Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Necklaces made with my new toggles ~

Good morning everyone!  I hope you all had a great Cyber Monday.  Whether you were selling, buying or both, or not shopping at all!  I was up until midnight packaging up my sales to ship out. 

Here's a few necklaces that I created with the toggles I made recently.
These two I made to go specifically with these pendants and beads.  I sold the lilac one at my craft show last weekend.
This one I made for the November Art Bead Scene Challenge on Gustav Klimt's representation of the Tree of Life

Although I didn't win, I had So much fun creating, and that's what it's all about. I'm going to have lots of fun wearing it.

Congrats to Pam Traub who won the challenge with her beautiful piece.

Until next time ~~~  Happy Creating!

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Entry for the November ABS Blog Challenge

This month's Art Bead Scene Blog Challenge theme is Gustav Klimt's representation of the Tree of Life.  I thought this was such a great piece to work from and there's so many fun details it was easy to get creating!
To begin, I made some kiln fired stoneware beads using a raised swirl design, then handpainted them with underglazes, using a light tan color for the background and a darker brown for the swirls. 
I also made the toggle clasp from clay to match the beads. The most fun was painting the little tree dwelling creatures with eyes which I mostly have dangling from the necklace.

I used several of my other clay beads as well as various decorative silver and glass beads and connected the piece with wire as well as some cord. 

Detail from Gustav Klimt's piece...

Here's the beads ready for the kiln.

A close up of the focal bead with overglaze.

My Tree of Life Beads ~ Fresh out of the kiln.
Funny little mushroom eye creatures.... 
Putting it all together.... 
I'm back from a fabulous craft show in Effingham.  Best one ever~ :)
Have a great weekend~!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My First Attempt at Toggles - Part Two

Toggle Test Results Revealed ~~
I glazed up a few of my toggles, and here's the results!

I realized I didn't make the wire loops large enough on the backs of the toggle bars,
so I had to improvise and hang them from triangle wires so the glaze wouldn't touch
the bead rods and stick to them while firing.  Next time I'll make the loops larger.
But all in all, I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt,
and even used one on a necklace that I'll show you later!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Support NHPTV Holiday Auction Nov. 17th - Dec. 5th!

The NHPTV Holiday Auction is happening now, and this set of three Clayworks Holly Ornaments is now open for bidding!  Each set of three valued at $52.00  
Get ready for Christmas with 3 handcrafted, handpainted, kiln fired white clay ornaments. Included are red and green holly stocking ornaments and a green holly mitten ornament.

Proceeds from the Auction support funding for NHPTV's programs and educational services.

Thank you for supporting NHPTV!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Getting Ready for my Upcoming Craft Show!

For about five years now I've enjoyed participating in the annual Crafting for the Holidays juried craft fair in Effingham, NH.  It's a Thanksgiving weekend craft show featuring craftspeople from New Hampshire and Maine. 


Susann Foster Brown – Etched wall & textile pieces
Magi Leland – Artwork
Ann Skehan – Quilts
Lee Spiller - Stone Sculpture
Charlotte Waitner – Soy Candles
Peggy Brewster – Photographer
Ruth Mathews – Handmade Rugs
Donald Murdock – toys
Rich Ray Bliss - Paper Sculpture & Jewelry
P’nina Kaplan of P’Ninas Designs
Garden Dreams, Goat Soaps & Herbal Creams
Karyl Bisson of Simple Gifts – woodland terrariums
Shirley Mensch, Art & Illustration
Jodi Johanssen – Wreaths and More
Susan Gaboriault – Pins
Candace Maher – Cards, Calendars & More
Ann Morgan - Lampshades
Lisa Boucher, Clay Jewelry
Denise Walker – Sculptured Textiles
Frank & Linda Wise – Woodturned Pens & Scarves
Jan Graham of Tactile Comforts - Felted items and more;

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My First Attempt at Toggles - Part One

Sometimes it's just hard to find the right toggle. Don't you think?

I'm working on a special project, and thought it would look nice to have a toggle to match the necklace design I'm working on. I've always admired the beautiful toggle clasps by Mary Harding and other clay artists, but haven't actually tried my hand at them until now.

So I just went for it, and took out my clay and started browsing my tools and molds and got started.  I chose some of my favorite templates that I've used for years for my earrings and pins etc.  I made them by drawing their shapes on stencil paper, then using an X-acto knife to cut out the shapes.  I've found that file folders work as well as stencil paper.  I rolled out the clay, then cut the shapes with a clay cutting tool.

Then I picked out a few molds that I've used for my jewelry with themes that I use on a regular basis like swirls, starfish and leaves. I pressed the cut clay shapes into the molds.
After pressing the shapes into the molds, it makes the edges of the piece unruly, so I put the template over the piece again, and re-cut it to make the edges even. 
Once I had my toggle pieces, I inserted some high fire wire loops into the edges of the toggles, and the reverse of the toggle bars.
After the toggles were dry, I sponged them smooth with an elephant ear sponge, and smoothed the toggle openings with a large bristle brush.  These photos were taken during the pre-smooth stage.
I chose the same patterns to make the toggle bars. It's quite a process, but I found it very enjoyable. I think the most difficult part is figuring out where to put the design on the toggle so you can see it afterwards, since you cut out a pretty good chunk in the middle.It made me appreciate the amount of work that goes into making a finished toggle, and I'm only half way there.

So first thing this morning I headed out to the kiln and I'm firing them up! I'll be back for part two once I glaze them.  See you then!