Monday, August 29, 2016

Boots not made for Walking. Or rather Boot.

So the summer is nearly over and most of my excursions have not been "on foot". I snicker when I say this, because when I taught about explorers who did their land travels across this expanse of the country, we often said they travelled "on foot". Well, and I don't mean to step on anyone's toes here, wouldn't it have been more likely that they travelled on two feet?   If they only travelled on foot, then they'd have had to hop everywhere and given the loads they were transporting and all their gear, how would they ever have travelled very far? Just one of the fun stories I shared with my classes when I taught history. But I digress. 

Today I would like to share a little creation about the above tongue in cheek remark. 
I have made bigger boots before, but this one and these black and white shoes are destined to become embellishments for my next books. I think I will call one of them. The Boot Book and it can be a travel journal for someone.  As for the shoes...I might call the composition, "If the shoe fits, wear it" and  dedicate it ☺️ to someone with very tiny feet.  Be mindful that you don't juxtapose the initial consonants of the words shoe and fits, or you'll have something on your collar that was deposited by the flying foo bird!  

That's all the silliness for today.  

And now, it's off to play!  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Touching the Surface

This Saturday I will be teaching a polymer clay workshop at Local Colour in Winnipeg. Two of the five techniques I will be doing are the ones below:
The one on the left is transferring a black and white image to polymer clay.   Once it's baked, the image can be coloured with pencil crayons or Prismacolor ( or other) markers. Or it can be left as is, depending on your intention. 

The sample on the right is a collage of mokume gane slices.  I love the randomness of this technique and marvel at the immense variety of effects that can be achieved using a few simple tools and colours of clay. 

When all the procedures are completed, we will put them together on a canvas to create a sampler.  Hopefully, this sampler will serve as incentive to the class to further pursue the myriad techniques that can be produced using the versatile medium of polymer clay. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

When life gives you lemons

We have been fortunate for the past several years to have lemon trees in our winter retreats and yesterday I composed a piece that incorporated many parts of the tree: its leaves, the fruit and even the fragrance of the leaves. 

In my most recent book, (I am not writing one, just making an art journal), I used the lemon for not only inspiration, but also used its actual parts.  I said a wee thank you to the lemon spirits as I plucked about ten young leaves from the tree to use as textures.  When I rolled the leaves into what would become the inside covers, I could actually smell the lemon in the oil in the leaves being pressed into the polymer.  Of course it won't be detectable now that it's baked, but the smell left a lasting impression on my olfactory receptors. 

The trees have already blossomed and many of the flowers have become tiny fruits.  For the past weeks, those blossoms were so, so frragrant you could hardly walk by at night without stopping to sniff.  This time around, I didn't make any polymer lemon flowers, but rather chose to go the fruit route.

I made a small lemon-slice cane out of translucent, white and yellowish polymer; reduced it and then added a few slices and wedges to the front cover.   I purposely sliced the cane irregularly, since when I am slicing actual lemons that's the way they come off the blade.  I also made a few beads out of the lemon remnants...even textured my little lemon bead with the rind of the citrus.  I used the peel also to make the cover less than smooth. After the  covers were baked, I "antiqued" the impressions with a light green mix of paint.   It's hardly detectable on the outside cover, but pretty evident in the vein work that's on the inside covers.  

So, I say, when life gives you lemons....make journals. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Lots of good fish, good fish in the sea

Anyone who is really familiar with The Mikado know that those title words are used repeatedly in the finale of act 1 of that G & S musical. I think of it every time I compose a new fish. Here is the one that I worked on recently:
The hanging is quite lengthy and of course, being a Pisces it has difficulty in making up its mind, so just for fun, here is the other side.  
I tried to keep the cane work to a minimum, and besides the eyes and the lip canes,  I basically only made three different canes.  But by combining them, stretching them and giving them slight twists here and there, I had enough variety to hopefully keep the decorative elements from being boring. 

The fish is about 9 inches by 5 inches and is totally polymer, with some copper wire used as fin support structures.  The wire also goes into the inner viscera of the fish to form a sort of armature. 

From a structural point, the one issue that constantly presents potential problems is knowing where to position the fins so that the final sculpture hangs relatively level. The balance in this one is a little "off" but I am not about to go and purchase a Level.   I just keep my fingers crossed that if the fish has to swim a little upstream, at least it's heading in the right direction.