Monday, March 30, 2009

Ancora Imparo Design

I finally got off my duff and opened up an etsy shop! This will feature more then polymer clay, I have lots of things I love to make! It's starting out slowly, but I am working on it every week.

What is Ancora Imparo? It is a quote attributed to Michelangelo in the later years of his life. It means "Still I am learning". I love this, and decided years ago that if I ever did open a shop, this would be the name. I am more excited about what I might learn tomorrow then what I already know today!

Here are some pictures of some new stuff I have been working on. I have been making my own earwires, doing some wire wrapping, fusing silver and having fun!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Burnt Offerings" and finding an old love again.

About a decade ago, when I first found I was addicted to polymer clay, I fell in love with doing filigree work. I discovered eventually I could blend my clay colors as I was extruding them, and I became even more entranced.

Shortly after this, I became a victim of a violent crime. I was at work, and a guy put a gun up to my head while he robbed us. I immediately had a severe post traumatic stress attack. I couldn't leave my house or go anywhere by myself, and work was out of the question. I sat around and thought about the incident over and over. My husband had to drive me to therapy appointments, because I thought I saw this guys car every time I got behind the wheel. After a week or two I eventually turned to my clay and my new discovery. For almost a month, I worked on these beads. While working on the beads, I just blocked everything out, and would get so caught up in them that I forgot to think about the armed robbery. That is just the way it is whenever I do the filigree work. They really did help me to heal. The beads are quite large, I really never meant to wear it. It was meant as an art piece, even though I didn't consider myself to be an artist at that time. A friend talked me into submitting them to a magazine, Jewelry Crafts, and to my amazement, they published the piece, with my instructions.

I ended up developing fibromyalgia shortly after the armed robbery (there is a connection!) and over the years, my clay went on the back burner. I spent the last 3 yrs trying to work full time at the bead store, and that didn't really leave me much energy for my clay. I was still teaching polymer clay, but rarely brought the clay out just for myself. About a year ago, I decided I wanted to try some filigree again. I remembered how therapeutic it was, sitting and coiling the strands of clay, gently making precise cuts so everything fit together like a glove. I don't know how to explain it, other then it's almost like a trance-like state.

I had been at a bead show last year, and my friends at Sonoran Beads had trays of Kazuri beads. I have a great fondness for Kazuri beads, click on my link and read about how they are created! One of the trays held a beautiful selection of muted green beads and bright deep red beads. I was drawn to them immediately. When I got home that night I started working on my first filigree beads in many years. This bead was going to be this light happy celery colored bead and looked beautiful when I put it in the oven. Of course, my temp was off, I hadn't turned on my convection oven in months. The bead toasted and turned this darker, very gray shade of green. I was disgusted at first, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought, wait a minute, it's EVEN better then before! Some of the beads I picked out had that same exact shade! Serendipity! I love that! I made more beads, and more jewelry, and they are some of my favorites to wear now.