Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Secretive Woman- in sales!

Here's "Flora" A posie themed Secretive Woman who has taken it upon herself to market these little pendants for me! I expect she'll insist on a commission.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fine Tuning the Craft Booth- Polymer Clay Brooches

The booth is ready for fine tuning. Each item for sale needs to be presented in a unique and appealing way. Here's the display for my little brooches. I found the funky wire mannequin type sculpture at Winners (TJ Max in the US) I wrapped a silk shawl around it- the colour effect with the purple is mouthwatering if you're a colour addict like me- sadly the photo can't catch the buzz. I used one simple fish brooch to hold the shawl- I tried scattering a few on it but it looked chaotic. A few brooches on little plexiglass stands and the rest on display racks. It's as clean and as simple as possible.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Snowberry & Polymer Clay Tools Up again!

I am working on my snowberry photo inspired Muse who will be called "Snowberry". (October 25 Post) She's not complete but here's a detail of the body and the fibre selection.

My no clay day yesterday was a great success- I got up this morning at 5:00 am and have a lot of energy to pick up the polymer clay tools once again! I plan to finish "Snowberry", make some blend sheets and do a teapot.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Artists Block- Down Polymer Clay Tools

I've had a very restful Sunday... believe it or not I gave myself permission to take a break from polymer clay. Yesterday I was getting that awful "blocked" feeling and was stopping and starting and stopping stuff. Prescription- stop claying, read a Vogue or Vanity Fair and after 24 hours I'll begin to have polymer clay withdrawal symptoms and will dive back into my work!

I did hover around the booth construction site tho. Here it is thus far.... the first show is in less a than 2 weeks and I'm feeling close to satisfied with the set up.... designing mounting items for backing grid is the next phase and I have a plan in mind. More next week!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Eira- A New Muse

I finished "Eira" yesterday. She's 19" tall and is designed to hang on the wall.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Polymer Clay BeachStones & Reference for Real Ones!

I'm really pleased with this BeachStone Cuff! I made a few because I don't think I want to sell this one. It will be interesting to test the concept at the craft shows.

I heard an interview about beach pebbles on "North By Northwest", a programme on CBC Radio. Ellen Van der Flier Keller was discussing her Field Guide to the Identification of Pebbles. It's a handy (waterproof) folding guide. There are wonderful photos and a terrific geological description of many types of pebbles on the shore. I recommend it to anyone who has the beach stone "bug".

Harbour Publishing- A Field Guide to the Identification of Pebbles
ISBN-101-55017-395-2/ ISBN-13 978-155017-395-6

Thursday, October 25, 2007


These little berries on the snowberry bush are often the closest thing we have to real snow here on the balmy West Coast of Canada. Great colours and very reminiscent of mistletoe. I'll be using this theme in a few upcoming pieces!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Muse Time

I decided to take a break from production of small gift items for the show and to do a few larger pieces. I started this lady a few weeks ago and finally got to the finishing touches today. This is Lavinia. She's my second Lavender themed Muse. I'm hoping to locate some nice freshly dried lavender for her to hold. Her current bouquet is a bit faded.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sideways Works!

I purchased several of these IKEA Trees a few years ago because I knew they'd be "perfect" for displaying work. Somehow I've never been inspired by the way items look on them though. They take a lot of room on the table and don't really set off bracelets or pendants.

I love the simplicity of the design, it's goes with the cleaner look I am after. So not like the crazy effect that last year's tree branch gave me. After staring at the trees for a whileI saw the forest! I put the stand on its side and attached it to the upper section of the grid....

...and ended up with an elevated hanging fixture!

Here are some Moxie Pendants in display mode.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Production Goes Well With Company

Production work can be more fun if you are MSNing with someone else who is at their worktable. Yesterday I was working on a lot of little finishing projects as well as a batch of moxies and some fish pins. My friend Vanessa was working on Gingerbread Men and Snowflake Christmas tree ornaments. The Gingerbread Men had real ginger mixed in the clay so they smelled great as they were fired. Here are some of the GMen... they look good enough to eat! Hmmm I think I'll head to the bakery today....

Gingerbread Men by Vanessa Betcher

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Source of Inspiration

Yesterday we drove up the Malahat to Duncan. It was a beautiful autumny drive. The brilliant leaf colors were diffused by mist that crept through the forest. We stopped at a wonderful Wool Shop and I spent a happy time choosing some wool for Moxie hair. I saw these skeins and had to have them- the colours and textures will form the foundation for two Muses. They remind me of the mist and the rich autumn tones I saw on the drive.
I always suggest that if you plan to make a mixed media piece that involves fibre to begin with the fibre palette and then mix paint or clay to match- it's a lot easier than trying to dye or search through stores for a specific fibre colour you've mixed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cats, Birds, Eyecandy and Eggplants

I had an interesting start to the day. As I descended the staircase to the studio I had a sparrow swoop right under my nose! I assume my cat caught it and was saving it "for later" or he wanted to impress me with a live gift rather than the dismembered rats and mice he enjoys tucking into corners of my workspace. After much arm flapping my daughter and I managed to guide the poor terrified creature back outside.

My next project was to decide on what to post on my blog- it's easy today! I received this photo from Barb who attended my Secretive Woman Workshop... cue the Flamenco music!!

Barb has a wonderful touch with polymer clay as you can see with those glorious ruffles.

More eyecandy arrived from my friend Georgia Ferrell who will be teaching a Tumblescope Workshop at the Sojourn Retreat in Nanaimo in February. Here's the inside view of a Tumblescope. It reminded me of stained glass in Canterbury Catherdral.

Eggplants? Well ,think a big sale at a fabric store and a certain craft booth. I was not happy with the draping of the fabric I bought last weekend. Thankfully the colours were just 1 meter sample squares that work as photo backdrop sheets so I'm not out of pocket. I went to the fabric store with colour and drape in mind and scored a gorgeous satin in purple and a vibrant green satin as a contrast. The red I have on hand as an accent is wonderul and I'm so happy with it! As usual the purple doesn't translate well on the computer monitor so think eggplant!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Craft Show Booth- Making a Riser

Here's how I make a riser in my booth. It raises sales items to eye level and offers more room for interesting displays. This technique is pretty efficient with construction materials too- you always have to consider carrying fixtures in your vehicle!

The background screening goes to the level where the top shelf will lie. The grid brackets are placed. The top shelf is positioned and I use a couple of tin boxes (that carried merchandise to the show) on the table.

The lower shelf is placed on the tin boxes and the assembly is covered with draped fabric.

Here's a detail of one of the latest Pear themed pieces.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sojourn- An Island Polymer Clay Retreat

The big news here is that the Vancouver Island Polymer Clay Artists Guild has posted the online Registration for "Sojourn" The VIPCAG Nanaimo Retreat 2008! Sojourn will run from Friday February 22 to Sunday February 24 in Nanaimo BC. We'll have some terrific Demonstrations and workshops presented by Wanda Shum, Tina Holden, Cheryl Trottier, Joan Tayler, Georgia Ferrell, Barb Alexander and myself.
The event is open to members of the Vancouver Island and Vancouver Polymer Clay Guilds. If you live in the area you are very welcome to join either group.

Vancouver Island Polymer Clay Artists Guild

Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tagging Items For Craft Shows

I learned a long time ago that a fun label or tag can attract customers the way a lure can attract trout! My first ever tag "lure" was a polymer clay BeachStone on the tag accenting my BeachStone Soaps... that led me to a full time polymer clay addiction and (happily) away from soapmaking as an enterprise.

I recently was eying a large purchase I had made of multiple spools of beautifully coloured wires and had a "aha!" moment. Here's the fun new way of tagging teapots that I came up with. I may add tiny beads as an extra accent.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Perfect Polymer Clay Day and a Blog Gallery

It's a dark, wet day. Perfect to stay in the studio and clay!

Yesterday I finally got around to beginning to upload images to flicker to develop a Gallery to link from this blog. Look to the right for the Flicker Gallery link.

I've had a pear theme for the last two days. Here's a Pear vase covering a wonderfully shaped flattened sphere glass vase. I used to have a wholesale supplier for these vases but they were discontinued. If anyone knows of an alternative supplier I'd be delighted to hear it!
Last night my husband and I had a glass of wonderful Blackberry Port from Saltspring Vineyards. The port is delicious and once again the label is worth sharing! If you like her boots they are available at a wonderful Ganges clothing store called Mouat's.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What People Say in Craft Show Booths

As I'm tinkering in the booth I am remembering bizzare things that people say when they attend craft shows. Of course there's the "I could do that" comment which doesn't strike me as funny so much as rude but other comments can really have me shaking my head. Last year one lady went through the booth examining every item meticulously. After she had seen everything she pointed to a beaded frame that I had purchased at the dollar store to displaya a price list. You guessed it- she wanted to buy the cheap import. (I referred her to the nearest shoping mall.)

Another would-be customer had a similar shopping technique. She did a careful analysis of everything I had to offer. She picked a coptic bound book which was priced at $49. She brought it over to me and said, "I'd like something just like this only cheaper." I chose not to get into a breakdown of the cost of beads and the time involved in crafting the item and showed her some $8 bookmarks. I suppose her comment made sense coming from a thrifty shopper but sometimes I have a feeling that some shoppers see a craft show as a garage sale where bartering is perfectly acceptable.

Thankfully the vast majority of craft show shoppers are thoughtful, polite, enthusiastic and make you feel absolutely wonderful with their reactions to what you've been doing all by yourself for so many hours, days, weeks or months! I love the rush and the characters that make you raise your eyebrows give you funny stories to share.

Today I'll be purchasing a table for the booth, making the daily teapot, completing a vase I started yesterday and begin a nice big batch of Moxies.
The photo today was taken by Genevieve Primeau Jenkins.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Show Booth Colour Choices..

Yesterday I set up the booth in my dining room. I will have corner booths at my shows this year- 8x10 and 10x10. This booth FILLS the room! I set up the grids- they're held with spring clamps. The grids are covered with the IKEA rattan blinds. You can see the back view below.

Of course the FUN art was choosing the colours! After playing with draping colours in the fabric store I decided to use black as the underskirting and to place squares of coordinating colours on top. The colours are black, royal purple, teal and red. It pops in my house but the colours aren't translating in the photo. I'm very pleased with the effect though.

The dining room will be out of commission for a few weeks as I tinker with risers and fixtures. There's a bit of sewing to do too. I plan to make table "Sleeves" an idea Wanda Shum gave me where you sew a fabric "box" that slips neatly over the table.
PS. We have an eating area in the kitchen/family room.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Flower Power and Saturday Shopping.

Yesterday I made some of these little Flower Power Pendants. They'll be a fun little stocking stuffer type item at the shows. I made another vase too, this one with the echinacea theme from a few weeks ago. The shapes of the vases are lovely- they were a great find!

Today I'll have the family don their Sherpa hats and help me haul all the craft booth grids and tables upstairs and then I'll begin the "renovation". Step one will be a trip to the fabric store with the wickery-coloured grid covering in hand and I'll choose my colours. I'll also head to Winners ( TJ Max in the US) for a search for interesting display fixtures. By the way, the wickery grid covering is a curtain panel from IKEA-(2006) It's not actually wicker but a woven raffia type material, easy to cut, duct-tape friendly, very lightweight and the same width as my 2 foot wide display grids.

Time to make today's teapot... so far I'm on schedule- one a day!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Renovating a Craft Show Booth

With the somewhat sheepish feeling one must have when they show a "before" image in a Decor or Fashion magazine I'm sharing this photo of the booth I had at the show I did last year. I had taken a break of several years from shows and last year I did one show. This year I'll do two and I'm thinking of doing a few more next year. Last year I invested in lighting, grids and the bamboo ladders that I converted into shelves. It's funny, we had a lot of compliments for this booth but to be honest, I can't see why- it looks pretty chaotic. We used a lot of organic materials for display. The vases had grasses in them, the hanging moxies were hung from a branch attached to the top of the grids. Looking at the photo I see how that added to the "wild" look. It generated curiosity but was it for the right reason?

I want the booth to have a funky look with interesting fixtures and colours- (purple red and wickery yellow?) but I also want things to have a sense of order. The first investment this year will be proper table coverings. That blue bed sheet has got to go!!
Tomorrow I'll set up the booth in a spare room and begin to revise the set up...
Here's an item that will be in the booth- a vase I did yesterday. Sixties Flower Power anyone?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Three Muses & Autumn Leaves

The three Muses are complete. Their names are Septima, Llinos and Carysythy. I'm really pleased with them. People often ask where the names come from. I have a few baby name books, some names are inventions and sometimes I'll choose a fairly commonplace name and turn it backwards. I love names that have a Celtic intonation.

I found some terrific glass vases at a local shop and I've been covering them. Here's one with an autumn theme.
I have yet another project rattling in my brain as I'm working - fine tuning the show booth....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Inspirations At The Wrong Time

In spite of other things I'm supposed to be doing I got sidetracked this morning looking at a few photos I took this summer in England. This piece was at the British Museum. I love the simplicity of form... when I first started making my sculptures they were much more stylised and interpretive. As time has gone by they became somewhat more realistic, probably because of the way I felt connected with some of the facial expressions on the Muses. I'm trying to head back to where I came from and this piece serves as a perfect talisman.

So- birds with a bit more realism, Muses with less and the bottom line is that there's not a lot of time for experimentation at this time of the year!!

As far as building up a supply of work for sale, things are proceeding really well! I purchased 24 teapots for covering and did one yesterday along with a vase... photos will be posted asap- my camera took a tumble on one of those rocks at Vesuvius Beach and needs a bit of a tune up.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Little Birds

I took this photo of a family of sparrows who were waiting for breadcrumbs as we ate breakfast at The Treehouse Restaurant in Ganges. The photo reminded me to check my supply of "Little Bird" pins.... good thing checked- I have six left! The bird pins have sold very well through the smmer. I'll replenish the supply through the week perhaps making some that are more realistic. Here's a few of the ones that were available through the summer season.

One day I'd like to do some bird sculptures in the same way I make the standing Moxies-- maybe if I find some time.... dream on gera.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Home From Saltspring

I'm home again from a lovely stay on Saltspring Island. I always return home from Saltspring inspired and energised! Here's a shot I took on Vesuvius Beach- the light was incredible as the sun came out very briefly before the rain began to fall in earnest.

I took plenty of photos which will serve as colour references for the next few weeks as I get back on the Polymer Clay Bandwagon... one month before the first show!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Septima"..a new Muse

The first Muse finished in this series of three is "Septima". She was the figure on the right in the preliminary sketch. Her sisters are still on the worktable at separate stages of construction. Septima is 15 inches tall and is designed to hang on a wall. Septima and her sisters will be travelling to the Crafts Association of BC to be displayed for sale at the Diabetes and Edocrinology Conference at the end of October.

Speaking of travelling, I'll be away for a Thanksgiving break. I'll be visiting beautiful Saltspring Island. Here's the little cottage where I'll be staying.....

Finally, kudos to my friend Tina Holden who was featured today in Polymer Clay Notes! Tina is a fellow Vancouver Islander and we both share the BeachStone addiction ...our pockets are stretched out of shape from collecting stones on our beach walks and our worktables are littered with a combination of real and faux BeachStones! Her Blog link is in the list on the right.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

aMuse... getting a head of herself

Yesterday I got the three Muses' bodies made and decided to focus on the Muse in the centre. Today I'll work on her head.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Three Muses

The new week begins with a new project. I'm making three small Muses. They'll each be about 14 inches / 45 cm tall. Here's the preliminary sketch. It feels strange to share one of these sketches publicly but my blog is all about exploring my own creative process so I'll be brave! My initial sketches are very rough and intutive. You can see how a few features shifted on the paper as I worked through coming up with the shapes, you might also see that I'm waffling about adding feet or not. When I d0 smaller Muses I usally work in threes.
More tomorrow...