Saturday, June 29, 2013

An Attempt at Organizing Using Bins

Organizing a studio has always been a challenge. For me there are three important considerations.

1. Space/size of studio space. I've had large studios and very, very small ones (AKA closet with a light). Where we live now the studio is a small bedroom, about 8 by 11 with a small closet at one end and two largish windows. I mention windows because the bigger the window, the smaller the wall space.  No matter how much space I have it seems to never be enough so good organization and good organizers makes the most of whatever space is available.

2. Budget. I've used everything from shoe boxes, clean tin cans and duct tape to purchased plastic containers and good art studio furniture. Imagine my delight when I found these inexpensive, yet sturdy corrugated cardboard bins at a local store that sells shipping and moving boxes! Some are 12 inches deep and some are 18 inches deep and they come in a number of widths.

The first photo is my work table (a 24 inch wide hollow door) and the space above it where shelves keep so very many things close at hand. The shelves are deepest mid way up (just under the light) with the shelves below it less and less deep. The shelf under the light is 12 inches deep, the one under it is 8" deep and the one below that is 6" deep. This allows me to see what is on the shelves whilst sitting at the work table and also prevents small things from getting *lost* on deep shelves. On the shelves are cardboard bins (size is identified). They come flat and you fold and snap them together. (see the third photo - below right)  Notice that my molds are all in bins on the shelf just below the light and sorted by number making them easy to read and reach.
Cardboard bins

The second photo is a peek into the very crowded little closet. I've added a small metal shelf from Walmart and put four bins across for my clay. Each of the clay boxes has stickers identifying the brand of clay on the front of the bin. There is a Hodge-podge of bins across the top to hold miscellaneous stuff, like projects in progress etc. The reason the Pardo box is nearly empty is that I've got most of it in my travel box and have not returned it yet to the studio box. The brown box of Premo box holds extra Premo clay. 

3. Purpose: If you want to make 800 things to take to a craft show you may need more space than is needed than if you are making some jewelry for your mom or sister.

Also, if you plan to teach classes or host a guild meeting, consider the studio size if you don't have a dining room large enough for your classes or guild meetings. (Note, a nice dining room can become an instant studio with little rolling drawers and tool cart.)

Sometimes our budget and space won't work for a big craft show push but the very clever among us seem to create an amazing amount of stuff in a small, cramped place.

No matter how large or small your space, organization and good organizers will make the most of it and allow you the joy of creating, and help prevent the anguish of 
**Oh no!!, now where did I put that?**??

Happy claying all!!

Penni Jo 
Creator/designer/sculptor of Best Flexible Molds.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sea Turtle designs by Bonnie Kreger

 Polymer Clay Artist, Bonnie Kreger, has been a user of our molds for a long time and always has a wonderful way with color and design.

A most generous lady, she makes beads of hope and bottles of hope for cancer victims. 

Bonnie has a Blog about art, friends and animals and an Etsy store. For more details on how she made these, check our her blog.

She is also a member of the Arizona Polymer Clay Guild. We recently visited this guild last fall and had a great time with this lively, talented, group of clayers. 
To see more of her work you can check out her Fabulous Flickr page!

We are tickled pink to see what Bonnie does with our molds! Thank you so very much for sending these photos Bonnie!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A tip for finishing a molded Sea Turtle bezel

Baked bezel after Antiquing with Raw Umber
We recently brought out a new mold, PJ048 Sea Turtle Bezels with Teardrop Cabochons.

The instructions that come with the mold show how to use mica powders like PearlEx or LuminArte to give a gleam to the details of the shell.

On this turtle pin/pendant, the shell was made using slices of squared jellyroll cane stacked and sliced then molded in the large teardrop cabochon mold.

The bezel was eased up against the edge of the cabochon and the turtle was baked.

After cooling the bezel was antiqued using dark paint that was allowed to dry just a tiny bit, then the high areas were wiped down revealing the green color and accenting the details in the flippers, face and shell. No paint was applied to the shell.

Baked, cooled bezel ready for gleaming accents.
The eyes were painted black.

Using heavy body metallic gold paint a very small amount was put out on a tiny tile and a very tiny bit of paint was picked up on a small, flat paint brush with soft bristles.

Easy does it for the best effect.
Some of the paint was wiped from the bristles so that the bristles were a bit 'dry'. This allowed the paint to be applied in very small amounts. This technique is called dry brushing. It allows a controlled amount of paint to be applied to the highest parts of detail keeping the deeper detail from changing color.

The higher parts were lightly dry brushed with the metallic paint bringing out the detail even more.

The technique was repeated until the amount of shine desired was achieved. If more than one dry brushed layer is needed. Allow the paint to dry between layers. 

After the metallic paint was dry, the shell was varnished using high gloss varnish to brighten the detail.

The high gloss varnish was also used to add shine to the eyes. 

A combo pin back was added that has both a pin and a pendant loop on it so that the sea turtle can be worn as a pin or a pendant. 

Left: Green and Gold Sea Turtle jewelry. 

Below, image of the mold.

Above, PJ048 Sea Turtle Bezel mold with Cabs
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Design, sculptures and tutorials by Penni Jo