Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The Muse is back

I have been busy with family and friends this past little while so haven't had too much time in the studio but apart from that I have been at a loss as to what to do creatively. I have cleaned, laundry is up-to-date, fridge and freezer defrosted and cleaned - if it needed to be done it's done. Even if it didn't need to be done it still got done. I get so frustrated when I just can't settle to do anything in my studio.

I haven't been completely idle. I have been playing around on the 'pute. I have been playing around with fractals for a while now and I went back to playing around with these again. I use Ultra Fractal which is a lovely piece of software and you can download it for free here. There is a manual to help you get started. Be warned it's additive. Itook my fractal design into Paint Shop Pro and had a little play.

It could do with more work but it's progressing.

Whilst I was moving the fabric dyes etc out to the wet studio the other day I found this:

I bought this when I was doing my C&G course (the Patchwork and Quilting one) so I must have had it for about 6 years. I must have thought it was a good idea at the time but never used it. It had never been opened. I was sure when I opened it that it would be useless. It's air dry clay. You can imagine my surprise when I opened it and it was still OK to use. There are few instructions on it and so I just had to start playing.

I made a few pieces over the weekend which you will see later in the post. Yesterday as I was making dinner I was thinking of what designs I could use to decorate the clay. Then it struck me - Runes. Don't ask me where that idea came from but I thought it would be a good idea for these pieces of clay and so this morning I started playing.

First of all I did some research for Runes and found an alphabet Runes here and so another sketchbook has been started. My muse is back.

Armed with my Runes alphabet I went out to the studio this morning.

My challenge to myself and you (should you wish to accept it) was to use something I have had in my studio for a while and never used. The clay was my starting point. I then found these miniature cookie cutters and proggle stick (I know it has a proper name but you are just witnessing me having a senior moment). They would be just the thing for the clay although they were bought at the Craft Show at the SECC earlier this year for use with Friendly Plastic and I haven't used them although I have used some of the Friendly Plastic.

I found the tinest wooden rolling pin at the market in Glasgow some years ago, something else that hasn't ever been used. It's just the thing for rolling out the clay which I laid on a plastic sheet.
I rolled an unmounted stamp on top of the clay.

and this was the result.

I was all fired up and rolled a larger piece of clay and you can see the whole stamp design.
This is a very small Celtic stamp that Norman bought me on a visit to Germany.

These are some of the pieces I made the other day. I just flattened and formed these with my hands, stamped them with the Celtic "C" and when the clay had dried I rubbed them with Treasure Copper.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you may remember me using my bird table to take wax rubbings to make some waxed/painted papers. Whilst I was working with the unmounted stamp I had one of my "what if" moments.

What if I took an impression of the bird table. Here's a closeup of the design on the stand of the bird table.

I took a rolled piece of clay, backed with an overhead transparency, and took an impression of the bird table. How lovely it that?

Here is another one I made the other day. I used the Patti Medaris Culea stamps I bought recently. I made three of these and once the clay was dry I rubbed Treasure Gold, Silver and Copper on them and left them to dry and then painted them with Stewart Gill Colourise paint.

Here is the Treasure Silver one which matched the kitchen paper I painted a little while back. I sprayed some black webbing spray on the paper to give it more contrast. I think this will make a great sketch book cover.

Here are some of the Runes I did this morning. The top line says CAROL. Once they are dry I think I will paint them black and then rub them with Treasure Gold. I am going to make some stamps and a screen of the runes designs. I am thinking of doing some discharge and screen printing using the designs. I am still formulating my ideas but a quilt design has been born.

This design is from the pot pourri dish lid that I used a while back with the water soluble paper. I painted it with green acrylic and then rubbed Treasure Gold on it.

The miniature cookie cutters are wonderful. I think these would make great buttons don't you?

You can see how a simple little pack of air dry clay has inspired a whole lot of new ideas and a new quilt design and here was me thinking my muse had gone on a long holiday.


Purple Missus said...

Yet another fantastic informative blog posting. And all this from one pack of unopened clay! I hope that when I take up your challenge I get as inspired as this. I love the idea of a sketchbook inspired by Runes.

arlee said...

Wow, the Muse really did smack ya up the head! What a fabulous array of images, ideas and inspirations!

Sandy said...

I like paper clay and think it is more user friendly than Fimo-don't care for using the oven for art things. The fractals look like fun. Sandy

MargaretR said...

What a fantastically inspiring post Carol. I was once very addicted to fractals and bought a few books about it. It became so bad I did nothing else, so take heed. VBG

Barbara said...

Fantastic ideas !

Carol said...

This is really interesting stuff carol, Can't wait to see what you do with it.

Jacquelines blog said...

This really looks great Carol. I can't believe that it holds so long. I bought a pack in may this year, opened it two weeks ago, did some images with it and they all break. I wondered how long it was on the shelf in the store I bought it. I had to throw everything anyway. I decided that it was an not repeateble experiment. Now I see this, I started to dought again.This looks great!!!Maybe I should give it another try.

Doreen G said...

Fantastic Carol -I love air dry clay--love the feel of it in my hands when I am working it.

Dianne said...

Wow Carol these are fantastic, I love the Celtic C beautiful the one on your birdbath gorgeous I think my fav is the one from the pot pourri dish. they are all brilliant and a how to, yuor the best teacher..

Joanna van said...

These are really brillant ideas. Thanks for sharing them. I like your Patti stamp. I haven't seen this one before..very lovely. Also, great idea about the bird table.


Papoosue said...

These are great Carol, I'm so glad your enthusiasm is all fired up!

Tonniece said...

Great post Carol. Love all the things you've done here. Those buttons look so cut.
Greta green on the paper for your sketch book.
Love it all.

Dora said...

Thank you for these ideas! You have inspired me. I also have a pack of air dry clay and I didn't know what to do with it. Now I realise that I really need some beautiful buttons, like yours :)
Thank you for sharing

freebird said...

I don't have air dry clay but I've got several books and a sampler pack of fimo. The books have been waiting for years and the fimo for only one year! I keep putting off playing with it because it will be messy and will need to have time set just for it. Now I think I may have to take up your challenge. Saturday is supposed to be my day off (we are retired, yeah - I'm a retired homemaker!), my husband tends to grab all my time somehow but I will have to resist. Otherwise, an idea just came to me, when I visit my daughter in August I can sit down to play with her and her daughters which will make playtime even better!!

Micki said...

Damn, Carol when the muse comes back she comes back strong. These are great. It's been a good little while since I played with clay. Will have to give it a go again. Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful projects.

Carol said...

looks like you had a wonderful day, the clay samples look great, never tried the air dry clay at home, although I tried the Early Learning brand with my group who have special needs, and we couldn't get it out of the molds, LOL, not recommended

Shirley Goodwin said...

These look great Carol. I bought some of this stuff for the same reason, but haven't got around to doing it yet. Wish I could say it was becasue of all the other wonderful stuff I'm making but sadly, the creativity is on the back burner at present.

Julie said...

Thanks for this great post and the link to the fractals. I will go take a look and download for some fun. You have inspired me too to get out the air dry clay and test a few surfaces.

Cathy said...

This is exactly what I learned about this past weekend. Visit my blog, I hope to have pictures posted later today. Air dry clay is so addicting! I love it!
http://www.cathystitches at blogspot dot com

Eva said...

WOW! You do have really great inspiring ideas Carol! thanks for sharing!

Carol said...

Thank you ladies I had a lot of fun with these. I am just catching up.

Cathy I am off to have a look at your blog.