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Not that I’ve exactly been lollygagging on the divan eating bonbons watching Oprah–in fact, I hear she’s not even on tv any more. Not that I would have had time to notice however, with a very busy summer! It has led up to a very busy Fall semester, coming right up starting on Monday. I’m looking forward to it, with great classes to take and to teach and lots more art to produce, plus the upcoming International Quilt Festival in Houston to continue preparing for, in November.
Here are three mermaids that I finished up in ceramics this summer. One broke, but she’s lovely anyway and will be displayed with some strategically placed fishnet to cover her cracks. I like them, and will make a couple more soon, including one as a fountain for a friend’s garden.
Actually, it involves LOTS of splashes and lots of colors–I think we had 43 colors this year at our Annual Dyeing Days event.
As always, it was a marathon event, spanning 10 days of mixing, dying, rinsing, washing and of course cleanup!
This year we added a pole vaulting event. That is to say, we raided the vault which is our garage full of precious stuff–like old pvc pipes–and did some shibori arashi.
This form of resist dyeing (shibori) is done around poles to create an effect that can look like rain in a storm (arashi).
Or it can look like feathers, or leaves. You can see the shibori arashi designs we did this year on garments and fabric yardage in the tiedye slideshow.
Our friends come to dye along with us at these events. Here’s Susan shown unwrapping a shibori arashi dyed shirt.
This year as always I dyed lots of fabric–cotton jersey and kona cotton this time as well as some lovely cotton gauze. I also did lots of doll bodies, silk handkerchiefs and lace for making up more Spirit Doll kits, and this time I even did feathers. They took the dye beautifully!
I’ve been busy with all of my classes at Front Range Community College this Spring. That’s true of the classes that I’m taking now, the ones I’m preparing to take in the Fall, and the ones I’m listing to teach this summer through the Continuing Education department. We are still working out final dates as the Boulder County Campus in Longmont CO is closed on Sundays, so the classes listed as being on Sunday now will be moving to a different day, probably Friday. But that’s ok–online registration isn’t open yet anyway. I’ll update the dates and the links to register very soon, but for now you can take a look at what classes are coming up! You can also see polymer clay beads on wire pendants I made in our metal jewelry classroom and how I strung the hand bead that I made of ceramics and PMC (Precious Metal Clay) that was featured in the previous post–here it is now.
In addition to teaching classes in polymer clay use through Front Range Community College’s Continuing Education Department, I’m also still taking classes there. I love learning, no matter which side of the flow I may be on at any given moment! This semester I’m taking advanced classes in Adobe Illustrator, Ceramics and Metal/Jewelry. I’m starting to cross the lines from studio to studio now– like using polymer clay originals to make plaster molds for use with ceramics that I then cover with glazes, acrylic paints, polymer clay, or even metal! Or like using PMC (Precious Metal Clay) made into a liquid slip to coat ceramic flowers or faces that I have made by hand forming or by using silicone molds that I made from polymer clay originals…you can see how the lines are beginning to blur!
The items shown here are made with ceramics and PMC silver, and then I use Liver Of Sulfur to give them a patina. You can see the difference between the silver finish that has not been given a patina and those pieces that have been treated here. I much prefer the antiqued effect and the colors that you can get when treating the silver with LOS. Both are pretty darn cool though, and by putting the PMC over ceramics I save a LOT of weight and still get the finish of real silver.
Last year was certainly busy–so chock full of Things To Do that I see I haven’t had time to blog since August.
I continued taking classes at Front Range Community College, and as part of that I learned more about ceramics, metal work and jewelry, WordPress and Drupal and other Open Source Code solutions, and finished the layout of my new book in Adobe InDesign. (The new title from Polymarket Press is “A Collection Of Polymer Clay Masks” and it is available now! Click here to order an autographed copy)
There are some GREAT classes to be had at community colleges, and I’m getting a lot of value out of the ones I take as a student.
Beginning in 2011, I’ll also be teaching 4 classes in polymer clay there through the FRCC Continuing Education program. Click here to see the listings.
I’m also excited to be an instructor at the fourth annual Cabin Fever Clay Festival in Laurel, MD. This year’s line up includes many wonderful instructors, and they are also honoring Judith Skinner for her contribution of the Skinner Blend and her work throughout the years. Having written “Adapting Quilt Patterns To Polymer Clay“ with her, I know first hand what a very talented and lovely person she is, and I’m very happy to see her recognized in this way. She’ll be teaching a class about ways to use the Skinner Blend, and I’ll be Making Faces! Teaching a class in sculpting faces, that is, and in making molds. We’ll even be shrinking our faces from the molds to make smaller versions–learn how at the CFCF this February 18-23. Click here for the Registration Form.
I’ve switched from the active production of masks, faces, and beads to taking pictures and editing, racing towards my deadline to put together “A Collection Of Polymer Clay Masks” and have it in print by Halloween. It can be done!!–but only if I put in some serious Photoshop hours. So that’s what I’m doing; going through miniature polymer clay masks I’ve made and collected since 1997.
In the process of participating in and hosting “swaps” for these among polymer clay artists around the world, I’ve amassed an amazing grouping of these little beauties–each measured to fit inside a 3 inch square.
After I photograph them, my husband will mount them all in framed pieces for display. We have one such piece with over 50 masks–now we’ll have several, and we’ll be doing a gallery showing along with the book when its all said and done. The book will also include photographs of full sized masks contributed by artists for this publication.
As I was going through my carefully wrapped boxes and bags of masks, and going through my file folders on the computer, I found images I took during a tutorial by Donna Kato and Shane Smith. They had been making mini-masks using scraps of canes, and didn’t have enough leftover bits at this point at our retreat, so they made a cane up special for it, and then Shane made some masks to show us how they were done. We each got a few inches of the cane to play with, and I got their permission to do a tutorial with the photos. I’ve got a “Making Faces and Figures” book planned out and in the works, but its not the one I’m working on now–it’ll be a companion to this one that will show how-to, and I that is NEXT years’ project. For now, here’s a look at the cane that started these masks, and the finished pieces by Shane. Thanks so much to Donna and Shane!