Sunday, February 20, 2011

Corpus Christi Guild Class ~ Sliver Flowers & Leaves

In the regularly scheduled guild meeting the members have "show and tell". I brought a number of items made using a technique I called Sliver (not silver) Flowers & Leaves. The members really liked the items I'd made and asked if I could teach the technique to them.

Last year I developed this technique, wanting to use the pretty scraps of my skinner blends and wrote and photographed the tutorial in order to teach a class at Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild. The guild members loved the tutorial and some even emailed me the next day to say again how much fun the class had been.

Cutting slivers of skinner blend ropes, flowers and leaves could be created in graduated colors from light to dark or from one color to another. Since the tutorial was complete, it was easy to send a materials list and plan for a class two weeks later, the last Saturday of January.

Students receive a full color step by step tutorial and instructions to make this heart shaped pendant. In no time, we had a full class and a date to teach.

Allyson a polymer clay artist nearby would be able to go and to attend the class so we could ride together. This time the trip to Corpus would be a time to catch up with Allyson, a sign language teacher, who also designed lovely polymer clay projects.

The class was in the home of guild member Lynn, a gracious lady who greeted us with lunch and refreshing drinks after our long drive.

The ladies had a great time, learning the techniques of making the slivers, how to pick them up and place them where desired.

The technique can be used in a number of ways. On soft, unbaked clay, applied to baked clay, cut larger and added to glass ornaments. Shown right, an ivory pendant, soft pearl cabochons and a colored pencil portrait on polymer clay that had been baked and varnished.

I'll be teaching in San Antonio Sunday the 27th of February at the Chandler Senior Center 137 W. French Place San Antonio, Tx. If you are in San Antonio, come on by. Class starts at 1:00.

For more info, feel free to contact me.

Guild meeting in Corpus Christi

While traveling I like to stay in touch with fellow clayers. Here in Mission Texas, Corpus Christi is the closest guild. It is a three hour drive to guild meetings but with a book on CD, the drive goes quickly.

Their meeting is the 3rd Saturday of the month at the Joann's store. The meeting was very informative. This guild has a hands-on project that members learn how to do during the meeting. The teacher brings the lesson and helps the members learn the techniques.

Teacher Patty taught a lesson on how to make molds using three different mold making materials. The members busily made molds from a variety of items and the time flew by.

I made molds of some of the rubber stamps that I designed for using scrap clay. A mold like this can have clay pressed into very firmly, making a molded part that can be used to make faux enamel items. A similar class was taught in the Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay guild by Angela Mabray.

You can use molds like these to make a faux enamel pin or pendant, faux Cloisonne, etc. The rose pin to the left was made using a polymer clay scrap mold.

Black clay was pressed into the mold. After de-molding, the clay was coated with gold PearlEx powder and baked. The cells were then filled with liquid clay that had been colored with alcohol ink and baked again. The cells were then coated with clear liquid clay and clarified with a heat gun giving a lovely shine to the 'enamel'.

These molds have beautiful detail but must be misted with water or dusted with cornstarch to allow clay that is pressed into them to be removed.

We also used a two part silicone rubber material to make a flexible mold. Some of the things molded were old jewelry, coral from the sea, buttons, and things that I had sculpted. I wanted a deep teddy bear mold for buttons and sculpted one the night before the meeting so there would be something to mold.

As an experiment, the heart pin on the left was covered with the Amazing Mold material. It turned out beautifully. I had no idea that the details could be molded without breaking.

When I got back to the RV, I sculpted some tiny tassels, flowers and leaves for a new mold project.

Patty showed a polymer clay material that is flexible from which molds can be made. However, after a few years, this material will harden. This flexible clay can be used as a softener for hard clays.

The ladies of the guild have become friends and it was a delight to spend time with them, learning, laughing and catching up on each other's lives.

My thanks to all the ladies of Corpus Christi Polymer Clay Guild for making me welcome.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

January Polymer Clay Guild meeting in Corpus Christi

Oops, I started the blog and accidentally lost it in a power outage. See the post above.

Going South for Summer in the Winter

We are back in the southern part of Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, trying to escape winter in Oklahoma. We came here last year after hearing all about the warm, even hot, days and an abundance of sunshine. The first ten days were the coldest in history. :-0

So this year, being assured that the last year's weather was a fluke we once again packed up the rig and headed south. While loading the food etc, I somehow injured my knee and then caught that icky, takes three weeks before the explosive coughing fits slow down, cold/flu thingy.

Upon arrival, the weather was balmy, sunny, warm and ... perfect. I however, barely left the RV, except to sit in the sunshine for 5 or 10 minutes while whining, moaning and hoping that I would not cough. After a doctor visit, antibiotic shot and pills for the bronchial infection and pneumonia, health returned.

Then it turned cold. Record breaking cold! Again.

Life is good though, we have some good, sunny days and some cold, rotten days. Kind of like life in general.

On the good days we are out on our bike and trike. Joe bikes, I trike. When we walk the dogs, the trike works great. Our young doggie, Sophie, a LassaPoo, wants to run. We don't want to run. On the trike it is easy to go slow enough to walk them and then speed up when they want to run.

When Sophie sees one of us waiting down the road, she will take off at a dead run.

It may be cold, icky weather for the Rio Grande Valley, but, it beats the heck out of the sub zero weather in the north. Oklahoma is having record breaking snow and storms this year.

We have to wear a jacket.

Hummm..... it's not so bad here after all. Tomorrow is supposed to be warm and sunny.