Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Art as Therapy

I’ve been dealing with some health issues this month. Nothing terribly serious but just a constant annoyance. A visit to the doctor tomorrow may provide some answers.

But in dealing with this health issue, I have, several times, felt like I’ve lost control over my body. Your mind can take you to dark places if you let it. At other times, I’ve felt like I’ve had the upper hand.

This morning, as I sat in meditation, I had this brilliant idea to draw how I’m feeling. To sketch my mood, hopefully each day, as I resolve this situation. They say art can be therapeutic and bring healing. I know I’m most happy when I make my art. Maybe creating a daily drawing will help out in other ways too.

Here is the result of putting pencil to paper this morning.

Yep, I’m sticking my tongue out at this annoying little issue. Go Away.

Today I discovered the Hippy Urban Girl blog and her December Views project. I love the idea of taking a snapshot of your day and using that to describe your mood or what you’re doing or whatever is going on around you. I signed up for the project as an additional way to deal with my current situation. Best part is there are no rules!


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Christmas Cat Ornaments

Last week I introduced you to my newest creations, beginning with the Piggy Ornament. Here are two of my latest ornaments, just in time for the ArtSpace Holiday Show this weekend in Maynard. You know I have to make cats.

Cat Ornament Back View

Poor kitty. Seems I forgot to give him a tail.

And his companion…

Hmm, do you think these cats are inspired by this guy?

Mr. Woody

Just can’t help it. Woody is a wonderful source of inspiration for me.

Still to come: another Piggy, Mr. Bundles, and the Ostrich.

Don’t forget the ArtSpace Holiday show this weekend, 12/3, 12/4 and 12/5 in Maynard.


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Thanksgiving Day Reflection

May our eyes remain open even in the face of tragedy.
May we not become disheartened.
May we find in the dissolution
of our apathy and denial,
the cup of the broken heart.
May we discover the gift of the fire burning
in the inner chamber of our being –
burning great and bright enough
to transform any poison.
May we offer the power of our sorrow to the service
of something greater than ourselves.
May our guilt not rise up to form
yet another defensive wall.
May the suffering purify and not paralyze us.
May we realize the greatness of our sorrow
and not run from its touch or flame.
May clarity be our ally and wisdom our support.
May our wrath be cleansing, cutting through
the confusion of denial and greed.
May we not be afraid to see or speak our truth.
May the bleakness of the wasteland be dispelled.
May the soul’s journey be revealed
and the true hunger fed.
May we be forgiven for what we have forgotten
and blessed with the remembrance
of who we really are.

~ The Terma Collective


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Piggy Ornament

Last year I made a few Santa and Snowman ornaments for the holiday shows. Those ornaments were made over used light bulbs. You can see them on my ArtFire studio page. The Santa ornament became a class I taught at Ink About It earlier this month.

This year I pulled out a box of glass ornaments that have been in my studio closet for…well, a long time it seems. This is a familiar routine because each year I pull them off the shelf, stare at them, tell myself that I either create something with them or donate them to Freecycle.

They usually go back on the shelf, you know, cause I really might make something with them.

And guess what? I DID IT!

Introducing Piggy O

Piggy O is made from custom colored polymer clay and sculpted over a flat glass ornament. She is hand sanded, buffed, and given a patina for an aged look.

And she even has a curly tail.

I’ve sketched out a few more ornament ideas, including a cat, of course. Now to get them made in time for my final holiday show at ArtSpace in Maynard (12/3, 12/4 and 12/5.)

(Inspiration for Piggy O comes from the wonderfully imaginative art of Doreen Kassel)


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The Polyform Debacle

A few days ago, Polyform Products announced several color changes to their polymer clay line up. Polyform Products produces Sculpey III and Premo! polymer clays along with numerous accessories to use with polymer.

In the announcement Polyform revealed the addition of several new colors to both the Sculpey III and Premo! lines. Along with the announcement of several new colors, however, was the revelation that a number of popular colors would be discontinued, including Red Pearl, Green Pearl, Cobalt Blue, Sea Green, Copper, Zinc Yellow, Frost, Fluorescent Green, Fluorescent Yellow, Fluorescent Red and Glow-In-The-Dark.

The announcement of the pending discontinuation of favorite colors has set off a firestorm on Facebook and elsewhere. One of the main reasons for this is that two of the colors, Cobalt Blue and Zinc Yellow are primary colors used in color mixing and in the creation of many artist’s custom color palettes. These two primary colors are also the basis for understanding color theory and color mixing in Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio’s popular and successful book: Polymer Clay Color Inspirations: Techniques and Jewelry Projects for Creating Successful Palettes

I am heartened by the passion of my fellow polymer clay artists in their response to the Polyform announcement. While many of us look forward to seeing the new colors, we are also equally dismayed by the loss of two primary colors. Polyform has stated that “recipes” will be available on their website to recreate most of the discontinued colors. But as more than one polymer clay artist has asked “How do you recreate a primary color?” And given the variability in the mixing process, how will the same color be recreated on a consistent basis?

What disappoints me more, however, is what appears to be a disregard for the customer. Many are asking if a customer survey was conducted prior to this decision. That question remains unanswered. Unfortunately, it does appear that this decision may be based more on sales numbers.

Now I don’t know what percentage of people who buy Premo! are polymer clay artists. Nor do I know how many of those artists buy the soon-to-be-discontinued colors. But it seems, according to Polyform Products, that either there aren’t enough of us or we aren’t buying enough of these colors to justify their continuation.

As a small business person, I understand some of this logic. I, too, have discontinued color designs from my lines of artwork because those designs didn’t sell well or perhaps they sold well initially, but then sales leveled or fell off. I understand that businesses need to keep their product line fresh and maybe an item is discontinued, made available as a special order, or brought back for a limited time only.

But how does a company decide to eliminate two basic, primary colors that are key to the creation of so many other colors? Many have asked if Golden or Liquitex or Winsor & Newton would eliminate primary colors from their lines of paint.

Perhaps we were too complacent, believing that certain colors would continue to be made available. Perhaps Polyform didn’t fully understand the importance of these colors to polymer clay artists. The reality is that Polyform Products risks losing a number of customers should they proceed with their decision to eliminate Cobalt Blue, Zinc Yellow, and several other colors. They risk driving into the welcoming arms of their competitors the customers who have stood by them, tested and promoted their products.

As I posted on Polyform Products Facebook page “…It appears that you may lose many customers, myself included, because of this decision. And while customer loss may not directly impact your bottom line, the opinions of the artists and the recommendations we make when teaching and sharing could have a ripple effect. I ask you to reconsider this decision to discontinue zinc yellow and cobalt blue.”

If you’d like to add your voice to this situation, visit the following sites:

Cindy Lietz’s online petition

CraftyGoat’s blog

Carol Simmons’ blog

Maybe this groundswell of voices will convince Polyform Products to reevaluate their decision.

UPDATE: 11/22/10-Polyform has announced that Zinc Yellow and Cobalt Blue will remain in the Premo! line up. The voices of 100’s of polymer clay artists did not go unheard. Thank you, Polyform Products, for reconsidering your decision to discontinue these two essential primary colors. For more on this announcement, go to Tonja’s PolyClay Corner


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Roman Pillar Face Earrings

In the run up to the Bolton Artisans Guild’s 7th annual holiday show this weekend, I found myself playing around with the idea to make earrings.

Yes, earrings. Something I have not done in several years. Perhaps it was working with the students in my Polymer Clay Boot Camp class that triggered this idea. Or maybe it was my desire to try something different.

Whatever it was, I did indeed find myself sketching an idea for earrings. Earrings that were inspired by our recent trip to Italy and influenced by the ruins of Rome and all the sculpture.

The result are these Roman Pillar Face Earrings.

Roman Pillar Face Earrings

Each earring features a face taken from a mold of one my hand sculpted faces or from one of many face molds I’ve collected over the years. The face is mounted to a background of textured pearl and black clay and framed by a rope of twisted black and white clay. After curing and sanding, I applied a patina of black acrylic and then buffed each piece to a nice sheen.

The earrings are 1.5″ long and .5″ wide.

I created two pairs with each face. What I found intriguing was that even though a particular face mold was used multiple times, no two faces ever came out the same. Each pair has its own personality and distinct qualities.

Venetian Mask 1

Venetian Mask 2

Roald 1

Roald 2

Buddha Face 1

Buddha Face 2

Creating these earrings has been a lot of fun. It feels good to create something different from my usual small scale sculptures. Sometimes stepping out of the box and trying a new (or returning to an old) format can ignite ideas for future work as well.

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