Friday, November 16, 2018

New Triangle Pendants

I have recently purchased some of the new plastic polymer cutters made on 3-D computerized printers.  I really like the unusual shapes, and have been having fun with some triangular shapes in graduated sizes.  These pendants were made using the new triangular cutters and sheets of polymer made from the labradorite technique.

The pendant to the left was made from a very colorful combination of custom-mixed clay colors.






These gold-toned triangle pendants are a combination of textured gold metallic clay and a sheet of labradorite in gold, copper and bronze.





This last photo shows triangular pendants made from a primarily purple and turquoise polymer sheet.






Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Reversible Necklace

Here is another piece made from the "labradorite" technique that I keep modifying.  I've tried different colors for the base as well as for the streaks of color that criss-cross about the the surface. You'll be seeing more pieces and more experiments in more posts over the next few weeks.


I am particularly pleased with the piece I'm posting here today. This is a reversible necklace. Both sides have very different looks and colors, yet the fire-polish crystals I found manage to compliment both.  The necklace has a nice shine, not too glossy, but not matte, either.  I added magnetic closures for ease of use.
The blue set below is not reversible, but it is made from another stack sheet of the labradorite look, and so I decided to post it here for fun and contrast. One of the colors I used had some silver glitter, so this set has a special sparkle that doesn't seem to show up in the photo as much as it does in person.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

An Earring Variety

Here are a few pairs of earrings made using new textures, new powders, new cutters, and new polymer sheets.

These earrings and the pair at the bottom of the page were made from a sheet of clay decorated in the stone/labradorite technique I like so much.

The pairs in shiny blues and purples were made using a deep cut texture from Ludmila Bakulina.  She also makes cutters in some unusual shapes.

Hope you find a pair you like.




Saturday, October 13, 2018

Teardrop Necklace

I obviously am enjoying playing with this stone-look technique.  Even when the colors I'm using may be a tad unusual for  most stones you might see on a walk, I'm pretty sure that somewhere - perhaps on a beach, deep under the ground, or in a cave - these colors, or something close, do exist in nature. Here is one of my latest pieces, using 2 sizes of tear drop cutters. This close-up gives you a good idea of how the striations in the "stone" look, and how the colors blend and swirl.

I used plastic wrap when cutting to get the slightly rounded dome on each piece, and finished with Kato transparent liquid clay which I baked and then set by heat gun to create the extra depth and shine. You'll be seeing more pieces made with this stone-look idea.  I'm working on a reversible set and can't wait to see how it turns out.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Architectural Earrings

Hello!  Once again, I tried something a bit different for me, and I really like the results.  These earrings are based on a process developed by Nikolina Ortzan.  She has some really incredible ideas and designs, and many of them are available as tutorials or as completed products online at Etsy.  I made a few alterations in my version of these earrings, and I'm sure I'll try more variations in the future.

I liked that these were open so I could add beads, pearls and crystals.  I also made up my own shapes and styles. These earrings are fun - and they're unusual!

One tip:  if you use a softer clay like Premo!, make sure your clay strips are a bit on the thick side.  If you make the earrings larger, like the ones I made in coral and lime, clay that is too thin will not hold up under too much finger pressure.  A clay like Kato will be strong enough to be used thin, as long as you are sure to bake it at the recommended temperature.





Friday, September 28, 2018

Layered Translucent Beads

I love working with translucent polymer clay!  The applications for this special clay are endless, and the looks you can achieve are amazing!  The special feature of translucent clay is, of course, that when baked it "disappears" and allows designs and colors in underlying layers to show through.  When translucent is used to make a cane, the resulting slices from the cane show only the design made from opaque clay.  If you haven't had a chance to play with translucent clay, you really should give it a try.

The images I am posting here are of some round and oval beads I made recently.  I used pearl clay for the core to add a bit of sparkle to the depth of these beads.  The colors on these particular beads come from lightly tinted, striped translucent canes.  I hope you can see the multiple layers from several translucent canes.  The shine on these beads adds to the depth.  Although it may be hard to see in the photo, they look almost like glass in person.


There are just too many options to list, but a quick look on Pinterest for polymer clay translucent beads should give you a feel for just some of what this clay can help you accomplish.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"Oriental" Bead Necklace

I've continued to work with the stone-look technique that Laura Blakely showed me at Clay Connections.  One of the things she had done was to make some sweet round beads - so I had to try to make some of my own.  I think the design on these beads, along with the colors, really makes them look a bit like little lantern beads from the Orient.  The black glass druks in between the large polymer beads contribute to that image.


To the right is a view of the whole necklace. This necklace has a magnetic closure.  I've been using this type of clasp more and more.  It's much easier for people to use, especially when they are putting the necklace on themselves, and it reduces the amount of bulk at the back of the neck that larger clasps can make.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Paisleys

I have always liked paisleys.  There is something about the curve of the shape, and all the possibilities for decorating that just really appeals to me.  So when a new set of paisley cutters arrived, I had to give them a try.  I used the same technique I used to create the labradorite effect, but this time the design was in purples and aquas, with a white contrast rather than the deep bronze.  

I couldn't resist making the paisley "puzzle" pin above. It has quite a happy look.  

The other pieces I made from the same sheet are a pair of earrings and a pendant.  Even the background they're sitting on has swirls that reflect the curves in the paisley shape.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

More Labradorite & Earrings

I couldn't stay away from the fun of the labradorite-like technique.  So here are a few more pieces using various color-ways based on this technique.  In this mixture are some new earring shapes, too.




The necklace/earring set to the left, and the earring set below on the right, really look like real stone.














I also love the technique in these shades of turquoise, teal, and purple.

 

This last photo has nothing to do with the labradorite technique, but does show some interesting pieces with unusual textures and shapes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

New End-of-Summer Necklaces

Here are a couple of neckline necklaces in colors that may seem spring-like, but I think they still play well in August.   I mixed up ruffled beads with round and square shapes to make the turquoise and white piece.








The other necklace has beads made from an Ikat cane, wrapped around solid cores. Both are strung with glass pearls, and the turquoise necklace also has some freshwater pearls. I like the touch of elegance that pearls impart.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

"Labradorite" in Different Colors

 One look at the photos with this post, and you can see I'm having fun with the labradorite look process.  It really does look like stone, especially when the color tones are in the brown and gray color families.  After sanding each surface, I used my buffer to really add shine and depth to the pieces.
This bracelet is the first time I've used the clear elastic "miracle cord". It was very easy to use and makes this bracelet wearable by people with a wider range of wrist sizes than my usual cuff bracelets.


Here is another shot of the bracelet along with 2 sets of earrings in very different styles.   Since I'm enjoying this process so much, I can guarantee you'll be seeing more pieces soon.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cuffs with "Labradorite"

The Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild recently hosted our bi-annual conference, Clay Connection 2018.  While there, a polymer friend of mine, Laura Blakely, demonstrated her take on a technique to create the look of Labradorite stone in polymer clay.  I was really intrigued by the effects she achieved, and had to give it a try myself.  Well, I gave it a try, and then another try and now... I'm sort of hooked on how fun this process is, and how varied the looks can be.

Today, I'm going to show you how the sheets made with this process look in my regular brass bracelet cuffs.  I think the cuffs in the purples and the one in browns look most like stone.

By the way, if you're interested in giving this technique a try yourself, you can see an excellent tutorial by Ludmila Bakulina on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Golden Ruffles

 I haven't made one of my ruffled lei necklaces for a while.  The other day I was working with composite gold metal leaf, and had a bit left over.  I mixed the metal leaf into translucent clay and thought it would make a really great edging for a ruffle cane.  I also thought it would be fun to make some round beads to fit in between the ruffles, and decided to use some of the gold leaf translucent to decorate the round beads, too.  I made the necklace longer than usual, and around the neck it looks like a very elegant lei.
The close up photo gives a better indication of the round beads.  There is more shine than appears on t he screen, so you'll just have to use your imagination.  I really like the look of metal leaf inside translucent clay, and this necklace is a really lovely example of the special effect leaf can have.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

New Shapes, Different Colors

This is just a short post to show you a new set I made using some shapes from a set of new templates, and colors that are a little different for me.  The pattern is Ikat that has been feathered, and looks to me like paint that is running into other colors. The faceted round Swarovki crystals seemed just right.
As you can see, the shapes of the earrings and the pendant pieces don't match.  However, I do think they complement each other.  It seems someone else felt the same way, because they sold to the same person the first day they were in the gallery.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Color Transfers with an Oriental Flare

 A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of teaching a workshop on color transfers.  There are several different approaches to this process.  I use 70% alcohol wipes in mine, and I have been consistently pleased with the results. For the first time, I decided to use Souffle clay. Souffle is another product from Sculpey. The clay has a somewhat velety feel and a matte texture, and I was not sure how the color transfers would adhere to the non-sticky clay.
In a nutshell, Souffle worked perfectly.  The images adhered very well. In addition, I really liked the matte effect.  Instead of treating the surface after baking, I left the image alone.  The pictures have held up well to touching and the colors have been true to the original image.






The necklace above is a piece I particularly like and was made on Souffle. The other photo to the right is of 2 pins I made using the same technique on Premo! clay.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Getting the "Point"

If you have glanced through this blog very much, you may have noticed that most of my pieces are smooth and rounded.  I tend to like shapes with curves and things that flow.  Yet every once in a while, it's good to push comfort levels aside, and give something new a try.  So today I have for you a "pointy" necklace.  You have probably seen similar designs elsewhere, but this is my first foray into this particular scheme.

I had fun creating the polymer sheets.  There are three different patterns used here.  I made an Ikat cane, (the one with teal, purple and fuchsia)  a marbled teal and aqua cane with deep texture, and a simply textured purple-blue sheet. Then I cut the shapes.  I used a sharp blade and cut angles that I found appealing.  The top of the pieces were bevel-cut and rolled back to create bails for hanging.  The slightly oval crystals on the cord compliment the colors in the piece, but don't detract from the focals.  It was a fun piece to make, and should be fun to wear on a spring or summer day.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Translucent Necklaces

At the Westerly Gallery show for June, the Ocean Community YMCA Garden Club creates floral arrangements to compliment many of the month's works of art.  This event usually inspires me to make something spring-like.  This year, I found myself working with pastel striped translucent canes. The necklace above is the result.

I also decided to use the striped canes in a deeper blue piece.  This necklace, with leaves also made of polymer, is shown on the left.

Both necklaces used glass pearls for the "chain" section.  The pearls look delicate and the colors were perfect.

Monday, May 28, 2018

New Earrings for Summer

The Westerly Gallery is gearing up for our June show, and I figured it would be fun to experiment with some new earring styles.  So here are a few of the designs I've made.

These three earring sets are topped with small cubes of pearl clay that has been covered with super thin slices of various translucent clay canes.  The color comes from striped translucent canes in which I had used just a tiny bit of color to separate the white stripes and add some interest.  The hammered pins holding the crystals add a different dimension, and the sparkle from the crystals are just the right touch.





The earring sets to the right were made from slices of petal canes that I made at the Carol Simmons workshop weekend. When I have made a cane in a workshop, and still have some left over, I'm always curious what else I could do with it besides what the instructor had us try.  Hence, these tiered and layered petal earrings.  Fun look and good colors for summertime.





These next two pairs are roll-up beads I made from a couple more canes I made at Carol's workshop. I used stone beads to embellish the ends of the rolls for a different touch.








Finally, I used translucent canes and some simple petal canes to make teardrop earrings.  This shape was inspired by these new earwires with attached caps that I got from Donna Kato. It's a fun shape and something new to play with.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Turtles Galore!

A week ago, I taught my first workshop on making 3-D sea turtles.  Following some basic structure directions, each person made their own personal turtle.  Participants used a variety of polymer clay colors for the base, and pastel chalks were used to colorize the turtles.  One turtle even ended up sporting a shell made from a design cane.  Each sea turtle had his or her own personality.  When we were finished, we set the turtles on a picture of acrylics and resin. They looked like they were swimming in the sea.  Here are our turtles.
















Before I could teach the class, I had to make some turtles of my own.  Here are the 3 turtles I made.  I love the expressions on their faces and their bright, shiny eyes.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Making Fantasy Flowers with Carol Simmons

The colorful flowers on the left are a few of the posies I made at a recent 3-day workshop with Carol Simmons.  I have always wanted to take one of her classes, and I was delighted to find out that she was offering her Fantasy Flower class nearby in Massachusetts.  Carol has a wealth of ideas derived from many years of experience. We learned about her method for developing Skinner blends, and used those blends to create a wide variety of canes.  She demonstrated several ideas for types of cane designs, then we constructed our own.  In order to assemble the canes into flowers, we needed to cut uniform petals.  I don't know about you, but cutting thin, even slices is a challenge, and trying to get 5 or 6 exactly the same is almost impossible when cutting free-hand. Happily, Carol brought with her the cane slicer she designed, and we were able to cut our own petals.  The machine is amazing - multiple canes can be sliced at the same time, and the slices can be thick or incredibly thin, but always uniform.  We all went home with lots of slices from our canes.  Enclosed in plastic page protectors, the slices will keep shape and flexibility for quite a while.  So, as I fiddle and play with the cane slices, I will eventually have enough to make one of the Fantasy Flowers that Carol creates so beautifully.