Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shipping Day and a Muse in My Etsy Shop

Yesterday I was surrounded by Muses. Today the walls are empty.  It was shipping day. The Muses have been nestled in bubble wrap and dispatched via Canada Post to  the Crafts Council of BC Crafthouse and Sooke Harbour House, three more are in my car ready to take a ride to She Said Gallery in in the funky Ferndale neighbourhood of  Victoria.



 Evelyn, my remaining Muse is sitting in my Etsy Shop .  (I think she's working on a project with a bezel) Her bags are packed if she should be invited into a new home!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wholesale Show

Yesterday I participated in the Island Artisan Association Wholesale Show.  It was marvelous to connect with good friends, meet new artisans, share ideas for display, discuss which craft shows to hit and which ones to miss and to give encouragement in what has been a rough time for persons trying to make a profit from their creative endeavors. We had a steady flow of potential clients and I met some enthusiastic representatives from several venues that are interested in my work!  This was very welcome as last year one of my very succesful venues closed and another was sold to someone with a different focus. 

Speaking of focus- many of my photos seem to be lacking in that department but the fun of the event comes through just fine!

Two of my bestest friends were at the show -  millifiori genius Wanda Shum was my next door neighbour and the brilliant jewellery artisan and tutorial diva Tina Holden braved the long drive from Tofino to  display her work with her husband Bill who is also a talented jewelery designer.
from left- Polymeristas Tina Holden, Wanda Shum and Gera Chandler

My redesigned booth - I already have a few new ideas for the next event. 
Tina and Bill Holden
Wanda Shum- and her funky green shag carpet 
 Here I am- a bit spinny with 15 minutes before we head home!
My shirt coordinates with my booth by design- 
One potential customer looked at me- gave me a huge smile, 
complimented the shirt and didn't even slow down to come into the booth.  

Special thanks to my husband Chuck for helping me set up and take down and especially for having a very cold vodka martini in the fridge for me when got home!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Revised Muse

This lady was made in 2009. She was originally designed to hold a bouquet of real lavender. She never looked quite right though. I removed the dusty dried bouquet from her arms and put her in the oven to warm up then I carefully cut away  her sleeves and repositioned her arms. I gave her a polymer clay lavender bouquet and now she is much more comfortable looking!
The 2011 name of this Muse is "Lavender Greensleeves"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Tale for Overwhelming Times

Yesterday I heard the respected Canadian author Joy Kogawa reflecting on the terrible events in Japan.  She expressed how we as individuals living so far away feel compelled to help but are at a loss to imagine how any effort one person could make would possibly make any difference. She related this story that was told by Nobel Peace Prize laureate  Dr.Wangari Maathai it is both heartbreaking and empowering.

One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest - a huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.

This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, "Don't bother,it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you can't put out this fire."

And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a mocking voice, "What do you think you are doing?"

And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, "I am doing what I can."

Friday, March 11, 2011


I have ordered a few items to see if I can fire bronze clay in my kiln so metal clay tools are down for the time being. Back in December I had hoped that metal clay might be part of my "line" for an upcoming wholesale show but it's not to be. Hopefully things will turn around in the metal clay department over the next few months.

I have been busy though! I'm going to be travelling to Ontario for the Morrisberg Polymer Clay Gathering.  I'll be doing a demo on my Klimt technique. I have been making some Klimt sheets to use as samples and decided to incorporate them in a Muse. This led me to go through some books about Gustav Klimt and I examined some of his Reform Movement fashion designs. Klimt was a proponent of freeing women from their corsets - whether to help them breath or be more accesible for other activities might be debated. The designs are wonderful. the photographs have lovely postures too.  I've used  a photo of a Klimt dress design for this Muse. She's named Emilie after one of klimt's favourite muses- Emilie Floge. Her recycled silk headress is an original gera. Gustav wasn't too much into head gear. Here's a photograph of Emilie in a dress that I'll use for my next lady- the polka dots may turn into flowers.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Metal Clay Labyrinth

Trying to come up with a firing solution is turning into a labyrinth. I have Googled all sorts of sites and have run into many brick walls. I have had friends supply great links to blogs etc that have helped me work on the puzzle. Thanks so much!

I have come to the conclusion that a 1200 F torch can fire a tiny piece of copper clay but a 1550F kiln is low on fire power and will consistently fail to sinter. My hopes rose when I looked into firing PMC Bronze which fires at 1550 F but it needs a firing container to hold carbon and my Ultra Lite kiln is a bit too small to hold a pan. I have emails  to various suppliers asking if there is such a thing as a mini-mini firing pan- maybe I'll get lucky. anyone know of a source for a round kiln safe pan that's less than 3.25 inches in diameter please let me know. (a tall order for something so short!)

I have ordered a temperature controller for accurate control with firing  PMC3 and I found an insert for the kiln that will get the temperature up to 1650 F but that's still too low for copper.

So my metal clay projects are on hold again.

Tomorrow is a clay day- I have a 9x12 cradleboard and a project for it.... hmmm a labyrinth ??????????????

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Launching a Failure Investigation- advice needed!

Well- I must be doing something wrong with metal clay in my cute new Ultra Lite Beehive Kiln but I don't know what it is. I have tried to fire 6 pieces that I was very pleased with only to have them crumble after firing.  I tried re-firing after the clay failed to sinter the first time only to have the entire piece turn brittle and when it broke I could see that it was blackened through and though   The learning curve with metal clay is notoriously steep and can hit the pocket book hard. I've just ordered some more clay to work with. I'm using Hadar's Clay and Prometheus because I originally planned to torch fire and they were recommended for that approach but I ran into the same issues I'm having with the Ultra Lite. To date I have one tiny charm made with Hadar's clay with a torch... everything else has disintegrated.
If anyone has any suggestions for me besides buying a $1000 kiln please let me know.

Now I'll go back to mourning those pieces that turned to dust.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Muse for a Good Cause

First of all- thanks to all who gave my new logo the thumbs up- I have new business cards on order! The blog has been quiet for the last few days because I was recently invited to submit an item for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind Eye Appeal fundraising Gala. Hundreds of artists donate work to be raffled at this black tie event and the proceeds go to the CNIB.
I completed a new piece for my donation- she's still untitled. She is 14" tall and 8" at the widest point of her skirt.
A better image with details is forthcoming.  Making her hair with dreads was a lot of fun!!http://www.eyeappeal.org/