Touchstone Creations

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Art Blog

On this blog, I share pictures of the pieces I create for my TouchstoneCreations shop at Etsy.com, as well as some of those I'm working on and those that might never make it that far. I include lots of photos and blogging about work in progress and thoughts about my artistic endeavors.

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Cardinals -- Who Knew?

Posted by Julie Benner on February 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)






I have been sculpting a lot of different kinds of birds and some animals, even a few fantasy animals, for a few months now out of polymer clay, then listing some of them on my Etsy store, which I launched on New Year's Day this year. Among my pieces, I have goldfinches, cedar waxwings, white doves, Baltimore orioles, bluebirds, a couple of foxes, sea serpents, phoenixes, even a few garden slugs. And of course, cardinals.

 

Who knew, when I listed the various cardinals, that they would be the only items that would sell? So far, anyway. I've had three sales and one commission piece, and ALL of them have been cardinals. Three figurines and a pair of earrings. (Well, four figurines. One sale was a pair) They are very popular birds, apparently. And two of the people who wanted a cardinal figurine said the cardinal would remind them of their fathers. I think it is interesting.

 

I ordered some business cards with my artwork on them today. It just occured to me that perhaps I should have picked one of my cardinal pieces for the cards, instead of my crow trio, the ones I blogged about in my first post. But I don't regret it. I like the crows, and they need a chance to shine as well. I am pleased with my choice, and some day I hope that someone else will feel the same way, and want to own something I make that isn't a cardinal. In the meantime, I am happy that people like cardinals, and I hope they enjoy the ones I make.

 

 

Napping Fox

Posted by Julie Benner on February 3, 2013 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I made another red fox this weekend. I had made a sitting red fox a few weeks ago which I blogged about here and listed in my Etsy store. This one is a tiny napping fox all curled up. Not too much to say about him, except that he is simpler than the other fox, and started with a darker gold base clay, so his final color is darker as well. He's pretty cute, I think. He got a listing in my Etsy store too, but has been sold and is in his new home.







Sea Dragon

Posted by Julie Benner on February 3, 2013 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)




I don't know what it is about Sea Serpents. I just love them lately. See my two other posts about them here, and here. They are so sinuous and serpentine. And their heads are fascinating to me, too. This time I wanted to make a sea serpent that looked more like a dragon than a horse. He still has a bit of an equine look to him, the way he arches his neck, but he is actually a water dragon, not a hippocampus. 


This guy gave me a little trouble here and there, as befits a dragon. It was difficult to position his head just right so it pleased me. He kept tossing it about. His tail has a dragon-style point to it, arrow shaped. And he's nicely coiled about himself.


 I went with an interference gold color mica powder, highlighted with a duo green-gold color. That means that the color changes a bit as he moves. He was listed in my Etsy shop, but has since sold, and is now happy in his new home.





Baltimore Orioles

Posted by Julie Benner on January 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)




I had some cheerful, bright orange polymer clay that called out to be shaped into Baltimore oriole birds a week or so ago. Finishing them was a bit trickier than expected, however. The carbon black Pearlex powders turn out to be too messy to use for details, especially on tiny little pieces, so I had to use black paint for the markings on these birds, after they were baked. They have a touch of white on their wings as well. Even though my birds are stylized, and not meant to be exactly true to life, I think they still need the right colors in the right places. I also varnished them, to make sure the black paint didn't chip or rub off with use. The four smallest birds I made into two pairs of earrings, and the two larger were left as pendents or charms. I have listed the earrings on my Etsy store today.

Nessie Earrings

Posted by Julie Benner on January 23, 2013 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

After I made a few little green sea serpent or water horse figurines, I liked them so much that I made two pairs of tiny sea monster earringsand listed them on Etsy.  Loch Ness Monster earrings, how unusual! I think they are cute, and I wish my ears were still pierced so I could wear them. I like variety much more than turning out the same thing in the same style, so these little Nessies are in different positions. In one pair of earrings, the sea serpents' tails are curled around, more like a snake. The other pair looks more like the typical pictures of sea serpents, in what I call inchworm style. Which one do you like better? I can't quite decide.





Loving Doves

Posted by Julie Benner on January 22, 2013 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I wanted to make something for Valentine's Day that wasn't too cutesy, so I came up with the idea of a pair of white doves, preening each other as bird pairs do. It was a nice idea, and I really liked the shapes of the doves I sculpted, but the white clay turned out to be a lot of trouble. In the end, I had to paint both of the pairs of doves that I made with white acrylic paint, which I then antiqued with silver and lightly varnished. The dove pairs (I made two pairs) ended up having a distressed, antiquey look to them. This was not my original vision, nor is it my usual style, but I like it pretty well. I decided to list my dove couples on Etsy, and see if anyone wants to adopt them. See my earlier post called Valentine's Day Cardinals for a different bird pair I have listed on Etsy.



Details, Details

Posted by Julie Benner on January 22, 2013 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I've learned something about myself lately. I don't enjoy detail work. I love sculpting birds in polymer clay, but if it is a species of bird that has certain kinds of colors, I have to paint in the details to make it look right. Turns out that part isn't very fun for me. Worse is the fact that I then need to varnish the piece so that the paint doesn't chip or rub off. That is tricky with the tiny size of the birds that I sculpt. I've done a lot of varnishing when I was working in decoupage, so I know how to do it, but those pieces were a LOT bigger, and had mostly flat surfaces, or gently curved ones. These little guys are all curves and it's hard to hold onto them. I've been working on some chickadees and baltimore orioles for a week now, and I think I'm finally getting them finished. I'm looking forward to doing some more monochromatic or subtly colored pieces. I love my Pearlex powders so much more than paint.



Sea Serpents

Posted by Julie Benner on January 17, 2013 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I love to make fantasy creatures, and I worked on dragons last weekend. One larger dragon, and a little green sea serpent. The dragon didn't work out too well, but I liked the tiny sea serpent. He is in the style of a water horse, or a hippocampus, although he doesn't have fins. He does have a horse's head. I liked him so much that I made two more, and then some tinier charms as well, which I made into earrings. I posted the first three water horses today in my Etsy shop. I am rather pleased with them. One of them is my favorite, but I'm not saying which (don't want to hurt anyone's feelings). I have included a picture holding one of them to give an idea of the scale. 


Valentine's Day Cardinals

Posted by Julie Benner on January 14, 2013 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)



I have been thinking of some ideas for Valentine's Day figurines. I don't do cutesy, so it was kind of hard to figure out what to do. Birds seem to be my favorite subjects, so I decided to do some bird pairs and offer them for sale for Valentine's Day gifts. See my post Loving Doves for another bird pair. I already had a female cardinal listed and a male finished but not yet listed. I took down the single female listing and took some photos of the pair together. I really liked the way they came out, so I did a special listing of the two birds together.



More Crows

Posted by Julie Benner on January 13, 2013 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Some more crows put up on Etsy today, in three different styles and sizes. Well, three styles and two sizes, I guess. Two charms, one in my usual style: shaped and rubbed with mica powders, charm wire inserted, then baked. The other was handled exactly the same way, and after baked was wiped with metallic black paint and varnished for a shiny finish. They are both small charms.

 

The other, bigger crow is still a miniature, about 1 1/4" by 3/4". He is similar to the even larger crows I posted a few days ago. He is sculpted in a style similar to Japanese netsuke, but black. Netsuke were often carved out of ivory.






 


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