Friday, October 19, 2007

Landscape Canes

Hi Everyone,

I realized that I haven't posted in a while. That's partly due to me working a fair bit of overtime at my new job. I'm also hosting the Clayamies 2007 Christmas Ornament Swap so I've been planning my Christmas ornaments which I'm happy with but can't show here because it would ruin the surprise for the participants. There are 16 of us this year so there's a fair bit of logistics to figure out.

So to fill in some space I thought I would show some of my landscape canes. The first photo in this grouping is the very first landscape that I tried. I was inspired by Mike Buessler's work which you can see here. I had no idea what I was doing and this one took me HOURS to do. I layered each individual stripe in the cane. It's still one of my favourites, but doesn't look very much like his skilled work.

I tried a couple of others that weren't even remotely successful and decided that it was time to order Mike's video. It's amazing and well worth the price for anyone who is interested in making landscape canes. Some of my inspiration for the snowflake canes came from his method of cutting out bits and pieces (I call it cookie cutter caning).

The shots above are a couple of more attempts that came out OK and not so OK. I like the cane on the left - it made some beautiful beads. The cane on the right wasn't as successful but the clay colours from it made some amazing scrap clay caning (another technique that I need to write up).

I taught a tutorial at Morrisburg this spring and the landscape cane in this next image came from the demo. This is a faux jade book (technique taught by Gaby) that we made at Morrisburg and the cane seemed to fit right in with the theme that I had chosen. The scanned colours of the jade are a bit off - the blue in the landscape is more harmonious than it appears in this image.

And, I also created this landscape cane as part of my practice for my tutorial. I don't seem to have any cane left, but here's a box that I covered with it. It's got a bit of a southwestern feel in my mind.

I do want to get back into making more landscape canes. I have plenty of light blue clay around and clouds are just so much fun to make. Maybe after Christmas I'll have some more samples.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Be Still...

Hello Everyone,

Today's topic is more about resources than about technique since I did a direct copy of something I saw that I liked.

We get the Signals Catalogue at home and I fell in love with this plaque a while ago for whatever reason. However, it's $90 and only made out of resin. If it had been made out of pewter or other metal I might have purchased it from the catalogue.

But, I have these wonderful metallic powders from Daniel Smith (if you're at all a painter you should visit the site and they have some really neat textured papers that I'm thinking about ordering) and a ton of scrap clay so I thought I would make one for myself instead. These powders are a little different from the Perfect Pearls and Pearl Ex powders in that you can do blending one colour on top of another so you can get the subtle shifts of colour. You do have to seal the clay afterwards because the pigment does rub off after a while. All I needed was a way of putting the letters into the clay.

We're lucky enough in our Southern Ontario Polymer Clay Guild to have Bev Larose who has a printing company. She's been generating custom stamps for us for a while at the incredibly reasonable price of $10 for a 6 inch by 4 inch stamp (and as an added bonus, if she likes the stamp well enough she'll let you have it for free as long as you let her make as many as she wishes). So, I had her make me a stamp of this and made my own plaque. She's developing a website and once she gets it up and running I'll make sure it gets posted here. I also had her make me a Christmas stamp which I'm going to use in the Clayamies Christmas ornament swap.

Here's my first attempt. I love the torn edges of mine. One thing that is really obvious is the roller marks on the clay from my Mona Kissel Atlas Pasta Machine (but I think it's common to most machines and I wouldn't give up this pasta machine for twice what I paid for it). I find that it leaves these marks at the thicker pasta machine settings. I'll play around some more to see if I can get rid of the marks. I tried brayering it but that wasn't very successful.

There are some subtle differences between mine and Signals in the emphasis of the words which I hadn't realized until I posted the photos side by side.

Overall I'm happy with the concept, just have to perfect it a bit by getting rid of the roller marks. I have lots of clay and lots of powder so I'm sure it'll come together. I rarely so obviously plagiarize a product but I do like having it around.