Monday, April 28, 2008

You Were Inspired by What? - Experimenting with an Unconventional Art Medium

If you have been following a long with my blog, you will see that I keep my eyes open for inspiring things no matter where I am or what I am doing. This may be one of the most interesting yet. I was in the kitchen and I sprinkled cornstarch on my work surface to keep the clay from sticking. As I shook it onto my work surface, I found it made the coolest "crater" patterns. I called Kyle (my 5 year old) because he loves the moon (and my strange art ideas) and showed him the texture. He thought it was cool. Of course I took a picture to have the texture for future reference. I wanted to see what else we could do with the powder, so I got a black sheet of cardstock to use as a background. Here is what we came up with and all it took was some imagination and some cornstarch:

Space (just sprinkled on the paper):

Moon Craters (Sprinkled from a distance on top of a thick surface of cornstarch):

Droplets (Shake the paper back and forth until the cornstarch forms little circles):

Snow capped Mountain (Shaking the paper a bit more vigorously in one direction):

Here several ones that looked like shots of clouds taken from space (same technique as the mountain):

Then we decided to get fancy with a skewer:

And a comb ( I think we had the most fun with this one):

And finally here are a few we made by scraping the powder across with an index card. Check out the spooky face that appeared in the first one.

We could have probably gone on for hours creating with this stuff. Lots of fun. I would recommend wearing a mask as it can get a bit dusty and never use talc powder as it is not good to inhale. I think my favorite thing was creating something cool and beautiful randomly and spontaneously with little thought. Each time you shook the paper you would get something new. I think artists (me included) think too much about what they want to create, so sometimes it is fun to create something without thought or a plan. Take some time this week to create some spontaneous, random art. Mix polymer clay colors together and create cool marbled or striped effects. Roll it up into a spontaneous "mudd" canes, slice pieces and cover something with them just to see the patterns and colors that randomly appear. Mix paints in a haphazard fashion and splatter paint them onto a canvas. Grab a handful of mixed beads and create something from the random mix. Let go and just create for the joy of creating. You may find that you get lots of new ideas from the results.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Through My Eyes - The Color Green

With Spring in full swing, green is everywhere, so it's a perfect time to be inspired by this wonderful color. Whether it's olive, mint, lime or any other shade, green is always a great color to incorporate into your work. Here are some green pictures I took recently. Hopefully they will inspire you to use a little green this week.

Here are some words associated with the color green:

Here's some green art and handmade items I found on Etsy:

Artist credits:
1. Green Tea Cookies by
2. Organic Lily Silhouette Notecard by
3. Falling Leaves Earrings by
4. Chain Reaction Recycled Army Bag by
5. Exfoliating Lime Soap bar (with a dash of coconut) (VEGAN Friendly) by
6. Silk Cushion Green by
7. Hasselblad, womens grass boat neck T by
8. Visor Beanie - olive, celery by
9. Shades of Green Magnet Set by

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

900 Sales!!

I am sooo excited that I am just 1 sale shy of 900 sales! I never thought I would hit this number. It took almost a year to hit 500 (back in September 07'), so it is exciting that it has only taken me 7 months to hit 399 more. To sweeten the pot and hopefully get me my 900th sale, I will offer a free set of magnets (of your choice) to whoever purchases my 900th item. You have to be #900 to win and I am currently at 899 so run don't walk and go shopping. I am only posting this offer here on my blog and there is no need to enter any code. I will contact #900 with the details!

Thanks so much to everyone who brought me my first 899 sales!! And thanks in advance to #900 for helping me reach a milestone!

Update: I hit 900!! Thanks to Holli for taking advantage of my giveaway!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Artist feature with Carol Dean of

I thought it was about time to do an artist feature. I haven't done one in a while, and I am sure you are all getting a bit tired of just my perspective on inspiration. I chose Carol Dean from because I am totally in awe of her artistry as well as her patience. I cannot imagine sitting down with those teeny tiny beads and making anything. I am a clutz, so after a while I am sure I would spill the beads and after about 10 min my lack of artistic patience would kick in, along with my lack of love for numbers, geometry and precision. I am sure I would give up before I finished anything. Thankfully there is someone out there who has the passion, patience, artistry and skill to create some amazing beaded jewelry.

Here's what Carol had to say about the inspiration for this beautiful bracelet:

What inspired this piece? This particular piece was inspired by a front page on etsy that was created by heather91. I've actually included a photo of that page in my etsy listing. It wasn't the first time I've seen this color combination or the first time I thought I should do something with that color combination, but it was the time that finally pushed me into doing more than just thinking.

Can you detail how you translated your inspiration into your work of art? The inspiration came from the color combination of orange/purple (tangerine/grape), so that was rather easily translated into bead selection. I wanted each color featured equally in the design, which is why I chose the simple positive/negative image pattern using the two colors. Since I only used one shade of each color, the piece is really simple. There's nothing subtle about it. I'd like to do something more complex with an expanded palette, something softer, less geometric. (Like I need a reason to buy more beads!)

Where do you tend to find inspiration for your art pieces? My inspiration comes from striking color combinations, fabric patterns, symbols (especially spirals), simple geometry. When I'm not up to designing an actual pattern, I'll take my beads out and create "mixes" that appeal to me. Then the random "order" in which I pick up beads becomes the pattern-maker.

Any advice for someone feeling uninspired? Relax. Open your eyes to the world around you. Doodle. Work in a different medium.

You can see more of Carol Dean's fantastic work on her blog at . Her flickr is at and of course her Etsy shops at

Her work was also featured in the Jan/Feb AND Mar/Apr 2008 issues of Step by Step Beads!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Inspired by Art Waste - Leave Nothing Behind

I wouldn't say that polymer clay is the most "green" craft form, so when it comes to my leftover waste from creating my pendants and such, I try to use it up rather then throw it away. I have detailed some ideas on the blog before about reusing my leftovers. Check these posts:
Through My Eyes Anything Can be Art
You Were Inspired by What - Leftovers
I was doing some Spring cleaning the other day, peeling paint off of my palettes and off of my paint bottles and was brainstorming on what I could do with the pieces of dried paint. I have made ACEO's from my dried paint before, but I wanted to do something else. I had stacked the paint from the palettes on top of each other and I really loved the look of the colors and layers so I decided that I would put a whole through the middle o the stack, insert a dowel and create a cool sculpture. The great thing is that I won't have to throw them in the trash and will end up with a unique piece that has sentimental value since it kind of represents all my hard work. Another cool feature is that when I use recycled plastic butter lids as palettes, so some of the paint actually has the recycling symbol imprinted into it. Perfect for recycled art. I posted about this idea on Flickr and got another idea from a comment made by Lisa Peters from Lisa Peters Art. She suggested "You could take one of those scrap book paper punches and make squares and do a funky mosaic?" Her idea along with a posting about jewelry gave me another idea. I could punch circles (my favorite shape) out of the layered paint and stack them on a head pin to create some fun funky earrings. With that idea in mind, I went to work and found that it is fairly easy to punch through the paint. Here's what I came up with:

The paint is pretty rubbery and extremely lightweight so it's perfect for earrings. I can see a necklace too, but I don't have that much leftover paint available yet. I don' t think that I will sell these, but I will definitely wear them.

I also have a collection of dried paint that I peeled off of my paint bottles . They come in great colors and shapes, and I hate to through them away. They are bit more fragile than the paint from the palettes, so I thought maybe I could embed them in resin and create a pendant or ACEO? Maybe just make resin blocks that can then be turned into a wall piece? Here is a picture of the little leftovers. Let me know if you have a good idea of how I could use them.

I just put in a pitch for an Etsy Storque article about reusing/recycling the waste from your art. If anyone has done something similar and would like to be included, let me know.

Check my "Leave Nothing Behind" Flickr Set to see all my "leftover" creations.

Take some time this week to look at your waste and what you leave behind once you have created your art of choice. Is there anything you can make with the scraps? How could you incorporate them into another art piece? Stretch your imagination and help the environment at the same time! if you come up with a cool idea, let me know. I would love to feature it here on the blog!


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