Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's been FAR too long but we are home at last!!

After working for nearly a year and the last five weeks at a fever pitch, it was time to MOVE! We had completed a total remodel, taking the house back to the studs in some areas, adding a skylight, replacing all of the baseboards and casings, removing all of the old paneling, expanding the master bathroom, adding built-ins, bumping the back half of the huge refrigerator out into a closet in the garage freeing up a lot of floor space in the kitchen, walls were finished with a new sheet rock texture in a stucco finish with bullnose corners, all woodwork was painted high gloss white, new flooring laid throughout, walls were opened with arch ways to improve the flow and repeat the arched windows, new appliances installed, granite kitchen counter tops, new bathroom counter tops, sinks with faucets, furnace, air conditioner, garage door with opener, roof, turbines, gutters, sidewalk, etc, etc......

Except for a few handles and some touch up paint, everything was finally finished enough to move. We even had a renter for the old house. When we began the move on my birthday, August 23rd, we were moving out as they were moving in.

After we got into the house, and my studio was still full of boxes, I realized my first Polymer Clay Technique class was less than two weeks away. With no computer until three days before class and all my tools and clay in boxes, there was a serious temptation to panic. For each class, I create a project, write a tutorial, taking step by step pictures and, if needed, prepare a kit. The only thing to do was jump right in and do the best that could be done. Armed with a box cutter, I attacked the 18 boxes in the studio, determined to find everything I needed for the first class. The efforts were blessed with success and we started on time with clay, instructions, everything except the sample. I could only find a photo of the project, but the students were able to start and finish with what we had.

The classes run in three - 4 week series each fall on Thursday nights at Southern Oaks Recreational Center in Oklahoma City. The last class of the third series ends the Thursday before Thanksgiving. I post a list of each four week series, including pics of the projects and a materials list. It was a monumental task to have the project list out in three days, pictures to follow.

The first lesson of the first four weeks we started with translucent canes, a bullseye, leaf and flower canes that would be used to cover a votive. I chose this lesson as the effect of candlelight behind the translucent designs is so cool. The lesson included information on using a very thin white layer between the translucent and colored clay to prevent any possible staining from the darker colors used around the translucent clay.

For the second lesson we continued with caning creating a feather cane using a chevron pattern and a variety of colors. The lesson included ways to change the effects by using a variety of colors. Student Annette used the end pieces of her cane to create a beautiful pendant that, because of her color choices, resembles a peacock feather! On one feather cane, I used gold tone foil in the mix, bringing a sparkle to the feather.

Week three we were supposed to cover pens, but the teacher was unable to find the pens purchased for class so we ended up covering the handles of our Exacto knives and tip drills with beautiful feathers on skinner backgrounds. The lesson included step by step instructions on how to make the pen. While we were baking the handles, I showed them how to make some jewelry, actually earrings from the same cane. We made a set of earrings with two feathers and a showier set with three feathers each.

Once again Annette made a fabulous set of not only earrings, but a series of sized feathers that would become part of a necklace set to go with the pendant created from the scraps and the earrings. Very creative and beautiful work!

The last week of the series we used slices from the same feather cane to make wings for an angel switch plate. This was a lesson on both molding clay, covering a switch plate and stamping on clay. Inspiring and spiritual word stamps were created using photopolymer to be used on the garment. It was a challenging lesson both to develop, photograph, write and teach. New students have seen the project and would like for it to be repeated.

The week after the last class we were expecting 30 guests for Thanksgiving requiring more work to finish hanging the artworks and other little chores that had to wait until classes were over. It's now the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it's really good to be back blogging again.

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