Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Review!

Exploring Canework in Polymer Clay: Color, Pattern, Surface Design

By Patricia Kimle

Published by Kalmbach Books

This is a great book with well written and clear step-by-step instructions, beautiful pictures, and clear illustrations. Patricia Kimle has also included a finished product picture with each design.

The book begins with Canework Basics. I found this extremely helpful since I haven't done claywork in jewelry since the 70's. It was a good review of the basics for me and will help any beginner to be successful. This section covers the history, tools, information about clay, baking, finishing and polishing. The information on the different types of clay & who produces them was extremely helpful since the hobby stores in my area carry only a selected few varieties. It made it easier for me to choose the clay I wanted to use. Also knowing not to mix brands was a good tip!

I love the Color lessons in the next section on Design Lessons. Here the author covers hue, saturation, value and color schemes. She shows how to blend & mix complementary colors, as well as, contrast colors. She also shows the difference between tint, tone, and shade. This is followed by construction, reducing, repeating, and slicing - the actual production of canes. This chapter is so helpful in making sure the color of clay desired stays true because colors change depending on so many factors!

The next two sections are about different ways to make canes; Simple and Complex. The Simple Section is definitely for the beginner, but it has 20 different projects and patterns. I was particularly drawn to the Checkerboard Canes starting on page 37 and the Complex Bull's Eye on page 46.

The next section is the Complex Canes with 14 different patterns and projects. It has Combination, Kaleidoscope, Floral, and Translucent Cane designs and patterns. There is also, useful instruction on Overlay Patterns. The Radial Square Kaleidoscope on page 64 is interesting and the Floral Canes starting on page 68 shows how to make the flowers look realistic.  

The last nine pages of the book are an Artist's Gallery of beautiful finished pieces! 

This book is fabulous for the beginner and a great asset of ideas for the more experienced polymer enthusiast. The cane-making process is fun and a great way to stretch your artistic abilities with color and shape!
I was thrilled to do this book review for Kalmbach, as I have been wanting to try my hand at Polymer again after all these years. We didn't use to call it Polymer back in the 70's. It was just jewelry clay and it has changed some over the years! But, hey, who's counting?! :))

Friday, March 1, 2013

Challenge of Music Reveal!

It's here! The day has arrived for the Challenge of Music Reveal put on by Erin at Tesori Trovati or This challenge was all about letting the music move you to design or create or draw or in some way allow your artistic talent to flow.

To begin with I went to Pandora to listen to instrumental music, but nothing I heard really moved me. So next I dug through all my CD's. I found a CD that was a gift from a friend from South Africa back in 2009. The music is in the Xhosa (pronounced Cosa) language. It is one of the national languages of South Africa. While many in South Africa speak Africaans, Xhosa is a beautiful tonal language of clicks. There are five different types of clicks, each unique, which indicate vowels or consonants.

For an example of this very interesting language, go to this link, Xhosa. 

Now imagine hearing this in music. It is extremely interesting and beautiful. Something unique to hear.

As I listened to the music, I thought about our experiences in South Africa; the people we met, the places we went, the countryside & animals we saw. The singing has rises and falls with a variety of clicking. It brings to mind a variety of emotions; sadness, happiness, joy, and peace. All of these emotions were depicted in the land and people we saw.

This was the beautiful countryside at the game preserve where we stayed for a week north of Johannesburg in Mabula. We went on many game drives to take pictures. One day we were able to ride horseback through many acres and get close-up and personal with the wild animals. It was exciting and exhilarating!

There were many animals on this game preserve that in the U.S. we only see in zoos; such as, rhinoceros, hippos, zebras, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, warthogs, snakes, etc.. We had to keep the windows closed or the monkeys would come inside & get into everything, including the food. Also we didn't want the snakes to come inside either! The snakes there are ALL poisonous! We were happy the lions were in another area separate from the people and other animals.

These lions were at a different game preserve in Krugersdorp further south. We were able to watch this pride feed on a cow from one of the local farmers. We were in a small 4 door VW Golf car. The lions were as long as the car & almost as big. Needless to say, we stayed IN THE CAR! with the windows UP! But we were able to take many pictures from about 50 feet away. At one point, the male lion walked by our car & if we had put our hand out the window we could have touched him. However, we weren't that stupid!

Later we traveled further south to the Southern Cape, where we saw Right Sided Whales, Sharks, Great Whites, Penguins, Seals, Walrus, and other animals. This is a picture of Seal Island. It was beautiful! The water was so clear! The whales were as big as our boat but friendly. The sharks had no interest in the people swimming in the water, which we found very interesting! They feed only on the baby seals. :( It was baby season & we saw lots of babies! They were so cute. :)

Another area we visited was in Capetown. This was an area just outside of the city. On the one side is the mountains and on the other side of the city is the ocean. So diverse and so beautiful!

The people in South Africa are also diverse. Due to the political controversies and wars in neighboring countries, many people have been displaced to this country. There were immigrants from Angola, Cameroon, Malawi, Burundi, and more. 

We were in South Africa for 3 weeks. It was not long enough to see it all, but we thoroughly enjoyed our trip and would love to return.

My Challenge Project

I used copper wire, jade, blue multifaceted iridescent crystals, a variety of copper beads and iolite. All of these reminded me of the vibrant colors in South Africa of the land, the sky, the animals and the people. I also tried to depict the starts and stops (clicking) of the Xhosa language in the joining of the beads & elements. The focal is a round lapis piece. In South Africa, the people believe life on earth began there. So the circle is to represent the circle of life, in honor of their beliefs.

Here are the participants in this wonderful Musical Challenge by Erin! She is an inspiration to many & I hope you enjoy "hopping" from one blog to another to see how each was "inspired by the music". I know I will!

The Challenge of Music participants
Erin Prais-Hintz
Alenka Obid
Ali McCarthy
Alicia Marinache
Amy Severino
Amy Grass
Carolyn Lawson
Cece Cormier
Cynthia Riggs
 Ema Kilroy (bowed out)
Emanda Johnson
 Emma Todd
Erin Kenny
Evelyn Shelby
Evie and Beth McCord
 Gerd Andersson
Holly Westfall
 Jennifer Justman
 Jenny Davies-Reazor
 Jess Green
Judy Campbell
 Karla Morgan
Kay Thomerson (bowed out)
Kristina Johansson
Lola Surwillo
Lynn White (bowed out)
Malin de Koning
Mallory Hoffman
Mary K McGraw
Melissa Meman (bowed out)
Melissa Trudinger
 Michelle Escano
Michelle Bourbonniere
Michelle Heim (bowed out)
Michelle Mach
 Molly Alexander
Molly Schaller (bowed out)
Monique Urquhart
Niky Sayers
Pam Farren
Rebecca Anderson
 Sally Russick
Sharon Palac (bowed out)
Sharon Driscoll
Susan Kennedy
Tari Kahrs
Tracy Stillman (bowed out)
Veralynne Malone

Erin is already planning other Challenges: May is Literature, August is Travel, and November is Color. These should be interesting, inspiring, and, of course, CHALLENGING! Happy blogging and creating! Hope to see you soon!