Unleashing Creativity With Clay

The simplest form of model making or sculpting is with clay. Working with this flexible and malleable material is both interesting and enjoyable. It is quite easy to create even three dimensional figures with clay. So much so that, even small kids can easily use their creativity to knead, squash, roll and otherwise shape the material into any form they wish.

The versatility of the humble clay is such that it suits children, novice artists as well as seasoned sculptors. In fact, sculptors often create large figures with clay. However, as the clay cannot support its own weight, an internal metal armature is used to build the model.

Clay comes in a ready to use form and lends itself beautifully for making masks, prototype models and special effects as well. In fact, clay modeling is also used in animation and this dedicated art is known as claymation.

Types of clay

Not only can clay can be molded in a number of ways, it comes in a variety of types too. They vary depending on the composition and process of production as well. While water-based clay generally tends to harden on exposure to air, non-hardening variations are also available. In fact, some clay types need to be heated in an oven for the model to harden properly. This is generally used in ceramics.

The non-hardening clay is either oil or wax based that keeps it from drying out, cracking or shrinking. This is preferred by artists and sculptors as it stays flexible, holds fine details well and can even be reused by heating. There are certain high grade clays that stay permanently malleable and so can be used time after time. Then there is ballistic clay that replicates animal tissue and is useful for testing body armor and in forensics.

The final choice of clay is personal and is based as much on the feel, texture and hardness of the material, as on the potential requirements of the finished piece.

And irrespective of the choice of clay, you will surely need diverse tools to cut, pierce and sculpt the clay before you can form it into the shape you want. Cutter, trimmer, rasp and tongs are but just a few of them. And once the clay modeling is ready, it is finished with paint or even stain effects can be created.

Special care is needed when clay molds are used for making resin, rubber or metal casts. The mold has to be sealed properly prior to casting as the clay can distort or even dissolve when it comes in contact with the solvent. Furthermore, the sulfur content of certain clays often ends up inhibiting the setting of silicone rubbers and polyurethane rubbers. Therefore, sulfur free clay is considered a better option for clay modeling.

In sum, the pliable clay emerges as a modeling material of choice. It is handy and you can use it as you want!

How To Attract Local Customers – A Quick Guide To Local SEO

If you are running a local business, you may be wondering how you can target even more customers in your region. If you already have a website, that’s a great start, and if you don’t, it’s definitely time to join the digital marketing revolution.

More and more people are searching for businesses like yours online. That means they are using their computers, tablets and phones to find you. If you’re not online, or your website can’t be found, you can kiss goodbye to the chance of doing business with them. Whether you are selling products or services, you could be missing out on a huge chunk of your market.

But I have a website. Isn’t that enough?

No, you need to ensure people can find your website. The only way to do this, short of delivering your website address to everybody in the area by hand, is by making your website known by the search engines. And the only way you can do that is through local SEO.

Local SEO – It’s Not As Hard As It Sounds

When it comes to ensuring local customers can find you, the process is easier than it sounds, but it needs work. It also needs constant maintenance if you want to ensure you stay in front of your target audience and ahead of your competitors. Fortunately, there are companies offering professional assistance with search engine optimisation that can do everything for you, but more on this later.

Here are 5 ways you can improve your chances of being found by local customers:

1. Create a Google My Business account – by claiming your own Google My Business page, you will be joining the millions of businesses that are benefiting from this service. It’s almost like an additional web page, and is just another way to get your business known. This services allows you to add all the important details of your business, and to receive and show customer reviews too.

2. Acquire as many local reviews as possible – local reviews also have a direct impact on local search, and so try to get as many as possible. Use Google, Yell and other review sites, and ask previous customers if they would be happy to leave a review.

3. Optimise your landing pages – every single page on your website is a chance to get your business noticed in the search engines. By using the keywords that your audience is using to search for you online you automatically increase your chances of being found. So, if prospective customers are searching for “roofing”, make sure your pages contain that search phrase.

4. Build a link strategy – business is largely based on trust, but how do you convince people to trust you if they haven’t dealt with you before? The answer is to become an online authority in your field. Blog posts are a great way to do this and will add more keyword juice for the search engines as well as showing you know your stuff. You should look to write blogs on your website that link to good quality sites within your industry, and also look to write guest posts on relevant blogs that then link back to your own website.

5. Don’t forget social media – social media is another way you can boost your search engine rankings, so use it as much as you can. It’s also a great method to build a rapport with your target audience, and yet another way you can advertise your service, communicate directly with your customers and attract reviews.

If You Don’t, Your Competitors Will

Search engine optimisation is one of the best ways to reach your target audience. When it comes to attracting local business, you have a lot of tools and options open, but you must use them well to get the best returns. It’s only a matter of time before your competitors start to take up these methods, if they aren’t already doing so.

Find Time for a Quick Energy Boost

Finding time for exercise can sometimes feel like trying to squeeze your foot into a shoe that’s too small. That can be especially true at a busy time of year like this. So here are three things to consider, no matter what time of year it is and how busy you are:

Finding time for exercise is important!
Your exercise time doesn’t have to be long.
EVERY time you exercise, you will boost your energy!

Finding time for exercise is important.

If you make exercise a priority, you are more likely to find time for it. The benefits are so great, this is really worth doing!

Your exercise time doesn’t have to be long.

This is very true – and it’s the place where many people get tripped up. Unless you are training for a marathon… and maybe even then, too… it’s more important to do something than to worry about how long you do it. If you only have 5 or 10 minutes, don’t let that stop you. If you don’t have your exercise clothes, don’t let that stop you. You can still do something – and something is much better than nothing!

EVERY time you exercise you boost your energy.

This is something you’ve got to experience to understand. The energy boost comes from a variety of sources, I believe. Here are two examples:

One is the purely physical rush, which will leave you feeling better, more focused, and ready to move forward into the rest of your day.
Other boosts come from the great feeling of having followed through on a commitment to yourself. When you do that you build self-trust and send yourself wonderful, self-nurturing messages.

Try setting aside some time to exercise. Build it into your routine… in whatever increments make sense for you. It doesn’t have to be a LOT of time… JUST DO IT (as they say). And I’d love to hear how it goes!