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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Kaleidoscope Technique - Thinking Outside the Box

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  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:

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

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