Blog Hops and Challenges, Classes and new techniques

A class with Christi Friesen and the Art Elements Challenge

Earlier this month I took a class with Christi Friesen, something guaranteed to throw me right out of my comfort zone. I have never considered myself good at “art” — you know, drawing, painting and sculpture. Nope, I know I have a good eye for jewellery composition and colour but I can’t draw to save my life. And also, I’m not hugely experienced with polymer clay.

Anyway, I decided to challenge myself and take one of the classes held at The Whimsical Bead at the beginning of the month, and I chose to do the Mystery Specimens class. It was great fun and I surprised myself by (to my oh so critical eye) managing to make a couple of pieces I was quite proud of.

As it so happened, the monthly theme for the Art Elements challenge was Octopus — announced just as I was heading off to the class. I decided that if the opportunity arose I would try to make something octopus-y for the challenge. And as you will see, I did.

But first, the class. Christi’s classes are FUN and this class was no exception. Christi taught us to make odd little creatures, destined for life in a bottle — mystery specimens! My first specimen is quite endearing I think, he’s almost hiding behind his hand. The clay is a mix of glow-in-the-dark and granite (although I haven’t really tested whether it really glows in the dark), and I kept the surface decoration simple, a stripe down the back and some shading. The thing that really makes these critters come alive is the use of little glass eyes, it really gives them personality!

He’s meant to be in a jar, but I couldn’t get a good photo.
He’s got a dimpled bum!

Next I made a mer-creature, with a tail fin and a ridge down his back. Christi showed us how to give them an angry expression — this guy is not happy to be trapped in a jar!

Let me out of this jar!

Finally, I had enough leftover clay to make an octo-critter. She’s not just any octo-critter though, she has two faces, and has overdone the red lippy a bit!

yes her ear is a little broken, oops!
her other face
Side view of Octo-critter — she looks like she’s declaiming something!

I really enjoyed taking Christi’s class, it was a great stretch for me, and next time she’s in Australia I might have to take my Mum and my sister along to play as well, I think they’d love it! And thanks to Dani and The Whimsical Bead for hosting the class.

Don’t forget to pop along and visit some of the other bloggers taking part in this Art Elements Challenge. Here’s the list, to make it easy!

Guest artists:

Art Elements Team:

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Beads, Classes and new techniques

A quirky bird or two

I took a metalwork class last weekend at The Whimsical Bead. And it was so much fun! I learned to cut shapes out of copper, file edges smooth, texture with a hammer, rivet and screw pieces together, and finished off by oxidising the completed pieces. And I also made my first clasps!

The class was taught by Robyn and Julie Wilson from Deegan Designs, who sell a range of whimsical, steampunk-inspired jewellery. You can see some of their wonderful creations here. We made a simpler version of their quirky bird design, as both a brooch and a pendant. I took a few photos as my pieces progressed.

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Here I have finished cutting out, filing and texturing the birds and wings (I paired the wrong wings with the birds in these pictures). That’s probably me reflected in the shiny metal.

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This picture shows the completed birds, before their bath in Liver of Sulphur, which oxidises the copper from shiny to dark in seconds.

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Here is the brooch. It’s hard to see in the photograph but there are some lovely colours—almost like an oil slick—on the bird’s body and wings, from the oxidising process. The longer the copper is left in the Liver of Sulphur solution, the darker it goes—my pieces were only in there for a few seconds. I lightly sanded back the oxidation around the edges to give a bit of definition to the shape, but left the rest of the body and wings as they came out. The pieces have also been sealed front and back with a metal sealer to stop further oxidation.

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And here is the necklace. You can see the colours in this one a bit better. Note the clasp—I made that too!

I have some more copper sheet, wire and a few screws to play with, and enough tools to be dangerous! So you may see some more from me soon!