Sunday, September 28, 2014

Art Bead Scene Blog: September Monthly Challenge

Art Bead Scene Blog: September Monthly Challenge
This necklace is my response to the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge.  The focal beads are made with polymer clay using two of my favorite techniques: the faces and flowers are canes and the swirls were made by texturing and highlighting with metallic paints. The findings are my own wire work and I added a variety of seed beads from my stash of vintage glass, shell and metal.  
Here are photos of my raw clay design:

I tried to echo the lines in the inspiration painting, "The White Rose and the Red Rose" by Margaret Macdonald 1902:  
To continue the theme of the inspiration I chose rectangular shapes that are elongated more than my usual style.  I tried to keep the colors muted  which was a bit out of my comfort zone.  Normally I love rounded shapes and darker hues.  

On the back of each of the beads I added some of the rose canes along with some very heavily textured clay.



What a treat is is for me to explore an artist I had not heard of before this month.  I love how the Art Bead Scene bloggers give me this sort of opportunity.  What a wonderful resource to all of us with a passion for art and bead-making.  



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Challenge jaune


Tewee of CreationFimo has tempted us with "le challenge jaune."  This particular challenge which is all about my favorite color since childhood has held me in its grasp for a couple months now.  I do love yellow, but especially when it is not standing on its own.  First I tried to use a  lemon yellow to orange yellow textured skinner blend with touches of acrylic paints as a veneer for a caleidoscope. I actually made this one from scratch with mirrors and glass I cut/broke myself.
I even added yellow beads to turn cause the pretty reflections inside to match the yellow theme. 
 After I fired it I felt that it was a bit too orange and I could see that I had added a bit too much copper acrylic to highlight the textures.  
I regrouped my ideas and decided to make a yellow peacock feather cane.
 These first canes came out a bit too honey colored for a true yellow challenge.  I did not give up!  The third time is a charm, right?
Now I had a cane I liked and put it to use on a collar neckpiece. I covered a metal collar that I expected to be able to remove later, but it actually adhered to the polymer permanently.  I decided to let it remain inside and covered the back with a layer of soft yellow clay.  The white parts of the uncured feather above are actually translucent clay that clears after curing.  After it was all together and ready to wear I still wasn't quite happy with. I decided to add a bit more interest by carving some feathery veins into the surface.  I back filled these with metallic yellow acrylic paint, sanded, buffed and polished.  I finally felt that this collar was something I could be happy to enter into the challenge group.
 It sits nicely just above the collar bone and hugs my neck comfortably. I am thinking about making earrings that will compliment this, or maybe it can stand alone.



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Little Mermaid - Art Bead Scene Blog: July Monthly Challenge

Art Bead Scene Blog: July Monthly Challenge
This month's challenge at the Art Bead Scene is a work by Edmund Dulac, a French-born illustrator.  We were challenged to make pieces with art beads from a specific piece of Dulac's titled The Little Mermaid:
http://artbeadscene.blogspot.com/2014/07/july-monthly-challenge.html
To make my Little Mermaid inspired bracelet, I first made polymer beads using a texture sheet described in my Flickr photostream here.  I thought the textures were especially good for an underwater feel.

The polymer clay beads I made were textured, painted and adorned with magic gloss, micro beads and metal leaf.  I added some vintage metal beads from my flea-market stash for a spiky flash.
Here are some views and details for you to see my beads and bracelet:





Monday, June 30, 2014

Challenge Noir hosted by Parole de Pâte

The latest challenge organized by Tewee of the group CréationFimo and presented by the blog Parole de Pâte was all about black.  Participants were asked to use only black clay combined with at least three surface techniques including textures and metallic foils, paste, micro beads, or  glitter.  I LOVE black and metallics and textures, so this was a joy from start to finish. Actually I went through more than a pound of black Premo making my pieces. 
These pendants feature textures in black clay made by Queen Anne's Lace, fabric, and impression from a vintage Japanese tin jewelry box.  The textures were highlighted by guilder's paste in gold, silver and copper.  Finally you will notice bits of foil added here and there and especially on the edges of each piece.  

I took photos of some of my creations to share with you today, and will most likely post a few more here tomorrow when I can take advantage of natural sunlight.  I will then explain with some short tutorials how I made my textures.

The necklace above was created by using black clay, guilder's paste, micro beads and textures.  Note the findings using the same surface techniques.  


A simple textured black pendant with foil accents

This pendant used some stamps made by hand from buttons.  

The texture in this piece is from the same Japanese tin as above but with more copper and gold foils and paste and less silver.  

These are but a few of the dozens of earrings I made from the odds and ends of textured clay left from making pendants and bracelets.

To finish off today's article I will leave you with some necktie-shaped earrings in honor of Marie-France Tournat, one of the most creative artists I know.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Art Bead Scene Blog: June Monthly Challenge.






The writers at the Art Bead Scene Blog chose the work of a biologist and botanical artist, Marianne North, as the inspiration for their June challenge.  North traveled the world discovering species of vegetation previously unknown to Europeans. Here is a video I enjoyed watching that explains her challenges and accomplishments:
http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-contributions-of-female-explorers-courtney-stephens 
 She made beautifully accurate and detailed oil paintings of vegetation from too many parts of the world for me to name.
http://artbeadscene.blogspot.com/2014/06/june-monthly-challenge.html 
 Her contribution to the science of botany is astounding especially considering the obstacles she must have faced as a British lady living in the 19th century.
http://knell63.hubpages.com/hub/Marianne-North-Victorian-Female-Painter-and-Botanical-Explorer#
As I write this short blog, I have to push away my frustrations of not being able to travel beyond the inside of my home.  I broke my ankle and had surgery a couple weeks ago.  I am on the mend, but cannot walk at all.

 Sometimes I feel so trapped! Honestly, I have nothing to complain about. The pain is less each day.  I have a family who cares for me, and friends who have been helping too in so many kind ways.
I also have had plenty of time to sit in my little studio and create.  This keeps my hands busy and my spirits higher than they would be otherwise.
When making my challenge piece, I took a few work-in-progress shots to share with you.  Here are my canes, and how I placed the slices on a background of mokumegane and silver leafed clay:
Here is how I formed my beads using a metal necklace I found at a flea market:
I used "blue tak" (actually white) to hold everything in place while putting my clay veneers over the metal.  To be sure that my finger prints were washed away, I painted on a bit of clay softener over the beads before curing the first time.
As you can see in the following photo, I added more clay to the back side including channels for beading.  You can also see my signature on the center bead:
After making this piece, I played with my leftover clay to make several more pieces and earrings:





Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Challenge Tirelire - Piggy Bank Challenge

Aujourd'hui sur Parole de Pâte le challenge tirelire...
My friends at Créationfimo have been whipping up creative savings contraptions for a "piggy bank" challenge.  Tewee is an immensely kind person, an amazing artist and the official "goddess of challenges" for the francophone polymer art world.
 This tirelire challenge was so enjoyable for me!  I gathered together my most colorful canes and went to town.  Some of my canes were gifts from others.  If you are Nancy Buchanan, my sister by birth, or our sister in clay, Anna Sabina Stratton, you might see a bit of your handiwork in my piggy.

On Friday afternoon this Mr. Pig is going to be raffled off as part of our school's French Club's fund raiser.  My students seem to really like this little guy, so I'm sure he will be going to a good home.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Art Bead Scene Blog: April Monthly Challenge

Art Bead Scene Blog: April Monthly Challenge

Upon seeing the inspiration for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge my heart took a little leap.  It combines two of my favorite things, art and French.  I have loved Degas' work since Madame Ward, my very own beloved high-school French teacher, presented us with some samples on a film strip more years ago than I want to ponder.   
Since the impressionists including Degas would not have blended the colors on their palettes, I echoed this idea in my challenge piece by employing roughly mixed together Skinner blends in the style of Sandra McCaw. I enjoyed learning to do her technique by reading a tutorial in  Judy Belcher and  Tamara Honaman's delightfully readable and engaging book, Polymer Clay Master Class: Exploring Process, Technique, and Collaboration with 11 Master Artists 
Keeping my theme feminine with plenty of movement was also a goal.  Each large polymer bead is connected with glass spacers as you can see in the following photo showing my construction: 

  For a bit of sparkle I "sprinkled" bits of gold and copper colored leaf along with some micro beads along the branches and leaves on the focal beads.  My little roses are blue-green like the tutus worn by Degas' lovely dancers in the foreground.  
After curing my piece I hand-carved the edges smooth with a whittling knife.  I rather like the effect, do you?