Monday, December 26, 2011

Jules Verne Bead

Jules Verne Bead by Roberta Warshaw
Jules Verne Bead, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

As soon as I made this bead, I was reminded of going to the movies to see "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" in 1954 starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason.
It reminds me of the helmet they used to go deep sea diving.....

Which leads me to my newest Steampunk phase. I keep trying new things. That is the fun of polymer clay I think. All the different directions you can go in.

I hope everyone had a good holiday. We rested all weekend. I had a grueling week with my mom. She was hospitalized for severe anemia and we thought we were losing her. But my mom is a trooper. She is the energizer bunny! She is home now but we are not sure for how long. We are waiting for a biopsy to come back which is never fun and then we will see how to proceed.

So I am trying to rest up to see what we must endure. Luckily I don't have my grandson this week as he is on school vacation. I will work in my studio when I can and on Wednesday I have to go pick up what remains of my jewelry from the show I did a couple of weeks ago.

I hope all my blogger friends have a happy new year! Hard to believe it is going to be 2012..........

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On being a Jew at Christmas......

Holiday ornament by Roberta Warshaw
Holiday ornament, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
Being a Jew at Christmas has never been easy for me. When I was small I would try in vain to hang evergreen boughs and tinsel in the house only to have my mother tear it down furiously and tell me “We are Jews and we DO NOT celebrate Christmas!” Period.

I wanted to have Christmas so much that when I met and married my non-Jewish husband I went full on overboard. We had a tree. I decorated the house. I made all my own ornaments. I laid tinsel on one piece at a time just like you are supposed to. And got caught up in the shopping mania like everyone else. I was in heaven!

Of course, I still had a menorah on the table but it was surrounded by a holly bough and ribbons. I wasn’t kidding around!

For Christmas my kids received tons of gifts. We still lit the candles for Chanukah but it was really all about Christmas for gift giving.

After my divorce in the early 90’s I met my current husband who is a Jew and like my mother a firm believer that Jews do not celebrate Christmas. So I stopped. And I was fine with it. All of a sudden I didn’t have to shop. And I liked it. The pressure was off, just like that. Well, sort of.

Unfortunately my kids, of course, did not stop celebrating Christmas. How could I expect them to when they grew up with it. My daughter gets a huge tree every year and fills it with gifts and decorations for my grandson. She even has a nativity set. Ouch.

So this year, since I am not working and cannot afford to go crazy with gifts for my grandson, I decided to, yes that is correct, make an ornament. The other night I was perusing the internet to get ideas for making an ornament in polymer clay. Most of them looked pretty hokey though until I found this woman, Lynn Reno. She inspired me to make a steam punk ornament. I think my grandson will like it, don’t you?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Great New Photography Book!

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Interweave to pre-order a book from them on photographing your work for art shows and online sales etc.  The book is called "The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos."by Heidi Adnum. Many of you already know that I am a bit of a book-aholic. This combined with a serious  need to learn the best way to photograph my jewelry, compelled me to order the book right away!  I am happy to report that I got the book today, a bit earlier than the scheduled release on January 10th, and it is fantastic!

The book is written especially for people like me who have very little experience with product photography. Even though I am still learning it has been a long, slow road. My photos need help!

The photos in the book are all wonderful examples of good product photography. Underneath each photo the caption tells you exactly what type of camera was used to take the photos as well as the aperture settings, the f-stops, and ISO speed. In some cases even the time of day the shot was taken. I don't know of any other photography book (and I own quite a few)  that explains it so well.

Each chapter deals with a particular type of artwork or craft. There are ideas for when to use props and when not to as well as how to light your work to its best advantage. There is a ton of information packed into this book about how to make your own seamless as well as what time of day and where to take your photos. Inside or outside, neutral backdrops or colored. I did learn from reading the book that a big window is a great place to take your product photos. I do have a perfect window in my bedroom so I am going to get out my tripod and get busy!

There are also some great interviews with the artists whose work is used to illustrate the techniques as well. If you are in need of more information on how to improve your photos I really recommend this book.

I do still have a photography class coming up at Metalwerx in January that I am really looking forward to as well. Between this book and that class I am hoping to improve my photos, which in turn can hopefully help my sales.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mandala Neck Piece

Mandala Neck piece by Roberta Warshaw
Mandala Neck piece, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
Well, the show is over. I won't find out what was sold for a little while yet. The Art Center needs to tally up their receipts. I do know I sold some pieces as there were some blank spots on my section.

I had a great time at the show and met lots of interesting people. I even met a woman who was wearing a genuine Ford and Forlano neck piece. I had all I could do from asking her if I could touch it but I was restrained and just oogled it! I hope she didn't think I was nuts but it was the first time I had ever seen one up close and personal!

So now back to work. I am currently working on a round series of pendants. I call this my Mandala Series. Many years ago Mandalas were all the rage. This piece is a combination Zentangle/Mandala. I really like it. I have been trying to get the channel to work and have had many failures but I think I finally have it figured out. My channels were always a tiny bit too small for the cord. This time I used the thickest setting on my pasta machine for the inner channel and it was perfect. It gives more solidity to the piece as well.

I don't like flimsy pieces and so here I have used the thickest setting on the pasta machine both for the top and the center and the second thickest setting for the back piece.

Every time I try something new it takes me 5 or 6 times to get it just right. I am also experimenting with brass wire coils as beads. I really like the warmth of brass with polymer. Of course gold would be nicer but that is quite out of the question.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Same color. Two different looks.

My experiments in color continue. I think I may never be done with this phase of experimentation in polymer clay.

Both of these sets of beads were made using the exact same ivory color mix from Lynda Moseley's Faux Ivory tutorial. The only difference being the colors that surround them.

In the top photo, copper pearl ex was used as well as a coppery mixture I created using alizarin red and a bit of gold. Varying the amounts of gold gives a wonderful variety of copper colors to choose from.

In the lower set, I used carbon black pearl ex. Warning: a little carbon black goes a very long way. I am still learning how to control it.

The top beads look almost like porcelain. They remind me of lamp finials.

Anyway, more to come.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ebony and Ivory

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend and that you didn't eat too much!

On Black Friday I did what I always do. Stay home. I have no desire to go out to the stores and deal with the crowds!

I bought another wonderful tutorial from Lynda Moseley. I cannot sing Lynda's praises enough. Her tutorials are fabulous.

This one is called "How to Create Fabulous Faux Bone and Ivory." In this tutorial she includes 8 faux bone recipes and 3 faux ivory recipes. I haven't yet started on the faux bone yet but I will soon enough!

The beads you see in this photo are done with one of her signature faux ivory mixtures. It is a really lovely color and quite translucent which you may not be able to tell from the photo. But trust me it is a wonderful color.

I find myself enjoying repeat patterns. I think it must be related somehow to my years as a graphic designer when I would have to create borders for text books and other graphic elements.

A good friend of mine used to design textiles and I was always amazed at the way she could see repeat patterns in her minds eye. It is an acquired skill.

Me, I am still quite surprised when I sand away the excess pearl ex to see what my design will look like. it is very exciting to sand it off to see what lies beneath! I never liked sanding until it meant a big reveal!

Now I find myself sanding away! Although I still need to be careful of my repetitive stress from sanding. My holding hand gets very cramped. It was one of the reasons I stopped enameling. The sanding was killing me!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Beads

Don't ask............ by Roberta Warshaw
Don't ask............, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
Happy Thanksgiving from my beads to yours!

These were an accident of course. But they are funny!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Busy Making Beads

Set of 5 heart beads by Roberta Warshaw
Set of 5 heart beads, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

I love the way these look all lined up like this! I am enjoying this bead series immensely.

There are so many things I can do in order to make each one unique, whether it is the design itself or the color of the clay. Using different colors of pearl ex adds it's own unique quality.

I recently read on one of the blogs that some polymer artists use Renaissance Wax on their pieces. I did try it but found the smell was overwhelming. I am very sensitive to smells and have many allergies.

I also found that it didn't really make the beads that shiny after polishing. So far I have found Armoral to work best for finishing my beads. I brush on a light coat and burnish it with a cloth.

It gives the work a lovely sheen and it doesn't smell at all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A funny thing about color.....

Turqouise beads by Roberta Warshaw
Turqouise beads, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

Yes, these two beads are made from the exact same turquoise color formula. yet notice how different they look from each other.

The scribing on the left is embellished with a blue/gold pearl acrylic paint. The scribing on the bead on the right has been embellished with bronze pearl ex. Also the bead caps are made with a faux ivory color on that one.

I am always amazed at how colors react with one another. It is a constant and mesmerizing study and one I never tire of.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Some similarities.....

mexican design #3 by Roberta Warshaw
mexican design #3, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

Lately my work in polymer clay has been feeling vaguely familiar to me. Now I see why. This is from a series of Mexican gouache paintings I did circa 1987-1990. At the time I was living in upstate New York and would get into the city often to visit the museums. I happened to see a wonderful show on ancient Mexican art and artifacts and many, many paintings were inspired by that visit.

You can see where my love of repetition of lines and forms has followed me into my polymer clay work. It is interesting to see how the medium may change but the ideas do not. The style follows throughout. It is fascinating since I have always believed that we have no control over our style. It is like our fingerprints.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rich Black

In graphic design we use something called "rich black".

What this means is, rather than using just the straight black (which is called "K"), we add equal amounts of CMY (cyan, ,magenta and yellow) to it to make it a richer and deeper black. You wouldn't use it for type but for printing artwork with a lot of black in it, it looks much better than a flat black. The formula is usually 100%K (black), 40% C (cyan) 40% M (magenta) and 40% Y (yellow).

Here I tried it with polymer clay. The black is so rich and deep. I do like it. Of course, I might not use it all the time. For example I am not sure how the warmth of the color would look with say, silver or white pearl ex which are very cold colors. But I may try it and be surprised.

Now that I have delivered all my jewelry to the Brookline Art Center for their upcoming Artist Marketplace, I can play in my studio with no pressure! I can do that!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Faux Ebony Carved Beads

I have been getting many positive comments on these faux ebony beads.

I have been experimenting with a variety of colors for these beads, using a similar style so I can see what works and what doesn't. I like the ebony the best so far. I used pearl white pearl ex and I like it better than the silver actually. It really pops on the black.

I am still trying to get the faux jade to work as well. The colors are still dull compared to the more opaque colored beads.

I think it must have something to do with the transparency of the jade colors. I have been sanding my brains out but they are still dull as you can see below:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Signing the work

For quite a while now I have been trying to find a signature for my work that I like. It has been a long journey but this past weekend I was perusing the local "Paper Source" and I found a wonderful set of tiny letter stamps. Included in the set were a few "ornaments" as well. I thought, what the heck I'll give it a try. I like the way it turned out. 
 This is what they look like. They are quite adorable. Much better than the metal letterpress type I had been buying on Ebay. I can finally feel good about the back of my work.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

10 Bullets


This was in the Wall Street Journal this weekend, of all places. I love it! It is a funny video by a studio artist named Tom Sachs.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just the Beads........

Some new beads by Roberta Warshaw
Some new beads, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

I have been working really hard in my studio lately trying to get ready for the Brookline Art Center Artists Marketplace in December. I need to have everything in to them by next week so I haven't come up for air until now.

But I made these beads. And I am going to be making more. It is very relaxing to make something without worrying about how I am going to string them, connect them, etc.

Just the beads, that's it.

I listed them in my shop today. Perhaps someone will buy them and make something spectacular with them!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Something New!

A few months ago I took an online class from Barb Fajardo called "Textured Tile Tessellations." at CraftEdu. I hadn't really tried the technique until now and this is one of my first attempts.

I have to say, it is fun for me since it is like drawing. I used to draw all the time, but hadn't been lately. I think it is a wonderful technique to add to my repertoire.

I also made some beads utilizing the technique which you can see here.

I am going to go mix up some more ivory color as we speak!

Speaking of ivory, what is your favorite mixture for this color? Everyone seems to have a favorite. I am using Julie Picarello's formula for "Jecru" here. It is 1 part ecru, 1 part translucent and 1/2 part pearl. I like the little shimmer that the pearl gives it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bead tutorial

Recently I bought a new tutorial from Lynda Moseley on making these wonderful beads. I had been having some trouble making round beads that looked solid and well crafted. I knew the answer wasn't a bead roller.

In this tutorial, Lynda teaches you to make your beads in layers. Something I would have never thought of. It works really well. You get your round shape and then add your textured pieces to that. The addition of bead caps and smaller caps around the hole complete the bead. I find it a very satisfying way of making beads.

I also purchased her faux jade tutorial and made a few of the jade colors. I am not used to working in translucent clay though and so far am not happy with my results.

I need to do more sanding on them to see if it is something I want to continue with.

Oh and before I forget I did make it into the Brookline Art Center's Artist Marketplace show in December. I am very happy about that and look forward to someone else seeing my work besides me and my family!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of those weeks

It has been one of those weeks where I had no internet service, no land line and no e-mail. I finally got rid of Verizon and went with Comcast. I know, one corporate entity to the next. They run our lives, don't they?
But now I am back online and am able to post some new work. This one is the latest in my new series and I like it with just the two colors, chocolate liqueur and bamboo. I am not sick of making these yet, I hope you are not sick of seeing them......

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Phlox, Deep Teal, and Nougat

I hope you are not getting too sick of me posting these pendents! I can't seem to stop making though and I really love these colors. I just thought I would share.

I haven't had too much time in the studio this week. My very good friend's son passed away this week after a 2 year long battle with brain cancer. So I have been busy trying to help her get everything she needs to have people over on Sunday when she returns from sitting shiva in Philadelphia. Life is just too sad for words sometimes.

Plus my mom has a blood clot in her leg so I have been taking her over for treatments for that.

Also all the after school homework business. These kids have so much homework these days and it is not easy! And he is only in 6th grade! I don't understand half of it, so I am of little help. I can help with spelling and those types of things, but science and math...not so much.

Well, enjoy your weekend everyone!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New piece with Klimt Extruder Canes

You may notice  that I am using a sterling silver bail here. Let me tell you why.

Previously I had been making my bails from polymer clay. They were quite lovely and seemed secure. Then I sold a necklace and it arrived broken. The box had not been damaged in any way. I was quite heartbroken over it. I don't make many sales and to have a piece break like that before it was even out of the box felt horrible.

As soon as I learned of it, I went through all of my pieces with polymer bails and tested each one. In every case the bail broke.

Luckily for me, my customer was very understanding and let me make her a new pendant. This time I made it with a sterling silver bail.

The eye pin goes all the way down through the piece. I added an L shape at the bottom of the wire as added security. So in a way, it is a type of armature for the piece. I then made some 16 gauge jump rings and used 2 of them for the cord to go through.

I never, ever want a piece of mine to break. If I ever expect to sell my work, that cannot happen. Jewelry needs to be really sturdy. It gets a lot of wear and tear. Purses pull at it, seat belts tug at it, not to mention people fondling the piece. It has to be able to stand up to some abuse.

I even decided not to make any more polymer toggles. While they look lovely, I am just not going to trust such a stressful point on a piece of jewelry to it. So I have been making sterling silver clasps to go there. I may make some metal clay toggles when the weather gets colder and I can fire up my kiln. I think they would look really pretty AND be sturdy.

I am interested in hearing about what other polymer artists have experienced using polymer bails and clasps.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Extruder Canes

First off, let me say, I am not big on making canes. All that fuss budgeting around with the blends and the rolling and the shrinking and the pounding. I just don't like doing it. I don't mind making striped ingots so much. They are pretty simple and you can do a lot with them. But the canes. Fuggeddabout it.

So imagine my delight when I recently discovered that you could make canes in an extruder. In Maggie Maggio's book titled" Polymer Clay Color Inspirations", she has a section on making these types of canes.

Essentially, all you do is layer circles of varying colors, roll out the log to fit into the extruder, and extrude.

What I really like about it is that every section of the cane is different. All the designs you see in this photo are from the same cane. Even the other side sometimes has a different design on it.

Some people combine the extruded logs together and get what they call Klimt canes. But I like keeping them separate. I feel like I have more control over how they are placed.

These colors are from the Color Palette A week #37. The colors are Red Ribbon, Nougat, Hyacinth and Persian Red. An unusual palette to be sure but I like the way it came out!

Monday, September 12, 2011

More Pantone Fun!

So believe it or not I sold the Phlox and Apple Green necklace I posted on here the other day. I couldn't believe how fast it sold. That never happens to me. Anyway, I am happy about that. It gives me confidence as well as money to buy more supplies.

Today's piece is a bit of a more muted palette. It is still the Apple Green but this time I have paired it with Nougat and Chocolate Liqueur.

I do so love the way those color names roll off the tongue. Much nicer than when I was a graphic designer and it was Pantone color 583 uncoated or coated. Apple green sounds much more romantic!

I have listed this one in my Etsy shop and I will see if this one sells as well.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Color Palette a Week

I am enjoying this color palette of the week very much. It is getting me out of the gold pearl ex rut I was sinking into fast.

The colors this week are apple green, phlox and licorice. I didn't exactly use the licorice, although the leather cord is approximately the color of licorice, so I am going to go out on a limb and say that counts!

I like the way it came out so much I may decide to list it in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pantone Madness

When I was a graphic designer, I lived and died by the Pantone books. The color swatches were used for every book cover and color scheme. it was the only way to be sure that the colors were going to print properly.

When I first started making jewelry, I worked mostly in metal with very little color. It has taken me some time to get back to color in any kind of meaningful way.

A few months ago I purchased an e-book of Pantone spring and fall color forecasts from craftsbyChris, I dutifully made all the samples and then ignored them all summer.

Well, it is time to get involved with color again. I chose Honeysuckle and Coffee Liqueur to begin my adventure. Since pink is a color I don't usually use, I started with that. I love it with the Coffee Liqueur. I love saying those names. Much more interesting than just saying "brown".

I really like Chris's formulas. I know that I did all of Maggie Maggios color tests and exercises, but I really like these formulas. I don't want to have to think about what colors will make what. I just want to pick some colors and run with it. That way I can just focus on the design.

If you are interested in buying Chris's formulas, you can find her here. She really gets the colors spot on. She does all the hard work so that we don't have to.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peters Hill Fruit Orchard

Today feels like fall. For the first time this summer, I have to wait until it warms up a bit before I take my early morning bike ride.

This is a photo of Peter's Hill in the Arnold Arboretum. Right now the fruit is plump on the trees. Whenever I am there I feel like I am someplace else. It is hard to believe this lovely hilltop orchard is so close to the city. A mere 3.5 miles.

I am going to enjoy these last bike riding days to the fullest since I don't like riding in the cold. Then I will have to move my exercise indoors. But for now.......I will enjoy the glorious weather!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Etsy tragedy

leaves and shadow by Roberta Warshaw
leaves and shadow, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I was feeling quite sorry for myself today,

What with Hurricane Irene spoiling my Labor Day week vacation in California. I woke up thinking I should be at the airport right now, blah, blah, blah.

And then I read this:
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8291409/mother-dies-after-two-weeks-in-hospital
Julie Ann was the team leader for one of Etsy's street teams. it is called DUST, an acronym for Down Under Street Team.

The story is beyond heartbreaking. Apparently she was accompanying her ill daughter on a flight for medical treatment when the plane crashed, killing both her daughter and the pilot. Julie Ann hung on for two weeks and then died over the weekend, the day of her daughters funeral.

I know that sad things happen all the time but this was someone from the Etsy community. Even though I didn't know her I still feel very sad.

My thoughts and condolences go out to her family and loved ones as well as her team members.
There are various fund raising events happening over at her team web site to raise money for her family.

I have promised myself that I will stop feeling sorry for my lost trip immediately.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jump Rings Etc.

Jump Rings Etc. by Roberta Warshaw
Jump Rings Etc., a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I am revisiting one of my earlier designs now that I know a bit more about finishing my pieces.

When I first began these applique pieces, I had so much trouble getting the bottoms to fit, getting the edges to look finished and most of all figuring out how to connect the beads once they were done.

I gave up for a while but now that I have taken some tutorials, I feel more empowered with the new knowledge.

I used Ronna Sarvas Weltman's idea of coloring the inlaid stamps with shoe polish. It is a nice rich color but I do want to get some new acrylic paints as I would like to try that as well. I also want to try the Krylon 18K gold pens as Louise Fischer Cozzi suggests in her book and magazine articles.

I attached the bottoms with liquid clay and then as I learned in Helen Breil's tutorial added the border using my new extruder. The extruder makes lovely borders in case you were wondering. I just extrude the clay and then run it through the pasta machine for a nice, even, and flat trim.

Then came the jump rings. I have never liked jump rings as connections unless they are soldered. Even then, I never really liked the way they looked. But after seeing some jewelry designers use multiple jump rings, I thought I'd try that. I like it much better. I also feel better in that it makes the piece stronger. One un-soldered jump ring just doesn't work that well. But two, or maybe even three. Now that is a different story! I am also going to re-visit my use of coils as attachments. I like making my own findings as I think it really enhances the hand made aspect of the work.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Jewelry Exhibit at the MFA

Today I escaped from my studio for a few hours and took a walk over to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the new jewelry exhibit that just opened. Needless to say it was a wonderful display of work. Small but wonderful. There were some incredible pieces there. The one you see above was one of my favorites. I love all the little connections on the pearls.

Whenever I look at jewelry exhibits I hone right in on the connections. I love seeing how stones and beads are connected. Are they cold connected or soldered? Are the jump rings soldered each and every time? Are the wires forged or left round? There was one necklace where the connectors were teeny, tiny coils of the thinnest gold wire. I am always amazed by the small sizes that some jewelers are able to solder and connect. I can barely see them!

I find that it is always good to get out of the studio and my own head and go see jewelry shows. I especially like seeing pieces that were made in another era. Imagine a time when using coral in your work wasn't illegal, nor was ivory. As jewelers, we really have had to adapt to changes in our materials over the past few decades. Gold has become untouchable, and silver keeps going up along with it. As I looked at all the jewelry, I was inspired by the fact that quite a few pieces almost looked like polymer.

So now I am very inspired by all I saw today and will try and get some new work done before we leave next week for San Francisco. We are going out to see my aunt for a few days which is always fun. She is my mom's sister and is always very entertaining!

If anyone has any suggestions for seeing interesting exhibits, do let me know!

Friday, August 19, 2011

All Texture, All the Time

Texture maniac! by Roberta Warshaw
Texture maniac!, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I am still happily playing with all my new textures. I keep making more of them. The field is endless, I must say. One could keep going forever.

A few weeks ago I took a very interesting class from Barb Fajardo on Craft.edu  It was called "Textured Tile Tesselations". It was really a great class, but I kept thinking how nice it would be if there were a handout to go along with the class.

Well, guess what? There is a handout and today I got it in my e-mail from Barb. I think that is the perfect compliment to an online class. When I read it over, I realized that there were already things I had forgotten from the class. The good news is that you can view the class up to 12 times over a year. I still have a few views left so I will most certainly take advantage of that.

I am hoping to take some more classes now that I see how easy it is and how well it works. Once school starts and I have more time to devote to my craft, that is.

If you haven't tried Craft.edu yet, and you are looking for some great tutorials, try it. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finished Necklace

Finished necklace by Roberta Warshaw
Finished necklace, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
While digging around in my bead stash, I found these wonderful sterling silver beads I bought ages ago. I think they look really nice with the polymer clay and the metal clay.

I just listed it in my shop here. Who knows if anyone will ever find my stuff with the new crazy search changes that Etsy has been making lately. But I keep at it anyway. I am addicted to making things and can't stop.

I sent in my application today for the Artist Marketplace 2011 at the Brookline Art Center. So fingers crossed everyone!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pendant or pin?

Pendant or pin? by Roberta Warshaw
Pendant or pin?, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
It occurred to me today that I still have a ton of metal clay components sitting in boxes and bins in my studio. I had originally created them for use in bead embroidery but now that polymer clay has taken over my life, I decided to use them in this Helen Breil inspired piece.

She uses buttons in her work but since I had these, I decided to use them instead.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ocean Colors

Earrings by Roberta Warshaw
Earrings, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I am enjoying this texture very much and have been experimenting with a variety of colors. I like the summery feel that these have. They are quite a contrast from the ones done on black and I quite like them.

I recently found out about a show at our local arts center that I am thinking of applying to. It is a holiday show in December put on by the Brookline Arts Center. I am always nervous about applying to shows. I have never been very good at it since the sting of rejection can last for years. I have been rejected before, hence my reluctance to try again.

But I know that in order to grow as an artist it is something I really need to do more of. Especially now that I am no longer working at a regular job. I am in my studio every day, making things, learning things. Just doing it!

I especially need to branch out from Etsy. It is a good place to send people to so they can see your work but in order to sell things I need to get out in public. As I say, not always easy for me.

The first thing I need to do is make new business cards. My old cards show my old work so I will need new ones. Also, I think I may need a Tax ID. There are a lot of things to think about but the deadline is September 1st so if I am going to do it, I need to do it soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Heading to the Cape for a day of R&R....

Heading down to the cape for the day to see friends. I thought I'd just share a quick picture of a cute robot sculpture from an exhibit on the lawn of the Rockwell Museum this summer.

I think he is quite divine!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yet More Texture

More textured earrings by Roberta Warshaw
More textured earrings, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I was surprised at how much I like this texture. I thought it would be too large for the size of the earrings but it turns out not to be true. I guess I forgot how good a design can look when it is huge.

Once in a figure drawing class, I really annoyed my teacher. His class was all about drawing the whole body. That way we could get the size of the head correct in proportion to the rest of the body. I had so much trouble with it that I made the whole page just one single part of the body. Like one thigh or one boob.

I liked it even if he didn't!

Anyway, in case you may not have noticed, I have been fiddling around with some things on my blog. I would like to try to have a direct shop on here. I just get so lost on Etsy. I have been on there for years and have only sold a couple of things. There is so much jewelry on there it is hard to get noticed. Some days I don't even get one view!

What do you all do? Do you make any sales on Etsy? Do you have other web sites? I recently found out that I could add a Paypal button to blogger. Should I/ shouldn't I? I would really like to start selling. I am planning on doing some shows this winter but I would really like to make my online shop at least somewhat profitable. Sigh.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Texture Sample

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this texture but I am really quite pleased with the results. It is yet another texture I created using the "Radiating Textures" tutorial I purchased from Helen Breil.

Also, you will notice the border around the two pieces. I have always wanted to make a bezel for my polymer creations but could not figure out how to make one that would be even all the way around. This one doesn't have a bottom as a real bezel for a gem stone would but I think it gives a lovely finished look to the piece.

This is also from a tutorial by Helen Breil on surface design and tile making. Which you can find here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Helen Breil Tutorial

One of the problems where I live is the lack of any classes in polymer clay. I am not speaking of basic classes but of master classes with some of the experts in the field.
I am not sure why no one wants to teach here in Boston but it is what it is. We have a fantastic jewelry school here called Metalwerx but they do not offer any classes in polymer clay. I am not sure why. I am also not able to travel much to take classes. I have obligations here at home and can't really go too far.

So I have come to rely heavily on tutorials. One of the most exciting ones I have purchased recently is one by the wonderful Canadian polymer artist, Helen Breil. It is called Radiating Textures and I cannot recommend it enough. It is one of those tutorials where you really learn a skill and can take it to the next level on your own once you understand the basics. There is much to be learned from this tutorial and it was certainly well worth the money.

For example, I had never thought of using extrusions for texture making. But they work really well. In the circular texture in the photo at the top right you can see how it was done. It doesn't look like much here but it makes the most beautiful texture. Simple and elegant.

I haven't tried the others yet. I am not sure about the one on the bottom right. I made the lines too thick. I think I will make another using thinner strips and texturing the strips rather than the base. Also, some of them need to be made into inverses in order to get a nice texture. I haven't done that yet either.

I am hoping to use these soon in some new pieces. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fun With Color!

I seem to be having too much fun with this design right now! I finally made color samples of my Pearl Ex mica powders. Boy was I in for a shock! This color is called interference violet. I am not sure what interference colors are but in the jar the powder was white so I paid it little attention.
I was far more interested in all the gold, sparkly colors. But once I made samples and found this color I was amazed. I just love it!
I glued the small sample swatches to the tops of the jars so that I don't have to try and read those teeny, tiny labels anymore! Anyone who has used mica powders knows what I am talking about. Could they make the type a little smaller? I swear it is 5 or 6 pt type! And it is in multiple languages so trying to find the English one is tricky!
I also bought a new texture making tutorial this week by Helen Breill. It is simply wonderful. I will take pictures of my new textures and blog about it later in the week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened After Vacation....

New Polymer Earrings by Roberta Warshaw
New Polymer Earrings, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I spent the past two days trying to get back to what I was doing before I left for vacation. I had every intention of continuing my recent experiments with polymer clay. But I was struggling. Nothing was working.

But today, these earrings happened instead. I am not sure what happened. But I do like them. I just don't know exactly where they came from. There were no sketches or anything. I didn't plan them at all. I have learned however, never to argue with the inner voice of creativity.

Sometimes I will try and steer the ship but it demands to be left to its own devices.

And there you have it.

Now if I can get some better photos of them I will add them to my shop.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back from Vacation!

It was another memorable Berkshire vacation. The weather was picture perfect so we had lots of pool time. Along with pool time of course goes bead weaving. Although I have to say I didn't complete too many things this time around. I did a lot of ripping out. For some reason I kept missing the elusive "step up" in the peyote stitch. Only finding it at the very end when it was time to zip up. This bracelet is the only thing that was completed and I don't consider it finished since the toggle needs some adjustments.

Plus I think I was missing my polymer clay projects this year and couldn't concentrate fully on the bead weaving.

Oh well.

The rest of the vacation was fantastic. We saw James Taylor at Tanglewood. I never tire of hearing his sweet voice. He had a couple of special guests with him this year. Amy Grant and her husband Vince Gill. I have always liked her music and to hear her again was lovely. She and her husband have a wonderful harmony together.

We also saw Joshua Bell again. Twice. Once at the Saturday morning open rehearsal and then again at the Sunday concert. Both, of course, at Tanglewood. If you have never listened to Joshua Bell, you simply must. He is an amazing violinist. And oh so young and adorable! If you are familiar with the movie "The Red Violin", that is him playing the music for the soundtrack.
We also saw a wonderful exhibit on the grounds at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Robots. You can see the photos I took here.


So back to the business of camp lunches and polymer clay! Not necessarily in that order!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Experiments with Design and Color

This will be my last post for 2 weeks as we leave for vacation tomorrow. I thought I would leave you with a few ideas I have been working on this week. I wanted to try my applique designs out using different background colors as well as different surface treatments.

On the far left I used Jecru as a background and a product called Rub n Buff gilding paste for the gold. The next one over from that is also Jecru as a background but with brown shoe polish (per Ronna Sarvas Weltman's book) as a coloring on the applique.

Next over, and my favorite, is the use of pure translucent as a background with Pearl Ex gold as well as Rub n Buff applied to the surface.

I got the idea of using the translucent right out of the package from Donna Greenberg. She uses it to a marvelous effect so I thought I might try it. I had mixed results with adding colors to the translucent so I gave this a try. I really like it and plan to try more of it this way.

Of course, next is my usual black with gold Pearl Ex. A tried and true favorite of mine.

The furthest one to the right is Jecru with copper colored acrylic. A no-go as far as I can tell. It isn't doing anything for me.

Anyway, that's it for a couple of weeks. Enjoy your 4th of July and I'll see you when I get back!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Yes, I won Something!



I never win anything. So you can imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail a few weeks ago from a fellow blogger, telling me I won one of her pins.

At first I thought it was spam. You know, like I would click on it and get a link to viagra or something. I am so jaded sometimes..............But no,  it was from this wonderful beader,  Cenya  Eichengreen of Oregon. I sent her my mailing address as she requested and lo and behold, today I received my pin. You can see it above. Isn’t it lovely? I am so astounded. I really am. That someone who doesn’t know me would send me such a lovely gift. Somehow I think I need to pay it forward, yes?

When I return from vacation that is exactly what I intend to do.

Thank you so much Cenya!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Packing for Vacation

house with plants by Roberta Warshaw
house with plants, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

We leave this Saturday for our annual trek out to the Berkshires. For two glorious weeks we have a whole house to ourselves and a wonderful swimming pool as well.

I am bringing lots of beads with me since I won't be able to work on any clay pieces. Polymer clay is not very portable. But I am very behind on my Bead Journal Project so perhaps I will get caught up on that. I also plan to work on some of the wonderful beady triangles from Diane Fitzgerald's book. Sitting by the pool with bead work is really the ultimate guilty pleasure for me.

So if you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks, don't worry. I'll be back!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Finished piece with faux bronze beads

I finished this piece today in between taking my dad to the eye doctor and picking my grandson up after school.

I really like the way it turned out. I am happy that I found a way to use some of the gazillion beads I am making. The tubes are like tiny canvases for me.

One of my online friends suggested that I try Gilders paste. Right now I am using pearl ex and I just love what it does for the clay. But I am going to give the Gilders paste a try as well and see which I like best. Perhaps both.

I also ordered some alcohol inks and will give them a try as well. I have seen some very interesting things being done with alcohol inks and translucent clay. I can't wait to try it but right now I seem heavily wedded to black and bronze.

There are so many roads to go down with polymer. I find it a source of endless fascination to see what other artists are doing with this material. Everyone has their own special unique look.

There is one artist in particular who really impresses me with her creativity and what she does with translucent clay and gold leaf. Her name is Donna Greenberg and her work can be found here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Faux Bronze Beads

Faux Bronze beads by Roberta Warshaw
Faux Bronze beads, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

My name is Roberta and I am addicted to making these beads. It has been 2 hours since I last made some. When I am not making them I am thinking about making them. My head is ready to explode!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

House by the Sea

House by the Sea by Roberta Warshaw
House by the Sea, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I was cleaning out my studio the other day. I got rid of five bags of stuff! While I was doing this I came across an old applique of mine that I did circa 1986.

At the time I was living in a wonderful little house in Key West on the appropriately named "Love Lane". I did quite a few of these appliques in those days and then proceeded to give them all away. This photo is all I have left of them.

I just thought I would share it with you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another set of Beads

A new design by Roberta Warshaw
A new design, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

In between my parents move and filling out financial aid forms for my grandson's piano lessons, I managed to make 2 beads.

I will be glad to get back into my studio routine. Any day now.....sigh

They don't call us the sandwich generation for nothing!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Move is Complete!

Well, it has been an exhausting week. As the move got closer my mom got more and more stressed. I was so worried that she would not survive the move. She really did not want to leave her house in the suburbs at all. My dad is really the one who was pushing for the move. He has been wanting to move for a long time now.

But move they did. Thank heavens for the packers. I don't know how we would have managed without the three young men packing all their stuff. Mind you they moved from an 8 room house to a 3 room apartment. From 6 closets to 2 and a half. From 2 and 1/2 bathrooms to one single bathroom.

As the apartment filled with boxes the stress levels were rising. The apartment has 2 bedrooms so we decided to put all the extra boxes into the den for now as storage. Once we get the rest of the apartment organized, we will tackle the boxes of stuff that should not have been brought. But my mom would not part with anything.

The building where they are living has an in house home help service. So as a house warming gift I gave them 10 hours of help with unpacking, organizing and whatever else they need. I was quite sure that a stranger would have better luck with my mom as far as getting her to throw things away. I was right. Gina came yesterday and while we were unpacking lamps and "chotchkes", Gina and my mom tackled the kitchen. Gina looked at the date on every box of food and my mom agreed to get rid of all the expired food. Some dated as far back as 2003. So the kitchen is organized and no longer overwhelming.

On Monday Gina will come again and help my mom organize the bedroom and bathroom. She will also do the huge pile of laundry that has accumulated. That will be the next challenge. Allowing someone else to do the laundry. My mom is not up to the task but does not admit it. I think once she sees that having someone else do the cleaning and the laundry, she can be freed up to enjoy her life more. Pleasure is not something that comes easily to my mom. She is a child of the depression after all.

Yesterday we emptied all the boxes in the living/dining area and kitchen. Then we will start on the boxes in the den. This will be hard because there are things in there I tried to get them to throw out or give to the junk man but they wouldn't. Things like an old Bell and Howell movie camera, an old movie screen on a tripod, old cleaning supplies, mops and brooms from the garage, books that should have been donated to the library, and many, many other items that really cannot stay. It is clutter at best and a fire hazard at worst. But having help with this will be a godsend.

I cannot tell you how wonderful it is not to have to drive an hour to see and help my parents. I can now walk to their apartment. Their building is like a cruise ship that stays in one place. The newspaper is delivered to their door daily. No more wet papers. The dining room is on their floor right near their apartment as the rent includes 2 meals a day. Except on Shabbat when there are no meals. Both the trash room and the elevators are right near their apartment as well. They are making fast friends with the trash room. Especially the chute..........down the hatch!

The view from their living/dining room is not to be believed. All of downtown Boston, Brookline and even Logan airport can be seen. It is a million dollar view.

And amazingly enough there are people in the building that my dad went to college and high school with! So they already have old friends and are meeting new ones every day. This is the best thing of all. They will no longer be isolated from people. I think my mother's cloud will lift. I am quite hopeful. She sounds better already when I talk to her on the phone!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jecru (No not J. Crew)

Some new beads by Roberta Warshaw
Some new beads, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I recently bought a book (yes another book. I can't stop, yes it's a problem).

The book is called "Patterns in Polymer" by Julie Picarello. At first I was a little disappointed because it is about Mokume Gane in polymer clay and I am just not quite there yet. It looks interesting to me but complicated. Perhaps sometime I will give it a try but not right now.

What I did find was an amazing color she has created. It is called Jecru and it has as its base ecru. But Julie adds some punch to the color that really has to be seen in person to be appreciated.

Yes, it is an ivory-like color. I have tried making ivory colors before but they always seemed very flat to me. Julie's formula adds translucent and pearl in varying amounts and the result is a very versatile and stunning color.

I am using it on these beads you see here. She also adds it to colors for a muted effect that enhances the package colors in a simple yet effective way. In other words, it is not a complicated mixing process and all your colors relate since they have the Jecru in them.

I have some in the oven now in which I mixed some Jecru in with turquoise. The color is quite stunning in its raw state. I hope it keeps its color. I'll see in a bit and take some pictures for you.