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Saturday, February 14, 2093

All Free - All the Time



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I am a student & this is my PRIVATE area to organize & access personal study materials 
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Photographs contained within this website are for critical review
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This website may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This material is being made available within this transformative or derivative work for the purpose of education, commentary and criticism, it is being distributed without profit, and is believed to be "fair use" in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Quilting in Clay: Part 1 - Precision Personified




We all enjoy creating canes and slabs, but what do we do with them once they are created? Or an even more trying question, some of my favorite techniques are creating sheets of crackled clay or inked sheets that mimic batiks - what pray tell do we do with these? My solution was 'quilting' in clay. NOT as is currently recognized - ie: create a cane from extruded clays... but instead using my sheets to create quilt designs.

The process is so easy it's insane. After deciding on a pattern, use a ruler (or pattern grid - more on that later) & slice your sheet, applying pieces in proper order on top of a soft layer of Sculpey Original. As I look at the photo above, initially the pattern looks very complex and I honestly wouldn't know where to begin to build canes to duplicate this pattern. And, quite honestly, IF I could sort out what canes to build, I doubt I have the skill to build them in a way that absolute precision could be maintained. But, for the above pattern, a simple long slice creates strips. a few more long slices creates squares and triangles - easy cheesy done. And IF you find you enjoy this technique, you will master looking at quilts with an understanding of how they are assembled.

Are you ready to create artwork like this?


video


I will be adding NEW Categories, the 1st will be Quilting: Flat. Quilting: Flat will refer to a solid non broken finish (as opposed to dimensional work) & will be geometric in nature, differentiating from the landscape category. There will also be sub-categories that will be added. 1st is Basic... this will include the easy cheesy patterns of basic geometric shapes as above. It will include simple strips, squares & triangles. Here are a few more of the types of designs you will find patterns for in the Basic sub-category.


  




The next sub-category will be 'Complex'. This will include patterns that have parallelograms, isosceles triangles and (more important) curves or circles. I have pattern grids for the 1st 2 but usually cut a card stock pattern for the curves. These are still relatively easy, but do require a bit more thought. Here are a few samples of the types of patterns that would be considered 'Complex'...






Now, it's time to introduce you to Judy Niemeyer. Judy is to the quilting community what Carol Simmons of http://carolsimmonsdesigns.com   is to polymer clay. Let me preface with IF you aren't familiar with the pure genius of Carol Simmons, you need to follow her blog. IF I had to pick just 1 teacher & that would be the only voice I could hear, Carol would be my mentor. Fortunately, there are more generous teachers within the polymer community than there are minutes in a day... do be certain to grab a front row seat IF she teaches in your area. Judy Neimeyer, like Carol & Captain Kirk take their artistic genres to levels others never imagined. With Judy, she was the 1st to combine the brilliance of color use with an awesome blend of landscapes meets traditional quilting. My next sub-category will simply be 'Niemeyer'. Although not every work pattern will be her... she is the heart of this art form & it will be easy for me to remember. Fortunately for us... we work in clay & can reproduce one of her designs on a large piece in a matter of days... whereas her designs in a full quilt can take well over a year. For som intense eye candy, be sure to stroll around her site http://www.quiltworx.com   Note that I will be sharing a really cool trick for quickly & easily creating 'spears' - her trademark use of triangles... that makes recreating her type of designs a breeze. 






Now, for the 4th sub-category - I will call this 'Backgrounds'. True quilting combines connecting pieces to create the over-all pattern, but then sews a background pattern into the pieces. These are easy to integrate into our designs which take our art pieces to a whole new level. I am also guilty of turning background pattern designs into the focal point artwork. Take a peak at a few, they are just beautiful... and easy cheesy!






And now for the 5th & final sub-category... I will call it 'Links'. ANY patterns that make me think of inter-locking chain links, whether they be borders, large patterns or Celtic knot-work.Here are a few samples, although I'm sure you get it.





So, there is the gist of Quilting: Flat & the associated categories. When ever I post to Any quilting category, I'll be placing everything I need to do it in clay, including patterns - often including variations in pattern & photos, so we can just hit the table & do it. I've begun restructuring menus to include quilting sites & artists that will be added to the left hand menus. You should blow around online a bit, the inspiration within the quilting community is incredible & quilters are great about sharing patterns & ideas.

This is specially pertinent for me, because I often integrate fabric into my clay work. Just remember, until I do full tutorials on integrating fabric, a few points to remember:
1 - Working over Sculpey Original or a similar Soft clay is where the magic begins
2 - Glue coat between fabric & clay. Elmer's All-Purpose is ok
     Gorilla IF water resist is needed
3 - IF using over vase that will have water OR doing full window art tapestry
     where condensation or moisture is an issue (tut forth coming)...
     be certain to waterproof fabric. (tut forth coming for that too)

So much to post, so little time.
Hope you get to play in your clay today!
ClayPlay Liz

P/s: Here's a pdf link to the photos in the slideshow - enjoy. 
Slideshow Quilt Photos


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fly Eyes & Staggered Kaleidoscopes - Ancient New Art Forms




Decades back, I played with making kaleidoscopes... really real kaleidoscopes. I felt they were magical, every instant they create a completely new image. They are literally reinvented moment by moment. Imagine how clever I thought I was when I created my 1st new polymer clay technique which I called 'Staggered Kaleidoscopes'. I began initially working with canes I built & later began integrating fabric with my clay.

Fly Eye inspiration - because inspiration determines uniqueness... or so I thought.
I played a bit with Fly Eye lens when I was making kaleidoscopes. It was a fun way to turn a 16-24 section kaleidoscope to well over 40. Do you know what fly eye lens are?





Here is a view of the lens & below are views of the world through these unique lens.





When I created in clay or combo clay / cloth, I staggered my design - sometimes design was butted flush against each other, sometimes I separated sections with a coordinating color, hence the name I gave them, 'Staggered Kaleidoscopes'  Imagine my surprise to find I'm Not as unique as I believed. Although my personal inspirations may have been somewhat off the beaten path, this an an artistic expression that has been around for 1000's of years. With the internet, I was able to follow quite a historical trail of my 'New' technique. 

I found polymer artists using this technique under many different names dating back to the late 90's & being coined 'Convergence Technique' within the polymer community as the 1st featured project in 2013 Polymer Cafe, although I can only find 3 clay artists that use this term for this technique today. There are multitudes of quilting techniques that utilize this technique by this name as far back as the 60's, but also found it used frequently within the Art Nouveau Movement although never by this name. I found it frequently beginning in the mid 1700's within the quilting community, although usually classified under the Crazy Quilt category... organized crazy if you will. I then found it within historical glass artwork dating back as far as 300 bc, although again never by this same 'referenced name'.

Ecclesiastes 1: 9 - That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.

Isn't it wonderful that the Bible addresses EVERY single question we may ever comprehend? I have come to the realization that Nothing we can create in our clay is totally unique as far as the finished product or 'look' of our finished piece. Let's face it... polymer clay is the ultimate mimic - it is used to create even the oldest techniques in a new & often more flexible medium. So, technique can be new - for about an hour since word travels quickly on the internet... but the finished look is going to be a revamp of what is OR what has been.

Hence, this writers dilemma. I have to keep a gazillion 'techniques' & patterns sorted in my head as well as in the menus. Many of you likely sort by technique name, but that is an issue... since 100 different artists may have 75 different names for the same technique OR finished look. Although some in the clay community may call the above technique 'convergence'... this is a name which actually comes from the quilting community. With fabric it is a fitting name, but strikes me that it doesn't fit a clay technique. Convergence defined - the act of converging and especially moving toward union or uniformity. After all, isn't our skinner sheet a convergence, or jelly rolls - aren't Most of our techniques about convergence? So... I am going to explain the 'keep it simple' way I will categorize New clay categories & sub-category topics.  

I think of ALL of my artwork as a type of quilting, this is how I thought of my windows & this is the way I think of my finished clay pieces. Create pieces that interlock until you create a whole, kind of akin to assembling a puzzle. So much better than quilting, of course. No needles to thread, no bobbins to fill + you can do a fabulous complex Large piece in just 1 day. I don't know about you but I Love instant gratification! 

Quilting will have 3 primary categories... 
1 - Flat quilting piece-work. Far cleaner & more complex after assembling than typical 
     cane work. VERY Easy but the finished work is so complex that it will look like it 
     was hard.
2 - Dimensional quilting piece-work. I Love the flexibility of this category, it is a wonderful 
     unique look. As with flat quilting, there are many variations, most being very easy but 
     Look so complex. My very 1st piece was a dimensional  piece & I've been hooked 
     ever since.
3 - Landscape quilting. Exactly what the name implies. We'll look at everything from small 
     artwork to huge window inserts & everything in between. 

Ok, now I'm ready to make some sense of the new menu build categories & to introduce you to some new techniques you may not have considered yet. My 1st 3 posts will cover 'in general' how to do each of the 3 techniques above & then I'll provide a few tuts walking you through the technique at the top of the page for 'Fractured Kaleidoscopes' followed by 2 posts on Convergence work which I categorize as 'Strip Quilting'.
Then, if you are game I think I'll introduce you to a new really old PVA product you may not be playing with yet... it's my all time fave for doing Mandala art. 

Until we meet again, I hope you have a chance to create something beautiful!
Happy Claying


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

THE Most Complex Cane - a NEW Technique


Photo Courtesy of Paul J. Stankard

Isn't this paperweight stunning? Paul J. Stankard is to the blown paperweight community what Jon Stuart Anderson is to the polymer community - the epitome of perfection. IF we had to pick our 'preferred' area of artistic expression... mine would certainly be glass, all forms of artistic glass. Although many polymer artists may not know it... we are all glass enthusiasts. After all, Millefiori means 'thousand flowers' & refers to the glass blowing technique, which is what our caning is styled after. Blown glass millefiore is created when a large number of glass rods are stacked to form a cane & melted together. As with polymer clay caning, it can be very simple or quite complex. One wonderful and unique way millefiore has been used is to create unique and complex Signature Canes. 

There is a large number of independent glass artisans using this technique. Many pc artists such as Jon S. Anderson also create really complex & unique signature canes, embedding just 1 cane within each work so it can be authenticated. Although I did use signature canes, my work doesn't begin to reach the pinnacle of Jons', they were very simplistic. My problem was that I could create an awesome complex large cane, but by the time it was reduced to 1" (inch), all definition was lost & it was a hodge-podge of seriously unimpressive mess  :(   Have you been there? Then came a turning point... a request for a 'Castle' cane. I drew my castle & created a somewhat simple castle cane, but at least it reduced right. When presented, I was met with a poo face and a "I mean CASTLE... fortifications, architecture, surrounding landscape... you know - Castle".

Hmmm, yes, I know Castle, but I'm not Jon Anderson!
Hey wait, maybe I can Look like I am, maybe?

I dug through my most messy memory bank past the gazillion file cabinets of crafts I dabbled in over a life time, and stopped before the cabinet labelled... boring Cross-Stitch. I played in cross-stitch just long enough as a kid to realize that medium Definitely wasn't calling my name, but can it be used for polymer clay and creating the ultimate cane? The cross-stitch idea is simple enough, turn ANY photo into a series of colored dots, where each dot represents a colored thread (OR extruded string). Stack your dots until they create a picture. So, I let the stacking begin & created a beautiful castle, complete in every detail including trees & flower beds on the grounds, excellent! But, how would it reduce? Yes, I introduced you to 'Plugs' a few posts ago for a good reason. My original cane was 9" x 9", but only 2" tall, the plugs were a life saver! Once reduced, it was as clear as any postage stamp or tiny photo. Success, & no more poo faces... yay!


photo courtesy of Kyle Hollingsworth

 
This is an Awesome cross-stitch pattern created by Kyle Hollingsworth. I saw this & although I didn't want the whole picture depicted in a cane, I did want to try a portion of it. Yes, another fun thing we can do with cross-stitch, just use what we want. I fell in love with the Jester Face, he's wonderful!



The steps of the process are quite simple. I conditioned & extruded all of my clay (using a total of 17 colors) into 6" long strings and then stacked the strings to create the original cane. I used the plugs to reduce the cane to prevent cane end loss or lost clarity through the finished length of the cane. This is even better than cross-stitch, because cross-stitch leaves a white thread between each dot of color... in polymer we can stack our 'dots'  (extruded strings) one on another so our finished cane is much cleaner and far more distinct than it would be on cloth.


 Makins Professional Extruder inc discs


I extruded my strings using the Makins Professional Extruder using the disc I labeled #1.
As a rule, I am most comfortable with disc 1 when the cane is very complex and disc #2 when the cane is less complex. Although you may be tempted to extrude 'squared' strings, I have found that rounded extruded 'strings' tend to work much better because they reduce more uniformly, leaving your finished cane much cleaner & the image much sharper. Of course, this technique applies to All canes, not just signature canes, it is but a small step to integrate initials, a year or whatever other customization you might desire. The background can be done in whatever color you may want, although a white, black OR transparent background can make them more easily integrated with pieces not yet started or planned. Because I do Large pieces, huge vases and animal sculptures, I can make 1 really big complex cane and after reducing the cane, it's a perfect fit.




Since discovering this fun technique, I have begun collecting cross-stitch patterns. Yard sales & thrift stores all but give them away, and some are soo cool!  So, I may not have the caning skill of Jon S. Anderson, but I Love that I can look like I do!.

So, you don't want to pay all the money to build a collection of cross-stitch patterns? How does FREE sound? I started out doing Free programs online, there are Boodles. You can take ANY image or photo, upload it to website & they give you the cross-stitch pattern for free.Here are a few current links you can play with. They seem to change addresses often, but you can google 'create cross stitch pattern online'  & they will give you a bunch that are current. For today, you can try creating a pattern at:



As soon as I complete this post, I will be building 2 new links in the left side menu column. The 1st will be building a link to 100's of cross-stitch patterns & books I have... it's time to get these babies off my computer. Nothing is more heart-breaking than having a computer crash & then losing Everything. Life is to short for starting over again! And I've been down that road way to many times. The 2nd link will be to programs I have invested a lot in & don't want risk losing.

I didn't want to be limited to purchasing cross-stitch patterns and wanted a better, cleaner conversion than I could get from free online programs. Free is a great price, but as is often the case, you get what you pay for

I did invest in 2 different pattern creating programs:
1 - Cross Stitch Pattern Maker
2 - P C Stitch Ten   (they were thinking Personal Computer, we are thinking Polymer Clay)

This isn't a pitch to get you to buy these (or any programs), but IF you got curious about these programs under my programs tab, that's why I have them. They customize Every facet of the conversion process - they Rule!  I wanted to convert a Michael Parkes painting to do a caned vase to match a painting I have. Of course, creating the cane pattern only took a few minutes... the vase is still calling  ;)
Now, all I need is a program that will add more hours to a day!

On a final note, as artists there is so much to be learned from other artistic mediums. I never cease to be amazed at how our clay mixes so magically with so many other art forms. I mean... cross stitch - whoda thunk, right? We'll be looking at some other New ways to integrate other mediums into our clay play, mixing old and new in more exciting ways... kind of fun, isn't it?

Happy Claying,
ClayPlay Liz

Ps: To Learn more about paperweights, you should explore Links within this page:
http://exhibits.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/barker/resources.php

I also watch auctions within the International paperweight Society - exquisite eye candy!
http://www.theglassgallery.com


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

No Loss While Caning - Clean Perfect Cane Ends


Photo courtesy of Desiree McCrorey of Desiree's Desired Creations


The next post is going to be a lot of fun... a New intricate caning technique. But we do have an important issue to address 1st... cane end losses. We reviewed clean angles & seams in the last post, and will now take a peak at how to avoid losing a lot of our beautiful new cane while reducing. With the aide of my favorite tool 'Sculpey White Original' & another (sometimes overlooked) PVA product... good ol' Saran Wrap, you will Always have a clean & perfect cane end with No Loss - WooHoo. IF you haven't read the article on my all-time favorite tool 'White Sculpey Original', you may want to give it a quick read when you have a few minutes. It is important for this technique as well as other new techniques we'll be looking at in upcoming posts.

$ave a Bundle on Clay - Secret Tools Series    

Ok, here is a wonderful easy cheesy trick to avoid cane loss while reducing. Although I mentioned Sculpey Original above,,, any clay can be used. The reason I prefer Sculpey Original is because it is relatively soft so it is Very easy to condition so I can keep creating.

The 1st step is to create your cane. This cane can be any size or shape, it can be big & fat as well as square, round, a triangle, etc. Once your cane is created, create a matching cane of JUST waste clay that matches the shape of your cane. In other words, IF your cane is square, create a 2nd white square cane. This isn't fine art, we are simply creating a clay 'plug', so you don't have to fuss much. We want this new cane to match the shape of our original cane and should be approximately 6" (six inches) long.  Cut this 'waste' cane in half so you now have 2.

Once your 'plugs' are created... you will place Saran Wrap over one end of your plug as well as down the sides, covering about 1/2 of the plug and then repeat the process to cover 1/2 of your second plug also.

Now, simply place the plugs you made on each end of your beautiful cane, making sure the Saran Wrap edges are butted up too your nice cane. As you do your cane reduction, treat it as you would if it were a single cane with no additions. Reduce the scrap clay along with your original & when reduction is complete, your original cane will have a nice, clean flush end with no loss. Plus, your scrap clay is still intact, pull off the Saran Wrap & tuck that clay away to reuse late.

Enjoy your clay play today!
ClayPlay Liz

                                     

Monday, January 2, 2017

Seams Matter - Master Kaleidoscope: Ivy 'iKandi Clay' Niles


                                            Photos Courtesy of Ivy Niles aka iKandi Clay
                                     
Have you ever made a cane that was beautiful, with Awesome color & design elements... but when you began joining your cane sections into the kaleidoscope it was 'wonky'? Sections didn't line up quite right so everything looked askew, a bit off? We should always begin making our elements for our cane using the same brand & type of clay for clay consistency. But IF you have done that and are still a bit off, chances are good you need to pay closer attention to your basic cane angles and then your cane seams.




Because clay is somewhat forgiving, many of us began claying just sort of 'winging it'. Build some elements, squish them into a triangle of sorts & cross your fingers as they are placed together. Hence, we all know about wonky canes. All true clay Masters share a common work habit, planning their cane elements from the onset to be a 3 or 10 or even 24 section kaleidoscope. We should begin with a template for the cane we plan to create. I have a complete selection of templates which I made from heavy poster board that I love, they take up no room at all. You can print any of the photos below & cut out just 1 section from each to make your templates. For kaleidoscopes with straight sides (squares, etc.) simply extend the lines outward & square your pattern off before creating your template.


                                                    3, 4 & 12 section kaleidoscope canes



                                                                   3, 4, 6, 8 & 24 sections



                                                                    3, 5 & 15 sections



                                                                    5 & 10 sections


                                                                     7 & 14 sections


Let's take a peek at Master Caner Ivy 'iKandi Clay' Niles process of building a master kaleidoscope cane. Pay special attention to the care given following the template & maintaining very clean and straight clay angles.


video


As you can see, she puts a lot of effort into clean lines. By putting extra care into the initial cane lines & angles, as you join the canes to form your kaleidoscope, your design elements will join Much cleaner. You will have a perfect professional kaleidoscope... no more 'wonky'! Now let's see some of Ivy's canes that she has posted in her Etsy store. Ivy couldn't have chosen a better name than iKandiClay, her kaleidoscopes are eye candy indeed!


video


I find that templates are an essential tool in my creative process. As Ivy has shown, they are important to achieve a genuinely professional kaleidoscope. I will be introducing several new techniques that also utilize templates, used in a very different fashion.  So, hit your studio and begin building your template library. Let's create something beautiful today!

ClayPlay Liz

PDF: Ivy 'iKandi Clay' Niles - Kaleidoscope Cane    Click here for pdf


FAIR USE STATEMENT
This website article may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This material is being made available for the purpose of education, commentary and criticism, it is being distributed without profit, and is believed to be "fair use" in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. 


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Following via Email or BlogLovin - No Video


Hmmm, I just realized... for anyone following via Email OR Bloglovin... you receive a copy of posts in your inbox but it doesn't include any video footage. So, IF you want to see the videos, you have to click through to the article.

Almost every post will have video footage, so be sure to click through.
I wish they would quit shaking things up... I'm a firm believer in the old timers wisdom...
~~~  If it works, Don't fix it!

Giggles, my age is showing

Happy Claying from ClayPlay Liz

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Kaleidoscope Technique - Thinking Outside the Box



video


Before I share this little tidbit, I'm compelled to add a bit of an explanation. When it comes to 'integrating' unusual non clay materials to our clay... the 1st impulse for some may well be 'Blasphemy'. And yet, beautiful Fire Opals are only possible due to 'adds'. Haven't most of us played with stenciling, which leaves our base clay nearly unrecognizable? And I'm sure most of us have played with mylars, foils and countless surface techniques. With that said, PLEASE... no throwing tomatoes at this most humble (and somewhat lovable) artist.

I had a shirt with the most incredible pattern, I loved it! Sadly, my pup tore it, so it was time to tell that beauty farewell. With a heavy heart, I open the trash can, and with a final glance realized that wonderful pattern would make an Awesome kaleidoscope. On a whim, I grabbed my mirrors and was blown away... it was Fantastic! The design and colors worked better than many of the kaleidoscope canes I have assembled over the years. This particular pattern repeated every 6" (inches)... so I was able to get 6 full kaleidoscope 1" sections. Each was similar in color & design, so they all went together perfectly although depending on arrangement - were all quite different. Some had tight busy designs while others were very open designs... and soo pretty! I immediately grabbed a sheet of clay, placed my thin layer of Elmer's White Glue (this clayers best friend), pressed on pieces of fabric to form my kaleidoscope and placed a nice border strip over the top edge. It's kind of funny, I put next to no effort into my experiment since I was busy with other duties at the time, and without any effort at embellishment of the trim or anything, it was truly beautiful! Whoda thunk, right???

Needless to say, my husband looked at me like I was a wee bit deranged as I grabbed item after item from my closet to examine with my mirrors. Oh wait, I'm an Artist... he knows to expect pretty much anything. Now he patiently trots with me to the Fabric store once a week to play with my mirrors (they travel well  :D)  I have found my personal favorite is Tapestry material, so we also hit a thrift store or 2 to look at throw pillows & quilts. I haven't begun to make a good dent in a quilt yet... so I believe it's safe to say I can get a few 100 kaleidoscopes out of 1 $5.00 quilt - WooHoo! Stunning art at a give away price, compared to the cost of clays.

I don't have photographs of any of the kaleidoscopes I've made to share with you and couldn't find 1 clay OR mixed media artist online using fabric in this way. But, I did find several quilt artists using fabric for kaleidoscopes. As a matter of fact, when you look into quilt show award winners, quite often Kaleidoscopes net their talented creators Blue Ribbons and accolades galore. 

The photos in the video above were all the creations of Dawn White, the owner of
FirstLightDesigns.com  She has been published & is well known within the quilting community. I encourage you to visit her site, you'll be amazed by her use of color as well as design, her work is breath-taking! She offers a nice selection of available patterns, should you decide (as I have) to make a beautiful quilt to match the 3' tall vase covered in a matching quilt design. Fabulous inspiration awaits you!

In closing, I do have a final treat for you. Here is another presentation of kaleidoscopes done in fabric by Master Quilter Marylin Foreman. She is renowned within the quilting community for her incredible talent. We, as clayers, will find working in fabric ultra easy. Not much more involved than cutting a few pieces of paper. Quilters work in large  pieces & have to add more fabric for seams, etc. But, Craftsy is offering a special Sale on a package of not 1, but 5... yes Five complete Marylin Foreman Kaleidoscope Quilt projects for $29.99 at the time of this writing. I'm thinking it's been ages since I've made a quilt, I may just may hop on this deal. This can be found at:
https://www.craftsy.com/quilting/classes/quilted-kaleidoscopes/35597



video



Wow, enlarge this photo... it Rocks!




IF you have at some point heard of or are aware of a polymer clay artist that is utilizing fabric kaleidoscopes in their repertoire, please leave the info in the 'comments'... I would love to see their work.

In the meantime, grab your mirrors & go play in your closet  :D
Happy Claying....  ClayPlay Liz


New Fun with an Oldie but Goodie - Must Have Tool



video


Before we take a peak at the next New technique, 1st we need to sing the praises of an 'Oldie but Goodie' clay play toy. 3 cheers for our simple easy cheesy... Kaleidoscope mirror system. If you are newer to polymer clay, there is a chance you aren't familiar with this fabulous ditty. As you saw in the footage above, this simple and inexpensive gadget which is nothing more than 2 mirror pieces taped together will show you EVERY possible arrangement of your kaleidoscope design. I'm guessing you can pick up a compact or 2 at a $Dollar Store & remove the regular mirrors to work with. I bought 1 12"x12" mirror tile at Walmart years ago & it still serves me well. Here are just a few of the views you can use...


2 Pane:



6 Pane:



8 Pane:







Here is a sample of the type I use. It has a protective cloth covered base, but I also have a sheet of glass I can set over the cloth when working in clay. I simply removed the sheet of glass from an old picture frame. The cloth base is important for the next technique.






IF you are going to be putting your own together, simply use a good quality tape and secure the 2 sides together at the back. I use cloth (fibre) reinforced Duct Tape which takes a lot of use and abuse and holds firmly.






Now, it's time to brag on the clay Artist that created the video you saw above. Her name is Meg Newberg, the author of Cane Builder Magazine. As you saw in the video, Meg can build a Stunning Kaleidoscope that even a beginner to clay could whip up and look like an old pro! Her canes are so exciting; I have received Every single monthly issue of Cane Builder Magazine since the Spring of 2013, she always has an altogether new and fresh concept to deepen our love and skill of caning. It's Also an invaluable tool for the polymer clay Artist!

If by chance you aren't familiar with Meg's artwork, you should take a peak around her site
at  https://polymerclayworkshop.com   She has some wonderful Free tutorials for you to explore. And if you would like to see some samples of canes she offered in the Cane Builder E-zine in the past, you can see them at  https://polymerclayworkshop.com/cane-builder-back-issues   I have never recommended a 'Paid' magazine or tutorial here before, but what Cane Builder has to offer is so unique and affordable, you really can't go wrong!

So, my fellow clayers, get your mirrors together and hang on to your hats... the next post will explore a New technique for doing kaleidoscopes.

I hope you get to clay, ummm... Play today!
Hugz from ClayPlay Liz

p/s: I found my comments from 2013 & 2015 regarding the magazine at the bottom of the page here:
http://creatorsjoy.blogspot.com/2013/03/cane-builder-publication.html


NEW Techniques, Fun NEW Tools & New Lingo

Hello fellow Artists, I hope you have all had a fabulous Christmas & are ready to hit the 'let's create something Awesome' ground running. My move is about 90% complete, & the rest of the boxes can sit another year... I'm ready for fun!

I'm going to be introducing some New techniques for you to add to your dance card. I have more fun than I can put into words with these techniques, but be warned... New techniques are going to require some new lingo. I will use terminologies here that won't apply anywhere else. For example, I will teach you quilting with clay... it's the 'terminology' that makes the most sense for this technique - but has NOTHING in common with the other 'known & familiar' clay quilting which involves stacking extruded pieces to form a cane.

It's silly, when you are doing something new, you have to have a 'name' for it. So, get ready for new... & know that you can call it anything that works for you. But, new techniques are going to involve some changes to my menu & techniques list, & I've got to be able find listed tutorials quickly. After all, this Artist is terribly creative & somewhat disorganized. I will also be adding a few outside interest posts, for example - a few of the recipes I adore. Cooking is also a creative outlet for me, and I have recipes that I love that I want to be able to access even if my PC crashes.

Some of the New tools I will introduce are awesome, because they are perfect go-togethers with polymer clay, but can also be used within other artistic mediums, if you want to expand your horizons. I worked as a 'Professionsl Artist' for 20 years & 1  (of the many) 1st things I learned was Not to be artistic medium exclusive. I did Artglass Windows, which was my passion... but we can all come to a place where we are lacking ideas or direction. If you have several areas of interest, the fires of creativity are always burning bright. So, I also made 3 different types of Kaleidoscopes. No, not Kaleidoscope Canes... actual Kaleidoscopes. I highly recommend although Polymer Clay is your passion, consider adding another artistic medium. I use clay as the foundation for all my creativity... but do integrate a LOT of other mediums with the clay to create unique artwork and have a lot of diversity... never a dull moment.

For example, I don't make jewelry for people, ever. But i Adore gemstones. I have a blast with WireWorking and needed to integrate that without making jewelry. So, I make large animal pieces akin to Jon Stuart Anderson's (except much bigger) & make uber cool 'collars' for them with a large 'gemstone' dangle. I also make 'faux' Raku & Horse Hair vases with coordinating gemstone that hangs from twine around the neck.

I'll share a few new ideas with you, integrate what interests you with the tons of brilliant techniques already perfected & ready for you from the 100's of generous artists that have paved the way for us...
and have an incredible artistic journey!


      Happy Claying!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

She's Backkk

Only for 10 minutes... but she IS back!

I sought legal counsel & this blog is Definitely here to stay - Yay!
For those that are students of art, whether it be polymer clay or you enjoy a wide
variety of artistic mediums to express yourself, you will have a place to come for your
favorite tutorials under one roof.

My studio is being moved right now & will be nestled in at it's new home over the next
few weeks. I will come back ready to share the techniques for doing 'Landscapes' &
the most intricate canes ever imagined... all unique concepts. And I have hundreds more
tutorials to post Plus some programs to store here you will be able to access that will
greatly enhance your artistic ability.

So, to all fellow students that believe Every day is another opportunity to learn something
new & exciting, I look forward to the next step in our shared learning experience.

Until I return, Happy Learning and Claying
ClayPlay Liz



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Farewell & Happy Claying


Good evening fellow clayers. I hope this note finds you well, having fun gearing up for the holidays.

In the last few days I've received almost 100 messages, all from the same 9 people... with loving messages regarding my burning in hell, 1 wants to burn my home down with me & my family in it... & of course... everyone can't wait to invest their hard earned money to sue the old gal that has neither a pot to tinkle in or a window to throw it out of. I believe they are slightly upset... just a guess  :-)

This site was always my playground, a way to stay organized as a student. I hope it was a blessing to the handful that have joined me. We've come a long way as artists in the 3 years since we began here, it's been an awesome adventure.

I have bought a domain with unlimited storage & am in the process of downloading this blog. I am moving it on Friday & it will be my personal cloud storage space. This lil playground will be no more, so IF there is any info here that you personally will miss, be sure to grab a copy while the getting is good.

I wish you all the very best & joy filled holidays.
As always... Happy Claying  <3 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Teacher, A Student, an EXPERT & Copyright Laws


    As I sit with an upset tummy, a heavy heart & totally mixed emotions on this topic, I come to you with a dilemma. Giggles, funniest thing is that only a handful visit this site, so I may be babbling thoughts that are lost in outer space without ever reaching a human ear. All the same, this my feeble attempt to address THE most 'touchy' subject within the Polymer Clay community... Legal 'Copyright Laws' & questions of 'moral & ethical' behavior. A Huge conversation because... what is LEGAL & what is ethical is 2 very different things.

Perhaps we should roll back a bit? Here is a comment on my site...




What, if anything, do I personally say about ArchiDee? 
Here's a link to her Page on my site... inc EVERY way to see her on the web:


Under several paragraphs applauding her talent, you will see..
She does in person seminars teaching her Very Intriguing Techniques that will astound you. Make certain you grab a front row seat if the opportunity presents itself & be sure to check out ALL her links below.
 
Be sure to 'LIKE' & subscribe to her YouTube Channel...
https://www.youtube.com/user/archideedidiana/


and you can see reviews & clay related info at Archidee Plus https://www.youtube.com/user/dianaarchidee
     
Awesome LOW prices on tutorials & handmade items in her shop
https://www.etsy.com/shop/archidee

Review the entire page, & then hit a link to 1 of her tutorials I had posted here... http://clayplayliz.blogspot.com/2015/10/rombo-soutache-project-archidee-arte-e.html

You will note, The title is the same as on her YouTube site & her name is listed as the author.
There is Also a hot link right below the video to her 'Master Artist' page. 
I have advertised for HER & promoted HER.And, of course... a bit over a year ago she was thanking me.

So, fast forward to the other day & what was I shown?1st, a rant by ArchiDee that I have stolen her work & put my name on it, of course I didn't. That was followed immediately by this...



Seriously ??? Seriously??? OMGosh, some people will say anything, & how quickly everyone jumped onboard. Money from YouTube traffic... really???
Let's see a you tube post.

First, notice - NONE of my posts EVER had a name or title... every 1 had a numerical name, Period!



#2 - I have NEVER put a TAG on a post - EVER! That means absolutely noone sees my posts - EVER! They were there for 1 reason... to have a place online that inc a container (video player) so I can link to them. Why? Very simple - if I went to YouTube & typed in Red Polymer Fimo Flower to reference a video viewed at another time... good luck finding it again.

8/2010 Stat 
YouTube, a popular video streaming site, now streams more than three billion videos per day 

So, I know exactly where the post is, let's take a peak at what ANYONE who went to that page would see. Because I don't / won't use tags... as you can see - playlist at right is all but empty. The video is about a 'jewelry wiring technique' & look at the right... 1 polymer video (probably because it's someone I follow), a 'molding' video (because I follow them) & random silliness that probably all have a number within their tags.



There are content settings that I'm sure can be set to link to accounts or sites that generate money, but it has NOTHING to do with me. Look closely here at my site... NO Advertising - none, nada, zilch... Zero. 
I'm not generating 1 penny, for myself or anyone else. 

The internet is a glut of information... more than I can begin to keep track of. There are sites out there who trample on artists in such blatant fashion, it's frightening! I DON'T fall into that category. I can say with ABSOLUTE certainty that Pinterest has posts which are of tutorials I have paid for, hence I know at some point someone got their mitts on that tut, posted it and then shared their socks off. Although I've purchased literally 100's of tutorials over the years... I've never reposted 1. NOT because of the LAW, but because of a sense of 'Moral Obligation'.

 I'm so sick of the Fanatics bandwagon. Instead of ranting about how I should 'smoke a turd in hell'... YOU should be utilizing my truest talents - as a teacher. Have I published books on the Polymer topics, Nope. Do I travel the world teaching courses? Nope. But, I DO have what many of you are lacking... the key that takes an artist to the next level... Marketing skills & PVA knowledge. 

PVA Knowledge, Really? Marketing knowledge, Really? Take a close, really close peak.   


                                                             
Click the 'WINDOWS' tab at the top of the home page for a lot of my windows or
CLICK Here
                      
Would you like to take 3 guesses at what these windows are made of ? If you guessed Stained Glass, you missed it by a mile. It's custom tinted PVA applied to a glass surface. 1001% PVA. I know a LOT about PVA, & it changes WHAT can be done with our clay. Im now seriously considering NOT telling you about some cool things I was going to share. Liquid metal that air dries that is 100% PVA - thats what I created my lead lines from. The 'fill'.. you'ld faint IF you knew how I did that, & you could too. Hahaa, I saved my secrets for my kids, to pass them my family biz... they aren't artists & have found their own niches, so I was going to pass some of it to you guys. Hmmm, after such sweetness, how can I be rethinking that, huh?

And what of marketing? As far as I can see, the reason so many are so nervous is that they feel threatened. More artists mean less opportunity for them? Perhaps artists that 'have arrived' see all the fresh newer talent as a threat? When you combine talent with a niche' is when you have true success. Yes, I found a cool niche to put my knowledge of PVA to good use... but I also had truly ingenious marketing... or I would never have gone beyond having some really nice windows in my own home.

Last question...  while some are having a stroke over me posting some of there website material here... (yes, just reposting) what of true copyright laws. Everyone does Stroppel Canes... did every one of you get permission from Alice Stroppel before you did a Stroppel cane? We could go on & on going down that bunny trail. Of EVERY tut I've seen, perhaps 6 were genuinely original... the rest was revamping the same ol' thang. Does that mean they aren't of value? Of course not... but true copyright protection regards 'Unique Technique'. 






Copyright in art? Of course, I had to explore that closely, I actually had money to loose back in those days. Lets look at a few other windows. Do these 'artworks' look familiar at all?  Thomas Kinkade didn't invite me to burn in eternal flames. HaHaaaa, maybe perhaps because he doesn't work in polymer?!

I guess I'm a small person because I can't get beyond a hardy 'raspberry' for each of you that see fit to sharpen their teeth on me, and I prefer to bow a knee of thanx & gratitude to a TRUE artist, 1 that is pure at heart & understands the reality of art. I'm going to print her words in full  (I Don't tamper with perfection):


Diana Dailey
Had a question on my message board this morning. This is not the first time in my life I have been ask this.
Why do I share my knowledge so readily?
Aren't I afraid of someone profiting from me or my work?
Aren't I afraid of someone copying me?
They all phrase it a little different but still the same question.
When I went to art shows I was ask wasn't I afraid of others taking my customers?
My answer is...
The universe has enough for everyone, to get you must give.
I know nothing that in some way I haven't learned from others.
Our main job should be to help others no matter how small that help may be.
There is nothing I can teach or share with others that they can't learn from someone else.
You can't steel my customers because I don't own them, if they buy from you it doesn't mean that if not for you they would have bought from me.
The universe will give me what I deserve.
I am in competition with no one except myself, to be better today than yesterday.
You can't copy my work any more than you can copy my signature.
If your works looks like mine and you learned from me then I did a good job teaching what little I know.
If you take my idea and profit from it then I am glad for you, after all I learned it from someone else in some way.
The only thing that really matters in this life is kindnesses.

What a beautiful, eloquent & generous soul Diana has.
Diana, if you see this post, please know...
When I grow up I want to be just like you!

In closing... I Won't quit posting , because I won't quit growing & learning. You may smile at this irony, this site has been here for years & had only a hand full of followers, because I don't promote it... it's for Me. But since all the buzz, ugly as it has been, the site following has increased 25%. I imagine if you chew on me for another month or 2, it will be 'standing room only' for many more students. 

For those content to be students & Not sharpening your teeth on me...
Happy Claying!


FAIR USE STATEMENT
This website article may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This material is being made available for the purpose of education, commentary and criticism, it is being distributed without profit, and is believed to be "fair use" in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.