Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I just love creating items for the holiday seasons, though for some reason, I never seem to do much in spring for Easter! Don't really know why that is. I guess Halloween and Christmas just bring back such happy memories from my childhood. Easter wasn't as big a deal I guess, just going to church, and having the Easter basket. I have to get myself in bunny mode really quick here though because I have some due for a swap I'm in. I've been fortunate enough to be part of a wonderful swap group for quite a few years now. Some of the best creators of darling whimsical clay critters are in this group - several of whom have authored some of those adorable clay books by Hot off the Press and Design Originals, most of whom are well known on ebay for their wonderful creations. They are an awesomely talented, sweet, fun group of gals and I'm thrilled to be part of such a talented group!
So here's what's on my worktable at the moment. I'm working on an ornament featuring an Irish Setter I sculpted recently. On the tile I'm working on you can see my three absolute favorite tools. These are the tools that I cannot seem to work without. The purple one is a knitting needle that my husband cut in half and then ground the one end into kind of a rounded triangle to help me shape the clay. Then the flat half moon shaped one is a potter's rib. This tool has a myriad of uses such as getting under unbaked pieces and lifting them up without distortion, or popping baked pieces off the tile carefully, or cutting pieces of clay - much safer than a blade! Then the last tool is the needle tool which I use a lot for adding detail. I have a ton of tools but these are the three I usually use. I also like to use small cutters to help measure out pieces so they're uniform, and also use Kemper cutters for detail pieces like hearts or stars. I like to buy ornaments like the one here on the tile on clearance from the craft store. They make wonderful bases for clay ornaments and when they're on sale or clearance you can get them really cheap, like 20 cents each.
I use the little square cutter to make my "sort of" holly leaves. They obviously don't look exactly like holly leaves but they give enough of an impression of holly that it works. I use the little Kemper heart cutters or circle cutters, whatever's handy, to cut out small pieces that I will roll into holly berries. This makes it very easy to keep them all uniform in size. So the idea is to put the "holly leaves" all around the sides of the ornament with the dog in the center. Sort of like the English Springer ornament pictured. Not sure this is how this Irish Setter ornament is going to end up, but that's one of the things I've been playing around with today.
(click to enlarge)