Saturday, April 27, 2013

Yikkity Turquoise

Retired Atlanta Braves 3rd baseman Chipper Jones had a saying.  When one of the Braves hit a long home run, he called it "going yikkity."   In other words, they done good. 

I do believe I went Yikkity with the latest batch of turquoise! For inspiration this time around, I turned to  some of the lighter green turquoise from China; and a "faux" turquoise called African Turquoise, which is actually a jasper that is dyed or chemically enhanced.  

I played around with the greens which are prominent in Chinese turquoise and African turquoise, then went to my favorite dark teal. I also pulled out some tiny shape cutters with some really beautiful results.  

Before I write a tutorial, I repeat the process I'm writing about over and over and over again, to be sure my customers who purchase it can expect consistent results when they apply the steps.  That practice results in a lot of pieces, and a lot of clay is used.  I've gone through about 4 pounds of clay in the last month, and I'm almost ready to write, but I've got a few more color combos I want to try, so everyone who asked about the next tutorial, it's coming.

Please be patient with me.  I think you will really love this one.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Little Detour

I took a little detour from mosaic making yesterday to create some pieces inspired by this string of rustic saucer lamp work glass beads I received in the mail from Julie at Indian Creek Art Glass.  

I was one of two winners at Art Bead Scene last month for my "Fracture" earrings, my entry in the Marc Franz challenge.  My prize was a gift certificate from Julie's shop, Outwest.  I used it toward the purchase of these beauties. I specifically asked for the eight apricot beads, and left it up to Julie to make up a mix of Southwestern colors to complete the order.   I could not be more pleased with her selection.  Thanks again, Julie!

When I opened the package, I think my jaw really hit the floor.  Folks, this is my kind of beautiful.  I just had to stand and stare at them in awe for a few minutes.  

I can't really describe, and the photo doesn't show, how stunning they are.  The colors are mouthwatering.   My brain started churning with ideas inspired by the texture and colors.  

I'm calling this collection Native Flowers, and they are part of my Southwestern Landscapes Series. These are a few of the pieces I created after being inspired by Julie's work.  She's my new favorite glass artist, and a super nice lady. 

I painted several different sheets of translucent (Premo) clay with chalk inks and alcohol inks, let them dry, and used my controlled marbling technique to make very thin sheets which I layered onto my favorite faux bone veneers.
I wanted the bone to show through the translucent clay, and I am really pleased with the result. 

I am being very stingy with my saucer beads for now, but I have a necklace project in mind that I need a pendant for, and I may have to think on it awhile longer... and I've still got more turquoise to create, too.  

I wanted to take a minute to thank all of you who purchased my faux turquoise mosaic pieces.  The pieces from all three batches sold out, and I hope to have more in a few days.  Thank you so much!

I really do have the best customers in the world, many of whom have become treasured friends as well.   

Several of the pieces are on their way to Australia, and my customer didn't even mind paying the new, ridiculously expensive U.S. postage rates for 1st class international mail.

That's devotion for you!  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More New Faux Turquoise Pieces

Well, my friend Arlene Harrison was right.  Mosaics are addictive!   I created a few more faux turquoise mosaic pieces, this time combining the 3 recipes I had on the work table, a King Manassa type turquoise, a robin's egg blue turquoise with black matrix; and a medium green-blue turquoise with black matrix which resembles Kingman turquoise.  

My Nanny Moseley would say it is tacky to brag on yourself, but I'll just have to be tacky today, because I love the finished pieces.  Please forgive the less than stellar photos.  I think my camera is on its last legs. I've had a terrible time lately getting good shots and the battery won't hold its power.  These pieces are really special. 

I've had the most fun creating these, and I am not done yet.  Look to see more pieces later on this week, including combinations of faux turquoise with other faux finishes, like coral and Campbellite, which I have wanted to do forever. 

These last two pieces shown are part of my second batch of faux turquoise that I created last week, before the mosaic frenzy started.  Yummy!

I'll be listing these pieces this afternoon and tonight, and I don't think they will last long, so if you are interested in these or any of the others shown in my flickr photo stream, better hurry.   Two pairs of the earrings have already been reserved for a local customer.

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Something Borrowed, Something Blue... Turquoise That Is

Faux Turquoise Polymer Mosaic Earrings
I'm back to faux turquoise this weekend.  I made some veneers two weeks ago and they've been sitting around waiting for me to decide what to do with them.

I was looking through my friend Arlene Harrison's flickr photo stream yesterday and decided to try some mosaic pieces after seeing hers.  So Arlene, I'm stealing your idea!

Here are the first results, which I love.  I am shamelessly giving myself a pat on the back today.  The photos are good, but they look AWESOME in person!

Faux Turquoise Polymer Clay Mosaic Pendant or Cab
Tonight is Family Night, a/k/a the night I reign supreme as Canasta champion, so I'll be out of commission most of the day, but as soon as I can get back to this technique, I am going to do some pushing of that old envelope edge.  

I've got some ideas I want to try to implement.  You know what that usually means, though... something totally unplanned will probably emerge, so stay tuned.  

I am having way too much fun to stop now! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Back In The Studio At Last!

The fingers have healed and the new shipment of clay arrived last week, so it was time to get back into the studio.  

I am still trying to find my next tutorial topic, so the experiments continue.   I can't decide between adding to my "Fabulous Faux Collection" or doing something along the lines of textures or surface design.  

I am photographing every step of the experiments and hope something definitive will emerge by the time I am through with the new shipment of clay.  I still have no Pardo, which is a major bummer, but May is getting closer and I hope it will arrive before the end of next month.  

I have a list of the gemstones and natural material I want to try to duplicate. The list gets added to every time my friend John sends me an idea he would like to see me duplicate, too. The list is getting pretty long, so I thought I better hop to it and see if I could mark some “DONE!”

Two days ago, I set out to try and duplicate Purple Copper Turquoise, which is actually a dyed and enhanced Magnesite (would that then be a faux faux gemstone?); and a Purple Impression Jasper, another natural stone enhanced with dyes in every color under the sun.  Both the Magnesite and the Impression Jasper are really pretty, so neither was a hardship to try.   But alas, the experiments went awry and my hands didn't create what my eye and brain wanted them to, and I ended up with something close to the patterns in Druzy stones.

My favorite gemstone vendor, Kevin and the guys at Lima Beads, has a gorgeous Purple Druzy with copper matrix among their gemstone offerings so I decided to call this latest batch my version of Violet Druzy Stone.

My goal in creating faux pieces is to create something of a size that you normally wouldn't find in the real gemstone, like a humongous Faux Carico Lake Turquoise pendant or earrings, which would be out of the price range of most of us.  

I love creating a big focal or earring components that look so much like the genuine gemstone that my jewelry designer customers can create statement jewelry using the faux focal and much smaller, genuine stones.   My first faux experiments five years ago actually came out of a customer request for Golden Tiger Eye, something I still am trying to achieve.  

I start by studying a specimen of the genuine gemstone I want to imitate.  I may study it for several days or even weeks before attempting it in polymer clay.   Trying to create an organic look from an inorganic compound like polymer is more difficult than it appears. The hardest part is creating, for lack of a better word, believable depth and texture; and creating texture is easier than creating depth.

This was, for me, a large batch of experimental clay, one that yielded a dozen pieces, when a normal batch only yields 2 or 3 pieces at most.  When my original ideas for a faux purple copper Turquoise or a purple Impression Jasper didn't pan out, I was left with several sheets of extremely thin clay, which yielded a dozen finished pieces, which I've been staring at for two days while trying to decide what to call them. I finally settled on “Faux Violet Druzy” after cruising through Lima Beads this afternoon and finding that gorgeous cabochon.

Am I disappointed the Purple Copper Turquoise and the Purple Impression Jasper didn't pan out? A little, but I love my Violet Druzy, too.  

One of the best things about being an artist is that there is no right way or wrong way to create.  Happy accidents are good, and these are wicked good happy accidents, if I do say so myself!

If you would like to see more of the Faux Druzy collection, please check out my Flickr Photo Stream.   Now I'm going to beat it back to the studio!  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Faux Fantasy Turquoise and an Exercise in Patience

Faux Carico Lake Turquoise Arrowhead Earrings

I have been trying to determine what my next tutorial will be about, and so I have been experimenting a lot.  First up:  Faux turquoise.  I LOVE turquoise, and wanted to try and come up with polymer versions of some of my favorite types of genuine turquoise, like Carico Lake and Blue Gem, neither of which I will ever be able to afford. 

Creating faux turquoise also satisfies my need for big, bold pendants and earrings.  I can create as big a focal as I want in polymer, whereas a piece as large in the genuine turquoise stone would be way out of my price range, and probably almost everyone else's price range, too.

I made more than 120 pieces in the last 10 days, and sanded so much, I'm out of commission because my fingers are a cracked and bloody mess. 

I am also out of clay, and it is torture!  I am very impatient to get back in the studio and do some Spring creating.

Faux Blue Gem Turquoise Pendant
I am seeing such beautiful new work from all my favorite polymer artists and I am jealous I can't get in there and create some new things, too.   

Until my fingers heal, I'm spending the time sorting finished pieces into three batches:  List, Trash and Butt Uglies.  If a piece passes the Diva Perfection Test, it goes in the List pile.  Pieces with imperfections go in the Butt Uglies Jar for my Momma.  Things I don't like or are too ugly for the Butt Uglies Jar get tossed.

Faux Carico Lake Turquoise Earrings

Of the 120+ pieces I created, I ended up with about 45 List pieces and 40 or so Butt Uglies.   The rest got tossed... a lot of wasted clay, unfortunately.

The next step is photographing and deciding which pieces to list first.  This is the hardest part for me.  There are only so many items you can fit on the first page of your Etsy shop, so I have to decide which are my favorites.

Diva Fantasy Turquoise Earrings

These are some of the pieces that made the cut and will be listed.  Seeing the final result is so worth the wrecked digits; and several of the pieces have already been reserved or sold.

Faux Blue Gem Turquoise Earrings

Which brings me to something I wanted to say.  If you see something in my Flickr photo stream that is not listed in my shop, ask me about it.  I only have the energy to post a few pieces at a time, so it may be that I just haven't gotten to the one you want yet.  I am always happy to reserve pieces for my loyal customers.  Email me and we'll discuss it, okay?

Thank you!