Week 15 Stage 3

Late post from busy week.  Spring cleaning studio.  Did work on some ornaments in the background.  Thinking I’ll play with surface treatments this week, along with a cane or two.  As well as finish putting my studio back together.  

Peace to all.

Week 14 Stage 3

I’m so excited!  I created something that is absolutely adorable.  But first, a run down on last week’s progress.

  1.  Created my first butterfly cane using my green shades with a translucent background.  I learned quite a bit about reducing a hand sized cane, and also a bit about making butterfly’s.  My first attempt missed the mark, sadly, but I’ll try again soon.  I was shocked that the background took 8 oz of translucent clay.  Will have to restock.
  2. I was cleaning my studio desk, and I came upon my scrap collection.  I don’t keep much scrap because most clay I reblend and use.  This collection was too muddy to be useful, or so I thought.  In a playful mood, I took a shot at reblending the mud towards rusty brown, brownish-yellow, and a clay colored red.  I took the new mud colored blends and created a simple flower cane with a transparent background.  The cane will have a limited use value, but still, it has enough clarity that I can see some use for it.  I love play learning.
  3. An adorable green leaf jar was created from an empty glass glaze jar.  I think I will add sand and offer it as an incense jar.
  4. I finished my crosses.  The flowers on the earrings overtook the cross, which can no longer be seen.  The ornament/pendant is ok, but I wish that I had done some shading and more texturing.  Layer your details.  Someday I will remember that rule.
  5. Green border cane was created for my jar.  Loved the result but note to self: need to figure out new border cane designs.

This week, I will work with green again.  Probably green tile cane to match the brown and orange tile cane in Stage 1.  We’ll see how it goes.

Peace be with you.





Week 13 Stage 3

Green.  Multiple shades of green.  I’ve mixed some shades, and no matter what I do, everything turns similar shades of green.  I’m now, therefore, intrigued.  How will I create in shades of green, as an artist who loves to use every color in existence on every creation?  At least where I live, the year passes with the flora maintaining varying shades of green with purple and brown highlights.  So I am familiar with seeing life in green shades.  That said, this Stage will present me with an interesting challenge.

My first task was to find every shade of green that I have stock on, five, and along with some yellow blue, mix my variant greens.  I’m sorry that I forgot to take a pic of the results, but understand please, that the differences in mixed shades was slight, from one to another.  For this Stage, I will actually be better off not color mixing, which just seems like theft to me.  ( I know that it isn’t ).  I always start a session with color mixing, so that what I create is all my vision.

Right now, I’ve started a couple of canes with the greens that I did mix.  One is a butterfly cane and the second is a spiral cane for use in a leaf cane.  Before, I was commenting on cool house/hard to work clay.  Well, as promised, today is already warm house/loosy goosy clay.  Not looking forward to hot house conditions at all.  So, canes are resting, as we speak.  Also, took ends from butterfly cane to start a pair of earrings, if finger pressure doesn’t crush the soft clay, smh.

This week, I’m planning to spend time making a vessel or two.  I also hope to start on a mosaic.  Something simple to start.  Lastly, there is one other simple cane that I want to attempt.  We’ll see if this is too much to do.  If so, there is next week.

Peace to you all.

Week 11 Stage 2

As I suspected, I was able to fully return to my studio table last week, with exciting results.  While not perfect due to my impatient excitement, I created a moderately decent kaleidoscope cane from my palette.  I now have a selection of several simple and two complex canes from which to create some as yet undetermined project next week, my last in Stage 2.

It has been wonderfully simple to do cane work this week, as the weather has been unseasonably chilly.  My house is unheated, so the clay is very forgiving at the moment.  Next week when the temperature warms for spring, my clay will become far more malleable and will show every error quickly.  But, my fingers and hands won’t hurt so from clay conditioning, so there is definitely good and bad on both sides of the temperature divide.

One thing that I did do this week, that tends to be rare for me, is that I played with the clay, both color and pattern play, just to see where the play would lead.  As always, much was learned.  I developed a better feel for cane reduction by learning to listen to what the clay is telling me as far as texture, pockets, lumps, elasticity, etc.  Proportion is important, both in sizes and in color ratios.  Colors react differently when used in differing proportions.  I found this easy to see when playing with the design and construction of my kaleidoscope cane.  Scrap can become anything.  It’s never trash.

There were some other pieces ( my crosses, some pendants) that I continued to work with while my canes rested.  My work continued to focus on the relationships in color, as you will see in some of the pictures below.

Next week’s goal is to create a piece or two using my canes. That should be simple, but I’ll be focusing on trying to determine how color affects eye pleasing cane patterning. Oh fun!  Not.

Peace to you until next time.


Week 10 Stage 2

Another slow week at the clay table.  My child has been living on my couch since New Years Day, but is clearing out on St Patrick’s Day.  After that, I will have my space and time to freely work again.  I love my baby, but I can not wait to have my studio and studio time returned!

I did succeed in kicking out a few simple canes.  I did twin daisy canes and one spiral cane.  I’m finding it easier to work with the brighter colors and more challenging to work in the darker colors of brown and green.  This week, I’ll use brown and green to create a gunned border cane.  My goal is to create a kaleidoscope cane out of the current yellow palette.

It should be noted that upon reduction on one of the daisy canes, I think I ran into a trapped air bubble.  The cane was stretching fine it seemed, until all of a sudden the cane developed a width wise crack that nearly severed the cane in half.  Instead of simply allowing it too break, I worked carefully to repair the crack.  I have not yet cut the cane to the center, but I am very curious to see how the clay reacted.

I have also started three crosses, one pendant and two earrings.  I already regret not marbling the brown some to deepen the wood’s appearance.  I also did not texture the brown before jumping in with the floral detail clay.  I might try to go in and add some texture after the fact, but I know that it will look nowhere as nice as it could have.  I was able to use leftover cane scrap from my sunflower cane to create ‘lily’ like flowers.   This weeks challenge on the crosses is going to be following their lead on additional detail.  I was originally going to embroider clay the details, but having used the cane petals to create a focal flower, now I need to find a slightly different path on these pieces.

So, this week, more canes, more cross work, same yellow palette.

Peace to all of you and a safe St. Patrick’s celebration.  My entire town closes for the celebration day.  Hope your’s does as well.


Week 9 Stage 2

Last week was another slow week for clay as life was a bit more busy.  I was able to finish my sunflower cane.  The details held beautifully through reduction.  I’m so pleased.  The only thing that I am disappointed in is that I chose to use a small highlight color in my flower as also a background color.  I should have stuck with a white or translucent background sadly, because the mint green background will likely match with few other canes, and even looks slightly off against the sunflower in this cane, even though it is a small element color within the sunflower.  Lesson, sometimes lack of color is the right answer.  Still, this cane is technically, by far, my best to date.  I think I finally have the right rhythm for wait times in cane making, which seems to be half the battle.

My daughter made a last minute request for a Miyazaki knockoff set of earrings, so I threw together a surprisingly easy set of Nono wire earrings that were a big hit at the event she attended.  (Many Mom points earned that day, lol).  I also finished my gnome/leprechaun earrings that I am really pleased with.  I’m enjoying creating little old men with lots of character, as inspired by Katie Oskins, of KatersAcres, Schrume figures.  Just plain fun stuff.

This week I’m hoping to have enough clay left from last week’s mix to create one or two more canes.  Also wanting to make some Easter crosses.

See you back here soon.