Thursday, August 11, 2011

Branching Out

I began collecting sticks when I first started walking in the woods, many decades ago here in Vermont. Piles of them wait, in all their twisted fancy, in boxes in my wood shed, precariously poised between craft and kindling.
But many perfect little exemplars have found places among the jewels and junk collected on my countertops; on their own, adorning other found objects, or sprouting bits and bobs of metal and metal clay.
The little stick that found its way onto the Treasures Bracelet was collected years ago and patiently stored against the day it would meet opportunity in my work. It was there, beckoning, when I was working to finish the Treasures Bracelet class sample last spring. At first just another charm, later I saw it as one of several alternative materials that would enable me to use less precious silver.
I set the twig idea aside to work on the toggle ideas for that class knowing that between the spring classes in June and the upcoming fall classes in September, I'd have a chance to go back to the twigs. But practicality aside, the twig, and the idea of using twigs embellished with all kinds of things, became irrisistable.

Because I'm using liquid polymer, which tends to drool a bit in the oven, they can't bake flat, so I've made this wire tree for baking.
Although they are lovely, gestural expressions by themselves, just as I find them, I cannot resist the urge to alter what I find: I've scraped, painted, gilded, gouged, carved, capped, beaded, and bound the twigs. I've added silver, gold, paint, paper, thread, and polymer clay. The twigs are a starting point, each pointing in a slightly different direction. Imposing my creative process on them doesn't make them any less essentially wood, wild or twig. It doesn't make them less what they are, it just adds some of me into the mix while also providing the practical means to get them onto the body as adornments.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More Toggle Designs

I've been working on some new designs for my upcoming Treasures Bracelet Class.
This one is made by rolling fresh PMC onto a carved polymer texture plate. I like the way a small detail taken from the texture plate becomes a whole, more than the sum of it's parts.

This toggle is made by carving directly in the dry PMC. I rolled out clay to 5 cards, cut out my shapes, dried and lightly sanded them. I used a 1.5 mm U gauge (micro carving tool) to carve the design onto both sides (all the carving scraps are reconstituted). The toggle pieces were fired flat on a kiln shelf and curved on a ring mandrel after firing.

There are still some spots remaining in the Class!