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.