The Casual Chronicles of an Incurable Creative

An Artist's Ramblings About Sculpting, Glass Beadmaking, Photography, 3D Art and Anything Else That Springs To Mind.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Art in a Button

I thought I'd share some of the artwork I've done so far for a few of the buttons Jeff and I created for our little art biz ""

Here are a couple of collage pieces:

I asked Jeff to paint some random freeform strokes in watercolour which I then composed and cut through the window of the circle cutter. Next, I selected and carefully placed a couple tiny fern-like leaves onto the little watercolour discs. Finally, I carefully assembled all the button components and pressed them together with the button press. Voila! No two are alike.

Here are a couple other one-of-a-kind collage buttons I created:

The first one is an assembly using scrapbooking accessories. It's a fun little piece. The button on the right is a section of dried leaf from the Forest Pansy Redbud tree. I love the colours and the veining on this one.

The other buttons I pressed are what I call "Fabulous Fibres". Here are a couple examples of these:

I created lots of different variations using dozens of different fabrics. I had a blast in the fabric store carefully examining each bolt of cloth to imagine if it would look great as a 1" button. I have one of these on my work pass and another on my canvas lunch bag. They make such great little accessories!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Playing with Clay cont...

Merry Christmas! :)

It's been a long while since I last talked about that clay Bas Relief tile class Jeff and I took back in the fall. I kind of left that conversation hanging and I'd been meaning to show the finished tiles for quite some time. So here we go...

I call this one "Mountain Meadow".

It's a 12"x12" tile made from red terracotta clay. The scene I chose to depict is two trees growing serenely in a meadow overlooking a mountain vista. It's rather stylized and an interesting exploration into the artform for the first time. I particuarly like how the mountains turned out. It was a challenge to depict depth on a half-inch thick tile. I decided to keep any colouring to a bare minimum. I didn't want to hide the lovely rich red of the terracotta too much.
And here's my big project from that class:

This one I decided to title "Far and Away". It's another scenic, but this one is based loosely on one of my photos (refer to my earlier post "Which Way Up?"). This is the bisqued (kiln-fired) semi-final version of this piece. It started out as four tiles, but due to time constraints, I had to modify it slightly. It's now three 6x6" tiles. I actually like it better this way. The intent is still there and a fourth tile wouldn't have added anything extra to the composition except to create more of a panoramic aspect ratio. I'm pleased with how this one turned out. Tile-making really speaks to me for some reason. I felt a style of my own developing immediately and I found I could get into a groovy creative zone quite easily. It's great art therapy!

With my "Far and Away" piece, I still need to apply glaze before it's deemed complete. There will be some risk as I'm not very experienced with glazes and I'm a bit nervous about how my colour choices might turn out. I hope to be able to return to the Port Moody Art Centre in the New Year or Spring to continue further explorations with clay art. I'm looking forward to it!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Our First Show

I thought I'd write a little bit about tinyshinyart's very first show. We were able to squeak in at the last minute and it was feverish preparation the moment we were given the green light by the organizers of the sale. Jeff put his carpenter hat on and set to work building our display boxes and I was busy taking care of the business details and pressing most of the buttons.

The weekend of the show arrived and we eagerly set up on the afternoon of Friday, December 1st in preparation for this year's first wave of visitors. The people came and quite a few were intrigued by our offering. One thing that we learned quickly was that many weren't quite sure what it was we were selling. The nature of the buttons must have been partially disguised due to how they were mounted on the cards. So as soon as we got home on Friday night, we set to work making more signage that quickly explained what these were and even some suggestions for how they could be worn. This really seemed to help because on the Saturday and Sunday, there were far fewer puzzled faces. :)

It was a lot of fun meeting the visitors at the sale and it was especially a treat when we saw people's faces light up with delight. It made all our efforts thus far very worthwhile. We received several compliments on our booth display and the buttons themselves.

Another positive experience was meeting several of the other crafters at the sale. They are all such wonderful people who were helpful and friendly. Jeff and I felt very welcomed. During the show, we had the opportunity to get to know our neighbour at the table next to us; he's a very talented potter named Matthew Freed. I absolutely love his work. I have a weakness for pottery and all things clay so I take particular interest when I see an artisan who specializes in that medium.

As the Sunday drew to a close, Matthew extended a very welcome invitation to email a few photos of our buttons to show some of his fellow artists who together operate a small gallery in Vancouver called Arts Off Main. We were keen to follow through with that and the very next day sent a few images his way.

We heard back from Matthew shortly after and he said our buttons were a hit and we were more than welcome to bring some in on consignment to be featured alongside the artwork in the gallery. Such a treat! Wow, our very first retail appearance. We're moving up in the world. :)

I definitely consider our first craft show appearance to be a terrific success. We already have our table reserved for next year!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Woooeeee! I've been SO busy these last couple of months. I have to apologize for such a long absence from my blog. There have been many times when I longingly wished I had time to do an updated post but I seriously have been totally swamped. There are a backlog of posts I need to catch up on and they'll be a bit out of order in the space-time continuum, but you should be treated to at least two or three fresh entries over the next week or so.

Tonight I'm going to talk about the latest news first and then blog about the earlier stuff another time. Let me tell you about why I've been away for so long...

Yes folks, that's It's a brand new business Jeff and I started together and have been working on feverishly to get off the ground. In the past two months, we've crafted a whole business from scratch. We spent many, many hours designing logos, product display cards, artist statements, and of course products!

This is what is all about:

1" pinback buttons!

Yep. Buttons. One night I had this epiphany: I was going to make pinback buttons! These buttons would be fun and funky. These would be little pieces of affordable portable art. I came up with three kinds: "Fabulous Fibres" which are a huge variety of luscious fabrics. Next are "Limited Edition" where they are limited run prints of original art that are individually numbered on the side. Finally there would be the "Artistic Originals" which are one-of-a-kind hand-created pieces ranging from watercolour to collage.

Above are the Fabulous Fibres. Here are a few of the Limited Editions:

The horse head and unicorn are two of mine, the robots are Jeff's and the funky chickens and houses are by my good friend Sandra Tournemille.

Here are a few Artistic Originals:

And here is the finished presentation:

Jeff and I were in a race to not only create a business and products from scratch, but also build display stands, signage and a myriad of other stuff for our presence at a local Christmas craft sale. It was our very first show and we had only two months to prepare. To ease the suspense I'll let you know right away that we made it! But I'll chat more about that in another blog entry.

So that's the big news. More to come!


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Playing with Clay

Recently I'd signed Jeff and me up for another clay-related night class. Last January, we took our very first pottery class and I really enjoyed working with the clay. I was keen to take another pottery-type class this fall and I found several courses offered through the Port Moody Arts Centre. The one that caught my eye in particular is a bas-relief tile class. There's something about tiles. I dunno what it is, but I'm attracted by the thought of making my own. So I eagerly signed both Jeff and myself up. (Jeff's such a good sport)

Last Tuesday was our second class. The pics below depict my second project which is a panorama scene sectioned over four tiles. You may recognize the chosen scene from the photo I took last Sunday depicted in my previous post. The two shots below are showing the very early stages of the work. In preparation for this project, I "simplified" the image in Photoshop by applying a stylize filter. Next, I sectioned the image into four parts (one for each tile), sized each section to 6x6 inches and printed them out.

When I arrived at the class, I prepared the clay and pressed out four half-inch thick tiles. I then placed the printed images on top of each tile, and with a pin tool, traced the contours of the image into the clay. To further delineate the lines, I used a rubber sculpting tool to press into the clay more deeply.

The next step will be to carve into and build up the forms on the tile. Stay tuned! :)

** I also have an earlier project on the go from the first class... I created a single 12x12 inch tile, but I won't show it off just yet as it's slated to be a gift. ;)


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Which Way Up?

"Water, Mountains, Sky"
Pitt Meadows, BC
Photo by Kay Darby (Sept. 2006)

Jeff and I took a lovely stroll along the Pitt River dyke today and the weather was gorgeous. I felt inspired by one particular view and just had to capture it on camera. I later cropped it into a panorama-style format for greater effect. Another appropriate title for this photograph could also be "Which Way Up?". :) The water was as still as glass.

Yes. I do indeed live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Idyllic Places

"Island Vista"
An Idyllic View from Salt Spring Island, BC
Photo by Kay Darby (July 2006)

I think most if not all of us dream of living in "utopia" in some form or other. For me utopia is a place that is quiet and natural with a temperate climate (and horses somewhere in the picture). Here's a little self-motivational write-up I did that illustrates my ideal situation; both geographically and professionally...

We Made It

Here we are; Jeff and me. A mild late afternoon breeze caresses our faces bringing with it the fresh earthy scents of mid-summer.
We’re sitting on our cozy covered porch overlooking the lake. The water is as still as glass.
I hear a horse whinny off in the distance; one of our horses calling over to another. I’d just finished a pleasant ride through our forested trails on the property. Jeff had just finished his latest toy figure. This creation is going to be as great a hit as the others. I have another horse sculpture in the works. It’s almost done and there’s a long list of people anxiously awaiting its release. All in good time however. There’s no need to rush.
Our real estate investments are all performing marvelously; generating lots of passive income for us. This combined with our solidly successful toy, game and sculpture business has us living a secure, comfortable and very pleasant existence here on our lakeside acreage.
My parents live on the property with us in their own little cottage. We also have a guesthouse that accommodates the regular visits of friends and relatives.
Jeff and I are both in excellent health. We are fit, well-rested and stress-free. We look forward to many more happy years together as we continue to enjoy this wonderful life's journey.

Ah if only I could be living that idyllic lifestyle THIS VERY MOMENT. All in good time however. Jeff and I are on our way.