Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stuck at home

Over the past couple of weeks I've been housebound. I have a recurring illness that completely and utterly wipes me out. My first week was spent in bed, however we're now into week two, and look out - I'm bored. I still can't make soap which of course involves a lot of standing, and lugging around 50 lb boxes of raw materials, nor can I leave the house for an extended period of time - that said, I can make beads, and jewelry, and, and, and....

Here we're into day two - I've now made about a zillion ceramic beads that I'm planning on using to test out various ceramic glazes I've acquired over the years.  I will say right now, that I'm no expert in ceramics. In fact, I'm fully willing to admit that I'm one of those highly annoying people you see at craft shows.  You know the ones - You've lovingly laid out your booth with all of your gorgeous works of art that have taken years of practice and experience to perfect, and some idiot comes along and says  - Huh...I can do that.   No, I would never, ever in a million years say it out loud. I have thought it though. And I have actually gone on to try making some of those things. I can say for an absolute fact that things are almost ALWAYS much more complicated, or involved than you think. This applies especially to things that look ridiculously simple at first glance.

Take for example working with earthenware clay. I've discovered that you can't really just roll the clay up into a ball, roll it out, and cut shapes. If you do that, you end up with air bubbles in your clay. Air bubbles in your clay, when kiln fired like to break open - which usually destroys your piece. I've also discovered that you can't just slap on a couple coats of glaze and expect decent results. With glaze, it's kind of hard to tell what you're going to get. The various jars of gray and brown mud, once fired give a completely different look. If you don't get the coats on evenly, which is hard to tell when painting it on, end up looking awful, mottled, and uneven. If that's what you're going for - great ;-)

Beads ready to be bisque fired

My first glazed beads

In process - bisque fired beads getting a coat of glaze. That grey jar is actually a pretty colour called blue mist.

More glazed beads drying.

I've also been working on a new large batch of those glass pendants for the store. These are a bit weird for me. They're one of those simple little things to make, that don't quite fit in with all of the other things I do. That said, I enjoy the process. These actually take about about a week  to make from start to finish.

Step 1 ) Cut out a bazillion little squares of paper

Step 2) Wipe down a bazillion little squares of glass tiles with alchohol

Step 3) Apply a few drops of diamond glaze to the paper, and then firmly press down a tile on top. Wipe off all of the excess glaze, and let dry for a few hours or overnight.

Step 4, Apply two coats (drying in between) of mod podge to seal the paper. Let dry again

Step 5) Sand down the sides of the bazillion little squares, and scrape off any excess glue, and glaze you might have missed off the glass. This step usually involves stabbing myself repeatedly with the exacto knife. This part can be done in front of the telly, which makes it far less tedious than it sounds.
However - see step 6, do it in front of the TV at your own risk.

Step 6) Cull out all of the pendants that are covered in blood - ;-)

Step 7) Apply a coat of resin. My resin of choice is ice resin, which we will be carrying soon (Yay Marg!)

Step 8, Let dry for a at least a day, then use e6000 to apply the bails. I've tried just inserting the bails directly into the ice resin, and yes, that does work. However, they tend to slide around a lot, and I just don't have the patience for that. Glue it is!

Step 9 - Dry for 2 more days to let the resin cure, and voila - new pendants.

Reading back on this, I don't charge anywhere near enough for these things... sigh :-)

Tiles that still need to be sanded down.

A coat of resin applied - drying

That's two days of housebound boredom for you  - what next? :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Housebound, and yet look how much energy you have to produce all those marvellous pieces! Great news about carrying ice resin.