Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Close-up of my panel in the 'Light of my Life' collaborative project

NZ Art Guild Annual Members Exhibition 2011


This evening was the opening night of the New Zealand Art Guild's Annual Members Exhibition. I have two polymer clay mosaic artworks in this exhibition, as well as having done one of the 56 panels in the collaborative project 'Light of my Life'. 



'Light of my Life'

My panel is on the bottom row, second in from the right (see next post for a close-up picture). This large artwork will be auctioned on TradeMe and all the proceeds will go to the charity KidsCan, supporting disadvantaged Kiwi kids.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Featured on Sandy's Creations in Clay blog

Today I have been featured on Sandy's blog

http://sandyscreationsinclay.blogspot.com/2011/07/mosaic-tile-masterpiece.html

It is the first time (to my knowledge), I have been featured on another polymer clay artist's blog, so I feel very honoured.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Future – mosaic artwork is now complete

Here is the finished piece.


“Our Future” by Claire Fairweather
30.5cm x 30.5cm, polymer clay tiles on canvas
Designed for the NZ Art Guild Annual Members Exhibition 2011

This mosaic tile artwork has been designed to show the different phases of love during the course of a lifelong relationship – the future for a couple in love

Key to the meaning behind each tile – start at the bottom left hand corner and work round in a clockwise spiral to the centre

5
6
7
8
9
4
19
20
21
10
3
18
25
22
11
2
17
24
23
12
1
16
15
14
13

1
The heart is a universal symbol of love, which is something most people want to experience during their life-time
2
The script style writing reminds me of old fashioned hand-written diaries, where young women often write about their thoughts and feelings for the future
3
The butterflies represent that feeling you get when you first fall in love, along with the dreams, hopes and wishes of how you would like the future to be
4
Is Cupid really responsible for the initial attraction to that special person in your life?
5
Flowers are often given as a gift of love
6
Romance – the word can be written with a flourish and it certainly brings happiness and excitement to everyday life
7
Your heart seems to be bursting with joy when you are in love
8
The blooming rose symbolises a growing relationship
9
The lace texture is evocative of lingerie, worn when a relationship becomes more intimate
10
Passion – this phase in a relationship can be very intense
11
The lips symbolise a kiss, which is often given with great passion
12
The tying of two ribbon ends into a bow, symbolises the joining of two beings as one
13
This tile bears my signature seal, which is incorporated into a pattern of hearts, hugs and kisses
14
Love – the word is impressed into the tile with strength like the emotion it conveys
15
An engagement ring symbolises the beginning of a lifelong committed relationship
16
Commitment – as defined in a marital relationship
17
Wedding bells ring out the joy of marriage
18
The linked hands represent the joining together of two people in holy matrimony
19
A loving background forms the basis of a stable, long-term relationship
20
Shelter and protection are symbolised by the house
21
The different layers within the heart reflect the different types of love
22
The tiny hand and foot prints represent a new arrival
23
Having children makes a family
24
Caring for your partner and family never ceases
25
Into grey, old-age two hearts should still be entwined as one


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Looking forward

Today was the last day in my part-time job, so for the time being I can concentrate fully on my polymer clay work.
 
 
Having reviewed the goals I set at the beginning of the year, I need to focus on completing as many of them as I can. It is now more than half way through the year. I have nearly finished my second piece for the exhibition coming up later this month. Once this is done, I must finish the HANGAs I start a while ago (trialling some different shapes) and get my Etsy shop up and running. Then I can concentrate on preparing the visual/teaching aids for my introductory workshop.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Image transfer

I have also experimented with transferring images onto polymer clay. I started using some waterslide transfer paper but was not happy with the quality of finished pieces. Printing from the computer onto the paper gave very crisp clear results and it was quite easy to apply the transfer paper to the rolled surface of the clay. However, it almost impossible not to get tiny air bubbles under the surface of the film. Even when it looked smooth, baking seemed to accentuate or even create minor surface irregularities – also, it was noticeable that areas with no print, showing white (as I did the transfers on white clay) looked quite yellowed, compared to the second method I tried.


The lips image was cut out and
applied to a pale pink polymer
clay background 
Toner transfer method - you can
still see some fine paper remains
on the surface at this stage

Not happy with the waterslide transfer paper method, I consulted one of my Donna Kato books on creative surface effects and tried the ‘direct toner copy’ method. This meant taking a copy (in reverse) of the images I wanted to the local printing store and getting them to do a colour photocopy. With it being a digital copier, I was not sure if this was going to work but when I asked, the operator said that it was not ink, so it must be toner.

I was much more impressed with the results of this method. You just cut the image you want to shape and burnish face down on the surface of the clay. Then spray, to saturate with water, for a minute or so and then gently rub the paper with your finger to gradually roll away the layers of paper. You need to be patient and take your time, keep spraying and rubbing. The idea is to remove all the paper, in layers, to reveal the toner left on the surface of the clay. If you rub too much, you will smudge the toner, so you need to know when to stop.

Baking the clay bonds the toner to the clay but it should be sealed afterwards with a layer of liquid polymer clay. (This was my only problem in this trial – my lpc is quite old and has thickened, so it was difficult to get a thin layer). Although it takes much longer to transfer the image, I think the result is better and I will use this method again – you do not have a film over the surface, so it looks more natural and it can be easily cut after the image has been applied, which you cannot do with the other method. Also it much cheaper, as you can fill an A4 sheet with images and just pay for a colour photocopy when you need it, rather than buying the packs of waterslide transfer sheets, which are much smaller in size.

Fabric imprinting

As I have been making the tiles for my second artwork for the ‘Our Future’ exhibition, I have been trying some new techniques. I am really pleased with the way the fabric imprint came out on this tile.
I rolled out a darkish red/pink colour, pressed a piece of interesting lace onto the surface and then rolled it through the pasta machine again. Carefully, I removed the lace, leaving a perfect imprint in the surface of the clay.  I selected the area I wanted for my tile using a square cutter and baked it for 20 minutes. I then painted white acrylic paint all over the tile and while it was still wet, I wiped as much of it off the surface as I could, leaving the white paint where it had collected in the impressions. I baked the tile for another 10 minutes, to help bond the paint to the clay, and when cool, sanded the surface to remove any remaining paint residue. The contrast between the white paint and the coloured clay and the amount of detail it has picked up is incredible. In fact, at first glance, it looks like the lace material is still embedded in the clay.