Distractions and keeping your sanity

Sometimes it all gets too much doesn’t it? You can be happily going along in your own bubble and then something brings you up short. What do you do when you need to distract yourself and focus on something calming? I ‘play’ and by that I mean I dabble with various crafts and arts – look back through this blog and you will see posts from lino cutting to geli printing form cyanotypes to wire wrapping. Photography is a given and I don’t ever go a day without taking a photo of some kind – its my ‘diary’ and helps me work out when the grebes should be hatching and when the poppies will be around.

My latest interest is Polymer Clay – having watched hundreds of videos and read as many tutorials as I could find, I made hundreds of buttons – this helped me to ease myself into this work and it didn’t matter if I made lots of mistakes. I donated these to charity, to a local knitting group – to my mother in law so at least my efforts were useful.

My favourite method at the moment is ‘Mokume Gane’.

Mokume-gane (木目金) is a Japanese metalworking procedure which produces a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns, as well as that laminate itself. (wikipedia) It was first developed in the 17th C as a method for decorating Japanese swords, these decorations were seen as status symbols.

It has been used by various polymer clay artists to create amazing veneers – by using different colours, textures, tools and items to mark make you can create abstract or more controlled patterns in polymer clay.

My first attempts were a ‘disaster’ – muddy mixed colours, holes in my clay … then I discovered the work of Melanie Muir who combines this technique with her inspiration from nature. Her work is amazing and I was over joyed to find she has a shop selling stamps and cutters created from her designs – several of these were purchased and my eureka moment had arrived! With the right tools and lots of patience, I could create something unique.

There are times when I disappear to my ‘craft room’ (which is so untidy it’s unbelievable’ put the radio on and lose myself for a couple of hours – its calming, it’s therapeutic and I can donate my efforts to raising funds for LimbBo Foundation or giving them away to others who are fundraising. I can get out into nature with my camera for inspiration and retreat to my space to create! I’d definitely recommend it. J x

Polymer Clay veneer made using Melanie Muir Mokume Gane stamps

3 thoughts on “Distractions and keeping your sanity

  1. Hi, Jane. Pinterest showed me the beautiful mokume pic I used as the banner photo in the MG group. I’ll have to look around your blog a bit! 😉 I love linocuts but have never done any…I don’t have the artistic talent to create my own designs. I JUST recently bought some two-part cyanotype solution and am looking forward to playing with it. But mokume I’ve been doing since my very first PC workshop with Carol Simmons 13 years ago. If you haven’t tried mokume with pearl/metallic clays, give it a shot! You inspired me with your poppy pods. This week on vacation in CA, I picked up some eucalyptus pods to try the same!

    1. Hi Heidi, I love the MG page it’s so inspiring. I’m glad you’ve found my blog – it has a basic guide to wet cyanotype- which is addictive – be warned! I’d love to see what you do with eucalyptus pods – I’ve never seen those – I’m UK based – so looking forward to the results. I did a lino printing course – again, really fascinating, I have made some texture stamps using that technique. I just proper love playing. So glad I found your group and met you, jane

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