Friday, 18 April 2014

From the kiln - April

It occurs to me that it has been a while since I have posted any "from the kiln" pictures, so today, while I price and wrap and pack for next weekend's show, I am snapping a few pictures to share.

 I tried my hand at throwing again a couple of weeks ago.  Although I am still no good at trimming on the wheel (which I have to admit is why I stopped throwing in the first place---you can only bust through the bottom of so many pots before you take a break from it) I have discovered that I quite enjoy hand trimming and carving.  So, there may be more wheel throwing in my future.
 Hanging planters just waiting for their ropes.
 A couple more small mugs came out of the kiln.  Two of the four are to my satisfaction.
 You may or may not have seen these already, but now all 4 are out.
 The rose bowl that I am absolutely thrilled with!  Yippee!  No cracks, no bare patches, no crawling, no ugly bits.  Just nice shiny glaze and it covered the roses very well.
 The little scoops are out.  Still looking rather like a child's tea set.
 A pod bird feeder ready to go.  There was a blue one too, but it stuck to the shelf.  
 This one had gone into the seconds pile originally, because some of the holes had filled in with glaze, but my husband said he thought that was intentional so that some would show clear light and some would just glow, so now it's in the "to test out" pile.
 Cutie patootie.  This one is for a votive candle, but I see a vase to "match" in the near future.
A yarn bowl of rather generous proportions.  I happen to like it very well myself, but then I'm partial to brown.  I tend to make the yarn bowls white and blue or white and turquoise, or white and green as that is what so many knitters have bought from me in the past.
I am particularly fond of the very "drippy" inside.  Very fond, even though a particular person who saw it said "oooh, what went wrong there?"

The reduction kiln at the college was loaded up last night, so hopefully I will have a few more delights to share next week.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Annual Elementary School Art Show

For the past 5 years or so, the elementary school my youngest attends has hosted an art show where every piece of art is made of recycled, repurposed or upcycled materials.

Here is what the students (and classes) came up with this year:

 One little girl made an elephant out of an old vacuum cleaner.  Hilarious.
 Not having seen any of the projects in advance, we were thrilled to see that some naturally went together, by colour or style.  See those paintings...the person who submitted them found the frames in the garbage.  They just needed a cleaning, sanding, and coat of paint.
 This was a big hit with so many of the kids.  

 Nice bright magazine page art.

 N, of course, made this monster candy jar by reclaiming the clay I trimmed off my pottery pieces.

 This was a class project (I forgot to take a picture of the artist who's work this is based on).  They made a video to go with it, which we played on a loop through the evening.
 Kindergarten project:  They had a hard time understanding why they couldn't take their little bugs home with them last week, so we gave them a tour of the show in the afternoon.  Now they get it.
 One family worked together to build a whole house and yard out of recycled materials.  This little cauliflower was one of my favourite bits.
 There was a whole collection of these little robots made of scraps and leftovers, made by the grade 4/5 class.

 Ah, the sloppy jalopy...one of the big hits of the show.  It's an old bike that someone has had in their garden for a couple of years, fixed up with a few bits added.  The little fold down table goes back up and locks into place in the triangle of the bike frame.  The front of the drink holder even has a bottle opener attached to it.  Note the rolled up picnic blanket rolled up and strapped in underneath the bottles.  
 Another kindergarten project...a whole collection of little owls made of juice lids and bottle caps.  As much as I love that the projects are all made of recycled materials, it is sometimes a little discouraging to see how much waste is still being produced.  There were about 25 of these owls, each of which had water bottle lids for eyes.  Why, oh why, are people still drinking water from plastic water bottles with all the options out there?
 One of the teachers brought in all of these partition walls from their church.  It really helped make the displays come together.  It was nice to have the teachers on board this year.
The special needs class outdoes themselves every year.  These sheep are made of the material they used to use to make casts but that isn't used any more (our school is across from a hospital).
Here's a close up:

It was a fun night, once again!

Linking up with: Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Some little desserts...for display.

I'm still working on the little felt food props to go with some of my dishes at the Carlisle Country Craft and Old-Fashioned Market Mercantile.
I had come across these little doughnut pincushions via Pinterest and decided I wanted to make something similar.
The size was determined by the scraps I had on hand...three strangely shaped oblong pieces.  I traced the inside of the packing tape roll to get the outside diameter, and a thread bobbin for the "hole".
 I decided to cut the "hole" a little smaller than I had traced it to allow for how much it would change while stuffing the doughnut.
 I stitched the "hole" first, and then stitched about 1 inch of the outside at a time, stuffing as I went along.  It takes a surprising amount of stuffing to fill one of these tiny little doughnuts.  A good solid hand full I would say.
 Nearing the end of the stitching, I stuffed as much of the stuffing in as I could fit, and  then stitched it shut and massaged the stuffing around to even it out.
 For the icing, I traced the same outside diameter, but then...
 ...I cut it all drippy and melty.
 And repeated the same on the inside.

 I stitched the icing into place with matching thread (In hindsight, it would probably be easier to stitch the icing and beads on first and then sew the doughnut sides together, but this way wasn't bad either).
 Added some "sprinkles"...
 ...and made a few different "flavours".
 I think they will be just the thing for the section of my table that is set up for dessert and tea.
 And I can switch them around as items (hopefully) sell.
In the meantime, we will use them on Wednesday at the Earth SmART Art Show at the school for the picnic bicycle display - photos of which I will share after the event.

Linking up with: Keep Calm Craft On over at Frontier Dreams
                        Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder

Monday, 7 April 2014

Beaded Flowers - and why everything is so little lately

I've spent the last couple of evenings making these little beaded flowers.
They aren't complicated, but they are a little time consuming.
 I'm using tiny jewellers wire and glass seed beads...basically, just string them all on there one by one until you have about 12" worth.
I found the best way to do it is to spill a bunch out onto a sheet of felt and then just poke them with the wire and push it up the wire with your finger.  Note: you really do want to push the bead up after every single one, otherwise they will end up just shooting across the room when you slip.

 Then just make one loop at a time, wrapping the wire around the previous loop, or around the center (whatever it takes to keep it secure) until you have the number of loops you want.
 I did 5 loops for the bottom layer and 6 or 7 for the top, depending on how they looked.
 I made two separate flowers, on two separate wires, and strung a button onto a third piece of wire, and then assembled all three pieces together and twisted the wires together underneath. 
For scale: The outer flower is a little over 2" across.
 I played around with colour combinations, but my favourite is probably the all clear one.
 I still thought they were a little too tiny, so I added some feathers for fun, and hot glued them to a piece of dogwood branch, since these will be props for some vases...
 ...although now I want some for in my hair...
 I think it's just the thing to bring a pop of colour to my all white vases at the show without having to deal with fresh flowers.
And for those of you wondering why everything lately is so small - I am limiting myself to this rubbermaid bin for props at my August show.  Last year, it felt like I brought half a truck load and it was just too much to deal with.  I'm hoping to have more stock this year, plus - the minions (and all their gear) are coming with me so space will be limited.  Wish me luck?