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February 25, 2011


So here we are, the last Friday of the month for a topic for the Merry-go-Round group! Our top five (or ten) tools. I can’t narrow it down to just five, and I work in different media, so I’ve divided my tools into two lists: sewing and ceramics/mosaics. Let me tell you about them.

Top five sewing tools:
1. Sewing machine
2. scissors
3. embroidery scissors
4. tape measure in inches
5. pin cushions

My sewing machine is my most important tool, or piece of equipment. I use it almost everyday, and it feels like an extension of my body. I started sewing when I was about eight, by hand. When I was thirteen, my father bought me a brand new Singer sewing machine, and it was one of the most memorable events of my childhood. I went from sewing small items like dolls’ clothes to making clothes, pillows, and other crafts for myself and others. I left it in the States when I came to France, and I have been using a small Elna machine. This morning, my new Bernina was delivered, and I’ll have fun getting used to it, and learning how it works!

Sewing goes smoother with a good pair of scissors that I sharpen myself on a sharpening stone my brother-in-law gave me. Embroidery scissors for tiny work, pretty ones in the shape of a bird, a gift from my husband. A tape measure in inches, even though the metric system is used in Europe. It’s the same one I’ve been using since I was eight!

And finally, indispensable pincushions. I love ones that look like fruit! At the moment I use a half-pear and an apple, made by my friend, Swee of Swiedebie.

Top Five ceramic/mosaic tools:
1. kiln
2. clay tools
3. stamps
4. tile cutters
5. tweezers

As for working with clay, my kiln is the tool or piece of equipment that is the most useful, saving time and giving me more freedom to fire whatever and whenever I like.

Before having one, I had to fire my pieces away from home, in someone else’s kiln, so I had to wait for their schedule and stick to the dimensions of their kiln. Also, as dry ceramic pieces are extremely fragile, carrying them to another place was stressful. That’s what led me to work in a small size and in separate pieces. When I sculpted a lady, I’d make four arms and four legs in case any got broken. In fact, none ever did, and I have lots of extra ceramic arms sitting on my shelves!

I’ve had my clay tools since I was in art school, most of them bought at the university store and a few that I found left behind by a graduating student in the ceramic studio. I carve my own ceramic stamps to press into the wet clay, and I have quite a large collection.

Finally, my tile clippers and a pair of tweezers allow me to be very precise in placing my tesserae for my mosaics.

Old or new, each tool has a story, which gives it special value for me.

And now, don’t forget to go find out about the tools of the other members of the merry-go-round! We’re in different time zones, so check back if her post isn’t up yet!

Monika at Red2White
Ruth at Birdland Creations
Kim at Vilt a la Kim
Sara at Crafts of Texture
Mariana at Florcita
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent
Mitsy at ArtMind
Samantha at Vintage is for Lovers
Bethany at Dirksen Dabbles
Jen at Painted Fish Studio


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