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Post-Christmas Crafting

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I can happily say that the new his ‘n’ hers workshops at the bottom of the garden are now up and running (or as my brother likes to call them, ‘the new European Centre for Arts & Crafts’)!  My frend Lea gave us a wonderful present for Christmas – slate signs with ‘her studio’ and ‘his workshop’ on them which are now proudly displayed on each door.  At first I thought it might take a long time to get used to going down the garden to create, but after a few weeks they already feel like home and it’s hard to keep me out (after all, it’s warmer in the shed that it is in the house!).

Kizzy, of course, has been helping me in my sewing endeavours, and doesn’t bat an eyelid when I swear at my sewing machine (which has just broken, by the way)!

 

Craft Room

Craft Room

 

The first things I wanted to make were more clutch bags for my shop at www.benjablue.com  I bought a lovely stash of new cottons and went a bit mad!  I hope you like them.  They make wonderful presents for Mothers’ Day, birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas.

 

 

 

I’ve finally started on a new painting of a cat called Zacariah who lived in the garden centre I work at.  He was extremely docile and loved to just lie and bake in the sun in the greenhouse.  Every now and then when the tempertaure got ridiculous he would lie on the cold stone floor and I felt like lying down there with him!

Zac died a couple of years ago.  I took him to the vets to be put to sleep and brought him home where I buried him in a fleece I used to wear.  So this next painting is dedicated to him.  He will be surrounded by red poppies on one side and a turquoise watering can on the other which will really make his black colouring ‘pop’.  I’m calling it ‘Le Jardinier’.

 

Le Jardinier - black cat watercolour painting.

Le Jardinier – black cat watercolour painting.

 

I’ve also been messing with Prometheus Bronze Clay, a brand of precious metal clay.  Lots of people still haven’t heard of PMC, but it’s a clay-like material made from metal particles and binders.  When the binder is burned off the metal becomes solid.  I have used pure silve metal clay before, but never bronze.  I had a packet in my stash for months and then decided to have a go with it recently.  I decided to make the simple-ish form of a rabbit laying down.  Using my fingers and various tools I formed the clay into the required shape, and then today I fired it in my jewellery kiln.

 

 

I really thought it had all gone wrong at first.  While it was still in the kiln I started reading about all these horror stories online regarding firing bronze clay.  I took the piece out of the kiln after the recommended time but it just looked black and bits to it started to ping off.  With my usual gung-ho attitude I just popped it back in for another hour (I figured it would take longer because it was quite thick).  When it came out it was still black as your hat, but then my husband came in and told me that the black outer part was just oxidisation and promptly took some of it off for me with his fingernails, revealing a dull brown rabbit underneath!  I rubbed it a little with my agate burnisher and a steel brush and it started to reveal a beautiful pink metal underneath!  I was chuffed!

There is still a way to go.  It needs to be pickled and then possibly tumble-polished, but I’m just so glad that it didn’t turn into the disaster I thought it was heading for!  Anyway, I’m going to do a tutorial about using PMC when I make my next mini sculpture.

 

For now I hope you are enjoying the very beginnings of spring, but I will leave you with a photo of the snow we had last week.

Kelly.

 

Snow

Snow

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