely symmetrical.

What arch criminal invented far-sightedness for those of us over fifty that want to have eyebrows?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hittin' the road...again

These are some of the mokume gane pendants I'll have available this weekend.  I only did a small stack of mokume having determined that the regular sized stacks I was making yielded far too much of one color group for my liking.  This way, I can make just a few in each color range and save my clay for other things.  It was murder trying to use up the mokume stacks, and in the end, used a good number of my slices for scrap clay.  The other upside of this is that if I am not fond of the color combinations, I haven't wasted a lot of clay.  Not that I am stingy, but I just don't feel the need to have 57 pendants in one color pattern!
I made this batch as cabochons and then worked them into some metal-looking clay. I have found that if I sand and buff the cabochons before they are set into the backgrounds, I can antique the surrounds and then if necessary, use a glaze or other finish on the stuff that doesn't do well with sanding and buffing, and the mokume parts still stay very lustrous without the sticky coating on them which I personally don't care for. 
The bail is in the back...I suppose I should scan that too...maybe I will next time.  That way, it can be worn as a choker or on buna cord or whatever...I like the adaptability aspect. 
NOW it's time to pack up all my stuff, set it near the door so we can make a speedy exit tomorrow morning.  It's about an hour drive to Victoria Beach from here, and it will take me at least an hour and a half to set up, so time will be precious in the morning.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Victoria Beach Sale this Weekend

A few years ago we took a trip up to the east side Beaches (the East Side of Lake Winnipeg that is) where the beaches are gorgeous.  This is one of the stonier type beaches, but as you can see below the stones, the sand is as finely grained as you could ever imagine. This was a rather remote area, and the day we went for the photo shoot was brisk but sunny and the waves were rolling.  We took a lot of pictures and I often refer to them for inspiration for making my beaches bracelets, which are always popular up in that area.  The cottage we used to own was on the lakefront at Victoria Beach, and that is how I came to be connected to this event.
This Saturday is going to be a busy one, since after the sale we will be travelling to another resort area  for a barbeque to welcome my friend's son-in-law to his Canadian relatives and friends.  The couple will not be living here, but it is his first time on the prairies of our land, très loin de son pays de France. It is a 'social' and should be quite the event for someone who is not accustomed to what a prairie social (and barbeque) entails.  J'éspère que Andréa et Rodolphe vont passer de bon temps-là. Dans quelques semaines, ils vont faire le voyage retour à Normandie, où ils habitent.

As for the Victoria Beach sale, it runs from 10 am until 4 pm and is located at the Victoria Beach Sports Club.  This is one of the only times this summer that you can drive in to that area...normally the roads in the community are reserved for just deliveries and year round residents.  This has been the situation for many decades, to make the summer homes safe for all the families.  It cuts down on noise too.  There are no motels or hotels there, only private homes, making it much of a residential haven for the summer.  Everyone uses bikes or walks and it makes for a very healthy lifestyle.  While I'm at the sale,  I'll be  looking forward to seeing a lot of the other vendors and my friends out there. 


Monday, July 12, 2010

Farmers' Market last Saturday

Last Saturday morning was the first time this year for us to set up at the Farmers' Market at the very scenic Selkirk Waterfront Space.  The weather was lovely...a few clouds to prevent scorching and no wind.  Thankfully, there weren't any mosquitoes or other pesky critters either, just friendly folks and a few pups.  The location has got to be one of the most beautiful for an outdoor market, picnic, boat ride, stroll, lazy-day fishing, bike ride or whatever else you like to do on a Saturday morning.  I love the relaxed atmosphere of the place, and the well built facility lends itself to setting up a venue such as this.

I was very happy that the sun wasn't blazing, for, as luck would have it (or was it inadequate planning), we had forgotten to pack the tent topper.  It was really quite humorous, and folks that know us usually expect Entertainment of the Bickerson-genre during set-up and we did not fail them, again.  We got there a bit on the late side for my liking, but it ended up being perfect timing, because, having not brought the tent top, we didn't have to set the thing up.  So that part worked out perfectly.

Some of the same nice people that I encountered last year were there again, and a few vendors have not returned.   Unfortunately, it is still too early to have a lot of home grown produce available, so I am thinking that in a few more weeks there will be a good deal more tasty home grown things to buy.  There was some lovely baking, and after having made my 'quota' of sales, I treated myself to a couple of loaves of freshly baked herb bread of the artisan nature.  It's delightful, especially when I toasted some and dipped it in a bit of grapeseed oil, balsamic vinegar and dipping spices.  YUMM! 

Sadly, I won't be there more than four times this year, although it runs every Saturday from 9 until 1, when they 'ring the bell'.  My summer schedule is booked with out of town trips, a wedding celebration or two, and a number of other sales where I'll be busy.  But my heart will be there and wishing that all the folks who take the time to stop by have a wonderful time.

As for the 'picture'...I 'sketched' it this morning.  I really suck at drawing.  But, I kept a black and white copy and am hopefully going to incorporate it, or part of it, into some polymer clay work.  Not telling just how/where it will end up, but I have a couple of options and ideas I am considering.  (BTW...that's our imaginary blue tent at the really is blue, but I used artistic licence in including it in  the sketch with the aforementioned forgotten top.  Some of the other vendors are not exactly as sketched...but as I said...artist's licence!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's a Wrap...Mixed Media Book Done

It's been about three years that I have been making hardcover books with external coptic binding and all those years the covers were completely polymer clay.  I had thought about using other materials for the covers, thus saving a bit on my clay and finally today I have a finished project, which is a composition utilizing a lot of elements...some recycled, some new, some vintage. I had a tough time deciding about the type of binding material, and in the end, went with the simple choice.  I had dyed (or at least painted) some strong linen and thought about using it, but when the color didn't saturate completely, I figured on the path of least resistance.   
Another thing about the binding, for those who are new to Coptic Binding...when I first started doing these books, the binding was quite a chore...not knowing how hard to pull to keep the tension up, and generally, it was one of those nightmarish tasks that made my hands all sweaty and the cord all stringy.  As well, it would take at least two to three hours to get the binding all done.  Now, once I have the cord found and measured, I just sit down over an episode of Law and Order, and by the time the show is finished, the binding is done.  It really does underline the fact that experience makes the work much less time consuming. 

As for the beads, they are mostly polymer clay, with a few shell types, small glass spacers, one name bead that I stamped,  and a special bead that I made a while ago.  It was made from a glass bauble, a bit of hand-decorated paper underneath, and surrounded with polymer to make the picture show through the glass. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mixed Media Trials - New Book

So I am giving this one the title 'From the Inside Out' and showing the inner covers.  The book ( an artist journal) is very near completion with only the papers to insert and the binding to be done.   I say {only}in jest, as past experience would tell me that is not always as simple as it appears.  Having said that however, I have made so many books similar to this type that I've prepared in advance with the beads made, the holes drilled (according to a template I devised) and all I've yet to determine is the type of binding material I will use.  My natural choice would be waxed linen, however, the cover's color doesn't exactly suit the colors of thread I have.  Soooo, that leads to some more variables thrown into the mix.  Shall I DYE it, PAINT it, use it as is, or....?  Time will tell.

I am actually calling this a 'mixed media' book rather than a polymer clay book because I did not use polymer clay totally for the covers. The inner 'lining' is a bit of painted paper that I used to surround a face that I drew with Prismacolor pencils almost two years ago, on one of my travelling days.  I actually did a series of three similar type drawings, and am thinking about making a triptych with the originals.  This was just a scan printed out on the HP Inkjet no less.  But to my pleasant surprise the sealant I use to incorporate the face into the frothy surrounding did not bleed, and although there are a few wrinkled parts, I rather like that quality because it is in keeping with the rest of the paper lining.  The veil fabric is very old....I think about forty years old and it is part of a small stash that remains from the hat making remnants I inherited after the passing of one of my very talented aunts.  I hope she is smiling at its being used.

There are other reasons why I'm calling it a mixed media piece.  I've also incorporated bits of hammered copper into the cover.  All will be 'unveiled' when the book is done and photo'd. 

I'm quite ecstatic that some of the woes that have beset us these past few weeks are now dimishing...we got the air conditioner fixed (yikes was it hot in here for a week ... but nothing compared to the heat my bookclub cronie is suffering in New York); my tickly throat is less tickly and the dry cough is almost gone; and lastly, the main computer is up and running well.  I had to re-install the scanner, but that was minor compared to the other nasty things that we had to deal with.  Oh, yes, we are still dealing with some of the after effects of that storm...the address book was toast as were all my server-based emails (thank goodness for hotmail), and I have to contact some of the co-ordinators of shows that I am supposed to be in during the fall.  I did (fortunately) make copies of many of the entry forms, but not ALL of them, so still have to catch up in that department. 

Speaking of book club...our rather limited size group met yesterday (we did get a one paragraph "report" email from our New York correspondent) for the marathon meeting.  Actually it was a great get-together and we actually discussed our book for over an hour and then made many references to it throughout the afternoon/evening.  It really was more than a book club meeting though...we submerged ourselves in the pool for the first hour, discussed the book (over drinks and hors - d'oeuvres) the next two hours, then feted ourselves with a pot luck (and a bit more vino) for the next two hours.  Finally, we capped it off with a rousing round of Ballderdash...without the gamebits part.  We didn't make our definitions fit the theme of the book, although I am sure that some of them could have been rendered into nuances that were hinted at in the book.  Oh...the book we reviewed?  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  How timely that Charlie Rose had done the piece he did just the night before our gathering.  We Have LOTS of theories...

And now, back to my own book...or shall I say Artist Journal.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Canada Day on Osborne

With tomorrow being Canada Day, I had hoped to have a lot more neckpieces like this available for people to see.  They're so perfect for summer.  But where does the time go!
Well, for one thing, we spent a gorgeous weekend out at West Hawk Lake and just enjoyed being with our friends -- both human and non-human.  It was incredible to be out far away from the noise of the city, with nary a mosquito (thankfully), but lots of other natural species to entertain us.  Several times while we were there we saw a number of deer -- so up close that they were hand fed.  Such gorgeous and gentle creatures!
Another time biter has been my 'part-time' teaching, which has been more like a regular job.  I've had lots of different experiences and have "learned" a lot.  And then there's this hacky throat-bug thing that has been robbing me of sleep.  Last week ABCDan caught this horrible throat bug which has made him cough so bad, for what seems like all night long.  I thought I was going to avoid it, but today my throat is aching and my voice is cracking something like concrete.  It is so awful and I have to be WELL tomorrow for the annual Parade at Osborne Village. 
All in all, I have only one necklace similar to the one above, and a few others that I managed to get done.  They're more like pendants...Inukshuk type.  They're quite cool and if they don't get all gobbled up tomorrow, perhaps I'll post one on here in a future blog.
Happy 143rd Canada. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last chance to hit the books!

I haven't made many books lately, although I must admit that they are my favorite thing to make.  I hope now, that summer is almost here and that I have more time to clay, that I CAN make a whole lot more. This is one that I made in faux ivory a few months ago, that was filled with good quality watercolor paper, making it truly an 'artists book'.  It is my intention, when making a book, to have a purpose in mind for it. 

Some of my books are used as guest books for cottagers to record the happy times spent with friends.  Other books have been made with the intention of a dedication...for people to journal about the significant happenings in their lives.  Others are used as graduation gifts or as journal diaries to collect and keep records of their visits to interesting places.  I know a few of my books have been used as 'scrapbooks' to keep pictures for a year or two.  One of the books I made became a special commemorative book for a son to honor his father.  This special order was made in the father's favorite colors and the side beads were representative symbols of some of the memorable occasions in his life. 

I do not know of another medium which allows for this kind of diversity or this degree of personalization in hand created artwork.   Generally when I make my books for sale to the public, they have to be rather 'generic' which allows me all sorts of latitude in my creation. However, when I create a special item for a person, that is truly the creation of a unique piece of artwork,with all the intentions incorporated into the 'persona' of the book. That is when the personalization aspect of art enters into an entirely new area, so motivating to the artist.  That is what I REALLY enjoy about creating...having an inspiration and motivation to achieve a purpose.

The individual who purchased the above book also ordered another, which, I was happy  to create.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It should be called Saturday the 13th

Some days are bad.  Really really bad.

 Yesterday began with hubby telling me that the computer was compromised and we couldn't get into any of our files, particularly our emails.  We are in the midst of a big 'volunteer' job and we desperately need to use the computer to make signage for this Gala that we are attending this coming weekend, namely, the St. John's 100th Anniversary Gala and associated activities.  It is a ginormous thing...hubby has been contacting many businesses in the communty (and beyond) and has secured great gifts and items to be auctioned off at the gala.  My part is to write up descriptions of the packages and do some decorative calligraphy to make the packages appealing to the 2000 plus people who will be in attendance.  This is NOT the time for a computer meltdown.  Oh the urge to say bad words. 

Several hours, phone calls and attempts at restoration later, no luck.  If anything, things had gotten worse.  Our email was down and all our programs appeared to be lost.  Fortunately, I have this little laptop which was not affected by whatever, and I have a few files on it, but not any of the current gala stuff.  It also allows us to see our current webmail (since yesterday) and of course I can access hotmail, msn, facebook and all that fun stuff on it.  But our address books are gone from our primary email accounts lists.  I do have some addresses on my hotmail accounts, but there's only so much there.  I guess I'll try to recoup what I have and start again. 

It isn't the first time we've lost seems as though it has happened every two or three years.  I watched a lot of tv yesterday, trying to drown my depression in even more depressing tv.I even went so far as to try and watch some of the world cup FIFA but the drone of the background hum was starting to irritate my already challenged quota of patience I had allotted for the rest of the day.   I did some work on getting my donation's a polymer creation.  It will be finished today. 

I also went to a meeting that was to start at ten.  The building was locked.  No one had the key.  I registered,outside,  and then went home.  What a day, what a day, what a day.When I got home, I realized the pants to my suit were on backwards.  That figures, doesn't it.

And oh, yes, I made a chicken.  When all else fails, cook.  At least that turned out to be edible.