Saturday, October 30, 2010

Polymer Clay & Colored Wire... Mostly Wire

I haven't blogged for awhile... time flies when you're having fun and even when you're not.  I've had a bit of a cold so I've been sleeping or sitting in the recliner with a cat on my lap. Our weather has turned a little chilly and cats are good heating pads.

First let me explain the photos. I have this Jello Cook Book that I was going to list in my Etsy Shop, Swan Song Antiques. I was thumbing though looking at the illustrations and thought the magician  would be fun to use with my most recent creations. 

I have mostly been playing with wire, I can do that sitting in my recliner...without a cat on my lap... but I did make a few things with clay as well.  I am still using Pardo Art Clay. 

Click on the photos for a closer look.

I made the wire frame first for this one and then added the clay by pressing the wire down into the clay and trimming around the outside with an Exacto knife.  Before curing I place a piece of parchment paper over the clay and smoothed with the back of a spoon and my finger to give a smooth even surface. I can't sand clay when I combine it with wire without sanding the color off the wire. This is another thing I like about the Pardo Art Clay, you can get a very smooth surface without sanding. 

The next piece is 18 gauge bronze wire wrapped with pink 26 gauge wire and I used yellow seed beads along the edge of the curled section. 

This one is 18 gauge amber colored wire wrapped with 26 gauge amber wire and adorned with goldstone beads. 

This one is really cool, the photo doesn't do it justice. It is 18 gauge brown wire wrapped with 26 gauge burgundy and tangerine wire. I used glass seed beads on the bottom loops and a Swarovski  crystal bead on the drop. The center is a textured vintage button. I think I will put this one on a copper chain. 

I like this one too, these are my colors. The center strip is a mirror image with strips of gold Pardo Jewellery clay on each side. I used my ripple blade along each side and added the pieces of orange and black cane in each of the ripples. This was a experiment to see how well the Art Clay sections bond.... and it works very well, the piece is strong and secure.  I added the black wire bail and Swaroski rhinestones for interest. 

I used 18 gauge amber wire and 26 gauge wire with iridescent green seed beads to make this one.  I used a hammer to flatten the curly cues.  I need practice hammering but it doesn't look to bad and as you can see the color on the wire doesn't hammer off. 

This next one is more wire weaving using 18 gauge wire and 26 gauge yellow lemon wire and faceted peridot crystal beads.  I may add something clay to this one.... haven't decided how or what... so you may see this one again 

This last one is one I showed before but without the bird. Please forgive the lousy photo, I tried and tried to get a good one and this was the best I could do.  Everything about this piece was a struggle.  Things were going along really well, I used a mold Heather made for the bird, placed him on the pendant, highlight with PearlEx powders to give his feathers a shine and popped it in the oven. After it cooled I brushed on a thin layer of Kato sauce and cured it again.  When it came out of the oven I was using the heat gun to clear the Kato sauce... this is where bad stuff stared to happen...  because I was jabbering away to Heather I wasn't looking at the pendant... glanced down and saw a curl of smoke..uh oh... I burned the clay above the bird... the white/gray striped canopy. I'd put a lot of work into this piece so I better come up with  way to fix it...right?   After it cooled I decided sanding the burned part might work.  Not so. Sanding didn't remove the burn but it did remove color from the wire.  Now I have two problems, a burned canopy and copper wire showing through the green.  Fortunately I had a small piece of the striped clay left so I used it to cover the  burn. I covered the paint loss with fringe beads and 26 gauge wire, I like it.   Problems solved.. here it is.  (just don't look to close, not that you can with that lousy picture!).  

Okay, now tell the truth, wasn't the magician fun? 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wild Bird in the House

Does anyone else gets birds in the house? I'm not talking about canaries or parakeets I'm talking about wild birds. Every year or two a bird finds it 's way into our basement. I cannot find where they get in, I've looked and looked and can't figure it out.  Most times I hear them banging around.... go down to see what the heck the cats are doing... and see a bird flying around. I open the basement door and shoo it out, not a big deal.  A couple times it has been a little more exciting than that. Today was one of those times.

I was sitting in my office listening to NPR and surfing the web looking for the best place to buy a jeweler's saw.  I hear rattling noises and look up to see things falling off the wall in the stairway going up into to main part of the house... "what the hell?" at first I though "earthquake". I see the ear of one of my Easter bunny candy containers fluttering to the floor and suddenly I hear both cats madly dashing around upstairs..... not  good... so I do a little dashing myself.  I make it to the front entry and I see the bird in the stair well flying upward to the second floor and two cats in hot pursuit.  As I reach the landing and look up the bird lands on my head, Fritz, my male cat, leaps up on the newel post and is about to launch himself at the bird.  I have visions of a big black cat and a stupid little bird atop my bloody scratched up head and I scream NOOOOOOO!! Which scares both the bird and the cat. The bird flies upward, the cats right behind. Fortunately all the bedroom doors are closed, the only room open is the small den/sitting room at the front of the house. The bird  flies in, both cats dash in and I stumble in and slam the door yelling at the top of my lungs. The bird lands on the ledge above the window and is running back and forth looking for a way out.  The cats are stalking back and forth looking for ways to get at the bird. Fritz jumps from the futon to the chest of drawers, I grab him, jerk open the door and toss him out and slam the door shut.  Corny, who is an experienced hunter is more cunning, she is crouched on the futon, tail swishing, waiting for the bird to make a mistake.  I scoop her up with a triumph "Ah Ha!". I have her in a firm grip under my left arm, I can hear Fritz outside the door.  I am prepared.... or so I think... I will block his entrance with my foot.... I open the door with my right hand stick out my left  foot and Fritz leaps over my foot with the grace of a gazelle.  "Oh S@#%!!". So I toss Corny out the door and again slam it shut.

 Now keep in mind I am no spring chicken and I am running out of steam... here I am, shut in a  room with a terrified bird and a very determined cat.  I'm plotting how I can grab Fritz.... he's fast and stays out of my reach but is keeping an eye on the bird. When I move the bird flies around the room banging into the wall and falls downs either on the tv table, end table or chest of drawers. Fritz leaps at the bird, I leap at Fritz and we all come up empty handed or empty pawed as the case may be.  This happens several times. I'm huffing and puffing and swearing. It is fair to say none of us as having a good time.

This calls for desperate measures. Fritz is deathly afraid of plastic bags so I decide if I get a plastic bag maybe I can open the door a bit and use the bag to scare him out of the room.  For this plan to work I need a plastic bag. I look through the chest of drawers hoping to find one, even went through the trash can.... nope no plastic bag.  To get a bag I will need to leave the room, to leave the room I must make sure Corny.... who I can hear outside the door... doesn't get back in.  This time I have a pillow from the futon to block her... she is not as aggressive as Fritz so it works. I find the bag in my bedroom, put Corny in the bathroom and grab a bath towel.... not sure what I'm going to do with the towel... kinda have a plan to throw it like a net over either the cat or the bird.  I go back in the room. I leave the door open about 6"... big enough for the cat to go out. I don't want to open it all the way, the bird might fly out.  I start flapping the plastic bag which scares the heck out of both critters.... Fritz is cowering under the futon and the bird is once again trying to bang his way through the wall. He falls to the floor, Fritz pounces, grabs the bird, I grab Fritz screaming "Drop it, Drop it DROP It!!  Which he does. The bird is chirping a strange  little sound and scrambles under the bookcase, Fritz squirms out of my grasp and is trying his best to get the bird out from under the bookcase.  I push Fritz away with my foot and try to grab him, he darts back under the futon. When I move the bird flies up and lands on the blinds right in front of me. I toss the towel over him..."gotcha!!"  the "net plan" worked.  I wrap him up in the towel, fling open the door in victory and head downstairs to set him free.  Yes, I am happy to report, there is a happy ending.  I stepped out onto the back porch opened the towel and the bird flew into the trees... what a relief.  Time for a Bloody Mary, I need it.

Yes, Sarah, Grandma does like a Bloody Mary. They come in handy from time to time.

An interesting sideline to this story. My husband works nights, he was just down the hall during all this activity... slept though the whole thing.  My hero.

Check this out, Fritz is still mad at me. He is lying in the doorway of the den. First he wouldn't looks at me.

Then he gave me a dirty look.

Corny, on the other hand, is fine. She always has that superior look on her face.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pardo Art Clay Canes & Pendants

I was so happy to get my white Art Clay I spent the weekend making canes. I started out with a nice assortment of Skinner blends and striped canes. 

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Then I made some Kaleidoscope Canes. I've said it before but it's worth repeating, this clay reduces so well, very little distortion as you can see. 

More canes, I like the yellow one best but my favorite is rarely the favorite of others. 

I used the scrap ends of one of the above canes to make this pendant and then added colored wire and fringe beads.  I think I will add either a raven or an owl on the pendant, I'll post a photo when I decided which to use.

 Another pendant from the end of the blue cane.   I used silvertone wire to make the bail.

I am still making canes... and will need more white clay soon. 

By the way I haven't had any further problems condition the art clay.  I opened a couple new packs of black and it conditioned with ease. Apparently just the one pack was bad.  

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Polymer Clay Canes & Things

While waiting for my order of white Pardo Art Clay to arrive I made a few canes using a variety of colors. I got the colors for this one by adding a little brown to orange,  a touch of black to yellow to get the lime and a touch of brown to yellow for the mustard yellow.  

Click on the photos for a closer look. 

Until now I've found the Art Clay very easy to condition however I ran into a problem with the black clay. I opened a new package of black clay, cut slices a little wider than the #1 setting on the pasta machine.  When I ran it through the PM it was very crumbly and got more crumbly each time I put it though the PM.  I then put it in a plastic sandwich bag and tucked it in my bra to warm it up.  The warming up helped but the rollers on the PM were cold.... my craft room was a little chilly ( I'm being stubborn about turning on the furnace)  and once the clay cooled off it was crumbly again... weird huh? I finally coated it with a little Kato liquid clay, let it sit overnight, and tried again. Much better but still a little crumbly.  When I conditioned the rest of the block of black clay I added a slice of translucent and that made a big difference. Now I'm wondering about the shelf life of this clay or if it may have been partially cured in the mail.  I would love to know if anyone else has had any problems conditioning the Art Clay and if so, how you solved the problem. 

This is a pendant I made with the cane ends.  

For this cane I tinted translucent Art Clay with alcohol inks.  The cane is cool looking but when I baked a couple tiles the colors didn't show up very well, they were way to dark.... I forgot to take a photo of the dark tiles.

I cut a couple thick slices of the cane and ran it though the PM to the #6 setting to make the tiles for the earrings. Since they are thinner and the the pattern is bigger the colors are more pronounced.  For the pendant I backed the cane slices withe crackled silver leaf over black clay. 

This is how the earrings look with light behind them.

I got the colors for the  stripped cane by mixing left over clay from the other canes and then outlining in black.  The colors for the cane on the left are mixes of blue, magenta and violet added to beige.

These pieces are made with the cane ends and left over pieces from the striped cane.

I still had small amounts of the translucent clay that I tinted with the Pardo Metal paints. I made a small cane and used it to make these.  I like the shimmery shine.

I am very happy to announce my white clay has arrived... amazing how hard it is to work without white.