Monday, February 20, 2012

My head hurts a little less...

Hi All,

I've decided that I'm going to try doing more Jon Anderson canes.  I thought I'd ease into it by repeating my cup cane that I did a couple of years ago which you can see here.

The hard part for me was figuring out the skinner blend.  Took me a long time to get that right - I cannot rotate images in my mind for anything and the big trick was to use spacers in my pasta machine to keep the blend no wider than about 2 inches.  And this turned into a happy accident.  When I was making the skinner blend portion of the cane I debated on whether to make a skinner blend plug using the stacking method or the roll method.  I ended up using the roll method but thought for sure that I had messed up the cane by doing so.  Actually though, I'm thrilled with the roll and will use that for other cane work.

The cane started off about 2 inches wide, 2.5 inches tall, and about an inch thick.  As I was reducing it I ran into the same problem I've had previously which is that the white was much softer than the blue (very frustrating!).  I ended up trimming some of the left cane edge off so that I could get closer to the dark blue to be able to manipulate it better and that seemed to work.

The end result is shown below.  I've reduced most of the cane to about a half inch because that's the scale that I like to work with.  I'm quite happy with it.

Start to finish is about 3 hours, and almost half of that was in trying to figure out the skinner blend orientation.

There are a few more Jon Anderson canes that I want to try.  And while trying to find the difference between a stacked and a rolled blend I came across a wonderful website that I've not seen before.  Tokens has some wonderful tutorials, and I'm particularly enthralled with their mandalas which I may have to use as inspiration for some of my work.



A Better Bear

Hi All,

Some of you may remember my first very poor attempt at making a bear cane.  If you don't, you can see it here.

It's been a few years and I decided to make another go.  The source of the inspiration this time was a shot glass that we picked up for my niece during our recent New Mexico vacation. You can see that in the first photo.  

I used the image for the general shape and size, but since I knew that I was going to be reducing it to about a 1/4 inch size I wanted a little less detail.

He wasn't too bad to make, I used some canes that I had had for other things.  The Sandra McCaw technique for reducing canes worked out nicely.  All told there's probably about three hours of effort in this cane.

Am I happy with him?  Not sure.  The shape seemed to square off a bit - maybe if I had put him in a round cane that wouldn't happen as much.  I don't know that I would call him a bear in the final cane - he still looks more cow like.

And I'm really having a heck of a time getting the Kato clay to match consistency across colours.  The white stayed soft no matter how much I leached it and that meant that it reduced faster than the other colours.  Some of that is that I've run out of white with the old formulation, but the bronze is with the new formulation, too, and it was still stiffer.

But he's a lot better than my first attempt, that's for sure!



The inspiration

The unreduced cane
The final reduced cane

Friday, February 17, 2012

Almost Famous!

Hi Everyone,

If you don't know of Polymer Clay Daily, you should go check the site out now.  Cynthia Tinapple blogs daily about Clayers and their work.  It can be an incredible source of inspiration and of addiction.  I've had several of my pieces inspired by photos or artists featured on her site.  And it's always a thrill to be mentioned.  My Santa Claus cane was my first mention in Polymer Clay Daily and coincidentally my first blog posting ever.

I found out through the grapevine that I'm featured in her e-book "7 Great Ways to Polymer Clay" along with a good claying friend of mine, Wendy, the creator of the wonderful claying tools, the Cabezels which you can buy at my favourite on-line clay supply store, Shades of Clay.

7 Great Ways to Polymer Clay includes a listing of beginner tutorials, videos, and links to step-by-step tutorials.  I'm in the category of "fun stuff" with my spiral paperclip tutorial for earrings and bracelets.  I'll forgive her for calling me Sandra in the e-book because I'm just so tickled to be in the book among some of the greats such as Marie Segal, Ponsawan, Kim Korringa, Dinko, Maggie Maggio and so many others.

The book also pays tribute to some lesser knowns (like me!) and several of the French artists, who I generally think of as brilliant.

I'm looking forward to playing with several of the techniques mentioned in the e-book including Mabcrea's skinner blends and Genevieve Williamson's fibre beads which are shown in the image below.  I've spent a very happy hour perusing Genevieve's website - her work is very earthy and it really draws me.

Anyhow, do check out the e-book if you've got some time to kill or are trying to get others interested in the hobby.