Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grand Opening!

After another week of work and running back and forth to Hobby Lobby for supplies (I'm sure glad it's close by!), my Etsy store is now open as you can see by the pictures at the top of the page.

I got the chicken earrings done and found that an interesting experience.  I decided to make them entirely of clay rather than painting them as I had done in the past.  Making the body wasn't a big deal.  Roll out some pink clay and start cutting.  Well, okay... for starters, I couldn't find my pattern.  I have no idea where the book is that these patterns came from.  Probably buried in the garage somewhere!  I also have no idea what happened to the pattern itself.  I used quilter's template vinyl to make the patterns and I have a lot of them stored in my craft box, but the ones for the "Critters" aren't with the rest.  So, I used one of the other earrings that I had made previously as a pattern.  I also couldn't find my quilter's template vinyl to make a new one, so ended up going to JoAnn's to get some because Hobby Lobby didn't have any that I could find. Fortunately, they are right across the street from each other these days.  Since I had already used one of the other earrings as a pattern, I already had those in production.

The feet and hat were a little more of a challenge. I cut them from yellow clay and then carefully stuck them to the body.  I wasn't sure they would stay and later found out about some liquid polymer clay that can be used to join pieces.  I got some, but it was already too late for that project!  They did stick, though, so all is well.

The polka dots were another challenge.  I was going to put little dots of white clay on and then press a smaller dot of blue clay on top.  I changed my mind and made a very simple cane.  A cane is clay that has been formed into a shape, then wrapped with more clay to create a long, usually tubular shaped piece that has a design in it.  It can then be sliced and baked to make beads or other items.  You'll be seeing more of that sort of thing in upcoming pieces.  So, I made a "snake" of blue, then wrapped it with white to create the cane.  I then sliced off some very thin pieces to make the polka dots.  They turned out sort of wonky, but that is part of the charm of these cute roosters!

Once they were out of the oven, I sanded and polished them.  Then, I had to decide about the eyes.  I finally decided to paint them.  When they were dry, I coated them with acrylic to seal them and give them a nice shine.  I discovered that it is best to do several thin coats, allowing dry time in between.

It was finally time to attach the findings.  Once again, I went about things a bit differently than I had done before, mostly just to try out other processes.  I had put a hole in the rooster's hat and needed to attach a jump ring because I couldn't just attach it to the earwire.  Previously, I had put an eye headpin into the top of the hat to attach the earwire to.  I'm not sure yet, but I think I prefer that method and will probably do that most of the time in the future.  However, my headpins, like so many other things, were MIA.  I have been to Hobby Lobby yet again and now have a supply of headpins as well as a third size of jump rings!  I got the earwires attached and was finally able to take pictures.  With the pictures done, I could actually open my store!

Whew!  I forgot how long it can actually take to make a piece!  A lot of that time is baking and drying time, but it makes the process for some of the pieces pretty lengthy, especially if it is necessary to bake pieces then attach other pieces and rebake.  For many of these pieces, it is not a quick, do it in an hour type project!  But, it is loads of fun to see them taking shape!

I'll share stories of other pieces in future posts.  And there are more pieces in the works, along with a few custom items.  Stay tuned!

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