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Friday, August 19, 2011

Scrabble Tiles, Glaze and the Learning Curve

So, Bonnie (Mom) and I are making Scrabble tile jewelry for the Tweely (i.e., cute) line of ClockQuirks.  We spent much of Saturday painting tiles and had a grand time letting our creativity run uninhibited.  However, the process has not been without its challenges.

I dug into the painting first, as Mom was off stitching away on her latest purse.  My first attempts were not particularly attractive.  I tried using the letters as part of the design, but none of them came out like I pictured them and that wasn't a good thing.  Mom came over to check them out and said, "Which ones do you like?"  I said, "I'm not particularly crazy about any of them".  She sighed with relief and said, "Oh, okay."  Yeah, not so hot.

However, she suggested turning them over and just using the blank side to paint whatever I wanted.  I had an idea and after painting a graduated background that I liked, I painted a design inspired by the chinese characters for "serenity".  I say "inspired" because I'm sure an actual chinese calligrapher would weep at the liberties I took.  Still, for artistic and aesthetic purposes, I was pleased:

Once I got started on something I liked, I found it easier to relax and enjoy myself.  Pretty soon Mom had finished what she was working on and came over to get in on the action.  Her results were promising as well.  She came up with the idea of not only painting tiles, but also covering them with fabric.  We got good results using the fabric from our Contrast Ruffle Tote:

The tile to the far left is finished but the pattern doesn't show up well in the picture.  The other three are still raw (no glaze or bail) but you can see how cool the fabric looks on the tile.

Pretty soon we had a whole gaggle of tiles that we felt good about:

This is what we came up with.  All but the four closest to the front have already been glazed in this picture.

Next we needed to glaze them to protect the paint and give them a nice, glossy finish.  This is where it got tricky.  Neither of us had ever used jewelry glaze before.  After some practice I felt pretty good about it (although getting rid of bubbles proved to be slightly annoying).  I put on 2 layers and left them to dry over night.

Unfortunately, when I woke up the next morning, my beautifully glazed tiles had a problem.  There
was a patch of deep wrinkles in the center of nearly every single one (the photographic evidence of which was inadvertently deleted).  This was probably a result of too thick a layer of glaze, but I may never know for sure.  It would actually be kind of a cool effect if you painted the tile to look good with it underneath, but none of them had been.  After a text message discussion with Mom, we decided we might as well try putting a thin layer of glaze over the wrinkles to see if that would fix it.  Luckily, it did!  That meant it was time to put on the bails.  For those that don't make jewelry, the bail is the loop on top of a pendant that the cord or chain is threaded through.  Happily, there were no complications with the bails and the tiles look great (in my opinion).  Here are a few pics, some before I put the bails on them and some after:

So, what would/do you paint on your scrabble tiles?  Comment with your ideas!  --Ellie

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Winding the Works

Congratulations!  You found your way to the ClockQuirks blog.

Whatever in the world is ClockQuirks?  Well you may ask.  Sometimes I think even we don’t know.  ClockQuirks is, technically, a business.  We make things and then sell them.  But more than that, it is the outpouring of a desperate need to make something with your own hands, preferably after being made up out of your own head, shaping it and tuning it until you have something beautiful and self-expressive, and then finding that somebody else feels it expresses themselves, too.

We are starting ClockQuirks because we love to see ordinary things turn into something unique and special.  Bonnie once said that you know you’re an artist when you look at something you created and think, “Wow, just a little while ago this was nothing but ‘stuff’”.  I know exactly what she means.  Even before that happens, there’s an exhilarating moment (or several) when you’re still working on it and you think, “This is going to be good”.  And to top it all off, if it really is good, you pick it up the next day and you still think, “Yep, that one’s a keeper” (unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen—occupational hazard).

Sure, we've started a business because we want to make more money.  But we started this business because we’re total creative junkies, “hooked on the feelin’” you get when you turn “stuff” into art.

--Ellie, MaƮtresse de Crochet

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