Sunday, December 13, 2009

At work we have an annual ornament competition (mainly to decorate our department tree). This year we were each given a clear glass ornament and a prize was given to the most creative ornament. Originally I was going to do an elf face, but felt that wasn't creative enough. I came up with the idea of doing a naughty/nice ornament. I knew I wanted to have the naughty side sticking his tongue out, unfortunately due to the hair, you can't really see the expression on the eyebrow. One side is nice & one side is naughty. I had to do one face and then bake the ornament and then do the other face. The biggest challenge was to get the ears to look good from both sides - I'd sculpt one side & it would look good, but it would mash out the other side. Once he was baked, I had fun finishing him - the stocking cap is the top from a sock. His hair is a strip of rabbit fur. He was really fun to do - oh & I got first prize (a gift card, which I took to Michaels & got a great book on painting fairies, angels & mermaids in watercolors).

My dear friend Lisa is never shy about letting you know what you've done that she absolutely loves (and she is very appreciative of most of my art). Anyway, when she saw my first gear necklace, she went on & on about how much she loved it. She is such a dear friend and it is always so much fun to do something for her and watch her when she receives her gift - there is never any question about how much she loves and appreciates the time and effort that go into creating a one-of-a-kind handmade gift - which makes it a joy to do for her. Lisa's birthday is in early December and I made her a sprocket gear necklace of her own - I also decorated a great heavy duty box I got cosmetic samples in for her present, so she can reuse it as well. I used Tim Holtz sprocket gears and (surprise) more of the Madame Delphine line on this piece - it has a real steampunk look to it.

I participated in an icicle doll ornament exchange on one of the groups that I belong to online. Here is the doll I created for my partner. I sculpted the original face in polymer clay and created a mold. I molded the face in paperclay and covered it with a knit fabric and painted it. This was the technique I learned at EDAC this year from Cyndi Mahlstadt (see previous blog entries for details).

Tim Holtz's sprocket gears are so great to incorporate into jewelry - I just love using them. I created this necklace just for me.

Again with the Madame Delphine and the bead embroidery, this piece also has dangles from the Forged line by Plaid. The circular peyote chain took longer than the pendant. I like the look and think I'll do more of this type necklace.
When Michaels got the Madame Delphine line by Blue Moon Beads, I was in trouble. This was the first line that had pieces that really spoke to me & that I had to own. I've probably bought more of this line than any other one they have carried. I'm not really sure what it is about it, but I'm really loving it. This is a very simple necklace that I made using just the leaves package (of course it uses 5 packages!).
I've had the book The Art of Bead Embroidery for several years and have always been meaning to do something similar. I loved the whole concept of this book & why not? I know embroidery and have done it (though not so much recently and nowhere near as good as my Nana or Aunt) and I love to bead. I finally got brave enough to start my first piece & of course, me being me, I started with a necklace. I began the necklace on the flight to EDAC back in July, worked on it on the plane, at night at the conference and then a few weeks after I got home. I never keep track of how long a beaded piece takes me - I usually work on them in the evenings when I watch TV or other times, such as flights, waiting in a doctor's office, etc. My first piece was done from a necklace that I did several years ago when I was just getting started with free-form peyote. At the time I thought it was fabulous, but as I've grown I didn't like the piece as well and hadn't worn it in a long time. So I took it apart and used it to create this necklace. It reminds me of a forest stream. Once I did the necklace, I had to do a bracelet to match. I did this one on a metal cuff form that I got when I went to Rhode Island a few years ago.
Wow, how time has flown, it seems like just yesterday it was Halloween and now Christmas is just around the corner. How does that happen? Every year I think time accelerates between October 31 and December 25. Well, since I just slept a time or two since it was Halloween, maybe I should start there. I signed up to take an online class with Pattee over at Odd Dolls on the ning network on creating a witch's face back in October. The original class concept ws to put the witch's face on a small canvas, but I decided to put my face into a book - Book of Spells & Potions, complete with a niche for the potion bottles and miniature spell book.

Pattee is a fabulous teacher, her videos are just like taking a class from her in person and she not only goes into great detail, covers every single step, but also gives you other option ideas. I highly recommend taking an online class from her - in fact I've just completed another class with her, a little whimsical pod creature and she even gave us a bonus extra of a holiday pod ornament! I haven't had a chance yet to sculpt either of those, but I promise as soon as I do, they will go up here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I love Halloween, it is a time to be a little spooky, a little mysterious, a little left of norm..... Last Saturday the gals & I got together for one of our art play-days. Lisa, Vicki & I worked on haunted tree dolls - they are coming along nicely. I thought it would be fun to decorate a bit for our little luncheon - here is my Halloween setting.

I don't do costumes anymore, but I do enjoy a little ghoulish or fun Halloween jewelry and shirts with the Halloween theme. This year I found some fabulous fabric with skulls and gothic-style writing (very glittered) that I used to make a tunic top - I wound up leaving a trail of glitter everywhere I went. I also painted one of my ancestor pendants that I had sculpted early to give it a ghoulish, gothic look.

At work had a pot-luck for Halloween and I made a "Not Your Mummy's Cheese Ball" for the celebration. There wasn't much left of him after the lunch. He was really easy to make, just cheese logs, cut & shaped, then cream cheese piped in "bandage" strips over him. The red "flesh" is pimento strips and I used whole cloves for his eyes. I hope everyone has a very happy and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Okay, so I love Halloween - it is such a fun & frivolous holiday. I love the icons & being able to look a little on the dark side. Even though I no longer decorate for the holiday (my son is grown) and there is the time factor, I still enjoy doing art around it. Last year I created little tins with Halloween icons in them and gave them to my friends and coworkers. This year I decorated some wooden coffins that I found at Michaels. I had originally planned on doing an art doll to go in the coffin, however they were smaller than I thought they would be and the doll would have been really tiny to fit into them. Instead I decorated them with papers and embellishments that I found when I bought the coffins.

I also had to make one of the flower dancers with a more ghoulish slant. Lucky for me, Michaels had black roses and other embellishments I was able to use - including the ribbon with "Happy Haunting" that worked perfectly as a sash for her. She reminds me of a homecoming queen.
Her "crown" is a thick pipe cleaner with a craft button (it was a tree, I cut off the trunk and the shank and added rhinestones).

A while back I took an online class from Cindee Moyer, Equestrienne. I did really well on the horse (or should I say relatively), but I never did get around to doing the doll that goes with the horse. The flower dancer doll (Cyndi Mahlstadt style) goes perfectly on the horse. This was the doll that I created when the gals came over in August after EDAC that I mentioned in an earlier post. I've really enjoyed this method of making dolls and have created several of them since the conference. The doll in the center (largest one with the skinny legs) is the one I created in Cyndi's class at EDAC. The one on the right I started the day the gals were here for our doll "play day". The one on the left I tried something a little different and painted her eyes open instead of closed.

Here are some more images of the flower dancer dolls I've made, including the whole gang & close ups of some of them.

Vicki & I got together in September after EDAC and decided to create a mermaid in the style that we had learned at EDAC (like our trees). These had tea tins for the bodies with epoxy sculpt fish tail. We both finished ours in one day, but I didn't get a picture of Vicki's.

Well, the three of us art wanderers were off again - this time in September to the Lone Star Polymer Clay Retreat in League City, Texas, which is between Houston and Galveston on the Galveston Bay. We arrived on Thursday evening so we had some time on Friday to view some of the local sites before the retreat began that afternoon. First we went to a delightful bead shop, The Bead Boutique in Webster, TX. We spent 2 hours and $$$ while we were there & found some fabulous beads & findings. Then we were off to the Kemah boardwalk for lunch. The weather was cool enough that we were able to eat out on the deck overlooking the bay at Babin's.

After that we had a great time at the retreat with classes from Kim Cavender, Dayle Doroshaw and Barbara McGuire. I didn't get a picture of us with Barbara, but I did get pictures of us with Kim (on the left) and Dayle (on the right).
For the 3rd day of the EDAC, I took Cyndi's Flower Dancer Fairy class and Lisa & Vicki took a face painting class. We all loved the flower dancer fairy so much, that we decided to get together at my house and create more of them. Tricia joined us and here are the flower fairies we did that day.

Vicki's is the top green one, my two are on the right, Tricia's is the one with the teal flower hat on the left and Lisa's is the one of the bottom left. These are so much fun to create.
Sorry it took my so long to update my post - I haven't had a chance since right before I went to EDAC at the end of July - here is the update from that trip -
After much anticipation, we were off to the Enchanted Doll Artist Conference. Mother Nature was conspiring against us & we had a horrendous storm hit very early that morning with torrential rains and tremendous lightening. Luckily for us, though it was a fast moving storm and did not delay our flight. It was an adventure meeting up and getting to the airport. Happy travelers waiting flight out of DFW at the airport.

One of the first activities after arriving at the conference was the opening night festivities which consisted of a Gypsy Tea Party in honor of our head gypsy, Pamela Aramas. We were all asked to dress in our best gypsy finery. We did the best we could considering we had to pack everything in one suitcase. We laughed about looking more like aging hippies than gypsies.
The shirts we wore were drawings that I did and we got together before the conference and each of us painted her own shirt and added glitter and rhinestone embellishments. What fun!
Another thing planned for the opening night was making wish wands and exchanging them. Earlier in the day Lisa saw some shoes that she absolutely loved (they were so much Lisa's style of shoe) and commented on them to the wearer. When it came time to do the wands, Lisa thought she would wish for Maria Teresa's shoes. Later in the evening when Lisa & I were doing our make-it-take-its, Maria Teresa came up to LIsa with a bag and told her that her wish had been granted. Maria Teresa GAVE Lisa her shoes! It became much talked-about the conference. Here are the infamous shoes on their new owner.

Our first class was with Cyndi Mahlstadt, shown here with her Jesters, which she is teaching in an online class (details on her site). I'm going to take that one as well. I love Cyndi's whimsical style and her teaching format.

The 2-day class the three of us took was her tree doll, which used an Altoid tin. Here is my doll after the 2nd day of class on the right. Lisa's doll is on the left - she finished hers after she got home. I love the crown she did for her doll. Vicki's doll is under mine on the right. She also finished hers once she got home. I'll have to see if I can't get finished pictures of both of them to show - they all turned out great.

One of the really fun activities at the conference is the pin doll swap. You create the number of pin dolls you want to swap (up to 5), wrap them and then turn them in for swapping in a bag. Your bag is returned to you at the swap event with the same number of pin dolls from other people. I've participated both years and have a board in my studio with all the great pin dolls I've received. Here are the three of us with our pin swap dolls.

We left one night open so we could enjoy some of the local cuisine. We decided to go
to El Pinto which had been a working hacienda and had been converted into a restaurant. The food was devine and the ambience was fabulous! I wish I had thought to take more pictures while we were there.
The final night festivities include the banquet, which was our orginal
reason for creating our "doll" shirts. While I took many more pictures than are featured here, in respect to the conference and the artists of the dolls, I have not posted them. I'm sure you'll be seeing some of them on the EDAC site or in art doll publications. This conference is one of the most enjoyable ones I've ever attended and we are looking forward to going back in 2010!
I almost forgot - I commisioned one of my friends, Michael Champion to create our Galz & Dollz logo. He did it in black & white and I colored it for our t-shirt transfers. It was created from pictures I gave him of the three of us. I used the individual images to create business cards for each of us and for our luggage tags. Vicki made us aprons with the logo on it as well.