Friday, October 30, 2009

Poker Chip Swap at Clay Carnival

At next week's Clay Carnival the last night is a "Poker Chip Swap." Everyone who wishes to participate makes some sort of design the size of a poker chip, it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, thank goodness! Pictured below is my chips, I am not very good at millefiori (glad I'll be taking a class about that next week!) but attempted it. After slicing the cane and baking, I stamped and embossed them with gold to bring out the gold flecks in the cane (that you can't see from the photo) So the week after next, I will have a whole bunch of "poker chips" to show you. It will be fun to see all different styles and get some ideas from the participants!!

One of the guest instructors for the Clay Carnival is my mentor and friend, Maureen Carlson. Maureen has been an avid fan of polymer clay since 1979, when her first FIMO wee folk looked back at her and grinned - or so she says. This stuff had life! It was magic! For many years Maureen made one-of-a-kind characters which she sold primarily at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Then Wee Folks Designs was born with the start of teaching videos. Wee Folk Creations became one of the leaders in the rapidly expanding world of polymer clay design. Along the way Maureen began writing craft books of which she's had many published, and some in different languages to be distributed across the world! Her business expanded to specialize in Maureen Carlson designs, which includes how-to books, push molds, stories and several lines of collectible characters, including Pippsywoggins®, Friar Folk™ and Sister Folk™. She teaches classes at many locations and events across the country. Her latest book is Fairies, Gnomes, & Trolls, and I'm excited to say the Mushroom men concept created with the "Dent girls!" made the book! It's availabe at Amazon and pictured to the right.
Maureen's designs are about imagination and whimsy and the joy of recognizing a glint of understanding in the eyes of a wee clay creature. The seeds for this imaginative view of life began on a dairy farm in central Michigan, in the American midwest, where Maureen spent hours wandering the woods and fields and digging in the garden. The soil and sun and green sprouts and falling leaves eventually became the background for many of her stories.

In 1999, the Carlsons opened Maureen Carlson's Center for Creative Arts, in Jordan, Minnesota, just 35 miles southwest of Minneapolis. In this small town setting, perched on the edge of a small meandering creek, students and retreat participants have opportunities to learn, to share and to explore their creative interests.
She also does Clay Storytelling which is incredible to experirence. Imagine a room full of curious listeners sitting in a semi-circle around a costumed story teller. She is saying:"Reach into your back pocket and pull out your Imagination Hat. Stretch it until it fits. Put it on. Now, together, let's look into this pile of clay ... and meet ... and make ... a Storyclay® character ..." And so begins a Storyclay® Telling. Though no two Storyclay® Tellings are exactly alike, there are some similarities.
Next I'll tell you a bit more of my personal view of this incredible women and the impact she's made on my life!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My First Polymer Clay piece!

Once again, my mom was the reason for all of this whimsy you're reading!! One weekend visiting my folks in SD, mh mom showed me this awesome polymer clay book she had gotten written by a woman artist she watched occasionally on the Carol Duvall show. As I looked at the information about the author I realized she lived about 30 min south of me! When we looked at her website we realized she had a studio and had classes. That's all it took. My sister and mom and I decided to head down to Jordan and Mushroom Men were the first on the agenda.

This was the first time Maureen had done the mushroom men. She had made large mushrooms but the first time for adding the faces. What fun!! After a torrential rain storm were we ended up in the dirt and rock basement, we fastly became several rounds of "illullulatajuichum" cementeded the friendship or at least the relationship! She would never be rid of us now!!!! Years later when I am at the center I run into people who remembering the singing family. Not that we can sing! But we can certainlyh ave fun! Next I'll share with you about my incredible mentor Maureen Carlson. It's late so I can't go on. But I can't wait~~~~~

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spooktacular Menu!!

The neighbor girls and I prepared a "spook"tacular dinner Saturday night! Here's our menu:

First Course: Eyeballs and Lips

Main Course: Monster Stew with Simmering Brains

Vampire Repellent

Werewolf Guts

Spicy Larvae

Dessert: Spiders on a Web

Beverages: Moon Juice

Dracula's Nightly Harvest

Witches Brew
Sounds yummy, huh??!! The girls are so creative coming up with the names.
Here's what we really had, round pear slices topped with kiwi slices, apple wedges with peanut butter and mini-marshmallows in between, chicken & dumplings, garlic bread, pickled beets, & zinger pickles. Dessert was chocolate brownie torte with chocolate filling and we made a white spider web with white chocolate and made spiders from black licorice and chocolate.
We have so much cooking together, and then we invite their folks to join us. They love setting the table and making placecards, creating centerpieces and serving th meal. I'm hopeful I'm creating some awesome entertainers!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Halloween Treats!! BOO!

October means Halloween isn't far behind. Looking for some goulish treats! I made radish eyeballs one year for a party. I peeled them leaving "blood viens" of the radish. I used a coring tool and scooped a hollow out of the top. I added a bit of cream cheese "paste" and glued the olives into the sockets!!! Don't be scared! Just eat your veggies!

I used my apple wedger to cut the candy corn shapes from the sugar cookie cough. I dipped the ends in white chocolate that I had color to. I have made them tinting the cookie dough orange and then dipping them in white and dark chocolate. Fun little cookie treat!

Spiders and mummies, oh no!! Not to fear it is only frosting gumdrops and sprinkles! Meringue cookies work great for pumpkins and ghosts! I just brushed them with corn syrup and spinkled with orange sugar and you can add a stem. Make your own colored sugar in any shade you want!! Add food color to a jar with sugar in it, put the lid on and shake! Open and let dry. One Christmas the neighbor girls and I made a bunch of different colors of sugar and put them in small jars like sand art for Christmas gifts! Useful and inexpensive!!

These are actually bloody fingers! Now you know why the "meringue cookie ghost" is screaming! These were fun to make. I used blanched almonds for the nails and add a bit of food coloring blood. Okay, you didn't really believe me they were real...did you?