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.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Polymer on Glass Nail Files

As I was making more of these items last night, I realized I haven't shared this particular project on this blog.  These are glass nail files, the type used in quality salons, and they make great gifts.

The top of these files, however, is smooth glass and rather thin. Putting polymer on the handle section makes them much easier to hold and use.  The files I use are in two sizes, as you can see in the photo.  I used slices from canes and clay stacks to cover these pieces.

The five files in the picture below were covered using different sheets of translucent and metal leaf mokume gane.  This gives them an rather elegant look.  I did add an acrylic finish to the polymer on these files to help protect the metal leaf.

It's amazing what you can decorate with polymer, changing a simple object into something special and, in this case, making it easier to use.

Friday, December 9, 2016

One More Glass

Here is the wine glass I mentioned in my last post. I decided to leave it white - it has a special feel that way.  The crystals I epoxied on after baking add just the right touch. I do think these would make great gifts.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Polymer Decorated Wine Glasses

Polymer is such fun!  As you know, it is so versatile, it seems as though just about anything you can think up is possible with polymer.  Today, I had the pleasure of teaching a workshop on decorating wine glasses with polymer.  The participants did quite well, and I really enjoyed seeing their ideas and what they designed.  These decorated wine glasses are hand washable and have several possible uses.  If the polymer design is somewhat solid and strong, and is away from the rim of the glass,  the wine glass can be used to hold a drink.  They also make a lovely gift to be used or just appreciated.   I have a couple of samples to share with you here. I'm still working on another one, and will post it when completed.  

This teal wine glass was decorated with leaves made from colored clay.  I enhanced some of the leaves with mica powders, adding more color and some shine.

The gold and black rose design below just decorates the bottom of the wine glass.  Placement of the design is up to the artist, adding to the interest and beauty of these pieces.