PAPCG Guest Artist Visit

Before I forget, I want to write a few thoughts about my recent trip to Philadelphia. I was invited to be the Guest Artist for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s March meeting.  I was so flattered when they asked me, as expected I had a wonderful time.  Since I don’t do a whole lot of teaching, my two demos were a bit rough, but hopefully the guild members learned some things of interest.  I did one demo on Scribble Beads, and one on the pitfalls of combining metal and polymer clay.  It was a lot of fun to revisit the Scribble Bead technique because I haven’t played with it in years.

The PAPCG is a really great group and they made me feel right at home.  It was wonderful to catch up with friends and put some faces to names.  The show and tell was phenomenal!  You can see some of it on the Guild’s Flickr page.  There’s a ton of talent in that group.  I hope we see a big Philly contingent at the Connecticut Retreat this summer.

So, a huge (and somewhat belated) Thank You to the PAPCG!  Extra thanks especially to Terri Powell for opening her lovely home to me and Sarah Fisher for dinner and a home tour.

I’ve got to share a photo of Terri’s fantastic bathtub Koi pond.

Such an unexpected delight.  It’s very elegant, but it also made me think of Dr. Suess too.

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Scribble Beads, a progression

Judy Dunn has a great post on artistic progression. I had a post contrasting something I really liked very early in my polymer clay work with something from my current work, but it “poofed” with that block of 4 months of posts. The publication of my PolymerCAFE article had me digging through my photo archives to see the progression of my work with “scribble” designs.

The earliest photos I could find of any kind of TLS designs are from Fall 2002:

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Not very well defined designs. My goal at that time was to mimic lampwork beads.

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Throughout 2003 into 2004, I played around with the technique. I learned how to keep the lines from spreading. But, I had persistent problems with base beads cracking. It was so frustrating. I switched brands of clay, conditioning methods and ovens, and I still got cracks in about a third to half of my base beads. I also started playing around with a couple of different variations:

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By 2004, I came up with the idea of glazing the base beads with tinted pearl liquid sculpey to seal up small cracks, mainly because I was tired of throwing away base beads. I loved the look. Tinted pearl liquid sculpey has become a staple in my studio. It gives the surface a soft shimmer a bit like a pottery glaze and highlights texture beautifully.

Beads from the Scribbles In Sand necklace:

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I entered that necklace in Bead & Button’s 2004 Bead Dreams competition and came in second in the polymer clay category. Altogether I spent 2 – 3 years refining my technique. During that time, I had a few pieces featured in books. I thought about submitting an article to one of the magazines, but I never got around to it. I’m glad I finally did. Although I still use tinted glazes a lot, I don’t do much with scribble designs anymore. It was fun looking back through the photos and seeing my learning curve and variations. The photos don’t convey the frustrations along the way though. I was obsessed with this for a couple of years, but the process was very worthwhile. It was the first polymer clay work I had done that felt moderately distinctive. You can see a few more photos at Flickr.

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