My latest "creations"...

I've been playing in my jewelry sandbox this week!  I am scheduled for eye surgery later on this morning so wanted to get some playtime in before I am forced into art withdrawal. Not sure what to expect but my guess is that until all the surgeries are over in May I won't be doing much new art until June.  Guess I'll have to be content with finishing up some of those projects that need some extra touches!

I have had a polymer clay project in mind that I have wanted to do for awhile now.  I found it in the book, "Faux Surfaces in Polymer Clay" by Irene Semancuk Dean.  I did not use the "recipe" for jade in her book but one I found some time back (don't remember where now) and had written down in my clay recipe book. 

Working with polymer clay always reminds me of baking.  Out came the "recipe" I have for jade, got my ingredients together (clay from my stash, my "utensils", a match book to make a pattern, some chinese coin charms for decoration and gold wire for embeslishment).  Put on my "art apron" and got started mixing, chopping, rolling, dicing, slicing and  baking up a new pendant.

I have always liked jade... green is a favourite colour of mine...and I am always drawn to "something" oriental.  It wasn't nearly as difficult to do as I had imagined in my mind and went a lot faster than I had thought it would.

The tricky part was making the clay matchbox, getting it to fit snugly and still be able to open it.  It ended up being a little looser than I really wanted so I decided to glue the two pieces together.  It probably would have been just fine the way it was... it seemed to stay in okay... but I know that if it ever decided to slide out on its own when I least expected or wanted it to, it would bug me to no end.  So once it was cooked, "vintaged" with burnt sienna paint to show off the chinese characters, buffed and the embellishments attached, it got the E6000 treatment as a final step!

I finished it yesterday, just in time to write this post and show it off!    The charms were somewhat brighter than I wanted after I had darkened the clay with the paint, so I just tinted them with "latte" alcohol ink.  It toned them right down and flowed into the "nooks and crannies" of the coins very nicely.   I am absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out. Whatcha think??

Digital Media as Artistic "Add On" Materials

Have you noticed over the past year or so  how many artists are using more digitally created media in their art?  

The art world of the mxied media, collage and craft artist has quietly expanded to include more and more print outs of digitally enhanced photographs, digitally created "background" papers, alphabets and scanned ephemera such as old letters and labels in their creations,  Whether it is an altered book, beeswax collage, ATC, bookmark, greeting card, polymer clay pendant transfer or those adorable "moo" cards so popular with artists as mini "works of art" business cards, digital media "add on" material for art is here to stay simply because it expands the realm of artistic creativity with an explosion of possibility.

Last fall, my art bud and friend, Cindy Powell (Latest Trends in Mixed Media mama and co-author of two fantastic "how to" mixed media project books and a mxied media jewelry techniques book) and me started chatting one day about how artists were moving towards using more digital print outs in their art. 

I told her about how, when I couldn't find an antique typewriter ribbon tin for an art piece I was working on, I decided to make one myself using a digital print out and a piece of wood shaped like an old typewriter ribbon tin.  By the time I was finished painting, collaging and distressing it, you'd swear it was an old metal typewriter tin I had found in an antique store. It was definitely a moment where "mixed media" met the digital world... a "Hands On Digital" creation... the name we decided to use for our "art partnership" and blog.  Since then, we have welcomed two more wonderful women into our group, our  talented artists and friends, Cecilia Swatton and Sherre Hulbert (the mama of Art Techniques). 

One of the projects I was working on before I left for Art Fest in March was designing"mini workshops in a kit" ... faux typewriter key jewelry using digital letters, digital label kits for the kitchen and bath using recycled jars and containers and digital art alphas for ATC's, bookmarks and altered or mixed media art.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words... that should keep this post much shorter... LOL  so here they are...

Recognize that bookmark?  I made "moo" cards for ArtFest using this alpha that I designed.  The moo cards were so popular (I gave folks a choice of whether they wanted a moo card or a poker chip) that I was out of them in no time flat!

I love this vintage type jewelry set... with the "Hugs" and "Kisses" earrings, the necklace with my initial and two "function" keys and the bracelet with one of my favourite "texting" shortforms "LOL". They cost literally pennies to make and the full "how to"  instructions including a supply list and tips are included in the package. They are fun to wear and I get a lot of chuckles from people when they notice the X and O earrings.  They always want to know where I bought them.  It just tickles me to no end to see the look on their faces when I tell them I made them myself.  The digital letters are protected by resin... which also makes them look like glass keys! 

Here's an ATC I made by cutting out the letters in the "Just My Type #3 Vintage
Typewriter Keys" package, gluing them on chipboard and then to the background.

The combination of white keys and black keys from the
Just My Type Jewelry kit in an art piece is very stunning!

If you are interested in more information about any of these kits, they are currently available for sale (some for less than the cost of a latte at your favourite coffee shop) at DigiScrap Station.

I hope to get back to blogging as soon as I can.  With any luck (knock on wood) I'll be back writing away in a couple of weeks. 

Happy Arting...and have a great weekend.  See you soon!




How Very Charming...

This morning I decided to pull out all the charms that I have accumulated over the past couple of years and add them to the ArtFest necklace I started this year.  More about ArtFest a little bit later on in this post.

In the meantime...I came home with a quite a haul from the "trade evening" at ArtFest (and I'll post a photo of my haul soon... I'm just too lazy right now to get it all out GRIN) 

Now everything that you have heard about the trade evening is absolutely true... it is a real frenzy... bodies racing everywhere... getting crushed in the crowd... trying to remember who you have traded with (or not)... seeing some absolutely fabulous stuff.  All worth it... every minute of was a barrel of laughs and delightful fun!

I didn't receive as many charms as I had hoped for... I thought a lot more women (and a few men) made charms to trade.  It was part of the reason I made charms to trade.  And by the way... I came home with NOTHING LEFT!  One of my friends thought I was nuts making so many charms... like about 120 in all... before I left but I swear I could have traded for even more had I wanted to.  This year, there was lots of ephemera, artsy bits and pieces, cute little books and ATC's and not one of the trades duplicated itself!  But few charms... oh darn... cause they look so cool on a chain as you will soon see.

Now mind you, I have charms flying all over my art room... they are fun to make and if I remember, I usually keep at least one of every one that I trade.  Until I came up with the idea of putting them on a chain (thanks to someone who had this idea first for ArtFest charms... thank you whoever you are (giggle)... my charms from art friends as well as claying friends have kicked around in a big envelope just waiting for something to happen!  As you will see I have finally found... a beautiful solution...

The photos below attest that having been "homeless" for awhile, most of them have now found a place to call home.  There's still room for even more.  I am pleased as punch at the result!  I just love this wonderful, splendid, arty necklace... it is very, very cool! (ah, there I go telling my age again)

Look closely, you might spot one of your charms on it.  Leave me a comment if you do and let the world know what "fun" charms you make for trade...


And how was ArtFest?  Well it should be suffice to say that I have been "De Menged"!!  Michael De Meng is a wonderful teacher, artist and such a down to earth, kind man.  I loved his class... more for being with him and learning from him that for what I produced.  I think what I liked most is that he was willing to share everything he knows... There is not a question he will not answer.  That is pretty special in a teacher and for that I thank him.  If you get a chance to take a class with him... jump at it!  It is time well spent around the hands of a master.

I was rather disappointed in my two day class with Nina Bagley... it just didn't go fast enough for me and it didn't give me the specifics that I was looking to acquire.  My expectations might have been higher than what she could have possibly ever delivered.  Unfortunately it just didn't meet my expectations.  The ladies in the class, on the other hand were wonderful and fun to be with... the Canuck contingent (with four of us from Canada) certainly dominated the room!

Ft. Worden is a beautiful state park to have this type of event in.  I spent some time down at the beach soaking up rays and looking for sea glass.  I have little bits of sea glass from all over North America and the Caribbean... I love looking for it and collecting it for my "sea glass jar".

Now, the part all of you who were there have all been waiting for... my contribution to the March fund drive of the local boys in blue! 

I admit I was in a rush to get back my parking spot but I did stop at that stop sign on the state park road .  I am too careful a driver not to.  But obviously he didn't like it so promptly hit my "art fund" up to the tune of $124.00!  Boy am I glad that the dollar was just about at parity but just think of all the art that young fella has deprived the world of (tee hee!). 

His mama's not going to be too happy with him picking on those artsy, fartsy ladies from out of state cause I wasn't the only one.  I heard that later but it wasn't much consolation.  I've paid the ticket along with a rather snarly letter about all the other drivers I met on my way to and in Port Townsend who were speeding, cutting people off, talking on their cell phones or (oh my goodness) not wearing seat belts that they should be chasing instead of sweet little ole ladies like me who drive 20 MPH.  I have been driving since I was 16 and this is my first ticket EVER!  His Mama's gonna have to have a few words with that boy! ***SIGH***

The ladies in my dorm were a fun, wonderful group of women who just oozed talent.  Even though I was dead beat at the end of the day, I did spend some time chatting with them or hanging out with the groups making "after hour" art in the kitchen for awhile. 

And... future attendees take note... I even managed to get a HOT shower every morning! 

Having a private room in the dorm gave me the privacy I like and even though the radiators were as hot as the hobs of hell when I first arrived, I figured out how to turn them off!  After all, I am pretty hot stuff as it is... giggle... giggle.  It helped having my own pillow (that nice spa one that your head just sinks down into... yummy) and bringing along my own silky sateen sheets added to a good night's sleep.  I just wish they would get rid of those plastic covers on the mattresses... they are noisy when you roll over for another twenty winks when you discover it's only 5:30 in the morning!.

So there you have it... my first ArtFest experience.  Teesha and Tracy Moore did a great job putting this together.  I loved going to Show n Tell on the last night... the absolutely stunning artwork produced by everyone over the three days just blew me away.  Show'nTell is worth the cost of admission to attend Art Fest itself... and oh by the way, the food is good too!

See you next week,