Monday, May 23, 2016

Doreen Kassel Workshop: Day Two...

For the second day of the Doreen Kassel workshop hosted by the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild, we focused on pods.  Doreen shared some of her favorite forms and how to make them. 

Here's a snapshot of some of the pods laid out for pictures after folks had a chance to make their own polymer pods.  All of the pieces turned out so different and unique.

These are the pods that I made.  Two of them have the compressed cotton cores, one has a wadded up paper towel and the other has a core of balled aluminum foil.  I carved one of my own tools and created a way to create the scale pattern.  I also experimented with tearing polymer clay to create a more organic edge.  And I made a little bud face.  I love pod and seed forms and will definitely make more.  Though I think if I do, I'll use them in more jewelry applications.  Theses guys are perfect for adding a little bit of a whimsical flair to a floral arrangement.

One of the things that I enjoyed at other workshops and retreats with other artists is trading.  I suggested the swap and some of the participants played along.  I put one of my monkey pendants in.  Anne Creed got it!  I got a pair of earrings from Selma Andrews.  While I don't wear earrings, I do have some branches set up in my studio where I hang ornaments from artist friends.  This allows me to enjoy them year-round.  I'll add these lovely pieces to the branches.

I had a really good time.  It was nice to be outside of myself and just play.  It's easy to get trapped in routine when one is locked away in their studio.  It was nice to look at art through another's eyes and experience their process.  Doreen has such a calm, low-key energy and really encouraged us to take the techniques she works with and make them our own.

Many thanks to the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild for bringing Doreen to the area and for being a friendly, creative bunch of folks!  Hopefully I'll be able to attend some of their other events!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Doreen Kassel Workshop: Day One...

The Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild hosted a fabulous workshop with sculptor and illustrator, Doreen Kassel.  I was lucky enough to grab a spot.  On Day One we focused on learning her techniques for making her Uncommon Creatures.

Here's a snapshot of Doreen demoing her sculpting techniques with polymer clay.

It was a great turn out!  What a warm and friendly group!  People came from all over the country to take the workshop!  Some of the folks who attended were long time polymer clay artists and some were completely new!  It was an interesting mix of characters!

Speaking of characters, this is the piece that I made!  Here it is before it was painted.

And here it is all painted up!  It was interesting to see how she does surface treatments.  It's a wonderful technique that has a lovely glow and gives the pieces a muted vibe.  It's definitely something that I'd like to explore further!

These were some of the creatures that the other students made!  So cool!  So diverse!  It's interesting to see just how everyone took the same concepts and came up with completely different looking pieces!

Whenever I take a workshop, I like to get a little something from the instructor.  It's a nice way for me to commemorate the experience and add to my little collection of prizes! Here's a little bunny fellow that I picked up from Doreen!  I'm smitten with it!

I'm looking forward to Day Two of workshop!  Doreen will be showing how to make her pods.  I've had a long-time fascination with pods and seeds, so this will be an excellent way to add to my repertoire.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Tribes Competition Challenge...

One of the projects that we've been working on is the Tribes Competition Challenge.  It's really just an amped up version of the Design Kit Challenges we already do... except instead of one kit launch... there are SEVEN!  It's probably the biggest undertaking we've done in regards to our challenges.

I'm really excited to see what people make and which tribes they join.  While I was putting together the kits, I was inventing little stories to go with each of the tribes.  I thought about sharing those stories in the launch, but decided not to since I thought it'd effect the designs too much.  It has planted a lovely little seed in my brain and hopefully it'l turn into something more soon!

In any event, if you'd like to find out more about the project and to learn how you can participate, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Spring Days...

I awake to the sound of birds singing and the smell of fresh, clean air blowing through the window.  The curtains dance lazily in the breeze.  I spend quiet hours tending flowers, learning about the little plot of land surrounding our new home, and observing the bunnies and squirrels. I'm befriending the creatures that coexist with us.  I've been taking time to examine my heart and the contents of my dreams.  It's a rare and somewhat unfamiliar pleasure.  While I have not been wholly exempt from contributing to our household and working on the odd project, there's a beauty in the simplicity of these spring days.  I've luxuriated in allowing myself to prepare meals that nurture the soul and not just the body.  I've given myself permission to sleep in, if the mood strikes me.  And most of all... I've let myself enjoy silence.  My voice will sometimes crack from being so unused.

For the past few years, this really hasn't been an option.  I spent most days working relentlessly and laying a foundation for a future I am now exploring.  To the outsider, it might seem as though I'm wasting away in my self-imposed hermitage, but I feel myself blossoming.  I can feel parts of me coming to life again, just like the flowers laying dormant over winter, now unfurling from sleep and reaching up leafy limbs.

I can feel the energy building and growing.  Soon, I'll return to a little more frenzied pace... but for the time being, I'm fully relishing this bright, verdant period.