Jun 21, 2011

Handbuilt Clay Sculpture Work In Progress

I wanted to upload a few pictures of my latest sculpture, the Raven Spirit. I've done a few ravens/crows in the past, but this one is by far the biggest. I've used Axner Autumn's White Stoneware again, and as usual, I've loved working with it. I haven't measured the size,but my hand is in the photo to show the size.
So anyway, here are the pictures:

I was trying out which way to attach the head.
Ok, that's all for now. It's late and I'm all clayed out!

Jun 18, 2011

Work In Progress - Bear Animal Spirit Guide

I worked on a new sculpture today, another bear spirit guide. I'm beginning to think the bear must be my animal spirit, because it's the first thing I think to do when I'm wondering what animal I should sculpt next.
I made this bear from white cone 6 (midrange) stoneware. The clay is Autumn's White from Axner. I justlove this white stoneware. It's so easy to model with and has wonderful plasticity, smoothness, and fires like a dream- perfect for handbuilding!
So here are the photos:

When I started with this one, I began with the head, which is usually where the mood of the piece comes to me. I impressed the robe with an interesting piece of heavy lace, and fastened the head and robe together. This is always a delicate time, since the clay needs to be moist - but this time it was almost too moist. I spent most of the morning adjusting the shape until it stiffened up. I think it looks pretty good, so far. I can't wait to see what happens when I finally get it glazed.

thanks for looking!

Jun 16, 2011

Summer is Grilling Time with These Etsy Picks

Summer is here and if you're like me, you don't want to heat up your house any more than you have to. My house is a tiny 1485 sq. feet, and it gets hot fast, so I love grilling everything outside whenever I can. I found a fun selection on Etsy that will get your grilling bug going! Let's dive in:

Grill dry rub spices are a great way to liven up your food. This set comes with 8 different spices. Wow.

The Swing Away Caomping Grill is perfect for campers. I love the way you can have a campfire and cook on it at the same time. Ingenious.

BBQ Cherry Smoking Chunks will smoke give your meat a wonderful taste and I bet the aroma is amazing, too. I've never actually used wood chips when I grill (shhh, don't tell anyone), but I might be brave enough to try this summer.

Hot Jalapeno Pepper Jam is a must for any grill party. I love to use pepper jam to baste chicken skewers for a sweet/hot flavor - mmm!

Galvanized Ice Chest/ Beverage Cooler is an extremely cool way to serve your guests ice cold beer or sodas. Just fill with ice and pop in your beverages. This really makes me think of picnics and July 4th. I love how you can get it personalized. That's awesome!

Triangle Dinner Bell Call your guests to dinner with this classic triangle. I think of old westerns where Ma stepped out onto the porch and rang the dinner bell with a few nice clangs. If you live like me, in a nighborhood where the houses are only 12 feet apart, you should just ring lightly!

Only Sissies Sign This sign says it all! You know you want to turn it all the way up. No, I don't want to hear any comments about charcoal vs. gas. I know you get a better flavor from charcoal, but nothing beats coming home from work and having a burger sizzling on the grill in five minutes. End of story. If I get a bigger patio I might consider having both gas and a trusty Weber grill. Till then, only gas will do.

Ok, I'll tell you a funny story that happened to me last Sunday. I cooked 10 pounds of chicken leg quarters on my grill Saturday night. Oh, man, they were so good- and I let them slowly roast for about 45 minutes before glazing them with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce. When they were done, I diligently turned up the burners to High so as to burn off the grill. I went inside and even turned on my oven timer so I wouldn't forget to turn them off- which I DID.
The next morning it was discovered that I mistakenly turned the burners to Low, not Off. Yep- they had been burning all night. It was a brand new full tank, too! Grrrrrr!
Oh well, things happen, don't they? Happy Grilling!

Jun 4, 2011

Kiln Opening

I fired last night; my experiments with monoprinting on wet clay. These jewelry components have been sitting around for too long (I'm embarrassed to say), but finally they've been through a bisque firing. The heart shaped plaques are stamped and colored with underglazes. I'll add a wash before the last firing. The odd shaped sculptures on the shelf are some faux coral that I modeled while brainstorming (or daydreaming, more like it).

Here's a look at the monoprinted porcelain. I have a few rough edges on these, so I'm going to sand them smooth before the final firing. Some I might leave unglazed and some will get a glossy finish. This is a complete experiment on my part. I have no idea how anyone else does it, but really, that's half the fun.

Jun 2, 2011

Make A fun and Easy Hand Embroidery Wall Hanging

Hand embroidery is one of my favorite pastimes when I'm not working in clay. It's also a hot trend right now, with websites like Threadbanger.com and Sublime Stiching making embroidery cool with fun, edgy designs that appeal to today's crafter.

One really easy craft to make is an embroidery hoop wall hanging. Basically, this consists of an embroidered fabric glued into an embroidery hoop. The backside of the hoop can be finished with a circle of fabric or felt covering the edges of the glued fabric.

I like to design my own patterns instead of buying them online, but if you feel artistically challenged there are lots of places on the internet where patterns are available, both free and for a fee.

In my Red Riding Hood and the Wolf piece, you can see the pencil marks where I transfered my design. This will wash out easily when I'm done stitching. I like to use a No. 2 pencil to draw the design on the fabric.

I like the look of linen, and instead of paying premium prices of $14./yd or more at a fabric store, I use repurposed fabrics from clothing I've bought at the thrift store. Cotton floss is the most commonly used thread for hand embroidery, and DMC is the best known brand that you can find in any craft store. There are also online resources where you can buy supplies and books.

Inexpensive bamboo embroidery hoops cost just a couple of dollars, and you can use the same hoop for both embroidering and displaying your work. Simple stitches like the running stitch and stem stitch are enought to give your design that contemporary folk art look is so popular right now.

When you feel like you're designs are good enough to be sold,check out Etsy as a place to sell your new crafts.