Monday, August 31, 2009

Published in Polymer Cafe'

I am so happy. Got an email from a friend congratulating me on being published in the October, 2009 Polymer Cafe' "Readers' Gallery" and about broke a leg running out to the mailbox. What a great feeling.
That's me on the right. My alter ego. Full page. OMG! Does it get any better than this?
Above and below weren't published, just the full figure, but thought I would add a couple of detail photos.
OK, so they gave me a more exotic name. "Marlena" instead of Marlene. I've always liked the name Marlena.
Above and below photos show the basic armature wiring and pre-wiring for the hanger on the back.
My heartfelt thanks to Polymer Cafe' magazine. You've made my year.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I went to see the movie, Julie, Julia without really knowing what it was about other than Julia Child. Nor did I think it was going to be that good, but my husband and I wanted to spend the day with our friends so decided to see a movie and go out for dinner. So I was pleasantly surprised when I laughed till tears were rolling down my cheeks and that all four of us really enjoyed the movie. It’s funny how things connect in life. The movie made me think of so many things. Being so self absorbed in my art that I struggle to maintain my marriage, family, home and friendships. Back in Chicago, I had a small basement room to create in. With our work schedules, my husband would constantly complain that he never saw me. When we retired and bought this house in AZ, the first thing he did was give me the family room for my studio. He said it was in the middle of the house and he could see me anytime he wanted. And we do. I love when he walks by and comments on what I am working on. Positive or negative, I love it. I look forward to the day when someone who doesn’t know me leaves a comment on my blog, positive or negative (I say that now) and connects. I know most people blog to keep a journal. I don’t. I share my art, thought processes and feelings through blogging because I want to connect to people, but with enough anonymity and distance that I feel safe. Blogging gives me a sense of creating, accomplishment and validation. So, all things being relative, I’ve gone full circle from blogging in movies to real life blogging. Whew! This was enough closeness for a while, pictures/photos of art tomorrow.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Re-Designing and Re-Stringing

I bought a necklace from bead artist Elizabeth Knodle many years ago when I took several of her workshops at The Whole Bead Show in Chicago. The necklace was always a little to short for my neck so decided to re-string it and custom fit it to me.  Above is the end result and I am happy with it. I kept the Michael Barley lampwork beads and added more gemstones, vintage beads and fresh water pearls along with the sterling silver accents.
Above and below are photos of the mess. I strung my basic design and then sat there thinking, "What have I done?"  I took good notes at Elizabeth's workshops and surprisingly I found them on my computer. However, what I've learned through all of this is what I took for granted many years ago that I would "just know" certain things, I didn't and learned the hard way. At least I took photos along the way for future reference.

This time I made notes reminding myself to check the bead hole sizes because the beads are woven through many times. If they are too stuffed with thread the beads will break or the threads will break over time. I reminded myself to place tiny spacer beads at tension points to ease the curving of the beads while making sure the tension beads weren't so small that they disappeared into the bead next to it.
It turned out how I wanted it to and that's an accomplishment for me. Above is a detail of some of the gemstones - fresh water pearls, amber, quartz, agate, sterling silver, labradoite, pearl blister chips, etc. Hopefully it will be a nice long time before I tire of this design. I did put a note at the bottom of the instructions "Think Twice".  I was on a roll. Had these gemstones sitting on a shelf and finally strung them.  I used a good quality Soft Flex with the jade and fresh water pearls. Did not pearl knot.
Although, the next time I re-string this, I will add small pearl tension beads. The fresh water pearls are so uneven, the jade squares don't curve with ease. They really are just fine, but I'm obsessing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Textured Abstract Face Paintings

These are heavily textured acrylic paintings. Light, medium and heavy gel mediums were used to texture between layers. They are 24 x 30" canvases. Torn tissue papers helped in the composition and color transitions in the above paintings.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pendants and Pins

Isn't this wild? It's big, colorful, chunky and has a little hardware thrown in. It's rustic, but modern abstract.
Most of my pendants have either 24K gold leaf or a gold leaf composite layered in the polymer clay. The veining in the above piece turned out gorgeous.
This turquoise and purple pendant beautifully resembles stone. I sanded all these pieces starting with a 250 grit and ended with a 2000 grit and then they were polished on the electric buffer. They have a wonderful feel to them. The dimensional layering in the below piece is really emphasized by the polishing. The shine is stunning. It is one of my favorites.
Below is a "torn" edge free form pendant.
This brooch was painted with alcohol inks over the polymer clay. I let it dry between layers and then cured it.
The below piece has the most gorgeous details in it. The shading is so unusual. It is also the largest of the pendants.
The below piece is black and white with hints of lavender layered in the gold leafing.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Art Unraveled

I took Barbara McGuire's Mokume Gane workshop at ArtUnraveled in Phoenix. I made the above pendant and have successfully made several more. Using 24K gold as opposed to composite gold leaf really makes a difference. I sanded starting with a 250 grit and ending with 2000. I used my electric buffer to give it the final glass-like shine.
The black necklace is a piece I beaded in an Ndebele (Herringbone) pattern. The closure and hinged pendant clasp are sterling silver. The below pendant is from Lisa Pavelka's bezel and resin workshop on August 6th. Although it was not a true bezel, but an embedded frame and it was not a true 2 part resin, but Lisa's glass like finish, I learned a lot. I specifically took her workshop because I wanted to learn how to make a bezel and use resin, so I was disappointed in that aspect. I enjoyed hammering the aluminum rod and texturing it. Using stamps and foils with polymer clay is great fun. It is not uncontrollable like mokume gane, but a more precise technique.
I wanted this piece to be funky and a little off. Funky and off is pretty easy for me. I like the way it turned out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Art Unraveled

I received the above goodie bag upon registering at ArtUnraveled; an annual art gathering in Phoenix each August. It contained wonderful goodies from various vendors. The theme this year was "Moments" and the little black bird was stamped on various items throughout the week. I was inspired by the little black bird and made the below brooch from polymer to wear to my workshops.
Below is a detailed close up of the nest and eggs.
I was on a roll with the bird inspiration and made the below polymer clay brooch. For the background, I used a mokume gane technique I learned in Barbara McGuire's workshop. I am definitely signing up again for her classes at ArtUnraveled next August. I sculpted the branch, nest and black bird and added the turquoise fringe.
Above is a close up of the detail and below is on a blue background which helped the colors pop.
It's abstract, but not as much as the next brooch.
I know it's a stretch, but there are birds and nests in there. This brooch was sanded starting with a 250 grit and ending with a 2000 grit. It has a gorgeous shine similar to a polished agate. Anyway, ArtUnraveled was great fun and I can't wait until next year.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let's Face It

Polymer clay faces, masks and abstracts. No molds or forms used. I sit and sculpt where ever. Even in the car while the hubby is driving. I just have to be careful to bring a cooler so my clay doesn't bake in the car. Arizona heat you know.

Various canes were used to define the features, etc.
I make 'em, bake 'em & box 'em. Boxes and boxes stored in my new studio cabinet.
I have my own sterling silver signature tag with my name on it. I usually attach it to the jewelry pieces I create, but used one as an earring below.

I have used these caned faces in shadow boxes as wall hangings. They all sold and I didn't take any pictures before they went. Now, of course, I wish I would have.

The next 6 photos are heads I've prepared for another copyrighted Fases Vaces series.