Sunday, December 3, 2017

New!! Pictures in Polymer

I've been thinking about trying to make pictures out of polymer, and then this idea came to me.   Of course!  I had to make pictures with flowers.  What fun!

I set my flower designs on polymer sheet backings, which I treated with textures and different color schemes.  Then the pictures were placed inside small frames.  The backs of the frames I used have stands.   In that way, these little pictures, which are about 4"x 6", will sit nicely on a counter, table or window sill.




Before I assembled my first pieces, I experimented with different methods of baking. Some of the frames were solid wood, and could handle the temps in the oven, while others had coatings or coverings on plastic bases, and these did not do well in the oven. So, in some cases I was able to bake the whole "picture" as one piece, and in other cases, I had to bake the components separately, then assemble the picture using an epoxy glue.

Scattered about on this page are my first set of "Pictures in Polymer":





Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Peeking Right Through!

Here is something rather unusual.  I've made lentil beads with an opening on one side before. Making one large opening allowed me to place a charm or other item slightly inside the bead, creating a focus point within the larger bead.  This time, I decided to poke holes of varying sizes on both the front and back pieces of the lentil.  Of course, that wasn't enough, and I had to try embellishing through the holes.  The result is the pendant you see here, hung simply from a stand of purple Swarovski pearls.  It's a unique piece and should bring comments when worn.  I plan to give this concept another visit and see what I can come up with.  The smaller image below right shows the back of the pendant.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Extruded Canes Revisited

Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching a workshop on extruded canes.  It's been a while since I've worked with extrusions, and working with these canes again reminded me why I like extrusions so much.  There are lots of different extruders available, but my favorite is one by Makin's that they call the Professional Ultimate Clay Extruder.  It is very easy to use, and comes with a variety of shape discs.





These first samples were made with one of the smallest round discs, and several of the long round "snakes" made with this disc piled next to each other.  I really like the way the extruder passes colors at different speeds, creating new color combinations and designs.

I also have the 2" diameter extruder gun from Polymer Clay Express.  This is a great tool and opens a world of extrusion possibilities. The larger size allows the creation of some interesting disc shapes.  Here are a few pair of earrings made using the 2" extruder and a larger shape disc.




Friday, November 3, 2017

Sweet Little Flower Basket

I had to share this sweet pendant I just finished. The curved front of the basket creates the perfect space for the flower stems and leaf tops.  I hadn't realized how much the sparkle in the gold clay would resemble a type of special pottery. Although it's a bit hard to see in the photo, each flower has a pearl below the small gold center ball.  The balls in the gold-filled chain match well.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Translucent Stripes

I really love to work with translucent clay.  There is a warmth about it that changes the tone of what you are making, and it often seems to glow from inside. Recently, I taught a workshop in which we used translucent to make Skinner blended stacks with white stripes. Taking thin slices from the stack and criss-crossing them over one another is a lovely way to make a base for a bead.  A raspberry, coral and light gold stack made this sweet teardrop shape.  I encircled it with glass pearls and included brass heishi in the chain.
The pendant on the left is an example of using a striped translucent stack as a base for 3-D flowers.  The flowers were made of slices from a translucent cane.  The whole piece has a subtle glow that pairs well with pearls.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Earrings, Earrings, Earrings.....

Perhaps you can tell from the title of this post that I have been enjoying an earring-making binge.  It really got started at a workshop with Marie Segal from California.  Thank you Marie! If you ever have a chance to take a class from Marie, or to get her book, do so!  She is filled with information and ideas that don't quit.

This particular workshop, sponsored by the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild, focused on the use of translucent polymer.  Marie has used a wide variety of translucents, and introduced us to her favorite:  Cernit.  Cernit translucent proved to be an incredibly versatile product, and we couldn't find enough time to play with all the different options.  I particularly liked using the colored translucents mixed with the clear, and incorporating composite goldleaf into the clear translucent.  Pictured in this post are several pairs of earrings demonstrating different applications.

The round disk-shaped earrings demonstrate the translucent qualities the best.  Light shines through these earrings from the back, giving them an overall glow.  The blue and purple earrings have colored translucent swirled on top of clear.  Marie showed us how to make narrow tubes of swirled lines and I couldn't resist making the leaf shapes with them. The aqua earrings have a smaller disc of pressed gold-leaf composite, and these discs really sparkle.

The pairs in red and gold highlighted both the true red color of the Cernit clay, as well as some other techniques that Marie helped us develop.  

In addition to disk earrings, I made some of my favorite triangle shapes.  I added pearls and crystals.  Because of the shape, the clay took on a different look and did not seem quite as transparent.


These last earring shown here are not made with Cernit translucent.  Instead, these are made from canes I made using Premo! polymer clays.  I used special ear wires that I could include in the design.  These are really pretty and fun to wear. The long wire in back is especially nice since it not only adds to the design but helps ensure a secure fit.

 


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mokume Gane & Beads

Every once in a while, I like to blend beading and polymer.  They are two of my favorite art forms, and I think they go well together in jewelry.  Recently,  I made a mokume gane stack and then worked some beading into a few pendants.  I forgot to take photos before I put the pendants for sale in the Westerly gallery.  The result is I only have one piece left - which must mean the combination of polymer and beads appealed to others.  To the right is the remaining piece.  I used seedbeads to weave a bail for the top and strung strands of seedbeads and pearls to hang below the pendant.  I also made a few pairs of earrings, and enhanced the polymer pieces with crystals, glass beads and metal components.
The third photo shows a grouping of earrings and a pendant from the same mokume gane stack. One of the things I love about the mokume gane process is the way in which colors blend and sometimes hide. I haven't decided yet what to do with this particular pendant.  A beadweaving idea is in the back of my mind.....

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sweet and Simple

I taught a workshop recently on making striped Skinner blend translucent stacks.  As part of the demonstration, I made a stack and then fashioned a simple bead from thin slices of the stack laid over pearl polymer.  When I got home, I played with the bead a bit, reforming it, and wondered what I might be able to do with it. Looking at my worktable, I spied a baggie of pearls, and knew what I would do. This sweet and simple little necklace is the result.  The pearls are semi-imbedded into the polymer before baking. Then, I varnished the bead as well as the pearls around it, to ensure they are firmly sealed.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

More Stripes

I've been working with striped stacks lately and thought I'd share a couple of pieces here.  I started using the stripes in earrings. The photo shows 3 different designs.  The long bead earrings and the rolled and curved earrings on the right are from the same striped stack. Rolling pieces from the striped cane changes the relationship of the stripes.  The pair in the lower left corner are from a different striped stack.


The pendants to the left are also made from the same striped stack.  I think it's interesting that simply cutting and rearranging the striped pieces changes the way light bounces off the stripes so they almost do not look like the same base.

I'll be experimenting a bit more, and will be back to share other ideas.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bead Blog Recognition

Hi!  Just a brief note to explain the new image in the right-hand column of my blog's main page.   I was surprised and pleased to receive email saying I had been selected as one of the Top 100 Bead Blogs on the web.  The URL for the Top Bead Blog site is http://blog.feedspot.com/bead_blogs/. There are some great blogs and links there, and I encourage you to "drop by" and scan through the sites.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Late Summer....

Where has the summer gone? In between projects and travel I'm afraid I've been negligent at making new posts.  So here are some pieces I've made up for the August show in Westerly.  You will no doubt recognize the forms such as the ruffled lei and the lariat.  Here they are in some new color-ways.











In addition, for something simple and light, I made a couple of hollow domed circles embellished with inked designs.


I've also put together some light and simple earrings to add to the end-of-summer fun.
 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Folded Fans Necklace

This is the last of five necklaces I made as entries into the juried Regional Art Show in Westerly, Rhode Island.  The necklaces in the previous 3 posts on this blog were the others I submitted.  I was very pleased that all five of my pieces were accepted into the show.  The show ran for the month of May and three of the necklaces sold.

I call this new bead style the "folded fan".  The use of a Skinner blend to make the beads change in color, and the graduated sizes added another dimension of interest to the set.  I used small filigree silver balls n between the polymer beads, and finished the necklace with galvanized silver seed beads.  A light and fun piece for summer into fall.