The Handicraft Cafe

I was at the cafe yesterday. They’ve sold some of my stuff! I could only find one pair of neon earrings left.

The Handicraft Cafe, as I call it, is run by Botkyrka-Salem Hemslöjdsförening, a craft guild for all kinds of traditional and new handicrafts. I became a member 4 years ago through one of my work colleagues. They run a cafe and displays the craft of the members there during the summertime and arrange a Christmas market at the end of November every year in Hågelby.

I’ve been at 3 christmas markets so far, with varying sales success, the second year was the best. But I don’t create much more during a year than I can sell at those two weekends and during the summer. Most of my other sales are commissions or through my workplace. That’s about all I can handle when working at the same time.

Most other members of the guild are retired from regular work and have much more time on their hands. I actually bring down their average age quite a lot. Many of them create in ceramics or wood, or knit and weave. Things most people would view as true ‘handicraft’. But the guild also allows for newer craft such as jewelry making. The only rule is that the material used must be genuine, so no artificial nylon threads or plastic beads. Only glass, metal, wood, cotton or wool.

Some might argue that polymer clay is artificial, since it’s plastic. But they rule it as an art medium. As long as the beads, pendants or findings made with it are hand made, it is still counted as handicraft.

I’ve just started looking into resin casting. I better ask them about that…

Dragons

I’ve always been fascinated by dragons. Winged creatures of fantasy that can look almost like anything. But in my mind a dragon has both arms and wings. And the wings should be large enough to be believable. Not even fantasy beasts can fly with too small wings, no matter how cute. And I’m not that fond of the standard green dragons. My dragons tend to be red or brownish. Or iridescent white. Or black and purple.

I haven’t made that many projects with dragons, but as my projects go, only flower projects are more abundant. In 2008 I took an art class in my teaching studies. We got to explore a lot of different art medias from the focus of one theme. My theme was dragons and that’s when I really started paying attention to dragon anatomy and scales. I painted water color dragons, acrylic dragons. I did detailed studies of eyes or wings or feet.

But I think my proudest theme is my family dragons. My brother in law also loves dragons and I’ve given him some of my works as gifts over the years. All of them have the same kind of dragon, a red one with black spikes and frills and yellow stomach. But the first one is from 2003 or 2004, I can’t really recall which birthday it was. I used a printed image as a guide to look at while painting. The second one is from 2008, a study of just the dragon’s head and sketched from scratch. The third is from 2011, the pose is sketched from a mesh of several guides, but the painting was done without a guide. So you can really see how my skill progresses.

Then this year I decided to make a Valentine’s gift for my husband. Red was the choice here too, but unlike the previous paintings I chose to make it in polymer clay. It was amazing to see the difference a sculpture could make to a two dimensional painting. I strayed from my preferences and made the wings tiny however. I *did* make larger wings, but realized they’d take all the focus off the heart and the rose, so I opted for the easier to make and cuter smaller wings instead.

Red Dragon 2003

2003

Red Dragon 2008

2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Dragon 2011

2011

Red Dragon 2014

2014

It’s Alive!!

Yes indeed!

I figured it was time to dust off this blog again. Lately I have had the time to clay more. And, just recently I’ve found kindred Scandinavians who actually know what polymer clay is! I just joined a Facebook group for Scandinavian polymer clay people. And I noticed that the sewing and handicraft fair here in Stockholm had more than just cloth and yarns. I have actually met other polymer clay enthusiasts! And I came back with a bunch of tools and texture sheets I didn’t have previously. Perhaps too much according to my dear hubby. 🙂

So now I have lots of new things to experiment with! I’ve gotten a few packets of Fimo Classic and Premo that I intend to compare caning with.

And what have I done since I forgot this blog existed? Well, I did find liquid polymer clay and I have been experimenting. I’m not sure I like the softness of Fimo clear liquid, but I do like the transparency, But pieces with it tend to feel a little too rubbery for my taste.

Oh, and last year I joined the Flickr group 12 Polymer Projects in 2013. It was really very useful to have a ‘deadline’ each month to finish something. I’ve been reaching out to the polymer community more and more. It’s good for my inspiration, and for my shyness. I’m still to shy to post comments in most places, but I’m getting there.

I’ve also tried a lot of kaleidoscope caning and mokume gane. I’ve also strayed from simple pendant necklaces to a little more complex jewelry. But I’m realizing that most of my talent lies with sculpting. My latest project was a dragon figurine for my hubby on Valentine’s Day.

I hope I’ll continue updating this blog with more projects, and pictures. Especially now that I know people are actually reading it! 🙂

From the Archives – Wolf Shirts

Way back in 2003/2005 I had a thing for painting on shirts. I figured a shirt was at least a little more useful than a painting.

And I noticed that painting fur on cloth is a lot easier than on canvas. So these two shirts became the christmas gifts one year. The wolves are painted with white, gray and silver colors, hence the speckled effect in places.

Why Cernit clay?

Why do I use Cernit polymer clay?

Well, the first reason is that there are two kinds of clay that dominate the Swedish market, Cernit and Fimo Soft. So Cernit is a lot easier to get a hold of than say Premo or Kato.

Second, I like the softness and pliabilty of Cernit. I tried regular Fimo once, and my hands couldn’t handle the conditioning. Or maybe it’s just my impatience liking the shorter time it takes to condition Cernit clay…

Third. My employer has a considerable discount on Cernit clay specifically. We have a deal, I make animal mugs for the children and in return I can make an order of clay on their tab. What you see to the right is how much clay fits into one of those orders. And only about 30 packets are needed for the mugs, so the rest is all mine, for free! Well, aside from the time I spend on making some 30-ish mugs each year…

There’s no way I could afford that much clay if I paid it myself, and my employer pays about a sixth of what I have to pay, so the mug trade is a win-win for both of us.

So yeah, I’ll stick to Cernit for now and it’s great for my animal mugs. But yes, I’ve noticed it’s a little… unpredictable when making canes, which I have now started experimenting with. If I put my impatience aside and let the canes cool between assembling and reducing and slicing the results are a little better.

But, if my sales take off this year, I may be able to buy another kind of clay to experiment with. I’ve seen both regular Fimo and Pardo clay available online at least…

Now what I would really like to try is transparent liquid clay, but so far I haven’t found a single Swedish store, online or otherwise, who carries it.

Oh! And there’s a fourth reason I use Cernit! It is extremely flexible! Which is good when making jewelry for children, or one-size-fits-all bracelets. I’ll put up another post in the future showing just how flexible the clay really is. I just have to make pictures of that first.

Tidigare inlägg «