Saturday, February 28, 2015

Black & White Magic: The Art of Contrast

The topic for the March show at the Artist's Cooperative of Westerly (RI) is "Black (and white) Magic:  The Art of Contrast.  I'm one of the featured artists, and I've been working on pieces for the show.  I've been trying some techniques that are new for me, so I thought I'd share some of the pieces here.  I think that polymer is a perfect medium for this theme.  Not only do we have contrast with black and white, we can easily contrast other colors as well as textures, shapes and sizes.  Love my polymer!

The first couple of items were inspired by tutorials I saw on the CraftEdu site.  This first set is made from a sheet I constructed based on a traditional Japanese pattern I saw in a tutorial from Nikolina Otrzan.   I used textured clay to construct the pattern, and I think it really fits the show theme.
This next pendant is based on directions from one of Donna Kato's tutorials.  I liked the way Donna constructed the basic black and white base, but found my clay was too soft to use her technique for adding bands of color.  So, I used my own cutting ideas to add the lines of red.

The idea of inserting lines appeals to me, so I decided to try some straight lines rather than curves and waves.  The next set is an example of this type of insertion.

I also experimented with inserting lines and circles.  I particularly like this new shape that comes from a template produced by Melanie Muir.

The last photo shows a larger pendant made using a mokume gane technique.  This piece has a high polish and I like the way the beads look flanking each side.

I'll be back soon to show you some black and white earrings and bracelets in the next post.  Then on to some color!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I'm Off to CFCF 2015!

It's amazing how quickly a year goes by, especially when we have event markers that show us time really is moving forward.  Cabin Fever Clay Festival is just such an event marker for me, and I'm delighted to see it here again.  I always learn something new - or at least some great tips and tricks - and the instructors and attendees are a great group that I really enjoy.  The impending winter storm here in New England caused me to change my travel plans, and I fly out in a few hours.

This year at the conference, they are honoring Maureen Carlson. The theme for the "inchie" swap is Masks.  Before I pack them,  I thought I'd show you the little African-inspired masks I made.  This first photo shows the black and white version with a few mokume gane masks thrown in.

 I am doing a show in March with a black and white theme, and somehow that color scheme just spilled over into the masks.

The other pile shows the variety of colors I used - really a contrast to the set above.  It will be interesting to see which masks go quickest during the swap.

You can plan on a posting or two about the conference after I get back.  I'm working with some instructors I've had previously, as well as with some who are new to me.  Fun!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Paper Mache' & Polymer

A few weeks ago, I taught a workshop on covering metal containers with polymer.  We used Altoid tins, even cutting around the hinge areas so the tins opened and closed.  One student brought a small paper mache' box and covered that, too.  I liked the versatility I could envision with the paper mache' box, and decided to try a few of my own.
The first one I made showcases a tessellation in black and white. This particular design is based on a traditional Japanese pattern explained in a tutorial by Nikolina Otrzan on Craft Art Edu.  I am working on creating some pieces in black and white for the March show in Westerly, and this pattern just begged to be made in those high-contrast colors.  I decided to try painting the paper mache' section above the clay on the base and really liked the finished look it gave.

This green box showcases a multi-colored braided cane.  I love the brightness of the colors and the hexagonal shape.

The little round red box seemed the perfect spot for a cane I made based on a tutorial from Marcia Tzigelnik or Mars Design.

This other round box features a cover made from a Stroppel cane.  These canes are such a perfect use for  clay scraps and cane ends, and I love the effect.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Feeling Wistful

Yes, I'm feeling wistful - missing leaves on the trees, flowers, grass, colors other than brown, white, and gray...It may only be the beginning of February, but we've been having more than our share of winter here in Connecticut. Guess that's why, when I picked up some brass bracelet forms to work on, I ended up with leaves, vines and even a flower or two.  The large teal and turquoise flower to the right is secured to a white-coaated, filigree brass bracelet cuff.

The other bracelets are on brass open cuffs.  I like these cuffs. They are lightweight and lend themselves to decoration.  To ensure they stay on, no matter what the wrist size, I added a magnetic clasp.  Here's the first one:

Below are three more.  These are all made from the same cane, just done in different colors.