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PCC Chats With
Irene Semanchuk
"Good Night Irene"

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SUNNISAN:sunni> Irene, thank you so very much for honoring us with this chat!!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I don't know about "honor" but you're welcome.
SUNNISAN:sunni> *smile* I haven't had the opportunity to read your book, but I have heard much good about it. tell us how you got started with this book, why you put it together, what the inspiration was for it, and generally anything you can think of about the process. what did you learn?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I learned the publisher has the last word on everything! Lark books approached me to write this book. They wanted a beginner level book but I didn't want to mimic the other good beginner books out there. So I tried to focus on non-jewelry, non-canework projects There are already a lot of good books about both of those already I had worked with Lark on several previous books, so they knew what kind of writing I do and what my work is like. It doesn't hurt that I live 20 minutes away from their offices, too.
SUNNISAN:sunni> that IS convenient!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Oh, you asked what I learned, and I'd say *attention to detail!* I write pretty well and I've always been good at technical writing instructions. I learned flexibility, too.
SUNNISAN:sunni> flexibility? how so?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Because the publisher has certain requirements and sometimes I had to tailor my words or instructions to those requirements
SUNNISAN:sunni> can you give us an example?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I mentioned this in the review on PCC, that I couldn't mention brand names.
SUNNISAN:sunni> ah. that makes sense.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Lark just asked me to work on another book,
SUNNISAN:sunni> oh? *perk*
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Making Beads, with three other "guest designers." I can't include any kind of mica shift project because I'd have to refer to Premo and that's a no-no. :( The other media for the book are glass, metal, and fiber. We each write a section with 6 - 7 projects.
SUNNISAN:sunni> that's a shame. so generic beads, then?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Generic in that they'll work with any brand of p.clay. That won't mean uninteresting!
SUNNISAN:sunni> somehow I believe you completely on that one! when is your deadline for publishing? next year?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Hah, too soon. I handed in my outline already and should be working on sample pieces
SUNNISAN:sunni> excellent! we'll definitely keep an eye out for it!!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> there's a lot of work that goes on besides the writing. The layout and design are huge parts of finishing a book.
SUNNISAN:sunni> you do that or does the publisher or is it a team effort?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I had some input on layout but despite kicking and screaming :) didn't get everything my way. Oh well. Flexibility
SUNNISAN:sunni> as for the book that's just come out, how did you pick and choose which projects to enter into your book? are they all your own?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> No, half the projects are mine, and half are from other designers. I contacted people whose work I knew and liked I didn't want all the projects to be mine. Other people being involved meant it was not all my flavor, you know? It was also less work for me
SUNNISAN:sunni> you can't mention brands, but can you mention the other artists?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Oh, the other artists, sure!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Let's see, Heather Roselli contributed several projects. She did the most excellent job labeling and packaging all of her steps! Diane Villano, Harriet Smith, Debbie Kreuger, and Edie Siegel all contributed projects too Oh and Jody Bishel too!
SUNNISAN:sunni> :) do any of our members have questions they would like to ask?
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> I would like to know about how Irene started claying
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I didn't really do any other handcrafts before polymer clay. I started using it when I worked at Earth Guild, a craft supply store, when we first moved to this area. They encouraged employees to use the materials they sold so that when we talked to customers, we could be tech support, more or less. So, while there, I tried a lot of things -- I wove a rug, made candles, marbled paper, sewed a pair of moccasins, dyed lots of fabric, and then picked up polymer clay. That was in 1992 (or 93?) I'm bad with remembering dates
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> and polyclay was the one that hooked you?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Yes, polymer clay was what hooked me.
CANEGURU:caneguru> Irene, I was wondering... What are you enjoying most working on lately?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> What I'm doing lately... more mixed media sorts of things. The figure on the front page of my web site is the lid to a box. I've been making a few of these lately.
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you have any pictures online of your new and older work in clay?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> current work is at Old work is in a temp directory at
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> Irene, who would you say has had the greatest influence on your work?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Greatest influence? Hmmm, I admire a lot of different people's work and I can't pick any one person!
CANEGURU:caneguru> Irene, I own your book and was wondering which of the photographs you may have wanted done differently. can you share?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Gosh, it seems so long ago... I'd have to page through the book to pick 'em out and this isn't the time for that, is it? Here's something I learned though - each of the steps for each project was done ahead of time. The photographer costs a LOT of $$ so I had to have each step pre-made and just fake it for the camera while Evan leaned over my shoulder. That meant every contributor had to not only make a finished project, but had to make and bake each individual step
CANEGURU:caneguru> that makes sense to me...
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I made that d*%@ black and white face so many times I had a dream about it!
CANEGURU:caneguru> the clock?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Yes, that's the one. I have all of my partially finished steps that I could turn into finished pieces but I can't bear it! So when you look at the pics, know that my hands are fakin' it!
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> It's beautiful!
CANEGURU:caneguru> That's my favorite project in the book, Irene.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Thanks, Linda. I've done it with other colors and it's always nice Turquoise and black in particular. It was my editor's fave too, so I gave it to her as a thank you when we were done
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> What is your favorite kind of project Irene?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Mixed media, lately. I like collecting and assembling lots of different stuff
CANEGURU:caneguru> From the time you heard about doing the book to the time it was available, how much time elapsed?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> The book took a year from the time they first contacted me to when the final proof went to the printer. It came out officially in June or July. It was a considering I did my lot of work in one year, usual shows and had the rest of my life going on too
SUNNISAN:sunni> by taking a year, did you work on it every day for a year? or does it go in spurts and stages?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> No, I do everything in spurts! Lots of energy focused on one thing
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> How did the publishing company know of you?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> They often contacted people where I used to work, the aforementioned Earth Guild, since they were just around the corner. The first thing I did for them was for Creative Clay Jewelry. So they got to know my work and my writing and my, um, attention to detail. The people who own it have been in the business of selling crafts supplies for almost 30 years. Most of the owners and employees do*some* sort of handcraft. Some as a hobby, some to sell
CANEGURU:caneguru> I forget; Where are you located?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Weaverville, NC, 10 miles north of Asheville NC. It's on the extreme western side of the state, less than an hour from TN or SC. A couple hours to Georgia.
CANEGURU:caneguru> Thank you. So you're near Arrowmont and around a lot of craftspeople. :)
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Yes, 2 hours exactly from Arrowmont And this is a very artsy area. Lots of cool galleries I think the mountains attract a lot of artist types
SUNNISAN:sunni> do lark books create all their books by invitation or do artists present their wares as well?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> You can present an idea to them. Check their web site for submission info
SUNNISAN:sunni> Irene, Julia asks, did any of the folks from lark try the projects in your book?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> work on more than one book at a time, overlapping beginnings and endings, so I don't think they have time to actually do anything but write about crafts
CANEGURU:caneguru> Do you go to any of the conferences like Ravensdale, Irene?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I've never been to Ravensdale. I went to Arrowmont in 1997 and it was a blast! I had never met *any* polymer clay people and wasn't yet on the internet, so I was suddenly in sensory overload!
CANEGURU:caneguru> Yes, it is amazing, isn't it? :)
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Yes, Linda, being around so many clay people for the first time is amazing!
SUNNISAN:sunni> how did you settle on those specific projects with so many to choose from? what criteria did you use for your choices?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I separate techniques into surface techniques and structural techniques.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I tried to have a variety of both, and then I mixed and matched. I filled in where I had to. The buttons project, for instance, was because there wasn't anything with mold making.
SUNNISAN:sunni> besides the upcoming bead book, do you have any more books, articals or videos in mind?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> PolyInformer's most recent issue has an article I wrote about selling your work. I want to write some articles, but time is not permitting right now
SUNNISAN:sunni> would you consider writing short booklets like Kat Dewey has done?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Booklets aren't a bad idea!
CANEGURU:caneguru> I'd be interested in learning some time about specifics in writing instructional articles. Think you might do an article about doing articles? Does that makes sense?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> An article about writing... food for thought. I'd better get a copy of this chat so I don't forget these ideas I'll be teaching this year for the first time! I'll be teaching for the Greater Atlanta PC Guild in early May, and then at the Polymer Clay Haven retreat in late June.
SUNNISAN:sunni> what will you be teaching?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I'll be teaching how to make incredibly cool texture sheets, for one thing. I've always been into texture, and I've come up with some neat stuff to do with it. Also a mosaic clock and faux materials. The mosaic clock will be a similar concept to the one in the book, but with a variety of designs and with variations on assembly. Make sense?
CANEGURU:caneguru> Indeed it does
SUNNISAN:sunni> you'll be teaching that at both locations, then?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Atlanta chose the textures and the clock classes; PCH has all three
CANEGURU:caneguru> You should submit a proposal for Ravensdale 2000
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I'd be late...
CANEGURU:caneguru> I mean 2002
CANEGURU:caneguru> do you have a favorite texture tool?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> :) The texture sheets I make. I also love the texture from crumpled wax paper, of all things.
CANEGURU:caneguru> Yes, that's a good texture. I've used it too. :)
SUNNISAN:sunni> may I take a break for a moment, Irene? I notice no one else is asking questions. is anyone in the audience having difficulty asking questions? if you can't answer type: /send sunnisan and ask your question
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Maybe they're enthralled by my charm and wit?
SUNNISAN:sunni> we can only hope!
WWYTCH:carla> you have any plans to come to the west coast for classes?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Not at this time, but I'm not adverse to it! I'm not sure how guilds and teachers work the transportation thing.
CANEGURU:caneguru> I think it varies, Irene
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I'll have to pow wow with some other teachers sometime
CANEGURU:caneguru> Do you know Meredith Arnold, Irene?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> not personally, but I know who she is
CANEGURU:caneguru> You should contact her with questions like that. She's pretty up on that stuff.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> cool, thanks, Linda
SUNNISAN:sunni> it would be nice to take lessons from you at Baby Island Lodge!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> that is where?
CANEGURU:caneguru> Yeah! Baby Island Lodge is Karen Murphy's lodge on Whidbey Island
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Oh, right, I've read about that! Sounds fantastic!
CANEGURU:caneguru> Karen Murphy is one of the founders of the Northwest Polymer Clay Guild I was there last weekend. It is fantastic.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I plan to go to Courting the Muse in PA in June. I still feel like there is so much I can learn that I want to take classes!
SUNNISAN:sunni> speaking of guilds, Irene, I notice you are a founding member and president of the Blue Ridge Polymer Clay Guild? how did that come about?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> My first contact was from Byrd Tetzlaff, who, with another woman, wanted to get together as polymer clayers. After we met the first time in a coffee shop, we put the word out on newsgroups and email lists that we were trying to start an Asheville-based clay group, and it grew from there. We never had an official vote for officers, and only recently gave titles to those of us who've been performing the duties of officers.
JSOBER:Julia Sober> How old is your guild?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> The guild is almost 2 years old.
SUNNISAN:sunni> how many members do you have now?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Yikes, I don't know exactly! Our meetings have between 8 and 16 people usually. there aren't any other guilds in this area, so we get people from up to 5 hours away
SUNNISAN:sunni> 5hr! how did they find out about y'all?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> We have an ad in the local free weekly hip and trendy newspaper I think she read about our first meeting on the newsgroup (rec.crafts.polymer-clay) Only one comes from that far, but there are a couple other prospects from that distance We have several people that drive 2 + hours
SUNNISAN:sunni> I think that says a lot for the determination of clayers to share and learn!
WWYTCH:carla> My closest guild is 2 1/2 hours away...and I just joined.
JSOBER:Julia Sober> I drive an hour to mine, too.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> You'll love it! It's so nice to be around other people who are as fascinated with the medium as we are
SUNNISAN:sunni> my closest guild is 7.5hr away. *pout*
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> oh, mine is further than that Sunni
SUNNISAN:sunni> :) I think you win the distance award, Kellie
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I luck out and live 15 minutes from the meeting place. It's central to all the far away people
MATILDA_BET:Kathy> I wish I had a guild near me
IRENESDEAN:Irene> You know, you could start your own. We did.....
MATILDA_BET:Kathy> I don't know of ANY clayers nearby
IRENESDEAN:Irene> We advertised in the paper and put flyers up all over and announced it on all the polymer clay message boards Maybe they're there, Kathy, and
IRENESDEAN:Irene> wondering if there are any other p-clayers in the area It kind of snowballs, too
MATILDA_BET:Kathy> could be - by the supply of polymer clay in the Ben Franklin I would guess not many - lots of OLD stuff there
MATILDA_BET:Kathy> I am 1 hour from dc so could do the national guild but the length of time I can comfortably drive doesn't allow that often
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Can you find someone to carpool with?
MATILDA_BET:Kathy> I would have to do a pretty big search Irene LOL
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Good luck to you!
MATILDA_BET:Kathy> thanks
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> I think that something magical happens when polyclayers get together. If you haven't done it, you can't understand.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> It is pretty magical when polymer clay people get together
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> Irene, what other creative outlets do you have besides art? Most creative people have talents in more than one discipline.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> other creative outlets.... gardening, vegetable and otherwise. I like computer stuff a little too much, you know, web site stuff
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Irene, did I meet you last Saturday at Byrd's Class? I'm awful with names, good with faces though :)
IRENESDEAN:Irene> No, I wasn't at Byrd's class. I'll be at the next meeting though! Will you?
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> I'm seriously planning to join the guild, the class made up my mind!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Please do join! We're a good group!
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Thanks Irene!! I could tell that from those I met -- I'd never clayed "with" anyone before, I had a great time!
JSOBER:Julia Sober> Do you usually have demonstrations at your meetings?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> demos at meetings, yes, at nearly every one. In march one of our members who is a silversmith will show us how to work with wire
SUNNISAN:sunni> how long after you started claying did you form your guild, Irene?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Um, I've been using p-clay since 92 and the guild was formed in 99.
SUNNISAN:sunni> so you've been selling your work for quite awhile before the guild started! how long after you started claying before you began selling?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> oh, a short time. Less than a year. I started part time while I worked at Earth Guild I've been selling my work full time since 1997.
SUNNISAN:sunni> is that your main source of income now?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> the only source of income for me. I'm married and my husband works.
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you have anything for sale now?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Oh sure! I just put a shopping cart on my web site :) I also have some of my older work on eBay. My user ID is Irene-s
SUNNISAN:sunni> irene's eBay page is:
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> Do you do individual pieces, or make large productions? Or both?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> If it's what I think you mean, I do both. One-of-a-kinds and production work When I'm making light switch plates, for instance, I make batches When I do mirrors or clocks, it's usually one or two at a time
WWYTCH:carla> Irene...did you design your work from the beginning or did you just do variations on known stuff?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Carla - wow, I don't really know. I think the first things I made were jellyroll canes. I don't think I've ever followed someone else's projects without adding my own element
WWYTCH:carla> thank you, Irene...:-)
SUNNISAN:sunni> when you make your clocks, etc. do you make orders tailored to a customer's request?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> nope.
WWYTCH:carla> Does that mean you never do commission work?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I occasionally get special orders, but for smaller stuff. commission work doesn't appeal to me Too many chances for something to not be right
SUNNISAN:sunni> I see you travel to several festivals throughout the summer. how did you get started in festivals?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> My first show was a local music festival. I still do this show, twice a year, and have a huge and loyal customer base there. By talking to other artists, I learned about other shows, and started doing a few more here and there.
SUNNISAN:sunni> is your online website an outgrowth of your earnings at the festivals or a natural evolution of your business?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I think the web site is probably a natural evolution of my business. Someone on the polymer clay newsgroup, rec.crafts.polymer-clay, posted several step-by-step lessons teaching HTML coding, and I was hooked. My original web site was a way to satisfy my desire to write code.
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> Do you feel that it stifles the creativity when you must conform to a certain color scheme?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> no, not at all! In fact, I think it allows me to be more creative since I don't have to stress about whether the colors go together. > If you don't know, I'm an advocate of mixing all colors from 3 primaries. I only ever buy (Premo) cobalt, zinc yellow, and fuchsia Of course, black and white and mixing "neutrals" such as gold too.and silver,
JSOBER:Julia Sober> fuschia? Do you never use reds?
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> I've heard that before. Is Byrd a disciple of yours?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Byrd attended my color demo, yes. All my secondary colors come from those three primaries, so everything I make goes together colorwise
SUNNISAN:sunni> so you prefer fuschia to cadmium? why?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I get a good red with fuschia and.... oh, shoot, I don't have my color chips here, but I mix a good one. cadmium is too orangey. it doesn't make a good purple
JSOBER:Julia Sober> I didn't know you could do that! Cool.
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> My first art teacher in college had the same thoughts on colors for painting.
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> how do you get red from fuschia?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I'd have to go downstairs to get my color chips; I don't know the recipe offhand
WWYTCH:carla> Irene....I've been using more Fimo lately and really like it for caning. You never have trouble with Premo getting too soft or not reducing correctly?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I don't do a lot of caning anymore. And no, for the bit I do, I don't have any trouble with it. Don't' forget to let the canes rest! Sometimes Premo can get too soft when it's hot and humid. When we had the new furnace installed a couple years ago, we got central air and that REALLY helps.
WWYTCH:carla> But so many of the things in your book are cane based. Have you moved on?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I've definitely moved on from caning. It was fun, but I was starting to get a little burnt out on it. not so many are caned... the projects you mean? Or some of my work featured?
WWYTCH:carla> Well, now that I look through it, I see it's more techniques...I liked the little kite of canes so I guess that's what I remembered.
SUNNISAN:sunni> I leach my premo.
WWYTCH:carla> Sunni...that may be a solution for me & my hot hands.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> the kite was Diane villano's project-- neat, huh?
WWYTCH:carla> yes, I loved cheery!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> some of my older stuff is at
JSOBER:Julia Sober>. Irene, how many more of the things on this old work page are going to be offered on eBay?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> :) Most are gone! I've got pendants and pins, mostly. Not all are shown on that page; I didn't have scans of them
SUNNISAN:sunni> uh oh. I sense a little wanting here!! :)
JSOBER:Julia Sober> well... I admit it, I'm a fan. :D
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Heh heh the feeling's mutual my dear
SUNNISAN:sunni> with your mixed media - do you purchase stamps and cookie cutter shapes or do you make your own?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I often make my own. I love ReadyStamp and have gotten a lot from them
SUNNISAN:sunni> is ReadyStamp an angel co.?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> no, it's that place in San Diego where you send a sheet of drawings and they send back a sheet of rubber stamps as angel as you can get!
SUNNISAN:sunni> oh!! so your stamps are your own designs! do they have a web presence?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> most are, yes. I also like the stuff from
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> oh, me too! great stuff
IRENESDEAN:Irene> ReadyStamp? I *think* it's at Someone know offhand?
JSOBER:Julia Sober> Yes, it is at Sarajane has a whole page for it.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Sunni asked about cutters, too It's easy to make your own! I started by manipulating a store-bought cutter that I wanted to change.
SUNNISAN:sunni> just pliers or do you use jewelry tools?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Pliers, round and flat. Sometimes to get a certain curve, I'll bend the metal strip around a fat marker or a skinny pen
SUNNISAN:sunni> so how do you make your own now?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> The hobby store, the kind that caters to model railroad enthusiasts, has ~lots~ of neat stuff, including thin sheets of tin and brass. I use tin snips to cut a strip about 1 inch wide. On a piece of paper, I draw the outline that I want to make into a cutter. I use round and flat nosed pliers to bend and turn the metal to mimic to curves and bends and contours of the drawing. I make rounded parts by strip around something appropriately curving the sized -- a pen, a dowel, a fat marker. I leave about a half inch overlap, then wipe the ends of the strip with alcohol to remove any oils, and glue the ends together. To use the cutter, I place it onto the clay where I want to cut out the shape, lay a small piece of Plexiglas on top, and push down on that. The cool thing about this kind of cutter is that I can flip it over and cut a mirror image of the first shape. I recently realized that you could probably use those metal cookie tins that there are so many of after the holidays. The metal seems to be about the same weight. Glue usually works -- I use Zap-a-Gap, or as the publisher would have me say, Cyanoacrylate glue. ;) E6000 probably would work too
SUNNISAN:sunni> so the brass and tin is malleable yet sturdy?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Sunni - yes, it comes in different weights
THEKITTYMOM> they sound like a lot of fun, thank you for sharing!!!!
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> I used to work in a heating-A/C office, the shop manager would save me scraps from making ductwork and gutters, cut into1/2" wide strips for me
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Oh neat, so you have strips of metal already
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Yep!! I'll bring you some if you want, I've got more than I'll probably ever use!
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> I bend them to the shape I want, then use scrap clay to hold it all together
IRENESDEAN:Irene> On the sides? Hey, why don't you demo for the guild? ;)
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Well,....... I'll see if I can get the nerve up! ;)
DEBISAVANNAH:Debi_Savannah_GA> good idea about using old holiday cookie tins, there are always tons at garage sales
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Yes, Goodwill is a great source for those tins, too
SUNNISAN:sunni> why again don't you cover the cookie cutters on one end with clay instead of using the Plexiglas?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Because then I can flip it over and get a mirror image cut out. I like the versatility And if it was covered with clay, you couldn't see exactly where you are placing it but that's me! it doesn't mean it's the only way to do it
DEBISAVANNAH:Debi_Savannah_GA> oh I see
SUNNISAN:sunni> that's a good idea!!
DEBISAVANNAH:Debi_Savannah_GA> I had a sudden thought... after bending the metal, push the form into a clay base to hold the shape and bake it. > I missed some of where you told how to hold the two cut ends of the cookie cutter together? with the glue?? will that really hold?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> wipe the ends with alcohol first, to clean off any oils from the machining process or from your fingers I find the glue holds for a while but not forever. It's not a big deal to reglue once in a while
SUNNISAN:sunni> that was Zap-a-Gap you used to glue, right?
SUNNISAN:sunni> have you ever made a jigsaw type of design with coordinated cookie cutter shapes - kinda like stain glass or something?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> no, but it sounds like a neat idea you mean so they fit together?
SUNNISAN:sunni> yes, so they fit together.
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Cool idea Sunni!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> more engineering than I think I'm capable of!
THEKITTYMOM> Last year I was desperate for a tiny cutter for cinnamon dough, and used a soda can for the metal. That might help someone if they can't find the tin you are talking about
SUNNISAN:sunni> kitty, that's a great idea!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Oh, yeah it could work. Was it sort of flimsy though? I think if it's tiny, it doesn't need to be as sturdy as something larger
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> I think Dianne tried that and it didn't work for her.
THEKITTYMOM> Yeah, it wouldn't work for something big, but I just needed a couple simple shapes and they were very small. But it worked for what I wanted, and was certainly cheap enough I didn't glue it together though, I wasn't smart enough for that. I just taped the overlapped ends together
SUNNISAN:sunni> seems to me tape would work for a temporary cutter!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> hey, you're the smart one! Tape would work just fine!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> for something small it would work, and would be easy to bend into intricate shapes
JSOBER:Julia Sober> There's also metal flashing in the roofing section at the home improvement store, but it's fairly expensive
IRENESDEAN:Irene> on the old work web page, the trees and houses on the silhouette clock and switch plate were cut with cutters I shaped
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> those were done with your handmade cutters? that is amazing
IRENESDEAN:Irene> the stuff at the hobby shop is inexpensive. (don't ask me exactly how much) plus, when you're there, you can check out all the other cool stuff that railroad enthusiasts are into!
JSOBER:Julia Sober> The train/hobby store sounds interesting. I'll have to find one of these.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Oh, they have texture sheets. They use them, I think, for cutting and then painting to make cobblestone streets or sidewalks in their set-ups.
SUNNISAN:sunni> texture sheets? at the RR hobby section?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> right, but they don't call them texture sheets. I don't know *what they call 'em! Just browse, you'll find neat stuff there
SUNNISAN:sunni> more eye candy for clayers. is nothing sacred? *evil grin*
IRENESDEAN:Irene> heh heh heh
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> I'd suggest calling any metal shops in your areas-- the ones that make gutters and ducts -- they might sell you some scraps really cheap
SUNNISAN:sunni> or dumpster dive.....
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> LOL!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> How thick is gutter metal or roof flashing? I wonder if they'd be difficult to manipulate
JSOBER:Julia Sober> It is pretty sturdy stuff.
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Actually, I think they're perfect, very easy to bend, but sturdy enough to hold their shape
SUNNISAN:sunni> the gutter metal or roof flashing is strong but malleable. about as thick as two pieces of construction paper.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Oh, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip! you can also get those neat pin vise tools [at the train/hobby stores.]
JSOBER:Julia Sober> Pin vises are wonderful tools! Very accurate.
SUNNISAN:sunni> what do you use a pin vise for, Irene?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> for hand drilling holes I find I have more control when I can turn it by hand than when I rely on a power tool
SUNNISAN:sunni> in beads or your other projects?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> well, since I don't do beads anymore.... :) other things get embellishments that sometimes require a little hole drilled
JSOBER:Julia Sober> I find it very ironic that you don't do beads anymore, yet you're going to be in a book about beads. :D
IRENESDEAN:Irene> me too!
JSOBER:Julia Sober> Will you be including any of your old-style beads, or all new things
IRENESDEAN:Irene> It might make it more of a challenge! I'll definitely include and mokume gane, they caneworking are both so given to beads. I'll have to come up with some other things, maybe some carved beads and some sort of image transfer stuff I'm not sure if the editor wants"focus" beads or sets of lots of matching beads
WWYTCH:carla> much to learn about....
IRENESDEAN:Irene> oh, that's the fun, carla!
WWYTCH:carla> I know, Irene...but for someone new, it can be overwhelming and you never feel as if you're catching up!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> you don't have to catch up to anyone, honey! just do your thing and enjoy it!
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> and she is doing great!
SUNNISAN:sunni> carla - I've been claying for years and I still feel like that!!! LOL
REVBYRD:byrd> me, too.
WWYTCH:carla> Sunni...then I guess I'll just hang in there..*LOL*
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> That's right Carla, just be sure you catch up with yourself once in a while
WWYTCH:carla> Kellie...:-)
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Image transfer = problems for me :(
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I think everyone has something they feel that way about
REVBYRD:byrd> Irene, will they let you do some textured beads?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> probably. the only restriction I have is no brand names so I don't see why they wouldn't I have pretty much free reign except for that
JSOBER:Julia Sober> can you say something like"certain types of metallic clays" to cover the premo metallic techniques?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I don't know how I can word it to get that across.
SUNNISAN:sunni> oh gee, julia. if I read something like that, I'd wanna know what she meant!! LOL
JSOBER:Julia Sober> it's too bad it leaves out that whole realm of technique. But still there are plenty more
IRENESDEAN:Irene> It does, but earlier I talked about the need for flexibility.... this is one of those times I think I'll skip the metallic thing altogether because there's plenty else
SUNNISAN:sunni> Irene, is there anything you can think of that we may not have covered or that you would like to talk about?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Sunni, I can't think of anything. Can I promote my book?
SUNNISAN:sunni> please do!!!!!!
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> please!
WWYTCH:carla> Promote!!
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> I have it and it is great!
REVBYRD:byrd> which book?
SUNNISAN:sunni> tell us more about it!!!!!! any of your books!!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> okay thanks! I've only got one out, folks. it's the Weekend Crafter - Polymer Clay
BLUECHILE:Cathy> I LOVE that book!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> PCC has a nice review on it. You can order it directly from me. I just installed a shopping cart on my web site, so this would be a great test :) go to and [follow the] link to the book page. so it would be $14.95 (the cover price). (and of course 6% tax in NC) Oh, since I *just* installed the cart (this afternoon!), please let me know what you think of it!
JSOBER:Julia Sober> For under $15, how can you go wrong? :)
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Cool!!
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> It's the best $15.00 I ever spent!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> thanks elissa
JSOBER:Julia Sober> Are you still autographing, Irene?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Sure, I'll still autograph, julia! and I'll personalize it too.
SUNNISAN:sunni> cool!!! I'll definitely wanna buy it from YOUR site, then!!!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> If you mention that you heard about it through PCC, I'll pay book rate shipping
SUNNISAN:sunni> even better!!!
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> makes me wish I hadn't already bought it!
WWYTCH:carla> too! Now I'll have to pout.
JSOBER:Julia Sober> buy another one and give the first one to a friend, Kellie. :D
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> smart julia, thanx
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Good idea, Julia! Wanna do some marketing for me?? :)
REVBYRD:byrd> will you be selling the next book as well?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I'm not the sole author, so I don't know
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Hey Kellie, you can send me yours, and I can take it to Irene for a sig!
REVBYRD:byrd> may I ask a question?
SUNNISAN:sunni> please do, byrd
IRENESDEAN:Irene> ask away
REVBYRD:byrd> Irene, have you noticed any difference in you sales of claywork since the book has come out?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> not really. The people who buy the book aren't the same people who buy my work. I do sell my book at shows, though.
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you have your website entered in your book so the reader can surf over?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> yup, the URL is the very very last thing on the last page of the book! so if anyone reads that far...
SUNNISAN:sunni> ;D
JSOBER:Julia Sober> Do you feel like the process of writing a book has helped you in your artwork in any way?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> has it helped my work? hmmm, interesting question it's hard to say because what I make for selling is different than the projects I made for the book
JSOBER:Julia Sober> It strikes me that the two things are both very creative, but in different ways.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> yes, that's absolutely right though it was the border on the cover on the tiled stuff I do these days that got me started All "weekend crafter" books have a border, and I couldn't decide what technique to use, so I used 'em all!
WWYTCH:carla> It seems as though the tile opens up whole new vistas of creativity!
SUNNISAN:sunni> hahahaha!! that's a unique inspiration!! Irene - since you hafta pay such close attn to detail for the book, has it improved your being more meticulous with the finished product you sell?
REVBYRD:byrd> it's hard to imagine her getting more meticulous. she's pretty good.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> yes, I think I was pretty meticulous to begin with.
WWYTCH:carla> Irene....are the discs used in between many of the tiles all clay?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> yup that's something I have to expand on, using the connecting disks
WWYTCH:carla> do you shape them or use a cutter?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I used a circle cutter.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I have all those tiles and circles still Sometimes I think it would be a good idea to make more, not affixed to anything, to make sort of a rearrange-able piece or art piece OF art
JSOBER:Julia Sober> How long did you spend rearranging the ones for the cover?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> you don't want to know. I spend a long time rearranging tiles
SUNNISAN:sunni> does that mean you assemble your tiles raw and cook together or do you cook the tiles and then assemble?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Sunni -- I bake the tiles ahead of time and then arrange them
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you ever trim them after baking?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Sunni - no, I use a template so they're all cut exactly (almost) to the right size
KIM2935> I'd bet you spend a lot of time collecting textures.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Kim, yes, I've got quite a collection! Geo, from the PCI list, was sweet enough to send me a ton of cool stuff
WWYTCH:carla> I'm so partial to the swirl pattern on your light switch covers. Did you hand carve that with a linoleum cutter?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> carla, yes! I love using a lino cutter that pattern took a lot of concentration
KIM2935:Irish Red> And a steady hand!
WWYTCH:carla> Did you carve the sheet out of clay?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> yes, it's carved from clay
JSOBER:Julia Sober> Do you draw it out ahead of time, or freehand it as you go?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> A little of both. I don't have a lot of patience with ahead-of-time stuff
SUNNISAN:sunni> good people, our time is up. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Irene for so generously giving us her time!! and invite everyone to stay on and visit.
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Wow Guys!! The weather's getting bad here, I'm gonna have to get offline
KIM2935:Irish Red> Bye Dol. Bundle up
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Actually, it's been very warm, now we're getting a storm, time to go!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Darla, hope to see you at a meeting!
DARLA1969:Celtic Dolphin> Thanks Irene! I'm looking for ward to meeting you! Bye all!
KIM2935:Irish Red> Ty Sunni Ty Irene
WWYTCH:carla> oh, thank you, Irene!!! and you too, Sunni
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> thank you, Irene!
THEKITTYMOM> thank you everyone, this was so much fun!!!
BLUECHILE:Cathy> thank you Irene
IRENESDEAN:Irene> oh, this was fun! Thanks, everyone, for making me feel so welcome!
BLUECHILE:Cathy> I'll keep an eye out for the new book
IRENESDEAN:Irene> the bead book won't be out for at least a year. I'll shout loud and clear when it is
KIM2935:Irish Red> Will you autograph our copy when we get it for the guild?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> absolutely!
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> that was a great chat!
JSOBER:Julia Sober> It was a great chat, I agree. :)
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I thought so too, thanks, y'all
WWYTCH:carla> I'm so glad I rushed home...I always learn something.
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> Irene, it has been a wonderful chat. thanks so much!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> you're welcome! I've had a slight distraction as my cat is convinced there's a mouse behind the bookcase
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> hehehe
BLUECHILE:Cathy> Cats!
KIM2935:Irish Red> At least she's not trying to type for you!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I think there is.... a mouse, I mean
SUNNISAN:sunni> hahahaha!!! you did well for wanting to watch the feline entertainment!!
KIM2935:Irish Red> uh oh!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I'm just glad I didn't have to rescue a mouse during the chat
KIM2935:Irish Red> LOL
REVBYRD:byrd> did she bring it in to you, Irene?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> no, she's not an outside cat. I think it came in to get warm
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> Irene, have you been published in any magazines
IRENESDEAN:Irene> only the most recent polyinformer, and that's more of a newsletter than a magazine
IRENESDEAN:Irene> oh, let me go find that red recipe. what else did I say I would go get?
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> I just remember the red Irene, but I have been so busy c & p
SUNNISAN:sunni> I think that's it, Irene.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Here it is: 7 parts fuchsia + 1 part zinc yellow. Those are Premo colors; I can't speak for any other brand.
SUNNISAN:sunni> Irene - for teaching in Atlanta and Chicago, what are the billeting and travel agreements, may I ask?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I'll drive to Atlanta (3 - 4 hrs) and stay with one of the guild members I'll drive to Atlanta, it won't be that much, not like flying across the country of course I'll deduct it. 30-some cents a mile is not bad!
CLAYCHIK:sharon> the PCH retreat is in Chicago this year?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> yes, check for details PCH pays for the teachers' travel and lodging they're taking signups already
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> Is the cost of transportation covered for teaching at guild meetings.?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> this is something I want to talk with other teachers about, how they handle travel and accommodations
JSOBER:Julia> From what I've heard it varies a lot.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> yes, it varies a lot I think.
JSOBER:Julia> Are you driving to PA?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I'll fly to PA. Esp since Chicago is only 10 days later, I don't want to spend too much time en route how about you?
JSOBER:Julia> I'm thinking about driving! I kind of like driving. Is that wrong?
SUNNISAN:sunni> naw julia. I love to drive, too. I jump at the chance for a road trip!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> wrong? Nah. I'm not wild about driving I'm hoping you'll show me around, J!
JSOBER:Julia> you bet! and Sunni, I'm glad I'm not alone. :)
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I've never been to the Windy City
JSOBER:Julia> I hope you enjoy your visit! There's a lot to see.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> you drive, though, okay?
JSOBER:Julia> Oh, sure. No fair making a visitor drive in Chicago!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> whew!
JSOBER:Julia> Elissa, are you coming to Chicago?
ELISSAHEART:Elissa> No, I wish!
REVBYRD:byrd> tip for Chicago newbies: stay on the freeway and don't even THINK about driving downtown.
SUNNISAN:sunni> too confusing, byrd?
SUNNISAN:sunni> I work in a book store and the audio books are very popular!!
REVBYRD:byrd> no, sunni. sharp turns at 60 miles an hour! and you can't see them coming.
SUNNISAN:sunni> oh eek, byrd!
JSOBER:Julia> I listen to audio books for driving. They RULE. :D I love them for trips!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> when we go on trips, I read aloud to Scott while he drives
JSOBER:Julia> That's so cool! I've done that before too!
SUNNISAN:sunni> now that's fun, too, Irene!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I like reading out loud. Robert Service poetry is great for that
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I wish they'd schedule polymer clay stuff during non-show season. I can never go to Shrinemont because of the timing
SUNNISAN:sunni> what would you think about a clay event in say, Feb/mar time frame?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> Sunni, the early part of the year would be ideal! show season starts in April or may and runs through early December.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I guess the weather could be a problem though. Even if it was help somewhere warm, what about the people coming from cold places?
SUNNISAN:sunni> I would consider the event for New England.
JENNYPAT:JENNY P> I would still consider it!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> is that where you are?
JSOBER:Julia> where are you, Sunni?
SUNNISAN:sunni> no. that's where PCC is home-based. I'm in sunny so. Oregon.
IRENESDEAN:Irene> yes, I'd certainly consider it
JSOBER:Julia> And you'd go to the east coast? cool!
SUNNISAN:sunni> our town is ideal for an event, but PCC owners are in new jersey!
JSOBER:Julia> I usually take any excuse to go to New England.
SUNNISAN:sunni> I don't know if I'd be able to attend our own event!! LOL buy I'd do what I can to make it work!!
JENNYPAT:JENNY P> I have only been to New England once,
IRENESDEAN:Irene> um, NJ isn't New England I grew up in Philly, and NJ was across the Delaware river. I heard lots of jokes about NJ
SUNNISAN:sunni> NJ isn't New England? see? I AM an ignorant westerner!!
IRENESDEAN:Irene> I think New England starts with upstate New York
JSOBER:Julia> I spent some time working in New Jersey. It wasn't as bad as I'd thought it was going to be. :)
IRENESDEAN:Irene> one last plug -
SUNNISAN:sunni> and the old stuff again?
IRENESDEAN:Irene> old stuff is
SUNNISAN:sunni> thanx again, Irene!!! it's been fun!!!
JSOBER:Julia> Thanks for a great chat, Irene!

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