Saturday, April 23, 2016

New Necklace Style: Suspended by Metal Neckwire

A few months ago, I discovered some new neckwires, and was intrigued.  I liked the fact that they were more substantial than regular necklace cables, were flexible enough to allow ease of use, and required no clasps or closures.  I purchased a few, and spent some time thinking about how I might use them.  I developed a couple of design ideas, and set to work on them.

The photos here show 4 necklaces I made, using different neckwire designs.  I formed the flowers and leaves free-hand, then placed them on the front of the wire forms.  I made "backing" pieces which I pressed against the flowers and leaves from the back side of the forms.  The clay pieces hold the neckwires inside.

The result is a really strong bond, and lightweight necklaces that have a sort of "floating" effect. Since there are no clasps or fasteners, these pieces are really easy to put on and take off.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Pins for Spring

For the April show, I decided to make a couple of pins. Although I admire pins when I see them on others,  I don't wear them very often.

I made a couple of different styles. To the left is a photo two brooch-type pins.  These are about 2.5 - 3 inches in diameter and create a splash of color.

To the right are some stick pins.  These flowers are smaller than the brooches and seem more casual to me. Different effects, yet both are fun ways to have a flower that stays in bloom.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Lariat ~ My First!

I have always liked lariats.  I like the way they look.  I like the concept of something that just slips around the neck without having to fiddle with clasps.  I like how adjustable they are.  And I love the dangles that hang below the "slip through" portion. You have to have dangles.

With all this positive feeling about lariats, why have I never made a polymer lariat?  Answer:  I don't know.

Well, I've remedied that situation, and present here my very first polymer lariat.  The modified triangular "slip through" piece has a mica shift surface that I decorated with flowers, leaves and vines.  It is Spring, after all.  I used three colors of soutache trim for the cording that wraps around the slip through triangle. Each cord ends in a leaf pod or petal pod, echoing the colors from the triangle and in the cording.  As I mentioned, I love the dangling part of a lariat, and these little pods have a nice shape and feel.

This lariat was in the center of my display for my show at the Westerly Arts gallery. It sold during the opening night reception - guess I should make some more lariats!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Surface Sheets from Scrap Rolled Logs

A few days ago I described a process that makes striped sheets from clay scraps which are then cut into slices to make a checkered or plaid look.   It's a really fun thing to do with your bits and pieces, and I really like watching the patterns just sort of "emerge" as you place one cut strip next to another.

Here are four examples of pendant and earring sets I made using this technique.  The width of the slices I cut gave the pieces different looks.  The coral set to the left was made with wider slices while those in the turquoise set on the right were thinner.

They all have a Magic Gloss finish which adds depth to the design.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Daffodils and Posies

I have to post something spring-like today.  After weeks of pleasant temperatures, some days even in the 70s - which, for Connecticut in March is pretty good - we have suddenly had snow.  Six inches of the stuff.  A little is okay in December or January, but is absolutely NOT allowed in April.  So, I'm feeling as if I'm in a bit of a time warp and I want to bring spring back as quickly as possible.  I figured posting some little flower pieces might help.
So here they are.  I tried my hand at little daffodils for the first time, and am now wondering why I haven't made these before.  They are a pretty basic design, but cute and cheerful, just like the daffodils that are trying to pop back up through the snow in my yard.

I also decided to make a couple of very simple Skinner blend pendants.  I decorated them with little flower clusters to add a spring feel.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

From One, Many!

One of the things that people often ask me is how I manage to paint all the colors and designs on the clay. They can't believe that for most of my pieces, the various colors and patterns are made from the way in which I manipulate the clay.  Since an "in person" demonstration is not available at the Westerly gallery except on special events, I have made a series of storyboards demonstrating each step of various polymer techniques and processes.  This month, I also made a small display showing a Skinner blend bull's eye cane and a variety of pieces which were all derived from that cane. The pictures in this blog post show the pieces I set up in the display. The cane slice in the middle came from the original cane.  I made a striped cane from this base similar to the cane shown on  my blog post a couple of weeks ago on March 19.  The shapes here were just experiments and "playing around."  You never know when something that is a clay "doodle" might become the base of a new idea.

These mobius earrings were made from slices of that striped cane.  I love the mobius shape, and this particular cane works in that design perfectly.

The drop earrings, and the necklace with the copper chain below, came from another little cane I made by twisting the striped cane around a couple of times.

The next pendant with the gold-filled bail shows a slice from the striped cane as well as a section from what I think of as a plaid or checkered sheet.  This is not actually a cane but is rather made from a log rolled of scrap pieces from your cane work.  This log is twisted several times, then passed through the pasta machine at a thin setting. The result is a striped sheet.  Slices from the striped sheet are cut and laid on a base sheet.  Off-setting the stripes each time you cut and place creates the plaid or checkered sheet. Different ways of laying the sheets down would create different looks.    The last photo on this page shows a pendant and earrings made entirely from sheets made in this plaid sheet method.  It's amazing where a little experimenting can lead.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Cane-based Cuff Bracelets

I wanted to have a couple of brass and polymer bracelets for the April show, and decided to try something new.  I put a clay base down on the brass cuff, then cut slices from canes I'd been making, and placed them side-by-side on the clay base.  Each new row of cane slices was pushed up against the previous row of slices. The result has a sort of "tribal" look.
On a couple of smaller brass cuffs, I made some Ikat blend backgrounds, and decorated them with flowers made of leaf canes with crystal centers. Bright colors for spring!