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Monday, July 8, 2013

Hello!

Let me introduce myself...I am the world's worst blogger. :)

I apologize to those of you that are following my blog. I am always so busy with my clay that I forget to tell everyone what I am up to! Oh my gosh, I just checked my last post and it was exactly a year ago today. Too funny! 
The good news is that it is nowhere near the temperatures that we suffered with last year at this time. One day last summer the temperature was hovering around 106 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade. My son had just moved to Berkeley, California and I asked him what the temperature was there that day. Care to guess? It was in the 60s! I couldn't believe it. When talking to him another day I asked how the weather was there and he said it was raining which he said was nice for a change....implying that it is nearly always sunny there....I've stopped asking him about the weather lol.
Well let's see...what is new? Where do I begin!

I finished the bridesmaid necklaces that I was working on in my last post and was trying to come up with a creative way to photograph them for the bride. This is what I came up with
The photo caught the attention of Sage Bray of The Polymer Arts Magazine and it actually made the cover of the Fall 2012 Rhythm and Flow issue! She was not able to use this photo as the image was not large enough so, with the bride's approval, I sent them to Sage in Colorado to photograph. I was so excited! I was also featured inside as a new emerging artist. It was quite thrilling actually. The Polymer Arts magazine is full of beautiful photos and helpful tips, tricks and tons of inspiration. Click here to learn more.
I am constantly trying to find better ways to photograph my pieces. You can make the most incredible work of art but if your photos are not good quality your work may be overlooked and buyers may move on. I admire the professionalism of other clay artists' photos and their wonderful use of props. 
One day, I was trying to photograph a necklace I had just finished. The stone is one of my favorites, crazy lace agate, and I was racking my brain for something I could use as a prop. My eyes fell on this wonderful old weathered piece of wood that I have had for over 30 years. It was perfect! Here is one of the photos. Isn't that the most wonderful stone?!
Still not the best use of props but certainly better than lying the necklace on a plain flat surface. I use natural light whenever possible. What do you do? Do you have any tips or tricks you can share? What photo editing software do you use? I have Corel Photo Album 6 and it is pretty easy to use. I also have PhotoShop Elements but just can't get the hang of it...to complicated for my artistic brain. One thing I discovered recently is Picasa. This is available free online and provided by Google I believe. It is a wonderful addition to what I use. One of my favorite features is that you can straighten your photos. Take this photo of a pretty tile I made
See how it is slightly askew? I can open Picasa and straighten it up! Oh, the stones in this tile are also some of my favorites. They are called Sea Sediment Jasper and they are dyed the most wonderful colors plus the natural pattern of the stones are very striking.
Many people have asked me to create a tutorial showing how I cover the entire front and back cover of a wire bound journal and so I put together one and posted it on ClayLesson.com  My 'teacher's name' there is ChristineK Here is a photo of the back of the journal which I liked better than the front LOL!
Here is the front
I wish I had not made it quite so busy but hey, that's me. XD The stone you see here is Rainforest Jasper, another favorite of mine.
I have a fascination of textures and I am always looking for new things to use. The texture on this book box (a box that looks like a book) was made using an old piece of lace.
I thought it resembled scales so I called it 'Dragon Skin' ha ha! Speaking of dragons, here is a little book box that I made using an old watch face for the eye.
The watch face reflects the light making the 'eye' appear to glow. Cool effect!
Another theme I keep coming back to is the ocean. I creating underwater scenes. :) Here is a little 4" tile I made recently.
I call it a sun catcher tile because light can shine through the two largest glass gems. It is an acrylic tile that I covered in clay, cutting out holes in the clay where these two gems were placed. 
Have you noticed that I often use glass gems? I love the contrast of the shiny liquid look of the glass and the matte finish of the clay. 
Just two more things I want to show you and then I am done for the day. First is an ACEO I made from polymer clay in another of my favorite themes, the forest/woods.
I like to vary the shades and tones of the colors I am working with. Sometimes the differences are very subtle but I think it adds interest and depth. I also like to add a wash of dark acrylic to enhance the textures. I love matte finishes and I really wish someone would invent a good matte finish sealant for polymer clay. Sometimes shiny is good but most of the time I prefer not so shiny. :)
Okay, the last thing I'd like to share today are some 'inchies' I have been working on. I call them micro dots as some of the little bits are smaller than a grain of sand! (did I mention that I always work with a magnifying glass?) I had fun getting as much texture and detail as I could into these 1" square tiles! These little guys were featured on Polymer Clay Daily today. Thank you Cynthia Tinapple!
What are inchies you ask? I think they were originally created by scrapbookers (is that a real word??) They can be made of any material as long as they are 1" square. They certainly don't have to be this complex, I just can't stop sometimes ha ha! People like to trade them with each other, like artist trading cards (ATC) and ACEO only smaller. I have also heard of 'twinchies' which are 2" square. It's a fun way to collect art from others all over the world. I have some made of mosaic glass, bead embroidery and tiny little paintings. Very cool!
Okay, I have talked your ear off enough for one day. Hopefully I won't wait a year before my next post.
Have a great summer! (or winter depending on where you live)