31 December 2018

A Review of 2018

At the beginning of this year, I set myself just one goal: to continue developing my Swirl-StoNZUnfortunately I have not succeeded very well with this. Other creative opportunities have come along to take up my time as well as some important non-creative life plans. Half way through the year I even had to turn down several art opportunities, as I simply did not have enough spare time, but others I really felt I had to take up. My dot mosaics were supposed to take a back seat for this year, while I concentrated on developing my Swirl-StoNZ. Instead they seem to have taken over. 

In summary, I had planned to enter a couple of pieces for the New Zealand National Mosaic Art Exhibition 2018 in September but the Estuary Art Centre also put on another Mosaic Exhibition in May, which I was asked to enter. As this was not in my original plan, I submitted my large ‘Watching the sunrise over Rangitoto’ artwork, which had to be re-mounted on board (as it was originally done on a canvas), re-grouted and framed. I was amazed that it sold on the first day.

I spent a lot of time creating my two pieces for the New Zealand National Mosaic Art Exhibition 2018, as this was the first time I had entered this biennial event, which was held in September at the Estuary Arts Centre, Orewa. I was thrilled to receive first prize in the 3D category for my sphere sculpture ‘Aotearoa – land of the long white cloud’. Although I did not sell this piece at this exhibition, I entered it in the Member’s Merit Awards Exhibition held in November at the Lake House Arts Centre, Takapuna. Not only did I sell this sculpture at this exhibition, it won the People’s Choice Award and I was commissioned to do another similar sculpture, which will be my first project of 2019.

My polymer dot mosaics will also be featured in a second book, titled 'Polymer Journeys 2019', which is due to be published early next year. The submission of photos and text for this involved some work, as well as my one entry for the 2018 International Polymer Clay Awards.

So 2018 has turned out to be a successful year for my dot mosaics, which is good, just not quite what I planned. For 2019, I do still want to develop my Swirl-StoNZ but I also feel I should ‘go with the flow’ and continue with the success of my dot mosaics. If only there were more hours in the day J 

23 December 2018

Entry submitted for the 2018 International Polymer Clay Awards

Due to lack of time, I have only been able to create one new piece for this competition. I have been working on it for several months and finally submitted my entry today. Unfortunately, I cannot post any photos until after the end of February 2019, when the judging has taken place.

22 December 2018

Results of glow in the dark polymer clay trials

If you use glow in the dark polymer clay, you might be interested in the results of an experiment I started a year ago. At the time I had started to make my own glow in the dark polymer clay by mixing GITD powders with white translucent Premo, as per the instructions on https://thebluebottletree.com/diy-glow-dark-polymer-clay/ from Ginger Davis Allman. To start with I used the powders from Vadien, as mentioned in Ginger’s article but they cost so much to ship to New Zealand that when I had used those up, I ordered more GITD powder from a local company in New Zealand (www.glowinthedark.co.nz), which seemed to work just as well. I now just use green GITD powders as this colour has the strongest and longest lasting glow. 

I was using GITD polymer clay to make products (Swirl-StoNZ by Claire) to sell at craft fairs and, after a customer query, I wanted to see how well it performed and if it was suitable for use outdoor. So I made three lentil bead shapes, approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) across, with the GITD polymer clay and baked them as per the manufacturer’s instructions. The unmarked one was left on a shelf in my studio (fairly shaded), the one marked ‘S’ was left on a sunny window sill and the one marked ‘W’ was left in a bowl of water (on the desk in my studio, fairly shaded). I left these samples for a whole year and then tested them to see how well they glowed in the dark

Left: shelf  -  Centre: sunny window sill  -  Right: water

My first observation was that they all looked different colours in daylight. It may not show that well in the photograph but most noticeable was the lentil that had been in the water (after drying) was quite white and opaque looking, it had lost its translucency. The lentil bead that had been on the shelf was translucent with a slight brown tinge (even though I had used Premo White Translucent and not regular Translucent). The one that had been on the sunny window sill was translucent with a slight green tinge, almost like it was glowing green but in daylight, I am guessing this was because the photo-luminescent particles in the clay were super charged from being in a sunny position all year.

Photo taken as soon as samples were put in the dark

They say 'a photograph does not lie' but my eyes seemed to see quite differently to this photograph. The centre lentil, which was the one that had been on a sunny window sill, appeared much brighter than the other two that seemed to glow the same.

Photo taken 2 minutes after samples were put in the dark

After two minutes the centre lentil was still glowing much brighter but now the right lentil that had been in the water was not glowing as strongly as the one on the left that had just been on the shelf.

Photo taken 5 minutes after samples were put in the dark

After five minutes the centre lentil was still glowing brighter, the other two were not glowing as strongly but appeared to be similar. 

As I am writing this, I realise that that there are flaws to this experiment. I should have continued to observe the degree of glow for longer than 5 minutes, say again after 10 minutes, half an hour, and hour, etc. Also, would it have been different if the lentil in the water had been placed on the sunny window sill, rather than on my studio desk which is quite shady? 

When I started this trial, I was just curious to see what would happen to the GITD polymer clay that had been immersed in water. I do not think I will bother to repeat or refine this trial but I do feel confident to say that the glow in the dark polymer clay made into a lentil shaped 'stone' should be fine for outdoors. After one whole year totally submerged in water, the polymer clay had not deteriorated and the GITD powders incorporated in the clay still glowed. Exposure to sunlight improves the intensity and length of glow time.