Sunday, June 24, 2012


Goldenscape by Roberta Warshaw
Goldenscape, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

This will probably be my last post for a few weeks as we are going away on vacation and won’t have any internet service where we go. I do enjoy that, especially now when I find myself burning out on all the social media. I need a break from it all. I really do.

I am bringing my macramé and my beads with me as well as a brand new sketchbook. I always bring a new sketchbook with me in the hopes that I can inspire myself to going in some new artistic directions. The place we go in the Berkshires is really lovely. Lots of green and hills to inspire.

Speaking of new directions, this is a piece from the new series. For every successful piece I make there are at least a dozen unsuccessful ones. It is a challenge to say the least but I can’t seem to go back right now to simpler polymer times. I keep trudging forward in the hopes I can perfect the technique and open up to a new way of working.

So, I’ll see you all in a few weeks. Until then, have a lovely and enjoyable Fourth of July!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Landscape Series

landscape series by Roberta Warshaw
landscape series, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

These pieces are quite grueling. I really admire Kathleen's work more and more as I see what goes into these pieces. Of course my favorite part is painting the base. That is the easy part.

My pieces all have air bubbles. We are not talking about the occasional large air bubble, but rather clusters of tiny ones. They are like a rash. Very hard to get out. You cannot see them until the piece is cured.

The other question is how best to frame them. If they are going to be jewelry then they need a place for an attachment. I haven't figured that out yet either.

But for now this is my progress.....needless to say, it is slow going. But I am very challenged by this process and will keep you posted.

Tomorrow I have a one day photography workshop at Metalwerx. I am hoping to learn a bit about taking better photos of my work.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Practice, Practice, Practice

I have been working hard yesterday and today at all the new techniques I learned in Kathleen's class.

I knew that I would forget something very important. And that is that lamella has only one direction. It has a nap to it and if you put it on in the wrong direction the golden glow is gone. You can see here where I laid one of the pieces in the wrong direction.

I am still not quite adept at carving my lines really well. You can see where I carved out too much in the leaf stem on the far left.

But the good news is, I had NO air bubbles trapped in this piece. I was much more careful at pressing them out this time now that I know what to look for.

I ordered some heat set paints but since they haven't come yet, I used Pantone markers on this piece. Hence the colors are not that great. Plus I only have three markers. A yellow, a blue and a red. Plus a colorless blender. So not too many color options

Once my Genesis heat set paints come I will be able to get my colors the way I want them.

This technique is right up my alley since it is so painterly and my background is in painting. But it is NOT as easy as painting. Especially getting that transparent thin enough. It is like phylo dough. So between the thin gold leaf flying around the room and the clay folding over on itself and sticking to itself, needless to say I had a few times when I had to just walk away.

My mold making has taken a bit of a back seat but when I need something less stressful to do, I know what to do!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Class This Weekend

This weekend was my 2 day workshop with Kathleen Dustin. I wasn't sure how my back and legs were going to hold up given all the standing I did but I am happy to report I didn't do too badly and there were a few times when I was able to sit down so I wasn't in too much pain.

The class was amazing. And even though I took copius notes, I am sure I won't remember everything.

The most important things I learned were, that I must get some Genesis Heat Set Paints as well as a heat gun. I loved these paints. The piece I am showing you here is really the only piece I made that I was happy with. It isn't finished yet, since it is in need of a border and I have some corner repairs to do as well as more sanding. The paints are oil paints and they don't dry until you want them too. Hence the heat gun.

After they dried I applied the imitation gold leaf and then a layer of translucent clay. The design is simple. I didn't use the full repertoire of inclusions as in my other pieces, but I really like the simplicity in this piece. It looks more like one of my oil paintings.

The second most important thing I learned is how interesting unconditioned translucent clay can be. I had never worked with translucent clay before. At least not like this. Very, very thin. Number 7 or 8 on the pasta machine. I had no idea clay could be used this thinly. Any time I have tried to make my clay this thin, I have not had luck with it going through the pasta machine. But I learned the technique and gained a new technique from my polymer pieces.

The other two pieces that I made, I am not showing you because I was not happy with the way they came out. I did learn a lot from them anyway. For example I learned how to carve and then back fill the carving for an interesting additional linear layer.

And I learned a new word. Lamella. What is a lamella you ask? Here is the definition from Wikipedia.

In polymer clay it is a cane made with gold or metal leaf and translucent clay in such a way that it resembles fish scales. It is a lovely technique Kathleen developed and I was happy to have learned how to do it. It does take some getting used to since I didn't get it thin enough and you can't really put it through the pasta machine because of the metal leaf in the cane. But I am sure with practice I will get better at using it and be confident in adding it to my work.

So I was happy to have been able to take the class. I wasn't too sure about it for a while. Next week I have a one day seminar in photographing my jewelry. That should be interesting and hopefully I will learn more about manual settings on my camera. Right now I am all about the "auto" setting.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Upside Down Flower

New bail idea #1 by Roberta Warshaw
New bail idea #1, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

I decided that this flower looked better upside down. What can I say. I like to mix it up sometimes.

I am also trying to add more wire work to my pieces, hence the new bail idea. I like the idea of the bail being added this way rather than attached inside the clay. I have not had much luck adding the metal into the clay and keeping it interesting as well.

I gave up a long time ago on adding the metal with a piece of clay over it. Or with a clay bail. I had a piece come back to me with the clay bail broken. That was when I decided not to use clay bails anymore. Metal is so much sturdier as well as decorative. I think the addition of metal, especially with clay gives it more substance as well.

So I keep trying new things. After all that is what we do, right?