Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Take on me...

There we go.  I really need to remember to put my hair up when taking photos.  And everything else.  Everyone's experiments with polymer clay has me inspired to keep messing with it.  I'm trying to get a faux-ceramic glaze look down now.  It is such a flexible medium and deserves to be used and abused for all it's worth.  

There is something very 'meaningful' within the dynamics of polymer clay.  I have considered delving into it a little to write an essay for my basically-defunct column at Binnall of America.  But the audience may not be interested in the subject so much, as the site focuses on esoterica.  But of course what I have to say about it fits right in.  

Have you ever noticed almost all of the expository subject matter created with polymer clay is based in the fantastical?  Fairies, elves, dragons?  There is a huge connection to the Otherworld.  Polymer clay is some kind of bridge.  People get super, super attached to it to, and imbue it with meaning.  Its got its own codes and signs.  "Clay" and "claying" are verbs over at Sculpey.  It's fascinating to me.

And I have no idea what it's about yet, but I know there's something within its discovery, beginnings, manufacture, or whatever, that is very symbolic and likely tied to very big cultural dynamics.  It's a microcosm of something larger.  Just guessing, it might be tied to and used to express loaded contemporary collective angst-inducing ideals like: Imitation & Simulation, Fake/Real,  Synthetic/Natural.  Isn't it interesting that a modern, artificial medium is used mostly to create the archetypal and imaginal realm? It seems ironic, but it's all the same thing, and it makes sense.  Plastic comes out of the well of human imagination and creation and is just as valid as the ancient fairies of our creation. They go together, and the evidence is in all the polymer clay artifacts.

And I think there is no dismissing its ubiquity and 'product' nature.  Polymer's accessibility and simplicity is all part of its Manufactured-ness and modernity.  Speaking of modernity--as I suspected, I searched "history polymer clay" and glanced at the wikipedia entry.  Polymer clay came into itself in GERMANY 1939.  That is huge. 1939 is the year everything turned toward the idea of Future.  The beginning of WWII, the future-themed World's fair, the beginning of modern film.  

Maybe that's good enough for my curiosity now.  Not feeling like I can think about it much more.
Some muddy gem color mosaic faceteds.  Will be listed by tonight.

I bought a couple chunky wood bangles from Fall Hill Bead & Gem on sale during "Little Falls Night."  or "SHop Little Falls Local Night."  OR whatever it is on Thursdays here.  My original idea was to carve, but I tried out the metallic Sharpie on this already-dyed purple one, and liked the way it looked, so I drew roses and stuff all over it. Roses have been all over my mind since right before spring, so it's my default thing I draw lately.  I need to spend a night sketching so I get some more default subjects going, I think.  

But--this is just Sharpie raw over the wood.  Does anyone have a suggestion for sealing it?  Plain matte mod podge?  If it wasn't a bracelet, I likely would not seal it.  But bracelets get touched and worn out more than any other jewelry item, so I think it needs a sealant.  I was considering decoupaging white tissue paper over the whole thing, just to give it a kind of interesting 'screen,' and feeling of framing or distance from which to view the illustrations.  I also thought of using the slightest coat of dry brush off white paint, then putting crackle medium over it, but I think that is complicating it too much. Alas, there's something a bit vulgar about just leaving them so exposed like this.  I always like the idea of having a screen.  Ideas?  If anything, just the best sealant.
 Dyed wood beads.  I love the striped grain on these.
 A two stranded set of berry-ish grey and brown dyed bone discs and rondelles.  Everything shown here will be listed within the next day or so.  I have almost 40 items in my drafts awaiting their details.  I love the draft feature, but I don't like the way I use it sometimes.
 Some dyed wood barrels that came out interesting.  I forgot they were in the dye bath and they soaked for like a week.  I saw the darker veiny parts, so I put them in color remover to emphasize.  I think they be great in a neo-macrame plant hanger thing. Does anyone make those?  I have considered, but it takes me quite the long time to do small things, so I can't fathom the time to make something taller than I am.  But something I learned when trying to make those big rat cages is that it doesn't necessarily mean you spend more time on something larger if it is all in perspective size-wise.  I mean the materials could be larger, and the design elements larger.  Maybe it would take less time.  No idea.  I kind of want to make a macrame plant hanger.
 This is a raw photo, unphotoshopped.  Kimberly/Numinosity sent me a ton of wonderful things-- like the yellow headpins here.  Thank you.  It's an example photo to show the dyed and waxed hemp.  The other beads are from Fall Hill.
 Some colorwashed shell heishi, three strands.
 Some commercial supplies here.  Super, super light colored glass beads.  In some lighting, you can barely detect the pink blush of them.  I've been adding some 'regular' supplies to the supply shop that I've been ordering at wholesale prices along with bead orders for myself.  It started as kind of an experiment to see if it was lucrative and/or doable.  It's medium.  Having tested the waters a bit, I'm finding it's better to stick with a great majority of handmade and altered supplies for now.  It seems like these are the kind of things that don't pull people into the shop necessarily, but that they might find there and purchase along with whatever pulled them in.  I'm making that up.
 A necklace I remade quite a bit.  To whittle my listings down in my jewelry shop, I have decided to resist relisting things that I have already relisted at least once, and if I am very compelled, I will change it a bit.  I started to 'change it a bit,' here, and the black lace I had wrapped and tied around the button crumbled after I applied wax to it.  Also, the original cord was macramed ribbon, and I waxed it as well, but it never got ungummy.  I think it's certain synthetic materials that happens to.  So I just attached a double strand macrame cord I made to sell as a supply, and I loved the lightness with it.  I think I have a better photo of the loop..

Totally made that up and it came out like something.  I hope I can remember how I did it.

 Some dyed MOP hearts...
 Pretty foiled lampwork...God, I'm all over the place with this blog post.
 And I took this photo for a customer who wanted to see what the earrings looked like on an actual ear.  I live with all boys, and between all of us we have zero tattoos and just 2 body piercings. They are my ears.  So I had to take a photo of myself, which I hate doing, because then I get to see myself objectively in regular lighting.  I was horrified.  I am anemic looking and have dark areas and wrinkles under my eyes. Whatever.  Go for it.  Plus, the earrings are twisted wrongly there at the chain.  So I made myself into a cartoon and tried to forget everything that happened.  I felt much better about everything.


  1. Yummy stuff here. If I could be assured that every photo of me would be a cartoon instead of the real thing I would be OK with that. I dislike have my photo taken!

    1. Cartoons are liberating. I don't like having my photo taken either. The trick is to control the ensuing photos, I guess.

  2. well your neck and sideofface are a lot smoother and lovelier than mine, lol. love all the handmade hand altered. but so i was reading the profound part and im like 'polymer clay deep relation to the Otherworld? lol whatevs" and then kept reading and was all OMG!!! you are so smart, lady. i loved your comment on sparrows blog and quoted a big chunk of it on my recent post, hope thats ok.
    big luv.

  3. It's amazing what that blur tool can do for the complexion. I think I have like 10 years on you, so I doubt a real life comparison would have me being smoother and lovlier. Although I did get carded ordering a Yuengling the other night at dinner. I always make them guess how old I am before I show them my ID, and then when they see it they tell me I am older than their mother. It's a trade off, like everything.

    Of course it's ok you quoted the comment. I've refrained from engaging further in the whole dialogue because I tend to get too windy and involved for proper comments. But I do have some more thoughts on the whole thing, so maybe I will post something here.

  4. I don't even want to think about what I look like anymore. No. I'm learning where the term "Old Bag" comes from. Sigh. But anyway, I found your insight into polymer particularly interesting. I admit I'd never thought of those things. I do think that the tendency toward otherworld might be because polymer just happened to land and proliferate in that group. Maybe. I dunno. But it certainly has rabid afficianados and an almost religious adherence to certain "proper" methods. People become very zealous about the medium rather than merely using it as a tool toward the outcome of making art. It is now starting to make inroads toward more organic and away from bright plastic.

    As for sealing the bracelet, try Varathane. Or any other water based polyurethane finish from the hardware store. Water-based is the key word. It's the stuff on your house's hardwood floor and wood furniture. Tough. And you can use it on all your polymer stuff, too. ModPodge is essentially thinned white glue so it gets tacky with moisture.

  5. Hi Ginger!

    I have had Varathane on my Amazon wishlist for a year, and I'm at a standoff with actually ordering it. I have tried so many sealants over the years with polymer and absolutely nothing has stood up except Sculpey gloss. (Nothing against the other poly clay brand sealants--I have just never tried them.)

    But I see Varathane referring to again and again as being appropriate for polymer and other jewelry applications. I just hesitate to have it on anything that touches the skin. But your experience is that it's non irritating and holds up over time? No smell at all after it's dry?

    Mod Podge has sealants mixed in and has excellent water resistant qualities. There are varieties of it that are made for sealing furniture ("Hard Coat") and for outdoor use ("Outdoor.") Even the regular Matte type is excellent for sealing jewelry or anything. I have decoupaged beads and small items I made as long as 11 years ago and they look and feel exactly like they did when I made them, even after 5 years now of living in a fairly humid climate. Zero yellowing, zero tackiness (not counting the imagery decoupaged onto them, hee hee.)

    But the seller for me on Mod Podge are these ceramic tiles I decoupaged about 8 years ago. I was going to a craft fair and just wanted some larger items to be eye catching, so I decoupaged some ceramic tiles with 1940s ad images. I have about 15 of them still, and I have had them propped up under my kitchen window behind my sink for 5 years, so in this humid climate, and acting kind of as a backsplash, there has been no degredation at all. But the more amazing thing to me, is that I used four of them in a little bottlecap and seaglass mosaic on a patch of garden, and the images are still there and sealed well! It's all darkened and degraded, but so have the terracotta pots and everything else that has been out there and neglected year after year.

    I love mod podge!

  6. Wow...such a different experience for ModPodge for me! I find it to be tacky and things stick to it. But hey, if it works for you then stick with it! (Heh...unintentional pun there.) As for Varathane, I'm just a happy user. No, no smell, no residue, no problems being on the skin. It's plastic, really. You can get small bottles of it for $5 at, which has a whole lotta other things you're going to want too. Dangerous place, that.