Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Scrap Cane Mosaic or What to do with lots of little pieces of canes leftover from previous projects

Cane slices are just too pretty to waste.  Even ones cut unevenly or otherwise badly cut. One of my favorite activities is saving all these little pieces of discarded cane slices for use for another project.

To start what I like to call my scrap cane mosaic, I like to choose a neutral color clay, such as black, white, or gray as my backing.  I sheet this usually at the thickest or next to thickest setting on my pasta machine and create a nice square or rectangle.

Then the fun begins!!  Choosing this piece and that piece of cane, I begin lining them up on the backing sheet according to what makes me happy.   I try to cover as much of the backing sheet as possible so that it is almost entirely made of the cane slices.  If the scrap slices I am working with are really uneven, I might put several of them together first and roll them to get a more even surface before applying them to the backing sheet of clay.  Sometimes I just pinch/spread them with my fingers to get them all about the same evenness.  

But, I don't worry about them being perfect!!!  This is fun, remember??!!!!!   It just might mean there is more dimension in some spots on my beads than others and that can be cool.  Sometimes if I am also using scraps from a previous mosaic cane that has already been cut in beads, I will take the cut out scraps and trim them with a blade or X-acto knife to have neater edges or fit the spot I want to put them in.  I realize pictures would be helpful here and will add them if I remember to take ones next time.  I get so intense once I get started - oooo, it's hard to stop and take a picture.

Once everything is in place, I cut away any excess backing so as to save it for future use and then use my acrylic roller to lightly hand roll everything into place.  Then, I take a Yo Clay texture sheet and put one on each side of the clay and roll it through the thickest setting on my pasta machine.  This adds texture to both sides.  

Sometimes, at this point, if I want a thicker bead,  I sheet more backing clay, texture it the same way and add it to the backing clay that has been covered with the cane scraps before cutting bead shapes.  Sometimes I just wait until I cut and cure the beads to make them thicker.  The reason is that sometimes I want to layer beads on top of one another and I would rather use thinner beads to do that.

The final step before curing is to cut your shapes.  I have lots of different templates I use to create shield beads, circles, squares, and other shapes.  I like cutters that are open in the middle so you can see the pattern the bead will have.  

For example, Cool Tools has lots of these such templates.  Or you can get individual cutters which I actually like best.  

And here are some of the canes from which I have used the scraps.  

Note that cane just right above my name is a scrap cane I made by combining left over scraps of colored clay.

Here are some results of mixing these various cane slices together.





Try it,  You'll like it!




Thursday, October 1, 2015

Losing Amber

We lost our beautiful princess Amber on Sept. 29 after several weeks of declining health.  I woke up that morning knowing it would probably be the last morning I woke up that she was still in my life.


 In the 2 days since, I wake up each morning and within a few minutes I feel the familiar emptiness in my stomach as I realize I have to face another day with Amber gone.  This morning at Yoga I realized that the deep sadness I felt is part of the same pool of sadness that I have inside me from the other saddest events in my life.  The death of my mother, of my brother, my father, my first dog, and the loss of my marriage.  The sadness feels the same.  The empty belly, the memories that fill me that maybe should make me smile but instead remind I will never see that happen again.  This morning it was the memory of the particular way she snuggled up to her daddy as he lay on the floor and put her paw on his leg.  It was a routine they had.  She would look at me as if to say, "I have claimed him, he's mine, I had him first."  And, it was true since she had been with him 12 years and I had only been with both of them 3.  And I loved her for it.  And she grew to love me too.   Part beagle, part border collie, part retriever, all heart -- she was a soulful being who left an indelible mark on my heart.

Amber and Raven ready to pounce on Ani for having too much fun

Strolling on Smathers Beach

Peaking over daddy's legs

Loved to swim

Amber ready to start fishing

Raven slobbering on Amber

Amber inspecting the Sand for possible treats



Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge _ September

I imagine a writing table near this window and someone periodically glancing at the view as they indulge in the retro act of corresponding to a loved one via a written letter.  The words are flowery and sepia toned and spill onto the page as if they were tumbling directly from the heart.  Which of course they are.  A trinket is attached - a leaf - inspired by the greenery of the view.  The path in the right hand upper 1/3 of the picture is the path they take to post the letter.  It is cobbly but then passes into a patch of soft silky green enclosed by a fence.   Here is the necklace I made that I think represents this image to me.  It  features my handmade poly clay script focal and beads, gemstones, hand dyed silk cord and chain.

I was also taken by the lovely blending of the weathered palette and subdued tones in the picture.   A polymer clay bead I  made earlier this year reminded me of this view.  This was my bead entry.


Making mandalas

If you looked through my jewelry collection, one thing you would quickly notice is that I am not big on making earrings.  I am usually drawn...