Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fun with Making Molds and Casting

Since taking some workshops To Bead True Blue in Tucson with Linda Lenart McNulty, see her website here, I have been continuing to explore making molds with silicone clay (jeweler's putty) and casting with ICE resin.  On my drive back to Phoenix after the workshop, I stopped at Trader Joe's to get a salad for lunch.  The salad had some cute little grape tomatoes, so I saved three of them to make molds! 

Today I found a nice 3D citrus leaf and made a mold of it, as well as from a seedpod I found on a bush by the mall.


I have previously made self - hardening clay sculptures of prehistoric female spirit figures, and made molds of them.  I tried making 2 part molds, something Linda described in the class but we didn't have time to do.  You first make a partial mold with the jewelers putty, let it harden, then I sprayed it with Pam and made the second piece that fit over the first and made a tight seal, leaving a space to pour in resin.

To add local color to my work, I tried mixing some finely ground Arizona dirt into the ICE resin before I poured it. I was really pleased with how well it remained suspended in the resin mixture.
I didn't have oil paints to use for coloring the resin, so used some watercolor blocks.  Interestingly, the watercolor droplets floated in the ICE resin, which is some kind of oil substance, I believe.  The suspension of green and orange created a pale colored resin, as you can see.  I'm looking forward to seeing the effect when the resin hardens.  Here are several filled molds.
I added words, "Grow" "seeds of" self love" to the seed pod mold after I filled it with resin, as you can see below, if you click on the image.


Last, I embellished two previously cast resin pieces with ICE enamels.  I used ModPodge to adhere the enamel grains to the cast piece, then heated them with a small heat gun.  It worked, and the enamels melted onto the surface.  The resin pieces became soft and pliable when heated, but got hard again when they cooled.  I also bought some Swellegant metal coatings for polymer clay that I want to try on my ICE resin pieces, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Lion Man / or Is It the Lion Woman?  Time Will Tell!

The oldest piece of figurative sculpture in the world is making news again with the opening of a new exhibit at the British Museum, entitled 'Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind'.  The 'Lion Man' is a carved piece of mammoth ivory found in the Stadel Cave in the Swabian Alps, in southwest Germany.

The modern story of this ancient sculpture is thrilling.  'Lion Man' was discovered in 1939 just before the outbreak of World War II, indeed, discovered on the day that the archeological dig was to be closed due to the impending war.  You can read more about it here and here.  Part of the figure was damaged in the archaeologist's haste to recover the artifact before the dig closed. 

The 12 inch high sculpture was assembled in 1970, with 30% or so of the pieces missing.  More pieces were found and added in 1989.  Recently 1000 or so more pieces were excavated in the Stadel Cave, which help complete the piece's right arm and neck.  It has actually grown a few centimeters taller.  A replica of the 'Lion Man' is being shown in the British exhibit because staff at the Ulm Museum, the lion's home, are reconstructing the figure using computer modeling to place the fragments.  They hope to exhibit the original this November.

Originally dated at 32,000 years old, carbon dating of bones at the site has revised its age to around 40,000 years old.  The piece was originally thought to be a male figure, but some of the markings raise speculation that it is a female.  As the 1,000 new fragments are put into place, there may be an answer to this riddle.

The 'Lion Man' represents the carver's ability to mentally conceive the combination of a human and animal in one figure, a surprising achievement for early humankind.  As Martin Bailey has written in The Art Newspaper:

"What was striking about the sculptor of the Lion Man sculptor is that he or she had a mind capable of imagination rather than simply representing real forms. As Cook says, it is “not necessary to have a brain with a complex pre-frontal cortex to form the mental image of a human or a lion—but it is to make the figure of a lion-man”. The Ulm sculpture therefore sheds further light on the evolution of homo sapiens."

I just love the friendly face and jaunty stance of the 'Lion Man'.  It is fun to speculate about the life of its creator, and how it might have been received and revered by the other members of the tribe.  I am looking forward to updates on the re-assembly of Lion Man / Woman.








Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Mardis Gras is my favorite holiday because BEADS are given away!  Among my favorite Mardis Gras beads are some of the antique Czech glass beads that were thrown in the early 1920's, when the Rex Krew first introduced them.  I bought them several years ago in New Orleans.  Not high quality but colorful and fun!   Here's a picture of them:

If you love beads like I do, check out the fun and gorgeous beads that Happy Mango Beads is giving away for Mardis Gras. Click here.  Leave a comment and you'll be entered in the contest for their beads!  Good luck!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A New Approach

I'm trying a different tactic with my art. I always have multiple things I want to do, and have tried having a journal or sketchbook where I keep all my ideas. This helps for some of the overflow, but often I have two main things I am torn between doing.

Right now, one of the things I want to do is to work with fabrics, dyes, paints, layering, printing and stitching.

The other thing I want to do is to create mixed media assemblages with fantasy beings and various collected stuff.

My dear hubby has suggested many times that I pick one thing and do it for a month.

I've tried. And tried. Every time I start one thing, I long for the other. Worse, I don't start either one because I can't decide which one to start with. I'm at a stalemate.

So here's my plan! Take it day by day. Work on mixed media for a day. Work on textiles for a day. Mixed media. Textiles.

Then I don't have to decide! No trying to pick the 'right' one. No pining away for the one not chosen.

Has anyone else had this problem? What works for you?

I will let you know how this works out. Wish me luck!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heart Guidance

I have been relying more and more on my heart lately as my source of calm and comfort. A couple of weeks ago an awareness came to me that helped me find a deeper connection to my heart's healing powers.

I have been feeling a bit down and confused, missing friends, kindred spirits, and uncertain of a meaningful direction in my life. I read about Lao Tzu, Chinese poet and philosopher, who, discouraged with the state of humankind, rode off alone into the mountains, never to be seen again. I thought, I know just how he felt. I said to myself, "My heart is heavy."

Gradually the thought arose that my heart is not what is heavy and sad. Rather my mind, where my emotions are registered, is feeling down. I find that envisioning the heaviness in my mind allows me to feel the peace and spaciousness in my heart. I know from my HeartMath studies that the heart has more influence upon the brain than vice versa. I also know that patterns of feelings are registered in a part of the brain called the amygdala. So feeling the peace in my heart, savoring its quiet expansiveness, has a tremendous calming effect on my brain.

I have found that making the significant switch to focusing on the quietness and openness that reside in my heart instead of attributing my sadness to my heart, allows those heavy feelings to slowly evaporate like mist in the morning sun.

May all beings find peace.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fun Fabrics Found with a new Friend

It's always fun to go to a _____ store (you can fill in the blank - bead, fabric, art supply, etc.) and its even more fun with a like-minded soul who loves to add to her or his stash as much as you do! With our husbands occupied with their own pursuits today, we were able to dive into girl time and look freely without worrying whether our sig other was getting bored, knowing we'd hear about that for the next several years!

What a delicious event! So here are some shots of my most favorite fabrics that I found today.

I loved the human faces on the turtle and fish! They feed my ideas for some mixed media creatures with interchanged human / animal parts!

And how to resist these colorful Day of the Dead skulls? I've not seen them in a fabric before. Don't know how I'll use these fabrics, I think I often buy fabric just because it inspires me and makes me smile

or swoon!

I also recently took a collage workshop with Joyce McAdams which was fabulous. A wonderful tip I learned from her is to get color copies of my fabric or scan them into the computer (these are photos), so that I can save the original. The copies can be printed on either paper or fabric for use in collages, and they can then be altered with paint!!! How cool is that? Best, you still have the original fabric. Truly a hoarder's delight!

Enjoy your colorful world!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Accept all of who you are, embrace your existence as THIS amazing being!

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
Steve Jobs

With gratitude for the facebook posting from Gregg Braden