Monday, May 25, 2009

Help, I've been bitten by the pen bug

When our guild president, Angela, taught how to cover a pen, I was out of town and did not get to go to the lesson. However, she gave me the print out and, needing another use for my feather cane, pulled out the lesson and gave it a whirl.

WHAT FUN! and.... you can write with it! or even draw with it!

It started with a practice pen (the one on the left). Sister in law Judy put us up on our trip to Florida, not an easy thing when you're driving a 36 foot diesel motor home. But, she had a lovely long, new double wide concrete driveway. What a great parking spot and dinner to boot with Judy and her family. Thank you again Judy!!

Oh, back to the pen. Judy loves roses and her home is redolent with them. Especially pink roses. So, since I had a peachy pink rose cane and a round bic pen, it just seemed like the thing to make.

Here are some things I have discovered about making pens. Those of you who are pen-sters probably know all of this.

1. Don't make the base layer too thick. The resulting pen will be chubby, especially after adding cane slices, and a bit awkward in your hand.

2. Don't make the base layer too thin. When rolling the slices onto the base layer, bubbles can form from stretching the base layer.

3. A tip from Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg at Fandango, roll the slices into the base layer until they are level with the base and you can't feel the edges. Her work is even more impressive in person than in photographs. It's like magic caught in clay.

Pen two, on the right. OK, the roses look great, how about a pearl skinner blend for the base clay with roses and translucent and white tiny flowers??? It also turned out very nicely and the base layer was just right.

Pen three, using the feather cane. The base layer was one setting thicker and since I added a lot of canes, it is just a bit thick, but OK. (Note to myself, add a step 4. If using lots of slices, make the base layer one setting thinner than normal as the slices add to the thickness. )

Back to feather cane, the problem being, what can be done with feathers to decorate a long thin item?????? Hummmmmm. I reduced the cane and cut a bunch of slices, then laid them out in various patterns on the work surface. The serpentine effect of the feathers laid out in a soft "S" shape was lovely.

Another happy accident. The pen turned out elegant and the feathers became a repeating pattern. Just because I like sparkle, iron on glass AB crystals were pressed into the clay before baking. A hole was put in the end of the pen and a short eye pin inserted. Then a large AB iron on crystal was pressed over the hole, sealing the end of the pen.

Two feathers with crystals on the veins were shaped and baked with holes in the shaft ends. A short length of chain was cut, one feather was linked to the chain end with a jump ring and the second feather linked to the middle of the chain. The chain was attached to the eye pin and secured in the hole in the end of the pen using Cyanoacrylate glue.

I've just finished another one and will post when I find the camera. It's got two new canes on it. Can someone help me??? I'm caning, and pen-ing and I just can't stop!!!!

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