Wednesday, July 28, 2010

47 Bottles of Hope Today

Hello Everyone,

I spent a perfect day surrounded by my claying friends Barb, Barbara, and Janice. We focused on Bottles of Hope and while there was some laughter and talking, there were also moments of perfect quietness with each of us lost in our thoughts.

We were very productive over the course of the 5 hours that we spent together and we made almost 50 Bottles (Janice is making three more so that we can call it an even 50).

Here are photos of the results. I ended up only making one monster and for most of the time I played with greens. The bottles that I made start with the pink monster and continue to the end. I will be re-posting those photos later as I promised that I would name them on behalf of entrants to the OWOH giveaway.

I'm pleased that the day was spent making small tokens that will offer a smile to those that are going through the difficulties of cancer.


Today is a gentle day...

Hi Everyone,

This is a bit of a serious entry, feel free to stop reading at any time.

I'm taking the day off work today to honour the baby that I lost at 10 weeks, 9 years after finally managing to get pregnant and without hope of ever getting pregnant again. My son (I always felt that it was a boy) would be turning two today. I imagine what it would be like, would we have a plastic pool that he would be splashing around in in this heat wave? Would family have travelled to celebrate my miracle of life? Would I be taking photographs of him mangling the cake that I would have made for him (carrying on my mother's tradition)? Would we be surrounded by laughter and child giggles (the best kind!)?

I no longer often dwell on these thoughts, they come in passing, unbidden, sometimes unwelcome, but more often causing a wistful smile on my face. My path in life is different than many others but I've come to learn and accept (perhaps the hardest part) that any path in life is walked with occasional backwards glances and wondering what might have been.

Once again I'm choosing to spend the day with a few select friends who will gather around me (both physically and from afar in thoughts), offer quiet strength and love, and we will spend the day making Bottles of Hope. The memory and love of my son will be infused in the bottles and perhaps offer a moment of brightness or peace to the recipients of these bottles. You can see last year's results here.

I think today will be monsters. I haven't made them in a while and they're fun and make me smile.

I am touched by how many people offered me the perfect words during the hardest of my mourning and it is important to me that I give back to the ether some of the strength that was passed on to me when I needed it most.

Thank you to all of you from the bottom of my heart.

I will post photos later on today of the results of the day. In the mean time, if there are clayers among you who have a few minutes today and would like to make a Bottle of Hope (or other tributes) for someone, I would be honoured and would be happy to post photos or links to your tributes.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Dora's anemone cane - week 28 of canes

Hi Everyone,

I love reading Cara's Surfingcat clay blog and I've mentioned her work before. She's a woman after my own heart with her use of Kato clay and experimenting with canes. The other day she posted about Dora's anemone canes and I knew I had to try them. I still had some leftover clay from the skirt cane that I made so the bonus was that I didn't have to try to figure out colours or even condition clay.

Dora gives excellent instructions and I really was only limited by how lazy I was going to be in reducing a triangular shape. I didn't end up with as many reductions as she did but when I reduce this to as small as I wanted it worked out perfectly.

I'm very happy with this cane and it made a much better bracelet for my friend with the skirt. The tutorial is well done and is definitely worth a look. If you're at all a caner, Dora did several months where she tried to do a cane a week and gives instructions for a lot of them. I agree with her completely, it's not so much the making of the canes that is difficult, it's taking the discipline and focus on turning them into a blog entry that becomes a bit more of a challenge. I actually made this last week but didn't seem to have the oomph required to touch up the photos and put words around it.

I will certainly do this type of cane again.

I'm almost caught up with my weekly cane entries. One more to go before I'm fully caught up, so this week you're getting three cane entries. All variations on the theme.



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Skirt Cane - week 27 of canes

Hi Everyone,

I posted a couple of weeks ago about a skirt that I loved and wanted to try to recreate in cane. You can see the original image here. Last weekend I finally decided to try it. The colour choices were fairly easy and went together pretty well. But, as I was trying to decide on the cane pattern, a little voice inside my head said "you should go check the picture". I ignored that voice which means that I feel pretty good about the final product, but not perfect.

I didn't sketch out the pattern or anything. Started with a couple of skinner blends and then shaping them into a paisleyish shape. Reduced it so that I had three of them. From that point on it was just a matter of playing with the bits that I had until I had a squarish shape.

I did some extruder spirals which I will write about in my next posting. And I took some inspiration from Cynthia Tinapple's Polymer Clay Daily entry here.

Overall it makes an interesting veneer and it'll be great for other projects. I think I want to try the clay zentangles fro Dora's Explorations and this will be great for that.

The level of detail is too fine for the paper clip bracelets, so my friend at work isn't getting one of these.

If I had looked at the picture I would have made it more dark blue than white. I probably would have added some simple jelly roll canes in there near the paisley to give it more detail.

But, if I take away the skirt and just look at the cane as is, it perfectly fine and I'll be happy to use it in different projects. I ended up making three sizes of the canes and when they're combined they work well together.

I did have a fair bit of the pure colours left over so I combined them into other canes which are the topics of my next two entries.



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oooh, I have to try this - week 26 of canes

Hi Everyone,

My good friend, Louise, who does beautiful Bottles of Hope, sent me a link to Les Ethiopiques, a francophone polymer clay artist.

Les Ethiopiques has a great tutorial on an optical illusion cane. The photo above is one of the things that she's done with it. It is in French, but there are a lot of photos so most of it should be OK. I tried looking at it with Google Translate, but the text is embedded in the photos so it doesn't translate at all. Fortunately I speak enough French that I can understand it.

When I was a teenager I had black and white optical illusion wallpaper in my room so this brings back memories. I'm looking forward to trying it but I suspect I'll have to use something other than black and white. My Kato black is very stiff and my white is very soft. I did a cane today (another post) where I leached the white and that made it a lot better, but I don't think I'll have the patience to try something as complex as this cane with the two different textures.

Suggestions for colour choices are welcome. I'm leaning towards a deep green as my colour choice for one colour, but I haven't decided what to do for the other colour.

Les Ethiopiques is a prolific blogger and she's got 18 tutorials on her blog which is pretty wonderful considering the blog only got started in February. For whatever reason, the link to all of the tutorials doesn't show up unless you read it in Google Translate, then it's off on the right side-bar. And now that I've been looking at it, it sometimes shows up on the non-translated blog, but not always. One of the ones that I want to try from her tutorials is the stained glass beads. She has a great kaleidoscope cane tutorial as well and what to do with the scrap which is something that I've seen a few times but can never remember what to do with so it's great that I've got the link now.

The one thing that blows me away about Les Ethiopique's website is that she's very good about putting things together and showing finished products with her work. And it's beautiful! I wish I were as disciplined.

While it helps to be able to read French, it's not a requirement to enjoy the pretty pictures on her blog. I hope you swing by and scroll through some of the images. I'm sure she'll provide some wonderful inspiration.



Saturday, July 3, 2010

My newest inspiration - week 25 of canes

Hi Everyone,

No cane for this week. Instead I thought I'd show you what I'm trying to figure out in my head. This picture is of a skirt that I love that a friend at work has.

The image isn't the greatest because I took it with my cell phone camera. And it really doesn't give a feel for how vibrant and wonderful the skirt looks.

I've decided that the cane is going to be done in shades of translucent. I want the lightness of the colours to really show through. And it's going to be a cane that gets overlapped onto the background somehow.

The translucent idea came from me recently having watched one of Donna Kato's videos.

I don't think I'll get as complicated as the paisleys in the skirt. Instead it'll likely be more of a suggestion of paisely.

I have some ideas on this that I'm going to play with a bit. I'll keep you posted.



Friday, July 2, 2010

Bottles of Hope 46-63

Hi Everyone,

The last leaf cane that I made generated a fair bit of scrap clay and rather than bunch it all up and run it through the pasta machine until it was uniform in colour, I decided to try something a little different with it. What a perfect clay to use for Bottles of Hope. I've committed to making at least 100 BOH this year and here is the most recent set.

The first set of bottles aren't my usual style, but I'm really happy with them. They remind me of seascapes. This becomes particularly important since my sister's husband's mother has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She lives on the coast in California and some of these will make their way to her. Prognosis, from what I've heard, is good so far so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

I kept playing with the clay and the next set of bottles were the result. They're a little bit more refined than the first set and I'm sure they'll appeal to others.

I really do love Bev's stamps words for the Bottles and I try to use at least one word in each of the bottles.

These last five bottles are when I just had plain scrap clay that had been run through the machine to the point of being a uniform colour. Two of them were made by cutting half circles of clay and then layering them.

Bottles were made while listening to the CD that my friend Renee had sent me before she passed away from cancer. I love it that her fighting spirit is infused into the bottles and there's a wistfulness of emotion I have while making the bottles. Having gone through a grieving process myself I know how important moments of brightness are during the journey. I hope these bottles offer some moments of brightness to the recipients, whomever they may be.

As always, here are the links to the bloggers I've donated on behalf of:

46. Lululiz
47. nfmgirl
48. Candy
49. Stephanie
50. Caitlin
51. Gayle
52. Cobblestone Creations
53. Bee
54. Linda
55. Diana
56. Trayna
57. Ruta Elze
58. Alice
59. Sewfunky
60. Kate
61. Carapace
62. Tina
63. Karen