Monday, February 28, 2011

Managing Color

I had to drop out of the Thing a Day project because of going out of town and then returning to find water in my basement, but enough of that.......

I've tried various ways to keep track of color recipes and mixed clay, but I haven't had an integrated system that works consistently.  I've gotten pretty good at forcing myself to slow down and record recipes for the colors I mix on sample chips, as you can see from the photo.  The recipes are written on the back, and the loose chips make it possible to move them around, overlap them and see what colors look good together.  I've also tried gluing color chips on individual index cards, but they were hard to keep organized and took up a lot of room. My method for organizing leftover clay was to write the brand and the recipe on a piece of index card, put that with the clay, and wrap it all in plastic wrap.  That kind of works, but it means I have to write the recipe all over again, and a couple of times the card got saturated with plastisizer and the ink ran.  No idea how I made those pretty colors.  So when Carolyn Good released the tutorial for her Clay Color System,  I purchased it immediately.  She is one of the most prolific producers of quality clay products that I know of, so I figured she must have a good system.  She does.

Her clearly written and illustrated tutorial explains her system for organizing recipes and storing clay and includes cards to print out for recipes and color chips.  In addition it provides over 50 recipes including her favorite color base mixes and the Pantone Spring 2011 colors.  There are also descriptions of how she approaches blends and tries out color combinations.  I found the system to be very logical, easy to implement and better than the methods I have tried before.  (I think I will continue to make my little color squares in addition to the color chips in Carolyn's system - they take hardly any more clay or additional time; I can just write the "code" on the back instead of the recipe; and I do like to dump them on the table and play with them.)  From now on I will have no excuse for finding packages of mystery colors in my clay drawer or wondering how the heck I made that great color.

For anyone who mixes a lot of custom colors and stores the clay or wants to be able to repeat the recipe, I highly recommend this tutorial and system.  You can find it by following these links to Artfire  or Etsy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thing a Day- Feb 10, 2011

My thing for today was to go to the bank and open up checking accounts and a credit card for my clay business.  When they issue the credit card, I can get a business account with PayPal and when that is established, I can open up my ArtFire account.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thing a Day- Feb 9, 2011

Today I discovered Kato Polyclay's Facebook page (click on the name to go there).  Donna Kato and Tony Aquino are thinking of adding some more colors to their line and they are looking for suggestions.

Also, Donna posted some new color formulas using Kato Pearl, Translucent and the Concentrate colors.  So far she has posted two sets.  I decided to try one of the red colors and made a sample square plus some triangular pieces which will be made into earrings.  This color is 1 part Pearl, 1 part Translucent and 1/2 part Red Concentrate.

The one thing that has kept me from switching entirely to Kato Clay is the translucent.  I did some tests a couple of years ago and Kato was the least translucent of the major brands and it had a yellowish cast.  Premo with bleach was the best.  My Kato translucent is pretty old so I'm going to get some of the most recent translucent to see if the reformulations have made any difference.  And I may try this formula again without the translucent to see the difference.

Sample of mica shift

Monday, February 7, 2011

Thing a Day- Feb 7, 2011

I have some really cool cord that I want to make into necklaces and I've been scouring the internet for end caps to finish off the ends.  The cord is quite thick and I couldn't find anything the right size.  I should say that I was looking for copper - there are probably sterling end caps that would fit but nothing in copper.  So, I tried to make my own today and discovered that it is not easy.  Finding the right size object to use for a mold was hard and shaping the clay around the mold wasn't easy, as you can see by my trials.  The molds are metal and the clay kept slipping around.  I like the ones with the squiggles, but I found it difficult to space them evenly around the cap, and getting the excess paint off without rubbing it out of the squiggles wasn't working very well.  I think I will probably end up making plain ones with a glossy finish.  I'll make them thinner and I'll make the brown ones darker.

Thing a Day- Feb 6, 2011

OK, I know I'm late posting this photo, but I had to watch the Super Bowl, even though we get cheated out of the good commercials here in Canada, and then Glee came here is Day 6.

I have been trying to decide what I want to do with this pendant.  I love the copper chain but it's 25 cents per inch, so I can't use a lot of it.  I also wanted to try some of the ribbon/tapes I got from Mokuba.  You can't see the top of the necklace because I haven't figured out how I want to end it.  Maybe that will be Day 7... or not.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thing a Day- Feb 5, 2011

I've been having a problem uploading this photo - Firefox keeps crashing - so I hope I get this posted before midnight.

Here is a pair of crackle earrings.  I need to find a better background and a better way to display dangle earrings because they wiggle around too much on the chain.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thing a Day- Feb 4, 2011

I tend to make post earrings, but since so many people seem to prefer dangles, I will be making more of them.  Here is a pair of mica shift earrings with gold-plated ear wires and jump rings.

This thing a day thing is a lot of pressure!  I want to do something different each day rather than multiples of the same thing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thing a Day- Feb 3, 2011

Well, I finished the pendant but I don't like it very much.  I filled the curved piece with scrap clay and baked it, then put another sheet of scrap clay on it and cut a channel for the cord.  I baked that and then put a textured sheet on the back and baked again.  Then I put a strip of clay around the edge, smoothed it into place, and baked it.  I can sand the flat edge of the pendant but not where it touches the image.  Too much risk of marring it.

I really like having the image curved rather than flat, but I'll have to find another way to display it.  
To my eye, it needs a border, so I don't want to just make a lentil bead.  Next time maybe I'll put another domed shape on a flat piece that is a bit larger than the image, and texture it so it won't need sanding.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thing a Day- Feb 2, 2011

This is a work in process.  I put an image transfer on white clay and baked it on a light bulb.  The next step is to decide how to make it into a pendant.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thing a Day- Feb 1, 2011

I've joined the Thing a Day project over at Polymer Clay Central, and this is my first day's work.  It's a pair of post earrings made with the crushed velvet, mica shift technique.  These are a kind of bronze color.  I mixed up the clay awhile ago and can't remember exactly what it is.  Sigh. 

I hate it when posts pop off the handmade earrings I buy, so I insist on embedding mine in clay so they will not come off.