Monday, 27 July 2015

The Bunny Family Journal

Hello my sweet honey bunnies! :) 


Today I decided to write about my newest journal, which I called in a very simple way "The Bunny Family Journal"( A5 size).  It seems like that the story of my bunnie's love for each other continues....

This was a custom order from an older client lady. She has a son and him and his wife are expecting their second baby in the first weeks of August. It's going to be a boy! 
So my client, as a very proud Grandmother, ordered this journal to give as a gift to her daughter in law. I thought this is so sweet and she particularly loved my bunny journals and so we developed this concept of a 4 member family having a little picnic in the park. She said they will end up living in Texas and so she wanted some flowers from that place to be shown on the journal too. That's why I places some Lupins and other flowers.
Ashley always tells me that I have to work on my background scenes more as sometimes my pieces look too flat and then one massive bulky character stands in the middle of it all. 
So this time I decided to properly sculpt all of the background first. As it was a park picnic scene, I needed to have the picnic blanket laying on some grass and to make the scene more intimidating and give a feel of a park, I added some Hydrangea bushes and a beautiful large tree on the background. Kinda made the whole scene look more zoned out from the rest of the world. This is type of spaces I like for the picnic. Little pockets of privacy :) 

First thing I always consider when making clay creatures, is their eyes. I believe that eyes is the mirror of the soul and most of my artworks are looking so alive because of the eyes. So I had to make them first. The whole family is blue-eyed in real life and so I had to stick to this hue. 
Now.. I am quite ashamed to put the first appearance pictures of my Bunnies on this brown clay background, because I decided to sculpt all of their naked bodies first to see where she shapes go, how to position them and so on and then to dress them up in clothes. But because they were naked and very primitively shaped, this looked like a very awkward scene. So no, I am not showing it. We have under 18-teens here :) 

But here is the shot from the moment when I dressed them up! And it looks very descent. I struggled with positioning the father bunny and it was quite hard to make mother bunny's arms holding the baby. So I used some human realistic shots for reference to understand where which part of the body goes. You might be surprised hearing this, but I am very bad at human proportions. I think sculpting
human body is the hardest thing of all. 

















So then I needed to understand how to blend the foreground and background together. I wasn't sure I will make it successfully with paints, so I decided to use my super set of eyeshadows which I love badly. It is, in my opinion, so much better than pastels. I just can't get hold of pastels still. But with these, they stick to your brush nicely, colours are very vibrant. You would always need to seal it after baking of course, otherwise some of the colour may still disappear. 
Anyway, I ended up here and I was very pleased with how the colours looked like. 

After adding up some details like flowers, more volume to the tree and picnic basket, I finally baked it! I knew that if I wash this in cold water to cool it off faster, the colours will fade, so I waited for it to cool naturally. After it cooled I started painting it with oil colours, first raw umber to enhance the outlines and small sculpted details, then other colours to make the grass brighter and so on. But I ended up messing it up a bit, because when I started rubbing off excess paint with wet whipes, the shadow also rubbed off. So next day I had to repaint it with acrylics. I regret that red flowers became much darker after the final painting was complete. I added some red colour, but still it wasn't as bright and vibrant as it was before baking. After all the paint was applied, I did a layer of antique gold in dry brushing technique to highlight the highest points of the journal surface and also did Guilders Paste patina effect over some places to add up more colour, definition and to brighten things up. I started to like the artwork so much more after that. It is always a big surprise what patina can do to your artwork. 

So this is what I ended up with. Please enjoy and let me know what you think. I am welcoming technical suggestions on how I could improve this piece, or improve my sculpting, decorating and colouring techniques. Please, don't be shy. I would love some positive criticism!

 



My client really wanted the moto somewhere on the journal... "Life is Good" .. As this is something their Grandfather used to say and so this stuck as a family tradition. As I cherish family traditions a lot, I couldn't resist to agree and write it. 



In any way, 
Thanks for reading :) 





Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Mini Stamps


A little tip for those who need a multiple amount of small flowers or leafs on their clay journal or other artwork! I looked at Etsy stamps in metal for £9 each... Then I looked at my clay and my hands and said: "Let's do it!". Took me 25 minutes to make and bake.. But then I was stamping away with a speed of lightning and I saved some money! 

You can make flowers, leaves and all sorts of other mini impressions with these. 
The picture shows the nature picnic scene and I needed a lot of leafy bushes and trees. So it worked very well. YOU can make some smaller and bigger ones to add the variety and more dimension. 
I glued my stamps with super glue to an old pen bottom part, but if you like you can use sticky glue dots to attach and detach multiple stamps onto one pen. 
Anyways, this adds possibilities and new looks to my artworks and I couldn't just skip this without sharing.

Stay tuned to see the progress of this journal as well :) It's going to be a bunny family picnic :)

Thanks for reading, 



Monday, 20 July 2015

Raven The Samurai Journal A5

Hello everyone!

I am very glad to show you some new artworks! It took me some time to find tome for editing these pictures, but the actual journal was made in literary hours.
The story goes.. Two month ago I received an order. It wasn't urgent but I couldn't start it for so long. Praise my customers who give me all this free time and trust me so much. Sending my blessings to yo you all for your patience with my extravagant artistic habits.
So one of these last days I was walking and walking around my work desk and couldn't start the journal. I found 1000 other tasks. I know I have them anyway, but I couldn't prioritise things the way they were supposed to. So that day I cleaned the whole room so that my room and my mind are less polluted with distractions. When that was done I sat down on my chair, went on Pinterest, looked for some studio inspirations, found a wall colour I liked. Went to local DIY store and purchased some paint. Came home, moved all furniture in the middle, painted the wall... at 10 PM in the evening everything was done and ONLY THEN I sat down to my desk in the middle of all this wreckage and created this journal in literary hours. I think I went to sleep at about 01:30AM that day. When I woke up I only needed to bake and paint it. So another hour and it was done. My customer was very happy with the result and she loved the story of my struggles. She said it was completely worth the wait and adventure.

Because this raven has metallic embellishments that look like some sort of Japanese armour, I called him Raven the Samurai. My client was very pleased with the name too and said she couldn't find a better name for it. FUN!
So here are the pictures. Enjoy and let me know if you liked the story. Sorry I don't have progress pictures as this one came out so fast, I couldn't manage taking photos.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Divine Nature: Birds

Hello everyone!

Today I would like to talk about finding inspiration in everything bird related, especially their feathers. Feathers were always important to me. If I would find a beautiful feather on the floor in the woods, I would cherish it and keep it, sometimes I would even make some jewellery out of it. I have found duck, parrot, jay feathers from the most fascinating ones and I also posses a whole collection of feathers from the zoo or purchased on Etsy. For me feather is one of my symbols as I am a Mandarin Duck :) And yes, I have some orange sale Mandarin Duck feathers, too :) Very special! I am planning on framing them all under one large frame and place it somewhere in my house. Perhaps a few smaller frames if I won't find a large enough space for a Grande design.
So here are a couple of collages I made for you. Please enjoy, let your inspiration juices flow and let me know how you like this post and if you would like me to continue posting these kind of photo collage posts for you. I am all for it :) So nice!




Thank you for reading and coming over to check me out! 
Really appreciate it x



Thursday, 9 July 2015

"Forbidden Lands" Cuff Bracelet by Mandarin Duck

"Forbidden Lands Bracelet" is one of my latest pieces  and it was inspired by deep jungle in India, where there are hidden ancient ruins and massive ancient trees grow over them, tightly holding on with their roots and grow through the ancient buildings.

Click on the picture to enlarge the image.


It took me 3 months to make it. It's not that easy to stay in forbidden lands, so I had to make 3 small journeys.

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Came back with my wrists hurting from painstaking texture applications and had to recover between every journey :)

Click on the picture to enlarge the image.

That's why it took me so long to make it. But I hope what I brought from my imaginary Forbidden Lands will find reflection in your hearts. This bracelet is truly a treasure I discovered in my heart.

Click on the picture to enlarge the image.

Click on the picture to enlarge the image.

Click on the picture to enlarge the image.












































































This is a very special piece and it is AVAILABLE HERE
Thank you so much for reading. Let me know what you think in comments bellow. 














Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Mandarin Duck Texture Stamps (c)

Hello my sweet honey bunnies! :) 


I am so excited to finally announce that I will be releasing a collection of Mandarin Duck Texture Stamps (c) very soon this summer! I am so worried if you will or will not like them, as I worked for 1.5 years to create these! I will start with releasing a couple of designs to be available for purchase, and as time passes, collection will keep growing. 

The most amazing part is that the journey from the beginning to the completion of the project took me about 1.5 years. Of course I didn't work on them every day, but I did think about them every day!

As you can see from the picture on the right, this is my very first day and the beginning of a very first sketch. Quite a memorable photo as it's almost 1.5 years old. 

When planning and thinking about my textures, I wanted them to be an extension of me. Something that really speaks in my language, something that reflects who I am and what I do in polymer clay world. 
There are so many different stamps and texture stamps available and they all are so lovely. I had a lot of doubts if there is any chance for my textures to succeed in such a busy market. But then I realised that there is no need for me to impress anyone apart from my own self. So when creating these hand drawn designs and then editing these into a professional texture stamp quality artworks, I was thinking about how I am going to use these.
When testing every sample I received from different manufacturers, I was so picky to my own self, that even Ashley said that I am being too harsh with myself!
I replied, that if I will like them, then others will like them too. How can I release something I am not happy with?  So in no way and not at any stage of my project I rushed it to make it just a money-maker. Of course, there is that too, otherwise I would just give them out for free, lol :) But money making was never my first priority. I tried to do my very best to provide the best affordable quality that is available on the market and which I could financially support on my own.
So as you can see these are not just some sort of stock image purchased pictures that I turned into stamp designs. These are my own artworks, drawn by my own hands and they came from my own imagination. 
It was quite a struggle to find a good material and a great manufacturing technology, as some are amazing but super expensive, some were much cheaper but not good enough, not deep enough, not hard-but-flexible enough, weird looking, badly cut or coloured. All sorts really.

 I stopped on these transparent type texture stamps, as they have an amazing qualities in the way how they are made, how long they can last, how you need to care for them, how they are presented, and how functional and easy to work with they actually are.
The fact that you can see an outline of the design on top of your stamp at all times, makes the stamping process so much easier. How many times I wanted to stamp just a little pattern from the stamp on a journal or a jewellery piece, but when I turned it upside down, I was only left with guessing if I will or will not imprint the correct part of the stamp. So transparency was so important for my designs. With the transparent stamp and the design outline on top of it you will never be confused with what you are doing!

Also I was very particular about the edges of these stamps. First of all I didn't want the stamp to just end with a sharp rectangular outline. Whenever I am stamping some smaller textures, it's always a problem to join the edges together if I need to create a larger patterned space. With these uneven outlined edges you can have an endless variation of connections, joining the edges or purposely using the edge parts to make one part of your design plain and the other one with texture. 

The physical quality of the material allows the texture stamps to be hard enough to create deep, sharp-edged texture imprints without smudging and smearing the pattern. Flexability of these texture stamps allow comfortable texturising procedure. Of course as any stamp, these will require some special way of work to ensure a maximum potential. Nothing special, just something I figured out in the process and am willing to share with you soon. 

I will tell some more about these stamps, will be filming tutorials and creating manuals later this summer before the final release. I was just so excited when I received my final samples, that I had to share it with you. I thought, you would love to know what is going on :) 
So...
























Stay tuned!
I will reveal more photos, info and teasers soon!

Thank you,