Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New! Wine Glass ID Rings

A couple of months ago, I decorated some wine classes with polymer. I really liked the effect, and thought it rather elegant and fun.  It seemed this might also be a way, depending on the design used, to help designate the difference between wine glasses in a group. Making them takes time, and washing them should be done by hand.  I wanted something faster and simpler.  I came across the idea of wine glass rings, and decided to give them a try.

These are fun to make and the design possibilities are endless.  Because polymer is so lightweight, it doesn't interfere with the balance of the glass.  Keeping the charms on the ring large enough to be easily spotted, but not too large, makes drinking from the glass easy.  Then the glass can rest safely on a table, waiting for it's owner to return.  Since I'd been playing with the Tandy leather stamp tools and the fun-shaped cutters I'd been using to make the Moroccan beads, I decided to make the wine glass charms using these tools.  I baked them on a slightly curved surface, which gives the charms a bit of a 3-D look.

The rings holding the charms open quickly and slip around the stem of a wine glass.  I bent the end slightly to help keep the rings closed when in use.  If you decide to whip up a few ID rings and charms before your next gathering, let me know!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Colorful Moroccan Beads

I took one more workshop at CFCF 2017.  This class was also taught by Lisa Haney, and ranked up there as one of my favorites.  As you can tell from the photos, we made rounded lentil beads with a Moroccan theme.  The shapes of the cutters and the impressed designs really made these beads interesting and unique.  The application of oil paint after baking gave an antiqued look to the beads, and made the designs we had stamped into the clay really stand out. Some of the beads were made with white or beige clay, some with colored clays, and some were even made with Skinner blends.  Once again, Lisa came up with some clever tools for us to use.  She provided each participant with marbles of different sizes to use as forms for baking the clay.  She also gave us small wooden stands that were perfect for holding the marbles while they were baking.

Another idea Lisa shared with us was to use the shapes and impressed designs to make curved earrings.  Here are three sets I made, just waiting for finishing and findings.

As in the fish workshop, we were fortunate to have donations of many of our supplies. Polyform again donated all the Sculpey Premo! clay we needed. Tandy Leather gave each participant two Craftool Pro stamps, and Makins provided same shape cutters. We all really appreciated the donations and I'm already using some of these items for more creations.  That of course means you can expect to see more pieces based on this Moroccan design coming soon!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fun Fish!

This class at CFCF 2017 was a lot of fun.  Lisa Haney was the instructor. I always enjoy Lisa's classes.  She comes up with unusual and creative ideas. Last year she showed us how to make a small heart shaped box with a hinged lid.  The hinge was hidden and quite clever.
This year, she taught us how to make fun, colorful, free-standing polymer fish.  She shared a great method of developing the fish body and building the rest of the fish around that base.  My little fish is in the photo above.  First, Lisa had us make an Ikat cane using extruded square rods.  The cane was used for the tail and fins on our fish.  I used parts of the extruded pieces to decorate the tail with colored dots.  The body was made from one of the colors in the cane.  A really clever aspect of this project was the use of a tapered light bulb for the head and body.  The bulb was a perfect shape, and provided a stable form for building the rest of the fish.  Since the bulb was light, baking it and keeping it inside the fish didn't add any real weight to the piece.  The bottom fins are set up in such a way as to support the fish so it can rest on any surface.  I choose to bake mine in "shifts."  First the body, then the tail, mouth and eyes, and a last baking for the remaining fins.  I'm really pleased with how my fish turned out, and I plan on making a few more.
We were quite fortunate to have some of the items needed for this project donated by their producers. Our clay was provided by Polyform. In fact, Polyform provided Premo! clay for most of the workshops, and this was really appreciated.  We had some great colors to choose from, and they certainly helped make our fish bright and fun!  Tandy Leather donated some of their excellent Craftool Pro Stamps.  We used these to create the look of scales on the fish body.  I'm delighted to have these tools for use in the future, too.  Makins gave us each a set of cutters which we used to help shape the tail and fins. These companies and their donations really made a difference to the participants!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lynn's Coloring Book Canes

On the third day at CFCF 2017, I was delighted to spend the day in a new workshop by Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg.  In her usual creative fashion, Lynne Ann has developed a way to bring the adult coloring book concept into polymer caning.  We had an excellent time making a "coloring book cane" that looked quite complex when we were finished.  After baking pieces made from the canes, Lynne Ann showed us how to color them, giving the pieces a whole different look.  This is one of her latest ideas and I hope she brings this workshop to other locations.  If you get a chance to take a class with her, be sure to sign up!
The photo to the right shows three pieces made from the canes I developed based on Lynne Ann's instructions.  The butterfly and flower petal pieces I left just as the black and white canes looked after baking.  The piece at the top of the photo shows a mirror image of the cane that I colorized after baking.  Great concept and great fun!