Friday, December 14, 2012

busy, busy, busy!

...for lack of a better title.

Forgive me, being at home with my 2 year old & 6 month old, it's hard to recall what day of the week it is, much less come up with more creative blog titles...and well, it is true after all (as I take a short break from making some new wintery jewellery pieces for Made You Look...but more on that later).
So as I work here, scrambling to try to keep up with Subtle Details, I remembered that I wanted to show off some of the new work I had recently left at Meta4 in Port Perry.
They took some of my best Li'l Art pieces!  I'm almost sorry to be parted from them, but I guess I'll just have to get busier and make them again should I find a need for them...or better yet, simply make something completely new!
I'm particularly proud of these ones, one of which I had wanted to hang on my own wall, but that is typical.  One of these days, I will own a Christmas tree filled with my own ornaments, have walls adorned with my own artwork, and a personal jewellery box full to the brim with only the best of my pendants and earrings...but until such day as I can work steadily from morning 'till night, my walls will continue to be bare *sigh!*

Well, enough wallowing over what I haven't yet had time to do, and on with bragging about what has already been accomplished! 

 Li'l Art:

(the one I wanted to hang in my living room, guess I'll be making another like it later)...
"standing tall"

 "just another day"

note:  all frames are 10"x10"

And while I have been putting a lot of energy into my Li'l art pieces, I haven't neglected my Li'l Bouquet jewellery line...well, no more than the rest of my work anyways.  Here are two of my favorite recent creations:    

one of my older designs in this season's hottest colour...
I call it
"aubergine hydrangea"

and something new this year, all blinged out with Swarovski crystals for the festivities of the season

All this and more available for sale at

META4 Contemporary Craft Gallery
200 Queen St.   
Port Perry, ON

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Trying Something New

This time each year, I find myself struggling to create ornaments for my pre-Christmas craft sales...and I'm always low on product.  I currently have 8 different designs (with some sub-designs) in my repertoire...that's a lot to keep on top of.  I'd have to be making angels in February, carolers in March...etc, etc, etc.  And while maybe that's what I should be doing, I don't.  So this year I thought I'd try something new, I'm featuring one, and only one Li'l Decor design.  That way, I'll have the time to build adequate inventory, with variety of colours and selection.  The best part is, year after year, you'll find something new to build on your collection!

This year's featured Li'l Decor design:
Li'l Trees!
Sold as a set of three colour-matched trees (dots & Swarovski crystals, spiral, & stripes) for $35.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Richmond Hill Studio Tour & Art Sale 2012

This wasn't our most successful Studio Tour to be sure, but it was our most impressive one in my opinion.  Fitting that it was the 5th year that my husband Peter and I have participated in the Tour, and the 10th year of the Tour's existence, marking it with our first display on the main floor of our (recently renovated) 1950's bungalow.
Up until this year, we have tried our best to tidy up and minimize the visual chaos that is our basement, trying our best to make it a semi-suitable place in which to present our work...we never were very successful at this task and it was always very dark and dungeon-ous.

Perhaps I should explain that my husband, Peter, is a recreational pilot and amateur photographer (many of his photos taken from his airplane).  Each year he has presented his photography, and I of course my clay art (jewellery, figurines, and framed sculpture).
It's ironic really, that to mark our last year presenting in the basement, we has our most successful turn out in terms of attendance and sales, whereas this year was most visually pleasing to the eye, yet one of the worst for visitor turn out.  That's just the way it goes I suppose, but I closed the door to this Studio Tour with great hopes and further aspirations for next year's event...hope to see you here!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Like a calming sigh of relief...

another necklace was born!

It's been so long since I've taken the time (well, fought external forces to make the time) to make something, anything...and that it should be business related was all the more sweeter!
Well, not exactly business related, unless you count that it was a new design, so in that respect it was progressive for my repertoire and creative juices.

To explain a little why I've been away so long (seems as though I'm having to do this quite a bit...sorry!), I'm taking some time to look after my two little ones.  One which I believe I've told you about, my now 21 month old son Evan, and my second son Lucas, who just turned 7 weeks old yesterday.  Needless to say they keep me busy!  And while I do have loads of help from my husband and my mom, between trying to "catch up" on near sleepless nights and the daily grind of toy-clean-up and other such mundane things of life, there's been little to no time for far.  I'm beginning to see the light at the end of that tunnel though, and just this past weekend felt a little of that light shining on me when I took just a few hours to flex my creative muscle.

My muse was a children's necklace for a friend's daughter's "princess" birthday gift.

A little about the design:  I thought to myself that I needed to create something really different from my usual designs, something far more whimsical and fun.  Taking my inspiration from a dollar store gift bag (yes, you read that right!), I set out to make a piece that was full of bright colours and bold flowers.  I quite literally pulled the colours out from the image of 6 or so Disney princesses imprinted on the bag, and bearing in mind that this was to be worn by a little 6 year old, I set out to make 3 different, small, single-flower polymer clay beads that would be durable for everyday wear.  The other thing I wanted to experiment with was larger scale single flowers (you may have noticed that I usually work with miniature clusters of flowers of varying kinds).  I thought this to be more appropriate for a little girl, in that I could give more attention to detail to each flower, increasing that "whimsy" factor!  Before I even began making the pc beads, I already had in mind how I would string them together to form the necklace.  I knew that I wanted to use some of the coloured memory wire I had on hand, making sure to add lots of princess crystals of course!

This design was all about colour, lots of it, and whimsy.  I loved the freedom of creating something that didn't have all the restraints of a mature, more subdued piece.

What I took from this experience?  Well, a few hours of baby-free time for one, and a resurgence of that long-forgotten, incredibly satisfying feeling I get when I create something beautiful and new.  I'm inspired and encouraged that routine will again fall into place, and I will be back to my old self...nestled into my little studio, happily playing with my clay.

Karen Pasieka
Subtle Details

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Li'l Jewellery Box...with a nod to Sculpy & Fimo thrilled with this little gem, if I do say so myself! I haven't started selling these Li'l Jewellery Boxes as part of my product line, because they really are quite time consuming, and I have to develop a technique to refine the interior of the little cylindrical boxes, but I am loving them!
This is technically the 3rd one that I've made, though the 2nd is as yet incomplete, I haven't figured out a design for a lid for it yet. There's another problem too, they are made from Sculpy, a brand of polymer clay that I use for my classes. Sculpy is great because (9 times out of 10 at least), the clay is very soft and supple, and is very easy and quick to use, but when baked it can be very brittle, if you're not careful about securing every little detail firmly together before baking. So my second box needs a lid, but since waiting for inspiration to overcome me, my little box design has suffered a few bumps and bruises, and I have some repair to take care of too. Fimo Classic (the brand I typically use for my Li'l Art framed sculpture pieces and for ALL of my Li'l Bouquet jewellery, Li'l Newlyweds wedding cake toppers, and Li'l Decor ornaments) on the other hand, can be temperamental...sometimes quite crumbly and dry, which makes it very difficult to condition (soften) and use. Both brands have their advantages though. Fimo Classic may be a little stiffer, and can be a challenge to blend colours and hard on the hands, but when you do shape delicate, fine details, they hold their shape really well. Sculpy, as I mentioned, is almost always soft and supple, making it quick to use (great for a 2hr class setting), and it can be moulded and blends really well with tools and fingers. This is perfect for this Li'l Jewellery Box project.
I believe there's a blog post in here somewhere about the first Li'l Jewellery Box I created. I started making these (though there are yet few), as a project for my art classes (taught with the Town of Richmond Hill). It is a project that spans two, 2hr classes. We spend one class making and decorating the bottom half (though in most cases, students end up decorating, or finishing the details at home), then we spend the 2nd class making and decorating the lid. This is because the bottom has to be completed and baked in order to map out the size of the lid.
As for this design? I started it during my last class session (just this past winter), and I really had fun with it! I spent LOTS of time detailing this one, having created 3 analogous colours in the coral range, I detailed the whole exterior of the box with little clay beads in a vertical stripe pattern, then repeated for the lid in a bulls-eye pattern. Wanting to pick up on the vanilla colour base and trim that I started with, I decided to add the little floral and vine detail to the top of the lid. The little round feet I decided to add after I had already finished the whole case, feeling that the added vanilla trim created by the combination of the lid with the base made the design a little top heavy (to the eye only), and so was inspired to create the little bulbous feet (which I baked and then glued to the bottom of the jewellery box). So thrilled with the results! I'm keeping this one for sure, as it currently stands on my bedroom dresser. :-D

Interested in taking clay classes and learning how to make one of these?
Please visit the Town of Richmond Hill Spring Program Guide at
page 53
"Art - Sculpting with Polymer Clay"
begins Wednesday, April 11
7:00pm-9:00pm, then continues on the following 4 Wednesday nights.

Friday, March 9, 2012

2012 Li'l Art brochure

Between chasing after my (now) 16-month-old, and coping with pregnancy doctor's orders to not pick up anything over 20lbs, (which rules out have no idea how hard it is to control him without having the ability to hoist him up into the air from time-to-time!) and no walking the dog (urgh!), I have actually managed to get some things done for promotions this year, selecting only the finest collection of my works to be highlighted in my 2012 brochures for Li'l Art framed sculpture and Li'l Bouquet jewellery!
Finally taking a moment now to share with you my Li'l Art framed sculpture brochure (I'll post the Li'l Bouquet one shortly :-)
I did my best to pick and choose a variety of my past works that highlight a range of themes, as well as colours and designs that compliment each other within the composition of the brochure. Some images have been cropped to the edge of the clay tile while others show the surrounding frame. Again, purely a compositional choice, to focus on some of my more intricate designs (in which case the image may be larger), as well to show what the works look like framed. All of my Li'l Art framed sculpture pieces are framed in a 10" x 10" white shadow-box frame.
Some, such as "poppies pop!" had been framed in 6" x 6" frames, but sadly, my supplier has discontinued them :-(
There IS a much larger 20" x 20" frame available, and I have one sitting right here in my studio, which I'm both eager and a little intimidated to use! Truth be told, I have used it on occasion, for my ABC art (seen on the first page of the brochure), but I have dreams on creating a much, much larger piece of clay sculpture to be framed in this generous display! You can be sure that I will be sharing it with you when I do!
Just recently baked two additional pieces (one that I'm thrilled about, and wanting to repeat but with even more detail, and another that I feel "so-so" about). They haven't been named, framed, or photographed yet, but when I do, I'll be posting them here. Would love to hear your thoughts...maybe even suggestions for subject matter?
Take care!
- Karen

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

about the artist

A while ago I was spending some time over in my Etsy store. Feeling a little more verbose and deciding that a change was needed, I wrote a new autobiography. I'm pretty happy with this new, more personal and heartfelt description of my life and work and decided to share it with you here today:

"Hi, I'm Karen Pasieka, designer and polymer clay artisan.

I started my business, Subtle Details, in 2007, when I was laid off from a position I held in an architecture firm for over 4 years. That had been my dream, my training, since I was only 13 years old.
I had always been a creative child, experimenting with various materials and craft. From crochet, to paper, to clay, I rotated from one to the next and back again, whatever suited my fancy on the day. But when first introduced to the concept of architecture (and being an architect), it seemed real to me, something concrete that I could say: "when I grow up, I want to be an Architect". I loved my education, and the goal of being an architect gave me focus, but the reality of the profession quickly tarnished the dream. It took me a long time to admit to myself that the dream that I had so long cherished was not the right fit for me, but once this fact had become clear, the answer was easy....craft!

The one medium that I always returned to was polymer clay. I experimented with and perfected my techniques year-after-year, creating Christmas tree ornaments for family and friends. Then as my friends got older, I was inspired to create the bride and groom ornaments (cake toppers) which I now affectionately call Li'l Newlyweds. This was a wonderfully intricate challenge that I was more than happy to take on. My jewelry line, Li'l Bouquet, was inspired by the delicately sculpted florals of the bridal bouquets from the cake toppers. Now my Li’l Bouquet designs are an ever evolving blend of soft feminine florals, Swarovski crystals, sterling silver, and base metals. The latest of my products, Li'l Art framed sculpture, was developed as a project that I could use to teach my students, as I have started running polymer clay classes. I love making these little tile scenes because the potential for themes are endless!

Whew! There you have it, my crafting history in a nutshell!

I hope my designs bring you joy, as they do for me everyday!"

...I would only add to this that, being a significant and most dear part of my life, my son Evan came into this world on October 28th, 2010. He is both the most precious and most demanding piece of the pie that is my life! With him, work is challenging, without him, life would be meaningless.

He is also the reason why I beg for patience from you if I appear to be absent from my work at times. :-D

- Karen Pasieka
polymer clay artisan, entrepreneur, mom