Tuesday, March 29, 2016

First design - Egg

The first design for the Plastic Canvas ornament book.  Using plastic canvas pieces, I constructed an egg frame which I stitched in white with a pink trim.  I added the pink teardrop acrylic sew-on rhinestones for a little bling.  Later I added a bead chain hanging from the middle inside the shape for a little more bling (no photo taken).  Since this was the first, I continued to need to make some modifications while working.  Most of the issues came when I was working on the top point of the egg.  Didn’t want to have it too pointed nor too rounded.  Have changed the connector in the area on my second attempt.

Some of the stitches were worked in tight areas and I felt very much like my logo design of a bear trying to thread the eye of a needle.

The thing is, I created this logo in 1999 and it has stuck, but never so close to how I felt on some of the stitching.  Working on the second egg now, taking the lessons I learned from the first such a baste stitch the components together.  On the first egg, I used a quilting thread to join the various components together but when I was stitching them with the yarn, I didn't like the way the yarn looked when it was stitched beside the thread.  In the second egg as I filling them in, I am removing the basting stitches and the yarn is laying down better.  Another area of dis-satisfaction was the connector at the 'top' of the egg.  After re-designing the connector, the attachments are easier to join together.  Still not complete happy but am more satisfied.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Design. Adjust. And Re-Design.

Started the plastic canvas designs and have already had to make adjustments to reduce waste at the cost of increased complexity. I wanted to try and make the ornament from just three pieces of plastic canvas, two 'poles' and one 'equator'. The 'equator' would be joined once and the 'poles' would join the 'arms' forming the shape pulling them into the over-all shape. However, cutting the shape would produce only one of the larger shapes from one piece of plastic canvas. If I cut smaller pieces and stitched them together, I could produce two or more ornaments from a single piece of plastic canvas. Going to try it both ways later, right now I am making two of the Easter eggs for two daughters of a co-worker and need to have them finished before the 27th.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Starting from scratch / Why artists can have strong feeling about Intellectual Property.

Starting at the beginning, one does not realize how much work there is in designing ornaments with little previous information.  There are many who cry about "Intellectual Property", copyright and patent infringement and others who decry that once it is in the public, it is 'fair-game'.

Having seen only a few three-dimensional globe type ornaments in plastic canvas, I had little to start basing ornament construction on.  Many times I can modify a technique I already have mastered and just transpose onto another medium.  With Plastic Canvas I really had to start almost at the beginning.  I had found a few patterns for globes on Pinterest but really didn’t like the way the ornaments were constructed nor finished.  The design of the ornaments did not excite my aesthetic sensibilities.  Making variations to existing designs is relatively easy, building it from the ‘ground up’ takes some time.

Over the weekend I started taking my designs for the plastic canvas ornaments from concept to layout.  Using Adobe Illustrator CS4 I made a grid for the 7 Mesh plastic canvas sheets I will use for most of the ornaments.  My first attempt was slightly off, when I laid a piece of plastic canvas on top of the printed sheet, I noticed the graphic was slightly smaller producing a moire pattern.  I adjusted the scale of the pattern by increasing the entire graphic 1% until no moire pattern was visible. 

Once the graph was the properly scaled, I was able to start transposing my design from rough sketches to the graph for both pattern and cutting.  I transposed several concepts for the chandelier along with the concepts for what I have been calling “the globes”.  “The globes” are four (4) designs for three-dimensional ornaments most commonly found on Christmas trees: a sphere, an ovoid or squash which is wider than it is tall, another ovoid which is taller than it is wide, and a navette, similar to an oval but with pointed ends instead of rounded.  I am thinking about making another variation and mixing the point from the bottom of the navette and the rounded top of the sphere to create a teardrop or onion dome, depending on the orientation of the ornament.  Variations are easier once the basic framework is set.

Using rectangles I filled in the graph to represent the stitched portions of the plastic canvas which would be needed to make the ornaments.  Since I am wanting the globes to all be similar in construction, I used the same basic layout, the same circumference, or “Equator” of 72 holes and a 5 hole over lap for joining the ends together.  Since I did not know if I wanted 4 or 6 supported arms I knew I needed a number of hole easily divisible by both 4 and 6.  Once I re-designed with 5 and 6 support arms, the connection areas would be problematic due to the available designs of plastic canvas, so back to the original 4 arm design.    By making changes in the length of the support arms I was able to create all four shapes I wanted.  I then used the same design for connecting the support arms for three of the four designs.  The ends of the support arms for the Navette would need to be adapted to create points at the top and bottom, or “Poles” instead of the rounded ends needed for the other three.

Once done, I printed out the page with all four (4) ornaments layered so that I could construct a paper version of the ornament before cutting the plastic canvas.  Using 72 holes for the ornament would make the diameter to be 3.25 inches, a little larger than the common sized ornaments, If I used 60 holes, it would produce an ornament roughly 2.75" in diameter.  I will make an ornament in each size to see which I prefer.

Having printed out the graph and taped the paper ornament together, now I am ready to actually cut the pattern out and stitch each of the ornaments.   After looking at them I may decide to scrap this entire project but my brain may not let me.

Photos to follow.

Monday, February 8, 2016

2016 - thoughts on ornaments

Been getting this together for the first ornament exchange of the year. Going to try and make several more than the 2 needed for this exchange so that I can 'forget' about the other 2 quarterly exchanges. I will be using scrap from where I work to make the ornaments, just need to buy a few things such as alcohol inks and maybe some clay and metal bracket to use as hangers for the ornament.

Also have been thinking about plastic canvas ornaments. Most I have seen are flat 2-dimensional but the ones I have in mind are 3-dimensional. Have made a few over the years, but this last weekend I designed about 2 dozen.  The first one I did many years ago was similar to the 3 ring chandelier (directly below) but I had attached 3 inch fringe to each of the layers instead of the chain and beaded accents.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Do you want to make a snowman?

Most of my crafting supplies are boxed up and in storage so I am unsure if I will be participating in the ornaments exchange this quarter. That being said I have an ornament designed from recycled products, most of them I obtained from where I work. One of the lines of products we produce have holes punched through stainless steel sheets which are then made into the product - water recirculators for the welding industry. There are several sizes of circles, squares, rectangles which are produced as waste. Last year, I made a snowman out of 3 of these circles. Spot welding them together to produce the traditional snowman shape.

We also have expanded metal used to produce air-flow grates for these machines. In the past I used some to make icicles, and have other ideas for larger pieces, but I am thinking about using them to make stick arms for the snowman.

Another recycled aspect of the snowman will be the plastic 'sawdust' produced in another operation. We also manufacture plastic welding safety and cover lens for the welding industry which we cut to size with an industrial table saw. Even though the plastic is clear, the saw dust is white. I used the sawdust in making the icicles, so will use it along with flocking material to cover the metal discs. Thinking of adding some glitter on the top coating.

Finishing the details on the snowmen, I am thinking about making 'carrot' noses from air-dry clay, and use some yarn to form scarfs. Finally, I will use markers and stamping inks to add the finishing details such as faces, and buttons.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

2015 Ornament Exchange - the main exchanges

This year's major Exchange Ornaments have been sent out.  These are the major annual exchanges which I have to make multiple ornaments.  I try to make the same ornament for each member of the assigned group instead of separate ornament designs for each individual.

I was a member of two different groups who held handmade ornament exchange this year.  The first group, I needed to make a total of eight (8) ornaments, four in each group and I asked for two groups. Most (maybe missing one) have received their ornament so I feel better about posting a photo of the ornament at this time. I had a mother in one group and her daughter in the other group, who both live together, so I made the second ornament so they wouldn't have two ornaments the same on the tree.

Main ornament

Variant ornament

Many years ago, I had gone to the After Christmas sales looking at the various ornaments which were greatly discounted.  I happened upon several containers of miniature glass onion globe ornaments, three colors with eight ornaments per color in each container.  I picked up all they had (seven containers: 3 of white, red & green ornaments and 4 of bronze, gold & copper ornaments).  I had forgotten about them and discovered them again last year.  Still have many of them available for future ornaments, and will most likely use them for many personal gifts for this year.  The white is actually close to an antique pearly white which matched the pearl drops and pearl beads very close in color.  The smaller Delica beads I use on the arcs/arms were a close match as well.  If I decide to do these as my major design I can easily change the color the the Delica beads to match friend's individual likes such as one friend likes orange so I will do an orange and pearl and a friend's daughters like pink and purple while his will be deep red and his wife's will be classical pearl white.

The other exchange I was a member of this year, I had to make seven (7) identical ornaments, then send them to the coordinator who will redistribute them to the participants.  I like this concept as only the people who send in ornaments will receive ornaments in return and they come all at the same time.  For this exchange I created a beaded icicle with pearls, rhinestone rondells and bi-cones.  I have seen a similar ornament on Pinterest which I liked.  I changed a few things, deleting an additional embellishment of 'caging' the top pearl which additional pearls and bi-cones and adding additional spacer beads separating the individual elements.

Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 Second Qtr Exchange/May 2015 Recycled Exchange

The 2015 Second Quarter Ornament Exchange, along with the May 2015 Recycled Ornament Exchange, were basically the same.  Had several sets of the miniature spool snowflake ornaments left over from 2014 Christmas, so I re-worked them to include a snowflake charm dangle. 

The charms I had purchased in 2009 as part of a lot of costume Christmas bracelets/keychains which I disassembled.  The charms were varied, some simple snowflakes others were holly leaves, Santas, presents, stockings, etc. and simple beads.

The small spools had to have the central wire re-worked from a headpin and plain bottom to a eyepin which ran the entire way through the ornament and gave an attachment loop for the charm.