Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't Miss Clay Camp May 14-17, 2010!

The NW Polymer Clay Guild announces open registration for its annual “Clay Camp.” This 4 day event is presented at Camp Huston, in beautiful Gold Bar, Washington (about one hour NE of Seattle). The full weekend (Fri-Mon) is a bargain at $235, which includes lodging, meals, and various demonstrations and events. Partial weekend and day-camper rates are also available. We’ll have a large work area, several convection ovens, a bench buffer, and a beautiful setting.

There will also be classes by Meredith Arnold, Kristi Zevenbergen and others for an additional fee. New this year will be an assortment of “technique booths” sponsored by Guild members. These include soldering, wire-working, kemper cutters, and more. Events will also include the scholarship silent auction, the Brown-bag craft items exchange, ad hoc demonstrations, food, fun and fellowship.

To join us, print out your registration form and mail it with your check today. Don't miss out on the fun!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wire Working Tools

From time to time, I teach classes on wire working and jewelry making. Most recently, I taught at the Polymer Clay Guild. We had a great conversation on tools, and I promised to provide resource information. I thought readers of this blog may like them too. For a great two-page reference sheet on pliers, check out this.

The basic tools I recommend are:

  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Bent Nose Pliers
  • Chain Nose Pliers
  • Flush Cutter

Optional but good to have
  • Wire Wrapping Pliers
  • Nylon-jaw Pliers
  • Crimping Pliers
  • Wire Gauge (not shown).

If you want to flatten or texture your wire, you will also want:
  • Steel bench block (My first one was 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" x 3/4"but I went back to buy a 5”x5”)
  • Hammer You can use almost any hammer, and it doesn’t have to be a big heavy one. To work-harden without texturing, you’ll want a hammer with a nylon tip or a rawhide mallet.

Where to buy

I find the “best bang for the buck” at Contenti, a resource for jewelry making supplies. They have quite a few pliers that are a very good quality for a very good price.

For tools and lots of nifty beads and supplies, I like Rings & Things. http://www.rings-things.com/

Finally, the two most mentioned suppliers mentioned by professional jewelers are Rio Grande and Thunderbird Supply.

(Disclosure: I do not work for any of these suppliers. I just like their stuff)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Soul growing through art

One of my polymer pals asked me about how I apply my education. It's an excellent question, and has me musing about how I could expand what I'm doing with it. I spent a great deal of time in school thinking about symbols and how they work in our lives. Some of my academic exploration was experiential, creating art. But that creation often sprang from alpha-state consciousness.

The alpha-state is a dreamy, meditative brainwave state. I learned many psycho-technologies for getting to that state, and it seems to me that I should be sharing some of those tools with my creative friends. Guided meditation, shamanic journeying, dream incubation, proprioceptive writing and other techniques are in my tool-box. It's time to find ways to get those out into the world.

I think I've got a good opportunity coming up. The NWPCG is having our annual Clay Camp, an art-making "summer camp" (in May) for adults. We'll be having a variety of classes, demos and events, and it's the perfect time to introduce my "woo-woo" side to my poly-pals. See this space in the future to see what I come up with!