Sunday, May 13, 2007

Working through it!

Well, with a little vacation from the clay, some encouragement from my husband, and a new texturing tool (very low-grit-- 36-- sandpaper of the "plastic-coated" type), I'm working through the problem I wrote about last time. It's going to take a few more steps to see how the final product looks, and I'm still not positive that it's as good as it could possibly be... but I hate to keep the poor customer waiting forever, and I need to get this thing off my "to do" list!

Once I have this thing thoroughly under control and get started on a few other orders, I can finally devote a little time to some other things I've been wanting to try but "couldn't". (I've felt that-- even though I was at the point that I didn't know what to do next on that project-- I couldn't allow myself to work on anything else, clay-wise, until it was crossed off my list. (sigh))

In a non-clay-related note, my youngest sister graduates from high school tomorrow night! Wow. I still can't believe that my ten-years-younger sister is eighteen!! Don't even want to think about what that reveals about my own age... ;o)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Running into a brick wall...

I feel like I've run into a brick wall on one of my latest commissions. I've tried just about everything I can think of, and it still isn't looking the way I want it to look! The first try turned out looking like a stone. (And it wasn't supposed to, obviously. (g))

What makes it even more frustrating is that I was sure this would be relatively easy-- or at least that the tricky part would come later in the process. But no, here I am back at square one for what feels like the umpteenth time.

I really don't want to admit defeat-- disappoint a customer and myself-- so I'm going to take a little break and then give it yet another try. But at some point, I may have no choice but to concede that things just aren't working out.

I think part of the problem is that this item is more or less life-size, and this is a departure for me, as I've just now become accustomed to working in miniature. Also, it might be that I'm giving up on some of my ideas too quickly. Sometimes it takes just one or two more steps for things to pull together. You can't really get a feeling for the complete effect if you're only a third of the way through the process... That said, I don't want to go all the way through several different methods, only to end up with a collection of unattractive polymer clay "stones". ;o)

Well, enough of the pep-talk... or maybe this has been more like moaning and groaning. ;o)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Baking mini cookies and generally keeping busy...

I spent part of this morning fixing up a "moderately huge" batch of ultra-mini cookie charms. I like to put a little something extra in the packages I send out, but sometimes I'm at a loss as to what to include. I mean, these things do take time to make. (g) So I decided to try and make up a whole bunch of little extras all at once. It still takes time, but it certainly helps to do them all at once-- almost an assembly line! ;o)

I've been keeping busy with various and sundry tasks-- including starting the book review section of PolymerClayWeb, working on a new tutorial for the same, and taking a couple of exciting (to me, at least) new custom orders. (I'll be sure to write about them once they're done-- sooner or later.) Then there are other things-- Mother's Day coming up, as well as my youngest sister's birthday and high school graduation-- all happening within a three-day period!

If I can make myself take the time to do it, I'm planning on putting an entry into this month's PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy) contest. The theme is multi-media, and it just so happens that the new tutorial I've been writing incorporates a couple of different media with polymer clay. The only bad part is that this project doesn't seem to photograph very well. Anyway, it's just for fun; if I do enter, this will be my very first polymer clay contest. :o)

Ok, "real life" is calling, in the form of the spaghetti supper that I'm supposed to be starting now. ;o) Hope everyone's having a pleasant beginning of May!

Friday, May 04, 2007

A mini feast (for the eyes) ;o)

I'm definitely in a "mini phase"-- meaning, not a phase of short duration, but a phase in which I'm obsessed with miniatures. (g) I'm sure I'll eventually move on-- or back-- to something else, but for now, I'm revelling in the minis!

So-- some of what I've been doing lately:
I've made two types of "sunny-side-up" fried eggs--
One more fragile type for post-back earrings:
And one sturdier type for "dangly" earrings:
I made some non-jewelry mini biscotti (dipped in chocolate) for the same great lady who suggested that I make Pop-Tarts:

Then I finally got around to making the ice cream sandwiches I've been thinking about for a while. (I haven't had an ice cream sandwich in a long time, but making these made me hungry for one!)

I think I made the waffle before I made the ice cream sandwiches, actually... So far, I've only made one. Next time, I think I'll make the pat of butter a bit less translucent-- but in some ways, I like it like this... I want to make pancakes, too, but when I played around with it the first time, I wasn't happy with the results. I think I have a better idea, now. Who would think that a pancake would be harder to do than a waffle?! (Well, in clay, I mean.)

My last "big" experiment was a mini hamburger. It took me a while to make-- partially because I was figuring it out as I went along, but also because there are so many components to a burger, compared to most of the other minis I've made.

There are things I can do to improve the realism of this piece-- with the lettuce and tomato, in particular-- but if you're making things to sell, you can only put so much time and work into something before you have to charge more than anyone's willing to pay for a "cute little pendant".

Anyway, for a first try, I was pretty pleased with my mini burger, if I do say so myself! ;o) Now I'm looking forward to trying it again-- maybe a double cheese burger next time-- and I also have some ideas for hot dogs... :o)

And of course I'm still making a cupcake now and then:

I've been working on "glittery" cupcakes, with glittered icing. I like the looks of glitter, but it's such a pain to work with-- especially at the clay table. If you don't clean up every little speck of it (which is, let's face it, nearly impossible to do), you'll be finding glitter in your clay where you didn't want it. (You can do the glitter work away from the table, but if you aren't careful, you'll still end up bringing it back to the clay, on your hands.) The other thing I hate about glitter is how hard it is to get it stick well enough to the clay that it won't just brush off later-- and getting it thick enough. You almost have to seal it (meanwhile being very careful not to contaminate your sealant bottle with glitter, in the process) and apply it in multiple layers.

Ugh! Glitter!! I'll be happy when the glitter cupcakes are done! (g)

Fortunately, not many mini foods require glitter. ;o)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's not polymer clay, but I love it!

I'm going to make a brief break with the usual subject matter of this blog (polymer clay, as if there could possibly be doubt (g)) to comment on something that is still "generally" related, as it pertains to art.

If you have time, take a moment to admire the beautifully tinted, cheerfully drawn work of Geninne, a freelance illustrator/designer. A few mintues looking through her gorgeous (mostly watercolor, I think) illustrations always makes me happy. I just love her style! (She also makes lovely things from felt and other materials, from time to time.)

Another art blog I'm fond of (but that hasn't been updated in rather a while) is Val Webb's studio journal. Her sketch journal pages (like Geninne's) are wonderful. :o) She works with raku ceramics, acrylics, and who knows what else. Lots of fun to browse.

And finally-- one last "artsy link". The Pants Press Sketchblog is a LiveJournal community in which a group of artists (each with his or her own personal style, as you might imagine) posts his/her latest work or sketches. Some of it is done in more of a modern comics/graphic-novel style (I guess you'd call it); others feel delightfully vintage to me. Always interesting to see what's been added.

I'm sure there are many more blogs/lj communities out there similar to these, but these are the few I've happened across and liked well enough to keep in my "lazy day browsing" bookmark list. If you'd like to share one of your favorite art blog links in the comment section, please feel free to do so! :o)