New polymer clay earrings

With both sets of my polymer clay earring components created in Julie Picarello’s workshop – the round discs and the long “lizard tails” – I drilled a small center hole approximately 1/8″ from the top of each piece. That is where the similarity in the embellishment process ends.

Using gold-filled wire threaded through the drilled hole, I made a wrapped “hanger” for each of the round discs and then attached a handmade gold-filled ear wire. I then created some crystal bead dangles using the same gold-filled wire and attached them to each ear wire with a small jumpring.

Using Silamide thread (my favorite for beading) and size 15 seed beads, I used the drilled hole to secure a ring of beads around the top of each “tail”. From that base ring, I worked peyote stitch first up around the top of the piece and then on the bottom of the ring, decreasing when needed to form fit the beads around the “tail”. I added a small pearl for embellishment and then a loop at the top so that the pieces could hang comfortably from ear wires.

Next up…..the pendants…

Knitting a Spring Cardigan (or two)

My great-nephew recently celebrated his first birthday and I wanted to knit him something bright and colorful. I chose this boxy, cropped cardigan pattern called Haiku that I found on knitty.com, a great resource for knitters and chock full of free patterns.

When I knitted the pumpkin hat for my granddaughter last year, I fell in love with Blue Sky Alpacas organic cotton. With a rainbow of wonderful colors to choose from, it’s so soft and yummy.

I chose Pickle for Liam.

And Lemongrass for my granddaughter, Ella, because I just had to make one for her, too!

I found some brightly colored buttons in the shape of building blocks, rocking horses, and teddy bears at Joann Fabric’s – perfect for Liam’s sweater. But I didn’t really like any of the flower buttons I found there so I made some purply-pink blooms with yellow centers out of polymer clay. It was soooo easy with a flexible Sculpey push mold I found in my toolbox.

Now that the little ones’ cardigans are finished and in the mail, it’s time for a new project for my pointy sticks. Perhaps a summer sweater for myself. This pattern looks promising!

What I created in Julie Picarello’s workshop

To inspire my color palette that day, I purposefully wore my Come Spring vest to the first day of Julie’s workshop. You can read my post about knitting that vest here.

When presented with a choice of metal foil to add to my mokume stack, I chose gold because these cool colors have an underlying warm tone to them.

I created 2 pendants and 2 pairs of earring components from my stack. Instead of adding metal embellishments to the components to create jewelry as Julie does, I want to put my own artistic mark on my creations with some seed beadwork.

The “river’ running through the middle of my pendant will have flowing seed beads. You can see from my photo that I’ve started to drill small holes in the “river” so I can couch the strands of flowing beads. As I was working out this idea, I got another one about a beach scene done with half polyclay and half seed bead embroidery!

Coming up soon…how I turned these components into jewelry…

Julie Picarello Workshop

This post is long overdue! In March,  I had the wonderful opportunity to take a workshop with the talented polymer clay artist, Julie Picarello. Here is one of her fabulous creations destined to adorn some lucky person.

More of her amazing work to inspire and delight!

Julie has explored and perfected her own faux mokume gane technique using layers of colored clay, metal leaf and all sorts of nifty texture tools. From this layered and textured clay, she creates colorful, unique jewelry pieces.

Color inspiration can come from many sources.

A yummy color palette.

The first thing that struck me about Julie upon first meeting her is her warm smile and twinkling eyes. In a new place and new experience, she made me feel very welcome and right at home. She is kind, generous and very patient, perfect qualities for a teacher to possess, allowing your students to relax and open up to the creative process.

Besides learning a new approach to one of my favorite polymer clay techniques, this fun workshop also taught me to open up to new color inspiration and that you can find fabulous texture tools just about anywhere.

Soon I’ll share with you what I created at the workshop!

K is for Kindness

I’ve received the most wonderful gift from my dear friend, Judy, an artist who creates amazing mixed media art including personalized wooden letters. You can read more about her “love letters” here.

My “K” now hangs above the door to my studio, watching over me as I work. I am so blessed to have my art friends who constantly enrich my life with their inspiration and support.

Speaking of artists and inspiration, I’ve recently joined the 2010 Creative Everyday Challenge, a group of artists committed to doing something creative everyday whether that is cooking, painting, knitting, composing a song. It’s a very low pressure commitment with no performance deadlines, however, there are suggested monthly themes to get the creative juices flowing. If you’d like to find out more information about this challenge, just click on the button in my sidebar.

This weekend is going to be a very creative one. I’m taking a workshop at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Center in Lexington, MA. The workshop is on polymer clay mokume gane, a technique I’ve long been enamored of, given by Julie Picarello. I’m so excited!

As I have to leave for the workshop early in the morning, my Saturday Morning Tea post will be postponed until next Saturday. I’m looking forward to sharing a cup of tea with you then and also sharing my adventures in polymer clay!

“We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.”

~Maya Angelou


From the Studio

ComeSpringYarn060409

A brand new knitting project. I love to pick out my yarns.

With the Jane Thornley free-form “Come Spring” vest pattern in hand, I’ve chosen a similar color palette as the pattern photo because I love the vibrant greens and browns of this lovely season. One of my art friends directed me to a great website for purchasing good quality yarn at affordable prices. I purchased all of my yarn (pictured above) from them except for a ribbon yarn, called “Copper Penny”, I discovered while browsing at Joann Fabric’s one day for art supplies.

So far, I’m liking the contrast between the stripes of rich color.

ComeSpringVest060409

Last week I picked up a beading book at the library. As I have been getting into a more personally expressive and organic, free-form flow with my beadwork, I have lost interest in books and magazines devoted to beadwork patterns and other artists’ designs. However, the title of this book, “Shaped Beadwork: Dimensional Jewelry with Peyote Stitch”, caught my eye and my interest.

PeyoteTriangle060409

In the book, Diane teaches how to make geometrical shapes in peyote stitch, starting with flat one-dimensional shapes and then building upon those to create 2 and 3-dimensional sculptural shapes. So, I started at the beginning of the book and made a triangle. Geez, that was fun. How about if I make another one? Cool! Then I sewed them together and created a little triangular pillow. This little shape is fascinating me. I find myself picking it up and turning it over gently in my hand every time I walk by my beading tray.

Now, what shall I do with this little shape? Make another pillow for a pair of earrings?  Use it as a focal shape and free-form around it? Use it as a component in a mixed media necklace? The infinite possibilities bloom in my imagination with wild abandon like the riot of pink peonies in my garden. Hehe Interestingly, my thoughts also lead me back to memories of how much I enjoyed geometry class and its spatial language.

All this from a little triangle pouch.

ArtJournal060409

The start of another journal page. I had vaguely remembered someone mentioning or reading somewhere that you could paint on used dryer sheets. This so appealed to the recycling devotee in me that I collected some sheets after a weekend of laundry chores. After dripping, brushing, and wetting paint across its surface, I let my sheet dry and then ripped a piece off to create a waterfall shape on my bright yellow page. I then glued some dried tulip petals at its base and drew some water swirls around the petals with a white gel pen.

This page is far from finished but it has a good start. As I glued and painted my “waterfall”, I thought of water and its symbolism to feelings. I thought of how my page could represent my getting in touch with feelings that are frightening to me and how I sometimes relegate those frightening feelings to a very deep place inside of myself. Can I ride my tumbling waterfall into the depths of myself and explore some of those feelings? I wrote:

I tumble down the waterfall inside of myself

to get in touch with my feelings.

From the Studio

HerringboneNecklace052809

Now that my studio time has become limited to evenings and weekends since my return to full-time work 3 months ago, I have slipped into a comfortable rhythm as I dip into one art project and then another. Depending upon my mood, my energy level (especially after a day of work) and whatever else is going on, I choose my project and settle in for some blissful art making. Lately, my choices have been between my knitting, weaving beads for jewelry pieces, and my art journal.

NewbornSocks052809

My knitting is a dear old friend, with its cozy and comfortable rhythm, always there to wrap me in its warm embrace. Using a newborn sock pattern I recently found online, I’m making a rosy pink pair of booties for a colleague’s brand new daughter. It took me a couple of practice starts trying to find the right gauge and now I’ve settled upon using size 2 double pointed bamboo needles.

PeyoteCuffCloseup052809

My beadwork is constantly evolving as I try new and different weaves to express the beauty of nature and how it touches and resonates within my soul. I love the color palette I used for my Spring free-form bracelet and do not want to let it go just yet. Using the bead soup mix I found left over on my bead mat, I created a 2-drop peyote cuff.

PeyoteCuffFull052809

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly and easily this cuff came into being and am excited by the range of ideas floating in my head on how I can use it for a background for polymer clay work like canes, cabochons and buttons. For this particular cuff, I think I will create a glazed polymer clay face cabochon in soft pinks as a focal point. I haven’t figured out yet what I will do for a clasp. I want something that will go well with the design and colors of the cuff. I feel that if I add a metal clasp that it might be too jarring for the rest of the design, especially with the soft colors of this palette. Any ideas?

ArtJournalHandPage052809

My new love is my art journal. Sarah Whitmire’s wonderful Soul Journal prompts have taken me gently by the hand and guided me as I start out on this self-discovery journey. Now that I have almost completed the 22 days of prompts, I find my wings starting to flutter open. I want to fly on my own across my journal pages and see what happens.

ArtJournalFaceSilhouette052

I am having so much fun mixing and layering paint colors on the pages. I’ve discovered the “My Studio” line of inexpensive acrylic paints at A.C. Moore and everytime I visit I am compelled to get just a couple more colors! I also find myself looking around the house for interesting elements to add and use for stamping and texturing my pages. Inspired by my dear friend Judy, my next step is to try my hand at molding paste to bring a lot more texture to my pages. I’d like to use that for the cover of my journal. If anyone has any tips or stories to share about your own art journaling/collage experience, please do!

ArtJournalScavenger052809

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

~Pablo Picasso