Saturday, April 11, 2015

Wine Country Tessellated Necklace and Bracelet

The Wine Country necklace is finished. It proved a challenge since I wanted the kaleidoscope beads to not rotate and therefore made two channels for stringing. The round beads only have one hole, so the challenge was to find appropriate accent beads that would gradually channel into the one hole beads. A close-up view is below:
click on images to see larger versions
The clasp is also handmade, from coated brass wire:

The co-ordinating bracelet will be auctioned off in the ARCAC fund-raiser tonight and is pictured below:

Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Perfection = Predictable = Boring! The Artist's Mark

It feels great to be back in the saddle!
pattern assembled from scraps cut from the kaleidoscope cane

I've touched on this before. We create art because we have something to say, something that can best be said visually, not verbally. The viewer of our art completes the creative act by responding to the art. One thing that can derail this interaction is boredom (there are other things which I'll talk about another time).

For many, anything predictable is quickly glossed over. The brain likes to be engaged, and when it can predict the outcome or the continuing pattern or the next step it yawns and moves on.

Why is it, then, that many artists struggle so hard to make their work perfect?!

In any work of art it is the unpredictable colour, the unfinished line, the hint of something partially erased, that intrigues and makes the viewer stay a little longer, savoring incongruity.

In polymer clay, perfection can be achieved and repeated ad nauseum by a well-built machine. Why would we want to turn out art that looks like it was made by a machine?

The mark of the artist is unique to that artist and distinguishes a piece as hand-crafted, unique, special. That's why I've named my new studio The Artist's Mark. It's to remind me to remember to let my individuality be an integral part of my work, and to leave it visible so no one can mistake it for 1 of 100,000 produced in a factory.

I'll be demonstrating Kaleidoscope Caning at an art event at ARCAC this Saturday evening. There is very little exposure to polymer clay out here on the east coast of Canada, and I hope to stir up some interest. I've developed a palette for this cane that I call Wine Country. It is rich and elegant with a deep metallic colour that I call Madeira Wine colour, a soft, pale neutralized green called Celadon, a deep woodsy dark green called Deep Woods Moss, a soft white called Ivory, Black and a soft yellow called Sunshine.

If you would like the formulas for the all the colors in the Wine Country palette, leave a comment at the end of this post and I'll make it available at no charge, either via email or in the blog if there are enough requests.

Here are the beads that will be assembled into a necklace and bracelet to auction off at the event on Saturday.

extruded cane slices on co-ordinated spacer beads

beads ready for backing, then second curing and finishing

canes ready to tessellate

Hollow focal bead for the necklace, slightly irregular, definitely hand-crafted!
I'll post a picture of the necklace and bracelet when assembled.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Beach House and The Artist's Mark

We survived! What a year! I'm back by the ocean, only the one off the east coast this time, the same ocean I swam in till I was 7. I feel I can wave to my cousins in Sola, Norway and they might see me and wave back. There's something about coming back to the familiar, like putting on an old sweater that bends exactly where you bend. It looks right, smells right, sounds right, and it feels right. I have posted a bunch of pictures at the bottom so you can see the studio, the home, the view, the surroundings, and the moods of the sea. That feels right, too! The Arctic Fox asked if I found the storms and surging waters depressing or unsettling. These suit me. They suit my moods, fire my imagination and I find I sit and watch nature unfold in all it's power and beauty and can't be bothered with television. There is even a sound, quite distinct, that you hear when the tide comes in.

The new (old) studio is up and running and working perfectly. I can get as messy as I want! I have room to dance and there's even the odd little field mouse that shows up to see what I've been up to.

Hello, I'm back! Thank you to all of you who have patiently hung in there. I hope to share some interesting things with you this year.

To start, here are some very rustic, hollow beads. They fascinate me. Pods. In the garden. In the studio. Claire Maunsell gave a 1-day surface technique class in Montreal last spring and I'm so glad I was able to take it before the move. She's a lovely lady, talented, totally forthcoming, and a great example of "mining a vein". Look her up (she has a blog,, a flickr site and an etsy site).

This is my starting point for this year in polymer clay:

The bead we made in the class using various surface techniques:

The goal, in taking any workshop, should be, not to do identical work to that of your teacher, but to apply what you've learned to your own work, thus broadening the creative application.

Here's the subsequent development in my own work:




mounted as a pendant





These beads are all hollow, looking substantial but light in weight, yet very strong!

Here is our new place:

Unaltered photo!!!!! Sunrise on the salt marsh, from the deck.

same time, rotating 45 degrees, ocean view from the deck, tide is out.

view from living room window, tide is in

Some of our neighbours enjoying the sunlight on the crumbling pier.

other neighbours going for a stroll on the beach

"MY red cliffs"

tide is in


View of The Arctic Fox (in yellow, bottom right), pier and house from 800 feet out (low tide)

165 year-old house built by Capt. John Ross with beams and planks from a ship that went aground in St. Mary's Bay, across the street

The Artist's Mark, my new studio! Painting

metal and wire work

more painting

polymer Art