Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Play Break to Repurpose

I've been busily reorganizing my studio spaces over the past week.  I'm not yet finished, but the end is in sight, only a day or two more....  I took a break from my organization project to create a piece for my guild challenge.  The PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Guild of Etsy) challenge theme for the month of February 2014 is wall hangings.  I had a completely different idea in mind for this challenge, but the presence of something that needed to be used sparked this project.

I had been asked by a friend to make another one of my turtle island pieces, which I began a few months ago.  I had stretched the canvas on my frame and coated it with liquid polymer, but when I cured that layer the center caved in and there was a lot of slack in the canvas, which for a "quilled" polymer look would not work.  The quilled project really needs to start with a taut canvas surface, because of how many layers of clay are concentrated in one layer creating a lot of weight.  Here's a photo of what went wrong with the canvas:

I've been so busy with my studio reorganize that I had pushed myself to the last day before the challenge deadline and realized that my original plan for this challenge would not have enough time to come together (I'll have to revisit that particular idea another time).  About a year or more ago, I had an idea to try a two layer sandwich of polymer then make certain shape partial cuts to fold back and allow the folds and the color contrast to create the design, so I decided to try this on my saggy  canvas.  At first I was going to cut away the canvas, but quickly realized that I could incorporate it into the design, thus giving more stability to my project.  So I covered the canvas again with liquid polymer, but this time I mixed it with some gold mica.  I made a swirl pattern radiating out from the center.  Some gold glitter scattered on top of the lpc layer added just a bit of shimmer.  I then made two large sheets of polymer (the circle is about 12" to 14" in diameter); one was a skinner blend that radiated from gold in the center to bronze on the outer areas and the top sheet was a blend of blue granite (has silver glitter flecks) mixed with blue pearl, cobalt blue and translucent.

After cutting the shapes and mounting the large polymer sheets to the canvas, I was ready to make the folds to reveal the design.  Some bonding agent, with the help of a few embossed dots as design elements, helped to secure the sheets to the canvas.  Here are some side view shots of the piece, so you can see the folded over elements:

And here are some close up shots:

While I'm fairly happy with my idea becoming a reality in this piece, this project was simply too rushed for me.  I think this design idea has some great potential and I do plan to revisit this idea another day when I can devote more time and effort to the construction.  Plus, (as always seems to happen) I have a whole other tangent of new ideas to implement in the next, or perhaps the 3rd iteration! ;) Please take a moment and let me know what you think about this piece in the comments!

Voting for this challenge will begin on February 1st and will run through February 7th (midnight EST).  I'll try to remember to repost a voting reminder at that time.  A post with my new studio changes is coming soon! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year Blessings and New Challenges

Some thanks for last year and New Year blessings are in order.  Right before Christmas I had the honor to be featured on the Polymer Clay Daily website (curated by Cynthia Tinapple), for my recycled Christmas Tree (seen in my last blog post).  Again, this is a huge honor for any polymer artist, and I am so thankful for it!  Speaking of honors, I must also mention that the same piece (recycled Christmas Tree) was chosen in the top 3 votes of both the public and the PCAGOE guild members in the January challenge!  This is a huge honor as well, considering all the wonderfully creative pieces that our members produce each month!  Many thanks to anyone who took the time to vote!

For some reason every start of the calendar year brings a desire to reorganize and restructure.  This year, my major restructuring is the project of my studio space.  Because I like to recycle items, my studio supplies are outgrowing their designated space, and in the process, driving me crazy.  Sadly, last June a small room in my house became available.

Sadly because, for the last 14 years this space was home to my beloved cat who had to be put to sleep in June.  If you don't know the story, you might wonder why a cat has his own room... long story short, I had 2 cats (read furbabies) when I met my husband.  Husband is asthmatically allergic to cats.  Every time while we were dating/engaged that the subject of getting rid of the cats came up, I was reduced to a puddle of tears.  So, my brilliant hubby devised a plan that worked... we built a room into the basement of our new house plans, with a door that had outside-only access (no air exchange with the rest of the house).  It was a process, to spend time with my cat(s) every day, of changing clothes to snuggle with them, keeping a sealed container for clothes worn into the room, laundering all cat-room related items at the laundromat, and bathing immediately after a visit. But for me and my baby(ies), it was worth it.  I lost my pretty girl, a tiger long hair who resembled a Maine Coon, 9 years ago.  The last one, a flame pt. Himalayan - my sweet boy, is now gone.. so I began the process of turning this space into a spare studio space.

This is my baby, sitting on his bed by his window,  just one month before he was put to sleep and before I knew anything was afflicting him, beyond old age.  I had just painted the room the color of raspberry ice cream (before that it was a khaki color) to make things more cheery for him and me...

The room was always drywalled.  But, it was the only "living space" in our house that had never been trimmed out with baseboards or window sills/door jam trim, as you can see (the exposed plywood window frame) here:


So, late this fall, once I felt I was ready (emotionally and after healing a broken ankle) to turn the space over to it's next purpose, I made a trip to the lumber yard and picked up what I needed.  Thanks to a loan of my dad's mitre box, the trim is mounted, caulked, and ready for a new coat of paint.  The trim and door will be a darker shade of the wall hue.  A trip to the local furniture thrift store outfitted the room with a large desk, 2 filing cabinets and a vintage art deco wardrobe closet (all for under $200).  I'm anxious to have things completed, and should have the trim painted by next week (I hope).  I'll share photos of everything when it's done!

Oh, and I'm challenging myself to do a few other things this year: #1 be more active and heath conscious, #2 get more studio time, #3 keep things organized (once I'm finished with both studio spaces) #4 write those tutorials I've been promising (and perhaps consider writing a project book on recycling with polymer) and #5 blog twice a month.  Let's hope I'm able to meet these challenges!  Have you decided to challenge yourself to do something new this year?  Tell me about it in the comments!