31 December 2012

Review of 2012 and plans for 2013

When I looked back at my first post of the year, I realised that I had not set any measurable goals for this year.
In review, I have spent most of the year preparing material for workshops, including samples, and promotion (slide shows). I have run some workshops but the way things have turned out, it has more been for staff training (for Gordon Harris Art Stores) than for artist/crafters. Due to my limited time for promotion, I have decided next year to offer more workshops through established art centres, starting with the Lake House, Takapuna.
I have exhibited and sold work at a couple of exhibitions and won the ‘Peoples Choice’ award at the Lake House for ‘Spring Trio’, my first major sculptural work in polymer clay. However, I have really missed the lack of interface with the public, from not doing any regular markets/events. Unfortunately there was no Labour Day Art and Craft Market at Mission Bay this year (due to an international triathlon), so I only had a couple of low key markets booked at the last minute for Christmas. Due to unforeseen/uncontrollable circumstances (including a tornado), they did not generate the volume of visitors I was hoping for, to gauge reaction to the fashion clips I have started to make and market under the name CLIPT. I will have to be patient and wait for the Anniversary Art and Craft Market at Mission Bay in January.
My main plans for 2013 are to:

1.    Re-establish a monthly market spot – maybe the Devonport Craft Market or back to Coatesville Market.

2.    Exhibit at the Dunkleys Craft Show (North Shore) in October 2013.

3.    Promote polymer clay through slide shows and demonstrations to encourage people to sign up for my workshops.

4.    Expand my range of workshops to include some half day technique focussed sessions e.g. extruding with polymer clay and making canes.

5.    Complete my “50 clips for 50 years” project to promote CLIPT.


09 December 2012

Donation made to the Hobsonville Tornado fund

Hobsonville Point Vintage & Craft Market - 9 December 2012

This was my last planned event for the year, which I thought was going to be cancelled due to the tornado that devastated the area earlier in the week. However, the organisers decided to still go ahead with the market.  I had decided to donate $1 from every sale to the fund that had been set up for the families of those that were killed by the tornado. Unfortunately, the market was not very busy (I think many people will have just stayed away from the area) but I still made my donation.

07 December 2012

Tattoo transfers

This is my first trial with tattoo transfers on polymer clay. After following the instructions for applying the tattoo transfer to the skin but instead applying it to some rolled out Premo polymer clay, I cut out the disc shapes and baked them for the required temperature. I then applied liquid polymer clay over the transfer part and baked again for 20 minutes, followed by a layer of liquid polymer clay over the whole surface and another baking for 20 minutes.
The surface of the transfer has cracked/wrinkled slightly in places but I think that is because I baked the discs on a curve (to make into fashion clips). I will have to try it again, just baking the clay flat.
As Christmas is approaching fast, this is likely to be my last chance to experiment this year.

11 November 2012

First showing of CLIPT Fashion Clips

This was my first time at the Hobsonville Point Vintage and Craft Market (a last minute alternative, as Coatesville Market was fully booked). In addition to the last of my HANGA stock and other end of line/trial items, it was my first chance to test the market with my new fashion clips.

Full table display

CLIPT display


01 November 2012

CLIPT Fashion Clips

'Get CLIPT – and make a fashion statement. Whether funky and eye-catching or elegant and understated, you can transform your clothes, accessories and home d├ęcor with this multi-purpose clip. Designed and made by polymer clay artist, Claire Fairweather, each clip is unique. Clips can be custom made to match or co-ordinate with your fabrics and colour schemes or as a memento of a special occasion. With over 30 ways to wear or use the fashion clip, it makes an ideal gift or start your own collection'.

Today is the launch of CLIPT, showcasing my lastest fashion accessory, the multi-purpose fashion clip. I will be at Hobsonville Point Vintage and Craft Market on Sunday 11 November, with a selection of first edition fashion clips,  where I will be keen to gauge public reaction to the design concept, which may help with any further refinements.

My clips are now also available in store at Craftworld (www.craftworld.co.nz) at Westgate Shopping Centre.
Please visit the CLIPT website www.clipt.co.nz for the lastest up-dates.

28 October 2012

CLIPT at Craftworld

Here is my first batch of fashion clips, all labelled up and ready to go to Craftworld at Westgate, and the display in store (below).

14 October 2012

Great Craft Sale at the Lake House

My table, at the Lake House Arts Centre's Great Craft Sale, nestled amongst the showing exhibition. I had a small 'preview' of my CLIPT - Fashion Clips at the left end of the table. The remaining items were end of line and trial pieces that I had reduced to clear.

09 October 2012

'Spring Trio' gets the public vote

At the end of the the Members Merit Awards exhibition, I was delighted to be told that I had won the 'Peoples Choice Award'.

02 October 2012

A preview of CLIPT Fashion Clips

I will be selling off my end of line stock at this craft sale, so a great opportunity to get some Christmas shopping bargains, at the Lake House Arts Centre, Takapuna on Sunday 14 October from 10am - 3pm.
You can also see a preview of CLIPT Fashion Clips.

CLIPT will be officially launched on the 1 November. Initially the fashion clips will be going to the Craftworld store at Westgate Shopping Centre, followed by Coatesville Market on the first Sunday of the month, on a regular basis.

Addendum: Coatesville Market is now fully booked for the rest of the year, so I have booked to do the Hobsonville Point Vintage and Craft Market, on the second Sunday of the month, instead.

19 September 2012

'Spring Trio' revealed

Here is 'Spring Trio' referred to in the previous posts. See 'GALLERY' under 'Sculpture' for more detailed photos.

Spring Trio

My two entries for the Members Merit Awards 2012 at the
Lake House Arts Centre   (left: Spring Trio; right: Crocus)


18 September 2012

Training for Gordon Harris Art Stores

Tonight I did my first polymer clay training session for staff from four stores.

14 September 2012

Lake House Members Merit Awards

I have two entries, my 'Crocus' mosaic and 'Spring Trio', which is my first major sculptural piece - in fact it is is three pieces (spheres) representing Spring (the original theme of the exhibition). Each sphere represents a different stage of growth from 1 - dividing cells, 2 - developing buds and 3 - growing shoots.

PRESS RELEASE: Premo sculpture showing at the Lake House

The growing popularity of polymer clay as a fine art medium can be seen at the Members Merit Awards 2012 exhibition, at the Lake House Arts Centre, Takapuna.
‘Spring Trio’ is one of two exhibits from local polymer clay artist, Claire Fairweather. It was created with Premo Sculpey, a brand of artists quality polymer clay, now available from Gordon Harris art stores. On the theme of Spring, the three multi-coloured spheres represent different stages of growth.

Claire says: “I had great fun making these pieces and love the tactile nature of polymer clay as an art medium”.

The exhibition opens on 18 September and runs through to 7 October at the Lake House Arts Centre, 37 Fred Thomas Drive, Takapuna.

If you are tempted to try this oven bake clay for yourself, Claire offers ‘Introduction to Polymer Clay’ workshops, as she is keen to encourage more people to try this incredibly versatile creative medium. For more information about workshops, see her website www.clairefairweather.co.nz

20% off Premo Sculpey polymer clay at Gordon Harris art stores throughout September.

09 September 2012

First creation from my new studio

I am really pleased with my first creation from my new little studio. It is a 3 part sculpture called 'Spring Trio', made especially for the Members Merit Awards exhibition at the Lake House Arts Centre, Takapuna. I will not post a photo until the exhibition opens on Tuesday 18 September.
Hopefully I will continue to create great things from my new studio.

31 August 2012

Polymer clay training for Gordon Harris

I am thrilled to have been asked by Gordon Harris art stores to train their Auckland staff on using polymer clay. They have recently started to stock Premo Sculpey (the brand that I use), which is great news, and are having a promotion this month @ 20% off. I have had to rearrange my work plans for the next couple of weeks because they want to do the staff training during this promotional month in September.
Unfortunately I will miss the Members Merit Awards opening night and ceremony at the Lake House Arts Centre on 18 September, as the Gordon Harris training is the same evening but it is a great opportunity not to be missed. One of my goals this year was to try and promote polymer clay in New Zealand, and to have the support of a company like Gordon Harris is a great start.

19 August 2012

Successful first exhibition at the Lake House

Today was the close of the Great Art Sale at the Lake House Arts Centre, Takapuna. It was my first exhibition at the Lake House since becoming a member in April of this year. I sold two of the three works I had on exhibit, so am really pleased.

07 August 2012

Moving on the 18th

I am having to wind down my creative production for a few weeks as we prepare to move apartments. We will get the keys on Saturday 18 August and will be moving in over that weekend ... in the meantime it is boxes, packing and cleaning!

31 July 2012

Polymer clay artwork sold on opening day

I attended the opening night of the Great Art Sale at the Lake House, Takapuna and was thrilled to discover that my polymer clay tile artwork "Our Future" had been sold earlier in the day.

The exhibition runs until 19 August.

27 July 2012

Art Sale at the Lake House Arts Centre

I will have three pieces in this forthcoming exhibition. They are not new artworks but need to move on, to make room for new pieces, especially now that I know we are going to be moving apartments.

25 July 2012

Moving next door

Today we have signed to take the apartment next door. Why move you may say? Well, it is bigger with a better layout and an extra little room that I can have as a dedicated 'studio'. I can't wait - we will be moving over the weekend of 18/19 August. Although it is literally only next door, it is still a bit of an upheaval and will mean postponing some of my workshop promotions until we are settled. However, it will be so much better in the long run. 

04 July 2012

Change to the remaining 2012 Workshop Schedule

To accommodate some other projects I am currently working on, I have made some slight adjustments to the dates for the remaining schedule of polymer clay workshops for this year. I have also changed the scope slightly, to cater for a wider range of interests. Please see the ‘WORKSHOPS’ tab at the top of this page for the latest information.

29 June 2012

First experiment with foil on polymer clay

Lisa Pavelka 'Oil Slick' foil

Not sure if it is the foil or the liquid clay coating that
has cracked, as I baked the clay disc on a curve, but I
quite like the effect

I used the scraps to make some mosaic tiles - I like the
fractured effect, which would look even better under a
coat of resin

24 June 2012

'Coffee Time' - complete

I have finially completed and photographed this mosaic that I started at the beginning of the year. 'Coffee Time' uses a range of tile sizes and has been grouted with three different colours: in addition to the main grout colour of white, I have used a dark grey for the spoon and dark brown for the surface of the coffee.

Must be time for a coffee now!

01 June 2012

CLIPT - Fashion Clips

Today I have purchased the domain name www.clipt.co.nz for my next unique fashion accessory. It is still at the design and trial stage at the moment and it will take a while to get this website up and running.

If you want to be notified when the CLIPT multi-purpose fashion clip is launched (hopefully towards the end of this year), leave a comment and you will be the first to know.

11 May 2012

Spring Relief

Spring Relief

This is my latest little relief artwork, made with black polymer clay, a texture plate and Pearl-Ex powders. It has been baked on a 4" x 4" block canvas.

21 April 2012

More experiments with mould making materials

Earlier in the year I started experimenting with different mould making materials, see post

Here are the results of some more experiements, using the same angular mosaic form that I used in the previous ones.

Left: The cream coloured mould was made with Sculpey Mold Maker. I thought this would be better because it was not going to set in about 5 minutes - I could just bake it when I was happy with it. It was so soft and sticky it was impossible to roll very thinly (for creating a texture plate) and too sticky to go through the pasta machine. It also distorted a lot due to the softness of it.

Centre: I then tried mixing 50% Sculpey Mold Maker with 50% Sculpey Premo, thinking that this might stiffen it up a bit. I did manage to roll this a bit thinner but it still distorted quite a bit and again was quite soft to use. When baked it was slightly less rubbery than the pure Mold Maker.

Right: This mould was made with pure Sculpey Premo, which was firmer and but it was hard to press all the way into the thin joints - you can see the relief is less marked - and no good for making a mould to stamp mosaic imprints.

Out of all the materials I have tried, the Gedeo Siligum gave the best results but would be difficult to used for making sizeable moulds of this nature due to its quick setting time.

17 April 2012

New look pasta machine handle

After much use, the grip on the handle of my pasta machine was in a bad way. (A good tip to prevent it from falling out, when in use, is to wrap a piece of masking tape once around the end before inserting it). So I decided to repair it with polymer clay.

I used scrap polymer clay to fill the gaps and provide a base layer and baked it for half an hour 

When the final layer had been added and smoothed, I baked it for another hour, just to be sure.

20 March 2012

Six different methods for making polymer clay mosaics

At last I have photographed the samples I have made, showing six different methods for creating polymer clay mosaics. I will explain these quite different methods in my Polymer Clay Mosaic workshops.

04 March 2012

Compact studio - now complete

I showed this photo at the beginning of the year, when I
started to convert a large bookcase into a 'compact studio'

Here is the finished look with roller blind attached to the front -
it can be rolled down at the end of the day, to hide all the clutter

01 March 2012

Polymer clay - two years on

It is now two years since I started working with polymer clay. My study has been very intensive and when I look back to when I first started, I can see how much I have learnt, although there is still much more (you can never stop learning). I definitely feel confident enough to be able to offer advice and guidance to those trying polymer clay for the first time.

The reason I have not posted much so far this year is because I have been busy preparing material for my Polymer Clay Workshops.

28 February 2012

Experimenting with different mould-making materials

Mosaic forms made from baked polymer clay - the pink
surround was added to contain the moulding material

I constructed two small areas of 'micro mosaic', one using angular pieces and the other circles. I then tried making a mould of each using different mould-making materials.

Moulds created with Siligum (blue) and Pinkysil (pink)

The blue moulds were made with Gedeo Siligum Moulding Paste - this is a two part (blue and white) putty that you mix in equal quantities; it only has a 5 minute working time and de-mould time of about 10 minutes.

The pink moulds were made Pinkysil Silicone - this came in bottles and you mix equal quantities; the working time is 6 minutes and de-mould time of 20-30 minutes (depending on thickness).
Samples made with Siligum moulds

Here are some samples made with the Siligum moulds, using black polymer clay and then Pearl-Ex powders on the raised surface. The middle one has a coating of Envirotex Lite epoxy resin but disappointingly this reduces rather than enhances the effect of the raised mosaic impression.

I also tried making a mould using scrap polymer clay but it did not press far enough into the joint spaces to make a useable mould. I have orderd some Sculpey Moldmaker to try - will post my results with this when I have tried it.

My Conclusions
Both materials make a flexible mould. The Siligum (blue) is firmer and better for imprinting polymer clay, which is the purpose I want to use it for. The Pinkysil (pink) is quite rubbery and very flexible - it would be better for a mould around a dimensional object that you would need to peel away. It was not firm enough to imprint the surface of rolled polymer clay.

Due to the short working time of both materials, I would suggest you only make one mould at a time - it was difficult to judge how much I needed to fill my mosaic forms without wasting too much. It was easier to pour the Pinkysil into the mosaic forms and get a smooth surface; the Siligum started to set before I could smooth the surface - but I did try making two moulds at the same time.

31 January 2012

Polymer Clay Workshops for 2012

The weather turned out to be good for this years Auckland Anniversary Art & Craft Market at Mission Bay, bringing lots of visitors to the market.

My display advertising the 'Introduction to Polymer Clay' and the 'Polymer Clay Mosaics' workshops that I will be running through 2012 attracted a lot of interest. I hope this will follow through with some bookings. The fact that I was actually working on making a mosaic picture seemed to draw in by-standers.

Working on 'Coffee Time' mosaic

It was nice to have some 'regular customers' return to buy from the 'clearance' table, where I was selling off trial pieces and the last of my stock of Art-Brooches and HANGAs. I no longer intend to make these, as this year, I will be concentrating on teaching workshops and creating larger scale mosaic artwork.

15 January 2012

Coffee Time at Mission Bay

Auckland Anniversary Art & Craft Market
Monday 30 January 2012 from 10am - 4pm
on the Selwyn Reserve, Mission Bay
'Coffee Time' is the title of my latest polymer clay mosaic, which I have sketched out here. I intend to be working on this mosaic at this years Auckland Anniversary Art & Craft Market at Mission Bay. I am hoping that the 'work in progress' will attract some interest in my display and the workshops I will be advertising for 2012.

If there is anyone in Auckland who wants to learn more about polymer clay, my Introduction to Polymer Clay Workshop could be just what you are looking for. If you like mosaics but do not want the expense of buying traditional mosaic tools and materials, learn more about an alternative on my Polymer Clay Mosaics (Introduction) Workshop. More details can be found under the 'WORKSHOPS' tab - or come and see me on the 30th at Mission Bay (I hope to be in my usual spot, Row 1).

08 January 2012

New Year, New Look Studio

'Studio' is used with 'artistic licence'. I have been working on my folding craft table in the apartment - a far cry from the custom built studio at the end of the garden that I once had in the UK. Several house moves later and then the decision to emigrate to New Zealand meant my whole art and craft set up, including tools and materials, was greatly condensed down to a few large cardboard shipping boxes and my trusty folding craft table.

As we are currently living in a rented apartment, any furniture has to be free-standing so, in an attempt to improve my creative working space and make the apartment look more tidy, I have invested in a new desk and a large bookcase, which will become my very 'compact studio'. The photo shows this transformation in progress. The idea is to eventually have some sort of drop down covering on the front, to hide all the clutter when it is not in use.

The immediate advantage I have noticed so far is having my pasta machine at a height suited for use when standing up.  It also means that I can screw the machine down to the shelf it is on, rather than relying on the clamp to hold it in place, which tends to work loose.

I am not sure when this project will get completed, as I am busy preparing teaching aids and advertising material for my 2012 schedule of workshops, but I will eventually post a photo of the finished look.

01 January 2012

New Year, New Approach

As 2012 begins, I am looking forward to a year of new opportunities.

Towards the end of last year, I made the decision to try a new approach to creative enterprise. I intend to focus on teaching polymer clay workshops/classes and, to support this, work on selected mosaic artworks to showcase my skills as a polymer clay mosaic artist.

This will be quite a change from my previous production of items in volume, such as the HANGAs and Art-Brooches. I am fired up with enthusiasm and hope this will show through in my work and teaching.