Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recursive Addictions!

Recursive Stage 2, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I can totally see how Grant Diffendaffer is addicted to making these recursive things. I call them recursive things because they can be a bead, a pendant, or just a tool in themselves.

I cannot get over how very different these two objects are. The top piece was created by inverting the cured bottom piece into raw clay and pushing down pretty hard.

The raw clay needs to be thick enough to accommodate the entire cured piece.

I just cannot get over the difference in the positive and the negative.

Amazing! And addicting!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bail Needed!

Better with the bail, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I think this bail is just what was needed for these pieces. All the drilling wasn't working and I was ruining far too many of these. Besides they are more pendant-like than bead-like I think.

Now I need to create matching clasps and I may have neck wear yet! The black beads in between the clay beads are some onyx I have had around for a while just waiting for a project. I think that the bronze color looks good with the black. I am also waiting for an order of 2 mm Buna Cord and rubber o-rings to use instead of this thin leather cord. It just isn't substantial enough.

I am a little disappointed in myself as far as color goes. I can't seem to get there yet. I make Maggie Maggio's color scales and they look fantastic but I cannot seem to translate them into jewelry. I think I have worked in metal for so long that making the transition to color is harder than I thought.

Weird considering I was a painter for so many years and color was always my thing. I think perhaps because the jewelry I wear myself is always metal with perhaps a bead or gem. But not all color all the time.

I'll get there. I am sure of it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Percolating New Ideas

pendant idea, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

I have been playing around with these forms trying to perfect and coax them into becoming pieces of jewelry. It is taking me a while to figure out all the nuances. I like the solidity of the form as opposed to the hollow form. The hollow pieces I was making seemed a bit flimsy to me. These have a nice heft to them.

Getting the holes right has been an uphill battle. It has been quite a learning curve. First I thought I could drill them after curing but that turned out to be a bad idea. It led to some cracking near the holes and often they didn't meet up in the middle. So I guess it is best to drill the hole into the raw clay but that also has issues. Sometimes the hole ends in the wrong place instead of exactly opposite the first hole.

I may try making a bail for them.

Then I have to figure out a clasp. I always have trouble with the mechanics of jewelry. It doesn't come as easy to me as the initial design. I like to make my own findings though and so it takes some thought and trial and error. I'll get there though and hopefully will have some new pieces for my shop.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An aha moment

another solid form bead, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I have been working my way slowly through Grant Diffendaffer's book called "Polymer Clay Beads". I say slowly because that is really the only way to do it. I read the book at night to prepare and then the next day in my studio try to practice his lessons.

If you haven't seen his book, it is really unusual. It is very different than other books on polymer clay. I like the way he treats polymer as a very hearty solid material.

These are my first attempts at making his "recursive beads". They kind of look like metal to me. I wiped on a little gold pearl ex for contrast.

I feel like I am making some headway with this medium. There is one thing I tried to do, which I wasn't successful at and that was making polymer headpins. When I work in metal clay, I take fine silver wire, make a ball of metal clay and sculpt it into something interesting. When I fire it the wire and the clay become one. Not so with polymer. All my headpins came off with a little tugging. I guess I will need to use glue. I am kind of old school with jewelry in that I never use glue. It is how I was taught. But let's face it, you can't solder polymer clay. So I'll have to figure out how to glue my headpins.

Well, my buzzer on the oven is going off with yet another batch of polymer clay beads. Until tomorrow then......

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Turtle Parade

Turtle Parade, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

I just had to share this wonderful shot I took today while on a lovely spring walk to Hall's Pond here in Brookline. The turtles were just so adorable all lined up like that. One more is bringing up the rear still in the water!

This made our day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy Accidents

Happy accidents, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
Many years ago there was an artist on public television named Bob Ross. Whenever Bob made a mistake on a painting, and it turned out well, he called it a "happy accident".

Well that is what happened to me yesterday in my studio.
I was hitting a wall, as I am known to do. I had just ruined a batch of beads due to not knowing what I was doing:)) So I decided to make some texture plates with these wonderful Chinese metal type characters I bought on e-bay.

Lord knows I have enough scrap clay to fill a steamer trunk! Well, the texture plates turned out rather well. I baked them and set them aside.

I had bigger fish to fry.

I was in a stripe mode since I very much liked the way the light colored stripes came out on the ruined beads. So, I tried it with gold, black and translucent.

Unfortunately I didn't like the way that looked at all. And I had made a big striped ingot too. Now what? Mush. That is what!
I mushed it all together and thought I had more scrap for texture plates. But wait...what is that color I made?

Bronze. That is what. A most lovely bronze color emerged from the scrap clay.
So with texture plate in hand, bronze colored polymer clay in the other, I made these beads. I also smudged a bit of Pearl Ex gold powder on them. The dome will be the front. The flat part the back. So they will be hollow. If I don't ruin them in the finishing that is. I do that. A lot.

Stay tuned.......

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Serious Studio Time

playing with ideas, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
It has been really nice to be able to go into my studio every day. I have even been losing track of time. Amazing. Each day builds upon the previous days work. This is how art happens. It is something I hadn't been able to do until now. I feel like I died and went to heaven.

As far as the polymer clay goes, there is a huge learning curve for me. I am surprised actually. With metal clay, you don't worry about color. It is kind of like working in black and white. But with polymer clay, you have to think about color or lack of it, along with texture and pattern. it is a lot really. But I am game. I am quite challenged by it.
I made some domed beads with the hope of turning them into lentil beads but it didn't quite work out the way I had envisioned.

Well, that is what tomorrow is for.

Plus I had better get busy finishing up my April BJP. I have been sidetracked with the clay. Well, I can think of worse things to sidetrack me.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chihuly at the MFA

Chihuly Exhibit @ DeYoung Museum, originally uploaded by chrisheuer. Photo copyright by Chris Heuer.
What a wonderful way to celebrate the first nice, sunny day in a very long time.

We walked over to the MFA to see the new Chihuly Exhibit.

Today was the members only preview but we still stood in line for hours to get in! It was absolutely worth the wait.

The dark background in the gallery really set off the colors. And oh what colors! The reds were so.......well....... RED! Deep alizarins and bright, highly saturated cadmium reds! Luscious!

There were some pieces where he used more earthy tones, which is something I hadn't seen before in his work. One chandelier was all muted ochres, browns and beiges. Some of the newer baskets were a cloudy ecru color. Still breath taking.

The pieces were all staggering in their beauty. Each more than the next. All I could hear around me were people gasping at the immense beauty of it all. To see all that color in one place after the many, long grueling months of gray days! A feast for sore eyes as they say!

The above piece was titled Mille Fiori. I was inspired by both the shapes and colors, Especially the way he uses simple stripes in many of the stems. Stripes are something that work well in polymer as well. Maybe some of this beauty will rub off on my polymer work. I can only hope.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The New Reality

Well, I have had a couple of days now for my new reality to sink in.

I think that there must be stages  because I certainly feel like I have had 2 already. The first stage was elation. I am retired.

The second stage seemed to be sadness and nostalgia. I am retired. I am no longer a graphic designer. I had a wonderful career. And now it is over. There is a certain sadness to that. I worked very hard at my career. I went back to school at one point and received my certificate in graphic design. When I first started my career in publishing it was as a photo researcher. In those days, photo research was very different than it is now. There were many independent photographers and photography companies. You had to contact each one individually with your specs. If you needed an interesting shot of a tiger you contacted Animals, Animals. There was Image Bank, Stock Market, Norbert Wu, and so many others. If you needed something really specific you contacted some of the more well known Athenaeums.

Now, everything seems to be owned by Corbis.

In those days there were no electronic images. You had to fax your specs in to the photographers and they would send you slides. Sometimes hundreds of slides. When you received the slides, the first thing you had to do was log them in. That consisted of photocopying both the front and back of each and every slide. They were usually in slide sleeves so that you could do multiples at once. But still it was intense. Sometimes you spent all day photocopying the slides. Then you put them in folders and drawers, labeled with the book, chapter and designer. The designers would come and take the slides and choose which ones they wanted. When they brought them back they were no longer in the same place they were when you gave them to them.

When they finally chose the slide or slides they wanted, and it was time to send the rejects back, you had to first put everything back where they were when you originally got them. It was like giant jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes when a project was over there were literally thousands of slides to organize. You had to make sure there were no lost slides. Each slide had a value of $1500. So you didn’t want anything to be lost.

Now, all the photo researcher has to do is go online to a place like Corbis, pick out a few lo-res images, and show them to the designer. The designer picks one, the researcher orders it and a few minutes later the hi res is downloaded. No photocopying, no lost slides. So much easier.

I will miss my career but I will embrace my new life.