Monday, September 14, 2020

The "Personal Challenge" Continues

If you've been reading this blog recently, you know that during the month of August, several members of the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild (SCPCG) participated in a weekly challenge called the 820 Challenge.  Each person picked a personal goal, interest or challenge, and would share progress weekly with the whole group.  It was a great learning experience - and fun to see and share with others. So, we decided to continue the concept of a personal challenge.  This time, we're meeting on zoom every other week rather than weekly.  It gives us all a bit more time to experiment.
I plan to use this challenge to try some tutorials I've never done, as well as experiment with different materials or tools, and try out some ideas of my own.  Should be interesting - and fun!
For this first session, I decided to try a tutorial that uses dish detergent to create surface bubbles for decoration and texture on polymer clay.  The tutorial comes from Thinking Outside the Box and is titled "New Polymer Clay Surface Technique."    It's a fun technique, and I enjoyed giving it a try. Since this was an experiment, I didn't spend a lot of time finishing the edges.  I liked this enough to plan on doing it again, and will pre-plan edging and finishing work.  I used Magic Gloss for the resin top, while the tutorial suggests using another product.

In these two samples, you can see how the soap bubbles create a fun background look and texture.  The Lumiere halo paints also reacted differently, and the lighter color showed the bubble texture off best.  I don't know if mica powders would work well, and may just have to experiment some more. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Making A "Bubble" Cane

Hello! In addition to the bi-monthly challenge group, the group that made the polymer cane has decided to keep picking a cane to make, and then sharing their results.  So for September, they chose a pattern called a "Bubble Cane" and I decided to give it a try. The "bubbles" are the little bullseye canes along the side of what tends to look like a leaf.  Everyone had chosen different colors, and the results were fun to see. Above, I've posted a slice from my cane, and a couple of little flower pieces I made from the cane reduced smaller.


I also made a pod bead from multiple layers of the cane, complete with a small piece of twisting vine.  This was really a rather simple cane to put together, and many of us who made it felt the middle section needed something more.  What do you think?

Monday, August 31, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTICE: It Looks Like Changes Are Coming!!!

Hello!

We're looking at changes everywhere these days, and it appears that I'm going to be facing a major change with my blog.  Blogger, the company that provides this online avenue for individuals to create their own blogs, has decided to update their software.  The change is designed to make the blogs developed with Blogger to be easier to view on cell phones and tablets.  They are also adding a few new bells and whistles, and have given everyone using Blogger a chance to try out the new format to see how it works.

Sadly, I have been unable to use the new platform.  My trusty - still working just fine, thank you - desktop computer is too old to adapt to the new software.  I've known something like this was bound to happen sometime.  I haven't been able to upgrade any of the search engines I use, and there are new programs I can't run on this machine.  It's obviously time to get a new computer.  Sigh. I always find the process of transferring important files takes time, and learning a new operating system and software can be frustrating.  I'll manage, but it will take a bit of time.

The reason I'm telling you all this "tale of woe" is that it may turn out I have to create a completely new blog - new template, new look, new name, new URL address.  I will keep my name in the title of the Blog, and am currently leaning toward "Creations by Kristie Foss."  Blogger said in August that they would be switching everyone over to the new format in September. So, it is possible I will still be able to use this old format for a while.  However, I have a feeling they will stop supporting the old program at some point - probably sooner rather than later.

So, this is a "heads up."  If you visit this blog and notice that nothing is happening for a month or more, then you can assume I am in the process of getting a new computer, learning new operating systems and new software, and making a new blog.  Please be patient and continue to do a Google search for Kristie Foss or Creations by Kristie Foss and see what comes up.  I enjoy sharing what I'm doing, so I will continue to have a blog.  It just may have a new name.

Thank you all for your comments and your viewings over the years. It's hard to believe I've been blogging for over 10 years!  See you online - either here, or in a slightly newer "blog home."

~Kristie

820 Polymer Challenge Week #4

It's the end of August, and we just held our last session of the 820 Polymer Challenge.  It was simply fascinating to see what people had developed.  The ideas, techniques, and concepts were as numerous and diverse as the individuals in the group.  We really had a good time.  It was an excellent incentive to think, dream, create - and share!  As a matter of fact, we enjoyed it so much that the group has decided to continue on, sharing whatever is our current exploration, and meeting in the Zoom room twice a month.  I'm looking forward to continuing our times together.  I know I'll continue to learn from others, and I like the push to stretch myself, too.

Even though we're continuing, it won't be the 820 (August, 2020) challenge anymore. We'll have a new name. :)

Here is the final piece I made for the 820 challenge. It is a pendant composed primarily of tubes.  The patterned tube is made from a mokume gane sheet. The thinnest tube is ridged. I envision attaching a chain to the two outside tubes to make a necklace.  Another option, suggested by one of the 820 participants, was that I could make it into a lariat with a ribbon or chain or rubber tubing extending all the way through the 2 end tubes. I think a hand-died silk ribbon would be especially perfect! :)


Sunday, August 30, 2020

820 Polymer Challenge Week #3

This weekend marked the 3rd week in our August, 2020 challenge.  Once again, I tried out ideas I've not done before.  The first piece has several open circles in complimentary colors floating atop curved lines.  When I was finished, it made me think of a bird in flight. I moved the piece around until I found a position I liked.  When you look at the photo, I hope you can envision a chain or other hanging material coming from the tips of the top white underlying strip.  I think it really would look like something flying when worn as a pendant.




The other piece is three different shapes held together by harmonious colors and two thin, parallel extruded strips.  I tried different angles with this piece, also, but it only seemed to want to be long and tall.  This could work as a pendant or a pin.  As I planned, each piece has at least 2 colors, 2 textures, and 2 different shapes.



Friday, August 21, 2020

Multi-Medium Necklace

Tube beads are fun to make. These tubes were made from a mokume gane and gold-leaf sheet. Of course, once you have the beads baked, you need a way to string them together. This opens all sorts of possibilities for using items from other mediums besides polymer. The various items included in the cording area here include: two different purple shades of silk ribbon,  lavendar yarn, multi-colored nobby yarn, and thin white string with clear crystal bicones.  The tube beads may be moved along the ribbon so the look is changeable.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

820 Polymer Challenge: Week #2

Welcome to week 2 of the August, 2020 Polymer Challenge. I have 2 new pieces for you, both in the same color-way: white and fuschia. The longer piece is definitely a pendant, and a bail could be hung on the curved half-ring at the top. The pieces down the center are a new shape I made up from a chevron shape. Embellishments include gold-filled wires with small balls on the ends and Swarovski glass pearls.

 I particularly enjoy the roundish piece - it's fun! I cut a partial "splash" shape and made swirl shapes inside the white edging to sort of imitate the splash. This piece has a lot of open space, so whatever is being worn will show through. I think it would work well as a pendant or a pin.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

820 Polymer Challenge: Week #1

As I mentioned in the previous posting, one of the off-shoots from the virtual Clay Connection Retreat in July, was a challenge named 820 (for August, 2020). Each participant determines their own challenge and the project or product. Each Saturday, we meet online to describe what we've done during the past week, and how our project is coming along. My project is to try to push my envelop a bit. To do so, my aim is to make one pendant a week, trying something new I haven't done before. In addition, I also plan to use at least 2 different textures, 2 different colors and 2 different shapes in each pendant. Below are photos of my pendants for week #1. You may notice that I used some of the sheet I created in the previous cane challenge to make the football shaped piece in the 3-part pendant. The black and white pendant is something I've never tried before.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Polymer Cane Challenge

So many things have changed or been put on hold due to the pandemic. One of those "things" was the biannual Clay Connection Conference sponsored by the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild. So instead, we held a very modified gathering via Zoom. It was well-attended and people enjoyed both the activities and being connected with other polymerists. In fact, it was so much fun that a couple of different "challenges" emerged from the Zoom conference. One was a polymer cane challenge, where participants were challenged to try a new polymer cane and then share their results. The other was called the 820 challenge (for August, 2020) in which people had to choose a personal challenge involving polymer and produce something toward their project each week for the month of August. I joined the 820 challenge, and will share my project and results in another posting. I also joined the first cane challenge, and am bringing you those results today. The photos on this page show various aspects of the cane. We started with two 3-part skinner blends to create triangular canes. These canes could then be sliced, reshaped, and formed into more complex canes.
I also played around with slices, making beads in different shapes and sizes. Finally, I used some of the scrap to make a patterned polymer sheet. Part of this sheet has been cut out and I used it in one of my pieces for the 820 challenge. You'll see that in another post soon!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Summer Challenges!

As some of you are probably aware, for a few years I have been teaching polymer clay classes. Once a month, I would pick a topic and meet with interested participants to show them a new technique or concept using polymer clay. When the pandemic hit the US, my classes were put on hold, with the hopes that we'd be able to meet together again soon. As time has gone on, it's become obvious that we are still in a holding pattern. So, I decided to offer a monthly "polymer challenge" to those who had been taking my classes and were interested in doing more. In June, our first challenge was to make a bead out of polymer that was new or different for that particular artist. We had a zoom meeting to share our creations and catch up with one another. It was a lot of fun!
For July, the challenge was to create something with a summer theme. The projects people chose to make were as varied as the group! The image here is a magnet I made for my July challenge project. I used embossing powder inside translucent clay for the ocean, and embossing powder on the surface of translucent and ecru for the beach. The waves were the real experiment for me. I wanted to have clay that was super soft and almost like paint. I mixed white, translucent and liquid clay until I had a consistency I wanted. Then I rolled snakes of this mixture out, and pressed them into the base using a couple of different clay tools. For my first attempt, I'm pleased with the way the waves look. I'll be working on other scenes with this mixture in the future to see what happens.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Inchies!

Inchies are small, one-inch square polymer tiles.  They are usually used at polymer clay events for swaps among the participants. In this way, each participant goes home with tiles that remind of the other people, the conference, and might give them ideas of something they could try themselves. Inchies don't have to be elaborate, and they don't have to take a lot of time either, especially when you are making 50 or more to swap with others at a polymer workshop or retreat.  This year, since the Clay Connection is being held virtually, participants are making one inchie each, photographing it, and sending the photo along to Cat, a member of the SCPCG.  Cat will be making a collage of the photos, so we can see all our art work together on one place.  So, here is my inchie.
Since I only needed to make one, I was more elaborate than I usually would be.  Often, Inchies are cut from a large sheet of polymer that the artist has covered with a sample of a particular texture or technique, such as mokume gane or stenciling.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what other folks have done.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

SCPCG "Virtual" Bottles of Hope

Usually, July signals that it's time for a polymer retreat in Connecticut or New Hampshire.  These
retreats are hosted by the polymer guild from that state, and are offered in alternating years.  This year, the Southern Connecticut Polymer Guild (SCPCG) was all set to offer their usual 4-day polymer Clay Connection.  Sadly, the current pandemic has intervened, and SCPCG has decided to offer a virtual retreat.  In addition to demo lessons, raffles, challenges and games, the Connecticut retreat also features a Bottles of Hope challenge.  Bottles of Hope are small glass bottles covered with polymer clay and given to cancer patients.  They symbolize a wish and a hope for health.  This year, instead of making the bottles during the retreat, online participants are making bottles, taking photos, and sending the photos in so that they may be displayed online for all participants to see.
I found a couple of special small bottles that I thought were perfect for this purpose.  The bottles are sort of an hourglass shape, and came with cork stoppers.  Here are the two bottles I decorated with polymer clay.  You'll notice that one bottle is very exposed.  You can see its shape clearly, and also see the vine-like design going around the bottle, visible through the glass.  I almost completely covered the second bottle, though I did leave the bottom open to allow peeking inside.
The Bottles of Hope project is ongoing, and has spread across the US and in other countries. Perhaps there is a polymer guild or group near you that is also participating in the program, and you might decide to decorate some bottles for them sometime.  It's a fun project, it's creative, and it means a lot to the recipients.

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