Tuesday, June 19, 2012

She Sells Sea Shells down by the Sea Shore

Large bivalve shells.
 Whoopee! I finally found the bags of sea shells that I'd been collecting with which to make new molds. Some days it seems like we will never get completely moved into our new house.

After looking at the bivalves I realized that there will be, by necessity, some sculpting to be done on the individual shells to make the final mold easy to use and not super thick. 

Most of our molds will have some elements large enough to create a nice focal bead or pendant and then the mold will be filled in with as many medium to smaller designs as will fit.
Small Bivalve shells

Above are some largish shells, one or two of them will be the focal point of the bivalve mold. To the right are some smaller bivalves. I think I have some others to go with these while I may sculpt some shells. There will be one bivalve mold to start with.

Some of my favorite shells.
Below are some of the conical shells that I plan to include in the second shell mold.

These will be challenging as I plan to have some that are the open side showing, again sculpting will be needed, and some that will look like the large tan and white shell in the upper right corner. Picking a suitable assortment for the mold will be hard as there are so many beautiful conical shells.

Picking through the shells again took me down memory lane. When we were kids we used to laugh when we tried to say She Sells Sea Shells down by the Sea Shore quickly. Actually we could hardly say it slowly. 

Penni Jo

If you would like to see our currently available molds, check out our website at Best Flexible Molds.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Video shooting stand made by Joe

Home made multi use video set-up with two lights.
 I've been asked what kind of set-up we use to shoot videos. Well, here you go!

I'm glad to share the set-up Joe made for me and to share what little I know about photography and videography.

Joe very cleverly built this set up to fit my camera a Canon PowerShot A590.  When you turn it on a tiny window opens and a longish lens thing pokes out from the front. The grip holds batteries and it also pokes out.
Three Ott lights
Two holes are for the camera, black line-smart phone place.

Camera face down on the support shelf.

View under the support shelf. Note: 3 Ott lights.

Shot from Camera right after last pic tak
Since the grip sticks out and the long lens thing sticks out he cut two holes. One for each part of the camera. When you lay the camera down, the sticking out parts go through the holes and the camera lays flat and points down at the gray sheet of card stock below. 

All that is needed is to set it for Macro, and pick a +/- number for the amount of light in the room and the darkness of the background. I know very little about cameras but have come to realize that the +/- button is vital to good, well lit pictures. 

When you do not have a lot of light, you can move the numbers to the plus side. That seems to make the camera open it's eye a bit wider to let in what little light is available. Even when you do have a lot of light sometimes I need to move to the + side.

However, and this is a bit confusing but it works, if you have plenty of light and the thing you want to take a picture of is on a black background, you have to move the +/- button to the - side. Otherwise your pretty pendant on a black background will be washed out like the lights are too bright.  See photo of Calla Lily pin/earring set below.

For instance, the left hand photos above were taken with the camera set to -2/3.  See how nice and gray the paper is under the support?  However, I think the wood color is kind of dull.

The pic above far right was set on +2/3, notice how bright the top of the support is and the gray paper underneath looks white. 

Probably +1/3 would have been good.  See pic above right. Bright enough, the wood is not dull and the paper is gray. 

Seriously I do not have to understand why, only that it works and makes my photos better. Trial and error for many years has been a good teacher. As well as poking every button on it to see what would happen.  For those of you who are a bit timid to be poking buttons. I've never had a camera blow up on me.
The next pic down on the left is a shot up under the support showing the camera in place. While it was there, just for fun I pushed the button and took the picture of the earrings shown here. 

Note the three lights, two of the new LED white lights and one of the older florescent lights. I also have daylight flourscent bulbs in the four foot long fixture over the work area. All of the lights in the studio are day light bulbs.
The next pic shows my Samsung Android phone face down. In this position none of the lights can be seen in the photos/videos.
The black line on photo 3 is where to put the phone camera.

It is amazing using the video setting on the phone. I can start a video, pause it, start again and produce a complete video without editing to put several bits of video together.  You can also use the +/- settings on the phone camera. 

It automatically focuses, you can zoom in as close as you like and as long as the video runs, the camera will stay on. UNLESS it runs out of battery power. I now only shoot video with the AC plugged into the phone. All of the recent six videos on our YouTube Channel were shot using the camera on the phone.

 If I pause too long between shots, the phone will, like any phone, turn itself off. 

Phone in place on support shelf.
The first time this happened, I thought "OH NO!" and turned it back on again.  When I swiped the locked page to one side it was right back on the video. I pushed start and it resumed, right where I left off.

Can we all say Whew!?

The phone makes such quick and easy little how to videos that I plan to make more as it is really easy.  To make the sections of the video go together, you push the square button.  It is done and everything is seamless. To see the videos I shot using the phone in this position click HERE.
Adjustable legs.

Right is  a photo of the set-up showing the adjustment bolts. To change the leg lengths, REMOVE the camera, unscrew the bolts, move the legs to the desired height, screw the bolts back in firmly, add the camera and away you go!!

To see how I stabilize the legs, look at the first pic.  Around the bottom of the front legs are ropes of scrap clay pressed to the wood and then to the glass surface. 

The legs are widespread so I can get both hands under the support easily and work on a flat finish ceramic tile.

Calla Lily set shot on black Velvet
Thanks for visiting my blog. 

Penni Jo

Designer and Creator of 

Home of original molds and now tools. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Claypen fun every Thursday

Each week a group of us get together to play in the "Claypen" the creation of Jackie Sieben. For eight years clay artists have sent pictures to Jackie and she posts them into the clay pen. On Thursday we chat. The chat is a part of PCC Delphi forum. I am not sure how it works, only that it does and is a good time with like minded folks.

Occasionally Jackie will suggest a theme for the week.  This week's theme is "Translucent". Referring to a clay that, while not see-through, it will allow light to pass through if thin enough. The photos above left and right were shot on a sheet of vellum laid on an Ott light and photographed with my Android phone. The one on the left shows the earrings, a leaf, two paisley designs and a very thin pendant that allowed a lot of light to show through.  The one on the right is a close up of the pendant design. The black dots are opaque copper clay.

I used some old canes made of translucent clay to create all the designs. The lines and outlines are of opaque copper colored clay. Some of the translucent clay has been tinted with a bit of blue and red for very pale colors.

The photo to the right is of a number of designs created from the scraps. These will be baked and made into earrings or dangles.

The chevrons were cut and formed into a variety of shapes from a stack of layered clay.

The leaves are from a leaf cane and will have holes in them forming a pair of earrings each with three dangling leaves. I'll also add some tiny copper beads.
Left is the stack of canes that form the stained glass butterfly. The areas that appear to be white in both the butterfly cane and the samples to the right are Translucent Kato Clay. The center of the butterfly is a flattened leaf cane, see slices right, and added to the wings to make a 'body'.  After making the slice of the cane, opaque copper clay was rolled into tiny balls to for eyes and to secure the wings to the body.

Thanks Jackie for getting me started on this fun project. Pretty jewelry is in the works.

Penni Jo

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Penni Jo's Clay Tools are HERE!!

A few days ago we found out that our tool kits would be arriving over a week earlier than we had planned. They arrived today so we picked them up from the dock, came home and immediately began packaging and labeling!

A large amount of packets and boxes were taken to the post office before they closed in the afternoon but the packing has continued until tonight.

The pre-sale price was to go to 'mid June'. Since the tools are in and ready to ship we have decided to allow the sale price to run until the 15th of June.  

So, you can still order at the low price of $19.95 with free shipping in the US until then. 

The photo is of Joe, who is the mold maker, web master, packager, packing and shipper part of our mom and pop company. This is his office. The fat, white envelopes are single tool kits in a bubble mailer.

The bins on the upper right held both tool kits and molds that were purchased at the same time. Since the new tool kits ship free in the USA, the molds are shipped free too.

On the floor, center, are filled priority mail small boxes with multiple tool kits or tools and molds. The larger boxes are larger orders. They are ready to ship first thing in the morning. We hope to be caught up with the packaging and shipping by tomorrow night or Thursday!
Open tool kit. Scraper, 3 wire tools, 2 Peej Shapers, 2 Peej Picks
 For more info, please visit our website. Click HERE. 

The Pre-Sale will last for ten more days. Then the price of Penni Jo's Clay Tools will go to $24.95.

Any Questions or comments?  Please E-Mail me:  pennijo ( at ) bestflexiblemolds ( dot ) com 

Penni Jo

Children's Art Classes in Yale OK

There is a little known treasure in Yale Oklahoma. Her name is Una Jean and she teaches art to children every summer in her home based studio. Since my grandchildren have the privilege of  attending her classes I was invited to go to the art show last year. The resulting artworks by very young children convinces me that Una Jean has an amazing talent for teaching children. She does not do their work but teaches them to see and create.  My grandson who had never painted with oil paints before did a wonderful painting of an Eagle.

Symphony, Amberlee & Viktoria
This year I had the privilege of being invited by Una Jean to teach three basic sculpting classes on Friday the 1st of June.

Each kid gets a big piece of Polyform's Sculpey polymer clay, the white kind.

Building on her drawing and painting basics, for the students I first drew the basic drawing shapes:
  • Circle
  • Square
  • Triangle,
  • Rectangle
  • Free form

and demonstrated how to convert these shapes drawn on paper into three dimensional shapes:
  • Ball, or sphere
  • Box, or block
  • Cone or Pyramid
  • Slab or cylinder
  • Free form shape

I had drawings of the shapes, held them up and then shaped clay to go with each basic shapes.

The early morning class was three to five year olds. Believe it or not, they were able to call out the basic shapes and some even knew the names of the basic three dimensional shapes.

The second class in the morning was 6 to 9, then in the afternoon, 10 and up. Many of them have been Miss Una Jean's students for a number of years.

The students were wonderful, mostly easy to teach and very eager to learn. Thank you Una Jean for allowing me to be a part of your annual classes.

Below are just a few of the photos that were on my smart phone after my granddaughter, who was also in the classes, asked if she could take a picture with the phone.  Love the photos!!