Thursday, 4 May 2017

Hi !

#Longpostalert , Story upto now :)

When I started out this year for the #2017PCChallenge, I was already late. I started mid week of February and played catch up on the back to back weeks.  I experienced something strange then , something that I only read about from others ; the fear to clay.I simply couldn't start.

 I stared at the clay and it stared back at me (or so I imagine). I conditioned some scrappy,pretty colors but just left them on my work tile to collect lint & dust. My floor is my preferred work space so my open clay is just gobbles up all the dust.
I was terribly afraid to mess up ,that my pieces were going to fail , not only under bake or over bake , but that my whole sense of design had taken a vacation as well.
Finally I decided to do something that is the safe spot for me. Textures. I took the easy way out though , I just used the texture sheets that I had ( Thank you Preethy :* ) and pulled out my acrylics & chalks. But the chalks won. Mostly because I had to cook and its somewhat hard to get the paint out of my nails.
I started out simply , some chalk & textures , not exactly the toughest pieces but I had such a great satisfaction just seeing them. So that's what I did for a week ,just reclaiming my lost friendship with clay.

Pieces from my catch up weeks plus all the other textured pieces I made but did not post .

That week , I revived my page , which was on hiatus for months as well. I was very excited when I saw messages come in. Everybody wants customisation and good work but at the cheapest rates. I rejected all the pieces where I was asked to copy pieces , I forwarded them to the original artists  when I knew who made them.A lot of the enquiries just were variations of why is everything so expensive , which made me quite sad. I still haven't reached that place where I actually make money off this venture , I "almost" break even.  I am in no position to lower the prices , but I do need sales. I cant make everyone happy , but I wanted to try.
 And thus the reversible earrings were born.

Reversible earrings. Can be worn 2 ways if you are conventional & 3 ways if you are quirky :D 

I felt like a genius. I am sure now that this nothing new in the world of polymer ( nothing really is anymore , I feel like I entered this world too late to contribute anything particularly meaningful) , but I hadn't seen anything like this in my small circle.

I think one of the more stranger effects of claying for longer is that , I now know that nothing I do is entirely brand new. None of my eureka moments are entirely mine alone .Those moments have been had already, whether posted anywhere or not, whether I have seen them or not.There are countless artists like me, we clay because it calms our mind , the eureka moments are just the cherries on top. I believe that many of these eureka moments are common as well , possibly its on a tutorial somewhere, but if you do come up with it yourself there is a satisfaction that is incomparable.

This is such a super simple thing to make , the reversibles , but it makes people happy. There is more value for their money. I am a lazy person , I like to find the most efficient way of doing something that takes up the least of my energy for most of the result , so I obviously like making them too.

I had a small itch to post on the IPCA page , where I am not a paid member (I hope to join once my clay provides me some funds) but as usual my sense of incompetence won and I did not. I probably should have done that though. A little of constructive criticism is great, and that page has amazing artists, but the thought of not only not matching up , but not even reaching knee high (lets say) terrifies me. I hope to get rid of this fear soon and  be more confident.

After this eureka week , I was feeling quite a little bit more confident and it felt good. A few sales of my ready items definitely helped. I felt that I could potentially do this. So then I decided to start caning.
What I did not realise was that this thought would paralyse me yet again. I love skinner blends , I don't  do big canes though , so all my canes get over rather quickly if I don't forget about them. I forgot about the canes I already had and I was terrified to jump into making canes from the scratch.
Gaah.  Me & the clay had a few lovely meals looking at each other , just trying to be friendly but I was too scared to make the first move.

  You have to understand,  I am a wuss in many many many many ways , but experimenting for the fear of failure is not my style of fear. I am afraid of so many things , I lose count. I am not them out here  because frankly if you thought it , I am probably scared of it. For example ,I am scared to drive because I sneeze a ridiculous amount. Others laugh at this , but I have a very real fear of losing control and killing people ( we have crowded roads here) because I ate an orange (or something).
I try to not let them become  crippling in nature and I try to function like how I imagine others to function.
 I am not a type A person , I fail quite often in my experiments , in the kitchen , with the sewing machine , with even putting on make up. I might even be labelled a  failure in my life , what with the my chosen profession(?) of being a crafter. Claying is a situation where the risk is not dire enough to completely paralyse me. Where the possibilities are more than the chances of failure.

All this happened in more detail, somewhat more grotesque version ( my playback of "dire" imaginary situations would probably win me awards if they were ever given out. Pretty sure this the one way I am the best. I can come up with the worst cases of the  worst case situations at any time).
Anyway I am regressing here , this whole bit was completely pointless but I am not deleting it , I am tackling my fear of talking about my fear of fear, That's something right ?

Do you also go through these paralysis situations ? How do you deal ?

So caning. I was too scared to do a skinner blend, don't ask me why , I don't remember anymore. So I decided to do an Ikat cane. All custom colors that I made for customised work ( my bread & butter) but that were left over.

I liked them. So I did Ikat based pieces for the next few week. Quite happy that I caned ,but since I did not choose anything that could really fail ( even a failed Ikat cane tends to be really pretty) I was feeling restless.

I wish to cane , but I signed up for an exhibition/sale at my home in Kochi in the meanwhile , so I am currently working like an utterly mad woman to make enough things to sell. I have around 5 days left before I am done and I have to go home. 

Apologies for the long post and that's it for today. . Rather abrupt ending , not one my writer husband would approve , but I guess that's why he writes and I don't :D 
Thank you so much for reading. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Guess who is back to Bangalore ?

Its been a long while since I last wrote. I have some news ! I am back to Bangalore !!! Yaay me !

It has been a hectic couple of months. In July, I had my first exhibition ever , and right as I was preparing for it we decided to relocate to Bangalore. For someone with such poor grasp of time & space management such as me , this was a HUGE thing.
I was pretty sure I would have dropped dead somewhere in between all the packing and making but , I am here, I survived !

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Simple twisted beads : Tutorial : Beginners

Hi !

As a beginner clayer I was never sure what I wanted to do. I wanted to cane but very (very!) often I really screwed it up. The colour combinations would be terrible and since I never had the restraint to control the squishing, I would always end up getting mud colours.
And once I got mud colours, I just never took that chunk seriously and I just played with it (no worry of colour contamination). That's how the previous beads were made and that's how these came into being as well.

In many ways, these beads are even simpler than the beads previous turorial.

Materials Needed :

Polymer Clay
Roller / Pasta Machine
Clay Knife
Tooth pick

Clay Knife , Half a Bar of Premo Gold , Toothpick , Roller
Process :

1. I make 8 beads from one quarter of the 2 ounce Premo! bar. 

2. Condition the clay. I prefer cutting them , and then conditioning them. but this works only if you are using the colors straight out of the pack. 
Since I mostly mix colors, I would say get your clay conditioned well, use a pasta machine or a roller to get them evenly thick , the use a cutter to get equal sized portions of the clay. 

3. After conditioning the clay 
  1. Make a small roll of it , a thick snake.
  2. Use your hands to taper the end.
  3. Then lightly press it , without losing a lot of thickness.
  4. It will now look like a narrow diamond.
  5. Now slowly twist the ends of the diamond , but in opposite directions.
  6. Continue twisting gently , it will begin to have a screw like look.
  7. Put the bead between your thumb & forefinger , and slowly the press the ends down onto the bead.
  8. Press it down some more , so that it resembles a curvy barrel.
  9. Let it rest for a few minutes , then use the tooth pick to pierce the bead.

Now bake them ! Refer to your clay packet for the temperature & time. I have used Premo! , so 130  degree Celsius and I baked them for an hour.

Tada ! You are done !

Thanks for reading ! Have a great day :) 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Tutorial : Super Simple Textured bead : Beginner level

Hi !

I was in a bit of rut for the past few months. Its still supremely hot here ( 42 degree Celsius) , and caning is impossible. Most of the premo I have is super soft , and I was very frustrated claying . I was watching TV and I randomly started making these. It felt so good , because it takes minimum effort & great results.
On thinking about it now , these are based on the paper bead making techniques , I just changed the medium & added texture for interest.
I have tried these with canes and I didn't enjoy them much asthe cane work just gets hidden in the spiral.

Materials needed :

  1. Polymer clay 
  2. Roller / Pasta machine
  3. Texture implements 
  4. Tooth pick
  5. Cutter

In Anti-clockwise order : Roller,A jar cover with texture, Premo polymer clay , Cutters , hand made texture stamp, wooden texture stamp , toothpick

Process :

1. Condition your clay based on your need.You can make around 8 beads from .5 ounce of P.C or a quarter of the Premo! bar I have used for illustration here.

2. After conditioning your clay , roll it to out to an even thickness. In the pasta machine I used , the fourth thinnest setting is ideal or around 1.5 millimeters ( apprx). I found this was best , not too thick but thick enough to take the texture.

3. After that is done , use your stamp and gently impress the pattern onto the clay. Try using a bit of water or a bit of corn flour on the stamp if your stamp is sticking on the clay and/or tearing it.

Clay with the design stamped on it
4. Now get your cutters and cut them in such a way that they have the design on them. I prefer using the narrow cutter as its easier , but it can be easily substituted with round cutters or oval cutters
(Using an oval cutter or a circle  cutter : Cut out a circle / oval with the pattern on it and re-cut it using the same cutter again , making a crescent shape. Discard the crescent and use the other part.)

5. Take your toothpick , the lightly wrap around an edge over it . Then continue wrapping the bead.

6. Once it looks like as in the picture below , slowly ease it out of the tooth pick.Your bead is ready !

7.Alternatively ,use the toothpick to poke a hole into the bead if you are not interested in using the hole already made.If you do so , it becomes a junction bead. The secondary piercing with the toothpick is not mandatory.

8. Now bake your beads as per the temperature on your clay packet , and for the recommended time.

Here  are some baked beads !!!

Note : I had initially made these beads using cold porcelain , so that's a medium you can easily use.

Have fun making these super easy beads ! I would love you to see what you make if you use this tutorial .
Thanks for reading & have a great day !

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Breaking out of a rut

Hi !

I haven't updated this blog for more than 7 months
 Did I have real reasons? Of course. Computer breakdowns , phone destruction and allergy attacks are  terrible reasons , but does this stop me from feeling terrible ? No.

I am still in Hyderabad , and all hopes that we would soon be back to Bangalore are (more or less) dashed. Today's temperature ( today) is 41 degree Celsius , or 106 degree Fahrenheit, and coupled with the lack of A/C and an inverter , I have entered into what I officially term as a rut .

I was creating actively through December , took a small break intentionally  in January and started back up in February. Not a terrible plan , My yearly challenges of making a bangle a week was kicked off and it was doing ok , then suddenly, the climate changed.
 Almost overnight , mildly cold (19-20 degree) suddenly amped up to 28-29 degrees, and before I knew it, it was in the late thirties. My body doesn't react well to sudden climate fluctuations.I started getting heat bubbles all over my palms which made it pretty much impossible to touch clay. I then decided to go home and annoy my parents for a bit.
Thankfully my heat bubbles reduced greatly once I got to Kochi and I started claying. I was eagerly looking forward to it , as I had not touched clay for quite a while by then and it was a lot of  fun getting back in . I made a a few bangles as my mother wanted and everything was well with the world.
Unfortunately the oven there ( a microwave with convection mode) , sucked big time and did not bake anything well and I broke a lot of fishies I had made . Realizing this , I was super careful with my bangles and I have got them home & re-baked them.

Somehow during this time , the rut had set in.I have quite a few bangles I need to sand and polish , but I really don't want to do it.The bubbles might be the cause , it was a terrible experience sanding with my palms like that. I cant touch bangles for now.
I set out a couple of pieces I was too lazy to finish ,so that I may be driven to complete it , but nope. They are still in a pile.
I am tired of not claying , but somehow I cannot do it.  I have a mental block of some kind.
I need to work around it.I need to have some daily goals.

I am going to publish two tiny tutorials in the next 2 days. Two incredibly easy ways to make some textured beads.
Fingers crossed , some camera action and the feeling of doing something, has got to break me out of it.

Maybe my bangle program failed miserably , but perhaps that doesn't mean my claying has to stop.

Thanks for reading :) Have a good day !

Monday, 14 September 2015

#2015PCChallenge : Week 36 : Resist attack!

Hi !

I am back to playing with alcohol inks this week. While I liked the bangles I made a few weeks back using the resist technique , they don't look very batik-y to me. So I have been pretty much experimenting for a bit now.

Clearly I haven't gotten a handle of how to get it right. But this particular experiment may  slightly, very slightly help me progress. At least I haven't traveled backwards this time ( I think ).

I was too tired to photograph them separately , so I just did it together :) .

Thanks for reading !Have a great day !

Also :
 Please pardon my late posts. We are having intermittent rains and frequent power cuts here , and its frustrating to upload and fail multiple times.I am thinking of even posting just once every month with four items , but I wont do it simply because its the next step  to posting once in three months and so on.
Thank you guys who still bother to read :) 

Sunday, 6 September 2015

DIY Cuff / bangle form : Inexpensive & Quick

Hi !

When I started making bangles & cuffs , the first obstacle I faced was finding the right form to base my bangle around. I started making them using an empty soda can. I could wear it with a bit of discomfort , but I was finding it difficult to find a measurement that fit me exactly.

One way to find your size is by making a few bangles on different forms , such as tumblers , glass bottles and big sized cookie cutters. The drawback is that if the size is not right , you may have a few unusable bangles in your hand.And of course potentially wasted clay.

Then there are a few of us who find even this quite difficult because we cannot find the right sized form to use, even after much trial . This DIY is particularly for you.

MAKING YOUR OWN BANGLE/ CUFF FORM ( The lazy girl trick )
Please read the notes ( on the bottom of the post) as well before starting this project.

Supplies : Bangle , Caliper, Toilet paper roll & Aluminium foil roll. 

Materials Needed 

1. Aluminium foil
2. Toilet paper roll
3. Circular Bangle that fits you correctly 
    measuring tape / scale & string / Caliper tool

Time taken : Ten minutes


If you have a bangle that fits you right , measure the diameter of it (1st measurement) . Reduce 2.5 or 3 millimeters from this measurement ( 2nd measurement).

My husbands hand for reference
If you do not have a bangle ,then take the string or measuring tape and keep it ready.

1.Measure around the widest area of your palm.Make note of the measurement.
In my case it is : 21 cm.
2.Divide this measurement by 3. ( 7 cm for me) - 1st measurement.
3.Now minus .5 cm or 5 millimeters from this measurement ( 6.5 cm for me) - 2nd measurement 

                                                                                                   Getting the form ready

Unravel the toilet paper roll , till the diameter of the roll is the 2nd measurement. In my case 6.5 cm.

Tear the aluminium foil to go around the ( now smaller roll) paper 2 to 3 times.

Holding the now aluminium foil wrapped roll, slowly tuck in the excess amount sticking out from either side , into the empty core of the roll.

  • This measurement is for a bangle/cuff that fits snugly over your knuckles and falls to your wrist.If you regularly wear bangles , this would be correct for you.
  • If you prefer your bangle to be of a looser fit around the knuckles, deduct .25 cm from your first measurement rather than .5 cm

The truly lazy method ( which I use )

  • Measure around your hand as in the picture I have attached.Make a note of the measurement. 
  • Start tearing away the paper roll till it starts becoming thinner. periodically measure around it , so that the circumference of the roll is same as that of your hand.
  • Tear away a few more sheets so that the roll circumference is a few millimeters less than your hand measurement.
  • Tear the aluminium foil to go around the ( now smaller)paper roll 2 to 3 times.
  • Holding the now aluminium foil wrapped roll, slowly tuck in the excess amount sticking out from either side , into the empty core of the roll.

That's it ! 

The total cost of purchase I incurred was around Rs. 90/-.
I have only used half a roll of toilet paper + a quarter roll of aluminium foil , thus  I actually utilized materials of about only Rs.40/-

Note : 
  • Since the inside is tissue paper , I will not recommend using this more than few times.If you liked making bangles , and would like to do it regularly , it would be wise to invest in a form that is sold commercially. If that is not possible , try making a form similar to this , but only using aluminium foil.
  • A kitchen roll could be substituted for the toilet paper roll. You might need to cut it down to size to fit in the oven better.
  • The extra tissue can be used for armature building or for wiping down your work space etc.

If you have any questions , I would be happy to answer them.
Thanks for reading ! have a great day !