New Studio, very much in progress

I have made a lot of progress getting my new studio set up, but it still has a ways to go. Less than two weeks ago it looked like this:

Then it looked like this:

And today it looks like this:

I’m sort of at a stopping point right now. I am pretty sure that the major pieces of furniture are where they are going to stay. I have always had a corner for my main work area, but when I started setting up in my new space I discovered I did not have any available corners. Two of the corners are entry/exit points. One corner has a sink (or it will have one when the plumber comes Monday to reattach the sink and its pump). The final corner has a return vent for the HVAC system. It doesn’t matter though because I like looking across at my window.

Everyone who has seen my studio has suggested that I put some sort of plants out there, but I’m thinking I should do something more like Rachel Gourley’s bamboo like tubes or stones, or maybe some kind of playful totem. That’s a project for the future.
So here are a few photos I’ve marked up with some of the changes and additions I’ve got planned.
My main work area and oven wall:

The back wall/metalworking area:

The bookcase and window wall:


The sink wall: (I really don’t know quite how I’m going to arrange this area. It’s hard to get a handle on it while the sink is not in its working position)

And finally the area in front of my work table:

I don’t think I will put the bead storage there. It was just a thought when I was first marking up these photos. I need to get to Ikea and make a decision about which drawer units to get.

It’s going to be a Home Depot and Ikea weekend.  Also, looking at all these photos, one of the most striking things to me is how empty the walls are.  I think I need to get to work fixing that.


Moving, The Great Creative Diversion


We’ve moved!  That is what has taken up all my creative energy this past year.  The short story is: we jumped on an opportunity to downsize and move into a custom home/condo in our favorite part of town.  We had been talking about making a move for years, but had no specific plans.  One weekend we went to an Open House for a brand new development, just for the heck of it, truly not expecting anything and we fell in love. And before we knew it we were building a new town home.


So, I spent the last year getting our home ready to sell and planning the new place.  That process pretty much sucked all the creative energy I had.  Now I am thrilled to say we have finished construction, moved in and sold our last house.   It was a busy year, but it was so very worth it.  We wake up every morning thrilled to be in our new home.   I am still finishing the last details here, unpacking, hanging pictures and figuring out what goes where.  I am itching to get back to making jewelry and I am dying to try out some non-jewelry ideas.

My studio is the last big unfinished detail.  We opted to finish the painting and flooring for the studio after the move.  All of that is almost finished and I hope to start moving things in to the studio later this week.  Right now it looks like a glorious new space full of possibilities.


Now we just have to sort through all of this mess.


The basement ended up in a crazy jumble of boxes and furniture. Items from the studio, E’s boxes from college, excess furniture, etc etc. all piled up together.  It’s going to be quite a project to get the studio set up, and sort and organize the rest of the stuff in the basement.  I can’t wait to get started.  Most of all I can’t wait to start working in the studio.


Apps for Doodling on the iPad

A couple of years ago, during one of my creative slumps, I got caught up in the Zentangle craze. It was a wonderful way to infuse a small amount of creativity into my daily routine. When I needed some line art for making polymer clay tear away textures, I simply scanned a collection of my favorite tiles. (Btw, if you would like directions on how to do polymer clay tear away texture, Celie Fago has excellent instructions in her book on KeumBoo on Silver)

Unfortunately, the drawn lines on my old Zentangle tiles were simply too thin for the tear away technique. While I was pondering how best to draw some new art, it occurred to me that my iPad would be a great tool for doodling and manipulating my doodles. One of the advantages of drawing on an iPad is that you can enlarge the area you are working on, so that you get the look you want and then shrink it back to regular size.  You can also copy and repeat elements.  Ultimately you can draw a library of images which can then be used at a variety of sizes for different projects.  You can cut and paste and combine elements from several drawings into one.  Here are my favorite apps for iPad doodling:

SpiroDoodle makes fun kaleidoscope like doodles. It’s inexpensive at just $0.99.  It’s really easy. You can change the number of points as well as the width of the line.  You can also use color, but for my purposes, all I’ve needed is black.

 iDraw is a very powerful vector drawing app.  It’s pricey at $8.99, but it is really versatile.  The documentation is limited but helpful.  For doodling purposes, just playing around with it helped.  I had some trouble saving the images as jpegs, but was able to email an image to myself as a jpeg and then download it.  I like the variety of available shapes and the ease with which you can select and group items.  The ability to select and scale objects is what sets this app above the other more basic apps I tried.

 Moodboard is an app I use for making color collages, drawings of necklace design ideas and inspiration sheets. It’s also expensive at $9.99, but I really like it.   Since I already use this app, it was a quick way for me to group images in varying sizes on a single sheet for photocopying.  Then I can use the photocopies for polymer clay tear away textures of transfers or as a resist for electro etching metal.

 TypeDrawing was another fun app discovery.  You can make text follow along a path with iDraw, but with TypeDrawing, you can type in some text and doodle with words! The number of fonts you can use is limited, but it is a lot of fun.  I am working on a project that stems from my frequent difficulties speaking the wrong word or forgetting words, and this app is perfect for the project.

Photoshop Express from Adobe is the last of my favorite apps for doodling.  It’s a wonderful photo editing app, and it’s the quickest way I have found to invert my black and white images.  For tear aways, the images need to be inverted so that the background is black and the lines are white.  It’s a one click operation in PSE and the app is free!



Having Way Too Much Polymer Fun

I’m still having a lovely time playing around with polymer clay ripple blade techniques.

The “what ifs” are really fun.  The photo above shows what happens when you apply the ripple blade to a skinny retro polymer clay cane. Pretty cool. the cane on the right resulted from my getting caught up in the fun of playing with extruded squares and strips.  I was thinking of quilts, but it reminds me more of scrapbooking paper.

This pin shows the result of a stack of fairly thick layers of clay. (click the picture to get a better view of it)  The pattern is soft and less distinct.  Then I used the same colors, marbled them in pairs and made a stack of thin layers.  The resulting pattern is more distinct with interesting rings and an altogether different depth. Sorry the photo really doesn’t show the depth.  I’m really out of practice taking photos.

I really can’t decide which one I like better.

While I am definitely having fun in the studio, I am reminded in many ways why I really really shouldn’t have stayed away from it for so long.  The polymer clay skills don’t come back as easily as they once did.  It takes me three times as long as it used to just to get a quick photo.  And I’m suffering from a bit of CADD (Crafting Attention Deficit Disorder).  I do a little of this and then I do a little of that.  I’m not exactly finishing much.  Then again maybe it’s just old lady brain.  LOL

Less than two weeks until the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild retreat, Clay ConneCTion 2012!


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