Friday, May 16, 2014

Good Crafternoon!

I first heard the term crafternoon on Julie Balzer's blog years ago, and thought, I need to have one of those myself!  As fun as it is to hole up in the art room and dabble away into the wee hours of the night, I also love the chance to get together with others who appreciate paper and punches and scissors and scraps and glue sticks and...well, you get the much as I do.

Just recently, Becky (aka, Snail Mailer) visited my art-making space for a crafternoon together.  (We met last year at the Allentown Paper Show.)  She came bearing gifts for me and for my girls, and while my husband kept my daughters mostly out of our hair, we had some paper crafting fun.
Good crafternoon, Snail Mailer!
Becky showed me how to make the amazing never-ending card that she recently featured on her blog, Leaving a Paper Trail.  It only requires four pieces of paper and some adhesive, and when you open it, there are two flaps that open again, and under there are two flaps that open again, and under there are two flaps that open again...and it goes on and on for as long as you are interested in opening flaps.  It's pretty mesmerizing, kind of like those Jacob's Ladder toys.  (Check out Becky's blog for the video on how to put it together.)

Becky also had an idea in her head for a kind of interactive maypole card, and worked out the details at my craft table.  It ended up being a pretty cute design!
Becky's maypole card
She makes a lot of cards for clients as part of her job, and showed me a nice way to make this tri-fold card.  I feel like it stands up in a kind of shrine-effect that I really like:
Here's the card when it's closed.
Here's the card when it's standing up, opened.
Here's the card with a few additional embellishments.
She brought a selection of her paper punches, and I punched out lots of shapes in different patterned paper to work with on future projects.  She used some of my collage scraps to work on a page in her new Smash book.  My daughter took our photo so we could share our day together on the blog:
We enjoyed a fun couple of hours working together, chatting, and enjoying lunch before she had to head home.  She was very productive in our time together; me, not so much!  But a happy side effect of welcoming someone into my craft room is the tidying up I do before she arrives.
Like-items together...stacked, labeled, and ready for action!'s almost too neat in here...time to get started on a new project to mess things up a bit!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Filling the Well: Polymer Clay Jewelry Workshop

I've purchased a huge-bin's worth of materials for working with polymer clay, and have read just about all the books on the subject offered by my local library.  Yet, I've never taken the leap and really worked in that medium!  A polymer clay jewelry workshop offered by Tyler Arboretum on Thursday evening helped me "take the leap," and see how easy and fun it can be.  I think it's time to get my bin out of the basement and start playing around with all of those supplies!
Samples of Denise Pettit's polymer clay jewelry
Our workshop instructor was jewelry artisan Denise Pettit (who I found out, by the way, lives in my neighborhood!)  She provided examples of her work for us, and generously shared her supplies, including polymer clay in multiple colors, ink pads, mica powders, clay cutters in a variety of shapes and sizes, and jewelry tools and findings. 
Polymer clay jewelry artist Denise Pettit
After showing us how to condition the clay in a pasta machine and demonstrating the basic process for working with the rubber stamps on the clay, Denise allowed us to play around, experiment with our colors, and create as many pieces of jewelry (necklaces, pins, and earrings) as we desired.
A polymer clay artisan's work space
Denise prepared a comprehensive packet for us to take home with information and tips for preparing our work surface, conditioning the clay, mixing colors, cutting and baking the clay, and cleaning and storing our materials.  I tend to be a crazed note-taker during workshops, because I need to have things in writing, so having this handout freed up my focus and attention. 
The oven Denise used to bake our pieces
It was also helpful to have three full hours to play, so that we never felt rushed, and there was plenty of time to bake the clay and create multiple finished pieces.
Amy, the Director of Public Programs for Tyler Arboretum, was my pasta machine partner.
We had fun squashing together our color combinations to see what came through the machine.
My table-mates were fun and helpful, too.  Many of the participants were beaders, who already make jewelry but were interested in the possibilities for polymer clay in their craft.  A few of us tended more towards paper and general crafting.  Everyone kept a positive attitude, and seemed to be having fun, which I attribute to Denise's good instruction and encouragement. 
Participants get down to business stamping and cutting their clay.
The polymer clay jewelry workshop was a great way to "fill my creative well" this week!
My finished pieces:  The square ones are either pins or pin/necklace combinations. 
The bottom two rectangles will be earrings, and the other shapes are both pendants.
My daughter Katy wore one of the pins and necklaces when we returned to Tyler Arboretum
this morning for National Public Gardens Day!