Sunday, 25 May 2008

Ceramic Heart Face Cabochons

Yesterday I was writing a bit about not being motivated to make my crafty items and after some reflection, I think it's because I've been focusing on making things that, while I love them and think they're cute in one way, they aren't items that I myself would use. They're items that I used in my crafting a number of years ago but my personal tastes have changed. I think that's why I'm having a bit of a problem with them right now. I've been so focused on making things that others like that I've ignored making things for myself. After all there is only so much time in a day. Well today I've done a bit of both. I finished off some buttons I started a couple of weeks ago so all I have to do is add the coating and I'll try and do that tomorrow. I also make some green ware from the molds I made yesterday and I really quite love them. I can see even in the very short time I've been working with clay that I'm learning by leaps and bounds. Just a few minutes ago I took the first item out of the kiln that I'm really in love with. These are heart face ceramic cabochons. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them but I really like how they turned out. I couldn't wait to get to the computer to share the picture here. These are made from an original sculpture I created and then I made a mold. The cabochons were made using that mold. I really like how the glaze turned it. It's a new technique for me where I covered the bisque ware with the black glaze and then lightly washed away the glaze from the high spots and then covered it in a clear glaze. I also fired everything to a higher temperature than I'm used to. I'm still a bit frightened of the high temperatures of the kiln so very carefully watch everything. Anyway, I wanted to post the picture here. I know it's not everyone's style but you can see it is very different from the types of things I've posted here previously and it's the sort of thing I'm into these days. Now that I've done something I really like my motivation is back and the ideas are starting to flow again.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Summer Themes

I love summer and can't wait for it to arrive. Living in Canada sometimes the winters can seem long so some warm weather is really welcome. One thing about summer though is that when it comes to crafting there aren't really a lot of "summer" themed ideas to work on. Of course you can do Canada Day and the Fourth of July for my friends in the US, and there are the ever present water melon theme but it's really difficult to come up with some appropriate summer ideas. I guess that's why I've been working on Halloween themed buttons lately. Fall and winter always have lots of ideas to offer but from January until September it's a bit more challenging. I guess I'll have to challenge myself to come up with some ideas. Perhaps that's why I'm feeling a little less motivated than usual. When I'm excited about my next idea it's always fun to start working on it and I can't wait to see the final result. Trying to think up new and unusual ideas is more challenging. I guess that's what makes a difference in the end. Today I've spend the day glazing some clay I bisque fired last week and I made some small pendants from modelling clay and then made some molds from them. I just made a few clay pendants from them and am waiting for them to to dry. That's part of the challenge with working with clay,all the time it takes for things to dry. Already the buttons and beads I glazed today (that I made last week) are not what I would work on today. My mind races to ideas so fast. With clay you have to be patient. Maybe that's a good thing though. Perhaps it will cause me to really have to plan and think about what I want to work on. Well I guess I will take a break from my creative endeavours for now and just relax and enjoy what's left of the evening.

What types of themes or ideas do you work on during the summer time? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Best Laid Plans.....

I had some big plans for crafting this weekend. It was a long weekend here in Canada and I was looking forward to three full days of crafting. Well Saturday started out and finished off a few things I had started the previous week. However....when I woke up Sunday I definitely wasn't expecting to feel the way I did. I think I ate something that didn't agree with me and I spent all day Sunday trying to keep liquids down and sleeping. My energy was such that I even had to plan my steps from one floor of my house to the other. Today was better although I have zero energy. Now that it's evening I'm starting to feel a bit better so thought I'd post some pictures of what I did manage to do on the weekend. The bottom set of pictures are of some recycled wooden blinds I'm planning to make into pendants. I've used the leftover pieces from wooden blinds that I cut off from the bottom of my windows when I sized them to fit. I've been keeping the leftover pieces of blind in my garage for quite some time (much to my husbands chagrin) because I knew I'd have a purpose for them one day. I've added some scraps of some very high end paper and covered them in resin and I think they're great. I have to put some holes in them yet but I love how they look so far. The first set of pictures is of a couple of ceramic buttons I've made. I haven't quite mastered ceramics but I am going to keep on trying. I have a vision and some day I know I'll get the reality to match the vision. I also dug out some dried gourds I have and I'm going to try and come up with something to do with them. I want to challenge myself to use what I have and see what I come up with.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Hand Painted Halloween Buttons

As promised here are the hand painted buttons I made. I haven't put the holes in yet. I'll drill them a bit later. These buttons are made from a painting pattern designed by Terrye French. You can find her painting patterns at . I slightly adapted some of the designs from the Harvest Pull Toy Platter pattern. I love Terrye's painting patterns and have purchased most of them. Right now I'm pulling bits and pieces from her larger designs and adapting to my hand painted buttons. I like these so much, particularly the candy corn crow design, that I think I'll make some more and stash them away to list on E-Bay a bit closer to Halloween.

It's been a bit slow on E-Bay this past week so either my designs aren't up to par or it's just a bit slow. I think I'll take a bit of time over the next week or two to recharge my batteries and work on some designs that may not be in my usual area but something I want to try just for me. I have this pull between making things I think my customers will like and making designs just for me that may not be the usual designs my customers expect. I'm trying to find that balance. How do you decide what to produce?

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Hand Made Buttons

These are some Halloween themed buttons I made using some free graphics I found on the internet. These are really quite cute. I'm not sure why I am in a Halloween mood these days but I thought these would be good for artisans that need to make their items well in advance of the busy holiday season. I'm waiting for some hand painted buttons I made to dry. The buttons are done but I cover them in a really thick artistic grade resin and that takes at least 24 hours to cure. I'm not the most patient artisan and the hardest part for me is waiting for all these things to dry and be ready for the next stage. While I'm waiting I'm working on some ceramic buttons and hopefully I fire these tomorrow.

Ceramic Buttons Take Two

Here is a set of folk art cat buttons. These have been fired twice. The first time the glaze wasn't dark enough and it was a bit rough. I painted them again, refired and this is how they turned out. My work is intended to be in a naive or primitive style and these fit perfectly into this venue. I'm trying to find my own niche and fill a void for crafters. I haven't seen anything like these (although I'm sure they're out there somewhere) so I'm hoping they fill gap for crafters/artisans that work in a primitive style. At the moment' they're for sale in my E-Bay store so we'll see how they go over. I am letting buyers know these are my first attempts so that they know what they're bidding on.

Now I have to get back to my painted wooden buttons for a bit as these seem to be what my customers want. I'm going to paint a few Halloween buttons this weekend. I know I should probably work more strategically but I paint what I want when the mood strikes. So although we're just getting into spring here I'm going to be working on Halloween. We'll see how that goes over with my customers. It may be a bit early for Halloween. I'll post these buttons when they're done. Now I actually need to get some work done since I primarily do my art work on the weekend as I have a day job through the week that actually pays the bills. Dreaming of an artistic career..............................................................

Monday, 5 May 2008

Waiting For the Kiln

I've just finished firing my second set of cermic buttons. I didn't peak in the kiln so am just waiting for it to cool down-which won't be until morning. I'm experimenting with firing times, schedules and with glaze application. I haven't taken a class and am just learning by trial and error. Actually it seems more like error at this point but I will continue on and will figure this out. Hopefully I will have something spectacular to show you tomorrow. However it turns out I'll post my results and you can watch my experiments as I try to develop my own artistic style.
Wish me luck!!!!!!!!!


Okay- I was a little disappointed with my first attempt at ceramic buttons so I decided to move on to something else for a bit. I have since gone back to the buttons but am still not pleased. I've done a second coat and will fire again and then post the final results. Those little buttons are harder than they look to make. I've a new found respect for ceramic artists-actually I always had it but now that I've given it a shot I realize there is much more to it than I thought.
Anyway, back to today's post. I cut this out of a piece of sterling silver sheet, cut out the bird image with a jewelers saw and then hand stamped the word "soar" on it. I really like how it turned out. It looks a bit rougher in this picture than it does in person-or maybe this is how it really looks and I need new glasses. Anyway, I really love how this turned out. Silver is also something I really want to start to work with but I know there is a huge learning curve and silver is so expensive to experiment with.
Now....those ceramic buttons are waiting to be fired. Wish me luck!

Friday, 2 May 2008

New Cermic Buttons

This is my first attempt at making ceramic buttons. I'm trying to make primitive themed buttons-sheep, crows, folk art cats etc. This was my first design. I also have made the same one in black. I haven't had a chance to test out their durability but they look really cute and just what I wanted as far as the theme goes.
As you know from reading this blog, I have been making hand painted wooden buttons but these will now allow me to go into a new direction. I have to many ideas and will be selling these on E-bay for anyone that wants to use them in their primitive style crafts. At this point I have to sell them as decorative because I haven't tested them and I think it's very important to let people know what they're buying. I can't wait to get these posted later tonight or tomorrow and see what the response is.
Making ceramic buttons is harder than I thought it would be. I have to learn to paint with a completely new type of material, and too be honest, the kiln still scares me. Sp much heat being generated it's frightening.
Hopefully you'll see my progression in ceramics through this site. I'm not giving up my painted buttons and I also love glass. Maybe I should try and settle on one style but I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head I find it difficult to settle on just one thing.