Monday, March 26, 2012

A Good Groove

This past weekend was one of those productive weekends that left me exhausted, but in a good way.  I think I finally got back in my creative groove; and part of the reason is the new additions to my Southwestern Landscapes Series.  The latest pieces look like sunbaked pottery, and I had a lot of fun with them. 
To begin with, this is more opaque color than I have used in a very long time.  I'm not crazy about the standard primary colors, red, blue and yellow.  If I use any of them, it is usually the red, but I also usually "dull down" the brightness by adding a scant bit of black or brown. 

I love the secondary and tertiary colors on the old color wheel, which happen to be found in the color palette of our American Southwest landscapes:  Turquoise, mustard, maize, pumpkin, caremel, tomato red, brick red, burnt orange, cactus green, bleached bone, etc.  Those colors really get my heart racing, and I think I tried to use them all in this weekend's work. 

These pieces feature my version of a Skinner Blend.  I am afraid I don't make nice little triangles of clay and square them off to blend them like you're supposed to.  I just smush two or three colors together in a row, fold them over and run them through the pasta machine on the thickest setting a few times. 

When I get the shading I want, I roll the clay through a few more settings without folding it over, so I get can thin veneers to use.  I don't waste any of the pattern that way. 

I distressed all the pieces with a dry, 1/2" paintbrush that I forgot to clean one night. It has some paint gunked up in it, which makes the bristles stiff and perfect for adding distress marks.  I whitewashed the pieces before baking with eggshell acrylic paint diluted just a bit with water, then baked, sanded through 8 or 9 grits of wet-dry sandpaper and buffed them with the Dremel. 

I also made some beads, which I haven't done in awhile.   I think they look just like glazed terra cotta pottery.  What do you think? 

I added one more thing to my "can't live without" list, the "new" Gray Granite clay from Premo.  This stuff is amazing.  I added it to every color I blended.  I think the granite must be translucent with inclusions and no opacity.  I have a drawer full of old Sculpey III and Studio, and decided to blend it with the granite to see what happened.  It worked perfectly, and now I am a big fan.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cactus Flowers, Bunny Rabbits, Tartans and Butterflies

What a weekend!  It has been some kind of roller coaster ride the last 4 days.  Thursday night, I started on a custom order for a local customer who wanted some Scottish Tartan pendants and brooches for her gift shop.  I made a few on spec for her to see, and when I tried to email photos to her, I found out my email account had been hacked.  I went through the steps to try to recover it, but in the end, the account was closed, so I spent almost all day Saturday trying to remember all the accounts so I could get everything updated. 

Everything went smoothly until I tried to update my Nook e-readers.  I have the 1st edition and the color edition.   The 1st edition runs on 3G cellphone service.  The color runs on wi-fi, which I cannot access in the rural area where I live.  If I want wi-fi on the weekends, I have to drive 25 miles to the nearest McDonald's parking lot. 
Getting ahold of someone in B&N's customer service department took 2 hours.  I got disconnected several times, and was so frustrated, I wanted to throw the Nook at the wall.   When I finally connected with a real, live person, I was told I needed a wi-fi connection to "unregister" my color Nook.  The techie person wasn't sure if I could "unregister" the 1st edition without messing up the color, and vice versa.   He also said I would lose my library, but I could download them again... all 938 books, one at a time.   I told him to forget it, I'd just go buy a Kindle and start over again.   Amazon still has a reader that works on 3G.  My 1st edition Nook is obsolete and they don't sell it, nor do they offer another 3G reader.  That's all I had to say to get him to check further to see if there was anything I could do to save my library.  It all worked out in the end, and I actually had some time to create some new pieces, too.

The new Scottish Tartan pieces I created on spec for a local gift shop: L-R:   Royal Stewart Earrings, Wallace Brooch, Ayrshire Scotland Necklace, Crawford Brooch, Sullivan Necklace, Campbell Necklace, MacLean Necklace, Baxter Necklace, Davidson Necklace

These pieces are part of my Spring 2012 Collection.  The 3 brooches in a row are a custom order for my friend, Lucia. 

And finally, these pieces were created using scrap clay and my "controlled marbling" technique (tutorial coming soon.)

The first thing I thought of when I saw the green and turquoise colors in the mix was "cactus flowers,"  so these became part of my Southwestern Landscapes Series.  I love making these little heart earrings, but they are the devil to sand and buff!

And if you're wondering why all the mosics all of a sudden, it's because making them is easier than figuring out how to line up two photos beside each other in this new blogspot format.   If you would like to check out better photos, please visit my flickr photostream