The Whimsical Blog

After months of preparation, a hectic day of travelling and setting up and 3 long days trading (plus the workshop I taught!) , the 2011 Melbourne Bead Expo is over.  The Expo was held at the Kingston Town Hall in Moorabbin over 3 days. Like last year we traded next to good friends and fellow traders, Kay from Kay's Artycles and Jo from Cranberry Beads, however this year The Whimsical Bead had three tables rather than the two we had last year. This extra table served as a demonstration space so that we could show customers and potential students what the medium of polymer clay was all about. It was received well and most of the time drew a reasonably sized crowd.

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Last weekend I taught a workshop for a wonderful group of ladies in Langwarrin. These ladies all used to attend workshops at Funky Lula's in Mornington until the doors closed a few months ago.  One lady offered her home as a studio and so we all travelled there.  The day was spent creating basic canes which were later turned into more complex kaleidscope canes. I thought I would show you all what can be achieved by attentive listening and a little patience!

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I thought I would share with you a piece that I created a few weeks ago specifically for the Melbourne Bead Expo Showcase.  It is made from polymer clay using imprint mokume gane techniques. Each bead has two tubes at the back, also created from polymer clay, which is how the piece is strung together (I apologise as I completely forgot to take a photo of the back before I submitted it!). Each polymer clay bead was sanded and then buffed - both by hand. A painstakingly tedious job but for me it was completely worthwhile!

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You asked for it and now I can finally announce that I am teaching at a location closer to inner Melbourne! Boutique Beads is a beautiful little shop located at 179 St.Georges Rd, Fitzroy,Vic (Ph.03 9482 4021).  Angela at Boutique Beads specialises in vintage lucite beads which I recently discovered go perfectly with polymer clay beads!!

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The Polymer Arts is a brand new  magazine for professional and aspiring polymer clay artists.  This magazine is a quarterly publication

Each issue will include a rotations of regular articles on the following:

  • Material Issues - an in depth exploration of technical and creative polymer clay techniques and practices;
  • The New and Improved - testing new products and tools or exploring new ways to use existing products;
  • Emerging Talent - gallery of new artists' work with interviews;
  • Mentor's Gallery - Galleries of expert pieces with artist interviews;
  • The Bottom line - Articles on selling, displaying, listing, marketing, etc.
  • In Good Company - Personal experience & reporting on events, retreats, and workshops;
  • The Lists - Links, contact information and summary descriptions of Publication opportunities, Contests and challenges, Events and classes, and Guilds and on-line communities.

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This was the theme for the first annual Aussiepolyclayers Competition and what a competition it turned out to be. I was honoured to be asked to be a judge of this competition and when I happily accepted the position, I had no idea that the standard of entries was going to be so high. There were 21 entries, each unique in it's own right.  The creator of each piece was anonymous to the judges and was judged using a framework and scoresheet created by Christine Dumont, founder of Voila.  I am so proud to be a member of the Australian polymer clay community and I would like to share with you some of the amazing works that came out of this competition.

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Today I held a kaleidoscope cane workshop at our studio in Healesville, Victoria and what great fun it was! Rather than give the participants a specific 'pattern' to follow, we spent some time talking about the principles of kaleidoscope canes and tessellations - what makes up a kaleidoscope cane, colour basics etc - and I encouraged each person to create their own design.  This was met with looks of horror!! After some direction and reassurance, everyone was busy conditioning clay, jotting down designs and making basic canes such as jellyrolls, striped canes and checkboards.

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Recently I managed to find a new supplier for the watch innards we currently sell in store. I am pleased to announce that not only are our prices now much better on this product, but the watch parts are a better mix too. There is a great range of cogs, pins and stoppers. These watch innards are great for use with polymer clay, resin, mixed media designs, embroidery....the list goes on!

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Yesterday was our 'Mica Shift' Clay Play day.  Mica shift is an amazing polymer clay technique which creates a 3-dimensional (3D) effect within a flat sheet of clay. It is created with metallic (or sometimes pearlescent) polymer clays which contain mica particles. The technique has to do with the aligning/mis-aligning of the mica particles within the clay.  You can use mica shift to create some wonderful pieces.

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Recently we have just celebrated Mother's Day and I wanted to share with you an activity we did with the children at the creche where I work part-time. Our Kinder teacher and I did this activity with our Kinder aged children (approx. 4 yrs old) for them to give to their Mum's for Mother's Day. I wish I had of taken photos of them completing their keepsakes as they had a ball.

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