Tuesday, September 02, 2014

air dry clay bookends

Something a lot of people don't know about me is that my parents are potters and I've spent my entire life around clay. Growing up, my mom and dad ran a successful pottery business from home means I was playing with clay long before I discovered painting! In the weeks and months ahead I have a series of pottery posts in the works that I can't wait to share with you and I am kicking this series off today with a fun clay project. I've had a creative idea floating around in my head (what else is new?) to create some whimsical clay bookends that resembled bronze.
While you could use clay that gets fired in a kiln, I thought it would be fun to tackle this project with air dry clay. While air dry clay is much more delicate after it dries, it is readily available at most craft stores and easy to use (no need for a kiln). Once it is dry, it can be painted and even sealed which means there are all kinds of ways to get really creative with it. 

My idea was to create a whimsical "bust like" statue so I got busy molding and shaping my clay. I used a variety of everyday things for tools (toothpicks, paint brushes, chopsticks) to add details, smooth out the surface and shape and mold the head. The process of tackling a face takes a little time and practice but the best part of working with clay is that you can change things over and over again. I worked and reworked my lump of clay. Here is what the process looked like:
After a couple of hours and lots of changes, I achieved what I wanted- a whimsical head with a little bit of soul and a lot of texture. Then I let it dry. Air dry clay actually dries pretty quickly- a couple of days for my clay (it was warm and dry here) which sped up the process.

Once it was completely dry, it was time to paint! This was the idea that I had all along- to transform the clay into something that resembled bronze or metal. I used a "hammered bronze" spray paint. Once it was painted all that texture that I tried to hold onto, details, marks and my finger impressions really POPPED which is exactly what I wanted!
Using some heavy duty glue, I mounted the head to the top of a piece of scrap wood. I also created a simple bronze heart. I am thrilled with the results and had so much fun getting my hands back into clay!

A few TIPS for using air dry clay:

Air dry clay can be used with all the traditional pottery techniques- pinching, coiling, rolling stamping, etc. 

Before you get started, knead your clay until it softens up. If it fees dry or crumbly, add a little bit of water.

When attaching pieces or joining two pieces together, use a pin tool (or even a toothpick) to score or roughen up the clay then apply water mixed with a little clay (this is called slip) to the pieces and then press firmly together.

Once the clay is dry you can go back and carve with tools.

Store air dry clay in an airtight container to keep from drying out.

Monday, September 01, 2014

end of summer sale!

Its officially the end of summer around these parts and I feel like it's a good time for a sale! This week I have all of my online classes marked down $10 off! Head on over to the shop HERE for all the details. Sale ends Sunday, September 7th.

Friday, August 29, 2014

happy weekend!

Wishing all my U.S. readers a happy Labor Day Weekend! I hope everyone takes a little time to soak up the last days of summer. See you back here next week!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

leather and lace- doodled vest

I've been busy creating all kinds of fun projects for my latest online class Redefine Creativity and one of the lessons is all about using drawings and doodles to transform just about anything into a piece of art. I can't share everything from the class but I thought I would share one of my favorite projects. With only an oil based Sharpie pen (and lace as my inspiration), I was able to transform a black pleather vest into a totally unique and creative fashion statement!

                                      draw on jacket from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

canvas car storage bags

When you have a kid, the car is home to LOTS OF CLUTTER so I have been on a mission to find some simple and creative ways to get our car organized! As you all know by now, we love paint and canvas so I thought it would be fun to create some colorful and messy canvas car storage bags for books, toys, snacks and anything else that we take on the road.

This was a perfect project for Lucy to help with! I let her paint the first couple of layers of canvas (letting each layer dry in between) then I went back in and added my own little creative touches to the final layer.

Next, I sewed the canvas into simple bags that were long enough to hang from the seats in the car. 

I added pockets and a strap.

tip: use a denim needle when sewing canvas with layers of paint!

The result is a colorful and funky way to keep things the car a little more tidy! 

And speaking of canvas...I've got a fresh batch of canvas pouches hot off the sewing machine! Head on over to my shop HERE to see the entire collection. They always sell out fast so get em' while you can!

For those new to my blog- A big part of my creative business used to be making one of kind handbags from my canvas paintings (and then I had a baby)! When I have time in my schedule for sewing, I have one of a kind pouches and bags available in my shop. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

5 favorite toddler activities

Truth be told I am LOVING the toddler stage- Lucy's brain is developing and growing by the second and her creativity is EXPLODING! We want to do whatever we can to introduce her to interesting and creative learning activities that are fun. While we do all kinds of cool stuff around here, I've put together a list of our current TOP 5 TODDLER ACTIVITIES.

1. HOMEMADE LIGHT BOX: Grab a clear plastic box, fill it with Christmas lights, turn out the lights and instantly you have a light box. All three of us are having so much fun playing with it! We use it for sorting games (colorful beads and anything translucent), playing and learning shapes (jar lids, bracelets, cookie cutters, magnet letters), a place for drawing and painting and Lucy's favorite- using all my jewelry to create shapes. For some reason a light box makes everything more fun!

2. PAINT WITH OBJECTS AND THINGS: As you know we do a lot of painting and while Lucy loves creating with a brush, I like to mix it up so she can really have the opportunity to experiment with all kinds objects and things. We collect stuff around the house- rolling pins, kitchen utensils, old food box, cardboard rolls and pretty much anything that can be dipped in paint. Then we let her go to town painting with different things. This process is really fun for artists of any age because there is a lot of "creative excitement" when you get to use unconventional tools! Her favorites are sweet potatoes, a whisk and a fork.

3. WINDOW CRAYONS: I actually purchased a set of window crayons for myself to use in a  lesson in my latest online class but when I brought them home, Lucy went wild for them. There is something so satisfying about drawing on things that are normally off limits! We let her draw on the mirror doors in her room and much to my surprise her favorite part of the process is cleaning the crayon off the surface.

4. SPIN ART: I'm obsessed with spin art- it is such a fun process for artists of all ages! Recently I purchased a little Melissa and Doug spinner for Lucy to play with (or you can make your own from a salad spinner). We've had so much fun making spin art together and to be honest I have to control myself when Lucy is creating because I get WAY too excited and want to take over! We have been creating and experimenting with our little spinner and I've got some fun ideas that I will be sharing in the coming weeks.

5. BEACH DOODLES: If you follow me on Instagram you will know that we spend a lot of time at the beach and often we will end the day doodling in the sand with sticks. This activity is a family favorite and something we all have fun with in our own way! While I am doodling flowers, Lucy draws lines around my flowers, Andy draws waves and Gam Gam and "G" (my parents- the grandparents) even get involved drawing funny faces, castles and shapes to jump in and out of. The best part is that you don't have to live at the beach- grab and stick and find some dirt and and get creative!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

redefine creativity

Below are the 10 winners for my latest online class Redefine Creativity! Congrats to all of you! Send me an email at alisaburke@gmail.com and I will get you the class information.


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