Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Project Create Recklessly - Episode 4

I would love to blame the holidays for the delay in this blog...but the reality is, I struggled with this challenge. I've been dragging my feet getting this purse done, and after much time contemplating why, I have some insight into my creative process. Look for the technical "how to" blog in the next few days where I will spend some time talking about different ways people create and how, in my opinion, when we try to deny our process, we inhibit our creativity.

Care to join me? Post your Project Create Recklessly photos on my Facebook page for all of us to see! Be sure to share this blog with you friends...afterall, only all of you can judge whether I'm in, or out!

May your Thanksgiving be a joyous day full of family and friends. I am thankful for many things this year, among them all of you who share in my excitement of creating...just to create. Enjoy and thanks for visiting!

Create a purse that fits the style and fits the size needs of a selected client. Use their existing purse to create an accessory.

Create a small purse that only needs to hold my phone, wallet, and a few cosmetics...aka, something to replace my "mommy" bag when I go out on the town. An extra accessory?! I'm lucky I got the purse done! 

My favorite thing about this leather purse? The fold-formed copper closure created by my husband Chris in a class with Megan Corwin at the Ranch Center for Arts and Craft. The stamped design on the leather was inspired by a Keith LoBue diatoms print (more on that in the technical blog). Until then, check out the 50% off sale on his website!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Episode 3 Technical Notes

I have been reeaaallllly lucky to have had the opportunity to take polymer clay classes with two of the best...because they live right here in my hometown! Cynthia Toops and Ronna Sarvas Weltman are not only amazing artists, but teachers as well.

So, hopefully, my simple polymer project won't disappoint them...because it truly is, simple. But I love the form, and I suspect it will keep sneaking back into my work now and again.

The polymer clay pieces hanging in the necklace were inspired by 
Lunaria annua, or the money plant. The fenceline along my daughter's school is filled with them. One was taken home to "dissect" several months ago and I was inspired by how you could see the seeds though the translucent leaves when they dried. My first thought was to make them with rice paper and Ice Resin and somehow that morphed into using translucent polymer clay after a trip to the supermarket's bulk section aisle. While there, I noticed the number of colored lentils that are available and thought they would look great behind a translucent clay. But alas, the clay was not translucent enough in the thickness that was used, so the design changed from there.

These pieces were made with translucent clay and then dyed with alcohol ink. If I did them again, I would use colored clay and would likely substitute more polymer clay for the lentil. So here's the 411 on making these little guys...

1. Coil 4 feet of 24g wire around a 2mm diameter dowel until you have 2.5" to 3" of coil with at least 4" of wire left.
2. Cut a matching piece of 14g wire.

3. Turn the wire into a circular shaped jump ring (mine were irregular) leaving a 1/8" gap and slide the coil onto the jump ring.

4. Grab the end of the jump ring and nudge it through the coil so that the jump ring opening is away from the coil opening. Just keep grabbing the jump ring in the coil opening, nudging it forward.

5. Wrap the remaining coil wire around the jump ring, and when you have almost closed the coil gap, create a wire wrapped loop (I did a double loop). After wrapping the loop closed, wrap the wire around the jump ring again 2 times. This will secure and center the wire wrapped loop to the jump ring.

6. Roll a ball of conditioned polymer clay (clay run through a pasta machine a few times or rolled out over and over again with a roller) to the size of a standard marble. Place it inside the coil wrapped jump ring and press evenly until the edges of the clay just extend over the coil. Check and see that the clay extends over the coil on the back as well.

7. Press a lentil into the clay (or a flattened piece of clay in another color). 

8. Place the clay on any textured surface so the back gets an impression while you are texturing the front. Use a dapping punch or other type of tool (I used a chasing tool handmade by
Bill Dawson, from whom I just took an amazing toolmaking class) to "mottle" the surface of the clay.

9. Using a smooth paint brush, brush some clear sculpey liquid over the lentil to seal it into the clay.

10. Bake as directed.

11. When cool, use alcohol inks to dye the clay and brush on Pearl Ex powder to add shimmer.

12. Seal with
Preserve Your Memories II.

To create the necklace, make a vine out of a 1/4" Faux Bone cuff strip and drill holes into each end so that you can insert the leather. Drill two tiny holes through the Faux Bone and leather and place in a screw to secure the leather in the hole.

Set the entire piece on a necklace form and use pins to place the feathers (which have wire wrapped loops on them) and the polymer clay pieces. This allows you to cut the chain to the proper lengths. Once the location for these pieces were finalized, mark and drill tiny holes in the bottom of the Faux Bone branch and epoxy in tiny eye pins so that you can hang the chain through them.

I had mentioned the "look" needed an extra piece...and blog readers voted for a ring. So here it is! A Faux Bone ring base with a brass dapped cup. The feathers are glued into the cup and a polymer clay component (as described above) served as a cabochon. Thanks ladies...I hadn't thought of a ring! 

Finally, we have a winner of our Tandy Leather gift certificate. Visit my Facebook page to see her creation in leather!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Project Create Recklessly - Episode 3

First of all, let's make one thing clear. I will not be modeling this challenge as presented! Although this project is intended to accessorize a on-piece, spandex bodysuit, I tried to design something fun to wear with skinny jeans and boots...which is as close to my equivalent of a body suit as I get! But, I love to wear boots during the winter here in the Northwest, so having an alternative to long sweaters and jackets would be a nice change. 

Look for the technical "how to" blog in the next few days where I will give you step-by-step instructions for making the polymer clay and wire pieces inspired by Lunaria annua (also known as annual honesty or the money plant).

Care to join me? Post your Project Create Recklessly photos on my Facebook page for all of us to see! Be sure to share this blog with you friends...afterall, only all of you can judge whether I'm in, or out!

Enjoy and thanks for visiting!

Accessorize a body suit.

Accessorize a bodysuit in a way that would also look great with jeans and boots.


Polymer clay, brass wire, GF chain, Faux Bone, leather and feathers. Polymer clay dyed with alcohol ink and Pearl Ex powder with a lentil set in.
Leather and fabric - can be worn to the side as it is longer on one side, as if you tied on a sarong.
There needs to be one more piece...a bracelet or earring set. What's your vote?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Episode 2 Technical Notes

So I have to admit...I did a little prep before this week's episode. I had seen the preview which showed that the challenge involved shoes and crystals so the first thing I did was head on up to the Tandy Leather Factory store in Shoreline, WA.

After explaining what I was doing (which always makes me feel a bit silly), Store Manager Andy Stasiak made me his apprentice for the next hour. 

The first thing Andy showed me was how easy it is to form leather. Simply spray it with water and its ready to go. He did a simple fold-form, very similar to metal fold-forming, and then showed me how much flexibility leather can have if its soaked for a bit...a face...formed in leather (below). Amazing.

He then reviewed the use of all the tools of the trade, from snaps and rivets and tools to set them, to lacing and texture punches, glues, threads and shears. The cost of the materials I bought for this project were:

Leather $29.99 - I have lots left
Snaps - $3.99
Rivets - $3.99
Snap/rivet setting tool set - $19.99
Eyelets - $3.99
Eyelet setting tool - $8.99
Texture tool - $7.99
Lacing punch - $9.99
Waxed Linen - $4.99
Eco Weld Glue - $7.99
Shears - $44.99 ( the most expensive thing I bought...these were a really good pair of shears, although it is likely my metal shears would have worked)

Combined with a set of 9 hollow punches I bought at Harbor Freight for $7.99, that makes it about $150 set up cost to work with leather - but that will give you lots of supplies to play with. And, since most of the cost is tools, consider sharing those expenses with a friend.

So how do you "play" with leather?

As I mentioned, simply spray with water, and the vegetable tanned leather becomes extremely malleable. I put it to the test using my regular metal forming tools. My favorite result was putting the leather in a dapping block. The leather was positioned face down over the block and two concave impressions were dapped 1.25" from each other. I then punched between them in a row above and below. I would spray as I went and every 4-6 daps, I would redap the last few daps and then would use my embossing heat gun to dry the leather, keeping the impression from collapsing. It took less than 30 minutes to form the bracelet! I painted the leather (after slightly rewetting it) with acrylic paint to match the shoes after I used hole punch pliers to make holes to stitch the crystals into. I screwed it to a piece of heat formed Faux Bone so it would remain a solid cuff.

During the process, I also tested Adirondach alcohol inks (which work great as long as you do not use the metallic additive) and Gilder's Paste (which was hard to apply evenly without getting it so thick it would flake). The acrylic paint far outperformed both. I did read after the fact that it is best to rewet the leather with diluted paint to get more of the paint to soak into the leather before putting on an undiluted top coat of paint.

I loved working with leather so much that I made a bracelet the next day to go with the necklace I made in the first challenge. And here I am, wearing both at the 7th anniversary party for (14 years for the store...congrats everyone there!) ...just to prove, its not trick photography. What I am making is wearable. 

But now to my favorite part...the shoes. Or rather, shoe. I learned so much during the 12 hour process of making a shoe. I can't wait to make its mate...or another pair that I would wear! Because there was so much learning, I wrote up a tutorial which you can find in the links section of my website. Knock yourself out...make a shoe, just be sure to send me a photo!

Have you worked with leather? Send me a photo of anything you've made in leather or suede (even leather cords/lacing counts) and I'll enter your name in a drawing for a $10 Tandy Leather gift certificate, winner to be announced in the next Technical blog.

Thanks for stopping by...and create recklessly this week!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Project Create Recklessly - Episode 2

Welcome Back to Project Create Recklessly

Can any challenge get more fun than this...I can't believe I made shoes...or rather shoe. I'll make its mate another day. Look for the technical "how to" blog in the next few days where I will share my new understanding of working with leather...which I have a feeling is going to be on my bench often.

Care to join me? Post your Project Create Recklessly photos on my Facebook page for all of us to see! Be sure to share this blog with you friends...afterall, only all of you can judge whether I'm in, or out!

Enjoy and thanks for visiting!

Create a pair of shoes and an accessory item that pair well with a little black dress using a piece of jewelry from the Swarovski store as your inspiration.

Create a pair of shoes and an accessory item that pair well with a little black dress using a piece of jewelry from the Swarovski online store as your inspiration.



SHOES & BRACELET: Leather, Faux Bone, Swarovski Crystals