Sunday, November 26, 2017

Book review - Polymer, the Chameleon Clay by Victoria Hughes

Polymer - The Chameleon Clay: ArtRanch Techniques for Re-creating the Look of Ivory, Jade, Turquoise, and Other Natural Materials

The absolute pioneer in imitative techniques, Victoria Hughes' book remains the ABC for all polymer clay artists. The techniques described in the book actually look better now than they looked over 15 years ago because of the changes in formulas in the various brands of polymer clay - the faux amber will look more translucent, the faux agate absolutely stunning, and the faux jade impossible to distinguish from real jade unless touched and weighed.

The first part of the book is a treasure of tips, tricks and advice - taking you from the very beginning, tools needed, how to condition your clay, to the finesse details of finishing and putting together your pieces. The second part has imitative techniques and a project for each of them. As a bonus, the book has many examples of artwork belonging not only to Victoria Hughes but to other artists as well.

Imitative techniques described in the book:

- Turquoise nugget beads
- Lapis-lazuli - still remains the basic technique for imitating this semi-precious gemstone - the only variances I've seen in present day tutorials are just mildly tweaking the color recipes used
- Coral - absolutely perfect
- Amber - try it with the Cernit translucent or Pardo translucent for stunningly realistic faux stones.
- Ivory - the project for this technique is beautiful
- Agate - still one of the best methods out there, I have seen many tutorials that are inspired from it but very few get to her mastery
- Metals and Faience - gorgeous projects

The book ends with another series of projects for an intermediate level of mastery. All gorgeous.
A must have.

The book can be find used for a very affordable price.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Long time no see, lots of things happened

Well, it's long time since I last posted. On top of trying hard to catch up with the tutorials, pieces that need finished, writing articles for the website and filling it up with content, as well as taking photos of pieces of jewelry and uploading them to the online store, I had unexpected health issues to deal with, this time not mine, but my furbabies.

First Whisper woke up one morning with half of his face swollen. Couldn't get in to see the vet until 2 pm (the vet was not there, was gone to a dr. appointment for himself). then once we got there, they ran the routine blood test and some values came up unusual so they asked me if they could run some additional tests. To make a long story short, his liver enzymes came up 3-4 times higher than normal. So there's a suspicion of either Cushing's or liver cancer. They gave him a "shock" shot of antibiotics and we got antibiotics for home too. I won't be able to know what is going on exactly until I have the money to run the test that would rule "in" or "out" Cushing's. I don't want to go liver biopsy way not just for the expense but also for the stress it would put on him - that, and the fact that there is the risk that, if it's cancer, it may be "seeded" by the biopsy needle.
Since then, his swelling came down completely. After extensive research, I switched him (gradually) to mostly raw food and started to give him Melatonin and ordered online some lignans (one of my neighbors gave me the money for it). If it's Cushing's I don't want to give him the meds they have, not just that they're very expensive but the side effects are very serious and they make the dogs' lives miserable. I read quite a few materials (including studies done by accredited reputable establishments) that show that switching to a raw diet combined with natural supplements not only has proven to control Cushing's but in a few cases it actually cured it. Whisper is 11, so he can be considered a senior dog - even if he doesn't look like it - so I don't dream about ccuring it but if it can be controlled I'll be thrilled.
He seems to be doing really well now. He even played, he sleeps, he enjoys his new diet. He refuses now to eat most of the things he used to love - like carrots and yogurt - but he finally ate chicken soup and a few peanuts.

Then Conor started sneezing Thursday. I thought it was just allergies but then it got worse, and he started just not being himself. Quite lethargic, with a runny nose. He spent Friday on the loveseat, sleeping, and Friday night too, no roaming and running around the house at night as is his habit. He seems to be just a tad better right now, he actually came to me last evening and slept on my chest, and in the afternoon he joined me in the craft room as is his habit whenever I work there. His nose is still runny, but clear runny, he had at one point teary eyes (also clear) but now his eyes are not teary and the third eye-lid that was raised yesterday seems to have gone down to normal again. I will try giving him a puff of Flonase sometime later today.

I am posting updates (including videos) on the Kalyana facebook page about them.

So these are the bad news. I am working on making a "destash" video, right now working on separating and making "stashes". I intended to do that in a couple of weeks but I decided to do it sooner just in case I need to rush Conor to the vet - it's the end of the month and after Whisper's vet visit I really have no money, got $21 in the bank right now and still got the gas bill to go through (it's really small) so I got about $12 to spend - definitely not enough for a vet visit.

One good news in all of this. Finally, after working for three days to get things exactly the way they want them in terms of file format, presentation, etc, the malachite tutorial is up on Amazon, and you can get it. I am posting the link below.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Not a frequent poster lately, because....

Sorry for not being a frequent poster on the blog lately. I am working on a few too many things to find time to post here as well. But soon you will be reading more interesting things on the new website, as I am slowly populating it.

In the future, actually, you will find most of the instructional materials there, and here just various announcements, things that are going on, and various awesome, gorgeous or exciting things I find in my virtual travels on the world wide webz.

But yes, I finally got the website up and running, slowly organizing it (almost done, actually) and slowly installing more functionalities. The basic ones are actually up and running. What I still have to code and install are :

- the downloadable materials section (the paid tutorials doh). I want to do bundles and coupons, that takes a bit of coding.
- the member area - as in sponsor area. Even if you will have to register when you buy (it will be much easier for me to act in case something happens with your order on the way there if I have all information) that will be different from the sponsor-member area. That is where all the goodies will be for my sponsors.
- A solid photo gallery
- a few more gadgets, that are more or less my own benefit, because they pertain to SEO and social network interfacing.

Also, it's rained here for three days. That messed up my plans because what I had scheduled was mostly translucent clay-based and in high humidity it plaques.
Also, rainy weather increases  my level of pain.

Ok, to end this up, check this artist's dolls. They're beyond fabulous.

Alissa Filippova - the Dollery

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pushing buttons

I'm sorry, but I started finding really amusing how easily manipulated is copycat girl.

I got her to pull an all-nighter to "up" on me for the handful of 2-3 minutes long beginner videos - that honestly I had even forgotten I had scheduled to become public, they were essentially uploaded so I could populate the "for beginners" section on my website.

Now, copycat girl, let me tell you a secret: I got over 30 videos that are uploaded and unpublished. If I publish them all at once, what are you going to do? Work yourself to death to try to catch up?

Keep visiting here and my website. Yes, I can see you from the back end. But keep visiting, you never know what surprises I got in store from you.

Also, send my regards to the fiverr guys. Despite them recommending you (again) as one of their most successful clients, I politely declined (again) their offer to get me so many thousands of views and so many hundreds of subscribers in a week for only $50. See, not only do I consider myself a real artist that doesn't have to buy success, but I respect my sponsors too much to cheat them and buy views and subscribers instead of materials for tutorials.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

News that saddened me

Ok, maybe I shouldn't feel so affected emotionally. But I am.

Just thinking about how devastating it would be.

This morning in the subscription section of my youtube channel, a video popped up with the face of a youtuber I have been following. The title was "House gone". You can imagine I clicked on it right away.

She's not a big name - at least not that I know of. She only has 200+ subscribers. She posts sparingly. But I absolutely love the work she does. I have a soft spot for thing that look ancient, and she achieved the look.

Her house burned. She lost everything. I don't even understand how she could talk so calmly about it.

My heart weeps for her.

Book review - Polymer, the Chameleon Clay by Victoria Hughes

Polymer - The Chameleon Clay: ArtRanch Techniques for Re-creating the Look of Ivory, Jade, Turquoise, and Other Natural Materials T...