Saturday, June 20, 2015

Texture Plate Challenge

This month's PCAGOE Challenge was to make our own texture plates and use them on a project.

I LOVE this idea, since I generally steer away from mass-marketed molds. That's because, well, they're MOLDS, as in, someone else's creation. BUT, before I hear angry cries, let me fully admit that there are some fabulous commercial molds out there, some by talented people in the polymer community. I admit to owning and using a few of these, as well as others from more obscure sources. I just try to "make them my own" in some way during the creation process, getting away from a (sometimes very recognizable) carbon copy of the original.

Here are some molds/plates that I've made over the years:

The lower left was the first, carved on cured polymer at a Tory Hughes workshop. It shows how tentative I was using her suggested carving tool, a #23 craft blade. I'm better with the lino tool on cured polymer! I did learn some important pointers from Tory, like keeping the blade still and moving/rotating the polymer substrate.

The upper right are molds taken with Sculpey Mold Maker from pieces of Debbie Jackson's coral collection.

The upper left are from antique buttons in my Mom's stash.

The middle bottom are reverse molds from a commercial rubber set (also Sculpey MM) - I wanted "innies" so that I could fill them for Sutton Slice techniques.

Making your own texture plate is fun, rewarding, and a bit "zen", if you take your time and think of it as doodling! My Challenge plate started as a 4"x 5"x 1/4" slab of scrap polymer. I "buffed" the raw surface with baking powder to smooth it as much as possible before starting to texture. Then I went crazy, mainly with some of my favorite tools, ball tip styluses. I left some areas blank and cured for 60 min. Then, I went back and carved some curves with my Speedball lino tool. Cured polymer holds sharper edges than raw and I didn't want any depressions along the edges of the curves.

Here is my actual entry piece for the Challenge - a set of compact mirror and key fob. I would have liked to have done something a bit more complex with the stamped sheet, but as many of you know, I've had some time constraints over the last 10 months :) 

I started with a custom coppery-bronzing metallic polymer mix, made my impression and cured. Then, I antiqued with dark brown acrylic, and hit the high spots with bronze Gilder's Paste. I don't normally like to final coat pieces in any way, but since these will be handled a lot, a satin sealer is probably a smart idea to protect the Gilder's Paste over time. 

Can't you just imagine pulling this elegant pair from a handbag, and having friends say, "Oooohh! Let me see that!"

Monday, January 5, 2015

Coming up in 2015...

Here's just a quick glimpse to whet your creative appetite for upcoming gauze/polymer focal designs at 11 BOLD street:

More to come... ;)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Special Holiday Pricing

Check out the 11 BOLD street Neckwear section - everything is 15% off! For a couple of weeks you can save, plus free shipping still applies to any purchase (pre-sale price) over $75. Have a wonderful season, filled with good friends and family!

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