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New To Clay

Current Rants and Recent Rambles

To explain the quarter jar 

Ramble below with Skull Chip Pix

 Autumn Leaf Jar will take you to the "how to" of it.

For Lexx Fans, Kai in Oberon singing mode. LOL

2/25/03 9am

Good Morning Gang and yes I'm up early...for me anyway.

I see that there's a good deal of new list members and I wanted to
remind folks that there are no questions that will be considered
too "beginnerish". I even wrote a ramble about that.


Was it yesterday that I was asked to explain the quarter jar? Must
have been, just seems longer because I'm digging through all this tax

The quarter jar is a recycled jelly or jam jar that you cover with
your best work: Leaves, flowers, little faces, you name it. Make it
as beautiful as you can, use only your favorite colors and themes.
Cure and slap some Future floor polish on it (generic acrylic floor
polish is cheaper and just as good too).

Then you set that quarter jar by your keyboard and monitor. Each time
you doubt yourself as an artist you toss a quarter in the jar


A quarter of a dollar or the coin of your realm of equal value. Now there's times when I don't have a quarter, use them for doing laundry at the coin operated laundry room in the basement.

So I made CHIPS... like poker chips but they are decorated chips.
Laughing skull faces surrounded with leaves and other decorations. I
use them instead of quarters when I'm low on loose change.


Self doubt is the worst thing for the artist. It hampers the whole
process. If we compare our work with the rest of the world we will
always see those who can do better and those who don't do as well.
It's always like that when we compare anything we do with the general
population. So don't compare your work with anyone unless you're
doing so to do reverse engineering on some piece that you'd like to
give effort to... like texture stamping, or cane work. Comparison
without self diminishment is a good thing. Self diminishment in
general is a bad thing.

So I am here to PUMP you up. There are no stupid questions. There are
no first efforts that will get laughed at. All first efforts are
considered precious baby steps in a complicated dance we're fixing to
do with making mini scenes.

There's things we have to struggle with as miniaturists and doll
makers. I really don't like the term doll because my figures and
statues are not to be played with. They are figures and statues.
Dolls imply that there's some lack of seriousness in the effort. I'm
as serious as a heart attack about my sculpting.

The things we struggle with as miniaturists are REALISM and SCALE.

The trick to make realistic salmon steak or banana splits is what I'll
share with you. What I want you to do is not just go by the
tutorials, but use the tutorials as a jumping off point for your own
experiments. I'll show you things that are examples of a particular
effect, which can be used in other things. Keylime pie and Jade look
mighty similar in a mini scene, so the recipe is the same. Scale is
easily solved with the reduction process that is unique to polymer
clay. We can make a large salmon steak or roast beef and then reduce
it and cut many. We can make a big honking Sushi roll and reduce that
to cut Sushi slices like confetti.

Other clay lists that are not miniature focused will not give energy
to these sort of tutorials, experimenting with TLS for good gravy and
whipped cream, the struggle to make good bread and rolls.

What I aim to do is to fill in the gaps that I see online. If
everyone else is making rock purses (my favorite example) I won't be
covering rocks any time soon. It's being done elsewhere and there's
tutorials for them already. What about really good looking sculpted
faces? What about flowers that look real? What about mini food that
can be used on beads as well as in a room box? That's what I'll give
energy to because there's not a lot of tutorials out there that will
deal with these things that we can use everyday as a  miniaturist.

The other thing I'll focus on is to foster the artist in each of you.
Our ability to create is a God Given Gift. Each of us has the spark
of creation in us or we wouldn't be here getting a grip on our clay.
To nurture this and to provide an environment where you can develop
and grow safely with love and trust, this is my goal here.

So no beating yourself up. No self deprecation. I HATE the "Dummy"
series of books. We feel stupid enough because the amount of
information that's out there doubles every couple of years. There's
no one who knows everything. There's things you know that no one
knows at all. We got to get away from this abuse of our own spirits.

We got to get to the point where if someone you love and trust comes
up and looks at your new work and says, "That's weird", you can look
at them and say proudly "Oh Great...that's the effect I
wanted...WEIRD!" I want each of you to find that individual voice
that will develop after you learn the dozen or so basic moves that
polymer clay needs to be wrestled to the ground.

There's a mean spiritedness going on in American Media, most especially on TV. The "reality" shows are just an excuse to do bad things to folks and then to laugh at them in their struggles. This is the opposite of compassion and therefore not a good thing for the spirit. The whole Jerry Springer syndrome is what I'm talking about. The Howard Stern energy of belittling people and playing cruel jokes on them. It makes me sad and angry for it infects folks in a bad way.

Life is hard enough without practical jokes that are filmed to be
shown on TV. That sort of mean spiritedness will not be found here.

We're going to be loving and kind to each other and to OURSELVES. We
are going to show patience to others and OURSELVES. This is something
I can't stress enough. A lot of times we're nicer to other folks and
go around kicking ourselves to black and blue.

If God loves you, then YOU love YOU too. Then your creative energy
will soar. Then you will be able to develop that individual voice
that is within you. Then you'll be able to make art that no matter
what others say good or bad you're satisfied with your efforts and
allow yourself the room to take those first faltering baby steps.

So NowNowThereThere on all the hair pulling and eye rolling about how
you're not Rodin like instant noodles. We got time. We'll take the
time. We'll give effort to practice. We'll get off of our own cases.
If we give ourselves a hard time...

KERPLUNK goes the quarter in the jar. When the jar is full you take
those quarters and go buy more clay.

Ya, that's the ticket.

So this is brain massage for the new list members who are probably
already wondering..."What sort of list is this anyway?!"

A list to foster the artist, encourage the mini maker, and a
protective environment for growth... and we deal with polymer clay in
the in between time.

So that's my morning ramble and I'm sticking to it.




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