Sculpting a Figure – Blog Series at www.Sculpey.com

This month I’m writing blog posts for the Polyform Products website and facebook page. Here’s the second post in the Figurative Sculpture series on body proportions. “Like” their page and you’ll get updates, new product news and mini tutorials. Enjoy!
https://www.sculpey.com/create/sculpting-a-figure-body-proportions/

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Sculpey Blog Post

I am happy to announce that I am the feature blogger for the Polyform Products website at http://www.sculpey.com

Each month they highlight one of the Design Squad members and July is my month. Check it out – there will be a new blog post every thursday this month.

Here’s a direct link at https://www.sculpey.com/create/figurative-sculptures-and-proportion/?platform=hootsuite
Sign up for the newsletter and you will get great product info as well as some little tutorials and tips and tricks to make your art even better.
Happy creating!

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Birthday Celebrations

Celebrating the day of your birth is a pagan tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Actually it was the Germans who are credited with starting the tradition of children’s birthday parties in the 1700s. They put candles on tortes for “kinderfeste,” one for each year of life, along with some extras to signify upcoming years. Historically, Christians didn’t celebrate birthdays because they believed evil spirits lurked on special days. I have one very superstitious friend who still downplays her birthday milestones fearing the celebration might attract bad luck. Another friend used to find a reason to mark every birthday with a party, lots of photos, music and dancing. Looking back it was a way for her to pack lots of living into a life cut short, way too soon. For me, it’s a bit of both. Intimate celebrations for regular birthdays and creative bashes to mark the milestones, and without a doubt, it’s definitely more fun to plan something special for someone else than to be on the receiving end.

Sometimes birthdays come with some personal emotional baggage – I remember turning 50 was a tough birthday for me – even though I was the same person the day before as the day after, it felt like I was stepping into some imaginary portal, leaving my youth behind forever. Turning 60 was a lot more fun. I’ve accepted my age and I enjoy the senior discounts that go with it. Being in my 60’s has also earned me the right  to speak my mind and call out BS when I hear it. The most interesting benefit of growing older is that you lose a lot of your insecurities and gain a sense of urgency in accomplishing goals or checking off bucket list items.

As an artist, I observe and take mental notes of how people behave in different situations. Birthdays are a great source of inspiration. “Another Birthday” is a sculpture I did a few years ago based on a scene I witnessed with a family member. I tried to capture a little annoyance on the birthday girl’s face. Everyone made a fuss over her but the story I imagined was that all she really wanted was a quiet evening with a glass of sherry and a good book.

Another Birthday is now part of a private collection. It was sculpted in Living Doll Polymer Clay. The body is constructed from wood, wire and textiles. The hat, cake, dish and fork are made from Super Sculpey.

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Polo in the Park Ottawa

The finishing touches were completed and this special commission was unveiled at the Rotary Club of Ottawa South last week. This sculpture,  “The Polo Player” is being auctioned at Polo in the Park Ottawa on Saturday July 7th.

I look forward to this event all year long. If you’ve never attended, it’s a chance to step out of your usual routine and give yourself a new experience. Polo in the Park Ottawa takes place at Wesley Clover Park on Corkstown Road. Organized by the Rotary Club of Ottawa South, you’ll see exciting live arena polo matches, a hat competition, fashion show, dog agility demonstrations, music, food and entertainment and a great kids zone with rides and games. Tickets are only $20 for adults, kids under 13 are free. Or book a luxurious spot in the VIP pavillion for you and someone special. The beneficiaries of the event are Wounded Warriors Canada and Rotary projects throughout the community. It’s a fun filled day and a great way to kick off the summer, not to mention a great excuse to unleash your “fashionista” side. You can learn more about Polo in the Park Ottawa at http://www.polointheparkottawa.com

Hope to see you there!  Put this date on your calendar right now – Polo in the Park Ottawa, JULY 7TH, 2018  at Wesley Clover Park (401 Corkstown Road, Nepean).

Posted in Art, Art Awards, Art Dolls, art exhibits, Art shows, Artists, Figurative Art, Maria Saracino, Orange Art Gallery, ottawa, Ottawa 150, polymer clay, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, Uncategorized, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “Living History” Mural

I am very proud to finally be able to share with you the unveiling of the St. Marguerite d’Youville “Living History” Mural. It’s taken several months from the initial proposal to the final installation of this collaborative mural, but the results are well worth it. The mural measures 8′ x 8′.  There are over 400 polymer clay relief symbols in this installation, plus the portrait of the school’s patron saint, St. Marguerite d’Youville.

I have to admit, when I was first approached by the teachers at the school to come up with a concept that had to incorporate so many different elements, I was a little worried. The mural had to contain aspects of Canadian history; Indigenous symbols; Religious symbols; the school community; and it had to involve the whole student body of 400+ students at St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic Elementary School. Oh yes, one more thing . . . it would be done in relief, in my medium of polymer clay. Coming up with a concept that included all of this was not easy,  but like many light bulb moments, the solution came in the middle of the night. Once the concept and all the design work was approved we moved into production mode.

Step 1: Training day with the teachers.

Step 2: Teaching and working with the students to create the symbols. We used Sculpey III in every colour available. We had two pasta machines constantly conditioning  and flattening the clay.  We divided the symbols so that the kindergarden and Grade 1 students created the powerballs and circles; grade 1-2 created the feathers; grades 3-4 created the fish; grades 5-6 created the more complex symbols. We had groups of up to 90 students working in the school library at one time. There were always 3-5 teachers on hand as well as 5-6 senior students helping. The students were fantastic, but I now have a whole new respect for how hard teachers work.

Step 3: All the symbols the kids and teachers made were taken back to my studio where I did quality control . . . cleaning, defining, finishing, baking and glazing. I counted, adding a few missing symbols, sent a few requests back to the senior grades and encouraged some of the teachers to add their own work to the collection as well.

Step 4:  Creating the base of the mural from two 4′ x 8′ wood panels. Designing the shape, jigsawing the wood panels, sanding, priming, breaking the sections down, and painting the wood background.

A big thank you to Paverpol artist, Mary Lou Devine for her help creating and stiffening St. Marguerites habit.

Step 5: Sculpting St. Marguerite d’Youville. This is a life-size relief sculpture based on a beautiful image one of the teachers provided for me. I used “Living Doll” polymer clay for the face and hand. I mixed all the bits and pieces of leftover Sculpey III clay to create a nice grey colour which I used to make the sleeves of her habit. Her tunic and headpiece, however were a challenge. I needed to make sure they would survive curious little hands and remain stiff. For this part I enlisted the help of friend and Paverpol (liquid polymer) artist, Mary Lou Devine. This medium is strong enough to withstand the outdoor elements. Mary Lou stiffened the fabric of her headdress and coated the front of her tunic. After the work was done it had to rest and cure for 2 weeks. The blessed medal is the Crucifix of St. Benedict and comes all the way from the Vatican.

Step 6: Attaching and laying out a pattern for all the symbols around the image of St. Marguerite d’Youville was a process that took two weeks, on and off, and several reconfigurations.

Step 7: The installation. It wasn’t easy is all I can say. Luckily I  had the help of my strong nephew, my patient husband and 3 teachers. Once everything was safely secured to the wall, my team helped me add all the finishing details, we made a few corrections, cleaned up some edges and patted ourselves on the back while taking lots of photos.

In this last photo you meet the whole team. From left to right, Diane, Me, France, Virginie, Principal Jeannie Armstrong, Sylvie and Sister Shiela from the Order of Grey Nuns.

The whole process of how this mural evolved was made into a lovely slideshow presentation. To see the slide show you can click on the link below or copy and paste in your browser.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1C95rru-JHd9p-SBZ0tU2xjb5WW_xMy9DqXGTH1kaTrE/edit?ts=5af06b9b#slide=id.g348c88296f_0_177

 

 

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It’s All About The Hustle

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It’s going to be a busy month . . . and I love it!

I haven’t participated in a Art Doll Show in years, but I’m super excited to be part of the Quinlan Doll and Teddy Bear Expo in Philadelphia. I’m one of the guest speakers and workshop instructors at this event where some of the best of the best gather for the weekend of April 12-14th. If you are anywhere near the Philadelphia area at that time, it’s definitely worth a trip. You’ll find the largest source of rare one-of-a-kind dolls and teddy bears and meet many of the world’s leading doll and bear artists. The event is run by Susan Quinlan Doll and Bear Museum. You can learn more about the event at http://www.quinlanshow.com 

When I get back from Philadelphia, it’s time to get ready for the Navan Fine Arts Exhibition and Sale. This show has a reputation of being one of the top art shows in the Ottawa area and I’m honoured to have been invited as a participating artist. The event takes place Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22 at the Navan Memorial Centre and Arena on Colonial Road. More information on this event can be found at  https://www.navanarts.com/

A few days rest and then it’s off to the Morrisburg Polymer Clay Gathering. As part of my new role as Ambassador for the Polyform Products Company, I’ll be doing a demonstration and providing some products for these artists to try, but I’m hanging around for the weekend to learn something new as well. Figurative work is my specialty, but many of these artists do amazing jewelry and cane patterns in polymer clay, so I’m looking forward to soaking it all in. The conference runs from April 26 to the 29. I think  the gathering is sold out for this year, but if you want to get more involved with Polymer Clay, this is definitely a group you will want to investigate.

2018 STUDIO TOUR final ENLast, but not least, the first weekend of May is all about a group that is near and dear to my heart . . . The National Capital Network of Sculptors are holding their second annual Studio Tour. Ceramics, wood, bronze, glass, stone, metal and found objects and of course polymer clay – they will all be represented. 21 artists at 9 stops throughout the Ottawa – Gatineau area. You can learn more about the Sculpture Studio Tour at http://www.sculptureottawa.ca

Make sure you circle Stop #3 on the brochure. I’ll be at the newly opened HELLO STUDIOS together with polymer artist Line Labrecque. HELLO STUDIOS is Ottawa’s new creative hotspot, located at 1735 Courtwood Crescent off Woodward. The entrance is at the back of the building. Not only will Line and I have an amazing collection of work on display, we will be running an exclusive 2 day workshop where you can make a Bathing Fairy with me – PLUS the added bonus of two mini-workshops with Line where you will make a jewelry pendant and a ring holder. An amazing value just in time for Mother’s Day.  Don’t forget . . . we’re stop #3 on the brochure – check us out at http://www.sculptureottawa.ca

 

I’ve got another little surprise I’m dying to tell you about, but it has to wait for the grand unveiling in May. It’s an exciting project and I’ll have plenty of photos to share with you soon. In the meantime, I hope to see you soon at one of these great events over the next four weeks.

Check out my facebook page for photos and updates. http://www.facebook.com/saracinocollection

 

 

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NEW! Open Studio Time!

At the suggestion of one of my students, I am now offering Open Studio Time on the last weekday afternoon of the month.

If you’ve ever taken one of my workshops and want to spend some time away from the distractions of home, you can use this time to get some advice on a technique you are struggling with or drop in and share a project you are working on. I’ll be working on my own things and it’s always inspiring to share ideas. I’m also testing some new Sculpey products and ideas and would love your input. Best of all, there’s no charge!

Even if you’ve never taken a class, but are considering it, “Open Studio Time” is also a great opportunity to check out my studio and any upcoming available workshops.

Open Studio Time is between 1:00 – 4:00pm and the first one is Wednesday, January 31st.

Drop in for a creative afternoon. Coffee and afternoon snacks are on me. Hope to see you soon.

729 Vermillion Drive, Riverside South                    Gloucester, Ontario

 

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