30 Sept 2013

My Knitting Challange

     Rainy and grey sky on the last day of September suits very well to share with you my monthly challenge pieces and this rich autumn colour cake photo. Days are getting shorter and we lit our fire place almost every day, wrap up warm and start to think what this winter will be like here in Ireland?! Knitwear will have its season and it will be interesting to see where my faux knitted accessories will find their homes and lovely owners. 
Chocolate cherry cake and asters.

Dark Chocolate Brown Threads & Pin Brooch
     It was my second time to knit with polymer clay "yarn" and I still feel it will take time to master my knitting but I really enjoy the process and rich texture. I had sketched few ideas I wanted to achieve but some designs came as I was working away. I think it is good to leave the space for impulse and exploring. One of unexpected designs were the earrings below. I like to call them Acorn Earrings because their shape remind me the wonderful nuts of the oaks and suddenly earrings have a story. I have been often told that it is important to have the story behind the design and it's true.
     If you would ask me what was the hardest part of this challenge I would say two things. First, you have to be very careful not to squish the thread and now I have a couple of tricks in my head for next time that could improve the look.

     Secondly, I used chocolate brown, indian red and ecru colour polymer clay and it is hard to keep light colours clean after all the editing, flipping over, smoothing and other steps until the curing process but some how I managed. I really enjoyed this challenge and I can say that it's not the last time when I am knitting with clay threads!


Have a lovely fall season, keep yourself warm and talk again in October!

21 Sept 2013

Knitted Polymer Clay

Knitted Kitty with polymer clay "yarn" by marusic.
     As mentioned in the previous blog post I am enjoying and working on new accessories with faux knitted detail. Still don't have a single finished piece but many in the process. It will be another while until they are ready but it doesn't stop me to write a little blog post about this technique.
     Last year I spotted beautiful knitted bangle by Claire Wallis and her simple tutorial. I knew straight away that I definitely want to try this technique. I didn't have clay extruder (see below) then and it took a while to make the clay treads by hand but as I was just making couple small things it wasn't that bad. This year I had extruder available and I could make multiple clay threads easily.
     Before I started to create I wanted to find out what has been knitted before and I could not to not include some of my wonderful finds in this post . Very common and eye - catching is to use faux knitting for decorative items, for example, seasonal decorations, figurines, photo frames, mirrors, coasters and I'm sure there is more. Very pretty looks buttons with faux knitted effect.
Knitted Pear Angela Barenholtz, Polymer Clay Mascs Sari Lin, Christmas Bauble Michelle Shrimpton, Frame Lucy Stuncova.
Russian's Maria Belkomor work and necklace details in the photos Here.

More work from ya-tomka can be found Here.
     I really like the bangles with faux knitted effect. Also earrings and rings have nice feel. Brooches are another great accessory. It is the texture that catches my eye and it looks so cosy and warm. I think it would just look prefect with simple jersey top or dress.
Enjoy your weekend and next week I will be back with my finished pieces and Monthly Challenge post.

13 Sept 2013

Quiet Days Notes

     Recently I was talking to a friend and fellow crafter Maria from Lollipops and Daydreams about days when it feels nothing is happening. Even we both know there are and will be quiet days on our creative journey (and we actually need them too) sometimes it's just hard to face them. My brain still keep racing and it just feels there should be visible results all the time, but it's not possible. Since last Thursday I had a quite good few days when I felt nothing is moving on so here you have some Quiet Days Notes.

Week: September 6th - 12th.
Back To  Clay Table, September 6th.
     I have been sketching almost every day. Lots of different ideas, shapes and techniques to try but intuitively I stopped at knitted polymer clay designs. Probably it just feels right for this time of the year when it is getting colder and we want to keep warm - doesn't matter if it's knitted jumper or pendant. I don't have finished pieces yet to show so I'm sharing one of the items I did last year.

Knitted polymer clay magnet by Valg Studio.
Play-Doh, September 7th.
     Highlight of the day for me was that while working in the studio this afternoon my 4 year old daughter came in and after a while watching what I was doing said that she also wants to play with play-doh. I explained her that mummy has a different clay, but Liva was happy with the solution that she can play with her paly-doh and I play with my "play-doh" at the same table for the first time.

Apples, September 8th. 
    If I would have to choose one word to describe this Sunday it would definitely be Apples! In the morning together with the kids we went to pick apples in Altamont Garden Plants Sales area. You can pick delicious apples and just a small donation to the guide dogs is requested. The rest of day was spent making apple jam and  we had yummy apple crumble pie for desert.

Quiet Monday, September 9th.
     I have been saying to myself for a while that I would like to have a stall at Art & Craft Fair  in Dublin and maybe some other new locations. And one reason for this is that I have made it a little bit more clear in my head where Valg Studio wonderful customers live. While searching in different directions I came across this wonderful Art Tunnel Smithfield project in Dublin. It looks great, would definitely love to visit.

Ear Wires, September 10th.
     It is another day spent mostly behind the computer screen but this time searching for new jewellery making supplies, particularly ear wires. I have been using simple French hooks but now I feel I would like to try something a little bit different. As you can see in the picture below there is a choice or I can attempt to make some of my own.

Image sourced from The Creative Room.
Knitting, September 11th
     I'm back to my clay table and continue to knit with polymer clay. Today I'm mainly trying different ideas how to finish the edges of my work.

Shopping Day, September 12th
     Yesterday while having a cup of coffee with friend we agreed that it's time to treat ourselves to a shopping day and that's exactly what we did. One of my favourite stores are TK Maxx and I can spend many hours browsing, come out with slight headache but happy. I always check what's new in the home & gardening section. Sometimes they have quite lovely display items and it's not secret that 80% of my display props comes from TK Maxx. If you are working with polymer clay it's always good to have a look at their kitchen gadget section - selection of cookie cutters, rollers, texture plates and other useful items can be found. And of course they have many other great shop sections worth a visit.
     That's it for this month Thursday Afternoon Notes blog post. Every month I pick a week from Thursday to Thursday and write about little things that happened to me or I noticed something I would like to share with you and named them Thursday Afternoon Notes blog post series.

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5 Sept 2013

Craft And Social Media

     I had a great time yesterday at the Social Media workshop for Craft and Design Enterprises in Ireland  facilitated by Mary Carty and organised by CCoI, Carlow and Kilkenny CEBs. I found it very informative and thought I would like to highlight few things  that in my opinion can help to improve  and at the same time ease my efforts on social platforms.
Image source from Pink Mustche
 Tell Your Story.
     It is great that creative people don't need to look too far.  They can talk about creative process, their inspirations, attention to details or even about some fun accidents in their practice. Our experience is unique  and it is a fact that creative people has greater chances to tell their story much better than  for example company that sell screws. It can take time to find your voice and the way you would be comfortable doing it. It may not necessarily have to be  a post written by yourself from first to last paragraph. You can make a list of next seasons fashion trends gathered from different designers around the world, share expert reviews about new tools in your craft or maybe you would like to try video blogging. After this workshop I have already thought about couple new things I would like to try, but it is very important to keep in mind who is your audience and which social media platform they use, so we are not looking for them in the wrong place!
Customer Journey.
     It was simple drawing how Mary explained us customer journey experience.  Ideal situation is that at the beginning of this journey customer have heard about you before and all the following steps will be based on how good or bad experience customer will have, how you will be able to support decision customer will make, will it be in craft shop in Kilkenny or on your website online. Interesting note Mary made about  using your own image as a profile image rather than image of your work or company logo. I guess people like to visualise the person behind the screen, especially if they haven't met before.

Social Sharing.
     It may sound a little bit frightening and the video The Stolen Scream was very impressive example Mary showed us how far sometimes things can go without you knowing anything about it. But then discussing the benefits your business can gain from this free social advertising made me rethink couple things about my social sharing habits or actually lack of them.
     The good news are that more workshops for craft and design enterprises are organized by Craft Council of Ireland and County Enterprise Boards. Check their websites for details if you are interested. I will definitely take part in more workshops over next three month time so there could be more blog posts like this again.
     I hope some of my notes from this workshop were useful and feel free to leave a comment if you would like to share your views.

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