Thursday, May 19, 2011

3-D Mixed Media Art Card

I had so much fun creating this mixed media art card. I used a dog stamp from Viva Las VegaStamps to create the 3-D angel dog.
 click to enlarge
a close-up of the wings

To create this mixed media artwork card, I stamped the dog image on white watercolor paper and shaded it with Copic markers. I punched a 2" circle of white paper, cut it in half, folded it and used a corner stamp to punch the design. I combined the dog and wings on three layers of handmade paper.

I painted dots around the circle with gold metallic acrylic. Then I added beads and metallic threads along one side.

stamp - 

Bichon With Bow 2 x 2 1/4 Item 11156 Plate 1165 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tiny White Chair

Today, a technical lesson! This little chair is going to be part of a larger project - for that project, I covered it with clay. CraftEdu instructor Kent Perdue makes these wonderful little chair rings of wood (his specialty). For the project, I didn't have to cover it with clay, but I wanted to.

Wood is a tricky material to cover in polymer. It expands and contracts more than polymer and that can present problems after curing. For this reason, the polymer clay you choose must be strong enough not to crack when the wood expands.

Wood is also textured, it isn't stock smooth like glass and textures don't (in my experience) grab the clay like a smooth surface. For this reason, a wood piece should be sanded with fine grit paper - let's make it smoother. Dry sand it well, then brush off the dust - don't wet the piece or else you may have to wait a few days for it to dry out again.

There are so many woods - of so many qualities so if you can, choose a hardwood, with no knots (the sap will seep out - another resist agent - when you heat the piece). The seeping may well also lead to cracking in the wood itself and that may lead to problems with the clay covering it.

Before sheeting a piece with clay, apply a coat of PolyPaste and cure it. The PolyPaste will fill whatever remains of the texture and provide a nice, smooth, polymer surface on which to attach the sheet. When covering a chair like this - it's all angles (except for the round holes) sheet each plane of the chair, don't drape a sheet over. Draped sheets end up with rounder corners and that's not what I wanted!

Because of the issue of expansion, contraction, texture, make that sheet of at least a medium thickness. You may save clay with a thin sheet but it will be more difficult to manage and may even crack after curing. This medium sheet is stronger and offers the capability of sanding and sanding and not exposing the wood beneath it.

I used to cover really big wooden pieces with clay but the level of difficulty of covering larger forms increases with the size so begin with a small piece, then move on to larger items.

Donna Kato is one of the founders of CraftEdu, has her own brand of polymer clay (Kato Polyclay by Van Aken, Int.), is an author and teacher - on the road and online at

Workshops at CraftEdu
Upcoming Events

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day

Today's blog is dedicated to my Mother and Mothers the world over. Where would we be without them? I adore my mom.

I owe so much to my mom. The care and feeding, the comforting and scolding, teaching right from wrong - not an easy job. When I was small, my parents friends used to say of my brother and I "if they both survive", which says a lot about the chaos the two of us created in the house. Thankfully, we both did survive and are great friends today. But getting through those formative years placed a huge burden on Mom, Dad and baby sister, Tina, who used to hide when we started up. We were Hurricane Katrina roaring through our home in San Jose.

Somehow, with all of that to deal with (it was a lot), my mom managed to make our clothes, knit our sweaters, even provide Tina's beloved Barbie dolls with the best wardrobe on the block and make jam. Tiny brocade dresses with mink collars. Smashing! Watching her at the sewing machine or sitting with a ball of yarn and needles, clicking away, was magic to me. That little piece of fabric turned into that dress, that yarn turned into a sweater. Absolute magic.

So, when I was old enough (about 8) Mom taught me how to make magic of my own. She taught me to knit (my first sweater being a jaunty orange sailor collar sweater for Tina's Skipper doll - one ply on pick up sticks), crochet, embroider and then bought me all those issues of "1,000 Great Christmas Ideas" at the local grocery check out. I pored over those magazines. I made ornaments of ribbon, styrofoam snowmen and pipe cleaner anythings.

Through my Mother's instruction and support, I learned the most valuable lesson of my life. I can do, I can make, I am not totally dependent on a store or anyone else for what I need. If I set my mind to something, there's a good chance I can do it. That confidence allowed me to go further, to dare to try to make my life in the art and craft world. I rarely think "I can't do that", I always think of how I might do it myself.

When I began in polymer clay, Mom told my husband Vernon, "I'm scared, how is Donna going to make a living with clay???" Vernon replied, "I know, I'm scared, too". The important thing here is that I didn't know they were concerned - they didn't tell me until years after. If I had known they were so concerned, I might not have pursued this dream.

So, Mom, thank you for the many gifts you have given to me and to everyone who is lucky enough to know you. More than anyone else, you set me on this road, you opened the door, supported and encouraged and let me try what you at one time thought totally improbable.

Donna Kato is one of the founders of CraftEdu, has her own brand of polymer clay (Kato Polyclay by Van Aken, Int.), is an author and teacher - on the road and online.

Workshops at CraftEdu
Upcoming Events