I have been silent lately...my artistic rhythm is all out of whack as I learn new skills and have to put glass on hold. The learning curve has been steeper than I expected...but when I go back to how long it took me to learn glass, it's not surprising. Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is doing a year-long blog project called An Artist's Year Off to challenge herself and grow creatively. I think I've been forced to grow by circumstances. It's more challenging than I expected. I want to have objects to the level of quality I was just starting to reach with my glass. I've still been creating...but I'm back to stringing and wire work for now.
In the meantime, I've been getting new books to try out some new mediums. Which leads me to one of my book reviews...Cynthia Thornton's Enchanted Adornments. I have to say, I was thoroughly and pleasantly surprised at the breadth of techniques covered in this book. It has removed some of the intimidation I was having with clay (polymer or silver). I was expecting jewelry ideas, but she totally exceeded my expectations by covering the techniques way back to the fabrication of the components with silver clay, polymer clay, and creating molds for creating repeat pieces (I've been needing this!). I've skimmed the book twice already and can't wait to read it in depth.
Millie at AMMJewelry has already posted some of her results with one of Cynthia's projects. I'm excited to see what other people are trying.
As for me, I did manage to snaggle up a whole bunch of clay at a going out of business sale. I have been playing with blending. I have no clay conditioning machine, so everything is being done by hand. I'm learning quite a bit. I had some beads and buttons I was starting to like. But. I have no oven. I was considering getting a small oven or at least a toaster oven, but I'm waiting to see if I'm going to stay here in Hong Kong. (May be moving back to the States due to constant migraines here.) So. I thought I'd settled on brilliant solution to use my kiln. It might have worked if I had remembered to do the Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion. Them clay things were burnt to a crisp. And it was a toxic burnt mess...open windows, fans blowing (at least I have my squirrel fan from my lampworking to help vent). So. Learn from my mistake! Make sure you pay attention to the temperature!!! I'll try to play with some more blends to show you what I'm coming up with. I don't know if I should even try using my kiln again or just play. If anyone has any feedback on whether I can use my kiln (as long as it's set to the right temp), I'd appreciate the feedback. I really miss being able to use components created completely by me and wanted to use some of the buttons in my jewelry.