Wednesday 22 November 2017

A Transparent Mistake, Expanding Cats and an imminent DIY Tsunami. . .

Red brown semi trans rounded tube beads, or possibly 'bugle' beads(?)

Well, I was in a hurry so I didn't notice that I had bought 50% transparent Cernit Clay instead of the usual opaque stuff, until I opened the new pack and began using it. But After a bit of a double take and some initial confusion (until I spotted the little 50% badge on the packet), I decided to run with it. I made some simple beads and explored the way surface treatments seem to have more depth to them on trans clay. I used alcohol inks in layers, and other stuff. . . They came out nicely and look quite stone like, not that I was aiming for that particularly. I sold some as well, which always encourages the creativity. . .

Green stone like beads with 'includes'. .

For some I used a kind of a variation of my crackle effect idea. I was going to say that I made the clay a bit dirty by rolling it a few times and letting a little dust and tiny bits of desk detritus stick to it, but what I mean is I used 'includes', yes, that was what I did, cough. . . . Just slightly, so that it looked a little bit veiny and speckled.
I ordered some opaque Cernit straight away of course but as trans was what I had it made me explore  a bit more, which is always a good thing.

Groovy blue ones

I didn't get much done as time is a bit lacking this week as I am planning the details of how to redo our bathroom. I like to think it all through before jumping in, going nuts with a club hammer and ripping stuff out willy nilly. . . (there is a plasterboard side to the shower that has to go.) But I will try to get into the workshop and have a play in between diy splurges when I can ;-)
Oh yeah, and a joiner is fitting new bannisters on our stairs this week too. Gonna look so posh ;-) So it's all go round here. . .

I like the semi trans effect here

Alongside the other beads I made some turned effect earring bead pairs using the semi-trans clay. They came out quite nice too, imho. I shall make some more I think, although I am trying not to repeat myself too much.

And here, they sort of glow . .

I'm going to make more of these simple spikes too, seeing as how they sold, and I like the simplicity of them. 

unapologetically simple spikes

Simple beads are challenging in an strange way. There is quite a bit of resistance to putting forward something that has very little evidence of 'work' in it. Silly I know, but it does take a level of confidence to be satisfied with the simple and not complicate it for complication's sake, or for what you might imagine other people might think etc etc. I'm actually pretty ok with keeping it simple as a principle, but I get the annoying doubts from time to time ;-) Anyway, hitting people over the head with 'skill' for its own sake is amateur stuff ;-) You know, like those guitarists that play 48,000 notes a second when 3 will do. . . Skill is a means to an end and not an end in itself, which sounds like an excuse but really isn't. And worrying about what you think other people might think doesn't lead anywhere useful. imho.

As for the Expanding Cat thing. They are six months old now and have changed so much. This is Hereward as he is now, and as he was the day he arrived in our house. He's a big handsome boy now ;-) The two girls are all almost grown now too, but not as big as himself here.

Hereward 'Hairy Boy' now and then, wasn't he a cuticle?
I read something on several sites on the inter webs about how big cats are likely to grow. It said they grow up to 20 times their size. . . Yeah right! If a kitten is 3 inches when born it would be 60 inches fully grown. That's five feet! Hmmm. . . Not convinced that is altogether true. I hope not or I will need a much bigger cat flap. . . . .
Amazing how misinformation happily shared on the net isn't it?

Friday 10 November 2017

Goodbye Website. . . (My Fault Entirely) - More Creating and Experimenting - Alcohol inks and an Annoying Pink Tint

Custom made long spike beads, close up

Carried along by the general tide of dissatisfaction with the way Etsy was going, (and still is pretty much, for me at least) I decided to set up my own website with it's own shop. (I wittered on about it in a previous post) I got it looking nice, mentioned it a few times but never kept up the promoting pressure needed to drive traffic to it. Try as I might, that sort of carry-on just doesn't sit right with me. I know that's 'unrealistic', self indulgent, not the way it's done and all that stuff, but I'm just not one of life's blow yer own trumpeters, and if it doesn't feel right I'm not going to do it ;-) . . . 

So, I'm going to knock the website on the head at the end of the month. The platform I chose is totally free from blame. Indiemade are very good. It's just me that's not prepared to do the sort of work required to make a success of such a venture. I'll stick with Etsy as my shop for now, as it does have at least some built in traffic, but use Facebook as a selling venue. Any stuff that doesn't sell on there gets put up in my shop. Probably.

Earring spikes with oxidised copper loops - sold

I have just bought the domain for so I will probably use that for a stand alone site in future. 'If and when'.

Big, ornately rustic focal - sold

On the bead creation front, some of you will have seen these beads on FB, but here they are again in their full glory ;-)

I enclosed a repurposed wooden bead from a charity shop necklace bought for such a purpose, in polymer clay and then added turned technique bits on either end to make a bigly rustic large focal or two. Using textures on some, and my surface treatments on others. 

Double bead wrapped focal

I sold a couple as well. 

It's a fun process which I will revisit when the mood takes me.

woody, ceramic-y surface treatment on this big focal - sold

Talking of the mood taking me, I often find that I go into my workshop fully intending to make a certain type of thing, and then find I just can't get going, the results don't move me. Then I find I have to let go of my intention and mess around until something clicks, other than the bones in my neck. . . It can be a bit frustrating, especially when you feel that precious studio time is ebbing away, but I trust my instinct and it never lets me down. . .

Custom long spike - sold

I was asked (via FB) to make some long (3"ish) turned effect spikes by an excellent beaded jewellery maker from the West of the USA, so I set to work and had great fun working out how all the different ins and outs and textures fit together on one piece ;-)

Pink and black annoyances

The annoying pink tint I mentioned in the title comes from the nature of the pigments in alcohol inks. When diluted, or used in fairly vigorously applied layers they tend to change colour in a weird way, or revert to some kind of base pigment, sometimes quite unlike the expected colour. At least that is what I think is happening. 
In the pic above, the black ink has turned the white areas pinky purple. (when painting with black alc ink and the brush starts to run dry you find you are painting with purple and not black any more) This happened when I varnished it, the varnish seems to slightly dissolve the black ink which then reveals it's secret purply nature ;-) .
Acrylic paints don't do this.
What I was attempting with these beads was to scrape off the black ink to make a simple black and white design. I ended up with black and pink instead. Not so desirable.

Proper black and white scratch beads

So I made another set and used black acrylic paint, and scraped that off instead. it is denser but more delicate than alc ink, and is easier to use, as you can easily paint bits of black back on if you make a mistake. It sits on the surface of the clay, whereas alc ink spreads out and stains the surface, which makes it less precise. I varnished them, as the paint would just wear or chip off otherwise. I might try matt varnish next time. I really like these sort of simple, African inspired patterns with their simple mathematical logic, which, let's face it is the only kind of mathematical logic I can handle ;-)

Gonna be a busy couple of weeks, the bathroom bits and pieces have arrived, (basically the whole shebang, bath, toilet, shower etc etc) and I am also in the middle of the fake panelling on the landing, while a new set of bannisters is being fitted by a local joiner. I hope I can squeeze some bead time in there somewhere.

Until next time, be good, unless of course being good doesn't appeal, your call. . .
Jon x