Strength in Art

Strength in Art

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Stretching My Legs

So it’s come to my attention…

that there is a new site that may just be up my alley! It’s called TopHatter.com, and it’s neat. It’s a live auction site, and certain items just may fetch a pretty penny. My first scheduled auction is on March 25th. Even if it doesn’t sell (my new bottle, that is) it will still be some pretty good exposure. Maybe I’ll start focusing more on larger objects like this, and less on small jewelry. I absolutely love making bottles, and the clock was really fun, too. Oh, I also tried out some wind chimes. They turned out ugly as sin, but they sound beautiful, and I didn’t even tune them. I think I’ll be investing in more copper soon, they were also really fun to make. So, clocks, bottles, and wind chimes. Sound like items you’d like to buy? I certainly hope so. While not many people have bought my items from Etsy, yet, I have gotten a lot of views. Incense burners also seem to be fairly popular, so I’ll look into making more of those, too. I think I need to focus more on these particular items, instead of just making whatever suits my fancy. I mean, do that, too, but make it a point to keep my shop stocked with the items I just named. That way I can attract collectors. I bet lots of people collect bottles, clocks, and wind chimes. Or maybe that’s just what I’d collect *;) But that’s what’s so fun about making what I make…it’s all stuff I’d love to have for myself. Oddly enough, it’s rare that I make something just for me. I did that the other day, and it’s pretty rewarding. Of course, I kept thinking, “Man…I wonder how much I could sell this for…”

Starting a business is rough. My lovely fiancée is doing very well with his side business selling Jeep mirrors/parts. They’re selling like hot cakes! Probably because it’s a specific item that’s in demand and actually needed, rather than wanted. They’re very good quality, though, he’s a great craftsman, and only the best quality materials will do. His success is inspiring, too, so hopefully once I get a little more publicity, I can sell that way, too.

His success is with Ebay, never had any luck there. People apparently just aren’t looking for what I’m selling on that site. So I’m sticking to places like Etsy, Facebook, WordPress, and now TopHatter to do all my selling. Perhaps I can find a craft show here, soon. I just feel like my inventory is so small! Not that I mind selling things after I make them, I just feel like I need to have more to choose from before I take off to a real life event. Any ideas where to start?

My Very First, But Very Awesome Clock

So I decided to post into a little more detail about a clock I just made. It’s the first one I’ve ever done, and it was sort of just a trial…but I had high hopes, and I think it turned out great. However, if there’s anyone out there that does any clock making, please feel free to give me any tips or advice – any feedback, really. I can take criticism, too, go ahead…

Lol, anyway – it basically went how I assumed it would. Just create a largish art piece on some sort of flat-backed canvas, drill a hole, put the movements through and viola! A clock. I had to make a few adjustments at the end, but I think it worked out. So, onward!

Image

The beginning, not a plan in sight…

So I knew I wanted to do a foil background. I’d just learned this technique, and I liked my previous attempts on boxes (also for sale here –  http://www.etsy.com/listing/95194761/metallic-skyrim-stone-golem-box.) So I had that idea, and I started to gather things to mold the foil around, all starting on a cardboard squarish shape that I cut and painted black. I grabbed things like coins, nails, screws, bent wire, bolts, washers, and even a razor. I also knew that I wanted a Steampunk theme with mostly iridescent purples and blues. So I glued the objects in place on my board and cut some foil to fit. I crinkled it up a bit first, for some texture. I threw down some wood glue and pushed my foil over it. I must have spent an hour straight just going around the shapes and really bringing out their detail through the foil. You can even make out the details on the coins. It was actually kind of fun. So I did that, then covered the whole thing with random variances of blue and red acrylic paint until they blended nicely. And then I did it again…and again…..and again. I layered the hell out of it until it was perfect. I then sprayed a VERY thin layer of glaze over the whole thing. I planned to antique it with black paint, and from my previous foil adventures I found that it was very difficult to rub ONLY the black paint off the foil. So I put this layer of glaze between the two so that none of the colors would come off with just water. Then came the fun part. I used my newfound polymer clay skillz and got to sculpting. I had made Steampunk molds earlier out of some metal gears, cogs, and clocks, so I put those to use with the polymer clay. Other things were hand-molded, shaped, and textured. I added a glass tile, some hematite squares, and other bits over the whole thing. The numbers for the clock were a bit of a challenge, seeing as I had no idea what I was doing. I had just learned a faux leather technique, and I wanted to play with it, so I used it on a squarish shape and carved the numbers into it. I then arranged it on the clock where I wanted the movements to go and secured it with Translucent Liquid Sculpey. I finished it off with some metal pieces and accents. Then, I baked it for about 25 minutes. After that, while it was still warm, I antiqued it with the black acrylic paint.

Actually, there wasn’t a *whole* lot left to do as far as clay goes. I’d forgotten to add the faces and few other pieces, so I baked it a second time. Now came my favorite part. I love, love, LOVE Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments. Mica, basically, I just like this brand (although I haven’t tried any others. I’ve heard of Perfect Pearls and one or two others, though. Perfect Pearls supposedly has a pigment binder in it that helps it stick.) So since Pearl Ex doesn’t have a binder, I had to find a way to get it to stick to the already baked clay. I’ve heard of rubs and whatnot, so I thought I’d try to make one of my own. I’m hoarding my secret recipe right now, since I’m not sure how I want to go about releasing this awesome idea to the public, but let me say it worked beautifully! Uses very little mica…this stuff goes a long way. I used tons of colors. Mostly variants of blue and purple, but the interference colors produce almost a rainbow sheen. So I coated the entire piece with my new mica rub. Perfect! Exactly what I was going for. I wanted to use Lumiere paint, made by the same people who make Pearl Ex, but I didn’t have any. It’s definitely on my next trip to Blick, though. It’s metallic paint that is somewhat iridescent and practically glows with color. Anyway, my rub worked *almost* as well.

I drilled a hole right in the middle of the largest face, and viola! ….it was way too thick. I’d measured wrong, and there was no way the hands would fit and work properly. I had two options. I could pry the whole face off and risk tearing the foil and many layers of acrylic paint, which I did NOT want to do. When you’re this far into the project, a major change like that can ruin the whole thing. Maybe if I’d cut very closely and gently around the face and through the layers of paint…I don’t know, just didn’t want to risk all that. Anyway, so my only other option was the cut and sand the face down. Which I did. It didn’t turn out bad, either. I’d used basically scrap clay to make the face, and it was from a mokume gane project…so when I slice through, it had a very mokume gane look. I antiqued it, then burned my signature symbol into it. Yes, I know, burning polymer clay releases toxic fumes. I sacrificed my health for about 2 minutes while I perfected the design and then glazed it over with a gold mica rub. I then sprayed the whole thing with a ceramic glaze. I had to drill a much larger hole, and must’ve spent an hour trying to gently and gradually increase the hole size. I’m terrible at operating a drill. I’ll learn, though. So I finally got the movements in and the hands attached. I secured it to the board, then covered it and spray painted the back black. It left some of the foil showing at the creases, but I thought it looked really cool, so I left it. I then bent the wire and fashioned a hanging hook on the back, securing it with a screw, and a lot of E6000. I’ve tested the whole thing on my wall for a day, now. It’s accurate, and everything seems to be holding up well. I’ve got it posted on Etsy, too.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/95300958/clock-faces-asymmetrical-antiqued

Well, I had added a HUGE long rant about how art should be priced and what people should consider because art changes LIVES…but WordPress decided I didn’t need to say all that and got rid of the whole thing. So, sorry you missed out on that, folks. Anyway, yeah, art is great and you should look into buying some.

Testing – 1, 2, 3…

A Bloggers Beginning

Am I doing it right?

So, this is my very first, real blog and real blog post. You know, opposed to all those fake blogs out there. I’m going to try to enjoy this, but I’ll admit – I’m not a writer. I’ll probably go on rants every now and then, but mostly you’ll see descriptions of my work, maybe some tutorials I’ve found, some tips I’ve picked up. So here we go.

See that big gap? That’s writer’s block. Not even 5 sentences, and I’m already blocked. I guess I’ll just talk about what I’m trying to do.

I’ve set out on this big project of starting a home business. And I don’t mean ordering stock, marking it up, and shipping it out. I mean hand-selecting, hand-crafting, hand-organizing….and I don’t even have that many hands. I am determined, however. I’ve got a small inventory built up. Decorative vases, jewelry, incense burners, CLOCKS (ok, one clock, but it’s an AWESOME clock.) I’m promoting my stuff any way I can, including this blog (as Etsy experts recommended.) I’ve got plans to take it all down to an artist’s market or craft show…they have them weekly here in El Paso, and I’m sure I can find them when we move to Fort Polk in a year. (Hooray for the military life!) I’m not an expert. In fact, I just started all this about a year ago. I’ve been creative my whole life, but I’ve never really worked at it until recently. I don’t have the greatest amount of experience, but I have a bit of skill, a lot of determination, and I hope to have really taken off in another year. Too ambitious? I certainly hope not.

I’m working on my craft room as I go, and I gotta say, it’s looking pretty good for just starting out. I’m painting and customizing everything myself. None of these IKEA pre-made craft rooms for me. I’m all about the “upcycling” of unwanted items. It even shows in my artwork. I reuse everything, and I try to turn it into something decorative if not useful. Although something I’ve learned recently is that decorations ARE useful. They’re much-needed inspiration, and they can alter your mood. I find that if I’m surrounded by artwork, especially my own, and just daydream for a moment. Just look at everything I’ve made and play music that moves me, ideas just start flowing. Not all of them work, but I’ve picked up a lot of different skills by just trying. I started off working with resin. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It is VERY useful to know how to work with it, but I found that the fumes were scary to work around, since I was pregnant. In order to make resin pieces, I wanted to cast them in my own molds. So I invested in OOMOO© Silicone, some cheap polymer clay, and some Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments (mica.) From there, I discovered I also loved making molds. I didn’t get too far with that before I discovered I loved sculpting the molds from clay, first. So about 2 or 3 months from the start, I went out and bought my first colors of Premo! Sculpey and I’ve been hooked since then. So from resin, to molds, to clay all from just one idea to cast something in resin. I’ve learned all about mica powder, wire bending, jewelry making, liquid clay, book binding, beading, foil, and tons of different polymer clay techniques. I’ve acquired a pasta machine, an oven, clay of every color imaginable, tools of every kind, embellishments, glazes…just tons of stuff! Compared to what I’ve made, I’ve only sold a few things, but I hope to change that, soon!

One of the things that inspires the hell out of me is YouTube. I normally don’t branch out that far with the social networking craze, but I have to admit – YouTube is one of the most useful sites ever created. I can find tutorials on just about everything I could ever want. And if it’s not tutorials I’m after, it’s chock full of showcases, just basically slide shows of other people’s’ work. It’s better than any book, any single DVD, or any typed tutorial. The only thing better is an actual teacher, and even then, YouTube is like having lots of different teachers, with lots of other ways to do things. I actually do hope to go to some sort of art school one day, but being a stay-at-home-mom makes it difficult. Maybe when I’m literally a military wife, they can help. Anyway, there’s a lot of resources out there, and tapping into them is part of the fun.

I think I’m going to go do that now! How’d I do for my first blog entry?

Insert Creative Pun by phyrphreek on Etsy

Insert Creative Pun by phyrphreek on Etsy.

This is the shop I’m working to build up and promote with this blog.