Monthly Archives: January 2015

Racoon figure

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Project is from PCA, Project by Katie Oskin

Lets start by announcing that I truly am not “lets sculpt cute figures person”. As this is the second lesson on PCA for the year I would not done this without my new years resolution.

Don´t read this wrongly – Katie’s work is super fun and I have liked her figures when I have seen them around on websites we both visit. She has an eye for cartoonish simplicity and is able to make things that make people smile. Her figures are great.

But making this was like swimming in tar for me. Not because of instructions but because this kind of work is so out of my comfort zone. Funny thing is that on her introduction video on PCA she explained similar feelings towards polymer clay jewelry instructions. We all have those feelings for some things.

Project tutorial had pdf file for instructions and two short video clips to show few essential steps. I was bit confused with some of the measurements and steps even though I prefer readable instructions over videos. The instructions are clear though, pictures mostly a+ and probably my confusion tells more about me than about the tutorial itself.

On the half way trough I got so bored (sorry Katie! Not your fault. This is completely me!) that I just run trough the rest of the instructions to get this darn racoon made. I put it into oven and realized that my work space is full of leftover clay and lint and stuff. Started cleaning and making mud – trying to get a grip of my anxiety as it was really strong. When one of the best necklace ideas ever hit me. (More about that later, this needs about 4-5 weeks of studying and some more prototypes. I am waiting for tools to arrive from France as I did not have what I need to do this properly.)

Anyway, here is my sad racoon who shall be sitting on my table to remind me that sometimes unwanted tasks lead to surprisingly happy flow and new ideas.

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Clarity of instructions: 8+

Difficulty: Suitable for beginners who have basic knowledge on forming shapes with clay, otherwise I would suggest at least some claying experience before

What did I learn: I still am not at all fond of making figures out of clay. Anxiety – how ever – is a good motivation for cleaning the work space so next time I need a boost for cleaning the pile of scraps I must make something cute again 😉 And getting distracted from my own creative patterns lead to new visions. So “suffering with cute” is not a bad way to get there 😉

Category: teach me | Tags:

Something for Marjut

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When I am making any new designs I have someone in my mind. Usually it is a singer or actor, sometimes a friend. This time it was a friend. We went to meet with Marjut – a friend that moved away from Helsinki – on November and I wanted to design something just for her.

Waxed chord is one of the things I really like on polymer clay necklaces. It is both soft and hard – depending on stringing. She likes to wear long necklaces and is very fond of reds and violets. Also she is the kind of person who likes fresh flowers and candles so I wanted to make her something colorful with hint of oriental feeling in it. This is the design I came up to.

This is not the actual necklace I ended up giving her – I made parts for two different necklaces and on spur of the moment decided that the violet one is more her. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures from it. A common mistake I keep repeating 😉

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Category: (a)muse me | Tags: , ,

Octopussy

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My studio is on a building where there are several other artists too. Yesterday I was talking about 80´s jewelry trends coming back with ceramist friend of mine.
“Metallic things! And animals. Tigers. Lions…” said she
“Yes, and lizard. And octopus.” I continued
“You should make an octopus with clay!”

And so I did.

Otto Octopussy #polymerclay #polyclay #askartelumassa #diy2015 #yllytyshullu

Kuva, jonka Pörrö Sahlberg (@porrosahlberg) julkaisi

Category: challenge me | Tags:

Bangle bracelets

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Project is from PCA, Project by Syndee Holt

Project video had several different bangle ideas. I made one with Perfect Pearls (instead of Pearl Ex), texture sheet and paint. I wanted to have just some subtle coloring on rised areas instead of stronger ones.

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I was not that happy with the project. Too commercial looking and somewhat bit too “bling” for my own taste.

How ever I still tried something of more “me” with that technique. I did not have the patience to spend much time blending the molded fossils to the base, was just playing.  
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Clarity of instructions: 9+
Difficulty: Beginner projects
What did I learn: I could see myself using both metallic powders and paint in one project. Maybe. Although I am not still bling person 😉

Category: teach me | Tags: , ,

PCA virtual Retreat

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Image: Cocepts, photo project I started 2014.

One part of my New Years resolution is to dedicate more time for “basic level claying” this year. As I am really lousy at self discipline I signed up to
PCA Virtual Retreat Experience which will have 22 virtual workshops in year 2015. I tend to do each and every project weather I like it or not. It actually was cheap – 100$ – and although the technical interface of the site is not the most modern and usable one I have seen, I think this will be worth every penny. You might also want to buy access especially if you are new to claying. It is marvelous concept and accessible to everyone anywhere in the world.

Those of you who know me might still wonder why. The target audience for that is not necessarily professional clayers, and you have seen me using most of those techniques and methods for over a decade now. So why? I am there to play scales and do boring stuff. I don’t mean to offend anyone with being blunt honest about this: I am bored with most beginner projects even when they are my own design meant for my own students. They don’t tickle my inner artist who seems to have grande visions(tm).

It is also a good way to go trough multiple techniques during the year and possibly find some that actually intrigue me enough to be studied in greater detail. Lots of techniques have more possibilities than I have seen so far. Like mokume gane – I know about 7 or 8 different ways to make it happen. I usually teach two different ways to my students. But there are still some possibilities and designs that I have not even tried. My old sketch books have ideas written into them – never tested. A year is a long time and it is very possible that some ideas or techniques will eventually occupy most of my time. So – if I intend to actually have some structure for this year – I need to have something keeping me on track even when ideas lead me somewhere else.

Those projects don’t take much more than 1-2 hours in general. I have wasted hours on way more useless things so this is what I think I need to do. I don´t intend to make super finished items either. To me the intention is just to do it and move on. And if something is way cooler and inspiring than anticipated I sure will rant about that too. But my intention is strictly practical like playing scales on piano.

Another question, very politely asked from me, is if I am going to teach what I learn this year. Yes, and no. I always have been very honest to everyone about my way of teaching. I learn techniques, make own projects for my students, have a twist or completely own way of doing stuff. Some things – like Skinner blends etc – I teach away but never without naming my sources or without telling the origin of something. But what goes to actual project or someones  trade mark technique I do not teach them. Ever. Fortunately I don’t even have to – I have enough tricks in my own sleeve not having to go so low. But yes, if I get crazy inspired to make lots of bangles (or whatever) from a workshop I might eventually end up making a bangle workshop for my students here too. With my own designs, incorporating what I learn to those things I already have done for ages.

And if that happens I promise I will give credit where credit is due and if I feel even a bit insecure if it does not fit into Copyright Guidelines for Polymer Clay Artists I sure will be in contact of the original teachers.

And now you know my baseline so I can refer you here later.

And you also know that my rants are VERY long. Congrats for getting to the end of this :)

Category: teach me

Ode to Tommi Toija

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tommitoijaI visited Tommi Toijas exhibition Mutatis Mutandis at Amos Anderson Art Museum twice. The second time it was last day of the exhibition. The museum was quiet and I truly had time to stop and feel everything.

Black clay, odd human figures,  plenty of pastel pink/orange glazing both matte and shiny. Lots of emotions – Strangers  standing by each other in huge room without taking direct eye contact to any other human figures in that room. Reacting in their own isolation to things unknown to viewer.

I don’t know if I understand any of it but it still felt true and inspiring.

I knew I had to do something with rough surfaces and colors from his work. I did not want to use paint so I made several technical tests until I was able to use thinned out polymer clay both as base and paint.

This two-sided pendant is what came out of that.

toija

“Tommi Toija”, 2014

Polymer clay, metallic wire

Category: (a)muse me | Tags: , ,

Shopping center clearance

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“I have to get into shopping center clearance sale with my teenager to get her some new clothes” I vented to him.  He said “do a photo project out of it”.

And so I did.

alekollaasi

Category: challenge me | Tags:

Time to start fresh

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20141231_230043New year is always a possibility to start fresh.

I have challenged myself for year 2015 to change what I do and how I do it.

I have been claying 20+ years and have had shop for polymer clay hobbyists for 8+ years. I know I need to get back to the roots to find new enthusiasm to the medium and art in general.

I have always been either very lazy or reluctant at taking pictures of my artwork or showing them to anyone. As I also work as polymer clay shop owner and teacher most of the stuff I show online are from instructions for hobbyists or ideas that I intend to teach.

I decided that it is time to change habits and start using my time wiser. I also have promised to my English speaking friends to share things with them in language they will understand. I will be doing lots of writing and grammar errors as I do not intend to proof read my texts with magnifying glass. The quality of pictures should not be an excuse anymore. Phone camera snaps can pass as pictures if I do not have time or energy to take proper pictures. I want to change things – this website will be both documentation and method of doing so.

This website will be for everything creative – not necessarily only for polymer clay. We shall see where we are when 2016 begins.

Baselines for me:

(a)muse me

Artwork or jewelry done with specific inspiration in mind.

teach me

Mostly about craft of polymer clay. Making stuff from instructions written by others or revisiting common techniques. Playing scales of polymer clay just to keep the machine going

challenge me 

Stuff done with some kind of challenge in mind.

show me

Art exhibitions, artwork finds from internet, technical gadgets. Stuff.