Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jewelry and Polymer Clay

I've been making jewelry for many years, but I'm always learning something new. 

Years ago, I took a polymer clay class and learned how to cover a pen.  It was fun, but when I went home and baked my pen, the plastic inside melted and I couldn't get the ink cartridge back inside--and there was a nasty smell while it was baking.  I knew something went wrong, but I had no clue what.

Last year, I decided I wanted to make polymer clay beads to add some pizzaz to my jewelry and I began searching around the internet for information.  I learned some interesting things, but it wasn't until I found Cindy Lietz's Blog and Tutorials that I really began to learn about polymer clay--including why I burned that clay-covered pen and how to avoid doing it again.

Here are some photos of clay beads and jewelry made from clay beads that I've created since then from Cindy's tutorials.

The first photo is my very first clay bead.  It was actually supposed to be something totally different, a technique called Mokume Gane.  That failed, so I played with the clay and this pendant is what I ended up with.  Considering that it was born from a mistake, I was pretty pleased with it at the time, but I didn't have anything to hang it on.  I put it on a piece of ribbon, tied a bow at the back of my neck, and wore it out to dinner that night.  I thought I would have to make a beaded strand to hang it on, but shortly after that Cindy made a Cord Ends Tutorial, which showed me how to attach a clasp to my ribbon.   

The next thing that I learned from Cindy was how to make a Lentil Bead.  They're really fun to make and quite beautiful when they're finished.  The center of the bead has a swirl in it.  Here are a couple of my lentil beads.

Another thing that I learned from Cindy was how to form a Heart Bead.  Every time I wear either of these necklaces, strangers tell me how much they like them!


When I created the next bead, I was attempting to do something quite different, but again had a happy accident.  I was attempting to make an Extruder Flower Cane, but my extruder wasn't the brand that Cindy uses, and it wasn't cooperating.  I managed to get a short piece of flower cane, but mostly I ended up with ribbons of clay.  They were quite beautiful, so I made this Fantasy Bouquet bead, added crystal rhinestones to the top swirls, and put a pinback on it.

Here are a few more beads that I've created:  Torn Watercolor beads, which look like they were covered with torn pieces of paper; Faux Raku beads; and some beads that remind me a little bit of a peacock feather.

Oh, by the way, I am now capable of covering a pen with clay, baking it without burning, and getting the ink cartridge back inside!  What you see here are three objects that I covered with clay:  a stand to hold my pen, the pen itself, and my needle tool.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's New in My Blog

I've been making some adjustments to my Blog over the past few days and thought I'd tell you what's new.

The most noticeable new thing is the photo of my painted roses at the top of the page.  I was teaching One-Stroke painting classes at Killington resort last summer and one of the students asked me to do my painting demonstration on her tote bag.  So I painted One-Stroke roses on her lavender-colored, satin tote bag.  I'm glad I photographed it before she took it away because it fits so nicely on the Blog. 

I've also added links that will take you to my Website and my two Photo Galleries.  The Photo Galleries need to be rearranged.  I hope to get to them soon...  :)

Finally, there is a link to my currently empty Etsy Store.  As soon as I am able to take some good photos and figure out how to calculate shipping prices, I'll be opening the Esty Store.  Of course I'll make an announcement on this Blog.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend with Auntie

Since this is my first blog, I should probably start by telling you that my name is Linda and I can remember wanting to be an artist as far back as my kindergarten days. 

Speaking of kindergarten, last weekend my 6-year-old grandniece, Paityn, came to visit.  Her sixth birthday present was to spend a weekend with me, painting and making beads from polymer clay in my studio. We had a wonderful time.  She painted some chipboard boxes with lots of color.  Then she made some interesting beads, which you can see here.

Paityn is very visually perceptive and she thinks like an artist, even at her young age.  Most of these beads are made from colors that she chose and marbled together herself.  She actually figured out that she could make the tube-shaped bead evenly shaped by rolling it with a flat piece of plexiglass.  Her most impressive bead is the gold and fuchsia "swirl" bead, also known as a "lentil" bead, at the bottom of the photo.  She wanted glitter on all of her beads, and unfortunately, the glitter makes it hard to see the pretty swirl she got in the center of her bead. 

I learned how to make Lentil Beads from Cindy Lietz's  (the Tutorial is here) and that is the technique that I taught my niece. 

While Paityn was busy making her beads I made three mushroom beads, which I learned from Cindy's Mushroom Bead Video.  Later I strung them into necklaces for Paityn and her two sisters.  I would have preferred to use my own colors, but after Paityn watched the video with me, she said she wanted the same colors that Cindy used.  It was her weekend, so her wish was my command.