Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back Home With a Few New Neurosynapses.

The retreat was great.  I so enjoyed meeting clayers and learning new things.  I do admit my tiny little brain  became a bit mushy by Tuesday morning. 

Things I learned about life and polymer clay. 
  • Your are clean after a shower even if you have green PC under your fingernails. 
  • Blue Tack: gotta get it, gotta have it. Use it to seal bottles of glue. Put a wad on an unfinished string of beads will prevent beads from falling off.  Make a U shaped long and put on the bottom of  bottom of a round canes to prevent distortion while slicing  and canes ends to reduce end distortion while reducing. Blue tack can be baked with PC.  Use to support clay when needed. Can used to make hollow beads, must score all around raw PC so it  allows a natural breaking point.  
  •  Never confuse Blue Tack for chewing gum. 
  • I am so excited and proud about my Steampunk experience, especially my dragon.   
  • Why is it that s many people  want to name dragon's George?   After much pondering, I have name mine Scamp. 
  • I want to thank Christi Friesen for point out finger prints in clay are not always bad. In fact they are your friends and can make a lovely texture background.   If ya can't keep 'em off your clay, put finger prints everywhere, just touch, touch, touch the clay.  Take your raw clay to Walmart and let every one add a few finger prints. Perhaps a neighborhood finger print soiree with some Pinot and Brie. 


Saturday, July 11, 2009

The day has finally arrived to leave for the clay retreat.  A friend of mine is going along for a little R and R but will not be participating in the retreat presentations.  She asked me what people wear to these events.  I was dumb founded, you mean I have to think about clothes.   I guess claying in my sleep shirt and my underwear just won't cut it at the Hilton.  
 I hadn't even thought about clean clothes and who knows how I am going to fit them into my suitcase.  I mean, don't I HAVE to bring every single  pack of PC with me?
My friend Becky will be attending.  She has 400 pounds of clay at home.  Yes...FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS, not packages...POUNDS.  
I have completed  my swap items and beads for the bead string.    I added a hand to my swap pieces and baked them right before I went to bed.  Just had to add ...one more embellishment.  This morning I decided they looked ghastly and ripped the added hands off the piece.  Made new hand and the more I tried to smooth and shape the fingers the more they looked like monkey claws.  So, once again I am reminded "less is more" and if it looks good, stop messin' with it.    

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Three days till the retreat.  I have suddenly realized how much I have to do.  I finally made the two beds for the bead strand and they are in my vibratory tumbler right now.  I made them GIANT; hollow and about the size of a ping pong ball. 
 The required color theme is black and  white, first tried the Jupiter bead technique including over baking and chopping clay but found that a little black goes a really long way.   The beads looked  gray, gray, gray crumbles with a few black chunky parts and smudges and  tiny streaks of white.  Kind like something that was kicked out of the cat little box.  The great thing about PC is you can just smush it up start over.  I think the final Mokume Gane version came out pretty darn good. 
Now I am on to my 10 swap pieces, I say "pieces" because I have no  idea what to make. The theme is Hands Across the Water...I think. Perhaps some swirling alcohol ink will come into play. Oh hell forget the ink, how about some alcohol for inspiration.   Sometimes the most unexpected things come out of  the most unplanned experiment.
I just got a call from a woman in my PC guild that was going to the retreat.  Her husband had a reaction to a medical procedure and is now having very serious complication. and had to go to Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.  So, if my biggest worry tonight is PC I have it pretty good.  So, I am sending my thoughts and prayers to Becky and Richard's.  :( 

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another Learning Curve.

Ahhh... Trying to decide colors for this blog has been quite challenging. I used to be ahead of the game with computers and had a home computer in 1991,  Now, I can't keep up with this new technology and feel like a Dope; Dave Letterman refers to him as a Dope so that is pretty cool.

I wanted the blog template to be not too boring yiket not too Tutti Fruity.  Found the perfect combination and yet as I am typing the blog looks like mix of a manilla folder, mix stone ground  oatmeal and tan government furniture issued in the 60's.  I am not going to worry my pretty little brain over it.   
I am so excited about the upcoming International Polymer Clay retreat I can hardly stand it.  I have lots and lots to do to get my two beads ready for the retreat string that goes into the archives and plus I signed up for one swap, that mean 10 beads for that too.  I definetly am going to try something with the Ghost Cane Cindy Lietz taught. 
Let's see what was the topic? Was it Hands Across The Ocean , or Hands Across The Universe...I think that was a movie.   I know it had to do with "Hands" and something to do with black and white.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

After a morning of reading on PC Internet sites, Bottles of Hope, Fire Mountain Beads, Cindy Lietz Polymer Clay Tutor, Polymer Clay Central  in addition to a couple hours of claying I ran out to pick up some beading supplies. 
 I was looking for magnetic jewelry closures and beading wire and decided to check  locally before ordering on-line.  Cindy Lietz recently wrote about the difference between plastic coated metal wire  vs plastic coated stainless steel wire.  I know nothing about beading wire and it can be so overwhelming; you mean they make so many different kinds !!!  

I dreaded going to the big box craft store, anticipating finding an untrained 16 year old employee abandoning me in the beading section .  "If we have them they would be some where in this area. Good Luck"  Instead,  I came across an elderly  employee sitting on a stool straightening the merchandise. Cool, I worked with people with disabilities for over 25 years, how great to find an employer hiring non traditonal employees rather than  requiring  everyone to stand, bend or kneel on the floor.  

The name tag said "Polly" and she wore large very thick lensed eye glasses and felt her way along the merchandise, holding packages an inch from her face while deciphering the label.   Polly immediately pointed out the magnetic clasps, they were right in front of where she was seated.  Polly had been the department manager for many years but had to step out of that position due to being legally blind in one eye and having Muscular Degeneration in the other.

I politely listened as went into detail about upcoming injections into her good eye. This was way more information I needed but she had found those magnetic clasps for me so I continued to listen. Polly looked like she was in her mid 70's, she sounded lonely as she talked about her husband who died two days after Christmas this year; he died at home just as he wanted. I thought about my 87 year old widowed mother who lives 1200 miles away who is also a chatter box.  They both still drive their cars during daytime hours and are definitely independent.  Polly helped me find the correct beading wire as she talked about recently being off work during cancer recovery and all the details of her surgery and treatment.   
The entire conversation lasted about 10 minutes and  was the last 10 minutes of her shift. I held back tears as I walked away.  Maybe she was lonely by the thought of going home to an empty house.  Was it a chance meeting?  I rarely shop at this particular store and never on a Saturday.  We live in a busy busy world, take time to stop and be in the moment, let someone go ahead of you in the check out line, give up the parking spot you were hoping for, smile and wave to a rude driver.  It is the little things in life that mean the most.  Polly touched my heart and I hope my listening ear touched her too.