Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing you grace and peace! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I had a series of blog posts that I was working on for this week, attempting to follow a more regular schedule of posting, but the events in Connecticut last Friday have cast a shadow over everything and  I just haven't felt like posting. Although I homeschool our children, my husband is a public school teacher so we are grieving for the families in Newton and feeling the situation a little personally as well. 
So I pray for the families in Connecticut 
and for my husband's safety as he heads out to work in the morning. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Small is good too

I learned last year that a lot of folks purchase my tiny earrings as stocking stuffers so I've tried to stuff the shop with them this year. Some are even one of a kind - specialness in a tiny package.

Someone asked me not long ago why I don't stop making the tiny earrings and focus on larger pieces. Good question - I don't mind being questioned. Its me think about what I am doing. But my answer was simple - I have short hair and like to wear tiny earrings.

Sprout in aqua
So...tiny earrings will continue but many designs that I've had for a while will be gone after the New Year. Out with the old and in with the new.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Focused on shapes

I seem really focused on shape lately. Maybe this always happens in the winter landscape, less color, more shape. Trunks and branches silhouetted against the sky.

Greenhouse Winter by Kyle Williamson
  The work of Paul Krix (of Neat Object) reminds me so much of this. VERY neat, aren't they?!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Scrap of paper

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web. - Pablo Picasso

So the truth is that I often don't have much of a plan at first.  I LOOK for a plan (or idea, or design or whatever you want to call it) and I figure, I'll know it when I see it. 
Thus my shape experiment

The shapes I liked the best are now patterns to cut thin sheets of polymer.  I put shapes together, some layered, as earrings. Larger shapes might become necklaces, parts of necklaces, they might expand to 3D bead. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A necklace almost complete

Sometimes I get stopped at clasps - they shouldn't just be an after thought. I've been doing so many "slip over your head" style necklaces that I stopped thinking about interesting clasps. (Or maybe I make "slip over the head" necklaces to avoid making clasps. Hmm...) 
This shorter necklace will need to sit and wait while I think about how it should connect.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The next steps with shapes

I started cutting some shapes using the paper patterns that I made last week,  adding surface treatment, putting some shapes together.

I kind of saw most of these as earring parts but there might be be necklace possibilities here too.

A big thank you to Cynthia Tinapple for including my video in her weekend Studio Mojo newsletter! If you're interested in some more in depth polymer info. (videos, interviews...) delivered each Saturday, you can sign up to receive it here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shape Exploration

 I scheduled "shape exploration" this week as the first step a new series I'm thinking about and made a short video of the process. The idea was to work quickly and see what I came up with - I was just looking for shapes.  The video is about 2 mins. but I think I worked for about 30 minutes total, only keeping the shapes I liked the best. 

The best shapes
The same thing could be done by drawing I suppose (fast drawings on inexpensive sketch paper)  but I enjoy cutting and I like that I end up with pattern pieces.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Polymer Arts

Polymer Arts Winter 2012 is out today - I'm really honored to be part of the Rings Galore article! Thank you to editor Sage Bray for including my work. 

Fragment ring in coal

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wandering planet

I read a BBC report the other day about rogue, orphaned planets that wander the universe.  
Scientists don't know how they came to be and where they are going.  
I find it comforting that we don't have everything figured out.  
Awe and wonder are good for the soul. 

Fooling around with colored pencil on black polymer
Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't forget the knot

Yesterday I added the last bead to this necklace and then dropped it to the floor. Beads went everywhere and two are now lost in "the bead vortex". (Do you have one? That place where beads that you JUST HAD in your hand get sucked into only to be found 12 months later?) And I am talking about the big beads, not the the tiny ones.

I crawled around on my knees for a while, searching, eventually adding other beads that work better anyway. Here it is completed and now posted to the shop. (with a very secure, glued, triple knot!)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sneak peak

Shhh... a sneak peak of my project in Cynthia Tinapple's upcoming polymer clay book (Potter's Creek, August 2013).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Just Keep Carving

Sometimes things don't work out initially but rather than give up you need to just keep going. I thought my initial carving with these beads was "flat" from a design standpoint.

But the second stage of carving I did really helps these little cactus-ish beads (Cactus, boulder, mountains? Not sure.)  Next step will be to try adding some colored pencil and securing it with Genesis medium. 

Have a great weekend! I was hoping to get out for a hike but the boy's yucky, nagging coughs will probably keep us at home. More time to carve. 
Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Its so nice to find my work on wish lists like Vickie's over at Unusual Magic!
(Thank you for  making my Wednesday,Vickie!) 

I''m going to be working on several smaller drop earring designs after school this afternoon. From talking to customers, small earrings make very good stocking stuffers and small gifts for friends at work, teachers, even hostess gifts. (This particular design incorporates scrap clay as the bronze background. REDUCE/REUSE/RECYCLE) 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Not so bad

All in all, we made it through the storm really well, especially compared to some of the folks in New York and New Jersey - our hearts just go out to them. 

I knew that the skylight needed to be replaced but I think this moves our timeframe up a bit. Not sure we can accomplish it before winter but something has to happen by spring at the latest. Unfortunately the whole thing may have to go and be replaced with a dormer of some sort.  I will really miss all that natural light.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

We hunkering down here in south central PA. Hurricane Sandy is suppose to make landfall within the next 2 hours or so and the eye will be passing perhaps just over us sometime after dark. Not thrilled about that. We've been told to prepare to shelter in place and probably be without power at some point. 

The super great skylight in my studio is proving not so great - its leaking. We've had this happen before but I definitely think its worse this time. I moved supplies around and everything is safe. I baked a tray of beads and other pieces this morning to keep me busy if/when the power goes out.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

In a nut shell

So here is the Kathleen Dustin hollow box/purse class in a nut shell...
- make nut
- cover nut
- extricate nut from shell
- shell becomes box or purse

Here is my C+, unfinished effort.

Kathleen didn't grade us; I graded myself. And never mind the C+ ... everything I learned (the tips, the material knowledge and the skills)  will certainly all be applicable to anything I do with polymer. And more than a purse, thats really what I wanted, just to learn more about the material from a master!

More details about the class I must get the household back in order.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

I started some necklaces that incorporate my recycled beads a couple months ago. Now that I'm taking a permaculture design course and just finished reading the recycling section I'm re-visiting them. I feel challenged to overhaul my studio to better reduce materials, use and re-use... everything.

Jacob's  Ladder and Recycled beads. 

I have a bag of scrap sterling - I'll recycle that myself once I get a larger amount. My studio has "pools" of lighting for different areas so I only turn on the lights I need.  I keep my paper usage to a minimum and use mostly recycled packaging. (Speaking of which, if you haven't already, check out Claire Maunsell's diy solution for shipping using cereal boxes.)  All of my scrap, soft clay is used for Reef pieces and to make grey clay. In fact, the Kathleen Dustin class next weekend requires 1 lb. of scrap clay and I'm thinking, "I have no "scrap" clay!" I will indeed "fake" some scrap clay.

Unfortunately carving after curing produces Cured Scrap Clay... ARGH! This is my real hurdle right now.

Help me learn - how do you reduce, re-use and recycle in your studio?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hi. I knew I had to show up here "in person" sooner or later. 
As you can see, I am so busy these days I don't even have time to look at the camera ;-) 

Friday, September 28, 2012


The boys have the day off today and I am busy, busy in the studio. October will be an especially full month with Christmas orders starting in earnest (one would hope at least).

New Fragment Necklace
One big event for me in October will be a 2 day Kathleen Dustin workshop! I've wanted to take a class with her for quite a while and put myself on the waiting list for one at the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild.  I am thrilled to have gotten a spot!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Isn't it funny

Isn't it funny how things happen sometimes? I was considering diverting attention from rings for a while because I feel like people feel unsure about buying them online or about polymer clay ones or something.  "Some business decisions are sad." I thought, because I love rings.  

Then what do you know?  I was asked to write an article about rings and my process. 

So I am (quite happily) working through some ideas and the how and the why of it. (Thank you Sage at The Polymer Arts Magazine, for the excuse to do something I really wanted to do anyway!)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Semi - DIY

We encourage art, handmade and cooperative projects around here. This DIY/IKEA hack was my suggestion but Ben is doing all the work on our Custom Lack coffee tables.

Ben's work, partially complete
 I've seen similar tables with the legs custom painted before but I really wanted a personalized piece of family furniture where one of Ben's drawings could take center stage so I asked him to draw on the stop of stackable IKEA tables. (I think they're $7.99 each.) We can use one or both put together or stack them in a corner when we don't need them.

Ben did a quick sketch and set to work. He lightly sketched a basic outline with pencil right onto the tables. It was his idea to have the design work all the way across two tables so they look like one big drawing when placed side by side (see photo 4). They're a very dark brown but "read" as black so we chose white, oil-based, fine point, Sharpie paint pens which have a great finish and give him a lot of control. 

When they're complete we're going to coat them with a matte varnish so the paint doesn't scratch. A friend also suggested having a piece of glass cut to fit the top if you are going to stack them and want an upscale, shiny finish.

Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The End of Summer

We are squeezing the end out of summer vacation fun with school officially starting on Wednesday. 

I usually do a bead clear out this time of year so there will be some in the shop throughout the next week. I'm breaking my own rule of never selling any of my carved beads - only a couple though. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Updating the shop

I'm processing photos to get some new pieces in the shop today. (A necessary but least favorite part of the job.) I've worked all week to do as much curing as possible before the heat wave hits so I don't have to have the oven on today. This weekend I'll sit in A/C and carve and bead...and bead and carve. 

Buoy Necklace...with pink. I know, PINK? I'm truthfully not a pink person so I'm not sure how this happened.

Maybe I'll listen to some Rockabyebaby; they turn pop songs into lullabies. Imagine putting a baby to sleep to I Want to Rock All Night by Kiss - these folks can make it happen!  Walking on the Moon by the Police is probably my favorite. (scroll down and click the sample). Hysterical and yet comforting at the same  time ;-)  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The voices in my head

Back in my studio and it feels good.

Between filling orders I'm working on taking my carving in new directions, carving more like a linocut.  I carve, I wonder, I carve some more. This is what is sounds like in my head.
"Could I print with polymer plates?"
"Could the carved piece, which is also part of a necklace, first be used to make a print thus creating 2D and 3D art that is related?"
"Where could I go with this?"

I'll keep this conversation going. Hope you are having a good week too!

Friday, July 27, 2012

News from the field

Our last day on Linekin Bay, Maine. Sad.

But tomorrow my shop will re-open and we'll head home to the studio, our own beds and the next adventure.

We are fortunate enough to have a small strip of beach where we stay that is absolute heaven at low tide.  (And equally wonderful at high tide with its dancing clusters of rockweed.)

 I've spent a good bit of my holiday "texture collecting".

Ben's orderly collection habit. He always gets high score in the sea glass category. 

Necklace in the making - sea shells and Fog Linen Work tape from Rock Paper Scissors in Wisscaset. 

Superb drift wood found on our first day here.