Sep 9, 2011

I joined

I was accepted to join this week. It's a juried site to list your wholesale items to buyers who register for the site. I've talked to a few people who've sold a lot of their work there, and some who've not done so well. I'm optimistic about it. My kind of work isn't found there, so it might be a good fit for me. The juror comments were kind, although one of them suggested I lower my minimum order (in this economy). 

I'll be working on that website in the next few days, hoping to get it ready for Christmas orders. Then, next week, my daughter Alex is getting married! Next Saturday she will be a married woman. Wow, the time flies. You never imagine when your babies are little that they'll eventually grow up and marry- yet they do.

My mom is coming into town and we have plans to make lots of clay art together- although we'll probably spend a lot of time just talking. I really enjoy that and it's what makes family visits worthwhile. Well, back to work. I'm getting stuff in the kiln this morning and I have some experiments with glaze and surface decoration to try out.

  Oh, here is a trick I came up with to carry my things to the kiln. I'm always hunting for a box or something to carry my unfired ware to the kiln. I came across plastic milk crates at Walmart for only $2.50 (college dorm stuff on sale). I cut a piece of foam core the size of the bottom, then added a layer of foamy, non skid shelf liner. It works great. Now my heavy ware isn't in danger of falling out of my hands or scratching up in a box, and small stuff can be fitted in easily too. Love it!

Sep 5, 2011

Magazine racks are just not what they used to be

Picture frame made with recycled magazines by colorstorydesigns
It's been raining here for days now. We've been getting drenched by Tropical Storm Lee. After 4 days of blustery winds and gusts that take your breath away, my son and I ventured out. We drove to town in search of anything to break the monotony.

After a so-so dinner at the chinese buffet, we went to the bookstore. No, not Barnes and Noble. They're my favorite with the best coffee and places to sit and read. Nope, we went to Books A Million. Sort of the B &N ugly sister. They do have books. Plenty of fiction paperbacks and kids books, but the windy aisles through tables filled to overflowing with the latest titles they're pushing (40% Off for Members!!), make me feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. I just want to get the heck out of there.

My favorite section in the bookstore is the magazines. Not so this time. I think the management decided the back of the store was the place to put the extra tables of books they were pushing and all the other junk that they had no room for. No place to sit. Hot and muggy. Just not browse-worthy. And on top of that, they didn't have any of the art magazines I usually look for.

I've noticed Books A Million carries less and less art and craft magazines and more and more music, fashion, and techie titles. What's up with that? I guess people in this area don't like art? Not creative? Apparently they like knitting, since there were at least 10 mags on knitting. Same with papercrafting/scrapbooking. Some jewelry making titles (although that seems to be waning. I see much less of those lately). But, seriously; where are the art titles? Aside from Artist Magazine, and a couple of painting ones, there was not really much variety to choose from. I couldn't find my Clay Times, or Pottery Making Illustrated. Those have been gone for months now. I missed the wide variety of craft magazines that Barnes and Noble carries; the imports from the UK and Australia, and the weird indie magazines that I love.

After looking at what they are choosing to carry in my area, and making the connection to what people are doing in the way of crafts/handmade/art- I'd say the latest trends here are knitting and mixed media/ papercrafting. Quilting is super strong as well. Jewelry making had tons of magazines in the rack, and now there are just three being carried. My poor Clay Times, Art Doll Quarterly, Soft Doll Making seem to be casualties of the bookstore wars. Just not enough sales, I guess. It saddens me.

I picked up a couple of Moleskine sketchbooks (my favs!), and headed to checkout. No, I do not want to buy a membership where I could start saving right now. No, I do not want to give you my email address. No, I do not want to take advantage of that special offer of 3 months of free magazines. and YES, I would definitely like a bag. 

I hope magazines never go away. I love you, mags!  Books A Million, not so much.

UPDATE:  I went to the Books A Million store in Pensacola yesterday. Boy, what a difference! The store is 3 times bigger; many, many more magazines; and I found everything I could want. Plus, they swapped out a book Jared bought in the other store that had misprints- no questions asked. I was impressed. Now I just have to ask -what's going on with the other store? who knows- but I'm going to Pcola from now on for my magazine shopping!! Wheeeee!

Sep 4, 2011

Step By Step, How I make a Gnome

I made a new gnome sculpture, and took a few pictures along the way. Here's a little bit about how I did it. I start with a base of clay- more of a fat pancake, than anything, and build from there. The base is about 1/2 inch thick; thinner at the edges. I put this pancake on top of a piece of paper towel so it doesn't stick to the surface of my sculpting wheel. When the clay is firmer, I'll remove the paper.
This photo shows the legs and lower coat attached. I wish I had a photo to show you the legs only. ( You'll just have to imagine this part. ) The legs and feet are made from a solid block of clay. I cut out a wedge from the area that will be the legs and attach this to the base, scoring and slipping as needed. I shaped the feet and pants, and then hollowed it out with a small wire tool. I poked a pencil down each leg, too. I want to keep the wall thickness of the sculpture to about 1/4". After that is finished, I added a strip of clay around the pants as the bottom of the coat, and use my fingers to press the layers together and smooth them out. The overlapping front of the strip will serve as the front of the coat.
The arms I added are solid, and I probably could have modeled the hands on the end of the arms, but I added them separately. The walls of the body strip are worked up and turned inwardly, to create the shoulders. You can see the piece in the photo that will be added to the top for the collar. The belt is not added on, but pressed into the clay.
The head was made as a solid ball. I made him without any beard or hair, and attached it to the body. The beard and hair were added , and then the hat. The caterpillar and mushrooms were the last addition.