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.