I’ve been working on the polymer clay cane mapped top of my little table off and on for days. Right now I’m not able to work days in a row, but can only get to my studio 3 or 4 days a week. So getting this piece finish it taking awhile.
I thought I might not share with you what happened, you know, admitting to a huge mistake and all, but then I decided that you might benefit from my lesson learned. Besides, (laughing) I was able to save it so I don’t look to stupid.
I’d already baked the top once with only the girls on the glass. See last post. I finished the background and cane slices and places it on the table top to see how it looked. I added some more cane circles and then baked it again.
I added my dot, dot, dot cane around two edges of the baked piece and then a row of black and white check. The reason I only did two ends was because my glass wasn’t big enough to do the other two sides.
I baked it again and I was very happy with the way it was coming along. Then…..DISASTER….I can’t show you pictures, because I had to work quickly to try and save the piece and all my work.
Here’s what happened. I removed the baked top from the glass and put it on a large ceramic tile that I work on. I thought, great, this is just the right size to finish the edges. I added more dot, dot, dot cane and checkered canes to the remaining two edges. I finished off with a larger dot, dot, dot cane.
Fabulous, now to bake it and see how it fits the top. I had planned to figure out the very edges once I could really see how much room I had left.
I considered using an extruded piece that I could bake and then glue in place. I received a new CZeXtruder from Kimberly Idalski and want to try it out on the edge. I’ll be posting more about using the new extruder in another post.
Well………..I put it in the oven, baked it the normal time, the buzzer went off, I opened the oven and the piece was a total mess! YIKES!
Buckling in the center and a couple of other places and so drastically the blonde girl had cracked right in two across the middle of her face and neck. Circled in white in the picture below, this is after the fix and I’m still amazed a how well it turned out.
I won’t repeat what I thought and said in the minutes that followed……. but I was able to save the entire piece and honestly I still can’t believe it. I wish I had pictures of the before.
Here’s what I did to save the piece. At first I just used a towel to press the bulging clay gently back down. It seemed to help but it wasn’t enough and the pressure wasn’t even. The tile was still extremely hot. I used another tile the same size to place on top of the piece to apply even pressure. I first placed a piece of paper on top of the design, I didn’t want the second tile to create a shine.
I remove the tiles from the oven tray and onto a cooler surface, not a cold one, just cooler. When I had completely cooled I removed the top tile and paper and it had pretty much gone back into the original shape. You can imagine how relieved I was. I’ve ruined many things in my day, but this was the biggest, most time invested piece that I “almost” lost.
I glued it down quickly to my table top. The blonde girl was actually in three pieces, but I put her back together like a puzzle and glued all the pieces in place. You can barely see hair line cracks and that my friends is the ONLY way you can tell the was a near disaster.
Now, there are two things that may have cause the buckling. At first I thought it might have been because I moved the rack up one level, I wanted to bake another piece at the same time and that put the whole thing closer to the top of the oven, you know, heat rises. And that may well have contributed, but this morning I really think the main problem is that it was on the large tile. I actually had the tile at an angle in a broiler pan and air could get underneath it. But the tile was very hot and I think the glass must not get as hot or maybe not hold the heat as well.
I bake in a regular home oven, by the way.
Whatever the reason, I will stick to baking my cane mapped pieces on glass and I won’t move away from the center of my oven.
Here’s the finished top, whew is all I can say. I’m still not sure about the very edges and I want to add more slices to the leg etc. More when I can….
Explorations – Alice Stroppel
This is the second large wall art piece made of polymer clay. It’s 9″ x 20″. About half the size of the first picture, Wall Flowers. It’s totally random pops of color that has already been speaking differently to each person. I began working on it with this view as the way it should be hung.
Explorations – Alice Stroppel
But when I posted it on Facebook yesterday, people started telling me they thought it should be hung a different way.
Explorations – Alice Stroppel
Nikolina Otrzan , Orson’s World, said she saw it hanging like below, and I quote, “because those “eyes” look to me like Pink panther in distress. Nik, you’re so funny.
Yvette Macy wants to sing, “We all live in a yellow submarine.”
Explorations – Alice Stroppel
Maybe I should take a vote. voice your opinion, leave a comment. I think it will be interesting to see what ya’ll think and what you see. I’ll tell you what I think in a couple of days.
In the end, my son Jason will decide because this one is going to him.
Top – Linda Boyd, Middle – Monica Sauls, Bottom – Barbara Snapp
Every Monday evening, three friends i’ve known since we were kids, Barbara Snapp, Monica Sauls and Linda Boyd, come over to my studio and we play with polymer clay. I was so excited by these cane mapping pieces they finished last Monday, I just had to share them with you. Remember these are relatively new clayers.
It’s the same technique I use to make my large Wall Flowers and I teach in one of my workshops.
How they ended up spending time in my studio in the first place is pretty funny.
Sebring, where I live, my home town, my mother’s home town, is pretty small. Granted, it’s grown quite a bit over the years, but it’s still a small town by most standards. Even so, most people don’t know that I work with polymer clay or even what polymer clay is or can become.
Shortly after I was on the cover of Polymer Cafe, I was walking through Home Depot (looking for stuff to use with polymer I’m sure) and ran into Monica. She asked me if my ears were burning from being talked about. I smiled and worried what I might have done now!!!. She told me how Barbara was in Books-a-Million, (yes we finally have a large book store) and picked up several craft magazines including Polymer Cafe´. It wasn’t until she got home that she really looked at the cover. She said, “That’s Alice!!!”. Too funny.
I’m showing you this cover so you can imagine how funny it was for Barbara to see my face staring back at her.
So Monica said she and Barbara and some others might be interested in learning more about polymer clay. Music to this “polymer clay is for everyone” crusader. Besides as much as I love the internet and all you guys, it can get lonely working in my studio without another polymer clayer to share with. So the thought of new pc players coming to spend time with me in the studio was exciting.
It’s been several months now, with a pretty steady exploration of polymer clay. Gradually, canes are being stockpiled and things are starting to really come together. I really think they’re having as much fun as I am. Linda said, “I didn’t like Mondays very much and now I know I get to play with clay, so I can’t wait.” Makes my heart sing.
Here’s wishing you all have someone to clay with from time to time.
This is my newest adventure, I pushed myself to create something large and more complicated than in the past. I used my Cane Mapping technique with an added twist.
It’s a large piece, 19″ x 27″, framed it’s 20 1/2″ x 28 1/2″. I bake my polymer clay in a regular kitchen oven, but even so I had to construct it in pieces like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
After baking a pieces, I constructed the next piece on a piece of glass and by fitting it to the last piece. I placed a roughly drawn pattern behind the glass, but as you can see by this picture, I didn’t follow it exactly.
I continued this way until all were pieces were baked and then glued them to a back board. Actually this board came with a frame I bought. Here’s a look at each step as it was completed.
After completing and taking a picture of this step, I realized how disjointed some of the yellow flower petals looked. So before I baked it, I made some corrections.
Not completely satisfied, but knowing this was as good as it was going to get, I baked it and moved to the next section. Once again I used my and for size reference.
And once again the finished piece. I certainly learned a lot and look forward to making many more.
I bought two hand molds at a flea market several months ago with the intention of coming right home and covering them with clay. It certainly wasn’t right away but believe it or not, I’m proud I actually got one of them covered before the year was out. Usually projects like this sit around staring at me forever.
This is one hand, I’m just showing you both sides at the same time. I still have some work to do on it before I begin on the second one. I have a bit of ……*choke, cough, choke* ………sanding to do and buffing it up. You see how much I wanted these, I do not like to sand or buff. but it will be worth it.
These are colorful, funky and a perfect sampler of many of my canes. I’ll be happy to have it to remind me of them all.
These hand are molds for rubber gloves. The flea market vendor had about 20 of them and I wanted to buy them all. I know, I know, I’m having trouble finishing two so what would I do with 20? Anyway, I’m glad I bought the two. You can find plenty of these glove molds online should you be so inclined to cover one.
Even if you didn’t cover them, they would make great display pieces just like they are. Hang your necklaces or bracelets from the fingers.
now…..what should I do with the second one. Black and white? more color? hmmmmmm.
I can only say that I was delighted to have this picture with Kathleen Dustin wearing her stunning Necklace. She is such an incredibly talented artist and the polymer clay community is so lucky to have her as one of our polymer divas continually leading the way to excellence.
The entire Synergy 3 – Seeking Higher Ground was about striving for excellence, improving and growing. Becoming the best that you can be.
The piece I’m wearing I’m sad to admit was made at the last minute. I am challenging myself to continue with the design and improve it if I can.
I have a beautiful peacock shawl given to me as a gift that I wanted to wear wear the night of the banquet. I worked on a couple of designs but wasn’t happy with them.
Even though I say it was a last minute thing, I did try out several ideas before moving on to the one I actually wore.
Here are the first three attempts at a pendant. The one on the far right was actually too literal and I wasn’t happy with that. The other two just weren’t coming together. Everything was just too constricted.
I liked this one better, but wish I’d started on it weeks before I needed to wear it.
I decided to use my cane mapping technique and add a touch of metallic. It certainly matched my shawl better and I liked the flow. The bad part was not having a fabulous chain to hang it from, even though I wore it just the same. That seems to me to be one of my largest setbacks, making a piece and not thinking about the rest of the story.
It’s why I usually just do pendants and “slides”. I don’t have to think about the rest. I plan to give that part more thought in the future.
So this is my challenge…….plan, plan, plan and Make it Sing
Wish me luck and go spend some time on Kathleen’s webiste if you haven’t been there for awhile.
“We’re all mad here.”
― Lewis Carroll (The Cheshire Cat), Alice in Wonderland
I feel like I followed the White Rabbit into a hole and don’t know when I’ll get out again. I began the long put off task of cleaning out my spare room. I won’t go into details, it’s just too scary. I didn’t need halloween, I had my own frightening adventure in my house.
But I’ve taken a day to play with clay and get something out of my head and into a design. It’s my contour cat bracelet. I think he is related to the other Alice’s Cheshire Cat, don’t you?
Here’s the other side.
And here it is on my wrist. I can tell you from experience that I always get compliments and comments when I wear my boldest contour bracelets, mainly because they’re so crazy.
I have lots more work to do on “the room” but I can’t stay away from clay for long. I agree with the Cheshire Cat, I am a bit crazy when it comes to clay. See you next time.
I had these wonderful people in my studio for two day last weekend. We had the best time, but we always do when this group comes to play. Thanks you guys for everything.
We took both days to experiment and give permission to ourselves to explore canes and designs in different ways. To let go of preconceived notions of how thing are SUPPOSE to look and let imaginations run wild.
On day two I we explored my Cane Mapping technique and how to cover something, make giant hollow beads or make a beautiful piece to frame. Everyone created very individual pieces. How fun are these?
Each person had their own colors and style making the day and the finished pieces so interesting.
Some of these were clip art and some were drawn by Tyra, who is very talented, and some were done without a drawing. And if you look close, I’m sure you’ll see a Stroppel Cane or two. *g*
I was thrilled that my cane mapped fish slides were featured on Polymer Clay Daily last week. Thank you Cynthia! And I was so happy that all my swap buddies liked the little guys. But they couldn’t have liked the fish as much as I love each and every slide that I got to bring home with me. Thanks to all the swappers…..is that a word?
I would have posted this thank you sooner but I was without phone service and internet off and on. But oh what a wonderful time of just clay and friendship spent in a beautiful place.
I also spent two days after our retreat in Denver with Meisha Barbee. Meisha doesn’t have a website or blog but you can see her work on Polymer Clay Daily. We had the best time exploring galleries and museums and getting to know downtown Denver. It’s a beautiful city with lots of great places to eat and shop.
We visited Pismo Contemporary Art Glass Gallery where Meisha’s work is featured. It is an incredible gallery full of the most fabulous glass and jewelry, put it on your list if you’re going to Denver. We walked over to Show of Hands and what a wonderful shop it is, just my kind of funky, fun place with lots of interesting things to tempt you. Both places are so friendly and welcoming.
We also went to Boulder for a wonderful visit with Polymer clay artist Ann Kruglak and her husband Ivan in their gorgeous mountain home, thank you guys. Talk about view envy, what Ann gets to look at everyday out her windows is truly amazing.
Meisha and I made time to visit Marie Gibbons who is one of the featured artists on my other blog The Figurative Artbeat. I was so glad to get to see her studio and spend some time with her. I was delighted to be able to take pictures of her new work and add another piece of her fabulous swimmers from her Float series to my collection. I’ll be featuring Marie, her new work and the story of her swimmers in the next week or so on The Figurative Artbeat so check in often.
I’m back and full of inspiration and ideas that I can’t wait to get to. But first things first, I had to go to the grocery store first thing yesterday because…….. there was not one thing in the refrigerator, seriously! Then I decided to take just a small little nap and slept for hours so that today I am rested, excited and ready to get to work. The clay is calling me, I can hear it.
I have the best husband, he had such a wonderful surprise for me when I got home! I’ll share pictures tomorrow, think black and white checks. Thanks for checking in with me and to all those who signed up for my newsletter in the last couple of weeks, I’ll be sending one out in the next week or so.
I had the best time, but there is no place like home . (Clicking my ruby reds)
Arlene Harrison from Harrison Hollow Designs left a comment asking what a slide was. Well my understanding was something that slides off and on a cord or wire. But later I began to think about the difference between a slide and a pendent with a bail. Or why isn’t the fish with the hole considered a bead? If I drilled the hole more in the center of the fish would it be a bead or does a bead have to have a design on all sides and be round?
What is the difference between my fish and the pendant I made for my class at Beads F.O.B. in Sarasota? I made the “bail” out of polymer clay for the class pendant and drilled a hole through the bail, with the fish I just drilled a hole straight through with no bail.
But when I googled bail here’s what I found;
Bail A finding that connects a pendant to a necklace. They come in different forms: some clip onto the pendant, some have mounts to glue the pendant to, and some attach to a ring on the pendant. The purpose is to hold the pendant flat when worn.
So maybe the pendant above is really a slide just like the fish? I don’t know …….I’ll just have to ask Marty and Karen at Beads F.O.B.. But the good news is I can tell you how to make whatever they’re called.
Once I’ve finished my mosaic fish I mount it on a piece of clay (double thickness of the widest pasta machine setting) and cut out with a exacto knife.
Then I poke a hole straight through the body of the piece and then insert small rivets that you can purchase in the scrapbook department.
I bake it and then remove the rivets and re-drill the hole with my Dremel tool then replace the rivets with a tiny bit of super glue. Make sure you don’t fill the hole with super glue. The rivets just finish the hole and neaten everything up.
Here are all my almost finished fishies, some are going to my Etsy shop. But I have to finish them by signing the back with my name and the date, so it will be later today.