Show your work

After I packed up my enameling supplies two weeks ago, I decided to try a few more polymer-clay-with-crackle-paint pieces. Instead of following tried and true methods, I thoughts I’d bake the clay first and then add the crackle paint. Sad, sad … Once dry, it flaked off at the slightest touch.
Instead of throwing the pieces away I sanded them and decided that a base coat of an acrylic medium might be the right next step. Of course I’d sanded almost all of the pieces when I realized that I should have taken some photos. (Taking time to take photos is a constant battle, that’s for sure. But, I tried my best with this project.)
Here’s one of the flaking Kroma Crackle. You can see how it lifts at at the edges.
Baked polymer clay with the Kroma Crackle starting to lift and peel.
Baked polymer clay with the Kroma Crackle starting to lift and peel.
After I decided to try a coat of an acrylic medium as a base, I read that someone else suggested as much to someone who’d found herself in the same situation. Better yet would be applying the paint before baking clay.
My plan worked. Now, you can share in the fun of watching paint dry.
So much waiting for the Kroma Crackle paint to dry. The instructions say the paint should turn from clear to when in about 24 hours. It took 2-3 days for me.
Almost dry. Those big crackles are ideal — and much easier to color in.

Here are the pieces after the Kroma Crackle paint finally dried.

Dry! The four red dots represent my first steps into making the surface look like a mosaic.
I took some alcohol ink pens to the individual crackles/”paint islands,” and the effect is that of a tiny mosaic. I love this look. I’d like to try some more and paint in the crackles to make it look like a paisley or heart or boat or peace sign or flower or anything else that one would make with a mosaic. Plus, I need to add some color to the edge and then seal the top with resin.
My first trial at coloring in the “dots” with alcohol ink markers. I fell in love with the process and effect right away.
More colors. Yes, I cannnot help but see the flaws.
Three clay pieces with the mosaic effect. I like the color scheme of the star quite a lot.
Three clay pieces with the mosaic effect. I like the color scheme of the star quite a lot.
The good news is that I have a bunch of clay conditioned and at the ready. I took my first class at Danaca Design yesterday. There were only three of us. And the other two students and the instructor all have a background in metalsmithing. We learned about doing image transfers onto polymer clay. I’ve done some transfers with toner copies before, but in class time we primarily used Lazertran sheets. My brain is full of ideas, and I’m eager to start playing. However, the first step is to print out some images on Lazertran sheets.
Image transfers on clay. The middle image was done with a toner image. I love that picture of my mom and grandmother.
Lazertran images on polymer clay. I think I want to fill in the holes on the middle piece. But with what color?
Lazertran images on the left and in the center and a toner copy transfer on the right. The stars are on pearly clay. Its too bad the shimmer does not show up in the photo.
There’s just never enough time for play, is there?
One week from now I’ll be done with the first day of the market. Crazy. It’s difficult to believe. Plus, nephew # 2 will be here. Who knows what kind of adventures we’ll get up to. Time to get back to it, while the getting to it is good.

You have to at least try

This week has been filled with no shortage of food for thought, creative missteps and soul searching.

Where to start.
I’ve been busy getting ready for the market. It was silly of me to not be more productive January through March, but … I’m part journalist, and we love working under deadlines.
I had last Saturday and Monday to craft this past week. It felt really good! I did some enameling, which I love. Every time I do I want to do nothing but that for days on end!
Just a few of the pieces I enameled this week. I love using pennies. And, it really seems to delight people when they realize that’s what I used.
This is an owl that I etched a month or more ago. I was hoping that the image would still be visible after a coat of embossing powder. No so. So, the owls became the polka dot earrings in the next photo.
Enameling all done!
Really finished pieces. Now to get them ready for display next week.
I’ve also been busy with some beaded bezels. The iridescent blue one might be my favorite. After that it’s the yellow and black one. The center is a resin piece that I made. The surface isn’t perfect, but I’m accepting the wabi-sabi nature of it.
Beaded bezels in various states along the road to completion. The lighting sucks; my apologies. Hopefully we’ll get some sun again in the next week, and I’ll work on something better.
One morning this week I decided to catch up on some of Tara Swiger’s podcasts. The episode about deciding whether you have a business or hobby really hit home. I always say business, but it’s a hobby. And it kind of broke my heart to admit. But, I have some inspiration for small steps to take to do the work Tara mentioned.
I even started following more crafters/makers/jewelers on Twitter to get me away from all-politics all the time. (Well, as I follow Paul F. Tompkins and John Moe, there’s some humor in there too.)
I even started following Austin Kleon, and I’ll be employing some of his “How to steal like an artist” tactics while I learn from my peers. Today, on one of our urban hikes, I’m going to get Morgan to help me finally get my head around hashtags. Why is that concept such a slippery eel to me?
Thinking about a hobby vs. business also made me think about how I can’t really complain too much anymore about not being a selling super star if I’m not doing the work. Sure, I’m making stuff, but I could be doing that without attending the market or other craft events.
My jewelry. (My weight! My disaster-area craft room!) How can I be so disappointed when I’ve not put in the work to make real change. I know what I need to do — on all fronts. It might not be easy, but I know it will be worth it.

Long time coming

Wow! How is it that I haven’t posted anything in so long? Could it be the back-to-back work trips that took me to Ottawa, Quebec City, Montreal, New Hampshire and Vermont? Indeed, I think that’s the reason.

On the trips I came close to finishing a shawl, worked on Morgan’s socks and read two books. (I loved both The Book that Matters Most and Dumplin’. Both had something that I needed, and I can’t say that it’s only coincidence that I read them when I did. I love how books often reach you when you need them most.

I’ve been home for a week now, and I’ve been able to get quite a few things done. (Including some gardening and work on a birthday present.)

To help get myself focused, I set out everything that I’d like to finish in time for the market. I’ve made a decent dent, but there’s still so much to do.

(Before you get the picture parade, I will start by saying that I know I need more process photos. At this time of year, at the heart of market prep, it’s hard to slow down and take photos. I mostly just want to get things made!)

All of these pieces are waiting for some bead embroidery. I really want to tackle the yellow and black piece of resin, even though I’m not sure that it would be a big hit. I know, I should start with the lucite.
These three pieces used to be wire wrapped together. And then … some Mickey Mouse comments prompted me disassemble them and turn them into a pendant and earrings.
I turned this “Mickey Mouse” head upside down and think that this look, with wire-wrapped crystals joining sections of chain, is pretty good.
I’d socked away these purplish beads and when I unearthed them, I know that I needed to stamp on the big one. I kind of love it. The owl is pretty great, imho.
After the class I took on coloring metal, I was inspired to do these piece. The pink-and-blue one says “Love.” I did another Love piece with a backwards “e.” Oh Stephanie … I may have to wear it myself.
These are the three wood-burned discs that I colored in. I covered both sides of each pendant with resin.The one on the bottom right is the backside with some pebeo paint. It’s pretty cool. I’d love to dangle some crystals, but that would make it a little uncomfortable, if someone wanted to wear the other side facing out.
These three are made from either paper clay or polymer clay. That reminds me, I’m taking an image-transfer-on-polymer-clay class in two weeks. Yahoo!!!
Another polymer clay piece, painted with crackle paint and acrylics. I love all of those fire-polished beads. That is the Stephanie color palette. No other colors need apply.


I can’t jury for journals until the second Saturday of May, so I have a little extra time to finish the journals I’d like to make. Remember the image transfer journal cover that didn’t work out? I just pasted some scrapbook paper over those eyesores and here’s how the outside will look on both sides. I love it! I added some sparkly embossing powder, which doesn’t really show up in this photo. Guess you’ll have to pop by the Redmond Saturday Market and check it out in person.

Journal cover. I think I need to move away from underwater themes soon.
Journal cover. I think I need to move away from underwater themes soon.

OK, it’s time to pack up some projects to take the East Side. It’s Easter and my brother’s birthday. We’ve got a double celebration in the works!