Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oh NO!!

The polymer clay community has been consumed recently with issues of copying, infringement, ethics, inspiration, etc. So imagine my distress this morning when I followed a link on a blog and found this photo (right) on Tina Holden's blog. I was upset because, totally on my own, without ever seeing Tina's lovely work, I have produced almost identical items! Since Tina posted her image sometime yesterday, even if I had seen it then, I would have had to scramble to find shells and a sand dollar, make molds and produce polymer clay copies. Proof that great minds think alike. Yet, if I put my items for sale on Etsy, I'm sure someone would accuse me of blatant copying. (However, I seriously doubt the two of us are the first to make PC shells from molds.)

My shells below:
I returned from scuba diving in the Caribbean a couple of months ago with some shells and a sand dollar and immediately made molds of them. My sand dollar isn't perfect, so I need to do some more work to make the mold the way I want it. I finished some small shell earrings (center in photo)and experimented with different coloring for the big shell. I put a ring in the white one so I can string it. In addition to my plans for making some simple earrings and necklaces, I also made some faux black coral and I was planning to make a starfish and some other creatures, like sea fans or sea urchins, and then combine a bunch of the pieces into an elaborate necklace. I just have some preliminary sketches of that. But I checked out Tina's Etsy site today and she has some nice starfish and fish items and Just Jewelry showed sterling silver sea fans on the 18th. I was going to try making them with liquid clay....

I know all the discussion of what constitutes copying is having a distressing effect on me as I struggle to "find my own voice" and I hope it is not causing anyone to forego pursuing their ideas.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My First Vessel

TA DA! Here it is:

my first vessel ever. This is one of the three I started in Seth Savarick's class. Not bad for my first mokume gane and first attempt at a vessel, but I know I can do better. It should have a cord attached to make it wearable, but I don't think I will bother. The turquoise clay had some plaque that I didn't notice until it was baked. And I don't care for the TLS surface over the mokume gane. It is still too cloudy for my taste even though I used a heat gun on it. My TLS is old and a bit thick, so I don't think the coats I applied were thin enough. I'll try the Fimo Gel on a future project. It came out much clearer in my tests.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Where to Begin???

I'm back home after three weeks away and trying to figure out where to start. Paying bills, of course. Unpacking my goodies from Synergy. I have new toys to play with - some "Pro" bead rollers, faux bone (no idea what to do with that yet), new mold/mould making materials (don't know whether to use American or Canadian spelling), my "Mona-fied" pasta machine, and some new videos and DVDs. I'm full of inspiration but trepidation too.

I consider myself to be an intermediate clayer: definitely not a beginner, but still learning and searching for my "voice." I was already concerned about how to use all the techniques I'm learning without imitating other people's work, and the discussions at Synergy and in recent posts on clay bulletin boards only reinforced those concerns. I tend to paralyze myself. If I can't do something totally unique and original, then I can't do anything at all. Which is a bit too much to expect from someone who is still learning. I'm sure I'm not the only one struggling with these issues.

So, my first project is to finish the vessels I started at Seth Savarick's class. Stay tuned.

And best wishes to Ponsawan, my Synergy roommate, and her daughter.