Sunday, November 25, 2012

More Christmas Ornaments

I know it looks like I've been slacking for Art Every Day Month, but I really haven't. I've been working on a custom switch plate order, my entry for the Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy monthly challenge, and more Christmas Ornaments.

I'm experimenting with some prototypes and each one gets better than the last. Hopefully next year, I'll have some done in time to get them in my shop before Christmas. This year friends and family will enjoy the benefits of my "play"  time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Snow Babies Take 4

More snow angel experimentation! I've moved from babies to bears--using my custom cinnamon blend of course! My husband is so disappointed that rarely does my pulling out spices mean that I am baking something.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Trial, error, and progress

Snow Baby: Take 3

Day 17 Art Every Day Month:Trail and Error...and Progress

Good news on the Oompa Loompa snow baby front. I followed some advice I got when I first joined the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy:

"If you don't love it before you bake something, you won't love it after."

Well, I loved this weird little thing too much to smoosh it, but not enough to bake it.

Snow Baby: Take 2

 So I kept experimenting. I started shaping and carving until I got the more slender version at the top of the post. I'm starting to like where this is going. In fact, this iteration is leading to innovation. Wait until you see "Try 4"!

Friday, November 16, 2012

To Be Young

In my day job as a marketing communications director, my creative energy is focused on figuring out how to let other people's talents shine. This week I had the honor of creating a web page to highlight Saint Francis University's first Literary & Visual Arts Magazine.

It is a collection of the best of more than 80 writing entries and 160 visual arts entries submitted for the 38th Annual Gunard Berry Carlson Writing Contest at SFU.

So for Day 16 of Art Every Day Month, I submit to you the artistic work of the talented undergraduate students of Saint Francis University:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Trial and Error

Day 14 AEDM:Trail and Error...and Error

Let's just say this is is a work in progress. Actually this is more of a prototype than a "work." It still needs to be baked and painted, but I don't think it will magically become a keeper after that.

I know that something isn't quite there with a piece when my usually supportive husband, Rob,  snickers when I ask him what he thinks of something. Remember my exploits with Alice.

He referred to this one as an "Oompa Loompa." Not what I was going for, but maybe that's a thing: "Oompa Loompa snow angel babies."

Who knows, perhaps the 3rd time will be the charm. This little guy is try number 2, and I do think I've made some progress. I submit into evidence "Creepy Circus Freak"  as Rob likes to call my first try.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Learning from Craft Show Failure

Young Creative Craft Show Show Display
Yesterday I did my second craft show (at least as Young Creative). Let's just say the sales didn't roll in. Not that I expected them to, and that my friends is part of the problem. I can't blame the economy, or the venue, the only thing I have to blame is myself.

You see, even before I agreed to do the show in my hometown with my mom, I had already decided that craft shows aren't my best venue. Most of my work is one-of-a kind. I get easily bored creating the same thing over and over again. I don't have any low priced, easily produced items in my stock. And I didn't bother to create anything more appropriate for a craft show setting.

My style isn't all that aligned with my hometown either. Country and lodge looks are popular there. Yet even if my style overall wasn't a match, it was insightful to see which designs did resonate with people. I think there are a few things in my collection that could explored more.

It is all okay though. I kept my mom company and made sure she wasn't tied to the table all day. And I had lots of people stopping to check out my switch plate covers. Hopefully that means some made-to-order online sales.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

AEDM Day 7

Fleur de lis ornaments
I knew that I would struggle with low energy periods during Art Every Day Month, so I decided to focus on experimenting with textures and color palettes without always having a finished product as the goal.

Part of that process has been creating blank "tiles" out of scrap clay that I can use as my experimentation canvases. Not very exciting stuff to showcase for the rest of you, but necessary for me as a growth tool. So basically I have lots of uninteresting blank tiles done, although I did finish one project this week.

I had these metal jewelry rounds that I thought would make cute Christmas ornaments. I cut a circle of clay to fit inside and baked it in the frame over an oval glass piece (below) to give it the domed shape. Once it cooled, I popped out the clay center and glued it back in place. I still want to play a little bit at adding some depth to the color.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Iteration Versus Innovation

Music Light Switch Plate Iteration  "A"

Iteration Versus Innovation

Both iteration (building on a design theme) and innovation (exploration of the unexplored) are solid paths for creativity, and I bounce back and forth between the two in my work. These switch plate covers are an example of my iterative process.

The top one (Iteration "A") is one of my best sellers. It features a stamped image on a polymer clay sheet with a black polymer clay frame. The "antiqued" color scheme is achieved through alcohol inks.

In Iteration "B" (below), I experimented with more of a picture frame style. Like the first, it is still created from hand-cut strips of clay, not painted, but I added more dimension in the sculpt. I also added some gold clay to the black to create a bronze frame. 

Another subtle change is in the "canvas" look that I tried to achieve by adding texture to the center stamped sheet. This version also has more sheen to it because I started with a pearl clay sheet for the alcohol ink base rather than pure white.

There are aspects of both that I like, so I image there will be an Iteration "C" at some point.

The Problem with Iterations

Iteration is a great way to hone your technique and really improve your work, but I find that Iteration becomes my go-to process when I'm stressed. In iteration the chance of failure is reduced. If I'm not careful, I could remain in iteration's comfort zone forever, and I'll miss the next "big" thing.

How do you balance iteration versus innovation in your work?

Music Light Switch Plate Iteration "B"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween Party Theme: Cowboys and Aliens

Cowboys and Aliens Halloween Party

Executing a Cowboys and Aliens Party

Our friend Lori knows how to execute on a party theme! Every year she hosts a mega party with a different theme. This was our first time attending, and I was impressed with her creativity. She makes most of the props herself which this year included a huge flying saucer and a western saloon.

Having a theme can certainly help direct stuck creativity. This Halloween party is a great example of that.

Bringing to Life a Western Saloon

Western Saloon Piano by Lori
Above is the coolest cardboard piano that I've ever seen. Lori starts on the props MONTHS before the party and it shows.

Cowboys and Aliens: Creating Costume Props

My husband Rob, also started on his costume props well in advance. That wrist blaster on Rob's arm is a pretty spot-on replica of the one from the movie "Cowboys and Aliens." It even lights up. He created it out of the Slurpee cups that 7-Eleven sold to promote the movie.

I have to admit that I did mine the week before so they are a little less pulled together. I decided at the last minute that I needed to add some "alien" aspect to my costume so I built upon my witch finger concept to create an alien finger choker and a creepy eyeball.

Our take on Cowboys and Aliens

Happy Day 4 of Art Every Day Month! Hope you got a little inspiration here today.
Explore more Halloween Ideas at Creative Sprinkle:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Creative Equation

Reaching into the creative well: full or empty?

Most of us struggle with the same basic artistic challenge: limited time and limited energy.

The creative equation:

Define your 24/7 week.
Subtract your must-dos.
Isolate creative peaks.

Limited Time & Limited Creativity
I have a great, but demanding job as the director of marketing at a private university. It consumes mental energy and requires a commitment of the majority of the hours in my week.

Add to that an amazing husband with whom I want to spend another big chunk of my time.

Then groceries, cleaning etc., etc., etc...

That doesn't leave many pockets of time for creativity. And even when a pocket of time opens up, it doesn't mean I have the creative energy for art. Unfortunately for my art, mornings are my peak high energy time and 5 out of 7 mornings  go to my day job.
This seems to be an impossible equation. So far I've been to trying to better focus the limited time high energy time I have, but more often than not I am finding myself stuck.

I read a simple post on Seth Godin's blog, The best way to get unstuck, that may help me unstick the creatively stuck ideas in my head.

How do you unstick creative blocks?

About the photo:
This jar is part of a project that came together in one of my "creative flow" times. You can read about it here:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Alien Parts and Pieces

It's November 2: Day 2 of AEDM, but I'm still back on Halloween. We are going to a "Cowboys and Aliens" themed party this weekend and these parts and pieces hopefully will come together for my costume.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Peacock Light Switch Cover

Peacock Light Switch Plate Cover
Peacock Light Switch Plate Cover

Today kicks off two great things for me:

1. The start of Art Every Day Month
2. The first day of voting in the Polymer Artists Guild of Etsy's November Challenge

So I offer up to you my creative endeavor to celebrate both, a peacock-themed gold light switch plate cover.

The theme for the PCAGOE challenge this month is Asian-inspired. It is a theme that I could have taken in so many directions, but I love antique Japanese screen paintings so I decided to use that as my springboard.

One of my favorite memories from my art history grad school days at the University of Maryland was a "field trip" my classmates and I took to our professor's home. We drank sake in front of his gorgeous screen collection. I can't claim that this piece is in that same league artistically, but that's my inspiration none the less.

The textured gold clay serves as the canvas highlighted with peacock-colored mica powders. The frame is created from hand-cut strips of a bronze-colored polymer that I shaped on the plate. No molds, no paints.

Vote and win:
Public voting is open through November 7. Vote and you could win a mini-shopping spree in one of our stores. Vote here:


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