As I mentioned a few posts ago, I entered some items in the Westerly Regional Art Show. This is an annual event open to all artists who wish to submit pieces. The judge for the show is selected from an field of accomplished individuals. The judge determines the pieces allowed into the show, and also selects particular pieces to receive various fine art and fine craft awards.
I am honored to have been selected to win the Alice Clark Hubbard Award in recognition of excellence in fine crafts. The piece that won is the round green pin/pendant titled "first buds" that I showed on my April 29th post. What a pleasant surprise!
Next month at the Westerly Gallery, I am one of two featured artists. For June, the theme is "Scene From a Train: Fleeting Moments." As I looked for inspiration for my pieces to fit the theme, I remembered annual family trips taken from California to points all over the West and across the Midwest. Although we traveled by car, the view out the windows was quite similar to those we would have glimpsed from the freight trains we saw as they traveled, paralleling our road.
I can recall mile after mile of fields filled with crops. Some of the crops, like corn, were planted in straight rows, making stripes on the landscape. Others, such as beans, were bushy, blurring the lines between the plants. There were fields of flowers abloom with amazing colors, and pastureland dotted with animals. In the mountains, there were indistinct landscapes that still retained different colors and textures at each layer.
For this show, I have created several different polymer design sheets that reflect the images I recall. Some of those sheets are evident in the pins I showed here in recent blog posts. Today, I'm going to share some earrings that also fit the theme. Most of these pieces have a high gloss finish. The first photo shows a landscape in the distance, with distinct colors melding.
The purple and the copper and black pairs represent plowed furrows. The purple is a field in bloom, while the earth tones are from a field awaiting planting.
The purple and pink pair is again a landscape, blurred from the speed of the passer-by. Finally, the black and silver set has an ordered row appearance, in a more elegant approach.
As you could tell from my previous post, I had a lot of fun making a variety of design sheets and working on Lindly Haunani's collage pins. Once I got home, I was still itching to make more collage pins using some of the sheets I'd made, as well as adding some new ones to the mix. The first pin I made was this one in oranges and pinks. I was much more angular in my cuts than Lindly had been, and I like the fact that this pin seems to be able to be worn in more than one direction. Notice the white flecks from the embossing powder we added to the white polymer we used in the mixes. It adds such a neat effect!
Next, I decided to make a very angular, rather vertical design. These last 2 photos show the results of this experiment. I like the strips of black separating the fields of color - a very definite contrast. Once again, I am struck at how much color harmony is evident amongst the different patterns. These are great examples of the thought process behind the techniques Lindly has developed. I feel fortunate to be able to take classes with her.
One of the workshops I took at Clayathon 2019 was called "Sagacious Shale", taught by Lindly Haunani. Lindly is, to me, the queen of color. I love the way she leads students through both her thought processes and the actual physical representation of those ideas.
Every time I take a workshop with her, I learn something new, and this class was no exception. Our resulting products were pin or pendant collages, in which the colors of the patterns we each used were in perfect harmony, even though there was great variation amongst the group.
One thing Lindly introduced which I had not seen her use before was to mix some white embossing powder into the white clay we used in various design sheets. When the pieces were baked, the embossing powder suddenly appeared as little white dots - almost like snow flakes!
This posting shows some of the pins I made using Lindly's sheeting ideas and the white embossing powder.
It's almost May, and that means the Westerly Artist's Cooperative is holding their annual Regional Art Show. This show is juried by an outside judge, someone who is not familiar with any of the cooperative members. This means that even member artists who normally show in the gallery may not have their work approved and entered in the show.
This year, I decided to try some new items. These are pieces I haven't tried before, and it was fun to experiment. I have no idea if they'll appeal to the judge, but I certainly learned a few things as I tried to make these pieces, and it was a good experience. Below are the 3 pieces I entered.
These first photos are of a hollow convertible pin/pendant I made with an opening in the center of the top section. Emerging out of the hole are several little pearl white buds - the "first buds) of spring. It can be pinned, or a chain can be added through the loops in the back.
This next photo shows a pendant and accompanying earrings. I've called these pieces "Pearls floating downstream." I usually work with Premo! clay, but these pieces were made with Kato. I wanted a really strong clay that could be rolled thin and still stand up to being manipulated. The Kato worked perfectly. you may not be able to see it in the photo, but there is a thin white layer of clay between the blue and copper sheets, and it just peeks out along the edges adding a bit of contrast.
The last photo is of a 20" necklace strung with Swarovski crystal pearls, and silver and crystal rondelles. The five polymer beads have a very high shine and are larger than the beads I usually make for a necklace arrangement. I really love the way the Ikat pattern in the bottom section of each bead adds such an interesting contrast to the top section.
I've just gotten back from Clayathon 2019 in Galloway, New Jersey. What a great polymer conference! Excellent classes offered prior-to and after the weekend of the event itself, with plenty of demos to attend in between if desired. There was a huge hall with lots and lots of great polymer folks willing to share their ideas and expertise, engage in problem solving, or just enjoy friendly conversation. Obviously, you can tell I had a really good time. Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting here more about the conference, so check back! Today, I'd like to share some pieces I made during some "play on your own" time after learning how to make a striped Skinner blend. I loved doing this, and it was fun watching everything work out as it was supposed to! Check out the class for May!
Here are the other sets of the new crackle technique I said I'd post. These sets are on white with alcohol inks in golden-red, yellow and green shades. These pieces have a really lovely glow. I'll be experimenting more with the DecoArt Perfect Crackle. It really makes interesting patterns in the clay.
As you may be aware, there are many approaches to creating a cracked or crackled surface in polymer. My most recent posts featured composite metal leaf that had been slightly crackled and dyed with alcohol inks. I've tried other methods of crackling, but a lot of them have made very thick layers of crackle that don't cut well or fall off if not well-sealed. For the most part, I was not happy with the results, and set the concept of crackling on the back burner.
Recently, I heard about a product from DecoArt called Perfect Crackle and decided to give it a try. The product comes in two parts, that have a consistency similar to some polymer liquid clays. You apply a coating of the first liquid over the sheet you have conditioned, and let it dry. Once it is dry, you apply a coating of the second liquid on top of the first liquid, and let it dry.
Ah, let it dry. That part requires patience. To get really dry takes at least 12 hours and overnight is even better. It needs to be completely dry in order for the crackle effect to appear. Once it was dry, I applied alcohol inks to color it. The 2 different solutions in this set make different designs. It is also possible to enhance the crackle effect by running the sheet of polymer through the pasta machine. I experimented a little, but will have to go back and try more variations. Once the alcohol inks were dry, I cut out my shapes. I found that using a regular shape cutter, even those with sharp metal edges, was the trickiest part. The crackle was hard to cut in places, and lifted off the surface. I found my best bet was to use shape templates and cut the treated polymer with an Exacto knife. Perhaps you'll notice that a few of these shapes come from some new templates I picked up. It's always fun to experiment with new shapes!
After baking, I sanded edges and backs, and finished the surfaces with Magic Gloss. The color of the alcohol inks really deepened and popped when I added the gloss. Huge difference.
Here are some of the first sets I made. I also am working in a color combo of yellow, orange and a touch of green and will share those once they're done.
A couple of weeks ago, I presented a class on using alcohol inks with composite metal leaf and polymer. It was the first class held in our new meeting place near Amston Lake, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Personally, I think it's hard not to have a good time when you get to play with polymer. ;)
Scattered about this posting are some of the pieces I made from the sheets I developed as part of the demonstration. The unusual shape to the left looks a bit Moroccan to me. I really liked the way the various colors of alcohol ink managed to move against each other, while staying bright and vibrant. The addition of Magic Gloss after baking really helped the colors and the crackle pattern pop. Below are two pendants, one using black polymer as a base and as edging, the other using white polymer for base and edge. It's interesting to see how the color that outlines the piece changes the tone and appearance.
These gold tone earrings were made with gold composite metal leaf and tangerine and ginger alcohol inks. The edging is hand painted with gold leaf paint.
Here are two more pieces, both without edging. The 3-piece pendant on the left is on white polymer, the curved teardrop pieces on the right are on black polymer.