Birds of a Felted Feather

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Perhaps it’s my bias towards sewing skills, but felt and embroidery projects always catch my eye. It’s like my brain is playing a Where’s Waldo type game but with fabric and thread without telling me. 😛 It’s no wonder I easily came across these awesome felt sculptures as a result.

Jill Ffrench, is the owner and artisan of Fantails and Feet, a custom felt sculpture artist that makes beautifully expressive birds out of felt, thread, wire and wax. While you can see she has a passion for peacocks, her entire collection of birds is simply lovely.

I especially love the extra detailing the feathers get to selectively make them pop, but they’re all wonderful. If you’re a bird lover, or know someone who is, I definitely recommend giving this shop of fine feathered friends a look over.


Fruit Tart Tutorial, Part 2

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Good Morning and Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, of Fantastical Menagerie. Today I’m bringing you the second half of my Fruit Tart Tutorial. The first part can be found here.

1. Roll out five small balls of Premo brand polymer clay in Pomagranate. Approx 4 mm in diameter.

2. Shape each one into a teardrop shape.

3. Flatten it slightly on your finger.

4. Using your needle ended tool, make small dots on the teardrop shape. They should be in alternating rows, all the way to the back end.

5. Place into the shell, with flat ends in the center.

6. Take the fifth berry, and add the green leaves to the top. Place it on top of the other four.

7. Optional- use green Pearl X on the leaves, and a dusting of the macro pearl on the berries for shine.

8. Put the finished piece into the oven. I would recommend 240 F, for approx 30 minutes. Once it cools, you can add findings to turn it into a pendant, earrings or a pin.

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Fruit Tart Tutorial Part One

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. Last week we talked about keeping clay soft in winter, today I’m going to start you on how to make fruit tarts in clay.

For this project, you need the following:

  • pastry shell mold, preferably silicone. You can find them on Etsy here
  • a small dollhouse plate
  • Sculpey Bake n Bond. This can be found in the polymer clay aisle.
  • Premo clay in ecru, pomegranate, and either green pearl or jungle green. You can get it from any craft or hobby store.
  • tweezers, needle tool, and flat blade or razor.
  • Optional: pearl x powders in Macropearl, green and antique bronze.

1. Condition your clay. Leave the red until last because the color transfers.

2. Take a small piece of the ecru clay, roll it into a ball, and press it into your mold.

3. Carefully remove your clay from the mold. If there is any excess, use your razor to trim it to shape.

4. Add a small amount of Sculpey Bake & Bond to the plate. Put your tart shell in the center over the adhesive.

5. Optional- use a brush and add a little Pearl X Antique bronze on the tart shell to simulate color from baking. Add a bit of Bake & Bond to the center of the tart.

6. Make your leaves for the strawberries. Roll two small balls of green clay into a teardrop shape. Flatten them, and use your needle to run a line down the center of each. Then use the needle to draw veins into the leaves.

7. Roll out five small balls of Premo Pomegranate clay. Approx 4 mm in diameter. These will become your strawberries.

This tutorial will pick up next Wednesday, where I will show you how to form the strawberries, and then put everything together to form the piece.


Clay in winter

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. As a clay artist, winter is always harder in more ways than one. Colder temperatures mean that clay doesn’t always stay conditioned.

Copyright © 2015 by Ginger Davis Allman The Blue Bottle Tree, all rights reserved.

Copyright © 2015 by Ginger Davis Allman The Blue Bottle Tree, all rights reserved.

That same block I was working with the day before can be hard and crumbly all over again. Blech! Some shortcuts that I have found work for me are:

  • If you are using a marble, granite or glass work surface, remove the clay and wrap it in waxed paper when you finish for the evening. Stone surfaces conduct cold very well.
  • Store the clay in a box in the warmest room of your house. For many people, this would be the kitchen area.
  • When you start working, hold the cooler ball of clay in your hands or if you are in a hurry, near your skin for about five minutes. This warms it without cooking it.

I hope some of these suggestions help! Some brands of polymer clay are naturally softer, such as Sculpey III or Sculpey Soufflé. Next week I have a tutorial on creating fruit tarts I will be posting in two parts. I know it’s out of season for berries, but maybe the tarts will help you think warmer thoughts.


Uniquely Cute

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Hello Sunday readers!

Last week we were at MAGfest and you know what that means! New vendors that we’ve fallen in love with gushy posts are imminent! This first one has so much to offer, I almost don’t know where to start. ALMOST. In our wanderings through the crafty rows, the lifemate and I stumbled across a booth that had chubby little ornaments hanging from a dowel and I HAD to pop in for a better look. They were animal ornaments! Hooray! To my very great pleasure, upon closer perusal, I found that there were some very odd animals on display:

WailesTapir WailesPangolin WailesCoelacanth

Do not adjust your screens, folks, those are indeed a baby tapir, a pangolin, and a COELACANTH. A COELACANTH, PEOPLE!!!!! Ok, I know I’ve obsessed over cute animals before but I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that my actual degree is in Geological Sciences so this sort of thing just runs right up my alley, squeezes my tush, and tugs my heart strings before dashing off again. Much to my dismay, we had such a busy time that I did not have a chance to go back to purchase some amazing creations from artist Kelsey Wailes, also known as eattoast. I assure you that this shall be remedied in short order. I was so distracted by the “cnute aminals” that it took husband directing my attention to her other wares for me to find her re-purposed ponies. I’ve seen other versions of ponies over the years but not always with the same level of detail:

I mean, just look a My Little Immortan Joe! With his wittle face mask and wittle killer eyes!

I mean, just look a My Little Immortan Joe, with his wittle face mask and wittle killer eyes!

Once I tore myself away from the cutie cute animals and the ponies, I noticed the things I truly regret not purchasing as gifts for certain Trek fans in my life:

Redshirt Deadshirts. Yes, a little pile of very unfortunate redshirts that still makes me giggle uncontrollably.

Redshirt Deadshirts. Yes, a little pile of very unfortunate redshirts that still makes me giggle uncontrollably.

Besides her very obvious talent with clay, Kelsey is a very gifted pen and paper artist as well. If you, too, would like to own some of her creations or just squee over her works (like I just did for the last hour), she can be found on DeviantArt, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and most importantly, Etsy. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go put in an order for a Peacock Spider ornament that will really tie my room together.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


Naturally Found

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Found art has always been an intriguing medium to me. The ability to take normal or broken everyday things and turn them into something else entirely definitely requires an eye that I do not have. British artist Dean Patman, however, obviously has it in spades.

Living in Bristol, he maintains a small studio space in his garden (aka backyard for us Americans) where he stores his found objects and does all his sculpture work. His passion began with his fascination of the natural world as a child, but didn’t start until much later in his life.

My passion for the natural world was equaled by my love of art.  It was a natural progression for me to study scientific illustration however feeling the need for a more creatively challenging course, I moved to Central St Martin’s. It was during my time there that I started working with found materials forming the sculptural method that characterizes my work today.  In found items I see the forms of the natural world; silverware, shoe-trees and teapots are married together to describe an animal’s appearance and character, making creatures both life-like and humorous .

His sculptures are decently sized as well, most of them starting right around 1-2′ in height or length. If you are fascinated by this medium as well I highly recommend giving his gallery a look through. Perhaps it could even inspire you. 🙂


Realistic Food Whittled From Wood

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Japanese artist Seiji Kawasaki creates food sculptures from wood that are so realistic, you’ll think you can actually eat them.

I chose that image specifically because if I picked a finished one, I know it wouldn’t be believed. I mean look at those potato chips!! It’s insane how good these look. Using just a small block of wood, Kawasaki is able to create any edible item in just a few hours. Some of which he then uses as chopstick holders.

He’s exhibited his work in several galleries around Japan, but that can be a costly ticket just to see them up close, so if you’d like to see more of the incredible sculptures he’s done you can take a gander at this Facebook gallery instead. I swear, with like 99% of them, I’d never have known they weren’t food if I just saw them on their own. It’s definitely worth your time.

 


Glass Acorns

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October/November has always seemed more like fall then September ever will in my part of the world, so today I wanna feature an artist that takes a bit of what we associate with fall and turning it into wearable art.

Ukraine artist Nikita Drachuk makes his art from real acorn caps and hand blown glass, and his work is just stunning. The medium he works in is called “Lampwork” and is the art of making figurines melted in the flame of a glass burner; which can reach up to 1800 degrees.

I would never get my hands so close to such a very very hot flame. :O

 

If acorns aren’t your cup of tea, they have an incredibly diverse range of subjects and sizes for their figures that you can admire, at their etsy shop Glass Symphony, instead. Their attention to detail and level of craftsmanship is really quite astounding.


DIY: Pumpkin Earrings and Pendant

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Hello to all and happy Wednesday!

This is Kim, of Fantastical Menagerie. I am your guest blogger for today. I specialize in sculpted art, utilizing polymer clay and mixed media. you can find my art on Facebook (www.facebook.com/fantasticalmenagerie), Etsy (www.fantasticmenageries.etsy.com) or at a variety of Conventions and Art Shows on the East Coast.

Autumn is my very favorite season. There’s something about the cooler temperatures, changing leaves and earlier sunsets that bring to mind thoughts of sweaters, apple cider, and hay rides. I thought I would share a tutorial with you that, to me, epitomizes the spirit of fall. Pumpkin earrings and a matching pendant.
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Your supply list for this project is quite small:

  • Premo brand polymer clay in Green Pearl, Pearl, and Orange. You will need approx 1/4 of a package of each color.
  • Three eye pins
  • Earring Hooks (2), and a silver necklace chain.
  • Optional- Pearl Ex Powders in Apple Green and Copper

Tools: Straight blade, Needle Point, and Blunt End Pointer Tool. You can find these in any craft store, in the Sculpey Brand.

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Step One: Lay out your clay, and knead each color until soft. Separate out 1/4 of each color to use. It should be one scored section. Roll three balls with the orange clay.

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Step Two: slightly flatten the top of the pumpkins. Using the needle ended tool, make lines from the bottom to the top, approximately 6 lines to create sections on the pumpkins.

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Step Three: Roll three small balls of green clay, approximately 4-5 mm. put each one, flattened slightly, onto each pumpkin. It should cover any scored line ends. Utilizing the blunt ended pointed tool, make a hole in the top of each green ball after its in place on the pumpkin. Roll out three more pieces of green clay and insert them in the holes for stems.

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Step Four: Roll 12 small pea sized balls of green clay. Pinch one end, and then flatten into a teardrop shape. Make a line in each teardrop, and then use the needle to form the leaf veins on either side of the main line.

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Step Five: Roll out 8-9 clay ‘vines.’ Each one can be approx 1-1.5 inches long. about 1.5-2 mm wide. Twist the vines, and attach to the top of each pumpkin. Add 2-3 vines per pumpkin.

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Step Six: Add the leaves. They should go near the vine tops.

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Step Seven: Using the pearl colored clay, make approx 12 small balls, smaller then the pea sized ones for the leaves. Flatten them into flat disks. Add them to the pumpkins, covering any exposed ends on the vines and the tops of the leaves. Place them in tri-circle patterns.

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Step Eight: Using the blunt tipped pointer tool, poke a hole in the center of each new flower. You can then use a bit of orange clay, rolled, to fill the holes and make the flower centers, or a contrasting color if you have one.

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Optional: Use the Pearl Ex Powders to accent and provide shine to the pumpkins.
 

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Step Nine: Using a clay adhesive such as polybonder or Bake n Bond, put the eye pins in the pumpkins. Bake at 260 Degrees for an hour in your oven. Check the temperature and lower appropriately if using a toaster oven- the clay can burn! Once cooled, you can add your earring wires and/or your necklace chain!

These make great gifts, or add a touch of whimsy to your fall wardrobe. You can change up the colors, try glow in the dark, or even tie-dye style pumpkins. I hope this small project gets you in the mood for Fall!
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Glass Water Sculptures

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I have a thing for glass and water. Something about the medium just captures the feel and emotion of water so well, especially when done by an artist with lots of practice. Ben Young of New Zealand is one of those artists.

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All of his work revolves around water in some form, and he uses the glass in combination with concrete and cast bronze to create just beautiful sculptures of nature, as well as moments in time.

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When designing his work, he even takes lighting into effect while he’s working on his final design. Thinking about how he wants the piece displayed or formed to catch just the right image once translated form his 2D sketch into a 3D piece. If you’re a fan of water pieces I highly recommend giving his gallery a look through. While he has no pieces for sale right now that doesn’t stop his work from looking absolutely beautiful. And who knows, maybe it will inspire one last summer piece for you to tackle. 😉