Thursday, December 30, 2010

Start the New Year Fresh

OK, you skinny people may not relate to this but those of us carrying around a few, (think way too many) pounds, will relate to how hard it is to share a photo of yourself in a bathing suit with just about anyone. Wearing a bathing suit is bad enough, but to be frozen in time in a photo means the truth is there for all to see. Yikes! 
This is my studio equivalent. Yes, this photo records the embarrassing work space I really can't "work" in, because of all the junk and unfinished projects that slowly (actually, as quick as a day) reduce the usable surface area to about 6 inches. It is probably just as well that you can't see the piles of stuff under the table  too. I bare all here in the hopes that by doing so and committing to a fresh start in 2011, the work area will be transformed and I will be able to get back to creating some jewelry. OK, transformed is a too strong since this isn't a room makeover, but a very small area with limited storage. Tomorrow is devoted to organizing, cleaning up, throwing away and giving away stuff that just isn't all that important to keep. (tough for artists, since every scrap of paper and found object might find its way into a project) Saturday, I hope to post another photo of the organized space. Keep your expectations low, and you will be impressed!

The studio I share in Spanish Village is such a treat where work space is concerned. I spread out on an empty 6 foot table and don't even fill the thing with all the junk I bring to work on. Yep, we're livin' large up there in the Village. No heat, but plenty of room. Counting my blessings as we say goodbye to 2010! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Village Artisans Gallery

Village Artisans is a lovely gallery located in the picturesque village of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. The owner, PJ Heyman, carries a beautiful and varied selection of paintings, sculpture, photography and hand crafted items. This year PJ won a Niche Award for being one of the top ten craft retailers in the U.S. Congratulations Village Artisans! I am happy to say they are now carrying some of my pendants and earrings too. Check out their web site at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Color

Sorry for not posting for a while. I've been busy making jewelry to sell, getting Christmas gifts ready to mail and doing all the usual stuff we all do. You are probably too busy to read this anyway, but maybe just sitting at the computer a minute is a break for you as it is for me.
Been thinking about reds and experimenting with silver foil. Here are some of the results.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tweet Tweet

Here is a photo of a couple more bird houses. I like the bright primary colors and some birds do too. On the "Life" series, from the Discovery Channel, they showed a bower bird gathering bits of "bling" and color to decorate his place to attract a mate. Really, this bird is the Candice Olson of the bird world.
I plan to make the next house in soft colors for the understated tweeters out there.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ohio Bead Swap

Our guild decided to try a swap with another guild recently. We swapped beads using metallic foils, glitter, or metallic powders with the creative people in the Columbus Ohio guild. Here is a photo of the beads we sent.
Everyone came up with such creative and unique solutions to the challenge. Too cool!
Thanks everyone for participating.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nobody Here But Us Chickens

OK, I promise I won't mention pirates after today, really, scouts honor. I just wanted to share the adorable chicken I bought at Sandy Camp. What you say, do chickens have to do with pirates? Good question, and not much of a connection really, except that the only photo I have of Tina Goodrich, the wonderful chicken's creator, is, as you guessed it, a pirate at Sandy Camp! See her holding another one of her creations, Jack Sparrow. Both are much cuter in person, but this wasn't a Vogue photo shoot after all. You can see more of Tina's work by clicking on the link to her blog, KT Did Clay, from the list of blogs on the right. Thanks Tina for all your fun creations. They always make me smile. 

This little rooster is now the guardian of my kitchen cupboard. Anyone taking a dish, sees this colorful feathered sentry and hopefully has a little chuckle.

Hey, this guy means business!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Scull & Crossbones

Have you had your fill of pirate stuff yet? I had to mention my friend Shipwreck" Shelly Neal, who made the awesome cane you see below. The scull & crossbones design runs all the way through the cane, and is sliced like a jelly roll for use in jewelry or other applications. Reducing the cane size without too much distortion is no easy task. Shelly makes it look easy.

You can see by the grid lines that this cane measured at least 3 1/2 inches across before reducing it's size.

Check out the bracelet she made with some of the smaller slices. Well done Shelly!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Beads of Courage & Hearts for Heroes

A great outreach project we work on at the guild retreat is the Beads of Courage Program. This program is for children undergoing treatment for cancer and other serious illnesses. Children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path. You can read more about this program on their website: In August they received a Pepsi grant of $25,000. Way to go!
While making these beads is an ongoing project of our guild throughout the year, you can see the ones we made at the retreat below.

Our other outreach project is Hearts for Heroes. Small heats are sent to deployed troops as a reminder that they are loved and appreciated and to thank  them for their service to our country. Below, are some of the hearts we made. They have a website too.
Below are some of the hearts we made.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Halloween Treat

One of the awesome and imaginative artists at Sandy Camp was Dawn Schiller. Dawn sculpts amazing figures with lots of personality. I love all the details and the expressive and unique nature of each little character. She states on her web site

"Among my creations you'll find treefolk and witches, merfolk and wizards...fugitives from fairy tales; Figments of the Imagination, Odd Fae, the slightly-off-center, Autumn Things, the Green Man and Others....all having very little to do with the real world and everything to do with giggles 'n' snickers and Things that go Bump in the Night".
Dawn was kind enough to give us a glimpse into her process by giving a workshop on creating tiny face pins. I bought a couple of her pin frames and feel inspired to make some characters of my own one of these days. Famous last words. Anyway, thanks Dawn for giving us a chance to see your process and for giving us these expressive and interesting sculptures.

Here you can see Dawn hard at work on one of her character pins. Kathy Davis, a collaborator on the skull below,  is seen in the background looking this direction.

Close up of the character taking shape. He looks quite satisfied with himself. I'm not so sure about the guy hiding behind Dawn's tools in the upper left part of the photo.

Don't you love this wonderful skull  collaboratively made by Dawn and Kathy for the Opportunity Drawing?

Hope you have a Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bottles of Hope

The Bottles of Hope Program began in 1999 by Diane Gregoire, a polymer clay artist who had survived breast cancer and a member of the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild. While sitting for hours during treatments, she noticed all the empty medicine bottles being thrown away and the idea was born.
We take these bottles, all from medications that are non-toxic, such as Heparin or sterile water, clean them, remove the tops and labels, and decorate them with imaginative polymer clay designs. Patients receiving these bottles, and the staff that cares for them, are so touched by the thought behind them that they become cherished tokens of the care of strangers. Some bottles have optional notes inside them with wishes for good health, poems, or inspirational messages.
At Sandy Camp this year, our guild made over 80 bottles for patients at Moores Cancer Center here in San Diego. You can see the creativity that went into each one.

Thanks to all the participants.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sandy Camp

Ahoy mateys!
Just came back from several days of fun at Sandy Camp, the San Diego Polymer Clay Guild's annual retreat. We had so many talented artists all together under one tent, creating awesome and diverse works in jewelry, sculpture and an assortment of other things like Bottles of Hope, tiny boxes for treasure, and clay picture frames.
Our theme this year was Pirates. arg! Marie Segal, clay artist extraordinaire, made everyone on the organizing committee these beautiful and intricate heart necklaces. Aren't they awesome? Pirate treasure indeed. Thank you Marie for all the work you put into making these. I love mine and will treasure it as will everyone else on the committee, for sure. Marie's generosity and thoughtfulness didn't stop there. She also made us hoop earrings with the cutest parrot perched on one hoop you can see below. We were quite a crew of bejeweled pirate wenches thanks to you Marie. Check out Marie's blog by clicking on the link: Art From My Heart found on the right.

Here is "Mad Dog Marie" with the cutest little pirate at Sandy Camp. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Northwest road trip

Sorry for not posting for a couple weeks, but I've been on the road. We needed to check on things at our house in WA and decided to drive. It was almost boarder to boarder and although that meant a long time in the car, we got to see our son, old friends, and outstanding scenery along the way. The west coast is stunningly beautiful and I felt so fortunate to see some gorgeous vistas and terrain as we drove along. Landscapes have found there way into my clay work and you can see by these photos that there is much food for thought.

Light House

Lake Quinault, Olympic National Forest
Rainy weather provided some interesting photos

Ruby Beach
The rain did not deter us from going back to this magical place. Found the huge banana slugs in the forest on the way down to the beach too.

Crater Lake
See the cute little tour guide we had at this lookout? He is at the top edge of the sign.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Copper Cuff #2

Making these cuffs is fun and challenging. Lining up the mini bolts with all the holes is critical, otherwise adjusting them with a pliers distorts the threads. The brass layer is some screen my friend Patti gave me. Thanks Patti, I love that stuff. The top piece of metal is sewn on with thin wire. Having a drill press would help with this type of project since there is a lot of drilling, but where would we put it. Maybe one in the living room could double as a lamp or something.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Brown & Aqua Cuff

Don't know why these color combinations keep inspiring my jewelry. I sure make a lot with brown and aqua. Must be the beautiful ocean and sky colors found here and maybe dirt. Or should I say the terra firma? Or earth and air? Who knows how much our surroundings influence us? More than we can say. Anyway, here is the latest.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Faux Stone

As part of the faux stone venture I've been working on, turquoise had to be included. A lapidary guy, that really knows a lot about rocks, saw the faux stones and said he would know the difference right away. So, now I'll just call them aqua faux stones. They are still lighter then the real thing and I enjoyed the challenge of trying to imitate rock. What do you think?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Faux Jade

I've been working on creating several faux stones with polymer clay. So far, the jade has been the most satisfactory. I made the beads for this necklace a couple weeks ago and before I had them assembled, a new friend came to the studio, saw the stones, and asked me to make them into a necklace for her. This is the result. Actually it hangs better but I was in a rush to get it ready and took this photo in a hurry. Hope you are enjoying it Coleen.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Copper Cuff with Silver Nugget

This is my first attempt at making a copper cuff.  Three different solder joints on top of each other and luckily they all held. The surface was textured then treated with liver of sulfur. The inside of the blank was lined with polymer clay since it fits snug to the wrist and green wrists just aren't my thing. Hope the polymer holds tight as the cuff needs to flex a bit each time it is worn. Next time, I will rough up the inside to give the polymer more tooth for adhesion.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Artists & Creativity

Have you ever wondered how artists do what they do? What is their inspiration? I've always been fascinated by the creative process and enjoy reading about how other artists have set about bringing ideas to fruition and how they get moving when the ideas aren't flowing. Rice Freeman-Zachery has written a book where she interviews 15 artists about their inspiration, creative process and how they jump start their work if they are temporarily stalled out. Easy reading and validation that other adults have to stop and pick up leaves, trash and "treasure" when they are supposed to be doing other things. Check it out.

Friday, July 9, 2010

For the Birds

The bird house I made was a lot of fun so I thought I'd try another one. Earth tones and a little more texture complete this little polymer abode.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Got into making a few bangles lately. Made a copper cuff too that I'll post later. These bangles were made with scraps from, you guessed it, black & white beads. Will it ever end? They have a metal core and should be durable. I guess there is the possibility of clay breaking off since I didn't glue the clay on or sand the metal first. Time will tell.

These purple ones were fun to make and are made entirely of polymer. I don't know how well they will hold up since they are a bit flexible and have no internal support. If anyone reading this has any experience with solid polymer bangles, let me know.

Have a great 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Earthy inspiration

Finally finished something from a workshop I took with Julie Picarello last year. Yes, last year! You are probably thinking that is a long time and it is, but some times I can't come up with how to finish something and have mentally moved on. This pendant required adding a clay tube in the back to carry the wire.
The workshop was my first from a professional polymer clay jewelry artist and it was fun and informative. Thanks Julie. You are a great teacher

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Black and White continued

After making all the black and white beads for the swap (oh, there are more, but I won't bore you with those), there were leftover canes that I thought might look good as pendants. The first one is bold and geometric as you see below.

This one has a finer, linear design. Different strokes for different folks.