Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On Inspiration and Making It Your Own

You couldn't attend the IPCA Arches Retreat and not be aware of our scholarship recipient, Eva Haskova. Her unique designs and her engaging personality captured our hearts. As her room mate, I was especially lucky!

Her demo showing how she creates the wonderful wrapped effect evident in the neckwear, brooches and earrings that everyone was snapping up set off one of those magical clicks in my own brain...

I've done some work with cut strips, but I always laid them flat. What if I did as Eva does, and turned them on end? And made them thicker (BOLDER)? And perhaps polished them in typical 11BOLDstreet layered fashion? AND, what if I combined them with gauze and liquid polymer?

These five pieces are the first results of some experimentation. (More photos will be included in the Etsy listings in the next few days.)

The black and jewel tone brooch group colors grew from a favorite piece of alcohol ink-stained gauze. With some liquid polymer to add stiffness and shape, I used pieces as interior focals for three brooches.


I cut strips of coordination polymer, wrapped it around cutters and cured, then sanded and sanded and sanded... After buffing, I attached the gauze centers. Plus, some silvery wire and paint accents.




The fourth brooch and the valet featured a totally different color scheme - black with mixed metallics. I chose to leave the brooch unsanded matte, but employed texture in holes filled with mica-tinted liquid polymer.



The cut strip portion of the valet was built around a cured piece of gauze, and the supporting back finished similarly to the brooch. I also chose not to sand down the polymer portion of the top - just a good buffing to bring up a nice luster.




The last photo shows two of my brooches, and a brooch gift from Eva on the far right. A similar basic technique inspired these pieces, but from that point on, there is really no resemblance.


This is one example of taking what is learned from this Retreat, or any learning/sharing event, going home and making it your own!





Monday, August 25, 2014

Arches Pin Panel Details

The IPCA ARCHES Retreat was an unqualified SUCCESS!! We had SO much fun, shared so much and learned so many new things!

As a committee member, my main task was to administer the Pin Panel, which was this events equivalent of the Bead Strands from past Retreats. Everyone was to contribute two (near) identical arch-themed brooches, each of which found a home on two prepared panels. One was auctioned at our banquet on Friday night by Lisa Pavelka, and the other was shuttled off to a secret vault to be archived for future generations of polymer artists (I think).

Some attendees asked about the panels themselves, commenting that they were interested in something similar for displaying their own pins/brooches. Here is what I did, and what I learned:

The board details evolved from my architectural background - Form Follows Function. As you undoubtedly have discovered, it's a nightmare not to pin to a flat, padded surface, but to fasten the clasp! So, I needed a raised element on which to mount all those gorgeous works.

I considered cotton upholstery cording, and took a pin back to Jo-Ann's to see if it penetrated easily. It seemed to be okay. So I hot-glued the cording to a stretched canvas (the canvas was Debbie Jackson's suggestion). Tip #1: Be neat with your hot glue, and don't stray past the edges of the cording. Excess glue lumps will show through fabric.



To secure the fabric, I applied fabric glue to only the canvas between the cording so as not to gum up the pins. Which glue? I used several, since I ran out  - look for fabric glues, and do a small test on the back of the canvas. Tip #2: Spread,glue evenly but sparingly to avoid bubbles when dry on smooth fabrics. (Which is why some areas of the linen panel have an extra layer of my trade-mark gauze applied!) With the crinkled fabric, this was not such a problem. Start in the middle of the canvas, and with the center of the fabric, applying glue section by section. Smooth and press the fabric into the glue. Don't stretch it. Neatly tuck and  fold as required and wrap around the edges of the canvas, securing on the back with more glue, hot glue, staples, etc.

I also did a tone-on-tone metallic bronze paint on a few of the linen areas, just for a bit of subtle contrast. I wanted the panel itself to be interesting on a wall, without detracting from the art itself.



Even with no glue on the cording, many pins ultimately had some trouble penetrating the thicker part of the cording, as apparently not all pin findings are super sharp. I ended up sliding most of the pins through just the fabric on the front of the ridges (and was really, really glad that the fabric here was loose and not glued to the cording!). On a redo, maybe I'd look for a different material - small diameter foam tubes? Randomly spaced domes of individual packing peanuts?

The ends results were impressive, but mostly because of the pins themselves! What varied, thoughtful and creative ART!!! I was happy to have provided a worthy backdrop.

FYI - all pins were numbered/photographed, and will soon be available (sometime in September) for your viewing pleasure - keep an eye on the IPCA and ARCHES FB pages!




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

PCAGOE "Little Black Ball" Challenge

This month's challenge was to start with a 1" black ball of polymer. No other instruction, other than it had to be recognizable in it's final form. And, we wanted to tie-in with PCAGOE member Sage Bray's publication, The Polymer Arts, or her daily blog.

Sage is very open to unusual polymer techniques for inclusion. This pen with stand expands upon an idea that I floated past her and which was included in the Spring '12 issue.


Instead of only chopped translucent polymer of the article, this piece utilizes metallics, remains of other techniques and metal leaf to adorn the polished black ball starting point. Tendrils of mica tinted liquid polymer were added for shine and adhesion.



Naturally, I had to incorporate my typical layered base ("Layers" was another article that made it in the Spring '13 issue.) And, one edge of the base got sanded and buffed ;)



Happy Anniversary, TPA!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

11 BOLD street in Belle Armoire Jewelry

Yes, I've not been a good blogger again, but I do have some personal promotion to share:

Pick up the Summer issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry, and read some secret construction techniques for a couple of 11 BOLD street's cuff bracelets - enjoy!

Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sea Glass and the Mysterious Vortex

Active PCAGOE Forum members have already heard (and given me their thoughts on) this tale, so they can basically skip over this post.

Right off, I'll state the qualifier that I'm not on any meds (prescription or otherwise) that would readily account for this odd occurrence, and that I wait until dinner to enjoy my glass of red wine ... (Actually, that only makes this weirder!)

Earlier this month, I was working on my challenge piece, which involved embedded chunks of sea glass into a layered polymer bowl.

 Sea Glass Bowl No. 144


I knew that one piece was loose - simply embedding in raw polymer didn't suffice for this little guy, and I'd have to either try some liquid polymer or glue. It was loose in the bowl. While sitting at my main work area, I tilted the entire bowl and this chunk of green glass (a rough triangle about 3/4" x 3/8") fell onto my lap, then to the floor. I heard it land!

Scooting back my chair, I began to search. My chair sits partly on a dark, multi-colored carpet and partly on oak hardwood. Do you think that I could find that piece???

I crawled around, my nose almost literally touching the floor, since I'm pretty near-sighted. I patted the floor, inch by inch. I got a flashlight and looked under adjacent shelving units. I looked into containers on the first couple of shelves, thinking that it might have bounced. Then, I pulled the units out, just to make sure.

I shook out my sweat pants (hey - I started running again, so no cracks about the "work-at-home wardrobe"!). I took off my (running!) shoes, looked in the tops of my socks.

Soon, I felt like laughing, then I started to get annoyed 'cause I was basically finished and now I realized that I had to fill the empty hole left by a very distinctive shape! I found a similar shape and after some carving, trenching and filling, I made the new piece fit.

But, the original piece of sea glass is still missing... I have concluded that there is a multi-dimensional vortex in the knee space under my work surface and that it sucked in a bit of green sea glass. My counterpart in this parallel dimension happened to find the perfect bit for her challenge piece lying on the floor.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Arches is Offering AMAZING Instructors!!!

ARCHES: Building Clay Connections IPCA Retreat 2014

Pre-Retreat Classes Featuring: 

(Click on each for details)

Helen Breil - Fanfold and Shapes Neckline Clips

Donna Greenburg - Jello Shot Bangle

Lindly Haunani - Tropical Petal Bracelet

Randee Ketzel - Fauxnomenal Beads/Bracelet

Maggie Maggio - Nature of Mark Making

Lisa Pavelka - Surface Techniques, Metallic Magic, Spinner Ring


Early Bird Registration before March 31 - $$ave!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I'm still here...

Don't let the lack of active blog posts fool you - I'm a more prolific artist than I am a blogger :)

While I wait for more inspiring content (that is, with WORDS, not with art), let me just share my entry from our PCAGOE March Challenge. The theme was "egg/egg shapes". So, I created an egg-shaped fantasy stone in pinks, took a slice and "set" it in an all-polymer bezel. Texturing, carving and a bit of antiquing completed this brooch. Finally, a bit of coiled silver wire and mica powder add BLING!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/180908404/handcrafted-pink-granite-egg-pin-silver?ref=shop_home_active_6