Our Studios…

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 6.03.41 PMFor those of you who haven’t seen our studios, here is Jenn’s in a rare moment of tidiness (plus some of our work spaces and work tables )… There are always a number of projects happening at the same time, and so there is no such thing as spotless but at the same time we need access to all manner of things at any moment in time and so while “organised chaos” may sound like or may even be for some, an oxymoron, …for us it is a workable necessity that there is apparent chaos that we NEED to keep organised. Jenn no longer teaches but continues to make a limited number of pieces of art both for private use and for sale on the virtual Markets that we run every 6-8 weeks on the Facebook Page.

Julie’s Soul Food Studio is exactly that; …food for our souls anyway, and home to many of our creations. Julie still does some classes both in Silver Clay and in Glass fusing and slumping. Classes are run as needed by private arrangement and each one runs for 3-4hrs. The rest of the time Julie, like Jenn, works in her own amazing “organised chaos” studio, where her kiln lives which means that often both the girls spend the day creating here. Julie also makes many pieces for sale and for private use, and between us we love and are fed by each other, the world around us, … and our creative space which is filled with endless possibilities.

Back Again!

It’s been a rough year since we last updated here, but hope to be  more regular again as things settle. Both our lives have changed in ways that neither of us could have dreamt, and both of us are now struggling with long term health issues … some small, some big, some just plain annoying!

Julie is still running small classes, but Jenn won’t be able to run them any more, which is heart breaking as it is her passion, but at the same time she is learning a new normal, and finding pleasure still in creating creating creating, but not the same kinds of things … No it is a season for crafts that are less physically taxing, can often be done from bed, and are not too hard on her fingers!

The problem with working in bed however is that once in bed and starting to work, there is no room to get out again to go to the loo!!!

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We haven’t been nothing as you can see, and recently completed a small mosaic project for a client, which isn’t exactly a job to do in bed, (and neither is pewter work for that matter!!) … and not all days are bed days by any means, so we save those for strong days:

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And then on the less robust days there is always knitting, jewellery, sewing and card making… and drawing for the new ADULT COLOURING IN BOOK!!! (details soon!!)

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So for those who are still following us: thank you! And this will still be a great place for us to showcase what we are creating and hopefully give you some great ideas 🙂

Updating Updating!!

Today we tried to put up some more info on our classes and what we sell,

Here are the two links to our ….

CLASSES:

What when where who etc is here:

https://jennjulieclay.wordpress.com/posts-from-jenn/

Details of the individual classes are here:

https://jennjulieclay.wordpress.com/scheduled-classes/

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What we SELL:

Is here:

https://jennjulieclay.wordpress.com/for-sale/

So for all those of you who have been asking what the pictures are of and what we do with them, what we teach and so on, hopefully these pages will help to explain it all!!

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Why Filani

Every now and then we will give a detailed post about the products that we use and why … so this one is about Filani which is the brand of clay that we use:

Why Filani
When ever people see us making things with clay, the first thing they ask is “it is that Fimo stuff?”

The short answer is yes it is Polymer Clay, but no the brand we use is not Fimo. We have nothing against Fimo and in fact their clay can be created into some pretty sharp lines that we find impressive, but we choose to use Filani. That sounds a little like a paid advertisement, but the truth is that we use it completely of our own choice, and for many reasons! So in case you are wondering, here they are:

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1. There are sooo many good things about them!

We love Filani because we genuinely think that overall, they are the best. We love Sculpey III and Premo as well, and have been using them for nearly twenty years now, and had we not stumbled across Filani we would still be using them. But we decided to try Filani when we found it because of all the reasons below and many of those reasons are enough to make the change all on their own, never mind that there are so many!!

2. The Research…

Once we started trying a little Filani and liked it, we decided to see what the “big wigs” around the world think of them.. and were pleasantly surprised to see how they have been tested and here is what we found:

http://claypolymer.blogspot.com/2013/10/testing-polymer-clay-flexibility-at-60.html

Here they tested all the major brands on flexibility (in the context of it not breaking!!! which is important!!) and Filani beat them all!! If you enjoy this site then look around at as they did other tests on cooking times, colours, all sorts of things … we learnt a lot here alone!

http://www.bloglovin.com/viewer?post=1687704755&group=0&frame_type=b&blog=9551767&frame=1&click=0&user=0

Again Filani was up there in the winnings.

Not everyone has heard of Filani yet, they are only about 5 years old at the time of printing this (early 2014), and so considering that and that they are a non US company, they have done extremely well to be up there being known and tested by some of the big guys. From our research we found that for those big wigs who have tested it, they came first or second on most things tested which is pretty impressive! So from a third party research point of view, we were pretty impressed!

3. Our own experience!

We don’t believe in ONLY doing research, nor in ONLY using our own experience, we think that a combination of both is important when making big decisions like changing brands in a business!! So this is not as scientific as the tests below, and we didn’t do comparison tests as such, but we use our hands and our ovens and clay almost every day and we know our products well, and so just simply using Filani in every day use is a different kind of testing! So we simply used it as we do in real life over many colours and many months and we really like it 🙂

I particularly LOVE the colours!! There is something earthy about them even the bright ones, and the range is really good and growing all the time!

It is also really import to us and our integrity, for you to know that we chose Filani of our own free will. No one has paid or given us ANY incentives to try or use them, and our own trials of over 6 months were done on our own coin! We have come to our OWN conclusions, that we REALLY like their products! We still love Premo especially and will continue to use up our rather large stashes and even add to it from time to time, with both Sculpey III and Premo, but in all our classes we only use Filani and we only sell Filani brands where possible (not all products in the clay world belong to any one brand, but our clays do!)

4. They are LOCAL!!! woohoo!!

We love Filani because it is local. Buying South African products to support local manufacturers and create local jobs is ALWAYS a good thing!! We are proud to be South African and proud of our rainbow nation, and we LOVE that we produce so many incredible products here!! But we wouldn’t use most of them simply for being local! They need to be good enough to stand in their own right and Filani are standing up to the big brands all over the world and are only getting bigger!! We are soooo proud of this and we cannot think of a better company to get behind!

Being local also means that we can get supplies in not only fast but that they are actually almost always available! Many of the other brands can be hard to source in certain colours, never mind that for us they are hard to get. So access is consistent, fast, and reliable!

5. Back Up!!

We chose Filani not the other way around! Not that they don’t love us we are sure!! But we tested them and worked on their products for months before approaching them to work with them more closely, and it turned out to be at a time when they just happened to be looking for knew facilitators and the timing was just right! We each need each other, and we know it and have built a really professional but honest to goodness relationship which is an incredible bonus!! … and the support and back up since we met has been incredible!! We talk about products, we talk about results, we fiddle with colours and we share our trials and thoughts and ideas. Having a product like this to support our business is a huge bonus! To us Filani is more than a great product, it is part of our business and we are proud of that!!

6.They are one classy company!!

Product is everything! They need to produce the best possible product, and they do! But we have also had the privilege of being able to visit the Filani factory on a number of occasions, and have been super impressed. They are good people who run an INCREDIBLE company, and a factory that is cleaner and better run than most companies that I have seen! They are professional, they care deeply about their people, they actively create jobs where possible and do much by hand for this reason where they could easily have replaced people with machines! They work HARD on their products and are perfectionists which is a great thing for their business!!

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More fun

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I am loving this. So much fun. I have added some more pics to show what I have been up to. Just look at all the fabulous colours in the collection of beads – and I haven’t even started mixing colours yet. Just think you can make a strand of beads to match every outfit in your wardrobe. It is really affordable – so you really could! Then there is my board of tiles. I just love the “sculptability” (is that a word) of it. Playing with textures and adding creatures keeps me absorbed, relaxed and happy for hours. Just look at my little elephant picture. I rolled out some mixed bits of clay and it just happened. What a surprise!! There it was in the middle of the sheet all I added was more definition of the tusk. I have always loved elephants so this was a true gift for me.
Seriously though, this is such a versatile medium, forgiving and affordable and requires minimal additional equipment.

Julie

Getting Started!

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Both of us have had web sites and blogs in the past, and both have been very busy with classes and selling and so on, but in the last while we have decided that instead of each winding down a bit, we need to combine our resources so that we can both get the chance to have a small break from time to time. We also plan to become more streamlined in focus (there are just SOOOO many exciting things to create out there right!!!), and so we are going to simplify everything, join forces so that we can cover for each other when necessary, and stick to one combined blog which we can both contribute to!! We have NO idea where this will go, as with all our projects, they seem to have a mind of their own, and the sky is the limit …. so we probably won’t get any more of a break than before 🙂 … but who knows 🙂

We get together to experiment at least once a week, and then do our own experimenting in between, so hopefully we will be sharing our results here, and we will also use this blog to advertise our classes that we run both together and individually, and to share what we create and sell. People often ask us what we do when we are out and about and short of bringing them into our studios, it would be lovely to have someplace to send them (here) so that they can see what we do 🙂

Please give us time to build this slowly, after all, we need to keep creating the “real” things as we go!