Thursday, January 22, 2009

Filigree lesson at Guild Jan. 09

The Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild meets the second Saturday of the month at the Hobby Lobby store in Norman OK. We start at 1:00 and end around 4:00. This monthly meeting of the polymer clay guild has become one of the bright spots in my life. Sometimes I teach, but most of the time I learn something new or a new twist on an old idea.

When I heard that Lee Ann would be teaching how to make "filigree" the immediate thought was open and airy designs. However, in polymer clay, filigree is very different. The clay designs can completely cover an object with swirling, curving designs. Since I love curvy, flourishing swirls my brain went into high gear, revving up for the lesson. (You can't have too many swirls or flourishes in your life, you know.)

The next thing to think about was "What will I make?" Since our group is making a large number of Bottles Of Hope to give away at an upcoming event, (date to be determined ) it just seemed to be the right thing to make, a filigree bottle of hope. So clay buddy Jane and I arrived early, bottles covered with a thin layer of clay, ready to make filigree bottles of hope.

We used an extruder to make the ropes for swirling so I stacked gold, green, ivory, copper, and a thin layer of white clay to make the ropes for my project, then extruded several feet of variegated ropes. I used the Makin's brand extruder as it's the easiest extruder for me to use.

The designs were created free hand and I learned a great deal while making the patterns. In the future, instead of filling in a shape, I'll make the shape first then cut it to fit the angle of the design, then press the filled element in place. Once the pattern was established, looping the ropes in and around the pattern became almost therapeutic, to the point that I missed out on some reports because the work was so engrossing!

To further embellish the design we used a coffee stirrer to make circles along selected parts of the design and then used a pointy tool to make dots along other parts of the design.

As a finishing touch, I tried to loop the word hope onto the side of the lid. It's there, but a bit hard to read as the cursive letter "p" has a descender.

After baking and cooling, I varnished the bottle using clear, gloss Minwax Polycrylic in which both black and dark brown acrylic had been added in very small amounts, creating an antiquing effect. When the varnish was dry, I used the Krylon Pale Gold pen to color some dots, then used my finger to rub the pale gold onto some areas to accent them and give them a shimmer.

Lee Ann had several ornaments and a box covered in filigree, very beautiful Lee Ann! And thank you so much for a great lesson!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One more Pendant

Today I finished a new portrait cameo pendant design and wore it to the "Crafts in America" show at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. It seemed to be just the right thing to do, wear hand made, hand colored jewelry to a craft show of handmade items from the last two centuries.

Jane and I drove to the show together and, on the way, stopped at the smART art show in the Paseo. And what a surprise, as we arrived, April came in at the same time! We all went through the show reveling in the luxury of so much good art. Nothing was over 10 inches, all the art was small, but wonderful. It was especially fun for Jane and I because we each had art that had been accepted by the jurors for the show and finally got to see our art displayed.

The Craft show at the Hall of Fame was all we had heard that it was. There were six or seven rooms of crafts dating from the mid 1800's through 2007. Names we had heard of for years were listed on fabulous items like tables, chairs, pottery etc.

The weather outside was only in the 20's, colder than all get out, but the warmth of centuries of creativity warmed us from the inside out.

What a great day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fandango Inro Class coming in March

Penni Jo's Flickr Site Flickr is my favorite place to store photos and scans on line. It also allows me to create sets, making it easy for students to view a collection of similar works. The website is clean, and the personal pages are free of flashing, annoying ads and easy to use. Plus my friends, forum buddies and others also have flickr sites so once there, I can see their work too.

Getting ready for Fandango, I've created two new photo sets in my Flickr account showing designs that I plan to teach this coming summer starting with the Inro Class at Fandango. These two new polymer clay sets, Inros and Portrait Cameos will allow students to see examples of the kinds of projects I'll be teaching.

The first class will be in March at the Orlando Clay Fandango.

The class will be on how to make an inro. The students will learn how to make "faux jade" clay and assemble an inro over a form.

The inro will be embellished with tiny dragonflies using a micro mold that I have sculpted and created for this specific class. The students will get to keep the mold along with the rest of the kit. My experience tells me that many students contribute fantastic creativity to the class and a wide variety of unique styles will be portrayed. It is a joy as a teacher to be a part of their individuality within the project. One very nice note, the weather should be gorgeous in St. Augustine in March.

In addition to the inro class, during baking time, the students will learn how to make paper clay forms for future inros using a variety of shapes.

Later on, I plan to write a tutorial for this most recent project, a flower inro built over a paper clay sculpted flower form, and teach the class in my home studio. For more views of this flower inro, go here.

Inro's are wearable vessels, but more than that, they are charming and delightful, surprising viewers when open, and a place in which you may keep a special item close to your heart.

The next set of classes that I am planning to teach are classes using oil pencils to draw and color portraits or landscapes on polymer clay cabochons. So.... a set was needed on Flickr in which to put oil pencil art. This pendant is one of three that were selected by the jurors of the smART show in the Paseo, in Oklahoma City. It is a juried show of small art.

This drawing / coloring class will also have lessons on designing and finishing the back of the artwork to make a pendant. We may even make some canes using colors from the oil pencil art for embellishments. The oil pencil art can also be framed if the student prefers.

More later on class times and places.