Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My NEW! Pod Flowers

The other day, I was looking at some day lilies in my yard.  The flowers had bloomed a while ago, and now the stalks each carry a large, green seed pod. These will grow brown and dry and pop open to spread seeds come fall.  It struck me that it would be such fun if seed pods had color and, perhaps, even bloomed themselves. This thought sent me to the clay to see what I could fashion.

Hence, my new Pod Flowers.

I've entered a bit of a fantasy world with this idea, and thought I'd share this new species with you.  The original Pod Flowers developed in delicate colors with a translucent glow.  The first were in pale pinks and delicate greens, with just a hint of apricot.  As the pods aged, some of them grew fuller -  while others opened,  showing delicate stamens.

While looking deeper into the cool woods where these delicate pods bloom, I came upon a specimen in a deep coral shade.

You can imagine my surprise - and pleasure - when I happened upon some Pod Flowers growing in a rocky, sunlit area near a small stream.  These Pod Flowers were covered with butterflies. The monarchs especially seemed to prefer those that were tangerine-colored.

On the other side of the  stream, in the shade of some low-growing bushes, I discovered another variety in lovely purples and blues.  The yellow butterflies were particularly attracted to those Pod Flowers with purple hues.  
Finally, I found what appears to be a new twist - both figuratively and literally.  This last photo of the Pod Flowers shows these spirals - and even some new sparkle.  Do let me know what you think o these new discoveries.  ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Color Graduated Extrusions

A few days ago, Cynthia Tinapple of Polymerclaydaily posted a link to a wonderful, short and clear tutorial from Bettina Welker on an easy way to get a blended effect with extruded clay.  I love extruding, and hadn't done any for quite a while.  Thank you Bettina and Cynthia!

This post was all the push I needed to get out the extruder and try my hand at this blending technique.

I love the results!  As you can see from the pictures here, I got carried way - had to try at least 4 different color blends and then turn them into something wearable.  These photos are of pendants.  I also made some brass channel bangle bracelets, and earrings are heading to the oven soon.  Perhaps a brooch or two?...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Coils & Flowers Pins

Here are two little experimental pins.  I was playing with some strips of clay and found myself with a long, striped rolled snake.  A twist here and there, and suddenly I had an idea for a these pins.  Each base is a striped, twisted coil of clay. Leaves, flowers, and buds were hand-fashioned and arranged on the coiled base, and a pin finding added to the back.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Cuffs

Thought I'd post photos of a couple of brass cuff bracelets I just finished.  They are totally different in design from each other, and are unique in that I tried something new with each one.  The pink cuff has a 3D floral arrangement on the top section.

The green, yellow, and turquoise cuff has a Swarovski crystal in the new leaf shape imbedded  at the top.

I really like the way these both turned out.  I fully expect to experiment more with these ideas in the future.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Resin & Silk Screened Polymer

Over the weekend, I taught a workshop on silk screening on polymer.  The group did an excellent job.  They caught on so quickly I even had a chance to make a couple of sheets, too.  After I got home, I worked the sheets up into some jewelry pieces, and decided to see what the Magic Gloss resin would do with silk screened work. Although I use heat set acrylics that set well when baked, it's not a bad idea to protect painted surfaces, and I figured the resin would be a perfect finish.
What I hadn't realized was the domed surface would make the painted portion look almost 3 dimensional.  The light violet on the teal pieces almost looks like the leaves are floating over the surface.  A very nice effect.

Experimenting With Resin

Resin creates a clear, high dome on baked polymer.  It enhances depth and adds high gloss to the piece.    I haven't done much with resin, so I decided to experiment with Magic Gloss from Lisa Pavelka.  This is a one-part resin, so there is no mixing or concern about having the correct amounts which is the case with the 2-part resins. I made some mokume gane stacks in different color combinations, and used resin on some of the pieces I made from each stack.

The process took quite a while. The resin tends to pool in round or oval shapes, drawing away from the edges. This meant I had to put several layers of Magic Gloss on each piece, baking the layers under a UV light, to ensure the resin covered the whole surface.  I also learned that flat pieces are much easier to cover than those with slanted or rounded edges.

As you look through the images in this post, you'll notice some of the pieces are covered with resin while others were left matte.  The resined pieces shine and glow.  The resin does seem to intensify colors, and also to darken them.   It seemed that light colors, such as white and yellow in particular, were affected the most.  This information can make a difference in the colors you might choose.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I've been meaning to try my hand at butterflies.  I loved making dragonfly wings (see 7/13/10 post), and decided to try making a butterfly cane or two.  I wanted these to be able to be 3D to a certain extent, so did not encase them in translucent.  The original shapes were over a couple inches wide, and I found reducing evenly to be a bit interesting.

So, here are my first butterflies. I made the monarch wing sections first.  Then I made some lentils from slices of the wings, swirled them about, and placed a little butterfly on each.  These were just the right size for pendants, so I put sterling bails on them.

Then I decided to make a yellow butterfly.  It's not really a swallowtail, just yellow.  I made a swirl lentil, then decided to play with a different shape. Here's what I came up with.  I'm not sure what to call this shape - any suggestions?

Finally, I decided to make some lentils with flowers AND butterflies.  Here are a few: