Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Create Therefore I Am

A great way to get the creative juices going, is to join in on a challenge. I love doing challenges. They seem to help me focus and I really like the ideas that I come up with. The PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy) has a monthly challenge. This month the challenge was to create a self-portrait. This is what I created, a self-portrait ACEO titled, I Create Therefore I Am.

I knew I didn't want to do create an exact replica of myself, so I decided to think about who I am, rather than what I look like. I am many things, A Mom, wife, sister, daughter, Aunt, friend, confidant, businesswoman, blogger, etc... but the overwhelming thing that I am is an artist. Some days I feel like creating is like breathing and that if i can't create something, I will suffocate. I spent many years trying to deny my need to create and am very happy that I no longer need to contain that part of myself. This freeing is what inspired me to create this ACEO. The head represents me and the wheels of creativity are turning. The background is the ideas being transferred to my hands and becoming reality once I create them. I used the bright colors and the texture because they inspire me. All of the images, except for the head were stamps that I had carved before this project, so it was fun to use some of them again for a completely different purpose.

Remember, joining challenges can be a great way to get inspired. Just remember that it is a challenge and just a beginning point, so you will still need to decide what to create and how to turn your inspiration into reality.

To vote in the PCAGOE challenge and be entered to win a basic polymer clay kit from polymerclayproductions.com just visit the PCAGOE website and vote today!

Another great creative challenge can be found in the Etsy etc. forums every Monday. It was created by Jewelstreet.etsy.com and anyone can join in.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sign My Guest Book

Look above this post to see a fun little tool I found today on PolymerClayDaily. It's my own photo/video guestbook ! Please sign it and get a little free promo. Feel free to add photos and video (please keep it clean as this is a PG Blog) and promo your etsy shop/website and or blog!

Thanks in advance for signing my guestbook! You can make your own free guestbook, by clicking on "make your own" under my guestbook. Have Fun!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Looking to the Past for Inspiration with Littlebirddesigns.etsy.com

Vintage items are very popular today and a great way to find inspiration is to look at these items from the past. You can learn a lot about construction, color and pattern by taking a look at vintage items. Shael from littlebirddesigns.etsy.com did just that when she created this sweet little apron.

"This vintage inspired little girls' apron was made from a pattern I drafted from an apron my mother wore when she was a young girl to keep her everyday clothes clean from play. I made a few adjustments here and there and added small details like ribbon and eyelet trim to the bodice and hem. I am in love with fabrics with various prints, especially those from Japan. I chose a natural linen and a sweet teapot patterned cotton fabric for this apron which adds to its charm I think. I look to others with crafty blogs for inspiration, as well as, magazines, fabrics, prints, vintage patterns and most of all my 17 month old daughter, Ophelia"

You can find more of Shael's lovely work in her Etsy shop littlebirddesigns.etsy. Please also check out her blog!

Remember the past is rich with inspiration, so take a look at what past artisans have done to help inspire you. Maybe you can improve on a design or just be inspired by the color combinations used in vintage items, either way, looking back in time can be a great way to be inspired to create something amazing!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Inspired to Create.....Cupcakes

So I don't just create items with polymer clay. I find that I like to incorporate creativity into almost everything that I do, so when the call comes from school that they need 36 cupcakes for the end of the year picnic, I can't just send in plain old cupcakes. It just wouldn't be right. They need to be special. My kids have learned to expect something over the top and I knew I had to deliver. I am not a great baker, but over the years I have created quite a few interesting baked goods, a VW Bug cake, a race track cake, a volcano, mud and bug cupcakes, a caterpillar and 2 dozen snowman cupcakes (2 years in a row). Here's what I came up with. They were a big hit, and I only had to stay up until 3AM to finish them.

Don't just save your creativity for your art, exercise you creative muscles whenever you can!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Inspiration From Color

I was trolling the Etsy forums last week and I found a thread by LoveGemma.etsy (AKA Gemmafactrix.etsy, AKA Jewelry Artist Brooke Medlin). She had found a very cool site, COLOURlovers™ , "it is a resource that monitors and influences color trends. COLOURlovers gives the people who use color - whether for ad campaigns, product design, or even in architectural specification - a place to check out a world of color, compare color palettes, submit news and comments, and read color related articles and interviews. "

Being a color addict myself, I checked it out. The palettes Brooke had posted were very timely for me as they were from butterflies and moths. I had carved a moth stamp about two weeks prior and already made 2 pendants, but I was struggling with what colors to use. Needless to say I was excited to find this site and try out some of the color possibilities. The two pendants I made were done in black and brown clay, so I knew I needed to use those as a one of the colors in the palette. After some debate, I chose 2 very different palettes, "Elena is warming up"by Glenset which included colors such as Fuzzy Wings (taupe), Moth Beauty (deep brown), Red Rsing (Red), Autmn Flight (Orange) and Warm Air (Orange/Gold) and "Butterfly Winter" by Ben Nelson which included Winter Water (A kind of sage green with a touch of aqua), Ice Wings (pale aqua blue) Flutter Snow (bluish white), Winter Warmth (orange) and Nutrient Soil (black).

The two color palettes were very different and not combinations that I would normally use, so it was fun to to try to make them work within the pendants I had already created. I really like how they turned out and I am very grateful to Brooke for sharing that site at just the right time.

If you find yourself feeling less than inspired, sometimes looking at color combinations can really get your creativity flowing. The COLOURlovers™ site is a great place to explore color and it's many possibilities. Take some time to check it out and get inspired!

Monday, June 11, 2007

PCAGOE Letter Project

Recently the PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Artists of Esty) completed a collaborative project for the Etsy headquarters and lab. We created a wall hanging with Etsy's slogan. We decided to create it in the same style as our PCAGOE banner with different members each creating a letter and then one member , Dawn of HardflowerStudios.etsy.com, created the background and assembled the final piece. This was no small undertaking and it took us a couple of months to complete. We recently sent the gift to the Etsy Labs along with some polymer clay and a pasta machine. We felt that in order for the labs to be complete, they had to have some polymer clay for artists to come in and use. Plus, we are all about promoting polymer clay as an art medium, so this was a way for us to hopefully do our part to introduce it to some artists who have never used it before (few as they may be)!

The wall hanging was happily received by the Labs and they even wrote about it on the Etsy blog. If you ever visit the Etsy Labs, please keep an eye out for the wall hanging and please take a closer look. The detailing really can't be captured with a camera! I created the O in .com and the last A in handmade (see below).

I think the best part of the project was how different each letter was, but how great they all looked together! That may just be another life lesson to make you say hmmmm.

PCAGOE members who contributed to this project:
Ilysaart, StudioBijou, MarciaPalmer, ScottGarrette, MaureenThomasDesigns, HardflowerStudios, MamaStaub, BlueLadyStudios, BenCanDance, IttyBittiesForYou, MadeinLowell, Faffcreations, TheColorofDreams, DeerCrossDesigns, BreezyDawnDesigns, NatureStudio, LadyRayCello, ColorFunky, NothinLikeIt, Peggers, BlockPartyPress, Treasurefield, Nanjodogz, Polyclarific, BlueDogBeads, MithrilDreams, and Cutesis. The letter board was compiled by HardflowerStudios.

I wanted to add a special thanks to Judy from Artsyclay.etsy.com come for surprising me this weekend with a very cool feature on her blog!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Artistic Inspiration from Past Work with Mandalajewels.etsy.com

I have always been curious as to where artists get their inspiration. I know that I am personally inspired by colors, texture, contrast and of course nature. So to find out how other artists are inspired, I have asked several to detail the inspiration for specific pieces of their artwork. I will be featuring these artists and their inspirations several times a week. You will see everything from paintings and drawings, jewelry, mixed media, assemblage, knitting and polymer clay. So check back often to explore artistic inspiration with me.

My first featured artist is June from mandalajewels.etsy.com. She told me that she was inspired to create a necklace by looking at a patchwork quilt she had made a long time ago.

What is the inspiration behind the quilt?

"I had just finished reading a quilting technique book entitled “Liberating Quilting”. I loved the idea of making a quilt without a set pattern. If you notice, the pieces of the quilt are cut in random shapes/sizes and I selected the colors as moved through the design. The process was so much fun and absolutely liberating! "

Can you detail how you translated your inspiration into your work of art?

"The colors in the quilt served as the inspiration for the necklace. Just as the various pieces of scrap fabric served a my “paint”, likewise, the beads of various shapes, sizes, colors and textures offered me the freedom to design a necklace with no set pattern in mind. Often when you look a necklace you a repeat design or pattern in the way the beads are strung together. In this piece, I am totally liberated from following a set pattern and I believe the uniqueness of the design demonstrates that concept."

Where do you tend to find inspiration for your jewelry/art pieces?
"Anything can serve as inspiration for me, a stroll through the woods, a trip to a museum, or perhaps a jazz concert. I am strongly influenced by intense color and contrast. A white enamel pitcher filled with deep red roses, a sofa piled high with Indian print pillows or a watercolor painting can ignite an onslaught of ideas for my jewelry designs. The use of bright contrasting colors as well as odd components such as shells, bone, vintage glass and African trade beads combine to create my signature style which could be labeled “funky, with an ethnic twist”."

Take a hint from June, and when you are feeling less than inspired, look at some of your older pieces for inspiration. Maybe you can rework the older piece, or use the same color scheme. Maybe you can try something similar in a different medium, like June did. The possibilities are endless. Sometimes it is great to look back in order to move forward.

If you would like to see more of June's work, please visit her etsy shop Mandalajewels.etsy.com or visit her blog at http://www.ramblingsofanoutsideartist.blogspot.com/.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

You Deserve the Whole Tree

It's that time of year when everyone is trying to find something to give their kid's teacher to thank them for their hard work. I was trying to think of what I would give my son's teacher this year. Last year I made an altered book for his Kindergarten Teacher. It took a very long time and I just didn't have that kind of time this year. I thought I would give her a pendant, but I don't really know her taste and I know most teacher's kind of loath the whole apple thing, so I thought I would give her something with some meaning to it. I took a little quote from the book I made last year and decided to turn it into a pendant. The quote is "A good teacher deserves an apple, you deserve the whole tree." I decided to make an apple tree pendant (I know, I know still with the apples, but it went with the quote!). I drew a simple little tree and painted it in bright colors. When I distressed it, the colors looked almost like they were done is crayon. I love that it is simple, has meaning, and is childlike in it's appearance. I will be attaching it to a altered tag which has the quote written on it, so that she can get the meaning. I hope she likes it.

Don't forget to get a little something for your child's teacher. They work so hard all year, and they really deserve a little thanks! If you don't have the time to make a gift, you can purchase one of these pendants for your teacher too. I will be offering this design in my etsy shop. I can also include a tag with the quote and offer free gift wrapping. If you would like to see the rest of the altered book, visit my flickr page.


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