From the monthly archives: July 2010

Where to start? There really are so many things to love about playing with polymer clay (there’s also a lot of bad points – like that persistent nub of polymer clay that develops a unwavering attachment to the sole of your shoe).

For example, I spent last week doing polymer clay experiments, not thinking about whether they would turn out ‘right’, but just playing, and it was fantastic!

First I tried sewing little silver crimp beads onto a sheet of raw clay, and then placing the clay onto a bead to make a pretty little border. I know polymer clay can be sewn, because Donna Kato has a photo of a sewn polymer clay bag in one of her books. Granted, that piece was cured first, but that was the point of my experiment; to try something different.

Didn’t work of course, but I doubt anyone’s surprised *G* Trying to keep the needle from ripping through the clay at an angle was a struggle for one thing, and for another, the beads wouldn’t lie properly. Maybe I’ll come back to the idea with different beads and more patience.

Then I made these little beads:

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They’re flat-backed nugget-type polyclay beads with in-set silver-plated wire. I can say with almost 100% certainty that I’m not the only person to do this, but I haven’t seen this particular effect. So don’t burst my bubble *G* I’m kidding, I’d like to see what other people have done.

Eventually I’d like to use sterling silver wire, because any tool marks can be filed away without taking the plating with it, but actually, these beads are tool-mark free. I think. Again, don’t burst my bubble *G*

 

On about a monthly basis, I go on a hunt for findings, tools and components – it usually starts out with me discovering I need a part that somehow is out of stock where I typically go, and ends with me cyber-rummaging through newly-discovered and previously-forgotten bead stores. So, hey, I thought I’d do a little regular showcase of what I find *G*

So this week I’m sharing some of the less usual jewellery components.

http://www.alteredelements.co.uk/. As well as a plethora of great crafty supplies, they have a terrific selection of those unusual jewellery/polymer clay components that you never knew you wanted until you saw them!
 

http://www.bigbeadlittlebead.com/ has a tremendous selection of vintage components (in addition to many other bead supplies)

http://www.thebeadstore.co.uk/ A very varied choice of findings, beads and other bits.

http://www.thecrystalphoenix.com/ carries a range of Beadalon and Beadsmith products, but also has a great array of beadable objects.

 

One of the best parts of working with polymer clay for me is what happens when things don’t go as planned. (I hope the universe doesn’t take that to mean I want things to go wrong – I really, really don’t!)

When polymer clay takes an unwanted turn, one of the most basic and primal ways to deal with it is this: squishing. You take the misshappen piece into your hands, and you twist it and roll it and smush it and smear it until

a). you feel calm and oddly satisfied, and
b). you have a new, cool Thing.

The Thing might be as simple as a new shade or colour to use, or it might be a random abstract pattern that echoes your subconscious state of mind (or it might just be a lumpy goblin creature)

Often, I’ll bake these types of Things, because there is no way I’d ever be able to recreate them, but they’re just so interesting; maybe there’s a Rorschach inkblot picture hidden somewhere, or a landscape.

If you didn’t get something pretty/interesting out of the smooshing though, then there’s still somewhere else to go. It may not be terribly creative, but mixing the mistake together to get a uniform ‘mud’ colour is still useful. Sometimes, you need brown, and I don’t think anyone wants to spend an afternoon blending new clay packets of bright colours to create that colour. Hence, keeping a muted brown colour at the back of your box can be useful. If nothing else, you can use this clay to tone down the other, often deeply staurated, polymer clay colours.

Mostly though, muddy scrap clay is used for the inside of other, less scrappy pieces. Instead of using clean, fresh colours that will end up hidden underneath decoration, it can be better to put a thin covering of your base colour around your scrap clay, smooth it in, and then decorate. One thing I always have to watch, though, is for the mud to try to make an appearance – if I’m not careful, it can blend through light colours and make smears, turing your new project into, ta-da! More scrap clay. Ah. The circle of clay-life.

Another Sunday, another session of looking through my Etsy favourites and doing some cyber-window-shopping. This time, I’ve been finding art that embraces some sort of fantasy world or landscape; all these artists create detailed and beautiful places that would be lovely to visit one day, if only we could, y’know, get to them!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/52645145/fairy-fantasy-forest-8-x-10-fine-art Annya Kai

http://www.etsy.com/listing/18819988/galactic-landscape-2 Ken Graning

http://www.etsy.com/listing/48456870/the-new-planet-large-24×36-original VenskeArts

http://www.etsy.com/listing/51737041/wonderlandlandscape Megan Dailey

http://www.thebeadtrail.co.uk/acatalog/TOOLS.html

http://www.magpiejewellery.net/product_info.php?cPath=173&products_id=244615572

http://www.beads4less.co.uk/acatalog/Sterling_Silver_Findings.html

http://www.oaktreecrafts.com/shop/clasps-silver.php

http://www.madcowbeads.com/sterling-silver-925-33mm-elegant-leaf-bail-1748-p.asp

http://kandmbeadshop.com/product_info.php?cPath=68_105&products_id=902

http://www.garishglobes.co.uk/section.php/86/1/nuts-and-seeds

http://www.glasscraftbeads.com/10-15mm-olivine-goldwash-leaves-236-p.asp

http://www.bead-exclusive.co.uk/p0/seeds-and-cocobead-range/226270.htm

http://www.beadaddict.com/uk/finding2.htm

http://www.eternalflow.co.uk/category_s/32.htm

http://www.beadshop-wigan.co.uk/page_733346.html

http://www.spoiltrottenbeads.co.uk/fair-trade–recycled-beads-202-c.asp

http://www.spellboundbead.co.uk/category/97/Window_Crystals

http://www.smittenbeads.co.uk/categories.php?cat=116

http://www.robins-beads.co.uk/acatalog/Findings.html

http://www.africanfabric.co.uk/bottle_glass.php

http://www.dichro-findings.co.uk/index.php/cName/sterling-silver

http://www.empirebeads.com/beads/natural-beads/coco-pukalet/

http://www.beadaddict.com/uk/jabulani1.htm

Czech Glasshttp://www.beadsforbeaders.com/acatalog/Gorgeous_Glass_Beads.html
http://www.cjbeaders.co.uk/maincategory/Beads_-_Czech_Glass
Nature Clasps

Seed and Wood
http://www.internationalcraft.com/acatalog/QUALITY_HANDMADE_CZECH_GLASS_BEADS.html
Esoteric
http://www.beadshop-wigan.co.uk/page_733346.html

Buttons

http://www.etsy.com/listing/51258372/yoni-mature-mermaid-lady-garden-glass

http://www.etsy.com/listing/45820528/kiln-fairy-please-bless-my-beads

http://www.etsy.com/listing/48374234/kiln-fairy-needs-a-new-home-sra-p97-big

http://www.etsy.com/listing/47215894/handmade-sterling-silver-miniature

http://www.etsy.com/listing/49412403/lampwork-mouse-pendant-in-borosilicate

http://www.etsy.com/listing/50231195/girly-giggles-a-set-of-19-pink-lampwork

http://www.cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk/acatalog/Cookie-Cutter-Kit.html

http://www.etsy.com/listing/43339199/violet-sweet-glass-lady-artisan-glass
http://www.etsy.com/listing/14450252/vial-lavender-glass-bead-in-purple-rose

 

I find Sunday a great day for browsing around Etsy shops, taking notes about what I plan to buy – or what I would buy if I had the money. There are some lovely paintings on Etsy which are naturally very expensive, so thank goodness for prints; a great way to get a little piece of art.

Here’s a taster of Etsy artists’ shop I’ve been wandering around today…
A ** next to a listing denotes possible mature subject matter.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/44048724/original-abstract-landscape-painting
by Michelle Geromel

Michelle Geromel

Mouthwatering abstract landscapes (yes, I said mouthwatering. They look delicious!), and bold figure paintings.**

Emily Balivet:
Art featuring various mythologies and goddesses, full of life and colour.**
Marni Mutrux:
Gorgeous painted studies of women.**

Shellie Mitchell :

This artist uses fabric over wood to portray her art, and it works beautifully.

Jordanka Yaretz:

Among other subjects, this artist paints trees – but that’s saying too little. These tree painting are striking studies of silhouettes and colours, and I love the way that the trees are used almost as negative space.

Victoria Webb:

Amazing figure paintings, as well as a beautiful, rich landscape series.**

Kristina Laurendi Havens :

The range and fullness of colour in this artist’s paintings is breathtaking; the warm and cool tones draw out life from the pictures.**

Kim Onyskiw:

Deceptively simple acrylic lanscape paintings, that capture a mood in a few colours.

Hope you enjoy!

 

I’ve dressed up my blog in some lovely greens – so now I’m a bit inspired to post.

I spent a long day trying to make a lightbox for my photographs, without spending any money at all.

This means I spent the good part of the morning and afternoon running around with tape and white paper and sticking them in various configurations inside a large box. Then I manically cut a hole in a large white dishcloth, arranged that over the open top of the box, and began peering through the hole at some beads to see what they looked like. All this I did whilst plumbers were walking back and forth past my window.

I’m not sure if it was this sight that was the trouble, but I think the littlest one is scared of me now. He tends to back away from the door when he sees I’m the one answering it.

But the good thing is; thanks to some photo advice and my ‘lightbox’, I can now take photographs where a). beads can actually be seen and b). you don’t get blinded by random glare.

Oh, and because I don’t have a tripod, I poked two mandrels through either side of my lightbox (so they’re like a cattlegrid, with room for the lens to poke through), and rested my camera on them, then used the self-timer to set the photos and replace the dishcloth.

I is resourceful and frugal

 

*blows dust off blog*

I have a certain amount of chat in me per month, and no more, so this poor blog has been neglected whilst I chatted elsewhere. But now it’s her turn again!

For starters, I have spent a few days making what I am calling ‘texture plates’ out of polymer clay, even though the name is much grander than the product. Basically, I take a square of scrap clay, and arrange thin clay snakes and shapes into patterns, then bake the whole piece. After sanding off the rough edges, I get a nice handmade stamp that I can use for mica shift and mokume gane.

One I made today:

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And an abstract goddess stamp. I love symbolic art, but I cannot make it myself, so I was pleased with how a random curve of the clay turned into the curve of a hip. I’d call it a ‘naive’ style, in that it was intuitive, and now I can’t recreate it :D

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I’m currently also working on trying to really get my photos better, having got some advice about how to do that. The above photos are pre-advice!

 
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