Monday, 29 April 2013

In the Beginning...

...there was a tile.  And it was a good tile.  It brought a smile to the creator as she looked down and saw that it was good. 

Today begins the first day of my Tile-a-Day challenge.  A while back I decided I wanted to make something.  Something Big!  Problem is, when I work in Polymer Clay, it's usually... well... not big.  In fact very often it's smaller than small.  Buuut... put a bunch of small things together and what do you have?  That is correct my friends.  You have a Big Thing. 

I had seen many other artists take on a (insert fabulous, creative concept here) - a - Day challenge where they would create one item a day for a set period of time.  It seemed like a great way to motivate you to get off your duff and not just do something while in the studio but finish something while in the studio.  It would also likely push you to really focus on creativity - coming up with new and different ways of interpreting your particular "thing".  It wouldn't always have to be extravagant but each would be different.

So I decided I would create a tile a day using polymer clay in various ways.  I decided upon a size of 2" by 3".  Here is the result of Day 1
I've been motivated by the onset of spring (FINALLY!!!) and all the "newness" and freshness that comes along with it.  On my way to my studio, I took some spring photos for inspiration
A pink hyacinth
My Garden Piggie that the squirrels like to climb on
The simple beauty of a dandelion
As you can see, none of these things ended up in my final product but it got the juices flowing and just made me happy.

So begins my Tile-a-Day challenge.  I'd love to do it for a full year, but I'm going to start off with 6 months.  that will be over 180 tiles, which will make my wall-hanging thingee...hmmm lemme see....carry the two...add the six....BIG.  Let's just say that.  It's gonna be BIG.  Yay.

By the way, you can follow more of my photo posting on Instagram:  smitch1975
My husband also takes some fabulous, interesting pictures (often with humorous remarks) and I would encourage you to check out his site as well:   seandavidrocks

So that's it for today.  Happy Spring to everyone.  I hope it encourages you to take on some new challenges and get creating!

Stay tuned...

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Healer

I recently did a demo for the lovely members of the Montreal Polymer Clay Guild on basic armature and how it can be used for sculpting with polymer clay in various ways.  I have a love for sculpture and fairly recently delved into creating art dolls.

 I think many people have the wrong idea about art dolls and don't really give them a chance.  Often, images of barbies, cutesy characters, rag dolls, teddy bears, and other...well...dolls come to mind.  Most people don't think of them as a means of expressing feeling and emotion.  But this most certainly does not have to be the case, and IS not the case.  There are many wonderful artists out there using various materials to create some fantastic art dolls that truly move me emotionally (Neal Gwaltney comes to mind - Love, love LOVE his work). 

As an artist, I make two very distinct types of art dolls.  Some are whimsical characters that have an accompanying story.  I know when I've created one of these types of dolls because upon completion, and sometimes during creation, a name will come to mind and their story will begin to unravel in my brain about where they came from and what their personality is like.  Usually, when I start off making a doll, this is the type of doll I set out to make. 

Sometimes, as I begin creating, feelings will creep in and the clay in my hands will seem to have a life of it's own.  Instead of a cute, fantastical character, it will develop into something a bit more raw.  During these periods of creation, it's a form of therapy.  Emotions that I would have difficulty expressing in other ways are imbued into the clay, and communicated in a sculptural way.  To me, expressing these feelings in doll-form feels easier...safer.  Upon completion of one of these dolls, no name will come to mind so I give them a title instead.

One of my first of such dolls was "She's Contaminated".
 And, instead of a story, I felt she needed an explination:
"What were you thinking?

Such an odd statement used often with venom and sarcasm to cause one to second-guess their minds.

"She's Contaminated" represents that feeling that nothing you can do or say is right. Nothing comes out the way you planned. People keep looking at you out of the corners of their eyes, avoiding direct contatct at all costs.

It's that feeling of isolation when you just can't seem to connect to others...or others simply refuse to reach out and connect with you."
My latest of such dolls, "The Healer", pictured at the start of this post, is another case of my emotions taking over the creative process.  Over the past few years, our family, just like most families these days, has endured our loved ones having to face terrible things.  Diseases like cancer (some at a very young age), and the heartwrenching loss of an unborn child, to name a few.  Things that tear me up inside but that I don't want to talk about.  When I was done with the creation of The Healer, I just felt she helped me to deal with it.  She's carrying my feelings, displaying them in a window for people to see, but not touch.  While she may not be able to heal my loved ones, she can help me to heal.

So I guess the slant of today's post is to encourage others to see art dolls as another valid form of artistic expression and maybe even give it a try.  You may find a new and wonderful way to express yourself.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, 13 April 2013

My Dishwasher Hates Me

For Shame!
The above is my attempt to shame my dishwasher as it has taken on an active role in making my life a miserable, waking nightmare from H.E. double heck!

Me:  *standing over a steaming sink of dishes, madly scrubbing* "Grumble, grumble..."
Evil Dishwasher:  *snicker*  "Remember when you got me two-and-a-half years ago?"
Me:  "Shutup."
Evil Dishwasher:  *snort!*  "Yeah, remember how much money I cost?"
Me:  *Holds knife up*  "Shutup."
Evil Dishwasher:  "And how many times have I broken down since then?  Two, three...."
Me: *glares
Evil Dishwasher:  "Oh, that's right, Four.  Four times I've broken down!
Me:  *glares*
Evil Dishwasher:  "BWAAAHAAAHAAAAA!!!!  Sucker."

Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration.  Okay, well, the dishwasher talking to me is a bit of a stretch, but the freaking thing has actually broken down four times in just over two years.  The good news is, the manufactuerer has paid for the repairs.  The bad news is, I seem to be the only one in my household of five, who is knowledgeable in the fine art of hand-washing dishes.  So yeah.  Weee bit 'o inconvenience for me. 

This past incident, however, takes the proverbial cake, and maybe a croissant too.  Usually, the part that they replace (and it has been the same freaking part, EVERY time) takes a few days to order and I have a working dishwasher again in about a week.  THIS time, they decide that maybe, juuuust maybe, replacing that same part is not working (and I thought genius was dead...) so they decide to replace that particular part AND another part.  Great.  Sounds good to me.  One of those parts, however, is on back order.  Estimated date of arrival?  Over one month!  That's right.  You heard me correctly boys and girls.  I am going to be hand-washing freaking dishes for over a month!  Oh, but wait!  The lovely customer service rep tells me I have a couple of options.  One, I can wait for the part to come in and they will compensate me for my time to the tune of $200.  Well okay...  Or, I can take what's behind door number two, which I like to refer to as the "Donkey Option".  This is to replace my donkey dishwasher, with a brand new donkey dishwasher, and I only have to pay them the wonderful, pro-rated price of just over $600! 

Um...I'll be expecting my check in the mail.  Hopefully my hands won't be too cracked and dry and sore to open the envelope.  Maybe I can use the money on some lotion. 

Stay tuned.

Friday, 12 April 2013

I Used to Think Fridays Were Fun...

You want to know what unpleasant is?  It's sitting down at your computer, having your bulky sweatshirt (or is it me that's getting bulky?) catch your mug on the way down and dump a full cup of lukewarm tea into your lap. 

Now, I know what you're thinking.  "Thank goodness it was lukewarm and not scalding hot!  You should count your lucky stars Sandy!  You could have been burned!  You could have been maimed!"  I'll stop you right there.  No, it wouldn't have been worse because as I sat down, I was staring at the unbelievably horridable (yes, that's a word) sleet/snowstorm raging outside, on this fine, April morning, trying to desperately warm up my freezing cold bones, only to have the tea turn my jeans into an icy, soaking wet diaper that clung to my skin like that funky black ooze clung to Peter Parker in that Spiderman movie...I can't remember which one, but you know what I mean.  I would have welcomed a nice scalding by then.  At least maybe it would have warmed me up, if even for a moment.

And to make things go from great to Grrrrreat!, as I get up and duck-walk my way up the stairs to get changed, muttering nasty and most-certainly unrepeatable words under my breath, my husband has the audacity to ask if I got tea on the new carpet under the desk.  Nope.  Pretty sure all the tea made it's way into the 2 foot square blotch on the front of my pants that makes me look like I wet myself...twice.

Anyway, that was just one of the wonderful surprises that lay in store for me this Friday.  As I mentioned, the weather is horrible.  It's snowing, a-gain.  Which means I have to go out to shovel the backyard every time my beloved three-pound Chihuahua needs to squat his princess butt down to pee.  Apparently he didn't get the dog-memo that states that he shouldn't care if his precious puppy patootie touches a bit of snow.

So the weather sucks, tea sucks, but at least I was able to begin this wonderful, shiny, new blog.  I know.  You're thinking "Finally!  Thank our lucky stars and donuts!  I've been waiting so long for you to put pen to paper (key to board???) and bless us with your wonderful words of wisdom, meaningful musings and, at times, witty repartee!"  Well.  You're welcome.  I don't guarantee to post something everyday, but I do hope you enjoy it.  Perhaps you'll laugh, maybe you'll cry...and hopefully at the same time because as the ever-lovely Truvy Jones said "Laughter through tears is my favourite emotion."  Though I guess favourite should be spelled "favorite" since it was an American quote.  But I'm not going to sweat the small stuff.  Especially since this is my blog and I'll throw in extra letters anywhere I darn well please, thankyouverymuch. 

I know I'm thinking "Great.  Yet another thing to glue me to the computer everyday."  I swear, the day my mom introduced me to Pinterest, she might as well have hooked me on special brownies, because I can stare at that app for hours, going from one picture to another, to another, to another, to get the picture.  I'm a pinning addict.  But, as the narrator from Tales from the Riverbank (Hammy Hamster) used to say, "...that's another story..."

So, anyhoo, I plan on using this space on the interwebs to discuss some of the things that interest me.  Hopefully they interest you too, but as this is my blog, if it doesn't interest you, then I suggest you google "boring blogs that contain boring stuff to bore me with" and have at it.  I will confess, this whole blog thing is a form of therapy for me, as I know if I don't get these things out of my brain then I'm likely to blurt them out to random strangers on the street.  And, quite frankly, that would be weird.

Stay tuned...