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2016 Polymer Clay Challenge

OK, so this coming year, 2016, I am going to challenge myself to make something with polyclay once every week of the year. So by the end of 2016 I will have done at least 52 polyclay activities.

Because I know myself I don’t want to limit myself with what I will make however the rule I will set myself is that whatever I make needs to be baked and ‘finished’ each week. So polyclay canes don’t count alone. If I use a polyclay can to make a bowl that is fine but it needs to be baked and sanded and polished or glazed. I’d like all 52 projects I do to be able to go in to my Etsy shop to be sold in some way.

From where I’m at right now, most of it will be beads or pendants of some sort, however I am always learning new things and wanting to try new things so who knows what I will come out with.

I actually had a dream recently of something I’d like to make with polyclay, however I want to keep that one tight to my chest until I get it done. I would like to challenge myself to get in to that and have it all done and ready to go by the end of 2016 as well.

I will be participating in the 2016 Polyclay adventure which is a bunch of online tutorials which I think will easily keep me accountable. That will be lots of fun! Anyone else interested in joining go here: http://www.onlineartretreats.com/about-us/pca2016landing/ they are also running a jewellery adventure too which I’m doing which will be fun.

Other great places to go for polyclay or polyclay inspiration are:

Kater’s Acres

Over The Rainbow

Polymer Clay Daily

Sculpey University

 

If you have links to any other awesome polyclay type places on the wonderful world wide web feel free to link me to them in the comments! 🙂

I don’t know what it is…

… but there is this definite push to get moving lately. The more we get in to the last half of the year the more my Inner Dialogue (ever notice that makes ID… for identification, and what else is your identification than your Inner Dialogue, HAH!) keeps hounding me to take action. Take action. Take action.

So I spent far more time than I realised it took to photograph, edit, upload, tag and describe all my recent polywork creations.

 Polyclay Play

It doesn’t really look like that much to me when I view this photo. But it did quite literally take me hours! And for what? To sit in my Etsy Shop for 4 months doing nothing? Probably. Why? Because I’m clueless! I put them up there, I tagged them… well now what? Why aren’t they flying off the shelf? Because no one is seeing them. At least that’s why I hope they aren’t flying off the shelf and it’s not because they are all horrible and no one likes them!! Isn’t it wonderful how our Inner Critic loves to gallop away to the most drastic conclusions?

Why isn’t anyone seeing them? Is it really because I haven’t spent any money on advertising? Really? Is that all I have to do? Put some money in to advertising my shop? I don’t know. I guess the only way I will find out is if I actually try. Clearly just putting it out there on my personal and business pages on Facebook is not enough. Especially not on the business page thanks to the ever harder ways it is for your fans to actually see your posts without having to spend money there as well. Is that it? Do I have to spend money on Etsy, Google and Facebook to get these things out of my house?

What about blogging? I tried blogging, as you can see by previous posts, yet very few people actually read it. I have to assume I don’t have anything interesting to say. Or perhaps people don’t understand the twists and turns my mind makes. Or perhaps even still the topics I write on are not of any interest to anyone but me. I do not know. What I do know is I always end up coming to this place of wanting to throw my hands up in the air and give up, throw the towel in, crawl in to a dark little hole and cry my eyes out.

On a more spiritual note I know it’s because I have this great big tug’o’war happening. This push and pull of wanting to be seen and not wanting to be seen. It’s like a World War only my body is the world and the voice in my head are at war. Blood does get spilled but no one ever dies. They just go on and on arguing about the same things round and round like I’m on a merry-go-round. I guess that is why I keep feeling this shove to take action. I don’t know if it’s me, my Nana in her spirit form nudging me, the moon cycles, life cycles, or what, but it’s there and so I am here. Here typing my first blog in months because I keep hearing this whisper telling me to get to it. I keep having this desire to type or write or just dribble on about whatever comes to my head.

I think I have become so sick of listening to the inner debate that I am actually doing something. I am actually, meekly, weakly, timidly, putting myself out there to be seen then holding my breath as I wait. What am I waiting for? Some kind of action… or inaction. Y’know, inaction to prove that Inner Critic right about not being wanted, not being good enough, not being smart enough, loud enough, not wanting it enough, not having the proper skills, and on and on and on. Yet here I am. Typing to whoever bothers to read this (no one) and hoping something happens (nothing will). Don’t you just want to slap that Inner Critic? I do.

So we are sinking down to the new moon at the moment. The new moon is on Saturday. The day before my husbands birthday. It’s funny. I have known my husband since he was 17 and to think he is turning 35 on Sunday blows my mind away. When I think about turning 40 at the end of the year it’s ok. I almost feel like I’m already there anyway. However, my husband, my YOUNGER husband, is getting old *laugh*…. aaaaaand I went on a tangent.

As we sink toward the new moon, it’s a time of shedding the old and unneeded things in our life. It’s a time to wrap up projects and finish those things that are laying around waiting. It’s a time to start thinking about what you can let go of now in order to bring in new and fresh things with the new moon. So tell me, Constant Reader, what are you shedding right now? What is it you need to finish or let go of?

Mandala Talk and more

So much for posting a blog post every day this month! My life has been a bit of a paradox lately by being turned completely upside while still remaining the same. I am in this holding pattern right now which resonates with Mercury Retrograde which means while I am here ready finally and itching to move forward, I find myself stuck and waiting. In the void so to speak. Which is perfect for this months Great Round of Mandala study which is of The Void.

If you’ve been following my blog or just know me personally you will know I love mandalas. Creating them, teaching about them, sharing them. In my journey I came across The Mandala Workbook which you can find here: http://bit.ly/1xQw2gi It has exercises and information all about the Great Round of Mandalas and one of the most recommended mandala books if mandala work is something you wish to explore.

See, Mandalas can be a number of things. Anything that is contained within a circle is technically a mandala, as the sanskrit word for circle is mandala. A mandala can be just a piece of art, it can be a piece of art you meditate upon, it can be a view of your world, it can be a view of your INNER world where you can explore what is going on inside and find what needs to be healed or hear what your soul is yearning to tell you. It is the latter part that I am doing this year with the help of The Mandala Workbook, as well as the https://www.facebook.com/100Mandalas?fref=ts facebook group here and lastly with the guided help of Julie Gibbons who is running this very course for the year, you can find her here: http://www.juliegibbons.com/

So this month is the void. The void represents all sorts of things and one of them is winter which is also where I find myself in a bit of a paradox because it is the middle of summer here!! However, the part of winter the void represents is the hybernation part, the going within, the long dark… summer is so hot her that a lot of us end up going within as well, if only to seek respite from the heat! Despite it being Summer I find myself very much in the void right now. Like being in your mothers womb awaiting your birth. So studying the void is very fitting for me at this stage.

Thanks to Effy Wild I will never buy myself another journal again. I have way too much fun making my own, deciding how many signatures to put in each one, if it has a flap or hangy bits… in the end it makes it more personal. More my own. Since I do have such a big passion for mandala work I decided I was going to make a really BIG journal. I am not used to working this big! I know I will probably work on some big stuff within the pages though. After I bound the book (I am going to wait until it’s finished before I decorate the cover) I began to work on my title page, which is also my intention page.

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The mandala may seem a little plain compared to what I usually do, however I wanted to leave all that space for all the journalling I did within the container of mandala. In the very middle where the seed of life is I realised there was exactly enough spaces to write the word MYSELF. It took me a lot longer to do this piece than a work of art usually takes me. I find I often do things quick, rush things. The whole time I was doing this page though I kept getting the message to SLOW DOWN and TAKE YOUR TIME. It’s ok to go slowly, not to rush, at this time. So every time I felt myself with the tension of wanting to rush through the process I consciously made an effort to breathe and slow down. So it is my intention for the entire book to go slow. Something new for me!

The next page we were invited to do a ‘self-portrait’ which is something Julie Gibbons teaches in the Radiant Faces course on Effy Wild’s site. I absolutely loved that class and have done a few of them since then. Julie Gibbons goes on to say that every portrait you ever do is just another aspect of you, which I whole-heartedly agree with. It is why, even though the faces I draw may be different, I often look at them and feel like they all look the same. It is simply because they are just another aspect of myself.

RoundOne-SammStarrs

This one was such a ‘what if?’ process. I get a lot of what ifs as I am doing art, some I listen to but most I push aside and think later, I’ll so something like that later. Well, not this time. This time, in honour of delving deep and exploring what is within me, I did every single what if that popped in to my head. What if I put flowers on her cheeks? What if I gave her rainbow eye-shadow? What if I put pearls through her hair? What if I put a spiral within her pupils? Then as I was nearing the end I had the message to Shine your brightest no matter what. A timely message for me. I often find myself dulling my shine so other people are more comfortable, however lately I find myself reticent to do that. More and more I just want to shine as strongly and brightly as I possibly can. The more I shine, the more courage the people I love will have to shine as well!

So I really enjoyed how she (I) turned out. So much so that on the next page I’m doing a bunch of aspects of me mandalas, which is being an interesting process. Before I started that however I did a warm-up lesson on the void. The void is about simplicity and darkness so a mandala that represents the void is usually of a solid dark colour. The warm up lesson is about sitting and closing your eyes for 15 minutes with some charcoal or crayons in each hand and drawing two voids at the same time with both hands, then exploring how that made you feel.

RoundOne-WarmUp

I found my hands kept drifting away from each other to the outside of the page and I needed to consciously bring them together which I found interesting as either side of your body represents the masculinity and the femininity within each of us. Mine seem to be poles apart but I have this desire to bring them together. It has been an interesting process so far. Next I will do the actual Void Mandala and journal about that process. I really love anything that focus’ on self-discovery and self-awareness, especially if it leads to growth or healing. We don’t have to be broken, you just need to commit to doing the work and the healing. Are you willing to heal the hurts within and forgive and thank those who gave you the opportunity to experience the entire process? It’s no easy feat, forgiving those who have given you an experience of pain, but it is worth it, because the only person suffering from your feelings… is you.

In Joy!

Polyclay Play

It’s been over 15 years since I did any kind of play with polymer clay. I used to make roses, dogs, and other sorts of beads, but slowly… as with all my art really… it faded out of my life. I’m not sure why or how. Lately though I’ve been getting the push to give it a go again. Especially seeing some amazing polyclay designers on facebook who do some really cute dragons and stuff! Check out Dragons & Beasties here: https://www.facebook.com/dragonsandbeasties?fref=ts

So I went and bought myself a couple bits n pieces to play with and see how it goes. I remember I used to love it. Yes, I still do! I may have jumped in to the deep end though with my first project back after 15 years by doing a fairy!!

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I just bought the one colour, a nice light beige kind of colour. Because you can paint over it. I thought there was no sense getting a heap of different colours and spending hundreds of dollars if it’s not something I still enjoy and want to keep doing. So just one colour I got and that is the fairy, uncoloured. From there I decided to make a couple of cat head beads and that left me wanting to do a whole cat…

polyclay004

So much fun! Yes, I can see myself wanting to do this more. But really… is there any point? I don’t want to keep accumulating all these fun crafty projects to do and not earn money from them. I would want to sell these little critters, at least enough to justify me buying the clay and other fun stuff that goes with polyclay. Having said that as well, the polyclay can be used on another project that I would love to do enough to sell… and having done this post I realise a lot of stuff I do comes back to this project that keeps percolating in the back of my head.

But of course, I love dragons. That is what attracted me back to polyclay, the thought of making dragons and other mythological creatures. So while I was sitting there watching the riders of Berk with the kids this morning I started trying to sculpt a Toothless head. How could I not? How could I resist? He is after all possibly my most favourite and coveted dragon out there!! He didn’t turn out perfect of course, why would he when it was my very first attempt. But I think he came out ok. I baked him with a hole so he can be put on a chain or something, I painted him up and ….

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Ok, so I’m not happy with his eyes but guess what? They are paint, so I can try painting them again until I’m happy. I can see many things that need changing with him but overall I’m super happy with him and he is still cute!! It gives me hope I can pull him off and perhaps even add the body and wings one day!! Perhaps I’ll give him a pretty magenta tinged girlfriend or something 😉 The possibilities are limitless!

So here are all my little polyclay attempts so far, all together. The only one I didn’t do a close up of is the little rose in the right back, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with that yet. It’s not a ‘bead’ as in there is no hole to thread anything through it… but I’m sure I’ll find a use for it eventually. Perhaps for my other secret squirrel project that is sitting in the back of my mind… hmmmm.

I think there will be more polyclay posts in the future!

Ink, Ink, Ink!!!

Ink is fast becoming my most favourite medium of them all… wait, becoming? I think it always has been! It’s just that in the past couple years I’ve come to discover just how versatile ink is. See, when I was younger I just thought ink was a ball-point pen and that was it. But that is just the tip of a very large iceberg! So come with me on a journey of ink discovery 😀

I MAY OR MAY NOT BE A BIT ADDICTED TO INK

INK

This is some of my current collection of ink. In this photo you can see my Copic Markers and multiliners, there are uniball pens, posca markers, artline pens and markers, sharpie markers, Tim Holtz distress stain markers, my collection of sakura pens including gelly roll, metallic and souffle, my copic atyou spica pens and of course my beautiful purple feather fountain pen. My inks that you can’t see are some of my acrylic ink pots, my spray inks and drip inks, ink pads and of course my fountain pen dipping ink. And that’s not all the different sorts out there. I have another set of sakura pens on their way and I have just purchased some pilot parallel pens that I’m excited to receive and I would love to try out some faber castel pit pens! The list goes on. Just as I think I have all the different ink and pens I want I discover more!

Inks have many different formulas, you can get acrylic inks, pigment inks, water-based ink, archival ink. I by no means know everything there is to know about inks so there is probably even more than just that. They are all used for different things, have different purposes and different application methods. If you know me at all you will know that copic is my absolute favourite of them all. The colour range is VAST, the application is easy and just like being a kid colouring in again and one of the best things about copic is you buy the pen or marker just once and then you can buy refills, both in ink and the nibs. I love that! I even have their refillable multiliners.

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They come in a beautiful, smooth metal barrel. The long packet on the right is the ink sponge that gets inserted when the ink runs out. The small packet on the bottom left is a replacement nib. I don’t have all the sizes but I have a good range from 0.05 up to 0.7. I’ve discovered that I’m quite heavy handed with pens so when using the 0.05 and the 0.1 I have to stay very present and conscious not to push too hard or I end up losing the nib very quickly. Another great thing about the copic multiliners is that they are archival and copic proof. Copic proof means they won’t smudge or bleed if you put copic markers over the top and they won’t stain your copic marker nibs. I could rattle on for hours about inks and the different ones and what to do with them, but for today I wanted to show you a step by step on how to do some funky lettering of a quote that you could blue-tac on your toilet wall and read like an affirmation every day (my wall is full of them!).

So to start with, you need to have your paper, your pens and markers of choice, or pencils or crayons or whatever you have to use. I will, of course, be using copics. The quote I’ve chosen is ‘Happiness. It isn’t about getting what you want all the time. It is about loving what you have and being grateful.’ The first thing I decided to do was write HAPPINESS down the side of the paper in big block letters using my thickest multiliner.

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I had also decided I wanted a flower or two as decorations on the page, so I drew in a flower and flower out from that flower I drew some wavy lines to start writing the quote on in different lettering styles. I decided to use a smaller 0.2 sized nib for the lettering, that way I could have some variation with the words by having some thinner and others thicker.

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Once that was done I pulled out my thicker nib again and I started giving a bit more depth to the lines and completely outlined the word happiness so it popped out of the page. I also went in andstarted deocrating the words to make them each unique to themselves. I left some thin, made others thicker, put patterns in to some of the spaces and in the white space around the word happiness. I also filled in the flower.

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Next comes the fun part… COLOURING!!!! I am such a kid 😀 Using my copic sketch I put a touch of colour here and there all over the page. I added another flower at the bottom. When I am doing a piece of art I always try to concentrate on 2 things. 1. Keeping the colour palette roughly the same. I tend to choose 1-3 main colours with 1 or 2 complimentary colours. In this case I have chosen teal, purple and magenta with complimentary colours of yellow and orange. 2. If I put a colour or an element in one part of my piece, try to put it somewhere else as well. For instance the flower. I had one, but decided to put another one down the bottom. I coloured one flower in magenta tones so I put some magenta in to the wording, same with the purple and teal.

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To finish it all off I deviated slightly from my inks for a moment to add in some pan pastels because they are fun to use and have a really lovely soft look and it gives the background a bit of kick. Again, sticking as much as possible to the colour palette I had already chosen. The very last touches were adding some white uniball signo pen and some sakura gelly roll. The Sakura gelly roll you probably can’t really see in the photo as it is a glittery pen and glitter doesn’t show well in photos, however I did use those pens to fill in a couple of the spaces in the words throughout the piece.

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So there it is. I hope you enjoyed it and you give it a go yourself. Have some fun with ink and get ready for INKtober! From October 1st to October 31st, try to draw or doodle something with ink every single day. I will be doing my best to, so I’d love you to join me and perhaps post some of your inktober drawings in the comments, or head on over to my facebook group – The Creative Cauldron – https://www.facebook.com/groups/331608743666850/?fref=ts and request to join and share your work there.

While you’re here why don’t you sign up for my newsletter and watch me create a mandala every day for 100 days. I’m up to day 29 already today. Once that’s done I will be doing another 100 day challenge, though I’m not sure for what yet. Copic, faces, mixed media, flowers, lettering… what do you think? What would you like me to do for 100 days after the mandalas are finished?

Please leave a comment before you go

and

HAVE A COLOURFUL DAY!

In Joy <3

First Post, First Post!!

HELLO EVERYONE!!!!!

I am so excited! I finally have my Creative Alchemist blog up and running 🙂 Feel free to look around. There isn’t much here right now but over the coming years I will be adding more and more I guarantee it. For now though I suggest sharing my blog around with your networks and getting everyone to sign up to my mailing list! Why my mailing list? Because I am about to start my 100 day challenge!!!!!!

What is that? I am committing to produce a mandala a day, every day for 100 days in a row. Every following morning I will send out an email to my mailing list with a photo of the days mandala which will be for sale. I will include what mediums I used and what kind of canvas/paper it is done one. The first one will be sold for just $1! No you didn’t read that wrong. JUST $1!! If you’ve seen my mandalas and enjoy them you will know that is a bargain!!

But the bargains don’t stop there! The second mandala will be sold for $2. The third one for $3. The fourth one for $4. Are you getting the picture? And how do you purchase these mandalas I create? You subscribe to my mailing list and eagerly await the arrive of an email every day. When you see one you want to buy, click reply and respond to me with a SOLD. If your email is the first one to hit my inbox, the mandala will be yours! You will be responsible for the postage and packaging. You will have 10 working days to send payment to me, after that the mandala will be put up for sale in my MadeIt shop which you can find here: http://madeit.com.au/Main/Store?storeId=17299&userId=107966

Get in quick because the price of my mandalas are only ever going to go up, Up, UP! However if you see something you like and you want something similar I will take commission work. Commission work does come at a cost though, but I will endeavour to make the mandala to your liking.

Haven’t seen my mandalas before? Head on over to my facebook page and look in my albums 🙂 You can find a link to my facebook page on the menu bar to the right of the screen.

What else is coming soon?

I have started recording my beginner mandala e-lessons! As soon as I get them edited I will have the course on offer for those out there who might like to create their own mandalas. How exciting is that?! Learn how to do mandalas just like me.

So I hope you keep dropping by. I hope you subscribe to my newsletter. I hope you will leave comments and likes for me. I hope you will contact me with thoughts and suggestions of what you’d like to see. Welcome to my world!

In Joy,

Butterfly 2 Signature sasa