Bangle Bonanza

The only things I’ve completed lately: bangles and more bangles.
Fine line canes over a silver plated bangle

Cynthia Toops ish mosaic bangles

Another graphic cane and a couple with tiny bezels with pops of color in polymer

Ellen and Sue of Creative Journey Studios and Filigree and More showed me these lovely new silver plated channel bangles. They turned out to be the perfect thing to ease me back into a creative mood. I made a few in May and they were the perfect project for the retreat in New Hampshire last weekend. I find myself wearing several of them almost every day.


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.


A Tour of My Previous Studios

Setting up my studio in our new home got me thinking about the other creative spaces I’ve had.  For your basic rectangle in the basement, it is surprisingly different from all my other spaces.

My new studio, will be my fourth dedicated creative space.  The first one came about when I commandeered a craft table in our finished basement that the kids just weren’t using.  (They preferred to be crafty at the coffee table in front of the tv or upstairs in the kitchen with me.)  I bought a cheap set of base cabinets from Home Depot, added another folding table, and filled the wall shelves with plastic containers.  I had a pretty great corner.


The walls were painted a soft blue, and the light was not ideal.  I only had a tiny casement window. But it was so wonderful to have my own space! And at the time I was only working in polymer clay and doing a bit of bead stringing.


Studio #2:  The house we moved to in New Jersey had a perfect 9″ X 13″  room in the finished basement that the previous owners had used as an exercise area.  We replaced the carpet with VCT and painted the walls bright white and the trim a bright blue.  You can see in the picture that I had two casement windows this time. The ceilings were also quite high and the bright white walls made the space see bright and airy.


My craft book collection was in its early stages and fit into a large Ikea Expedit bookcase with room to spare.


That bookcase, while lovely was not as sturdy as the Ikea Billy bookcases I use now, and its large size meant we had to sell it with the house when we moved back to Connecticut.

Studio #3, my last studio, we built from scratch.  We had the basement finished as soon as we moved in and it was a fantastic large space.  It did not have any natural light, but it did have a sink!  It really was a lot more space than I needed but I my beading had expanded and I had started working in metal as well.


I had my main work area in a corner just as you entered the main part of the studio.



My bench sat in the opposite corner.


I had a spot for soldering, and a handy closet as well.  The rainbow doors were a fun project.




The stairs down to the basement turned and made a perfect corner for a photo tent.



And my craft book and magazine collection grew.


I have really been fortunate to have some great creative spaces.

So, my new studio has a full size window (no view as it is a window well, but some lovely light) and a sink, but it is much smaller than the last studio and it does not have any closets.  The switch is proving a bit challenging, but I think ultimately the space will be just right. I’ll share pictures in a day or two.



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!


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