Saturday, January 21, 2012

Making stuff

Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
I've been making stuff, art stuff, jewelry stuff, clay stuff. Im really enjoying the process.

I know quite a few polymer artists work in the same processes, but I thought I might share anyway.

I love the bright colors of clay, and they mix all together and make other colors

Sometimes I leave the colors alone, like I did with these cute little squirrel and acorn charms

I really do fall in love with the colors. Sometimes I have a hard time determining if I should keep the straight colors or if I should take them to the next level.

polymer pens out of the oven
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
These pens were just yummy combinations of color when they came out of the oven. One of the things that was so fun about these, they all worked out so well, and they were all made from my scrap cup collections. I have a few yogurt cups that I toss small left over bits of clay into. Sometimes I blend those scraps together to make other colors, sometimes they are just that blended bits. The pens are sitting in an accordion of folded paper board I use to support them while curing in the oven.

Well after staring at the pens for a few days I decided they needed to go to the next level. Im always a little nervous taking my work here. Especially if I fall in love with it in straight colors. Once of the reasons I think its nerve inducing is I take those wonderful colors and completely cover them in paint. I use acrylic paint. Sometimes I use black, like I did here, and sometimes I use brown or purple, or rust. Ive even tried white, but those never seem to work the way i think they should. SO I cover them completely before I go back and wipe off the exces paint. I really only want it in the crevices. I use a combination of paper towels and magic erasers to do the job.

They really start to begin to almost glow after cleaning the pain toff. The colors are framed and begin to pop! If I want brighter colors I will scrub over them again with the magic eraser some more.

After the paint dries I buff the work over with gilders paste. Sometimes I use more than one color. There used to be only a few metallic colors available at the craft stores, but now there are a wide selection of colors available online. So these final pens have been buffed up with the metallic paste and coated in polyurethane to seal it all in.
And once this entire process has been done Im always glad I did it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

looking back, looking forward

I don't do new year's eve well.
I never get to go to any of those fabulous parties, and my husband heckles the TV coverage too much for me to enjoy just sitting back and watching it. Im too tired to enjoy a good cut throat game of Risk of Cattan, so I usually just chuck it all and go to bed early mildly depressed.
I have a bad habit of focusing more on what didn't happen instead of what did happen.
Of course it doesn't help when I run into someone doing what I really want to do, and could do better but I lack the moxie, the supportive backing and the funds, and the karmic luck.

My past is blurring together and I can't remember if its this past summer or the one before that, I had my cards read, and both times it was mentioned I have too many irons in the fire. Too many options to focus on. And I could be good at any of them, I just have to figure out which ones to remove from the fire.

How do you decide what goes when what is in the fire is what makes you sane?

Iron: Art Blog: its not monetized, I don't have hundreds of followers, I cannot maintain it the way I really want to, School got in the way and I wasn't even able to post the weekly hay thats a cool art thing. So does that mean I ditch the whole thing?

Iron: Im in grad school for distance education. Being an adjunct instructor and online course developer is my "day job." My day job has no benefits (other than a pay check and nice resume line listings), and because I am adjunct I do not know my course load until the beginning of the semester.

Iron: Madame X Costumes: my most popular pattern went out of print but its back with a smashing new cover, I should redesign the existing covers, I need to update the website and I have projects I have not yet managed to get to. I don't wear my own costumes half the time, and I the past few "new" designs have been brought out by big commercial companies before I manage to get mine completely designed.

Iron: Illustration and design, I thought I had the opportunity to go back into this full time, I really enjoyed the work, but it fell through. Yet every time someone wants a quick little design Im all for it

Iron: art painting and shrine boxes, kids craft things, scrap booking, or is it....What exactly is it I do, and what is my medium?

Iron: Jewelry: polymerclay, metal clay, or wire wrapping? Do I have to focus on a medium? or do I make little sculptural thingies and chatchkies?

So, from my list of Irons (and I mostly listed the cons) you can see there is quite a bit there. I didn't even mention maintaining my health, trying to lose weight, or house hold and family management!

Which Iron to I pick up and nurture and pound on and quench and thrust back into the fire so I can pound on it and shape it some more? How do I choose?

And this is why I don't do NYE very well, this over whelms me.

So lets look back at what I did do this year:

I entered Fire Mountains Polymerclay and natural beads competition again. This year I entered 3 pieces, one did make it to advance judging. I wont know until April. Last year my Chapeaux de Neptune made it, place silver and was on the back of Polymer Cafe! It didn't even spark a rise in hits on my etsy site, but it did prompt me to clean up my regular website!

I finally redesigned the cover for the mermaid Skirt pattern, and I really do like my new dancers, I really enjoy drawing and the process. I ended 2011 working on a barbarian for my brother in law's corporate sales meeting t-shirt. (the barbarian is not quite done-I will be finishing him up today).

I joined the Ring A Week challenge on flicker Some of the most amazing rings were made. I won't say mine were amazing, but I did do all 52 rings in 52 weeks. My 52 rings And I even managed to sell some of them!
I also joined Thing a week, and unfortunately was not able to keep up with the group.

I learned how to solder! its not silver solder, not there yet, but basic soldering.

I won some really cool stamps on a Facebook enter and win thing.

I went back to grad school. I am studying distance education, the degree I am moving towards is a Masters of Distance Education Technology Specialization. So far in the program I am maintaining a 4.0. Im still trying to figure out what I want with this degree. So far it has opened additional job functions for me, but on a contract basis only.

I cut back vending drastically. I had one commission cancelled and one that I have to cancel, since I just cannot get it to work. I did not excel at con art shows as I had hoped, actually I tanked. I did however, have my best year ever at the Alabama Renaissance Festival and am looking forward to going back this year.

So whats in store for me this year?

Im back in school this semester. I am contemplating taking a break after this semester. I will have earned a graduate certificate, but not the entire degree. A lot depends on what is offered over the summer, and how this semester goes.

The day job has kicked it up a bit, giving me some extra courses I have been wanting to teach for a while, I am very excited by that.

I am planning on entering Fire Mountain's metal clay competition, and wondering if there are other competitions or call for entires I should pursue.

I have joined the Four a Month on flickr, to create 4 related pieces a month, this should be fun.

And I'm going to continue to work on my Masters Registry, even if I have not yet officially joined the program

I have a big long to-do list that I just keep chipping away at, hopefully this year I will get all the old stuff crossed off.

Positively stated goals:

My Etsy store earns an abundance of money, I have more than enough to pay off a specific debt and to assist in the payment of other debts, I have more than enough to pay for my new tattoo.

I am on top of all of my projects, and know what I can and cannot conquer. Commissions are taken selectively and not because I feel any sort of desperation.

I have built an amazing reputation for creativity and quality, as displayed by my many winning pieces of art jewelry.

I excel at my day job and bring creativity properly into education.

Heres to a fabulous new year!!