Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shrinky to me!

Maybe everyone already knew this but I didn't! Last week a new attendee, Debbie from Morgantown, introduced me to the wonder of colored pencil on Shrinky Dink plastic. I have been in experiment mode since then.

It is thin, strong, and lightweight with a nice surface texture on both sides -- the pencil turns into a matte finish and captures a surprising amount of line detail...color neatly! The non-frosted side ends up very shiny -- almost like a coat of satiny resin.

The really cool thing is that after you bake it (325 degrees for the shrinky plastic), you can back it with polymer and bake at the polymer temp and it bonds with the clay. No glue or liquid clay needed. It seems like you'd really have to use some force to separate them. However, I don't know what, if any, long-term reaction might come into play between the polymer and plastic. If anyone knows, please leave a comment.

A regular hole punch in the plastic before baking shrinks down to a perfect size for button holes or for jewelry wire to pass through.

If you bake with the shiny side up and then embed the matte side down in the clay, you end up with an image behind a glossy finish. Make sure you don't touch the glossy side before it's cool so you don't make marks in it.

It's not a fast process because you're drawing and filling in a larger image than the final size. But it's another fun tool in the kit for making delicate but strong jewelry components.

I am very impressed by how strong the plastic is.
That little teeny piece of eyelash that extends out is not in danger of breaking.
I went very light with the colored pencil on this first one so it remained
very translucent.

I colored too dark and lost detail.
I added more colored pencil on this after baking to insert some highlights.
I realized that this technique would benefit from white outlines rather than black.

You have about 10 seconds of working time to bend the plastic after it
comes out of the oven. I baked it on a 5x8 index card so I could just bend
 the card into the curve I wanted. The plastic clung to the card and took on
the curve. I wish I would have done this one with the shiny side out. I used
thin permanent marker for the black lines and turquoise
colored pencil for the background.

As you can see, this design is similar to the one above.
I drew my original design on a piece of paper so I wasn't
just winging it and I would have a template to use again.
The plastic is clear so it's easy to trace any pattern.

The frosted surface is lightly textured and is a fantastic base for the pencil.
 I also tried graphite drawing pencil and it worked just as well (though the
shiny side turns out nicer than the matte side). I determined that rounded
corners shrink more uniformly than square ones. I cut the polymer
flush with the surface of the plastic and pressed it onto a
swirly texture stamp to add decoration to the back.

I left the mitten above and the fish below unbacked with clay because the color looks good
on both sides and I didn't mess up the shiny sides when baking.

I draw this flower on a piece of paper and then used it as my "pattern" by
putting it under the plastic and using it as my guide for drawing on the film.
Even if you don't consider youself an artist, I bet you could sketch a photo
well enough to make a nice pendant or brooch.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sew busy with yet another hobby

I have been neglectful of my blog and clay for a while. Feeling in a rut lately so I decided to expand my horizons backwards -- I pulled the sewing machine out of mothballs. My grandmother sewed everything she ever wore and got me started on it with a sewing class when I was in 7th grade. I used to sew all the time. My closet was full of homemade short tight skirts back in the 80s.

So far I have completed one pair of simple pants, but mostly I succeeded in buying a boatload of fabric. I got gorgeous faux distressed leather. It looks totally real but is just very thin, very drape-y fabric. Easy to sew and irons beautifully. It is halfway to becoming a shell, a skirt, and a pair of pants.

Also got a nice knit in a crazy brown, gold, teal, and white pattern and a woven stripe in similar colors. These will end up as coordinating skirts, tops, and simple jackets.

But the wow-est of them all is an asymmetrical knit that goes from navy on one selvage edge to bright yellow on the other with wild feathery brushstrokes of every color in between. I may look like a giant pretty bird!

While at Joann's on my fabric splurge I discovered an artist I have not seen before in the book section. Do you know Moy Mackay from Scotland? 
She makes gorgeous pictures out of felt and wool and stitches. Fantastic colors!! She has a book called Art in Felt and Stitch

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Plenty of biscuits!

These have a lovely matte finish, the result of an experiment. More experimenting to come. The gray ones actually look like flannel!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Preview photos for new listings coming soon

these little circus beads are smaller than my typical ones
Fish link experiment...not ready to sell yet. Need to make him sturdier.

Groovy man! these remind me of an "op art" notebook I had back in first grade in 1969.
Back then the design was in bright orange and turquoise for true max eye-popability.
Bright Circus beads

There are 15 mixed beads in this set
These have a semi-gloss and matte finish. They remind me of Nilla wafers with a pony's coat,
hence the name "pony biscuits".

Summer fruits?

Grape and Olive stripes

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Can you tell I got a new texture tool?

Having fun with my newest toy...a super simple dot-patterned stamp!

There are some matching beads in this same pattern. I call the hot pink and leopard-look pattern "Edith Prickley." That has to bring up a memory for at least a few of you out there!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Join us for the PPCG Retreat Weekend!

Wanna get some "me" time away from home to do nothing but play with the clay for 48 hours? (And of course, take a few cookie breaks...what are we, barbarians?!) Join us for the PPCG retreat weekend!
Click the picture to launch a downloadable flyer.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A few new beads

These are relatively large...the green and red one is over two inches long. They are Ultralight with alcohol inks and sprayed with Preserve Your Memories II. I forgot that the only thing PYM II isn't so great on is the alcohol inks (at least in my experience). It makes them feel clammy/sticky, for lack of a better description. Assuming I had nothing to lose, I buffed them with my buffer. It seems to have taken away the clamminess but left the shine.

Add caption

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Night Photography

I am not a photographer but thanks to the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts workshop with instructor Martha Rial that I attended last night and this morning I have a better understanding of what the all the numbers in my camera mean. We hit Penn Avenue for the Unblurred event and took photos using only the ambient light from street lights, car headlights, and shop interiors capturing images of people and their surroundings along the way. We gathered at the Center for the Arts this morning and shared our favorite images with our classmates.

The images on the left is straight out of the camera (SOOC); the images on the right were embellished with my favorite Photoshop features and filters. Click on each image to see a larger version.

Monday, September 3, 2012

New fish and beads in the etsy shop

Been watching "The Booth at the End" on Hulu Plus this afternoon. Very cool show with a simple premise but that's very interesting if you like psychological drama stories. The stories start to interweave, and take a few twists along the way. There are only five 23-minute episodes in the first season so you can watch it all at once.

 Here's the description from wikipedia: The series follows the storylines of several characters who visit a mysterious figure in the corner booth at the back of a diner. Each character has heard rumors that this Man is able to grant desires, provided that a task is performed. Upon receiving the task, the Man's only other demand is that the character continually update him on his or her progress. Once the task is complete, the character's desire is always fulfilled.

New fishies in the shop tonight...

And some new beads...


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