Thank God for Teaching!!

This past weekend I taught a couple of polymer clay classes in York, PA at the Intergalactic Bead Show.  3 students took a total of 4 classes and 2 of them had never even touched polymer clay!

The first class I taught was a flower petal called the Ginny Lou cane.IMG_03202 short hrs later, my newbie clayer learned to blend colors, create stripes, layer petals, and left class with multiple completed flowers (I brought an oven along to bake components as we created).IMG_0570                                                      Next up, “Butterflies Are Free”.  butterflybelt

For this class I had 2 students…1 of course with some experience under her belt (see above flower photo) and the other a newbie.  We had a wonderful time and both of them jumped with both feet into the addictive world of polymer clay!  I invited them to stay and continue creating butterflies and flowers from their wing canes even after the class ended.  Both stayed long enough to use up ALL of the canes and went home with completed, baked components.  I can hardly wait to see what they create from them (they have promised pictures).IMG_0568 IMG_0569 IMG_0571 IMG_0572

Many prospective students stopped by and observed what we were doing…one returned on Sunday for class 🙂  She ended up staying and claying with me for the bulk of the day!

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Have I mentioned that I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do.  I am looking forward to the next bead show adventure in September (Hampton, VA).  Thank God for teaching!  😀

Welcome Back to Fall Shows!

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So excited to announce that I am participating in the Art On The Avenue show October 4th.  I am looking forward to it 🙂 

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Held in the beautiful Del Ray section of Alexandria, VA.  Come visit me and see some of my new work.  Look for the …BY LINDA banner directly across the street from Raymond Avenue (on Mt Vernon Ave).

For more information check out the show at http://www.artontheavenue.org

See you in October! 

 

Arnold Grummer’s Paper Making

In preparation for my first blog post with the Arnold Grummer’s design team, I am spending my Saturday experimenting.  Years ago I was lucky enough to participate in a card challenge at CHA.  That was my introduction to the wonderful world of paper making!  Who knew that the shredded paper from junk mail and bills and the like could be recycled into beautiful creations?!  Well I am about to spend the next 6 months delving into the possibilities.

For today I will just look at the paper making process.  For anyone who has an inner child, the idea of playing with pulp and mush is quite enticing 🙂  The materials are simple: the Arnold Grummer’s Papermill or Papermill Pro (available online at http://arnoldgrummer.com/index.php/products/papermaking/papermillkits.html or at most craft stores), a blender, shredded paper, water, a dishpan, and an area to work that won’t be affected by water dripping (I chose to work in the laundry room).  I would not recommend using your best blender for paper making, as it is quite addicting and the blender will quickly be “missing in action” among the kitchen tools.  Instead I suggest hitting your local thrift shop and picking one up.  I found mine at Goodwill for $8 minus a 20%off coupon I received for donating goods 🙂  Seriously, that is it!

For my first piece of paper I put 2 handfuls of shredded paper into the blender with 2 cups of water.  I pureed this mixture for about a minute.  Then I added a large pinch of specialty pulp (-like, so an additional cup of water was added and blended for another minute.  Perfect!

Following the directions with the kit, I poured the mixture into the assembled wooden frame.  Now my inner child emerged as the mixture is pushed around within the frame, covering the screened bottom.  What fun!  Took me back to the days of mud pies and squishy toes 🙂

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Once the bottom is covered, the frame is carefully unstrapped and lifted to reveal a mushy sheet of pulp in the shape of (what else?!) a sheet of paper.  But it isn’t done yet.

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Following directions, I pressed with a sponge to remove water from the pulped sheet.  Water will flow into the base and into the sponge.  Translation: this means the sponge needs to be wrung out repeatedly and the base will need possibly need to be emptied while working to remove water.  So glad I chose to work in the laundry room!  I continued to follow directions until I had a fully melded sheet of paper.  Still damp and malleable….hmmm, wonder what would happen if I pressed it onto a texture sheet??

I grabbed a butterfly texture (perfect for the project I have in mind) and placed it on my work surface.  I laid the sheet of damp paper over it and gently began to press it into the textured areas.  When I lifted the corner to check and see what was happening, OH MY GOODNESS!!  the butterfly images were perfectly transferred to the paper.  I quickly pressed the rest of it and then flipped the paper to reveal a beautifully textured sheet of pinkish, handmade paper (NOTE: the paper will dry much lighter than the wet, sludge would suggest).  So exciting when something works as you envision it 🙂

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I need more paper!!  Now that I know the pulp mixture picks up color easily I decide to create a greenish sheet of paper.  I went to my inks and found a sample bottle of Lumiere Light Body Metallic Acrylic in Olive Green (http://www.jacquardproducts.com/lumiere.html).  I created a basic pulp from my shredded paper and then added a few drops of the Lumiere before blending a second time.  It created a subtle green that I hope works well with the pinkish sheet.

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Well this has been a fun introduction to the Art of Paper Making.   Up next, creating with the paper sheets!   Watch for the completed project at  http://arnoldgrummer.blogspot.com/ on July 7th.

Thanks for visiting.  Remember, the Earth without “Art” is just “Eh”  Have a lovely crafty day 😀

 

Time To Get Dressed

GETTING EXCITED!!  The wedding couple is almost complete 🙂  Final touches are looming, but tuxedos must be donned first. 

Since this is a custom piece I really don’t have a set pattern for creating.  I look at lots of pictures, front and back views, and then start creating. 

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The back comes first.  Thankfully both are wearing the same style, so I only have to create a template once and then cut the second.  The sides come next.  Once one side was cut to fit I checked to make sure the measurements would work for both figures.  Good match, so 3 more are cut out.  The sides are carefully fit up against the back edges and smoothed into place.  Image

Time for the collar and buttons…lots of trimming, placement, more trimming, and placement.  Finally the collars are both on.  Sleeves are attached to the arms and they are placed.  Pocket squares are placed in the front pockets.  Debbie’s “skirt” look is turned into a pair of pants.  And finally they are positioned before baking. 

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Eyes will be painted hazel after baking ( I promise no zombie eyes for the cake top!).  I am looking so forward to the couple’s reactions, but that will have to wait for tomorrow when it is delivered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Hairy Day: Extruder Magic

Hair starts the design day today.  Years ago I used to roll the strands by hand.  L-O-N-G strands and then individually cut them to length.  Then I was introduced to the EXTRUDER.  Oh my goodness, put the clay, add a disc, and extrude multiple long strands of “hair” in a minute or 2. IMG_0062 WooHoo 😀

Now instead of adding pieces one at a time I can line up 5-6 and then drape them in place.  Once the basic hairline has been applied it is time for a haircut.

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One layer of hair is never full enough.  A layer of bangs on top of the base layer will thicken her “do”.  Do you see her personality begin to emerge as the hair is applied and styled??  (NOTE: Don’t let the white eyes distract/distress you…they will be painted after baking)

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Now that she is perfectly coiffed, it is time to don the tuxedo jacket and rings.  Once complete, her mate can begin to take shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Couple: a flashback brought forward

Years ago I participated in the craft show “circuit” from September-December and then for about a month in the spring.  One of the favorite custom pieces that I created was a wedding couple for the top of the cake or as a table decoration.  I made multiples over the years, each a unique keepsake for the bridal couple.  But once I slowed the craft show train and finally got off, the call for custom wedding toppers seemed to stop.  That is until I got an email from Robin & Debbie who are getting married in June.  They got my name from a mutual friend and wondered if I could create something to fulfill their desire for something different, not run of the mill “wedding”.  ABSOLUTELY!  I jumped in with both feet.

We had a breakfast meeting where I showed them what I actually do in terms of design: more of a caricature using details unique to the couple.  ImageI asked questions and they supplied the details including fabric swatches so I can get the colors correct.  I think it is safe to say we all left the meeting excited about the project.

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Between the time we had our meeting and the time I actually started creating the couple, other wedding party details were added: gifts for the wedding party 🙂  After throwing out multiple possibilities, mosaic boxes became the gift of choice.  I got to work on those first as I knew they would take a good amount of time to detail.  8 boxes later I was ready to start on the topper.  I won’t show you a step by step of the process.  Instead I will post a few teaser pictures.  Trust me when I say the beginning pictures will be met with “ummmm, nice??”, but the end result will be a beautiful couple.

IMG_0034 In the beginning, we have a base and feet.  Everything will be built from this base and then baked as a whole.  I know that is shocking to the bulk of my polymer clay friends, but it allows me to tweak as I go along (for instance, after I added these feet I discovered the shoes needed to be a different design…OFF with the old and on with the new!)

IMG_0035 A head and neck are a must!  Once attached all seams are smoothed and it is time to create the face.  A pinch here, a pull there, and a poke for the eyes to be placed and the face is starting to come together.

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I will have to leave what is to come to your imaginations until tomorrow.  For now I wish you a creative day 🙂