Sunday, April 8, 2012

Busy but Fruitful Weekend

Sometimes it feels like a bit of a Circus around here and I am the juggler! :-)

This weekend a lot of things needed to be done.

Juggling ball 1. Our 2nd Annual OK Poly-Clay Twister Retreat is just nine days away and I am the steering committee chairman. We have a number of committees doing the jobs that must be completed to bring a full fledged, multi-day retreat to Oklahoma. Last year I held a one day retreat in our home. Everyone had a wonderful time and, when leaving, commented on how we need a longer one with lots more friends with which to play.

So far, so good but we need to take care that important details do not fall through the cracks and that everything comes together well enough that everyone can have a great time. We are a small group, only 17 members so everyone is wearing at least one hat and sometimes multiple hats. (Remember the circus?)

Juggling ball 2. The second day of our retreat, the 20th, the proposals for the Orlando Clay Fandango need to be submitted for 2013. I love Fandango and hope to be selected to teach there again. It is uniquely delightful and the folks are wonderful. I've developed an original Eagle feather cane and am fleshing out a number ideas using the feather. I'd like my proposal to not only teach the cane but to use it in a project or two. Every extra minute I have is in the studio either sketching or claying.

Juggling ball 3. We recently moved and the studio has been unfinished. My need for a specific material for the Eagle Feather Cane proposal meant digging through boxes in the garage to find a small box marked Viva Decor. The few unpacked boxes pointed out the need to finish the shelving in the studio so there would be somewhere to put it if and when I find it. (Haven't found it yet) :(

To make more space in there, DH assembled some some small, inexpensive shelves. under $20.00 at Walmart, and, after clearing out a messy un-packing table, we put them in front of one window. Instead of making the shelf tall, he made two short shelves with longish legs to accomodate a floor vent, drawer unit and a still unpacked box. The picture upper left is what you see when you come into the studio.

The studio looks so much bigger!! I love the extra floor space and the closet is now more accessible. Shown left is the view of the room from the opposite corner.

Speaking of the closet, we bought a bunch of 12 by 12 by 12 inch boxes in which to pack studio stuff. Right after moving I unpacked all of them, turned the flaps backwards on the outsides of the boxes and lined them up on the shelves after removing all of the hanging rods. Worked great! They hold all kinds of small boxes that are organized like books on a bookshelf.

This was finished right after we moved but access to the closet was not convenient due too much stuff in the middle of the room.

The studio is still a work in progress but at least there is more floor space and the closet supplies are easy to reach.
Left is the door work table.  The hole for the doorknob was perfect for threading wires through.

All of the shelves will be filled with everything from graphite paper, metal mesh rolls, to audio books on tape.

All of the lighting is either natural light Ott lights or daylight florescent bulbs. No standard bulbs.

The studio has two windows, the door table top fit between the wall and the window. There is a smoked, black glass work surface in the center of the table top.
Right is the left side of the room.  Joe built a desk of plywood. One end is affixed to the wall. The other end is fastened to the tall 12" shelf that is also secured to the wall. The desk has a laser printer key board and two monitors. The stuff in the lower right hand corner is the top of a stack of boxes with stuff waiting to be put away.

Left: some of the stuff waiting.....

Whew. Good thing it is bedtime. :-) More later.

Penni Jo
Creator, designer and sculptor of Best Flexible Molds.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tiny "Painted" Bald Eagle Feathers

Like most of you I get emails from friends filled with interesting things nearly every day. Yesterday someone sent me a wonderful email full of feathers that had pictures painted on them. Beautiful pictures, mostly outdoor, western, landscapes etc. The small paintings seemed to be themed with the feathers.

I've been working on a proposal that will teach how to make a Bald Eagle Feather polymer clay cane and use the slices from the cane in one or more projects. The cane is shown left. When sliced a small, faux Bald Eagle Feather is produced, shown lower right in the photo. The feathers can vary in size based on where they are cut from the cane.

My bright idea was this. Print some very tiny artwork using a color laser printer and transfer the tiny images onto the very small faux Bald Eagle feathers. Like so much in life, things are never as easy as you might think them to be.

The first attempt failed for one really good reason. There is no white paint in a laser printer, the white of the paper creates the white and light colors. The first transfer had a very dark center vein running through the image making it 'unreadable'.

thinking and discarding some ideas, this one came up. Cover the vein with some white clay where the main part of the image will go.

This one had merit but if the white is not completely blended with the top of the feather, the image will not transfer completely, leaving thin white streaks in the image. Once again, hard to understand the picture.

The new small Peej Shaper came in handy for this next step. The smooth steel rolled the edges of the very thin white into the feather quickly. The same tool smoothed the feather from top to bottom.

Now I had two smooth feathers with a white area ready for a 'painting'. If you look closely, you may see the veins through the white clay.

This attempt was much more satisfying. The paper was torn to fit with extra paper all the way around to allow positioning.

The images, shown face up, were placed face down onto the feathers and were buffed using my fingertips. It took time as I needed to take care not to dent the feathers during the buffing. After waiting for an hour or so I gently removed the images from the feathers.

The results were not what I wanted but were the best yet. But now they no longer looked like feathers. The missing veins were very jarring by their absence.

Back to the Clay Tools for the Peej scraper. By curving it gently it was pressed into the clay following the curve of the vein. Where it would not curve well, it was gently drawn down the line of where the vein should have been. After restoring the veins the feathers now looked much better but the tiny hummingbirds were too detailed to 'read' well.

his has been a good start. I like the overall effect and will need to draw, color or paint some new artwork for the next attempt.

Can you see the tiny hummingbirds? There are two whole birds on each feather. The vein goes through both birds a bit in one on the left. The one on the right fared a bit better. The 'paintings' are mirror images (thinking about earrings ).

If you want to see larger images, click on the photos.

Also in the works are pendants, pins and other items but these are the only ones that will be 'painted'.

Thanks for visiting!
Penni Jo