Hello again, thanks for coming back to visit.
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.
“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.
This picture shows you just how happy I was to be asked to teach for three days at Maureen Carlson’s Center for Creative Arts. I was in Jordan MN at Maureen’s Center over a week and a half ago and I wish I were still there or at least lived close enough that I could visit, spend the night and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow seekers of artist expression or just plain good company.
Last night I was at Highlands Art League in Sebring, FL giving a polymer clay demo and Chuck and Vada Thomas were there. Like me, they saw Maureen on the Carol Duvall show in the late 1990′s and heard her mention that she had a center in Jordan where you could take a class and spend the night in the dorm rooms upstairs. They called Maureen and were shortly on their way to Minnesota. Maureen remembers them and says that Chuck’s sweet potato carving and wooden gnome carving still grace her shelves. It’s a small world, even here in this little county in Florida Maureen has touched many people.
These are a few of the polymer clayers that were at Maureen’s. Kit is pictured below, but sorry to say we never did get a picture of Ann Poulson and Kit Wojcik on the day they were there, Maureen took this of Kit on another day. Sorry Ann.
Linda Garbe, Maureen Carlson, Beth Wegener, Karen Nelson, Renee Carlson, Anne Brown
We did face canes and pen and ink and cane mapping, and as usual, there were some wonderful pieces that were created. We all enjoyed each other and everyone finished pieces that they really liked. In fact Kit went back to Maureen’s another day and she, Maureen, Renee kept working and creating more projects. they said they had a ball with the Stroppel Cane.
Anne ‘s face cane was it was really good. She made this bracelet with a slice. Wish you could see it on her, taking pictures of a face on the curvature of a bracelet doesn’t do it justice.
Karen created this fabulous, funky, colorful cane mapped cat. I’d say she likes purple. She kept saying, “I’ll never be able to do this, I don’t like intricate work”. But oh how wrong she was, I think she had a good time too.
Renee hasn’t finished this butterfly, but I hope to have pictures when she does. Just so fabulous I can’t wait to see the finished piece.
Linda had fun with her faces and made a beautiful bracelet and cane mapped design. Wonder what she’s going to do with them?
Beth was in a avian mood and made several stunning birds. Wish I’d gotten a better photo of her work. Try and zoom in on this bird, it’s beautiful. Beth if you read this, send pictures, pretty please.
A shot of the classroom. It’s the best place to be, seriously just like home, full of touches of Maureen’s art and others all around the room.
Anne Brown created this beauty that holds special meaning to her. It really made me happy to see the smile on her face when she finished it.
Maureen combined her cane mapped piece with a pen and ink face and accents to create this enchanting pendant. I love this piece.
Now really, who would have ever believed that Maureen would be sitting in classes taught by me? Not this girl! She was pretty well behaved and as expected, a model student, accept when she and Renee were cutting up and laughing too hard.
Renee made these when Kit came back another day to play.
And Kit made these excellent bracelets on that day. Two are from Stroppel Canes and the last features her pen and ink face.
More after class fun and co-ordinated “homework” by Renee. Love them both.
Just to show you how much fun we had and what a crazy bunch of woman were in attendance, Linda made these outrageously fabulous earrings that she and Karen are modeling. (she didn’t make them in my class, she just brought them to share.) They’re titled, Ears to You Mr. Spock. How Funny! You should take a look at some of Linda’s videos, her work and stories are wonderful and you’ll learn something, I promise you.
There are picture on Maureen’s website, showing the outside of the center and the dorms. Here’s the charming room I stayed in. Complete with WiFi and all.
When you first walk through the front door you’re charmed and know you are at Maureen’s. Wee Folk, Maureen and her husband Dan’s creations, are everywhere, smiling at you from all directions. Look to your right and you see the stairs leading up to the dorm rooms upstairs.
Look to your left and be lead through Maureen’s workspace into the classroom.
Peaking into Maureen’s office you are greeted by this jolly life size Santa and Maureen freely admits that it’s a museum of sorts, housing many pieces of her’s and other artists. Love the positive words dancing across the walls.
Here’s Renee’s sweet dog, Poochie, keeping great company among some of Maureen’s favorites surrounding her work space.
Maureen sells finished items but also all the supplies you might need for any of her class. See…. once you get there, you never have to leave. Unless of course you’re tempted by charming antique shops and delightful cafes, then you might want to stretch your legs with a walk up the street. Or maybe sit by the sweet babbling creek out the back door.
So there you have it, a very full, fun filled 5 days at Maureen’s, a dream come true. Now to start planning my trip back, maybe as a student taking a class with Maureen or one of her guest artists.
Here’s Maureen, Anne and me on the last morning, I hated to leave. Anne was driving right by the airport on her way home and graciously offered me a ride. Thanks so much Anne.
Come over ….or up …….or down to Maureen Carlson’s Center for Creative Arts in Jordan, MN. Join me at Maureen’s for three full days of fun filled classes, take one class or all three, spend the night or just come for the day.
Check out the dormitory rooms at the Center. How could we not have fun? Just like at school except everything you do here is fun, even the homework. Watch this video and see how peaceful it is at Maureen’s.
Isn’t this the coolest thing you can think of to actually own? Your very own shop where you have a fabulous studio to create in, you can teach classes and week long workshops, have guest instructors visit and on top of that students get to sleep upstairs. Slumber party!! Retreat time for sure.
Well this is exactly what Maureen Carlson has and I’m lucky enough to be a guest instructor on September 21 – 23 2012. I’ll tell you more about the three classes I’m going to teach in a minute.
I have been a fan of Maureen and her work for years. One of the first polymer clay books I bought was her book Family and Friends in Polymer Clay. Then I watched her on the Carol Duval show and loved her more.
When I finally was able to concentrate on polymer clay alone, I started two blogs, this one and The Figurative Artbeat. Maureen was kind enough to allow me to do an post on her and her fabulous work. It was the first time I actually contacted Maureen and then we met at Fandango that year were she was demonstrating her new face bead molds, she is just as fun and warm and inspiring in person. We’ve been friends ever since.
I’ve have wanted to visit her Center for Creative Arts for years, so this year is it. If you’re a fan of Maureen’s and want to experience the fun of her center, come on and explore it with me, we’ll have the best time, I know we will. Plus I’ll be sharing some of my favorite techniques, tips and ideas with you.
Now… I’ll be teaching three of my favorite things. Profile Face Canes, Cane Mapping/Contouring, and Pen and Ink. Each class is filled with as much information as I can fit into one day. August 21st is the reserve – by date for all three classes so be sure to follow the links below and let Maureen know you want a reservation.
Sept. 21 – The Profile Face Cane – reserve your spot here
Making this profile cane is surprisingly easy and we’ll spend some time making hair canes too. We can make bracelets, pins, or slides. I promise you we’ll giggle. Plus you’ll get a pdf file and a video link for later reference.
You can make pins from your face canes, put them on vessels or glass vases.
Or a cocktail shaker, how funny is that. Here’s three side of the same shaker.
Sept. 22 – Cane Mapping/Contouring – reserve your place here
This class is super fun and so far everyone that has taken this class with me has produced some wonderful pieces and had many “ah ha” moments. It’s a class about opening your mind to the possibilities that await you with all those canes you love to make.
These fairy dresses were made using my cane mapping technique, so was the design on the necklace below. Tracery tied for second place with the judges and won first place members choice in the IPCA’s Progress and Possibilities 2011. I’ll even show you how to display some of your work when you’re not wearing it. The fairy dresses above are actually pendants.
Tracery - Alice Stroppel
As you can see it’s a technique that can be used in many ways, big and small. Be sure to bring lots of your old canes, plus we can make some new ones.
Sept 23 – Pen and Ink on Polymer Clay – reserve you table here - With this class you’ll receive a pdf of face patterns and a link to a video for future reference.
Now this class is a blast. Again…you can use this technique on polymer clay bracelets, pendants, buttons, plaques, canvas, or whatever you can think of.
You can use just black and white or you can go full color. You don’t have to do a face, you can do simple graphics and produce fabulous pieces.
I created this cat and mouse pendant for a friends, fun I think.
This one is a favorite too. I’ll demonstrate how to construct these windows for your drawings and how to cover a bracelet.
There are endless ways to use this pen and ink technique, your imagination will run wild. And you won’t be able to leave until we’ve all made a Stroppel Cane.
So do not delay, Maureen and I would love to see you there. Reserve-by date of August 21st.
For the last few weeks I’ve been working on these fish slides for an exchange I will be taking part in. They really have been so much fun and each one is different than the next so I can’t say I was the least bit bored by the number. I still have more to go and hope to finish up in the next few days.
Even though you can’t see it, there is metal leaf on each one of these fish. I’ve recently begun to use the metal leaf with my cane mapping and have some other ideas that don’t involve fish, so stay tuned. By the way you can learn how to map out the use of your old canes by signing up for my newsletter if you haven’t already. Just fill in your name and email address in the spaces on the upper right hand side of this page. I send out a newsletter about once a month and a class up date from time to time.
Okay so I’m not telling the exact true about being bored with these fish. I can say that bored is probably not the right word anyway, I think I get tired of doing the same type of item for a long period of time and have to break it up with other projects or activities along the way. But I’m always excited to come back and make more because they make me smile. Okay so they don’t make me laugh out loud like my girls do, but they do make me smile a lot.
I usually sit down and make five in a row, get them baked and the holes drilled, then I do something else for awhile. Today I am playing around with how to package them. Most of the time in an exchange just including your card is enough, but I wanted to do mine a bit different this time.
I’ve used cards like this before to display my pins and I think I just might use them this time as well. These are smaller than the ones I’ve used before and I like them better for these smaller pieces.
I have soft wire that I’ve run through the slide and out the back of the card, twisting it together to hold the fish in place. I use a very small hole punch to make the holes so everything looks nice and neat.
The next thing I’m going to play with today is the design of the card. I think it might need some updating, I just signed my name on the top but I don’t think I like that. You never know until you try…words I live by.
The next class in my studio will this month, July 30, 2011. We’ll be using up your old canes and creating some very cool fish.
I’m using fish as the subject, but you could cane map almost anything. I’ll be showing you a couple of other cane mapped items in the next few days. The photo above shows one crazy fantasy fish that I applied to this cute little tea pot. Fun! Here’s a close up. It’s only about 3″ square.
The Class is $55.00 and that will include lunch and Foam core for mounting your finished fish and cording or pin back to finish your small fish. Plus…I’ll add a bit of metal foil to add the pop need to create a fantasy fish.
Click here for all the information. Hope to see you here,