Thursday, December 30, 2010

Peace Baby!

My photos are super crappy today, I need to reshoot them but I wanted to throw that peace sign up here tonight, I think it rocks =) And I'll be reshooting and listing tomorrow. I like the new Thor's hammer, too!

The Last Dragon's Tooth

From the sacred dragon that guarded the spring of Ares, this is the last known tooth in existence. It is said that Cadmus of Thebes slew the dragon and stole it's teeth. Upon the planting of the teeth arose an army of ferocious warriors who would do his bidding. Behold, the last Dragon's Tooth

PS This is a submission for the Polymer Clay Smooshers Mythology Challenge =)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thor's Hammer

Thor's Hammer, from Norse Mythology, said to be able to strike down mountains, was a symbol commonly worn as an amulet during the Viking era as a testament to his fierceness and their loyalty.
 Thor's Hammer

This is one of my submissions for the Polymer Clay Smoosher's Artfire guild Challenge for January, wish me luck!

Buying Handmade and the Artisan

 People who buy handmade don't just want to buy handmade, they want to feel good about buying handmade. They want to feel like there is that artisan on the other side who appreciates their business and is worthy of it as well. They want to know something about the artisan and feel they are approachable, warm, and friendly. If you are trying to sell your craft but are hiding from your customers, you are really quite confused I think about what it takes to sell your craft!

Those that have been following me know I haven't been doing this long. But I set out with a goal, I was going to find a way to stay home and still be able to help pay the bills. I'm terribly unqualified as an employee so any job I can get is not going to pay much, the hours are going to be terrible and we both knew we would both be miserable! So I needed to make money from home. Polymer clay is something that I had been wanting to try for a long time, it tugged at me, it was a yearning really. I don't know how I knew this was my shot, but somehow I did. I learned what I could from books from the library and skimmed form the internet, all the while buying tools one at a time using my coupons =)

I decided I would take this seriously and right off starting trying to brand myself with my moniker and banner and my work. I knew my work would evolve though and it is, I hope that never stops! And I started establishing myself online. That was by far the most time consuming and there is still more to do, lots more. But it's starting to work. I also decided I would try to be as upfront, honest, and approachable as I could. I wanted folks to be able to see me on the internet and hoped that would give them confidence in me as an artisan.

I think as a crafter/artist/artisan trying to sell your work, part of the package is a one on one relationship with your customers. If you can't, won't, or don't want to do that, you should probably find something else to do.  I pride myself on making sure I return every email promptly, I worry when I don't get a reply back, because I think maybe they didn't get it and are now frustrated thinking I did not reply back, but I also know not all customers are going to reply back unless they need to, so I try to treat every communication with respect. I try to be active on my FB page and keep it engaged, I love my FB page actually, it's a wonderful public place where anyone can approach me and ask anything or say anything. A lot of folks will let me know how much they loved their purchase o there, that rocks! Blogging I really need to do more lol And I will work on that.

I see so many folks who thought they could just throw something together and expect it sell just because it was there. I think it takes a lot to sell anything these days, especially to sell it online. People who are buying handmade, they're not just buying a product, they're buying the package, the product and the artisan need to be a package. I find it amusing that some crafters will go on about how easily they can sell at crafts shows in person then complain that they can't sell online ....hmmmmmm..... So I'm asking all of you, get out there and meet your customers, return the emails and do it promptly, change the announcement in your shop more frequently, post on your FB page, and yes, even blog =) Let the world see the whole package!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Industrial Steampunk Surrealism?

Is there such a thing? I've pondered just exactly what to call my style before, it's clearly a melding of styles, a hint of steampunk, a dash of industrial, and just enough reality for good measure, does that make it surreal or a cyborg? Wouldn't it be cool to come up with a unique name? Either way, it is clearly unique and surprising and I have to admit I am having fun!
Steampunk Crow Pendant
 The background of steampunk is that it evolved out of cyberpunk in 1970's literature then moved onto everything from art to jewelry to film, to a whole subculture that exists today. The basic theme of steampunk is of an alternate time line that split off (and pretty stuck in)  the late Victorian period/early 1900's. This alternate time line is very much based on the steam engine and early flight but invention was rampant! So you have Victorian era clothing with a sense of aviator style and some pretty awesome sci-fi for good measure.
Steampunk Butterfly Pendant

Steampunk inventions are generally entirely mechanical, not organic in any way. You might imagine that most steampunk paraphernalia are fairly vacant of vibrant color. There is a clear difference between what I'm making and the traditional steampunk aesthetic so I've been sitting back waiting to be called out by some serious steampunkers about me calling my stuff steampunk, and I couldn't argue with them.

Steampunk Hummingbird Pendant
Recently I had my first Daily Deviation on DeviantArt and was able to interact with a lot of folks about my pieces. One comment was that it looked more like a "mechanical creature rather than a creature made of mechanics". Yes! That's the advantage of working with polymer clay,  I do get to add a sense of reality to it. It's not all mechanics. Another realization is that's why I get to add color and it works, because that piece of a real critter is there.
Steampunk Gingerbread Dude

I got  a lot of comments about how they had never thought those colors belonged or would work in steampunk but it worked with mine. Hundreds of comments, not a single call out, I thought that rocked! One of the big Steampunk Facebook pages even posted my shop to their wall. It was like a stamp of approval that what I was doing was OK with the steampunkers, what a relief!

So someone may come along at some point and try to put a name to what I'm doing, and that's fine, I'll call it what ever I want though, and I'm gonna roll with it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Setting a mood, is it the colors and textures?

Over time do you start to notice the things you love are similar in certain ways. Similar tones or hues, similar textures. I think from childhood we all start associating certain sounds, smells and even colors and textures to a setting or mood. I'm sure if we were hard pressed (and had awesome memories!) we could probably trace those leaning back to events in our lives. So then we tend toward objects that make us feel good, that somewhere inside us remind of something that felt good.

I spent a ton of time in the woods as a kid, I loved those darned woods, they were an escape maybe, solace. I know a lot of the things that I really love are earthy and organic in appearance and that makes sense tome. That seems strange since the polymer clay pieces I am making are not lol but it's true!

Oh but I also love a good historical romance! And they do know how to set a mood don't they? So you take some antiquey things, maybe something lacey, some warm colors, and voila, historical romance setting complete! I was going thru some of my fellow Polymer Clay Smooshers Artfire Studios recently looking for items to showcase for Christmas Gifts and found some things that struck me as romantic. The colors, the textures, to me, they feel romantic!

I try to add awesome color and texture to my own polyer clay work and I try to seek it out in my life as well, I hope you do the same!



Monday, November 8, 2010

Make Your Christmas Special this year with One of a Kind Gifts!

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos. 

Oh, you do that stuff every year! Make this Christmas memorable and make gift giving special this year, give gifts made by the hands of a talented artisan. Who doesn't love a unique gift and who doesn't love giving one? So shop handmade this year and support a craftsperson =)

To help in that endeavor, the Polymer Clay Smooshers will be hosting a scavenger hunt on Artfire next week! You can keep an eye out for details of the scavenger hunt on the PCS blog  where you'll also find a list of perticiapating shops and see what prizes will be offered!

 A teaser of what you'll get to see during the scavenger are a few wonderful gift items available from some of the Polymer Clay Smooshers....

And something from me
Give the gift of handcrafted this Christmas, and make it memorable!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Resistance is Futile.....

You cannot help but love polymer clay! This post is about a friend of mine who simply couldn't resist and now loves polymer clay, too. Because it's futile, this stuff rocks. And the sheer variety of things that can be made is amazing. So I'd like to showcase my friend Chris, goldfinch4 on Cubits, who thought she had enough hobbies but realized she was wrong ;P It was barely over 6 months ago that I first picked up polymer clay and started inspiring my friend and now here she is, setting out to sell her polymer clay critters! I think she is so creative and talented, hopefully I can direct some traffic to her store on Cubits, Garden Buddies where you can see all her polymer clay creations, that are lovingly named I might add. While there you might also check out her intarsia store, Timber Treasures, one of those other hobbies she has lol

Buy handcrafted gifts this Christmas and support America!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Bees and....the Butterflies?

Well, I made birds last time, right? I'd been sitting on the bee and butterfly for a bit but finally made them. I've got to admit I was iffy on the bee, but once I started working on the design, I knew it was going to be good and it is, I LOVE the bee, I hope you all do, too. I like the butterflies, too, of course :o) Also had a request for a bat that didn't turn out too bad either. I ended up wishing I'd made him a bit more somber, but he's OK.

Purple Steampunk Butterfly Pendant

 Steampunk Bee Pendant

I added dragon's eyes and wings to my listings this week for anyone looking for them. I picked up some magnetic stamps to try on polymer clay this last week. Takes me forever to get around to trying new things though, so it probably won't be anytime soon that I try them, but they look fun! Anyone who has used these please pop in tell me what you thought.

Shop for Breast Cnacer Awareness and Domestic Violence!

Still a few days left to shop during Ajdjss Guild's Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Fund Raiser Event 

A portion of all sales during the month of October from participating shops (found in the link!) will be donated to support Breast Cancer Research and Domestic Violence Intervention. Or if you just want to donate, go to the link, there's a button for that!

Terra Firma Good

But that's just me! I like my dirt and I like it underfoot. But inspiration for polymer clay creations can come from everywhere and anything and what an inspiration one can find in the water, around the water, on the water. It's beautiful, I know it is, it's awe inspiringly beautiful. I even know folks who probably would have a hard time breathing if they were too far from a good body of water.

Luckily it takes all kinds to make this wonderful world interesting and I'd to show off a couple of pieces from my fellow Polymer Clay Smooshers that come from, were inspired by, or that just plain remind me of the ocean.

Who doesn't love seahorses, this gorgeous necklace comes from the lovely studio of Art Asylum

An almost steampunk scary mask from the wonderful studio of Bewitching Dreams
A gorgeous necklace from the charming studio of  Positively Charming Things

And last but not least, you all know I LOVE purple ;) and I love this shop (Desert Wind Designs), too, but this piece does remind me of the ocean, I don't know, why, can't put my finger on it, but it is such a nice piece I had to include it here. 

Thanks for looking and don't forget to look for inspiration where ever you can!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Challenge yourself!

I have never really been one push myself, to strive for things I thought would be difficult, but you know what? All you can do is try, you really might surprise yourself. I am surprising myself! Some of you may have seen me say this, but I have not been doing this for long. I started playing in the clay in Spring of 2010. My first sculpting piece was in oil based is still not finished (I got distracted lol). I really think my woodworking gave me an edge with working in polymer clay. I designed pieces that were made by building different parts to make the whole, a kind of layering, just like we do with polymer clay.

But I was never a carver! or a sculptor. I always thought that as way too much work, way too difficult. I had a recent for a steampunk crow though and to do it justice I was going to need to step out of my comfort zone! I put it off for a few weeks thinking about how to do. I did finally sit down and make it and it turned out great. It is really an awesome thing to push and challenge yourself and see your skill grow as a result. Or to gain such confidence in your abilities. I highly recommend it ;P
Some more new things utterly awesome steampunk wing
an octopus cabochon with a lizard's eye
 A crow skull cabochon, another request, waiting to hear if they want it or not
steampunk hummingbird
and one more wing, a very industrial steampunk wing

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Masquerade Continues!!!

For the entire month of October you can catch handrcrafted artisan masks on the Polymer Clay Smooshers Blog!

Here are the latest samplings, be sure to to check the blog for all the entries!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Are You An Animal Lover, too?

I find the people I like most and click with best are animal lovers. I am always amazed to find that someone I really enjoy talking to has a household full of pets that are all awesomely taken care of, and yet I shouldn't be surprised, it happens all the time and I love that! I have about 40 lovebirds, a dog, a cat, and currently 4 baby tortoises, those are stats that have changed dramatically over the years and will change again soon, or is already changing- it is breeding season in the aviary!

Boozer, my precious pooch, has excelled in the fine art of, um, private places. It is what it is. He's an awesome dog. But I always know the animal lovers from those that aren't when they enter my home! Oh, and when someone enters and thinks it proper training behavior to bring their knee up into my dog's chest, believe me, I realize why I have never really clicked with this person. I love that darned dog so much, never thought I would love a dog so much, he is the sweetest little guy.

My cat would love to go in the aviary. Silly, silly, cat, not for the birds mind you, but to follow me lol I feel like the pied piper sometimes the way he and the dog have to follow me around. My cat, Peso, was traumatized early on by mockingbirds,  now I hate mockingbirds to the center of my being and they are not welcome! They were nesting somewhere out front and would swoop down and peck him when he would be out there. It was a really long time before he was comfortable in the front yard again. So I don't know if it was that or if it has to do with him being a boy (female cats are always the serious hunters), but he is not into the lovebirds. I've had a baby land right in front of his face before, woke him up and boy did he give me a nasty look! This summer I had a family of towhees in the backyard...he'd be sleeping between the aviary and a large cage of birds off to the side, and the 3 towhees would be pecking the ground right in front of him...he'd eventually get up because they were noisy and interrupting his naptime....I love that cat.

Back to polymer clay! If you've been following me, you may know I don't really make a whole lot of stuff that is realistic. Making things that are not real gives me a whole lot of lee way, let me tell you. So I am in awe of those that have the skill to sculpt realistically, it's an amazing talent! So I will showcase some of these talents from the Polymer Clay Smooshers this week, I hope you enjoy them!

From Blue Jane, Fantasy Art by Jane Priser
I think this is so cool, the eyes really make it, but I love the whole effect.

From Tamed...creations by D. Lovegrove
This is so cute! Reminds me of that commercial where the bunny is laughing at the rattlesnake, I swear this bunny is laughing!

From Creative Critters
These are amazing. Such an amazing and awesome talent.

From Dana's Jewelry and Etc.
OK, I had to throw this in, I just think he's so cute, a polymer clay sock monkey, that's awesome!

Have an awesome day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

of Dragon Tails and Wings!...and other things

I have not viewed myself as one who was going to be doing a lot of actual sculpting and was in awe of what I saw others doing, but I am growing in my skill or maybe just getting more comfortable with it, I don't know, but I see changes in my work and I like it! From simple hearts to bonafide sculpted creations :)

This dragon wing pendant is a total prototype and I am in awe of how good it came out. One thing I have learned is you just to be brave with polymer clay, don't be afraid to make something awesome!

 This Silver wing turned out so cool!
The dragon tails didn't come too bad either ;) See them

I made 4 new fairy door pendants, too, they are very cool as well! Thanks for looking :)

The Masquerade Ball Has Begun!!

The 2nd Annual Masquerade Ball has begun! you can keep up with all the entries and entrants on the Polymer Clay Smooshers blog. In case you're not familiar, Polymer Clay Smooshers is an Artfire guild and they are currently accepting new members, but I think for only one more day, so act quickly to get in on this chance to participate in a great group!