Monday, July 27, 2015

The Three Worst Tools I Own.....and why I love them

Here they are, the three worst tools I use on an almost daily basis.  I think the two paintbrushes are almost as old as my children, who are in their 30's.  The bottom one was worn out as a paintbrush when I started using it as a texturing and joining brush for Creative Paperclay®.  It is PERFECT for that!  The synthetic bristles are just the right length and have exactly the amount of firmness needed to push the clay in to cracks and crevices for repairs and joining pieces.  It is great for blending seams together, and for creating textures such as fur and wood in miniature.

The top brush, with the outer bristles worn off and the bristles in a permanent curve is the most fabulous brush for adding tiny amounts of "slip" clay on miniature sculptures.  It holds the clay and the curve allows me to push or pull the clay where needed.  The ferrule has come off many times, but I love this brush so much that I glue, squeeze the ferrule back on, trim the handle, or whatever needs to be done to repair it.

As for the diamond file, it is a cheap import that came with a perfectly wonderful defect.  The end is ever so slightly bent, which I discovered is an amazing aid in wood and clay carving and sanding.  I can get just the tip under a section and clean out right under the carving lines, and can use the angle to get in just the right spots. The tape on the handle lets me know at a glance that this is the tool with the curved end, since I can't immediately spot it otherwise when it's in the case with the other files.

Someone coming in to my studio might think I should throw these worn out, defective items away, but the brushes are the first things I reach for when I take out the clay sculpting tools, and the file is my "secret weapon" in achieving tiny carving details.  I don't know what I am going to do when the brushes finally wear down to nothing or the file tip loses it's tiny curve, but I will seriously miss these long-time companions.

I've been on the lookout and searching through my old brushes for possible replacements, but so far, I can't find anything that comes close.....and as for the file, if you see a lady in the hardware store feeling the ends of the needle files to find the defective ones - say "Hi", it's probably me.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Heartfelt Words

My Design Team project for July is a journal cover with the words from one of my favorite poems.  For a complete how-to on making the faux ceramic tiles in the mosaic, visit the Creative Paperclay® blog

I'd like to share the poem here as well, and some other poems from a 1946 book that belonged to my mother "Best Loved Poems" -  She used to read to us from that book and we enjoyed so many of the poems.  These are the selections I chose for the journal cover; I hope you enjoy them also.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Creating with clay, new friends and new fun

I recently signed on for another term on the Creative Paperclay® Design Team!  The new term runs from August through January, and I've been very busy working on new projects for the blog.  I've been reflecting on the last six months as a team member - I've enjoyed it, and was excited every month to come up with a new project and share it.   I'd like to think some people have tried the projects and techniques, or at the very least, were inspired in their craft and art work.  The blog is a wonderful resource for both those new to clay and experienced users.

One of the best things that has come from working on the team is "meeting" the other members.  No, unfortunately, I haven't been able to meet them in person, but I feel I've gotten to know them a bit and have really enjoyed seeing their posts and chatting with them about using clay.  One of the members started a Facebook group: Creative Paperclay® Q&A so if you're on Facebook and have a question about Creative Paperclay® products, that's a great place to ask.

Another big bonus of my time on the team is that I have gone beyond my comfort zone with my usual clay (and I still love, love, love it!) and have become more familiar with the company's other product, Delight™ Air Dry modeling compound.  I've had so much fun trying to come up with different ways to use these two materials, and learning so much along the way!

I also realized, in signing the new contract, that I think I have been remiss in posting my projects here with links - So, here are the projects I've created for the Design Team - I hope you enjoy them! Complete instructions & patterns are on the Creative Paperclay® blog, so I've added the links directly to the project.  I'm looking forward to sharing more projects and soaking up knowledge from the wonderfully creative people on the team.

January Project - Inspiration Mobile

January Tip - "DO Try This at Home!"
keeping track of ideas and experiments - see tip

February Project - Conversation Hearts
photo holder  How-to

February Tip - Saving Clay
see tip

March Project - Crayon Art Jewelry

March Tip - Building a Mold Collection
see tip

April Project - Garden Gear Upcycle Hanger

April Tip - Free Craft Supplies
see tip

May Project - Fairy Lanterns

May tip - Work boards & Drying Panels
see tip

June Project - Mermaid Balance Toy

June tip - Make Your Own Tools
see tip

and now I've caught up with my first six months on the Design Team, and I'm all "fired up" for the next six and beyond!