31 December 2013

A Review of 2013

When I look back at the plans I had for 2013, some have been more successful than others.

1.    Re-establish a monthly market spot – maybe the Devonport Craft Market or back to Coatesville Market. I started with the Devonport Craft Market for a couple of months, as this was specifically a 'craft' market and only a ferry ride from the city centre for tourists. I hoped it would be better for me than the farmers markets that mainly focus on food, but it did not attract large numbers of visitors. Then I discovered that a new monthly craft market had started in Browns Bay, so I tried that, hoping it would work out for me. It was so handy right on my doorstep and nice to be able to support a local market but after a couple of tries this actually turned out to be the worst market for me in terms of sales. At this point I decided that making lots of small, low cost items to sell at markets was not what I really wanted to do but that I would do the twice yearly Mission Bay markets to sell off old stock. However, the Labour Day Art & Craft Market at Mission Bay was poor  for sales this year and I reluctantly said to my husband that I would not even do that any more, as it was not returning enough to warrant his time as well as my own for the whole day. Although I will miss the customer interaction that I enjoy at markets (hopefully the teaching workshops and the Auckland Polymer Clay Guild will compensate for this), I feel it is now time to aim higher and focus on selling my work through galleries, gallery stores and selected shops.

2.    Exhibit at the Dunkleys Craft Show (North Shore) in October 2013. I had been looking forward to doing this all year but was very disappointed at the number of visitors to the show for all the time, cost and effort. Also the small number of people taking part in the daily workshops and the sign-ups that followed was disappointing. So sadly, I would not do this show again.

3.    Promote polymer clay through slide shows and demonstrations to encourage people to sign up for my workshops. I have not had the chance to pro-actively do as much of this as I would like, mainly due to my time being taken up preparing for teaching workshops and the Dunkleys show - hopefully I can do more of this next year. However, I did set up the Auckland Polymer Clay Guild in August this year (not in my plans!) and I am currently the President of this group.

4.    Expand my range of workshops to include some half day technique focussed sessions e.g. extruding with polymer clay and making canes. I have prepared a number of other workshops and now have five: Introduction to Polymer Clay, Retro Canes, Simple Canes, Polymer Clay Mosaics and Painting with Polymer Clay and am now looking to offer these at other venues, in addition to the Lake House Arts Centre, rather than running them from home. This means I do not have to spend so much time promoting and sorting the administration, which is quite time consuming when I have a limited amount of time.

5.    Complete my “50 clips for 50 years” project to promote CLIPT. This project has not happened as I had intended, in fact it has not happened at all. My original plan was to make one clip a week, illustrating a different technique. Unfortunately work, life, and exhibition, show and teaching deadlines have all taken priority. I would like to think that I will have photographs of the clips that will be featured in this book before my next birthday - but that may be a struggle with everything else that I need to do in the first few months of the new year.

13 December 2013

20 January deadline is looming

I have had very little time to get in the studio lately but today I managed to have a good session. I am currently working on a sculptural piece, which will be one of three pieces, I will be entering in the International Polymer Clay Awards. The closing date for submissions is 20 January, which is not that far off now. I am not sure when I will get to continue working on my sculpture as I have to work all next week and then there is Christmas. Hopefully I will manage to get it completed and photographed in time.

03 December 2013

Christmas shopping evening at the Lake House - Thursday 5 December 2013

I will have a table at this evening event selling my Fashion Clips, jewellery and other small items, all made from polymer clay, that would make unique gifts for Christmas. Note: the heart-shaped pendant on the poster is one of mine.

26 November 2013

Members Merit Awards Exhibition 2013

This exhibition runs from Tuesday 26 November 2013 - Sunday 15 December 2013 at the Lake House Arts Centre in Takapuna. The photo used on the advertising poster (shown left) has my 'Spring Trio' in the foreground, which won the Peoples Choice Award last year. This year I have entered two pieces: my 'Golden Wave' sculpture and the Mosaic Strip Mirror, which attracted a lot of comment at the Dunkleys Craft Show.
I attended the opening and prize-giving this evening and was disappointed that there was no award this year for sculptural work. All the awards were for various painting and pastel work (2D); whether this was because of the companies sponsoring the event I do not know but it was a shame that the whole area of 3D work was not judged.

19 November 2013

A mention in the North Shore Times

It was quite a surprise to me, when reading the North Shore Times, to come across my own name in print! I received a mention as one of the artists/tutors taking part in the Christmas shopping evening that is taking place on Thursday 5 December at the Lake House Arts Centre.

28 October 2013

Mission Bay Art & Craft Market - for the last time

The weather held out for the market on Labour Day, with the sun shining for a good part of the day, which was nice. I have done this twice yearly market since arriving in New Zealand and feel quite said that this will be my last one.
It is a hard decision, I love going to Mission Bay for sentimental reasons, as it is close to where we first lived when we moved to NZ but my work is evolving. Since I have been concentrating on teaching polymer clay, my own work is focussing on one-off gallery and exhibition pieces, not suited to this outdoor type of market. So it is with sadness that this will be my last time here as a stallholder.

24 October 2013

Labour Day Art & Craft Marketat Mission Bay - 28 October 2013

I will be selling my Fashion Clips along with other polymer clay work at this market - and of course there will be some end of line/trial pieces at bargain prices. A great time to start Christmas shopping.

21 October 2013

Some photos from the Show

My stand at the Dunkleys Great NZ Craft Show (North Shore) 2013

A closer shot of some of my polymer clay work for sale

Here I am, ready to answer any question people might ask about polymer clay

23 September 2013

Dunkleys Great NZ Craft Show at North Shore Events Centre, Auckland, 18-20 October 2013

Visit my stand at the show to see a wide range of work created with polymer clay. Please ask me anything you want to know about polymer clay and, if you have never tried it before, have a go at the 'Discover Polymer Clay' workshops running each day at 11am (see post below for more info).

18 September 2013

Taster Workshops at Dunkleys Show

 It is now exactly one month until the Dunkleys Great NZ Craft Show.

SHOW SPECIAL: Discover Polymer Clay - only $7 at Dunkleys Great NZ Craft Show, North Shore Events Centre from 11am - noon on each day:
Friday 18, Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 October 2013

"Squeeze, twist, shape & bake" + lots of ideas
This is your chance to have a go. Get some in your hands and squeeze the clay to condition it, twist the different colours to create a marbled effect, cut a shape from the rolled sheet and bake it to harden. You will take this away with you, along with many ideas for things you can easily make from polymer clay, and hopefully the desire to do more.
Polymer clay comes in a vibrant array of colours; easily cut, shaped or moulded into flat or 3D pieces with many fascinating ways to decorate and texture the surface. Hardened by baking at oven temperatures (no kiln required), it is so easy to use at home for all sorts of hobbies and creative uses.
To book ring Claire on 021 0297 7697 or email claire@clairefairweather.co.nz

15 September 2013

Kaleidoscope Cane Jewellery Workshop

Random Kaleidoscope canes made by the students

Jewellery made from the Kaleidoscope canes

01 September 2013

Extruded Light


I am really pleased with my second attempt (the first one slumped and is in the bin) at creating a large LED candle lit light. It is made from extruded translucent polymer clay. I used most of an 8oz pack of clay and wound the extruded string around a spherical glass bowl. The LED candle that is placed inside, changes through seven different colours and turns this translucent polymer clay creation into something magical. I need to try and take a video of it to show the changing colours.
This light will be one of the features on my stand at the Dunkleys Great NZ Craft Show, 18-20 October 2013 at the North Shore Events Centre, Auckland.

17 August 2013

Retro Cane Polymer Clay Jewellery Workshop

Fantastic work from my students on the workshop today. Most of them had never used polymer clay before. I think there will now be a mass purchase of Makin's extruders!

13 August 2013

The Auckland Polymer Clay Guild is born

A little piece of history was made tonight: a first meeting was held, between four founding members, and the Auckland Polymer Clay Guild has now been established.
The objectives of this Guild, reflecting those of the International Polymer Clay Association, are to educate the public about polymer clay, and to study and promote an interest in the use of polymer clay as an artistic medium.
The Auckland Polymer Clay Guild will meet on the first Tuesday of the month for a social get together, to exchange information and news about forth-coming events, ‘show and tell’, ask for advice and to place group orders for specific products. Additional weekend demonstrations or workshops will be arranged to cover particular techniques or topics, as requested by members.
Membership is free and is open to anyone with an interest in polymer clay. You may already use polymer clay, perhaps you are thinking about it or just want to know more; whatever your knowledge or ability, join the Auckland Polymer Clay Guild. As a non-profit making group, we are here to help and support our members, as polymer clay grows in popularity as a leisure, hobby and fine art medium in New Zealand.
Please contact claire@clairefairweather.co.nz to register as a member or for further information.

12 July 2013

The difference a mirror makes

I have made a mirror frame from mosaic strips of polymer clay. Some of the strips are plain coloured pieces and others show various surface techniques. I took a photograph before the mirror glass was put in the frame as, I know from past experience, it is often hard to photograph mirrors. See what a difference the mirror makes, in the two photos below.

The mirror frame without the mirror glass

and with the mirror glass in place

05 July 2013

The Great Art Sale 2013

I will be putting a couple of pieces in this sale, at the Lake House Arts Centre, but it is difficult deciding which, as I want to keep a lot of my work for the Dunkleys Craft Show in October.

Post Script @ Friday 12 July 2013: At the end of the first hand in day (Friday), the Art Sale is full, so the two pieces I was planning to take on Saturday will not now be in it. So here are photos, the first piece "With all my love" has not been seen before, as it was made specifically for this event.

"With all my love"

"Coffee Time"

02 July 2013

"With all my love" - work in progress

This is a piece I am currently working on. I have covered a heart-shaped wall hanging ornament with strips of polymer clay showing different surface techniques (skinner blend, marbled, retro cane and rolled metal leaf). I then plan to add a tied ribbon, made from polymer clay, with the wording "With all my love" on it. I will post a photo of the finished piece, when it is done.

30 June 2013

Polymer clay workshops at the Lake House Arts Centre

Here is a photo from my Introduction to Polymer Clay workshop, held last weekend at the Lake House Arts Centre.

I had six lovely students, who I believe left at the end of the day with a greater knowledge of this wonderful creative medium and plenty of inspiration. Due to the limited space in my two table top ovens, we concentrated on cutting flat shapes from colour blended, marbled and textured clay. Here is the students work, which I think is great, as four of them had never used polymer clay before.
Two new workshops are planned for next term - details will be published soon. 

28 June 2013

A disasterous Friday

I started work today on a new sculptural piece. After sketching out a plan, I began creating a whole range of graded shades of clay, from purple and blue through to green and turquoise, for mosaic tiles to cover a ceramic form (the Maori 'fish hook' symbol).
I had decided to apply the mosaic tiles unbaked, so they would mould to the curved shape of the sculpture better. At the end of the afternoon, I decided to part bake the piece (which was not finished) that I had been working on most of the day. Then disaster struck...
Somehow, in the short distance from my work table to the oven, the piece toppled over, falling off the baking tile and smashing all over the floor. I will not repeat what I said, suffice to say I had just ruined a days work.

18 June 2013

Golden Wave - nearly finished

My work on this sculpture has been very sporadic. I had to wait for the Viva Decor Precious Metal Colour (gold) to come from America, which I have used on the inner surface of the wave. It took quite a few coats but looks good, very metallic and better than in the photo. On the website I ordered it from, it said that this product was hard to remove but I discovered that it comes off if wiped with alcohol.

So I feel I need to give this sculpture a finishing coat. I could use Sculpey Glaze but am concerned that it is not that durable so perhaps Envirotex Lite resin would be better, but I am scared of spoiling it, so I keep putting it off.

11 June 2013

Mirror frame in progress

Here is a glimpse of a multi-coloured mirror frame I am making for Dunkley's Craft Show. It is made of lots of strips of polymer clay in plain and pearlised colours, some streaked, marbled or rolled with metal leaf.

21 April 2013

Browns Bay Craft Market - 20 April 2013

This was my reduced display for the April market, due to the heavy rain and wind that was forecast for the day. However, it turned out to be lovely and sunny, up until packing up time, when there was a torrential downpour but luckily I managed to stay dry.
I have done this market for two months now and sadly it has not been very successful for me in terms of selling. It is such a shame, as I would love to support this local market but I have to consider the best use of my time. Before I found out this local market had started I had made the decision to stop doing markets and concentrate on higher end events and getting work in gallery stores.
So, this is what I will focus on. I am already booked to exhibit at Dunkley's Great NZ Craft Show and am making some one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces for the gallery shop at the Lake House Arts Centre.

19 April 2013

UV curing lamp and Magic Glos

The UV curing lamp
For a long time I have deliberated over getting a UV curing lamp, so that I can use Lisa Pavelka's Magic Glos (UV curing resin). As I want to start making some clips and jewellery with photos and other personalised items set under resin, the UV resin is so quick compared to waiting 48hrs for the two part epoxy resins to set. I had read some reviews that said the UV lamps used for curing gel nails did not always work and because I would go for the larger size (to be able to do more or larger pieces in one go), I had put off making the purchase for a while.
Anyway, I eventually did and I am pleased to say it works fine. I have only just got round to photographing my first results, which I will be taking to the Browns Bay Craft Market tomorrow.

My first pendants using stamped black polymer clay with
Pearl-Ex mica powders and topped with Magic Glos

For Mother's Day - polymer clay set in silver-plated bezels
with Magic Glos and sterling silver ear wires

24 March 2013

My work shown at Synergy3 Conference

I have enjoyed reading the recent posts on Polymer Clay Daily about the Synergy3 (Polymer Clay) Conference that was held in Atlanta - just wish I could have attended. So I was delighted that some of the presentations were being posted for others to look at. Looking at the 'How to How to' presentation by Judy Belcher and Cynthia Tinapple, I was amazed to see two photos (taken from my blog) on one of the slides about 'How to use scrap' - it was my first attempt and making a 'Stroppel Cane'. I feel very priviledged that a tiny piece of my work made an appearance at the conference, even though I could not be there.

23 March 2013

Browns Bay Craft Market 23.03.2013

It was a lovely suny day, although quite windy at times (one of the perils of being outside), I had to pin or stick everything down to stop it blowing off my table at the Browns Bay Craft Market. It was nice to be doing a very local (literally up the road I live on) market, even if it did not turn out to be very profitable.

This was only the second time the market has been held, and the first time for me taking part. I hope it develops into a viable market for me, as it is nice to support a local initiative.

16 March 2013

Application accepted for Dunkleys

After months of deliberating I finally took the plunge and applied to have a stand at Dunkleys Great NZ Craft Show when it comes to the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland, 18-20 October 2013. I am delighted to have received confirmation that my application has been accepted.
My main reason for doing this is to promote polymer clay and advertise my workshops but it will be interesting to see how sales compare with the markets I have been selling at so far, as it will be a different type of visitor to this event. I hope to be teaching a workshop on each of the three days of the show, as well as demonstrating on my stand, and would love to generate enough interest to set up an Auckland Polymer Clay Guild.

22 February 2013

I have been working

'Golden Wave' - in progress
It has been a while since I have posted what I have been working on. This because it has mostly been preparing samples and material for my workshops but here is a sculptural piece I have started. It will be called 'Golden Wave'. I will post a photo when it is finished but I cannot say when that will be yet.

19 February 2013

My first stained glass cane

This was my first attempt at a stained glass cane using Pardo polymer clay. I think I mixed too much solid colour with the translucent, as apart from the yellow, the other colours are not as translucent as I was expecting. I will have to experiment more with the proportions of solid colour to translucent if I have another go. 

07 February 2013

Auckland Polymer Clay Guild?

(c) Lara Melnik
If you already use polymer clay, are thinking about it, or just want to know more - meet up with other like-minded people once a month.
I am thinking of seting up an Auckland Polymer Clay Guild, if there is enough interest. If you would like to be part of this, leave a comment or contact me. We can form the basis of the group at a first meeting and take it from there.

03 February 2013

CLIPT at Devonport 03.02.2013

Here is my display of fashion clips at the Devonport Craft Market. Again, as at Mission Bay last weekend, I received a lot of positive feedback, especially about my sketch illustrations. My intention was to replace them with actual photos but now I am not so sure, as the general opinion is that they are neutral, clear and easy to understand.

31 January 2013

30 January 2013

Lake House Tutors Evening

Tonight was the 'Meet the Tutors' evening at the Lake House. It was a great opportunity for me to meet the other tutors there and hopefully some potential new students for my workshops.

28 January 2013

CLIPT at Mission Bay - 'Kiwiana' clips launched

The weather was perfect for the Auckland Anniversary Art and Craft Market at Mission Bay. There were lots visitors and some very positive feed back on my fashion clips. Several people commented on the display of sketches, saying they illustrated well the different ways to wear and use the clips and that they were easy to understand.

Below are some of my first 'Kiwiana' clips I took to the market. The rubber stamps I had made from my designs have been impressed into black polymer clay and then coated with mica powders.

Koru, Pohutukawa, Kiwi & Fern designs

27 January 2013

Devonport Craft Market - Sunday 3 February 2013

Next Sunday, 3 February, I will be trying the Devonport Craft Market for the first time, with  a selection of my Fashion Clips.

It is held on the first Sunday of the month at 32 Clarence Street, Devonport from 10am - 3pm.

12 January 2013

Don't miss ...

Monday 28 Janaury 2013 for 10am - 4pm
on the Selwyn Reserve, Mission Bay

04 January 2013

A new prop for CLIPT in 2013

This has been a little project I started at the end of last year, which will form part of my new display for CLIPT in 2013. It started life as a white polystyrene wig stand. I covered it with several layers of papier mache, then used acrylic modelling paste to create the textured surface and painted it with black acrylic paint. It will be used as a prop for hats and scarves, to display the fashion clips in use.
I have also purchased a digital photo frame, so I can show the 'How to Wear' CLIPT slideshow at venues where there will be an electricity supply. I am particularly thinking for the Dunkleys Craft Show I plan to do this year, when it comes to the North Shore in October.

01 January 2013

Special project for 2013

As 2013 is a signifcant year for me (I will be 50 in April), I wanted to have a special project to mark this milestone.
My original idea for this project was to do it with brooches but now that I am currently creating fashion clips, it will be 50 Clips for 50 Years. The idea is to create 50 clips (that is roughly one a week throughout the year) showing examples of different techniques for the surface decoration of polymer clay.
After photographing the clips and writing a short explanatory decription for each one, I hope to publish the project as a small book. In addition to using it as a teaching aid for my polymer clay workshops, the book can also be used for the promotion of CLIPT.
The hardest thing will be limiting myself to 50 clips, to try and show the whole range of techniques that can be used with polymer clay.