Nine Lives Studio - Ellen Miffitt
Sumi-e, Collage, Mixed Media, Watercolor Pencil, PMC Jewelry, Block Prints and Art Instruction


(posted on 18 Sep 2016)

Still didn't get around to correcting/posting the mixed media collages but the exterior of the house is 98% painted in one week...
I beat the two days of rain over this weekend!!!
Saturday I facilitated a Shibori class with ten very enthusiastic participants. Shibori is the Japanese style of dying fabric with Indigo dye. I prepared sample after I canned 19 jars of Bread & Butter pickles... was up to 3am finishing the samples and getting the materials ready ... so today I rested and made lots of Shibori pieces.
general items to use when pinching/binding the fabric.

cotton, silk or hemp fabric - washed first to remove sizing. Then fold and use string and elastics to make a design - very controlled random of course

whoops - fuzzy image - plastic clothes pins and wooden blocks

silk scarf wrapped on a pvc [plastic] pipe and tied with string... then compressed/slide down to bunch the fabric. I need a bigger diameter pipe. you'll see why later.

soak in clean water to wet fabric before dying...

remove excess water

Indigo dye - mixed at least one hour before dying - notice bloom on top of dye.

remove bloom before adding fabric - add bloom back after finished dying...

pieces floating in the dye vat

remove pieces about twenty minutes in the dye vat - remove bindings and expose the material to the air. Air is the catalyst that makes the green liquid turn to Indigo.

as I was undoing the bindings on other pieces you can see the green turning to blue here...

after unfolding the cloth, the air is still reacting with the dye. that green will turn indigo.

silk scarves removed from dye

square silk scarf - notice the white area... that's why I need bigger diameter pipe because about half didn't dye.

same for the long scarf... I could re-wrap and dye the white side.

this is a large square cotton "towel" - next you rinse in plain water then wash with soap to stop the process...

That's what I did to day as I recover from dangling off the ladder painting my house last week....

Tomorrow I make salsa and can it... and finish the 2% house painting if its sunny!
back to writing my story

(posted on 4 Sep 2016)

Finally posting some new art pieces that I completed during the summer kids art classes. This was the best summer as far as attentive students who really wanted to learn/improve their skills. After I introduced the lesson, they went tight brain and completed many projects each class. The younger kids 8-12 are more work but it was still a good time.

I have continued writing up a storm after participating in April Camp NaNoWriMo and July Camp NaNoWriMo. I have started two more novels. Got 12,201 on one story but woke up with another one from a dream a week ago which now equals 33,622 word count.

either way I'm using my expansive imagination...

Keep arting/expressing...


(posted on 21 Aug 2016)

Where have I been?

Writing a lot!!!!

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in April and wrote another novel... Blodeuyn with a word count of 84,368

Then in July, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo and wrote two stories. my total word count for the 2 stories = 88,410; Ewyndriel = 60,230 and Princess Lile Aibhlinn = 28180 ... then I revised Ewyndriel to a word count of 63,560

Last week I began rewriting my November 2015 NaNoWriMo, Asher; its up to 88,932 word count and I totally rearranged the sequence.

Ten of my Summer Kid's Art classes have run. I will post the samples that I made while the students were working on their art. the 8-12 year old group still wear me out more than the 12-16 who basically come in and get right into the art projects..

Keep arting and writing!


(posted on 8 May 2016)

Saturday turned out to be Wooden Boat Day celebration so the attendance at the NOVA school Innovations sale was very low. Think my table display looked good. I did work more on my Camp NaNoWriMo novel when it was slow...

sorry, the image is a little fuzzy -

there was plenty of room so I set my shelf unit in back of the table.

Below the paint box and mini bulletin board display for the jewelry...

I set the drawer out to display the extra pieces...

lastly the blank journals. the one on the right sold. It was a very delicate looking Zen Doodle design.

I made my table fee yesterday and a small amount more. I do have to say that many shows now are requesting this: Reporting of sales: At the end of the day, we will pass out a reporting form. The primary purpose of this is to indicate the success of the event overall, as well as the different categories of products. While not required, we request vendors consider making a tax-deductible donation of 10-percent of sales (once covering the cost of the booth) to NOVA School to support the School’s programs and financial aid. NOVA School offers an unmatched comprehensive combination of creativity-building programs, such as visual arts, music, textiles, cooking, robotics, engineering, and more…and over one-third of our students only attend with the assistance of financial aid.

I did not participate in this - the main reason that I did not donate 10% - I grossed so little above the $40 table fee, I did not charge tax for my sales unless it went through the Square so I will have to pay tax at the end of the year and my prices are rock bottom so things will sell/be affordable.

Art/Crafting is an act of creativity to fuel an inner drive... I know that most art/crafters are not making hundreds of dollars at these events. Unless you bring lunch, you buy food and of course there is the gas to travel. It normally takes an hour or so to set up and break down. This means a normal 10 to 4pm event = 8 to 10 hours of work... if you figure that for an hourly wage, I make less than minimum for almost any event I've done.

I love events because it is fun to talk to customers and other vendors. Please realize that I'm not doing the sour grapes thing; I'm just telling the truth about the reality of selling handcrafted items...


A week ago Wed was the The Evergreen State College Spring Fair...

the earrings and other jewelry was just flat on the table so not displayed attractively...

Then Saturday was the POSSCA Annual Artists' Garage Sale... forgot to take a photo of my set up. I was really not feeling well and crashed Sunday & Monday. Still coughing but feeling much better.

Tuesday & Wednesday I worked on more blank journals - 24 just need to be threaded with the ribbon. The less expensive ones need images and tying...

I almost threw out some demo paintings from acrylic... then it was chop time to make small sections for the blank books!

More paper bead earrings that I made today...

Now how to display them better... woke up yesterday morning with a aha! Finally found my mini cork board this afternoon and then...

I needed an easel or something.... Someone gave me two travel paint box easels! The drawer is perfect for storing the jewelry.

full drawer

practice display...

OK back to finishing chopstick books, attaching enso necklaces to cards, and packing the car!
Keep Arting

(posted on 4 Apr 2016)

Almost ready to wrap the pin wire for these paper bead earrings... three weeks until Spring Arts Walk where I will display my work at the Estate Store and I have a million loose ends
Least I'm not bored when going from one project to another.

Friends have given me beads/old jewelry over the last few years - time to organize them... although the scavenger hunt of locating different stashes of beads is fun it's also time consuming. There is the word time again It does speed past.

Started a mini macrame key ring fob and finished a mini macrame bracelet.

dang, I need brighter light and stronger glasses! This micro dark cord is hard to see

Bought these simple tags for displaying the jewelry - large ones for necklaces and small for earrings. will print a label with info for the back...

I know I could have made them but I figured for the sake of time which tends to slip away that it would be easier to purchase.

Keep arting!

(posted on 2 Apr 2016)

Lesson about wearing glasses and I need to stop being so stressed so I can think clearly

this picture shows my first batch of aromatherapy clay pendants. This is low fire clay. When i went to fire them last time I did not look at the package with glasses on and saw only "cone 6". Looking up the temperature chart on Internet... cone 6 is 2,232...
The cone/firing temp for "06" low fire is - 18,030... I have been stressed lately and very fuzzy thinking - it should have been a real no brainer low fire vs high fire non mistake. You can't tell from the picture but the clay over-fired and vitrified. The pieces will make good wind chimes.

Second try:

after drying to leather hard stage, I then clean the edges a bit...

and load the kiln:

this kiln is from around 1970 and still has the original coils...

I've made a lot more paper beads. It is tricky to cut the paper and roll so that the beads come out the same size.

bought my tools for making "Broken Plate" jewelry:

I saw a how-to where the person used chamois cloth and inserted a wire hanger and glued that to the back of the chard. I'm going to try that... I'm not a fan of the copper foil/non lead solder.

Here's the plates that I bought today to practice with:

Last but not least -

signed up before midnight April 1st for Camp NaNoWriMo...
same deal as National Writing Month in November - goal is 50,000 word count by the end of the month.

I am using a story that I slightly started since last December... I have a character list and a 2 page synopsis.

off to check the kiln temp... no more over firing.

(posted on 22 Mar 2016)

Continuing adventures - second time etching this batch. Basically I think the rubber stamp lines are too fine for a strong etching. I left these in at least 4 hours in a fresh batch for ferric chloride. One of the stars has a hole for the jump ring that was too close to the edge... remind me to drill the holes after etching! It destroyed the fine piece that made the hole edge. I'll just saw/round off all the corners.

today I stopped in to pick up the handouts for AARP tax prep at the Olympia Senior Center and also visited the Senior Boutique. SCORE! I was bemoaning the fact that I had given away many of my rubber stamps awhile ago. Remember Murphy's Law about discarding stuff and needing it soon after... Look what I found!


Most were .25, .50 or $1.00... The designs have much wider lines so they will translate better as far as applying the StazOn permanent ink...
Can't wait to try these out on more of my copper shapes and I will remember not to drill the holes until after etching.

Off to teach the last Mixed Media class...

(posted on 20 Mar 2016)

my low fire white clay arrived the other day... rolled it out and as soon as its bone dry, I'll bisque fire. I'm making clay diffusers pendants for essential oil. Pinterest is great for how-to as well as you tube. The consensus was that low fire clay was better than self-dry because firing the clay makes it porous.

since I'm rolling on Plexiglas, the clay really sticks. It would roll & lift better on a plaster of Paris surface... I also found I can't remove the canape cutters because of the sticking factor. I just slide them to the side and cut the next one.

I brush off the excess clay stuck to the cutter edges then I let the clay dry a little before pushing them out of the metal shapes. I can smooth the backs/sides later if they're uneven. I may glaze the backside so the oil doesn't soak through.

Then I tried making the texture first... I wish I hadn't gotten rid of a lot of the rubber stamps my daughter had at one time

Letting the textured clay shapes sit a bit before pulling them apart by sliding the canape cutter across the Plexiglas to the edge.

Before they dry too much I used a straw to poke the holes in the clay. You have to gently rotate the straw to lift the plug of clay out. They are aproimately .25 inch thick. I did press a few of the rubber stamps I have into the clay.

I have them drying on the porch.... hoping no cats hop up to investigate these odd things.

I have to rework the etching pieces from Friday. Think the solution is spent as they didn't etch at all after 2.5 hours! After that its finally back to the paper beads.

(posted on 20 Mar 2016)

here's news about the Broken Pottery Jewelry Workshop I went to yesterday...

It was a nice group of women at the workshop. The presenter facilitates one "recycle" workshop a month at the Estate Store.

Several of the woman volunteer at the Estate Store and the director was there. The presenter experimented with shard jewelry over the last couple weeks before the workshop. I admit to having done that in my past as an art teacher [ I'm making paper beads like crazy as I'm offering a class two months from now]... so for all it was a learning experience and good company.

When I came home, I looked up some references to broken pottery jewelry and realized we were not using the wheeled cutter properly. Its more to score and then use pliers to snap a clean break. This way it creates a straighter break that you don't have to clean up as much with a tile stone or various grinding stones using a dremel.

The main tools you need are: the wheeled tile cutter tool, regular & tile nipper/trimmer pliers, glass key cutter, scorer/breaker tool, and safety glasses. A dremel or flex shaft or a tile stone can be used to smooth the sides. I will experiment more as I love how the shards look. You need a really good soldering gun, lead free solder, copper foil tape like they use in stain glass and flux. A hammer can be used to break the plate/cup into smaller pieces but I saw a picture demo that just used scoring and snapping with the nipper/trimmer pliers. Much more control over the braking/selecting of the pattern.

I didn't stay to put the jump rings on... I had to get home as my son hasn't been feeling well. As I said, it was fun group and we played musical chairs moving around from dremel tools or soldering irons all the while chatting away.

Lots of patience to get the sides smooth [see better cutting tool list above] and to put the self sticking copper foil tape around the edges without wrinkles as well as an even edge on front and back of the china piece. Next hold in place with clamp or clothespins, apply flux to help move the solder, apply heat to the solder and melt/smooth over copper foil and finally add a jump ring. A third hand tweezer would be great to hold the jump ring in place while applying the solder.

That's it - fairly easy process but its deceptively tricky... I think they're making book clocks next month, then a garden angel and sometime soon Fairy Lamps from tea cups with the addition of a small solar light... great group of women and I'm enticed to learn more. My daughter is bring up some broken plates later next week so I need to get some tile tools!!!!!

Keep Arting - now to go make some more paper beads and finish my earrings...

I just found a video showing how to glue leather to the back that encloses a wire bail! No soldering...

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