Last week marked the end of the “60 Day Studio Challenge.” Two things got in the way of my publishing a final article and showing off my finished studio. Number one: I’m not finished yet! I need more time. Sixty days sounded like plenty of time to whip even the most dismal studio into shape. Wrong! Painting the floor and some of my studio furniture took longer than I expected. I’ll explain the floor (admittedly just fishing for sympathy here!). Imagine a 12-foot square room divided into three 4-foot by 12-foot sections. I had to move everything off of one four-foot square section to paint. When that section dried, I had to move everything off the next four feet so I could paint the second section. Ditto for the last section. That’s a lot of moving (or in my case, dragging)! And that was just the painting portion of the project. So I need more time. In choosing 60 days for the challenge I should have realized that I need 60 days in total, not 60 consecutive days! So now that I’ve cleared that up, counting the 20 non-consecutive days I’ve spent so far on getting my studio back in shape (over the course of the past two months), I have about 40 “studio days” left. I will finish. I have a friend coming to work in my studio and former students looking for classes. So I am very motivated…just temporarily stalled.
The other thing that prevented me from writing an article about my “out of shape studio” last week was world events. By now you’ve all seen the gut-wrenching images of the young boy whose body was found face down on a beach in turkey. He, his young brother and their mother were three of the 12 Syrian refugees who drowned that day while trying to escape to one of the Greek islands. And those 12 souls were symbolic of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other migrants and refugees who risk their lives daily trying to reach the relative safety of Europe. My heart aches for them and for their families. In light of these tragic events, working on my studio and writing about having too much “stuff” somehow seemed disrespectful. In fact, anything to do with art this week just felt frivolous to me. Continue reading…
Many things we do in life have purpose. But, this in itself doesn’t imply that we always see all of them as particularly purposeful at the moment of doing them. In fact, we might often wonder, “Why do I have to do this?”
Some of the things we do are just necessary activities of our everyday human existence. Those tend to be the unavoidable things that are part and parcel of daily life; household chores, school and family activities, work related tasks. There are a myriad of things that simply have to be done. They may not always be our favorite things. But, since they have to be accomplished anyway, realizing their necessity as we do them makes them a bit more purposeful and easier to tend to. Continue reading…
Readers of Creative Fire have been asking for more polymer clay techniques to use with the metal clay creations. You asked, we listened! In this installment of Clay Convergence we’ll look at a widely popular millefiori method that’s not only easy to make, but gives great results time after time. People with little or no polymer clay experience are often intimidated by the idea of working with polymer clay. They believe it’s difficult and time consuming to learn how to achieve complex looking effects. This is an often-held misconception that this project will hopefully dispel. While it’s true that some millefiori versions can be highly difficult, it doesn’t have to be the rule.
This method is one I learned from polymer clay artist Esther Anderson earlier in the last decade. This article doesn’t address how to create the metal clay bezels or frames that showcase this design. That’s up to you.
As you can see from the photo of the finished pendants a variety of metals, shapes, sizes and textures were used. You’ll have to bring your creativity to the bezel or frame you wish to create, but this step-by-step technique method will teach you how to create canes with a mod, tiled look.
Most directions for extruders call for using separate devices for both metal and polymer clays. Cross-material contamination is undesirable when using these tools. You’ll learn an easy tip on how to use only one extruder for both clays as well as how to keep the device clean between uses. Also included is an extra tutorial on how to create a coiled bail or fired and finished metal clay bezel settings and frames.
As for determining your color palette, this is your choice. I recommend working with three to four colors when creating your cane. Using more than four colors may create a mottled effect. Also, it’s a good idea to use at least one very light and one very dark value for maximum contrast and canes that pop! Using colors that have similar tones can result in muted results. This isn’t a no-no by any means, but it’s good to know what to expect when getting started. The best part is experimenting with color combinations as you create a myriad of mosaic tile canes for your metal clay projects. Uncured millefiori canes can last for many years when properly stored.
It’s time for something fun! And who better than Christi Friesen to lead this adventure? Here she shares how to combine metal clay and polymer clay in a beautiful mixed-media brooch. We love the lush colours. Imagine making a version for yourself in fall colours. We feel very inspired and we hope you do too!
Project Level: Beginner/Intermediate Author: Christi Friesen Editors: Jeannette Froese LeBlanc, Margaret Schindel and Joy Funnell.
Je suis très inspirée par l’Art nouveau en ce moment. Je trouve que ce style convient très bien aux
pâtes de métal et en particulier au bronze, métal que j’adore et qui a été beaucoup utilisé durant cette période. J’ai notamment fait plusieurs peignes et piques à cheveux inspirés par ce style. Voici le pas
à pas de la toute dernière pique que j’ai faite, pour laquelle j’ai utilisé un décor un peu différent lors
de la réalisation des photos de ce tutoriel.
My present inspiration comes from the Art Nouveau period/movement. I find that this style is very suited for metal clays, in particular bronze, which I love and which was very frequently used during this period. I have made many combs and hair sticks inspired by Art Nouveau. Here is the step-by-step of my latest hair-pin.
I can’t remember when in school I was assigned to read “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly. But I do remember that I couldn’t put the book down. In Shelly’s book, a scientist named Victor Frankenstein creates a living grotesque creature in a rather “unorthodox” way. I have been working like Frankenstein on making a jeweler’s bench by taking apart old desks and creating something new. After reflecting on my route to making a bench, I’m starting to feel less like a crafty artist and more like a mad scientist. I seem to be obsessed with finding or creating the perfect bench for my studio. Continue reading…
When I’m working I have a whole crop of tools and little boxes that I like to have in front of me on my work-surface so they are readily to hand. For the last few years I have used a rotating desk tidy which is great (Thank you Tracey Spurgin for that idea!), but now it has got to the point where I struggle to fit in all the tools, and I have a few others I would like to add! When I go to pull something out maybe another tool falls out at the same time. Something had to be done about it!! I laid them all out on the table and they looked quite a lot!! Continue reading…
It’s time for our next contest to start! What is the weirdest thing you have found in your studio? I have a diving wet suit. Yes, I know–that makes total sense to have in an art studio. What does not make sense are these typewriter ribbons or the David Foster and Yanni C.D.’s. Who put those in here? Have you been finding funny and strange things hidden away in your studio? Well dig them out–they could win you a prize from Rio Grande!
Nothing says “artsy” quite like some troll dolls hanging around for inspiration! This bench is part of Rio’s Tech lab.