Monday, March 25, 2019

Crackle in Golden Green

Here are the other sets of the new crackle technique I said I'd post.  These sets are on white with alcohol inks in golden-red, yellow and green shades.  These pieces have a really lovely glow.  I'll be experimenting more with the DecoArt Perfect Crackle.  It really makes interesting patterns in the clay.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Crackle! A New Product

As you may be aware, there are many approaches to creating a cracked or crackled surface in polymer.  My most recent posts featured composite metal leaf that had been slightly crackled and dyed with alcohol inks. I've tried other methods of crackling, but a lot of them have made very thick layers of crackle that don't cut well or fall off if not well-sealed. For the most part, I was not happy with the results, and set the concept of crackling on the back burner.

Recently, I heard about a product from DecoArt called Perfect Crackle and decided to give it a try. The product comes in two parts, that have a consistency similar to some polymer liquid clays.  You apply a coating of the first liquid over the sheet you have conditioned, and let it dry.  Once it is dry, you apply a coating of the second liquid on top of the first liquid, and let it dry.

Ah, let it dry.  That part requires patience.  To get really dry takes at least 12 hours and overnight is even better.  It needs to be completely dry in order for the crackle effect to appear.  Once it was dry, I applied alcohol inks to color it.  The 2 different solutions in this set make different designs.  It is also possible to enhance the crackle effect by running the sheet of polymer through the pasta machine.  I experimented a little, but will have to go back and try more variations.  Once the alcohol inks were dry, I cut out my shapes.  I found that using a regular shape cutter, even those with sharp metal edges, was the trickiest part. The crackle was hard to cut in places, and lifted off the surface.  I found my best bet was to use shape templates and cut the treated polymer with an Exacto knife.  Perhaps you'll notice that a few of these shapes come from some new templates I picked up.  It's always fun to experiment with new shapes!

After baking, I sanded edges and backs, and finished the surfaces with Magic Gloss. The color of the alcohol inks really deepened and popped when I added the gloss.  Huge difference.

Here are some of the first sets I made.  I also am working in a color combo of yellow, orange and a touch of green and will share those once they're done.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

New Alcohol Inks for March

A couple of weeks ago, I presented a class on using alcohol inks with composite metal leaf and polymer.  It was the first class held in our new meeting place near Amston Lake, and everyone seemed to have a good time.  Personally, I think it's hard not to have a good time when you get to play with polymer. ;)  
Scattered about this posting are some of the pieces I made from the sheets I developed as part of the demonstration.  The unusual shape to the left looks a bit Moroccan to me.  I really liked the way the various colors of alcohol ink managed to move against each other, while staying bright and vibrant.  The addition of Magic Gloss after baking really helped the colors and the crackle pattern pop.  Below are two pendants, one using black polymer as a base and as edging, the other using white polymer for base and edge.  It's interesting to see how the color that outlines the piece changes the tone and appearance.

These gold tone earrings were made with gold composite metal leaf and tangerine and ginger alcohol inks. The edging is hand painted with gold leaf paint.

Here are two more pieces, both without edging.  The 3-piece pendant on the left is on white polymer, the curved teardrop pieces on the right are on black polymer.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Just a Few More Heart Pendants

Okay, so you've seen several hearts from me over the past week or so.  This is the last installment (at least for this February) of heart-shaped pendants.  A couple of the ones in this batch are special favorites of mine.

This purple, teal and white set in an Ikat pattern is one I especially like.  The colors, of course, are among my favorites, and I love the way the Ikat pattern has stripes inside stripes.  The hotfix Swarovski flatback crystals add a special sparkle, as do the bicone crystals on the earrings.

The next turquoise and aqua heart has a cool swirl that draws the eye into the center.  The Magic Gloss I used as a finish makes this piece look like lampwork. 

Below we have an oddly stretched-out heart shape in unusual colors.  When I found the little gold heart-shaped bails, there was no question where I would be using them.

And finally, here is a heart shape created from a blue lace agate cane I made.  The center is hollowed out to simulate the hollow center of a geode slice.  I used a product called Diamond glitter which is actually minute glass shards to make the center look like crystals were imbedded.  I also sprinkled some around on the surface to add more sparkle.  Unfortunately, the picture just doesn't do this piece justice.  The special glittery effect just didn't photograph well.  

Monday, February 11, 2019

February Earrings & More Pendants

Here is a second installment of February heart jewelry.  First, a few little earrings.  Some are in traditional red and white, and others were made from polymer canes.

Last, there are a few pendants. The heart shape in these pendants is tipped sideways with one side of the heart slightly larger than the other.   Each heart has a different decoration treatment.  I especially like the glittery heart of gold on the blue velvet heart. Note the little heart-shaped golden bail - I think it finishes the look perfectly.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

"Embroidery" on February Hearts

It's February, and hearts are popping up everywhere.  I don't often do heart shapes, so this year I decided it would be fun to play around with some hearts using different techniques.

On the first set of hearts I tried, I used the polymer "embroidery" technique. Here are some of the pieces from that set.

While most of the hearts on this page are pendants, the heart to the right is a pin.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Playing with Pebeo Paints

You may have heard about the new Pebeo paints.  They're unique in that they retract, distend and intertwine to create unique and interesting designs.  I decided I needed to give them a try. These paints are very compatible with polymer, so I didn't need to prepare the clay in any special way.  There are 2 types that interact, Fantasy Prisme and Fantasy Moon.  The Prisme paint makes interesting bubbles and swirls while the Moon paint makes a more linear design.  I made a couple of different sets, one with narrow borders and white bases wrapped in black.  The other set had thicker borders that matched the background of the base.  The set at the left shows a mixture of both the Prisme and Moon paints. The pendant in the silver frame is all Prisme.  The pendant in copper is all Moon, and the pendant in the gold frame is a combination of the two.    As you can see, the results are really different, and very interesting.

The pendants in the photo below were all done with Prisme paints.  I swirled the paints in the two larger pieces in the back and left the paint to just "do its thing" on the pieces in the front.  It's fun to watch the paints shift and move.  A certain amount of control is possible on terms of placing colors in various spots, but the movement of the paint still seems to be to some degree independent of what you do.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Bargello as Embellishment

Hello and Welcome to 2019!  I do hope this year brings good things your way. I also hope you have a chance to stretch your creativity "wings", and have fun playing with polymer or whatever medium you enjoy the most.

As I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago, I have just begun exploring bargello from a different angle than is usual.  I'm calling it "bargello as embellishment" and I really like both the process and the end result.  Using the bargello zig-zag pattern, the hills and valleys of different levels of clay, and slicing the layers quite thin, I can take a really unique and interesting approach to decorating flat polymer sheets.

The various pieces posted here are all pendants.  The bargello embellishment adds a 3-D aspect that is appealing to the eye and to touch.  Some of these pendants have bails ready for a chain while others are still waiting some form of wire, beading or chain to make them wearable.

I have to admit that one of the things I find most tedious is adding some form of findings to finish a piece.  I love the creative aspect of making the surface sheet, design or embellishment, and "setting" the piece through baking. Then I just sort of wish a chain or other method of making the piece wearable would materialize on its own.

I don't know if other jewelry artists feel that way or not.   For me, the best part is when the clay emerges from the oven and it looks just the the way I envisioned.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Silver & Snow

The theme for the December holiday show at the Artists' Gallery in Westerly this year is "Silver & Snow".  Some of the artists are not really able to  make their art fit a particular month's theme, but I can usually do something with polymer that falls within the theme parameters.  This month, I had a lot of fun making pieces that were reflective of silver or snow - or both!  This posting is filled with photos of some of those pieces.

The pendant to the left is rather obvious.  The mica shift shimmers silver behind a white dimensional snowflake.

The top silver bangle above, the earrings to the left , and the pendant and earring set below right are all based in the labradorite process.  

The pendant above left has a center design created through a new bargello embellishment technique I've been playing with recently.

These last 2 photos are the opposite sides of a reversible necklace.  There are silver and Swarovski crystal rondelle spacers and is finished with a chain of silver Swarovski glass pearls.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Some Things Look Best in Red

These pieces don't have anything in common except for the color:  red.  Since it's the holiday season, I figured things in red fit well.  So here's a pendant and earrings in the bargello embellishment mode (which I'll explain more in a future post), and a pendant made using the labradorite technique.  Just some pieces that were fun to make.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Bargello Earrings & a Textured Cuff

I was working on some more bargello earrings.  The first two photos here show the pieces I was working on first.

Then I started experimenting, making shorter lines of clay, cutting my slices thinner and changing the shape slightly.

These two pair on the left were my first sets made this way.

Next I made the earrings below in gray and black.  The super thin slices give these an airy somehow elegant appearance.

Finally, I took one of the short striped sets I had, and decided to see how the slices would look in a channel cuff.  The texture on this piece is really amazing.   

You'll see more of this thinner cut used in some new ways soon!  

Saturday, December 8, 2018

More Reversible Necklaces

These necklaces are really fun to make, and they give the wearer some great options.  Here are a couple of my latest "editions."