Monday, March 5, 2012

Playtime Inspiration

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor

As one of the jurors for Metal Clay Artist Magazine's 2012 challenge, I'm really excited to see what wonderful work everyone has produced using "Metal Clay Plus". The theme of the contest was to use our favorite clay and any other inclusion, material, or add-on. That's it. Such a wealth of material to choose from. Did any of you enter? If not, what material(s) might you have used if you had?

Me playing with watercolor enamel.
One of the things that is most exciting to me as a maker is pushing my own boundaries, trying something new and incorporating that technique into my work. I just got back from a week long play-date in Texas with two of my very good friends (I live in California). There I learned how to torch enamel, use watercolor enamel (so fun), make and sew together a handmade journal, and experimented a bit with Creative Paper Clay. I already have some new ideas swimming around in my head. Next year the play-date is already scheduled to be held at my house!

Almost done. A little more color I think.
A play-date should be just what it sounds like. A day filled with play and experimentation. Mothers have no problem scheduling one for their kids, why shouldn't adults benefit from the camaraderie and imaginative input from their friends too?

If you'd like to try your hand(s) at hosting a friendly fun day, here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Get together with one or two friends, leave the metal clay in your tool box, and share some hobbies that might be new to the others.
2. Take a trip to the craft store and fill your baskets with anything that looks interesting, then take it all home and "Make it Work".
3. Visit a couple of jewelry galleries to find artist's you may not be familiar with. Have a discussion about what you do or don't like about their work, style, materials, or theme.
I'd never tried making a book before.
4. Go to a bookstore, grab a table to spread out on, and gather coffee table books on anything but jewelry making. What techniques can you borrow from woodworking, ceramics, art journaling, or book making?
5. Sit around the dining room table with pads of paper; watercolors; brushes; paper; crayons; pencils; pastels; or any other art supply you have in the house - and just draw 'till your heart's content. Doodle. Make marks. Grafitti. Zentangle. Don't have a preconceived idea of the outcome. Nothing has to be symmetrical, professional looking, or even recognizable.

No idea what that birdie figure is.
Artistic friends are valuable sources of support, inspiration, and camaraderie. And best of all you don't have to travel to learn from them, pay for anything but materials (and sometimes not even that), and you can make your own 'class' schedule. Why don't you schedule a date with your besties right now? Carry on!

All photos courtesy Vickie Hallmark


Pam Hurst said...

There is a group of us who have a "playmate" once a month and it has been so much fun and inspirational. We do our own monthly challenges and trade teaching skills, go bead shopping, etc..

Anonymous said...

HI Lora! Artist from Texas here. Can you contact me aobut how and what you used to the little round zentangled enamel circles? Im Brad at If you email me i will give you myh number maybe we can talk. I love those little enameled button things. wow!