Sunday, September 26, 2010

Confessions of a Polymer Clay Naysayer

I know I've said before I have never really gotten the whole love affair with Polymer clay that seems to have taken over the art/craft world.
 Oh yeah I know it's been around long enough for there to have been 4or5 generations of improvements. But it always seem to have a few flaws to my visual and tactile senses I have trouble overlooking. Some how and except for a few artists the polymer always looks like molding clay or worse yet plastic to me. Even after it's been "cooked" Granted there are some bead/jewelry artists who do amazing work with PC, but you have to wade through a whole lot of not so amazing work to find them. The other issue I've had is the way it's finished. I think maybe it's the glaces and patinas that seem to be added. It feels... well it feels kinda yuckie. And why is it always pooled around the raised edges so it's way to thick??

Okay cutting the whining and back to the point of this post. After playing around with the white PC that Laurie sent me and making those Victorian mourning hands, I have begun to develop a greater appreciation for PC. You know I really did have fun making those little hands. And it was a good self challenge to get them to look and feel like ivory or bone.
I got to playing around with it and made a mold of the handle of an vintage silver plated knife. When I pulled the clay out of the mold I thought it might make a cool focal for a bracelet, cuz I could shape it to fit before I roasted it. I stuck a wire loop into both ends to use as attachments, draped it over a Pyrex container and threw it in the oven. Once it was done I sanded and sanded and wet to dry sanded until it was as sooth as a piece of polished bone or ivory. Then I started rubbing some Ranger Distress Ink (vintage photo) on. Letting it dry a bit and then buffing it off. When I thought the color was right I gave it a couple of coats of "Mothers" car wax because I couldn't find paste wax here in town. The wax waterproofs the dye and gives it a lovely satin look and feel.
Oh yeah I stuck the two yellow and red rhinestones in the clay before I baked it so the holes would be the right fit. Since the oven was only at 275degrees there was no worry about liquefying the glass :) I did make sure to glue them in though so there's no worry that they will fall into someones soup! :) Well you never know, stranger things have been known to fall into the soup pot ya know.

Since the polymer turn out so nice I decided I would make a bracelet for my girlfriend Luci's birthday.
 I wired a couple of pieces of amber in the larger circles of the antique brass chain I used. And I must say I am pleasantly surprised and very pleased with the way it came out. And dare I say I could be close to becoming a "born again polymer clayer" Ahhhhh then again... 
I made a mold of an antique cameo I have, and I've challenged myself to make one from polymer that looks like it might just could be a true cameo. Okay at least so it doesn't look like plastic or modeling clay.

Oops almost forgot. Here is a set of earrings I put together for Luci. She loves chandelier earrings and the longer, busier the better. These should fit the bill I'm a thinkin :) A few tourmaline,garnets and vintage brass "coins" from a belly dancer's belt.
Ok bloglandian kiddos I can hear the thunder announcing tonight's rain so I will bid you goodnight and unplug the electronics for a while. Have a most audacious art filled day no matter where in the world you are   p;)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Dirty Little Rumor...(The Holiday Season Cometh SOON!)

Yep and it's what 3 months away till Christmas! But, but the "bazaar gift show season" is hmmmm 6-7weeks away YIKES!
Now in past years that time line never really entered into my conscious reality. Oh but not this year! This year it's suddenly become a very real part of my reality! Ya see Helena and I decided we would share a table at the big charity holiday bazaar here in town. Why you may ask? My only answer is that in a moment of weakness I saw all those pesos flash before my eyes (think of how much bird food we could buy) and I told Helena it was a great idea. Oye now all I see when I close my eyes is the word STUPID tattoo on my eyelids!! What was I thinking?? Obviously I wasn't thinking!! Because on top of the bazaar the first Artist Walk&Sale is the week before! Am I anywhere close to being prepared?? The answer is NOOOOOO!! I've been selling a piece or two a week at the store. Now mind you that's very good since this is known as the month of death here. Any way a piece or two a week is a perfect speed for me to KEEP UP WITH. But not to get ahead with. My only saving grace is Helena & Miguel are closing the store for 3 weeks to go on vacation. Soooo I'm figuring if I only sleep 2 hours a day and make jewelry the rest of the time I should be in "fine fettle" when the show and bazaar get here! Or maybe not.

Here are a couple of necklaces I made for the sales. This one inside the heart cage I placed one of LeAnn's (Summers Studio) ever so adorable clay birds. The other heart at the closure is a piece of "new amber" Amber dust and chips that are melted down and mixed with resin. It looks good but it's not real ancient amber. Coure it's a heck of a lot cheeper then real amber. The stones are actual lovely caramel colored agates. I paired them with some cool 14mm brown glass balls.
Close up of the "caged bird"
The other piece, I made with a string of rutilated quartz and nice warm fall-winter colors of tourmaline. Although you know me I had to add just a tiny bit of rhinestones into the mix. :)
The focal is a piece Lynn Davis (LLYYNN) made. It's pewter with a bezel made of foil paper and resin. She was trying to recreate the look of  dichroic glass. I think she did a darn good job.
So there ya have it and I'm on my way. Hmmmm I think I only have????more pieces to make and I'll be ready set!! I just wish I could make that stupid tattoo on the inside of my eyelids go away! :)

Next post I'll show you some polymer clay I've been experimenting with. I'm darn tickle to say the least It really looks like carved bone.
But until then kids have an audacious art filled day, no matter where in the world you are.  p;)                                                       

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Viva Mexico!!

Today is Mexico's Independence Day. Here the celebrations for this day are always big and looked forward to. Not unlike our own Fourth of July celebrations. Fireworks parades picnics fiestas you name it. But this year is the Ginormous Bicentennial Celebrations. The country has been in high gear all year long in preparations. Not only for the bicentennial but 2010 is also the centennial anniversary of the revolution. SO that will be another gihugic celebration latter this year!! The different states have all produced amazing videos promoting their uniqueness. And I have to tell you these videos are some of the most beautiful and amazing videos I have ever seen! They all fit together to create a wonderful surreal movie that really has no beginning to end sequence. That way they can be viewed in any order. Here is the link for Sinaloa. 
Down the right side are a number of others you can watch if you would like. 

It was 200 years ago last night that Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla  rang the village of Dolores, church bell and declared "The moment of our emancipation has come..." which set Mexico on an 11 year struggle to independence from Spain.

Last night in Mexico City's Zocala square President Calderon  reenacted Padre Hidalgo's bell ringing and declaration
finishing with "Viva Mexico" and the huge Country wide celebration began.
  The parade and laser light/ fire works display in Mexico City was nothing short of amazing. Each state when all out in creating their floats and presentation. Much of the emphasis was placed on their remarkable indigenous civilization, history and culture that had existed thousands of years before Europe discovered hers and Latin America's riches. 

The ancient game of  Ulama is still played today. There is a court in a village a short distance from us. In the 1600s the Spanish priests outlawed the game. But in some of frontier areas like the state of Sinaloa they continued to play Ulama. Except for the protective head gear the game is played exactly like the Aztecs played. Well except the losers buy the winners liquid refreshments instead of dying! :)
Here is a video of the amazing firework  show:
The holiday is always celebrated over two days (15/16). I'm sure you can imagine what this year has been like There are more businesses and government office closed then Christmas Day!! :) The fireworks for Mazatlan will be tonight. They are always spectacular because they are done on the beach so that the horizon and ocean are completely dark. With no distractions of lights etc competing with the fireworks, the show will be awesome!!

LW and I are off to help celebrate our adopted country's big day! You all in the Northlands (the rest of the world) have a most audacious, art filled day no matter where in the world you are  p;)
Viva Mexico ! ! !

Friday, September 10, 2010

A few Pearls and Aquamarines

Before I crawl back into bed I want to share a few pictures of pieces I made, in preparation for the first Art Walk&Sale in Nov. I have been battling a migraine for a good day and a half. and I'm not especially a happy camper. I really have way to many projects I want to do, and resent having to postpone them for a stupid headache. But since what I want doesn't seem to carry much weight here, I guess I'll redirect my energy to subduing the beast by morning.

I created a long and short necklace with aquamarine and pearls, with the idea that they could be worn together or independently.
 For the  focal on the short one I hung a vintage chandelier crystal with a mermaid transfer. What self respecting mermaid doesn't love wearing pearls and beautiful stones the color of sunlight on water? I ask ya??
Up until this last transfer I just haven't been happy with the way they have been turning out, with the medium I have to work with. But this time I printed on light wt. card stock and set it on the photo on paper setting. Both of them seem to help. I ended up with a fairly clear transfer with very little paper residue left and a very legible image.
For the clasp I made a silver hook for a vintage pearl and rhinestone earring.
For the long necklace I used a bit of large silver link chain and a much smaller link chain. Along side a string of tiny pearls and an aquamarine or two. 
For the focal I used a large blister pearl piece. I created the bail from a polymer replica of a Victorian hand pin. And I'm really excited the way it turned out. First I really can't seem to get excited about anything polymer clay. I hate the way it feels and it's texture. It always looks like those old salt clay ornaments of the "80s" EEUU! But my little blog sister Laurie had sent me a block of white to play with. I have a crude copy of a hand from a mourning pin. I also have a pewter cast hand from Lynn Davis. So between the two I cobbled together a "hand" with the polymer clay. Then I spent hours sanding and buffing until the clay looked and felt like ivory. Added a bit of my patina magic (kiwi shoe wax) buffed some more and waa laa an ivory Victorian  mourning hand! :)
I  made a simple loop closure with seed pearls
I made this one long enough to double so it can also be worn short. Gives it a bit of versatility.
Yeah I know the picture is a poor excuse but it's been a real challenge to find enough sunlight to take a picture. So when it does show up you better get the photo then cuz no telling when it'll be back. :(
I created 2 pairs of earrings with pearls and aquamarine. They'll go with the necklaces for those ladies that need the matching earrings for their necklaces. But they would be quite perfect all by themselves.
The third pair is tourmaline and stick kyanite.
It's back to bed for me I think. I have big art making plans tomorrow and this headache is not invited!!! Have an audacious art filled day no matter where in the world you are   p;)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Wanted: A Small Ark, Preferably Vintage :)

Did you know that September is the peak month for our rainy season??? Well I suppose if you've been reading my blog since last September you might have read that interesting fact from one of my postings. Well let me assure you that this September will not go down in the records as a dry month!! Ohhhhh no not here any way. It has rained every day for a week. Now mind you it's not one of those all day sorta rains. Nope ours are more like strike hard , loud, and fast. These are the rains that have the amazing electrical storms with them. Sooooo awesome, sooooo cool to watch until a bolt reaches out to kiss the transformer on the pole four houses down! Or when there are 4 firkids and two humans packed in together in 3 square feet. It's this time of the year that it rains faster then the drains can handle, and the low spots around town begin to look like swimming pools. Look this is one of the beach lifeguards. See his little red buoy behind him. He musta figured he'd get to work faster by doing the breast stroke!
Mazatlan like many coastal cities world wide was built on a lot of drained and filled mangroves&swamps. So that it doesn't take to many years before there are parts of the city that are lower then sea level. Sadly these are the areas that flood first and actually quite often. Boy and those areas are all over town. Not just in the poorer neighborhoods. There are a number of gated, "I'm so rich it wouldn't dare flood here" areas in the resort end of town, that are singing "If I had a hammer I'd build me an ark"... 

Many of the poorer neighborhoods that are the first to flood and get the most water are the first ones the army checks on after days like yesterday and today. They will go from house to house to be sure that there aren't any elderly or infermed folks trapped in their homes. 
But for the most part it's all taken in stride. This is the rainy season it happens every year. Everyone has their little game plans ready. Neighbors will swing into action whenever needed. We all keep our water tanks full, have backup batteries for the flash lights, and plenty of candles and matches stashed around the house. You never know when the power decides it's time for a siesta. Schools aren't cancelled, businesses open as usual.
Once the storm passes the drains can keep pace with the water, people haul out the mops and buckets and everyone good naturedly pitches in. "Hey have you heard is it suppose to rain tonight??" "Good chance"

Okay I'm off to see if I can find some really cute yellow duckie curtains to go in the ark's powder room. I hope you guys have an audacious art filled day no matter where you are in the
world  p;)
PS. In case you were wondering nope we don't have a lake in our living room. Actually our little neighborhood sits on a bit of a hill so we seldom get more then a bit of water that blows in from the patio or laundry atrium. :)

PSS. Although I'm a bit hindered with the webs that seem to be growing between my fingers I have managed to get a few things made. I'll post pictures in to next day or two.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Some Gifts Are Priceless !!

And lots of times they are rather simple, neither elaborate or complicated, but priceless none the less. If you have read my blog for a while you probably remember me talking about the young girl who comes and cleans our house a couple of days a week. For those of you that haven't met Dulce here's a RDV (reader's digest version) Dulce started cleaning for us when she was 15 and newly returned from running away from home, with a pregnant girlfriend. Their plan was to get better paying jobs in Mexico City. It only took a couple months for Dulce to realized that without an education in ten years she would be the single mom of a couple of kids and still eking out a living as a bleeder for one of the butcher stalls in the market. She called her mom asked her to come and get her and decided on the bus trip home she was going to get an education. Dulce's mom is my close friend Martha's housekeeper. So Martha and Irma decided that it would be a good idea if Dulce came to clean for us. They knew how important education was to LW and I so they figured that we could help instill the hunger for knowledge in Dulce. She was 15 years old and still in primary school. The equivalent of 4th grade in the US. She had missed soooooo many days of school over the years she wasn't able to move on to the next grade each year. Understand that this is not uncommon here especially among women. Many people still feel that a woman's place is to have babies at a early age (16), whether they are married or not, and then to stay home to care for her family. Never mind that unless she finds work there is no home to stay at nor anything to take care of her family with. 

Oye I'm digressing and this is no longer a RDV. Soooo to make this long story come to a end. Four years ago Dulce was 15 & in the academic US equivalent of 4th grade. She started studying and challenging classes then grade levels.In two years she had worked her way through primary and the secondary grades to graduate top of her secondary school. Last fall she started High School in one of the schools known for their academic standards. This fall Dulce is 18 and  started her junior year of high school!! There is not one of us that would have bet that she would still be in school by now much less covering this much ground while remaining one of the top students in her classes! :) There are very few adults that have earned my admiration as much as I admire and respect her. For LW and I we couldn't be more proud of Dulce's accomplishments, and are ever so pleased that we have been able to help achieve her goals.
This is a picture taken by the newspaper last year at the end of the Revolution Day parade. Dulce on the right had earned the honor of being one of her schools flag bearers.

Of course Dulce and I pretty much have our own mutual admiration club. She knows my academic and career accomplishments, but she also knows what it took to be able to live my dream. She knows how important art is in my life and every so often brings me little pieces of trash treasure :) Yesterday when she came to work she had something behind her back when she walked in the door. When I told her hello she blushed, got a funny little grin on her face and from behind her back she presented me with this amazing cutting board carved in the shape of an apple with a  hand carved stem and leaves. Look the edges are router out!! Is it not the most beautiful cutting board!!??
No she didn't make it herself. She asked one of her friends taking the wood working class if he would make the design she created. Not only did they design and create the apple but they also have my name carved at the top.
I think that one of the things that make this such a precious gift is the public declaration of respect and love that she expressed. She made sure that her friend spelled my name correctly in English. Here in Mexico the nick name for Patricia is the same as in the US. But here it's spelled Paty
She also made sure that an I was used in place of the Y :) In my eyes the only thing that is more beautiful then this priceless gift was the incredible smile of pride and gratitude that Dulce gave me! Rest assured that the apple cutting board has taken it's place with the other beautiful pieces of art that my children created. And I can't tell you who had the bigger smile or glow of pride, but I can tell you that we both needed a tissue to capture a wayward tear.
Wishing you a most audacious art filled day no matter where in the world you are.   p;)
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