In April I decided to work on some designs for the Wraptious Competition. I already had some kaleidoscope designs printed as cards but I thought they could benefit from a little more texture and complexity. After working on one of the kaleidoscope images for a while I thought it was interesting but still missing something, so I layered on one of my abstract florals that I had digitally painted years ago.
I really liked the combination so I worked on a few more images. Here are the ones that I have entered into the competition. You can buy these designs on cushions or as art prints until 30th June 2022. You can also vote for free by clicking the green thumbs up on each of the individual product pages, or like and share this facebook post (before midnight 30th May 2022).
So that’s what happens when a kaleidoscope design and a flower painting have a baby! I really enjoyed making these and I’ve already got another one in progress. I hope you like them too. Would you be interested in seeing these as art prints or cards?
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will have come across my wishpots before. I created the first wishpot when my daughter was born and we were planning a family gathering to welcome her. I was inspired by the fairy tales where the fairy godmothers give blessings to the newborn baby. Everyone spoke a wish for her future and I sealed the lid closed. Since then I have made a few different versions as I have been refining the way that the stopper bead is attached.
This current method of stringing allows the wishpot to be worn as a pendant on a necklace, or stand alone as an ornament. Here’s a little video clip to show you.
I now have a few of these listed for sale on my website with more colours on the way. The wishpots come in a recycled paper gift box with a little scroll that reads: “This is a wishpot. The idea is to use it as a focus for your own empowerment and gratitude. It can be worn as a pendant or stand alone as an ornament. To use it: open by pulling the bead lid upwards. Speak your affirmation or imagine your intended circumstance and blow into the open wishpot to add your wish. Close it by pulling the thread on the side (the one that’s shorter when open). When your wish is complete, open the wishpot to release it and say “thank you” as it goes.”
I have a couple of these wishpots myself and I wear one nearly every day. Speaking of things to be grateful for – I have just discovered it’s a Bank Holiday on Monday. What a lovely surprise! I hope you have a great weekend and that your wishes come true.
Last year I worked on a red mushroom cane using the colours from my Red Palette. I started off by creating a vector image of my design so that I could test how the pattern would repeat. It took me ages to get the cane built as I wanted to follow my sketch quite accurately, and I was pleased with the finished result.
Here are some finished earrings that I made using my mushroom cane. I’m still tweaking the sizing for some of these components and refining the domed stud attachment but I am happy with them as prototypes.
This year I have decided to choose some pieces of my art to get printed as greeting cards. While my mushroom vector sketch had enough detail to be used as a cane, I thought it was a little bland when enlarged to the size of a card. Therefore I decided to add in more details and some texture to the background incorporating scans of monoprinted paper. I didn’t particularly intend to make it psychedelic, but I suppose stereotypes happen for a reason! What do you think – is it fun or bonkers?
By the way, I have done a lot of the work on these projects during my Tuesday morning livestreams. You are welcome to join me for a chat or you can watch the videos on catchup (they remain available for 2 weeks).
About 2 weeks ago I finished all 24oz of my polymer clay sample challenge. I unpacked all the beads I had made on a Twitch live stream if you are interested in all the details. Here’s a photograph to summarise.
Now there are so many beads to choose from I’m struggling to know where to start, but I have made a few of these beads into earrings. (If you are subscribed to my newsletter you may have already seen these.)
What was good about this challenge?
It was really helpful for me to have preselected colours to work with. Often I find myself overwhelmed with the unlimited potential of polymer clay that I end up dithering when trying to decide where to start so I don’t actually do anything. I tried to experiment when making some of the beads by thinking that I have already allocated the clay to be used so I may as well use it (actually this is true for any polymer clay since things that are not working out can be squished into scrap). I had to be creative and find different ways to finish some beads as I couldn’t add more clay to do my first idea.
What was not so good?
When making canes I had to keep things smaller than usual as I had an imposed limit to the amount of clay I could use. It would have been better to start with larger canes so I could keep different sizes aside as I reduced. I struggled to find enough scrap clay for the inners of my beads so I didn’t get as many beads as I could have from a finished cane (i.e. by putting a thin decorative slice onto a thicker layer of scrap). There were some beads where I thought it would be nice add contrasting caps or edge the outside of a cane but I had already used up the colours I wanted to use so I couldn’t do that.
What will I do next?
I found it really useful to have a specific goal in mind to keep me motivated so I’m intending to define what I’m going to work on next. Unfortunately this week gone I was completely disabled watching the news of violence and looting in South Africa so I haven’t been able to make any decisions. I’m planning to continue with my colour palette reruns, so there’s still time for you to choose a colour in my survey.
I am still working through my 24 one ounce blocks of polymer clay. Here’s the next stage of my progress.
My primary reason for doing the challenge was to give myself a starting place to get making beads again. Unfortunately I was finding that trying to record the steps as tutorial videos was hindering my progress, particularly when the children were home due to lockdown (again). They are very noisy during the day so I’d have to wait till the evening to begin and by that point I wasn’t feeling very sparkly for chatting while I make. Also it was discouraging me from just experimenting as it’s hard to explain what you are doing when you don’t know yet!
Instead I have decided to crack on with the making and show you my progress as I go. If you are really interested in any of the beads I make, let me know in the comments and I may try to do a dedicated tutorial for that. I have at least one video still to edit, so that will turn up eventually.
I’ve got more beads to show you but I’ll save those for another day. I hope you are well and making progress with your projects.
P.S. If you’d like to set yourself a sample challenge, here’s my earlier post with the guidelines I’m using.
Recently I have been dusting off my online shop. Since creating the initial listings I have changed to a different computer monitor with more vivid colours and it became obvious that the colour balance of the photos was off, they were far too yellow. Therefore for the past few days I have been readjusting all the photos. It has taken ages but I think they look better now. You can see the colour difference down the centre of the photo below.
So far I have only relisted earrings and I haven’t been able to add new items for sale just yet but I thought it was important to have photos that better portrayed the colours. Since some of these earrings are now a few years old, I have put in increasing discounts based on the year that the earrings were made. The older the item, the bigger the discount. Have a look, perhaps you will find a pair of new earrings to pep up your day. I know the earrings would rather be worn than be stuck in a drawer!
It’s my Birthday today, so I always notice Groundhog Day. Last year my birthday was a fantastic date 02/02/2020 – a palindrome for US and UK alike.
At the time, it seemed like such a lucky number… by the end of February it seemed like a harbinger of DOOM! It turns out that 2020 got worse from there. So I’m feeling cheated. It didn’t happen, I want to try again. Therefore in the name of the movie (Groundhog Day) I am awarding myself a do-over.
So what exactly am I doing again? Back in 2015 I set myself a challenge to work with seven colour palettes throughout the year and make something every week. You can see details here (including links to the colour recipes). At the time I felt like I hadn’t properly explored each palette, so I have decided to have another go. I’m not going to specify timescales at this point because, by now, what’s a year here or there among friends?
I’ve made a little survey if you’d like to click through and choose which colour palette you think I should start with first. You’ve got some time to vote since, at the moment, I’m working on another challenge that I have set myself. I’m working on a video which I hope to share soon (maybe next week?) because I’m hoping others will join in. Here’s a sneak peak…
I have had my head down a bit what with second (and now third) lockdowns in England and preparing for Christmas. I don’t like to start my “resolutions” on the 1st of January as I find it’s still too dark and cold and depressing to try deprive myself of sweeties at that point. However I had reached the point of feeling the time had come to start improving my eating habits and sleep patterns when my sister sent me a link to this beautiful video.
The bit that struck me was when she talked about it being okay to have less energy in the winter and that you shouldn’t force yourself to try to feel the same way that you do in summer. Having grown up in a humid subtropical climate in South Africa, I don’t know that I would ever be able to embrace the cold the way she does, but it does look beautiful from the comfort of my duvet in a centrally heated house. I think in these times it’s okay to have a need to comfort eat and want to hide (for a while), so I forgave myself for being withdrawn and sat down to start making beads again.
I was also inspired by the way she spoke about light. This is important to me since I derived the name Fulgorine from “fulgor” which means “dazzling brightness, the light of the sun” because I want my work to be bright and joyful. I try to look on the bright side of life and focus on the positives but sometimes it takes an effort to remember to do it!
I really enjoyed making things again and I also have an idea for a new challenge that I hope others will be inspired to join in with. I’m working on a video of my own to explain it, so hopefully I’ll be able to share that soon.
I hope you all had a happy Christmas and are looking forward to a bright New Year.
P.S. I have started a mailing list! I’m not ready to send out regular messages yet, but if you would like to sign up now for when I do, here’s the link.
Here is another entry for the Art Bead Scene Studio’s “Art Journey #6“. This time the inspiration was modern constructivist sculpture by Katarzyna Kobro.
I was lucky enough to win a package of beads by Erin Prais-Hintz (Tesori Trovati) so I had an easy place to start.
My first pair of earrings feature Erin’s polymer clay components which I paired with hammered wire directly on sterling silver creole hoops. To me the inspiration sculptures are about primary colours and primary shapes so I picked up the circle and the line motif from polymer component. I decided to hang them on the hoops so that the wire additions could be moved to the front or the back to change the composition of the earrings. This also gives them a three dimensional existence like the sculptures.
The next pair of earrings feature Erin’s box charms. I made my own polymer clay components to go inside, but they didn’t feel right when I came to assemble the earrings. Instead used some of the glass beads that she sent and added the white polymer clay circles as a reference to the white curves in the inspiration sculptures.
The last pair of earrings I made were slightly accidental and are not quite fully developed. Originally I made the red polymer clay curves to go inside the box charms, but then I decided I preferred them on their own. However I had only made two for my original idea so I had to make another pair and wait till my oven was full to do another bake so that took an extra week.
The curved components are free to move around the pins to create a variety of compositions. Originally these were just red, but last night (after I had finished making them into earrings), I decided they needed white for more visual contrast. Therefore I dismantled them to add a white outline and baked again. Looking at them now I think I should have made the little cubes different colours too, maybe blue or yellow. However that would mean starting from scratch so it’s not going to happen in time for this challenge!
It’s surprisingly difficult working with minimalist blocks of colour and shape. There’s no texture to hide imperfections or whimsical decorative distractions.
The scrap ends of my rainbow cane had some lovely colours, so I couldn’t look at them sitting on my board for long without wanting to make something new with them. I decided to make some of my round natasha beads. I mixed some the bright colours with white to get some tonal variation in the finished beads.
These beads are ridiculously complicated to make, involving an extruded cane cut into cubes, assembled into bigger cubes, then cut into natasha beads and then made round. Halfway through I realised I liked the cube format too, so after much deliberation I decided to keep most of them half formed.
I’m still not sure which I prefer…
I also used Fiona Abel-Smith’s tutorial to make another extruded cane with the rest of the scraps and a few others lurking on my table. I like the vintage granny square look that these have. I textured the surface of these beads to add to the textile impression.