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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A New Product & a New Tool - Cosmic Clouds

We, as artists, go through phases where we are driven to take our craft to the next level. Maybe you are working towards more complex canes, improving color mixing OR maybe driven to solve a stumbling block to benefit clayers everywhere? My current challenge is in creating THE Ultimate Faux Batik... I just adore everything Batiks have to offer artistically. And, I keep an eye on a lot of various art forms, because most have at least 1 thing we can bring to our clay studio. 

The above photo is of a piece called Cosmic Clouds, created by woodworker Tim Yoder. Woodworker, who knew, right? The video is a bit long & doesn't pertain to our clay until the 22 minute mark, but watching the 1st 22 minutes is an incredible treat IF you have the time. Tim's lathe work in downright mesmerizing! Check out the video then I'll share a fun trick.


Doesn't creating that platter look like so much fun? Made me want to go buy woodworking tools  :D
I fell in love with the Jo Sonja's Iridescent that he used, they are fabulous, aren't they? I raced to  to pick some up... so in demand that Amazon can't keep them in stock! But, hoorah for my beloved Dick Blick's - they carry the Complete Chroma Jo Sonja's line & for an even lower price than the company that makes it. I picked up the Iridescent set of 6, as well as the Metallics set & the Basics colour collection. Also noteworthy... they make their own brand of  mediums for much less than the more 'well known' thinning mediums out there and they work beautifully!  Here is a link to the page for ordering from Dick Blick's. By the by, I Don't get a commission of any type for sharing the link, it was just the best deal out there. Mediums are at the top of the page - a complete list of available colors are at the bottom of the page.

I used a 50/50 thin (using Jo Sonja's medium) just as the artist above did & Really liked the effect! But, getting the effect created a 'need' for a New tool. As you saw in the video, this product HAS to be moved by air to achieve that 'cloud' look. Now, I'm falling apart like a cheap suit, & my Biggest health issue is that I have breathing problems. I initially thought I could blow through a straw... boy was that a major fail! So, I beckoned my beloved & was able to get him to blow, though he doesn't breathe much better than me. Well, he sweetly 'blew' for me for about 10 seconds... and then informed me - my art by proxy Isn't MY art. Gave me a nice hug & was off. I really do believe even for a person that breathes very well... you couldn't get the cloud effects we want. 

 Yep, time for Liz to start thinking outside the box

As we saw, Tim spent about $50- for the airbrush pot & a few quick snap connectors. But even before that $50- can be spent, we would need the air compressor. I looked into air compressors many moons ago... not only are they very pricey... but they are big clunky tools that need a Lot of space I don't have. I'm chomping at the bit to resolve this stupid dilemma, & grabbed my nebulizer to do a breathing treatment. Then, the light bulb flickers on... a nebulizer IS an air compressor. I'm tearing off the mask so I have just a small tube  - point it at the color & viola... a New tool is born - WooHoo! 
And, nebulizers are a fraction of the price of air compressors. PLUS a nebulizer kicks out the precise amount of air flow needed, so you also eliminate the need for the Extra's to make it fit our need! The cherry on top? You can (or at least I can) go to  pretty much any day of the week & find a Cadillac of nebulizers for $15 - $25- bucks. I keep 1 for me on each floor & needed a designated 1 just for art, so I went online to Craig's & picked up this one, a real beauty (though they are all pretty much the same) for $19-... how sweet is that, right?

 Another big benefit over traditional air compressors is that nebulizers are very compact.
I have to say, I love ALL the Jo Sonja's products I got. The basic colors are much sharper than many other brands I've used. And, I found that in thinning All the colors instead of just the Iridescent, they layer magnificently 1 atop another to create some really nice Faux Batik patterns. Of course, the Iridescent standing alone really rocks also! Every bit as beautiful as NASA's CGI galaxy photos! Another nice side note, all of the colors are high PVA content, so they can add addition strength to our 'more fragile' pieces. And, you've Got to play in crackle with them IF you do pick some up!
I find myself wondering, what are You struggling to overcome today? Do you have an 'Artistic Kryptonite' that wants to steal your fun during studio time? Hahaa, spell check just told me Kryptonite isn't a word... just ask Superman, he'll set you straight on that! I find myself wishing life's troubles & dilemmas could be solved as easily as many of our studio nemesis' can. We are still up to our elbows in alligators under our roof, as I know many of you are fighting your own battles also. So, for anyone struggling with 'whatever'', say a prayer and know there is No truer statement than this...

Duty beckons, but I'll return with one of my all time favorite techniques for combing the beautiful cane we built with 'quilting in clay' for a stunning new look.

Until we meet again,
Happy Claying from ClayPlay Liz & Mickey Kitty


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