Saturday, February 25, 2017

CFCF 2017 - Day 2 with Lisa Pavelka

I had the pleasure of taking a full day workshop with Lisa Pavelka.  Lisa has been working with polymer for about twenty years, and has developed her own product line for polymer and metal clay artists.  Her ideas and tutorials are creative and varied, and she always has some great tips and tricks to share, which I have found helpful.
This particular workshop focused on learning to make a moveable hinge to join two pieces of polymer.  In typical Lisa fashion, the polymer pieces also had a twist - they were "puffed" and hollow!  In addition, she demonstrated a cane and a surface design, and most of us incorporated one or both in our sample pieces.
I was really interested in her concept for hinging the hollow pieces together.  She also had stationary joint ideas.  My pieces were too small for the hinges she provided, so I used twisted metal hoops to join two of my pieces.  I plan on making a hinged pendant or two in the near future, since I really like the concept of motion in jewelry.  I'll be sure to share my piece once I get it made.  In the meantime, here is a photo of some of the hollow pieces I made during the workshop.  The two pieces on the right were made using the cane and the surface design that Lisa taught us.  The pieces on the left were made with the "plaid" surface design that I have been making recently.  You can see the twisted metal hoops I used to join the pieces on the right.  I still need to add a small jump ring or other finding to the top hoop so I can add a necklace chain or ribbon. As you can see, the shapes Lisa had us make were also interesting and different.  A great project and one that I expect to explore further.

Friday, February 24, 2017

CFCF 2017

I'm just back from Laurel, Maryland, and Cabin Fever Clay Festival 2017.  Once again, I had an excellent time.  The participants and instructors were wonderful, I learned lots, got to see some great creations and wonderfully creative ideas.  Over the new few posts, I'll share a bit from the classes I took and hopefully wet your appetite for learning more.  Many of the presenters take their workshops and classes on the road, so be on the lookout for names and projects that pique your interest.

For this first posting, I'll share a bit from an all-day workshop with Ann and Karen Mitchell of ANKARA Designs.  This workshop was on various uses of liquid polymer.  The sisters have all sorts of ideas, including tips and tricks, which they willingly shared with the participants.  In the morning, we worked on mosaic pendants which were later encased in liquid clay.  One tip was to be careful about putting the liquid clay over the metal leaf sections on our pendants. The leaf was easy to rub off unless the liquid polymer was added carefully.  All the pieces on the mosaic, with the exception of the seed beads I used, were made from various processes using polymer.

In the afternoon, we worked on a project that I found fascinating.  The Mitchell sisters have developed a process for transferring images onto regular fabric. After baking, the fabric may be cut and the pieces used.  The photo here shows an edge of fabric with the transfer on top of the majority of the fabric piece.  The leaf shape was cut from the treated fabric piece and shows the back of the fabric. The holes are designed to allow sewing of beads or other items through the polymer/fabric to create shapes for items such as jewelry.  All-in-all, it was a very interesting process, and one I plan to revisit soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

New! Adjustable Bracelets

I make a lot of bracelets, but they're on brass channel cuffs or bangles, so the size is pretty much set. I've been wanting to learn to make bracelets with adjustable bands of some sort, and decided to try my hand at some basic sliding knots.  For the solid bracelet sections,  I used some polymer sheets I made with a pattern that reminds me a little of plaids.

I also made some smaller beads to incorporate into the knotted sections.  This next photo gives a better look at the knots, the additional beads, and the sliding section.

I experimented with different cording, using 1mm waxed cotton and 2mm plain cord. The sliding section works nicely, so the bracelet opens wide to slip on, and then closes as tightly as desired.


Here are two shots of another bracelet in the same design.  The beads on this maroon and yellow bracelet were larger than on the coral bracelet since I used 2mm cording here and 1mm on the coral piece.  I think the proportions work well.

Last, I decided to try a really simple closure using elastic thread.  I did add an extra flat bead in the area opposite the band section.  This provides a gentle area against the delicate part of the wrist, and also serves as the place where I could hide the thread ends.  Both designs are easy to use, even if you have to put the piece on yourself.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Rivoli Earrings

I just finished this pair of earrings, and thought I'd share.  They are made from superduo glass beads and rivoli crystals, and the sparkle and depth are really lovely.  I will be teaching this technique in my March bead-weaving class at Nature's Art.  It's a great little design, and can easily be configured into a bracelet or necklace. Additional embellishments around the edge could turn it into a very special pendant.  Bead-weaving was my first jewelry-making outlet, and I still enjoy watching beaded objects emerge from a simple needle, thread, and my fingers.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Flower Dangles

I must be ready for spring!  I sat down to figure out a new earring design, and these little little flowers popped up!  They are quite sweet, though rather small individually, so I decided to dangle them off of decorative chain.  Each flower is "compound" in that there is a smaller flower form inside the larger one.  It shows up best on the teal/lime and gold/white earrings.  I used gold-filled and sterling silver ball ended head pins to hold the sets of two flowers together.  There is also a 3mm bicone crystal in the center of each flower.

These fantasy flowers will brighten the days until our outdoors blooms again.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Translucent Vertical Tubes

A while ago, I made a sort of rock-look cane based on the lace cane concept.  I used lightly tinted translucent clay rolled into a bull's eye cane and wrapped in white. Then I reduced the cane, cut it into pieces, and joined them together in a large matrix cane.  At that time, I used slices from the cane to cover cabochon shapes and make irregular beads that looked like unusual stones.  The photo on the left shows some of the polymer pebbles I made.  For more information, take a look at my post of Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - Honeycombed Pebbles.

The other day, I was looking at a piece of this type of cane I had left and wondering what to do with it.  Since I've been playing with tube beads, I decided to make some tube beads using the cane.  I left the outer edges uneven as they were on the cane itself, and overlapped the rolled edges rather than cutting them to meet evenly.  Leaving the translucent tubes hollow makes them look like they glow from inside.  I found some peach freshwater pearls and some iridescent glass O beads, and set to work stringing the tube beads vertically.  Here is the resulting necklace.  It has a really soft look to it, and the rounded ends of each of the tube beads helps keep them gentle on the skin.

It's fun to visit "old" canes and do do something new with them!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Simple ~ with Shine

Here's a photo of a necklace I made recently with a holiday party in mind.  The glow of the pearls and the sparkle in the crystal rondelles picks up the glow and shine from the silver and translucent disks of the focal piece.  The colors of the clay and the pearls are much closer in person.  Light, and fun, it lies nicely on the neck. I find it especially fun to roll the disks out super-thin and then gently press the edges to see what shape the disks take. No two are the same, that's for sure!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Copper Lei with Swirls

I had to share this latest lei style necklace and earring set with you because I really like the way the colors worked out.  I'm showing you the close-up first, so you can see the outer copper clay color, and the translucent in-between the circle swirls of copper.  The translucent has been lightly tinted with a clear embossing powder and I added some copper glitter to the mix, too.  In person, there is a special sparkle and glow from the beads that is repeated in the glass O beads and goldstone flat spacers placed in between the ruffled beads.  It's really pretty, and perfect for that special outfit, or just for fun.  I'm also including a photo of the full necklace. The design just didn't come through as clearly as in the close-up.

Friday, December 30, 2016

New! Tube Beads and Ribbon

For January, the Westerly Arts Gallery has the theme: "Evolving - Expression and Experimentation." I'm going to be showing my polymer enhanced wine glasses, since those haven't been shown "in public" yet, and are definitely a different expression of polymer art for me.  However, I also wanted to do something experimental with jewelry pieces.  I really like tube beads, but have only made little oriental-influenced pendants with them.  I wanted to go hollow, wider, and open, mixing in some other media at the same time.
I played around a bit.  It didn't take too long to come up with a good clay depth for short, hollow tube beads.  Once I had assembled and baked a few, I liked what I had.  Now, to put them together....The search for appropriate materials took the longest time.  I love ribbon, and was pleased to find some lovely hand-dyed silk ribbon in some great colors. I also looked for something with a little sparkle, and found a tiny yarn skein with sequins. I wish it came in more colors.  I've made 2 of these necklaces and they will be on display in the window at the gallery for the month of January. You get to enjoy them here!

The necklace to the above left has tube beads made from a polymer cane I made in purples and blues.  I made these beads of different widths so the places where the ribbons show through are of different sizes and add an irregular feel to the piece.

In the close-up on the right, you can see the pattern on the tube beads, as well as some of the ribbon color and the sequins that have been sewn into the yarn at the core.  I made my own end caps and one is shown here attached to a magnetic clasp.


This next necklace on the left has tube beads made from a mokume gane and metal leaf sheet I made. Each tube bead is different, but they all contain the same basic colors and they are all he same size.  This creates a more uniform appearance since the openings between the beads just tend to be more evenly spaced. I used commercial end caps for the ribbons in this necklace, with an "S" hook closured.
The close-up below shows the colors and designs on the tube beads as well as the colors in the ribbon.  They all look so well together.   The tube beads on both necklaces were finished with some Preserve Your Memories 2 spray.  It added a soft sheen what works well with the fibers.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

More Mokume Gane with Leaf

I'm dropping by to share a couple of pendant & earring sets I just finished.  I made these from the mokume gane stacks I used for demonstration in the workshop I mentioned in my last posting. You can see the difference between the pieces shown here, using gold composite leaf, and the cuff bracelets in the last post that were made with variegated leaf.  I really like the almost watery effect that the lightly tinted translucent clay makes when it is over composite leaf.   As you may be able to tell in the photos, the pieces I made using the variegated leaf look more like slices of stone.   The teal pieces shown here have the appearance of looking into small pools of water.    I also had fun creating openings in the teal pieces and adding the sparkle of some crystals.  The finish on the green and pink set is Magic Gloss, while I used PYM 2 on the teal set.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New Sparkle on Brass Cuffs

Recently, I was teaching a mokume gane workshop using composite gold metal leaf.  One of the participants mentioned they had seen variegated metal leaf and wondered when that might be used. Our conversation got me thinking about using the variegated leaf in mokume gane with translucent clay.

So I decided to experiment a bit. I wanted the clay to reflect the variegated color. Rather than coloring the translucent clay with alcohol inks or pieces of opaque clay, I decided to use embossing powders and micro glitters.  I thought this would allow the translucent to remain more transparent, while still adding color and sparkle. I decided to use these sheets on some brass channel cuffs I had.  The photos here show the various effects and colors I achieved.

Some of the embossing colors were dark, and the glitter added some sparkle but did not change the hue.  I think when I try this again I may focus on using light embossing powder colors, and/or try putting a light backing on the strips of translucent clay to brighten the overall effect.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

New Brass Bracelet Base

Okay.  I realize we've got some time here in New England before spring comes 'round, but I am already longing to see flowers popping out of the ground.  I love the color, freshness, and promise of spring...When I found a new brass bracelet base, one that adjusts a bit and goes on easily, I had to give it a try.  What better way to adorn your wrist than with polymer flowers and leaves?!  I placed the leaves on both sides of the flattened center on the base.  This made the inside look nice, and, more importantly, made the attachment between the polymer and the brass very secure.  The flowers I made separately, and then added on top of the leaves.  This is a very lightweight piece, and it seems to sit well and not slide around.  I'll have to give one a try "out in public" to see how they do.  I like checking out new designs before trying to gift or sell them.