Wednesday, August 27, 2008
As I mentioned last week, I've been doing some refurbishing of some pieces lately. So that's what I'm still doing today, but I thought it might be fun to actually show you in a short video. My friend Michele and I have been talking lately about how great it would be to be able to offer tutorials in video format, rather than in pdf or something like that. How much better if we could actually show, step by step, how we create a piece? So knowing my digital camera also has video capabilities I decided to play around a bit today and I came up with this dorky little video showing how I go about refurbishing a pin.
I attach all the elements of my pieces very well, so they're not going to break during normal wear and tear, but as I say in the video, I have just learned over time how to carefully and gently pry pieces off and I can usually do so without damaging the original piece. I then use a little bit of liquid clay to attach the new elements I want to add and I have a new, and very sturdy piece.
Hope you enjoy the little video. I'm hoping to be able to do more in the future. Unfortunately my digital camera does not have a ton of space on the memory card so I can only do short little videos using it. My camcorder is as old as my youngest child which is now 16 1/2 yrs. old. So I'm not too sure about using it either. But doing videos is something I definitely want to play around with some more. :o)
Monday, August 25, 2008
If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.
---William Arthur Ward
I know this to be true. I had a desire to learn to sculpt. I had no idea where to even begin. I was definitely no prodigy, LOL. I remember when I was a kid and my mom would take my brothers and me to the local mall, they always wanted to check out the toy store. I wanted to spend hours in the collectibles shop. I was fascinated by the variety of figurines there. I knew, somehow, that was what I wanted to do. In a way I felt it was what I was meant to do.
It wasn't until some years later I actually began to try, and though I met with some early success, I can't say it came all that naturally. I took one very basic clay class, and the teacher did say I had natural talent, but I sure couldn't see it then! I went through tons of frustration, put the clay down and walked away many, many times, but I always had to go back. The desire to create, to sculpt, was much stronger than the frustration at not being able to do so the way I wanted to yet.
But all along I imagined myself to be an artist. I dreamt of being an artist. I held a vision of myself being an artist who sculpts with clay. In time, my reality matched my dreams.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
One of the things I love so much about polymer clay is it's adaptability. Even after a piece has been cured in the oven, you can make some changes to it. You can add more clay to a piece and bake it again, or put the piece on a background, etc.
So one thing I have learned to do over the years is to reconstruct pieces that either did not sell or did not turn out the way I had originally intended. This quality really endears this material to artists who are not independently wealthy! All is not lost if a piece was not successful in its first form! I have taken pins and turned them into pendants, ornaments, placques, etc. that have then sold successfully. Or taken a pin and added a little something to it, and then it sold, etc.
For example, I did some pins like this Westie, just sweet and simple with a little ladybug on their noses in a variety of breeds:
But I guess they were a bit too simple and plain because only a few of them sold. So I decided to take the ones that didn't and refurbish them a bit. And this is what I came up with:
These sold very well. Some things of course you can't change once they've been cured, but as long as you are happy with the overall piece you can learn to make simple changes and renovate a piece into something that will sell better, or that you're happier with. On this Westie it was just little changes in detail because I was very happy with how the Westie itself had turned out.
So that's what I'm working on this week. Taking some simple pins I did and turning them into pendants and ornaments. I'll have pics of those next week. :o)
Monday, August 11, 2008
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
--------William Hutchinson Murray
This quote means a great deal to me because I've experienced what it speaks of, more than once. Years ago, when I decided I would like to do a clay project book I had absolutely no idea how to go about it. All I had was the desire and a fairly good belief in my ability to do it. When I made up my mind to pursue the possibility of doing a project book, I am still amazed at the series of events that occurred to make it happen.
I just "happened" to notice another clay artist in my area on a clay-related forum, then met her in person, then she just "happened" to be going to a big crafts industry trade show that was just weeks away, and invited me to go with her. While there I met Suzanne McNeill of Design Originals, showed her photos of my work, and she offered me a book contract. I know it sounds all too easy, but really, everything just fell in line like dominoes, one after the other, once I made the commitment inside myself to do a book. Next thing I knew, I had done a clay project book for Design Originals.
It is true that once we begin, once we take those first steps, Providence/God/the Universe, whatever you choose to call it, steps in and paves the way for us, opening doors we didn't even know were there, forging paths where we couldn't see a path before, etc.
So whatever you think you can do, or dream of doing, take those first steps today and watch how, if you trust and believe, the path will be made clear for you, one step at a time.
Belief is the key though. Trusting faith. I noticed that in this case, for me at least, ignorance really was bliss. When I started out, I didn't know what was possible or what wasn't, so I just had blind faith that I could SOMEHOW do what I wanted to do. Sometimes the case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing is proven true as well, because the more we know or think we know about HOW to do something, sometimes the less possible it seems. So just begin and trust that the rest of the steps will be made clear to you as you go along.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I've been tagged by my fried Cathy from Cathy's Creations to share 7 random things about myself. So here goes:
1. I've been married twice, the first time way too young at 20 yrs. old and then again at 32.
2. Because of that, my kids, Joshua and Caitlin, are 10 years apart in age.
3. I am currently separated from my second husband after over 20 yrs. together, 16 1/2 of them married. This past year has been a really rough one on me emotionally. We are still very much in love with each other. Not sure how it's all going to end up though.
4. I have strong faith in God, but absolutely no faith in church. I spent many, many years searching through so many churches trying to find truth and all I ever found was that each one manipulated scripture into their own "truth" to suit their own selfish purposes.
5. I do, however, very much believe in the power of our thoughts to create and effect our lives. I believe this is a gift God gave to all of us. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of it or don't understand it. I find the study of all of that, whether you call it the power of thought, law of attraction, whatever, to be absolutely fascinating. I have seen much evidence of it in my own life.
6. I used to be absolutely horse crazy when I was a young teen, to the point that my Mom started fining me a quarter for every time I said the word horse, she was so tired of it all. My parents told me I could have one if I could save enough money to buy one. They thought I would lose interest. I saved every penny I could. I made a whopping $1.00 an hour babysitting back then, so I baby-sat about half the kids in our neighborhood for a while there! I also saved every bit of money I received for birthdays, Christmas, etc. A year and a half later I had $150 with no sign of giving up, so my parents took pity on me and kicked in the other $100 (unbelievable that you could buy a horse for $250 in 1974 huh?!) and bought me my horse. I named him Shane and I had him for just over a year, from age 14-15, before my parents said all the upkeep was just too much and we had to sell him. He was sold to a lovely lady who let me come visit him and ride him for a while after she bought him, but after awhile I stopped because he just wasn't "my" horse any more. I haven't been on a horse since!
7. I'm claustrophobic. I wasn't when I was a kid, but I sure am now. I had to have a couple MRI's because I used to suffer from wicked migraines and the last one I had was one of those closed tube things. The only way I could get through it was to do it in 10 min. increments! I will NEVER have another one, unless they knock me unconcious!
Oh boy, now I have to tag 7 people as well. Okay here's my list:
Michele of Michele Lynch Designs
Jenny of Kind Clay (trying again Jenny! LOL)
Helen of Helen's Clay Art
Debbie of Deb's Creative Ramblings
Cat of C.A. Therien Polymer Clay Art
Amanda of Confessions of a Craft Mom
Darleen of Darbella Designs
Thursday, August 07, 2008
1. Well I'm not quite ready for a Felting Friday yet. The needle felting is still taking a backseat to the polymer clay which is the primary medium that I create my items for ebay and custom orders with. But I have been collecting felting books and here are a couple new ones that contain cute and simple animals:
Little Felted Animals by Marie-Noelle Horvath
Wool Pets by Laurie Sharp
2. Still plugging away on the tutorial when I can find the time.
3. Just added a whole bunch of new polymer clay blog links. I really enjoy seeing what other clay artists are up to, so I enjoy having the blogs to check out. I'm sure you'll enjoy them too. I've also linked to some wonderful children's book illustrators' blogs. I haven't given up the dream of one day illustrating a children's book in clay. Thanks for exchanging links with me everyone!
4. I still have SO much to learn about promoting myself and my artwork, my blog, etc. I'm always on the look-out for new information on the best ways to do that. I really enjoy blogging because I enjoy writing and sharing, but I also want to promote my artwork and let people get to know me and what it is I do. I like to use my blog to share stuff about me and who I am, and what I create. I like to get to know the person behind the artwork so that's what I try to share about myself as well.
5. I said I was re-visiting the Diana Gabaldon "Outlander" series in my reading recently. Oh boy. What a controversial bunch of books those are. I was given "Outlander" to read by a well-known clay artist friend (who shall remain nameless LOL) while on the way to my first ever HIA (now CHA) show in Dallas over 10 years ago. What an eye-opener that book was! LOL Like every other woman I know who read this book, I fell head over heels in love with Scottish Jamie Fraser. But I have to say, honestly, I could have done without the whole Jack Randall thing in the first book. I don't want to give things away but, if you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about. But even so, I couldn't help feeling it was a rather bold direction to take this type of novel into, and I was amazed at the author's audacity and felt she handled it all pretty well. Well I did not read the second book in the series until over 10 yrs. after reading the first. I still enjoyed it. The whole series is kind of fantasy (time travel) mixed with romance, mixed with a historical novel, mixed with I don't know what. I thought Diana Gabaldon was a very good writer as far as her ability to create characters that were interesting, yet very human, flaws and all. She had quite a knack at drawing you in and making you care about these characters and making you feel the raw emotions they felt, etc. But I just finished reading the 3rd book, and boy did I find it disappointing! And there are now SEVEN books in this series??? WOW! I just felt the author really dropped the ball with the third book, and felt that she did not stay true to her characters in it, and just overall felt that the quality of the writing was nowhere near the first novel that drew so many of us in. My daughter and I are fans of the Harry Potter series and with seven books there, I feel that the quality of the books stayed high throughout the series. Just goes to show you that just because you CAN write seven books in a series doesn't mean you SHOULD! Just my opinion of course! I just found the whole thing interesting after revisiting the characters so many years later. It's interesting to me how books like these get kind of a cult-like following. I see the same thing with the whole "Twilight" series by Stephanie Meyer. Weird but interesting books those are too. OK, went off on a tangent there but I just was amazed to see the quality so low in the third book knowing four more books came out after it! I won't be reading any further in the series myself.
OK, that's all I'm up to on this fine Friday morning. Hope you all have a great weekend!
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Wow, already? It's already What's On My Worktable Wednesday again??? Oh boy.
Before I get started on that, I wanted to mention that I figured out how to keep my playlist from automatically starting as soon as anyone accesses this page. I know not everyone cares to hear it, and that some people will be listening to their own music when they come to my page and probably won't want mine interfering. So now IF you want to listen to what I'm listening to, all you have to do is click on the arrow to start, and then you can just let it play as I've got it listed, or click on any individual song to hear that one instead.
OK, so what's on my worktable this morning is a custom order. A very nice lady ordered a pin with a pair of German Shorthaired Pointers for her mom's birthday. So this morning I am finishing up the pin. The sculpting of the doggies themselves was a breeze, it's determining how to join them together without the pin being huge, or the dogs getting distorted that gave me a bit of a hassle. The customer left it up to me to decide the style of the pin.
Since the dogs are so dark, a rich liver brown, I thought a really pale soft pink pearl would look really lovely as the background. I really didn't want a lot of the background to even show, so the dogs themselves are the focal point of the pin.
So here's what I ended up with:
I'm very pleased with the finished product. :o) I have to thank my 16 yr. old web wiz daughter Caitlin for her photo editing on this pic.
So I still haven't finished the poor patiently waiting little sheepdog figurine unfortunately. Custom orders have to come first. But soon!
Monday, August 04, 2008
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
----from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson
That is one of my favorite quotes. It just really hit home for me the first time I stumbled upon it. How many of us, when wanting to achieve something, have encountered that "what makes you think you can" attitude from others, or worse yet, from ourselves?
As much as the fear of failure is alive and well in most of us, I think the fear of success is even more insidious. We manage to create something wonderful, and then we worry, now what??? Are "they" going to expect even more from me? Am I going to be able to live up to the expectations? Can I DO this?
I think most of us have encountered people in our lives who were threatened by whatever measure of success we have achieved. Perhaps we have felt guilty about this, or perhaps they have tried to knock us down a few pegs so we're the ones now feeling insecure instead.
But as Marianne Williamson's beautiful quote above so eloquently states, playing small does not serve the world. We are meant to shine.
Have you ever witnessed someone else shining and been inspired to shine yourself? I have on many occasions. Here is just one of them. This quiet unassuming man had a big dream and yet he felt who was he to think he could achieve it? This video gives me chills and makes me cry every time I see it. Watch the looks of skepticism from the audience turn to looks of awe, and then to joy for this man as he lets his light shine:
Paul Potts, Winner of Britain's Got Talent Show
Never be afraid to let your own light shine.