Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Poly-Clay Chrysanthemum Pin or Hair Barrette

At Fandango I did a demo of how to make a quick chrysanthemum hair barrette (or pin) using our half circle wire tools from our custom tool kit: Penni Jo's Clay Tools. The project starts with a Skinner blend rolled into a bulls eye cane. Slices in the cane are cut from large to small so that the colors blend from the light outside petals to dark, rich inner petals.

The wire cutters quickly cut petaled circles and the other tools can be used to assemble the cut parts.

Left: Close up view of the tools.  For scale, the longest tool is the second from the top, 4 3/4 inches long.

Top: Peej Shapers, solid stainless steel sculping/jewelry tools.

Next: Peej Picks, solid stainless steel delicate round tools with long tapered point and a chisel end.

Next Half Circle wire tools, stainless wire with wood handles.

Bottom: Peej Scraper, a small, flexible custom shaped scraper for all kinds of uses.

Since I ran out of the tutorials, I am posting a full color jpg below in case you would like to give the technique a try.

Have Fun!
Penni Jo

 For more information about the Tools and are to purchase, they are available HERE.

Monday, May 26, 2014

BOH Blue Bird of Happiness Demo at Fandanago

BOH = Bottles of Hope are small glass bottles covered with polymer clay and given at no cost to cancer patients. They symbolize a wish and a hope for health.

As a pre-Conference teacher, demonstrator and Vendor, at Fandango I have lots of time to play in clay. If who've not yet had the pleasure of going to The Orlando Clay Fandango you can expect to learn a great deal. Attendees are in classes all day learning from amazing teachers at the retreat. You will learn during the day and the evenings will let you relax with fun filled events and demos.

There are usually a few folks who come to the retreat and don't take classes. They are in the same room as the vendors and demonstrators.  As a demonstrator we are provided with a table for me next to our sales table where I can demonstrate our products, demo and play in clay.
Lois and I at the retreat - photo by Sara Pietruk
Lois Lin has become a friend since my first time to teach in 2009 and we always find time to play together or just catch up.
When it comes to Bottles of Hope, Lois is your gal. After spending some time talking about Skinner blends and doing a demo of an Illusion Leaf Cane it was decided to use some of the cane for a BOH. Lois and I poured over some reference photos and mixed colors for a bluebird body in three colors. After all, a blue bird perched on leaves should make a nice BOH. I hoped to create a soft Skinner blend from white to rosy rust to blue. It worked. I did a demo of first the blend then the sculpting a bluebird with a blended breast, neck and head. Lois was very helpful and fun to visit with.
After a few false starts the little bird began to come together. Using a leaf cane I'd just demo'd the bluebird soon perched on a small bottle given to me by Lois to make a Bottle Of Hope.
Bluebird of Happiness - Bottle Of Hope

When the bird was securely anchored to the leaves the top was baked before beginning the bottom. The head, body and tail were first sculpted. The face got a bit of added attention with a beak, black shiny eyes and cheeks. The wings were added and textured using Penni Jo's Clay Tools and pressed into the finished body.  Above are views the the unbaked bird.
The base was covered with scraps from the leaf cane and covered with leaves. The background was textured for depth and added details. Having no letters for imprinting a word, a Peej Pick was used to dot the letters "H", "O", "P", & "E" into the yellow centers of the flowers. A tiny bit of dark paint helped to bring out the letters.
 Above is the finished Bottle Of Hope which was given to Lois when baked and cooled. 
The finished design was signed before baking using dotted lines to make my signature letters + the '14 for the year.

As usual, Fandango was absolutely wonderful! Seeing old friends and making new ones is always a joy.

Penni Jo Couch
Designer - Sculptor - Writer - Teacher
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