Friday, November 1, 2013

A month of gratitude and feasts! ...with a side of experimentation

November is upon us already; which, here in the US always brings to mind our holiday of Thanksgiving.  Since my last post of belated thanks for websites on which my work was featured over the past 5 months, I was featured in 2 more places for which I need to express my gratitude!

The first feature was on the Polymer Clay Daily website, for my little acorn light.  As a polymer clay artist, this feature is a huge honor.  PCD is curated by Polymer Master Artist Cynthia Tinapple and this site has widespread following.  I've been floating on air since Monday, feeling validated as a genuine part of this wonderful artistic community as I receive multiple new contact notices from other polymer artists on my Flickr account, generous comments on facebook and on the PCD feature post, and some requests for a tutorial on creating my little pod.  A tutorial is currently in the making, with some brand new ideas that will be included, and it should be available by the end of the month (I hope!). 

The second feature, for which I wanted to give thanks, was for another spot on the Craftgossip website.  The polymer finds shared at Craftgossip are curated by Elaine Robitaille.  Elaine has featured me there a few times, for which I was equally grateful but failed to mention here on my blog (because I'm a bad blogger, but trying to be better).  This latest feature on Craftgossip was for my most recent Guild (PCAGOE) challenge piece.

This month's guild challenge theme is Salt & Pepper shakers.  I tried to come up with a clever tie-in of the subject to the objects.  Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated by science.  I often think chemistry was one of my first loves, even though I didn't really know anything about it at the time.  Like most 4-5 year old girls in the 1970's, one of my favorite toys was a plastic tea set.  But did this girl use it to pretend-drink tea? ...nope, I would sneak into the bathroom and make concoctions of my mother's different Avon products mixed into my teacups; sort-of a little mad scientist, if you will.  That lasted until she caught me and gave me a tongue lashing for wasting her beauty products.  After which, I still made my concoctions, but hid them under my bed... I was eventually found out when she discovered hard caked and cracked substances in my teacup set under the bed.  She never bought me a chemistry set, or a new tea set for that matter to replace the then ruined tea set, so I guess she didn't see the scientist connection back then; but that was indeed what I was up to... Who knows, if she had invested in a chemistry set, perhaps I'd be experimenting with science instead of art products now... and with that difference, my mother has made the world a safer place! ;)

So, while exploring my ideas for this challenge, I thought of the chemical compound for sodium chloride or NaCl, commonly known as table salt.  I found the diagram for it on google and just loved the design that it created with the concentric circles joined together by the one ionic bond.  So, my next thought was, "great, now what do I do for pepper".  So I googled "pepper molecule" and found diagrams for both compounds of capsaicin and piperine.  Being married to an Italian who considers hot peppers to be the essence of life, I'm very familiar with Capsaicin and I associate it with red peppers, so that was out... but what is piperine?  Well, piperine is the alkaloid in pepper which is responsible for its pungent taste.  Perfect!

So, I decided to cover the shakers with a chopped translucent technique, the salt was done in white, frost white and translucent, and the pepper was done in a black, granite and translucent mix.  Then, I used a contrast of black rectangle with NaCL diagram embossed on the salt shaker and a contrast of white rectangle with the piperine (C17H19NO3) compound diagram embossed on it.  Yes, I know, I'm such a geek... that's how the title for these was born "Feed your geek Salt and Pepper Shakers".  After curing, I painted the NaCl embossing with white acrylic paint and the piperine diagram with black acrylic paint.  I sealed the paint with a polymer sealer and sanded the shakers to even out any bumps.  Then the shakers were coated with a layer of liquid polymer and cured again.  To finish, they were sanded again through 10 or 12 grades of sandpaper (I lose track and am too lazy to go count how many I actually use) and finally buffed to a shine with my buffing machine. 

I added little windows in the bottom of the shakers just under my teeny "Create My World" signature stamp, so the owner can easily see when they need to be refilled (they are available in my etsy store).  The shakers in my kitchen are made of wood and the thing I dislike about them is that one never knows when they are empty, until you shake the salt or grind the pepper and find nothing coming out!  So this solves that dilemma:

I was really pleased with the way these turned out.  What do you think?  Leave me a comment below!  And please go vote for your favorite 3 entries in this month's guild challenge at the PCAGOE blog.  Three lucky voters will be randomly selected to win a prize, one of them could be you! 
Here are the other entries, it's so tough to choose favorites among these well conceived entries!


  1. Oh me too! I always wanted a chemistry set (but never got one) and had concoctions crusting over everywhere. I did get a microscope when I was 7, and that was probably what set me down the science path as I never looked back after that. But it was always the orderly, scientific, color theory and paint aspects of art that drew me anyway. At least at first. I love your salt and pepper ideas. I should SO do that! Going now to do some voting...

    1. Ooo, Ginger, you had a microscope! How cool, I didn't have anything that cool! My mom, God bless her heart, never had any dollies when she was a little girl; so the majority of my parent's gifts to me were dolls, even collectible ones that I wasn't allowed to touch (try telling that to a 5 year old!) ;) I just remembered my first art supply experiment. I somehow got it in my head that it would be neat to find out what hot water would do to a crayon. I did this in the white marble bathroom sink, when I was probably about 7 years old. When I realized the disaster of yellow crayon coating the bathroom sink I promptly tried to clean it up with a sharp edge that left nicks in the sink... I think that was my first art experiment gone wrong! ;) I guess there's a little mad-scientist in most of us artists! I loved reading your comment, thanks for posting it, and thanks for voting!


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