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Category Archives: Tools

tracy holmes: breakthroughcolour cards + cubes

I’ve been laying low attending to family, but wanted to pop in and share news from two artists I’ve had the pleasure of working with recently.

breakthroughcolour cards + cubes

When Tracy Holmes showed me her BreakThroughColour Cards + Cubes via a Skype call several months ago, my color-challenged-self let out a squeal of delight. Holmes’ hold-in-your-hands system of understanding and exploring color is a game-changer and in just a few minutes I realized a whole new world had opened up for me.

The magic is in the codes. . .

btc color side

btc code side

Tracy was ready to move forward with BreakThroughColour, which she has been developing for three years. She contacted me because she needed a coach/consultant/guide to help refine her strategy for getting the first product manufactured and to keep her on-task throughout the process. I enjoyed every minute of assisting her. Check out the campaign and see why. . .

Holmes launched the BTC KickStarter campaign on June 19th. It quickly became a Staff Pick and was fully funded in just 3 hours. THREE HOURS!

btc colors

Three weeks later BTC reached another huge milestone – 1000% funded! More than 400 people around the world have backed the project so far (over $50,000 CAD). WOW! The BreakThroughColour Cards + Cubes KickStarter campaign has less than a week to go and backing the project now ensures you pay the lowest price. I couldn’t wait another minute to tell you about BTC because I don’t want you to miss this exciting opportunity.

Here’s what other folks are saying about the NEW system that is truly color for both sides of your brain:

 “an ultimate color tool for teachers, students, designers, artists and color enthusiasts alike” – TrendHunter

“a new, ingenious color system to help you understand and use colors better” – DesignTaxi

“an exciting new hands-on system for exploring color, beautifully designed and super fun to use”– Smashing Color

If you are an artist, graphic designer, interior designer, student, educator or simply a color lover – BTC is a must-have. Read much more HERE about this important tool for your color toolbox.

btc codes

Have I mentioned the magic is in the codes?

What a thrill to be part of the BTC team and help Holmes share BTC with the larger world. . .don’t forget to sign up for THE BTC NEWSLETTER because this is just the beginning of BreakThroughColour!

More later today about another much-loved artist I recently assisted. . .


On another note. . .

Monthly Art Muse subscribers please watch your inboxes this week for TWO issues (June and July)!



tools: finger brush and texture plate

When Lorrene Davis sent along the link to this artist I popped over to her website to see what she was up to and look what I found!


Davis, a metal clay Master Instructor, handcrafts and sells the Finger Brush – a tool she invented when she got tired of “Putting down the file, picking up the dry brush to save the precious silver dust.Then putting down the brush and picking up the file.Then repeating the whole process over and over again…… and over and over again.”

Cool beans. You can get one too. Right here.

marsha neal shards

Then a visit to Marsha Neal’s blog revealed a post about how she makes porcelain shards. I like the way Neal uses two wood texture plates to make the spiral ridges. I’m sure the texture boards can be used with materials other than porcelain. Maybe Miss Marsha will share her source for the serious looking texture mats?

In the meantime, although you can’t buy the texture plates from her, you can purchase the porcelain shards.  This way please – booth #806.

cormier & holmes introduce new work and the great white Sh.A.R.K.

We are dedicated to evolving polymer clay through creativity without boundaries, quality without compromise, design with intent, and innovation with integrity. And we want to have fun doing it. Dan Cormier & Tracy Holmes

Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes have been busy sprucing up their website – adding new work, making cool videos, sharing exciting news about the Sh.A.R.K. family of tools (see below) and refining a mission statement (that’s it above, but read more here).

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Polar Pin, 2009, polymer clay

When Cormier has a new idea for a piece and discovers that it requires a tool he doesn’t have, he gets to work making the tool and the whole community benefits. He has been sharing his Cutting Edge line of precision tools with us since 2005 when he introduced the Peeler Collection, adding the Sh.A.R.K. in 2008 and now the Great White Sh.A.R.K. and more to come later this year.

The Sh.A.R.K. is “a magnetic ‘moveable wall,’ a sheet adjuster that turns your single-width pasta machine into a versatile ‘any width’ tool for sheeting, mixing, blending, and reducing polymer clay.” The original Sh.A.R.K. was made to fit the Atlas 150 pasta machine, but now everyone can enjoy the benefits of this little fin-that-could with the new Great White Sh.A.R.K., which fits the Amaco, Makins, and Atlas 180 machines.


The video below is a comprehensive look at what the Sh.A.R.K can help you accomplish in your studio.  Beautifully executed, it takes the concept of a ‘brochure’ to a whole new level. Fun, informative and enticing.  I have a Sh.A.R.K. and while I love the way it adjusts the size of the sheet of clay, I admit that it wasn’t until I saw the video that I truly understood that I had a powerhouse sitting on my pasta machine!

Want your own Sh.A.R.K. ? You can purchase a Sh.A.R.K. Kit here.

For me, my tools and what I do with them have always been intertwined. It’s not about the latest gimmick or trick. It’s more fundamental, evolving organically out of some need I find through my dialogue with the clay. A new idea requires a tool I don’t have. So I make that tool. Once I have it, I can usually do the thing I wanted to do, which is great. But even better, it continues the conversation. Suddenly I see something I couldn’t see before, something I hadn’t even imagined. Like cresting a hill, I get a new view, a new perspective, a new take on my medium. Dan Cormier

Congratulations to this dynamic duo – it certainly does look like they are having fun (see mission statement above) while elevating the medium with their innovative tools, work and techniques – a win/win combination for all.

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