June 27, 2008

Art-A-Fair Opening Night

Last night was the opening night of Art-A-Fair, the show my Mom does every summer in Laguna Beach, California. It was a great evening, full of music, food, wine, happy people, cool art and quirky artists.

My Mom, the artist, and I (also an artist)

Lots of earrings

Ladies digging for treasure in the earring bowls

June 25, 2008

Craft Abomination

That's me painting a display case at my Mom's booth in Laguna Beach, California. It was a sweltering day and you can see by my expression that I am not a very good hot-weather person.

After a busy week helping my Mom prepare for her art show in Laguna, I finally got back to some creative work of my own tonight. I just got a bunch of very cool rubber stamps in the mail and was eager to try them out on some polymer clay pendant designs. The first one turned out okay (a good warm-up), but the second one was a true winner in my eyes.

I made it with black clay, stamped a gorgeous asian floral in the front, shaped it into a curved triangle shape, then applied fuschia and silver mica powders on all sides to bring out the gorgeous design, I put a crystal in the middle of the flower, then embedded more crystals into the side of the pendant. I couldn't wait to bake it to see what gorgeous thing would result.

And then something went horribly wrong.

Remember the movie, 'The Fly' when Seth Brundle put a dog in one of the pods to test his new telepod system, and it came out the other pod a shrieking, slimy, quivering mass of distorted dog flesh?

Well I put my pendant in one pod (the oven), threw the switch and it came out the other pod (same oven) looking like THIS.

I only wish I had a before photo to really drive home how horribly this thing distorted. You can see one of the crystals, like a sad little eye, sitting right there in the middle.

So what my little Brundle-pendant endured was 100 degrees too much heat.

So I am disappointed, but highly amused at the same time and I'm going to keep my little Brundle-pendant to remind me to CHECK THE INSTRUCTIONS NEXT TIME.

June 18, 2008

Greg's 40th Birthday Book

Wow, has it been almost two weeks since I posted? I've been busy helping me Mom with her summer art show, the Art-A-Fair in Laguna Beach. I've been painting cabinets and getting her jewelery on display cards. Busy, busy.

I thought I would post the pages from the book I made for my brother Greg's 40th birthday. I couldn't think of anything cool to buy him, and so I came up with this idea, which I think is so much better and much more personal. Well, the book was a hit and he made sure to show it to all his friends. The scrapbook class I took in New Zealand really helped with putting it together.

Basically I took old photos of Greg and in Photoshop, put his head or face into some pretty cool images. I got these from magazines and the internet. A couple of them are real, like "Motocross God," (he really did race and win trophies in this) and "Family Man." Wouldn't we all like to fantasize about being someone else for a day?

If you click on the photo, you can get a closer look.

June 10, 2008

Fun in San Clemente

Good friend, pedicure, fast cars... what more could you want?

I spent some time with my good friend Stacie yesterday down in the coastal community of San Clemente. It's the last town in Orange County before San Diego County begins. For OC, it is still a relatively quiet town, snuggled in the hills next to the sea, all palm trees, lush vegetation and red tile roofs.

It just so happened we stumbled into the vintage car show happening down the main street, Del Mar, which literally means "by the sea."

Stacie and I go back a long way... back to the early 90's or maybe even late 80's. We worked together at the same hotel back then. We kept in touch, then she did a crazy thing and went to work in Antarctica. I lived vicariously through her emails for her entire winter season, delighting at her adventures. Then when the company I worked for went belly-up and I was faced with a daunting job search, she suggested I apply to work on the Ice. I was sure I wasn't qualified for such an adventurous position but she convinced me otherwise and later that year I found myself in a place so white and strange, it was like the moon. Except the moon with heavy equipment, diesel fumes, dust, and odd little black and white bird beings.

So yeah, Stacie and I go back. I guess I could thank her for suggesting Antarctica, because after all, I met my husband there and now I'm so happily married I could pinch myself. I can never thank you enough Stace!

More photos of the car show... I love this 61 bus, probably because I had my own 67 bus for about eight years in my 20's. Can you imagine taking this baby on a road trip? (but just for a moment you'll have to pretend that gas doesn't cost $4.50 a gallon!).

Makes me want to get another bus and fix it up.

Rows and rows of classic-ness.

I can imagine those folks there in the photo have gone back in time in their minds. As the wings of time carry off the years, we'll all be doing that someday too.


Mean Green Machine.


For all you folks on the ice, the shadows and reflections caused by the presence of the sun must look pretty odd to you about now. Look at that grille!

June 08, 2008

Clay and Dichroic Pendant

I had a play with the clay again yesterday and decided to try my hand at some pendants with little dichroic pieces in them. I devised a way to roll out the clay with very consistent thickness by placing to pieces of 1/8" flat balsa wood on either side of the clay, then putting each end of the roller on the balsa. That allows for a very even 1/8" roll-out on the clay.

I rolled out some black Premo clay, then stamped it, then rubbed some silver mica powder on with my fingertip. Then pressed a small dichroic dot in the center, placed a wire hanger on the top and baked it.

After baking, I covered it with a satin gloss to seal it, glued in the wire bit on the top and put a nice chain on it. I think it turned out rather nice for a first try. The fact that I want to wear it is a good thing.

June 05, 2008

Beautiful Quote

The last few days I have been working on a special birthday present for my brother, Greg, who turns 40 TOMORROW. I can't say what it is or post photos yet, but I will. It is really cool. I dare say there is NO WAY he won't just LOVE IT. So I'm excited. Turning 40 is hard, but it's exhilarating at the same time.

For now, I found this wonderful quote on a rubber stamp website...

June 01, 2008

Mixed Media Mosaic

Okay, I found another craft, as if I need another one in my life!

I spent last weekend in San Diego with some close friends, Deborah and Graham, that I haven't seen in a while. Deborah is a fellow artist and runs her own business creating unique and fabulously beautiful tiles. Whenever we get together, the sum of our collective creativity exceeds each of us individually...if that makes sense. We both have some great ideas and it was gratifying to be able to express and talk about them with another Creative.

While there, I noticed a very intriguing book that was laying on her dining table. It is called 'Mixed Media Mosaics' by Laurie Mika and I was attracted to the image on the cover like a crow to a shiny thing. Inside was page after page of yummy techniques for making luminous tiles from polymer clay, using stamps to create textures and images on the tiles, and using metallic paint, mica powders and metal leaf to create shine and bling. These tiles are then arranged into a unique artwork. I was transfixed. Deborah decided that I needed the book more than she did, so she gave it to me.

After arriving back in Orange County after the weekend, I felt compelled to try out this new art form (as if I need another one, sheesh!), so I bought all the stuff and rearranged a nook in my Mom's house to work.

Here's some photos from my learning process. As with anything new, there is a learning curve and one has to be patient with oneself during this time.

Cutting out a frame.

A bunch of tiles ready to bake.

Using rubber stamps to make words and patterns in the clay. I rubbed mica powder directly into the unbaked clay to get the metallic look.

I spent this evening painting my 'tiles' and experimenting with different paint and finish applications. At the end of the evening, I had a nice collection of tiles, albiet quite a random selection of colors. But I wondered what they would look like in a layout, so I created this spontaneous gathering which, even with all the random tiles, looks quite nice!

It is an exiting medium because it combines so many things: color, texture, images, sparkle and mosaic in a very expressive way. You can embed crystals and other metal trinkets into the clay...even do image transfers (so you can take a color picture and transfer it onto a tile). I haven't even scratched the surface.

The funny thing is, working with polymer clay was the LAST thing I thought I would be interested in.

Parting Shots

This is the magic time of year when all the Jacaranda trees are blooming. They are an amazing site. You never know how many there are until they bloom -- the same with Hydrangea and Rhododenron plants in New Zealand.

Speaking of New Zealand, I ran across this intersection while on a walk around a Kensington, San Diego neighborhood.

Kia Ora!