Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

Leap Day. Isn't it fun to have an "extra" day in the calendar year? It's especially nice when it turns into a day to play with clay. Inclement weather cancelled much of what was originally planned for my day, so I decided to spend some time with polymer. I must admit, it wasn't a hard decision.
One of the things I worked on was a Stroppel cane. Many of you have probably read about the Stroppel cane. This wonderful cane - or stack, as some call it - was recently brought to the polymer public's attention by the originator, Alice Stroppel, in a video she posted on youtube - It's a simple yet wonderful way to clean up your scraps after working on a project or two, and you end up with another cane for more creating. How can you beat that!?!
Here are some of the pieces I've worked up. I found some new cording at Artbeads. It just arrived, and it seems like a perfect fit for the yellow pieces. The cording has a strand black suede with a strand of jet swarovski crystals woven in. I just love the look!

I made another set with a reversible lentil bead for the focal. This is a great way to get 2 coordinated looks at one time.

Had to make a set in teal, too, since that's one of my favorite colors.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Polymer & Beads ~ Lentil Pendants

As promised, here are some photos of my first pendants combining beading and polymer. I went back to one of my favorite polymer shapes, the hollow lentil. I used flat backs on these to provide me with an area for securing the beading thread.
One of the first things I did was to bake various beading threads. While I realized I could try to be sure the polymer portion of the bead was completely done before I did the beading, I wanted to be able to bake again if I decided something else was needed. I was pleased to find that most of the threads I usually use for beadweaving seemed to handle the heat just fine. However, Fireline, which is my favorite when beading with crystals and sharp-edged beads, just melted. Not what I would want. I particularly wanted to use Fireline for the bead above which has Swarovski gold aurum crystals, so I needed a way to be sure I wouldn't need to re-bake the polymer bead once the beadweaving was added. I worked on building a small "platform" which I embedded with eye pin tops and baked onto the back portion of the polymer bead.

Once the polymer lentil was completed and baked, I went to work adding the seed beads. The hardest part was getting the needle through the eye pin loops and back out. I had put them in to be slightly recessed so they wouldn't show through the beading. While the placement turned out to be great from that perspective, it did make getting a long beading needled into the opening, through the loops, and back out a bit tricky. As you can see from the photos, everything did work out, and I'm pleased with the results.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Polymer and Beads - A Sneak Peek

Okay, I know I'm supposed to be working on getting ready for CFCF, but I'm taking just a couple of minutes to share something else I've been working on. As you can tell, I enjoy 3-D work. My first ventures into jewelry making were bead-weaving oriented, and I've been wanting to do more with polymer-seed bead combinations. As is often the case, an idea starts in one place, then runs off in different directions....

This particular adventure started about 2 weeks ago. I began making some little floral 3-D earrings. The first set were on posts, and are a little more free-form than the sets of "garden" earrings I made in December.

Then I decided to make some hanging earrings, and embellish them with a bead - or maybe 2.

That changed rather quickly to trying little clusters of seeds with crystals or drops. These seed beaded pairs have just a little extra movement and sparkle. As you can see, I'm having fun!

Now I've moved on to trying some seed beading on a couple of pendants. Those will probably have to wait until I'm back from Baltimore to be completed. I'll post them here as soon as I get a chance. Just wanted to give you a "sneak peek" at these little pairs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

CFCF 2012

Yes, it's the time of year to head to Baltimore for the Cabin Fever Clay Festival. This is my fourth year, and I plan to learn much while enjoying the company of like-minded individuals. It's always thrilling to be in the company of such talented artists. The instructors are world class, and many of the attendees are incredibly talented. I love the opportunity to learn and share. What lovely "torture" - to *have* to clay all day!

As usual, we have a theme for the swap. This year, it's "hearts" in honor of Marie Segal who is this year's recipient of the 2012 Creative Pioneer and Innovator award. I've started working on my little swap hearts. I decided to try something a little 3-Dish. These pieces remind me a bit of quilling, which is usually done with paper. Here's a snapshot of the first ones. Most are in the traditional red and white theme, though I'm tossing in a few other colors as I go along.

Of course, it turns out these require 2 bakings and then gluing of the silver eye hook to allow hanging. I've a few made, but have to really get busy if I'm going to have the 80 or 90 we're supposed to make in order to swap with everyone. Oh, the pressure! ;) We also are supposed to make one special heart bead which will be strung on a special strand and presented to Marie at the Innovator ceremony. Below is the heart I've made for Marie.

In addition, each presenter has sent a list of supplies and pre-workshop preparation we're supposed to have done before the conference even starts. Gotta get crackin'!