Friday, September 27, 2013

Lizard Tails! Day 4 of Linda's Polymer Clay Personal Workshop


First it was rocks and now it is lizard tails!  In Julie Picarello’s book ‘Patterns in Polymer –Imprint & Accent Bead Techniques’ I spent a day playing with her ‘lizard tail’ project.  Now, I have real  lizards and their tails really do not look like these!  Nevertheless these were great fun to make and to slice open.  Would you believe the outside is the stripe and the inside the intricate spiral pattern?  

Basically you stack your colors of clay, roll them into a cone shape (the direction of rolling is very important) and cut the cone in half.  Yes, there are great directions for this technique in the book…and pictures!  I wanted a piece to show the inside and the outside of the cone I made and I think this piece succeeds.  Very tribal looking.  I have to finish the cord insert and put wires on the earrings. 
 

I turned the tails into beads, into pendants, into earrings and into buttons.  Absolutely fascinating. 
Lizard Tail Beads
The hardest part of this necklace was finding the leather cord to string the beads and then making a clasp from copper wire.  Can’t wait to wear this!  
My Lizard Tail Tribal Necklace!
Copper Wire Clasp

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Personal Polymer Clay Workshop! Day 2 - Imprint Design


What a good idea I had bringing all my polymer clay (well a lot of it) and tools to Tucson for my self imposed 'Personal Polymer Clay Workshop'.  I decided to make a big change from yesterday's rock and explore imprinted techniques.

I love the various effects and the surprise of each cut.  One of my favorite books is by Julie Picarello Patterns in Polymer - Imprint & Accent Bead Techniques.

Beginning with the ‘Basic Imprint Technique', I picked a color scheme of Fimo Orange 04, a Skinner Blend of Green 05 and Emerald Green 56, Turquoise 32, and Glitter Gold 112. 

Following the directions on p.33 of Julie’s book, I built my stack of colors, selected my tools to imprint and planned my design.  I love the star cutter and used it for focal point of the design.  I also like the dimension created when some circles were removed to create missing shapes in the design.

Consistent slicing is one of the most difficult procedures for me.  I think I’ll make a device to help that soon.  When I cut uneven slices, I put them through the pasta machine at #4 setting.  Since there is no right or wrong to this process, these layers became expanded the impression of the original design.

Deciding which layers I would keep and use for smaller items was a big part of the fun.  Each thin layer I sliced produced a different pattern that I carefully put aside on sandwich paper.  I imprinted again when I was about half way through the stack.  I rolled some of the scrap clay through my #1 setting on the pasta machine and then placed the imprinted layers on the scrap clay to be used for pendants, buttons, beads, earrings, etc.  As you can see there are lots of pieces from my original stack of clay. 


I decided to make a few pieces into pendants and added clay to the back of the pendant for a chain. 
After curing the pieces, I sanded, buffed and added Renaissance Wax. 






I love the color combination with the little bit of glitter.  What a fun day!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When Nature and Man Make Tracks in the Sand!

Look Closely
On the Path Ahead
Man and nature on the same trail
Interacting, overlapping








Friday, September 13, 2013

Rocks and More Rocks!





My father loved rocks.  He was happiest when he was rock hounding or cutting and polishing rocks.  As a child, I did not want to have anything to do with my father's hobby of rocks or rock hounding.  And that was definitely my loss. 

Today I have many cabochons that he cut and polished.  It is why I started designing and making jewelry.  One day I came across Cynthia Tinapple’s information on making rocks and I took her Craftscast class http://www.craftcast.com/class-or-recording-item/166269-making-beach-pebbles-from-polymer-clay.  I've been collecting tips from other polymer artists and I decided that would be my first project for my ‘Polymer Clay Personal Workshop’! 
Before Curing - nature's rocks in center
I can almost hear my father say, ‘You made rocks?  Why?  You can just go out and pick them up!”  I guess my answer would be, ‘Because I can!’   I remember him being astounded that I bought large rocks for my yard in Tucson.  His comment as he shook his head, “Why would you spend money on rocks when that’s all there is around here? “  He was looking at the Catalina Mountains when he said that!
Before curing - look at the color change with the after
·      Things I learned while making rocks:

It helps to have a real rock to look at!   I was surprised how little I really remembered about the details until I looked at the rock I was going to mimic.

 Get spices that you like to smell!  I bought a paprika blend of spices (good for fish) that smelled great as I mixed them with transparent clay.  The pepper that I used for blackish color made me sneeze! And was not really black.   Experiment with additives.  I did not try sand but it would be great for sandstone!   
                                                                                                                          
Test cure small pieces because the colors will change with the curing.

 Rocks are generally formed in layers so swirls don’t look real!

  It is really fun to look for unusual rocks.  Some don’t look real but are!

 Mix your polymer rocks with real ones to see how they blend.  Good clue as to how good you are  getting!

 One can get lost in rock making...and forget time.

People looked at me a little strangely when I told them I was making rocks.  But then I realized they weren't all that surprised!

My Rocks and Nature's Rocks combined

Monday, September 9, 2013

A New Look in My Studio


You may have noticed that it has been quiet in my corner of the Facebook world.  That’s because my Peter was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had robotic surgery in Tucson.  We know so much about prostate cancer and the choices for treatment available now.  Peter is doing well, going close to full tilt on his projects and helping me with mine.  We started building a bookcase before all this happened and today we finished it, moved it into the studio and I’m starting to organize and fill it. Of course that entails emptying the bookcase next to it and incorporating all the boxes of wire, metal, metal clay, polymer canes and clay and all the tools.  I’m sure it will be better and that I will be able to find things easier.  We will see. 
!
Thought you might like to see the improvement!

This is  quick before shot just after I returned from "Metal Clay on the Bay" and lots of things live on the floor.


This is after the bookcase is in place and my plastic container are organized (but still need to be labeled).   The new bookcase fits between the two existing ones.  I am so happy!


This is the after shot of the studio space.  I think I can keep it this way a while!  Notice the desk on the left and then notice in the next picture that a pull out tray can now hold my pasta machine.  My back was hurting and I realized that my pasta machine was on the other side of the desk forcing me to twist when I used it.  Peter make a pull-out tray and now I can be ergonomically correct!



Also check out my wood floor!  My chair kept getting stuck on the carpet and the plastic desk pads were not big enough!  I like to work all over my desk areas.  Peter and I bought a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood and cut it to 4 x 6, put quarter round trim on the edges and I put a floor finish on it.  Now I roll all over and it is also easier to clean.

 

While Peter and I were in Tucson for his surgery and recovery, I played with my polymer clay.  It was a perfect time to experiment and try several of the tutorials I've been saving.  In the next few posts, I’ll share my experiments, what I've learned and show you pictures.  Stay tuned for my ‘Polymer Clay Personal Workshop’ results!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lizard Tails! Day 4 of Linda's Polymer Clay Personal Workshop


First it was rocks and now it is lizard tails!  In Julie Picarello’s book ‘Patterns in Polymer –Imprint & Accent Bead Techniques’ I spent a day playing with her ‘lizard tail’ project.  Now, I have real  lizards and their tails really do not look like these!  Nevertheless these were great fun to make and to slice open.  Would you believe the outside is the stripe and the inside the intricate spiral pattern?  

Basically you stack your colors of clay, roll them into a cone shape (the direction of rolling is very important) and cut the cone in half.  Yes, there are great directions for this technique in the book…and pictures!  I wanted a piece to show the inside and the outside of the cone I made and I think this piece succeeds.  Very tribal looking.  I have to finish the cord insert and put wires on the earrings. 
 

I turned the tails into beads, into pendants, into earrings and into buttons.  Absolutely fascinating. 
Lizard Tail Beads
The hardest part of this necklace was finding the leather cord to string the beads and then making a clasp from copper wire.  Can’t wait to wear this!  
My Lizard Tail Tribal Necklace!
Copper Wire Clasp

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Personal Polymer Clay Workshop! Day 2 - Imprint Design


What a good idea I had bringing all my polymer clay (well a lot of it) and tools to Tucson for my self imposed 'Personal Polymer Clay Workshop'.  I decided to make a big change from yesterday's rock and explore imprinted techniques.

I love the various effects and the surprise of each cut.  One of my favorite books is by Julie Picarello Patterns in Polymer - Imprint & Accent Bead Techniques.

Beginning with the ‘Basic Imprint Technique', I picked a color scheme of Fimo Orange 04, a Skinner Blend of Green 05 and Emerald Green 56, Turquoise 32, and Glitter Gold 112. 

Following the directions on p.33 of Julie’s book, I built my stack of colors, selected my tools to imprint and planned my design.  I love the star cutter and used it for focal point of the design.  I also like the dimension created when some circles were removed to create missing shapes in the design.

Consistent slicing is one of the most difficult procedures for me.  I think I’ll make a device to help that soon.  When I cut uneven slices, I put them through the pasta machine at #4 setting.  Since there is no right or wrong to this process, these layers became expanded the impression of the original design.

Deciding which layers I would keep and use for smaller items was a big part of the fun.  Each thin layer I sliced produced a different pattern that I carefully put aside on sandwich paper.  I imprinted again when I was about half way through the stack.  I rolled some of the scrap clay through my #1 setting on the pasta machine and then placed the imprinted layers on the scrap clay to be used for pendants, buttons, beads, earrings, etc.  As you can see there are lots of pieces from my original stack of clay. 


I decided to make a few pieces into pendants and added clay to the back of the pendant for a chain. 
After curing the pieces, I sanded, buffed and added Renaissance Wax. 






I love the color combination with the little bit of glitter.  What a fun day!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When Nature and Man Make Tracks in the Sand!

Look Closely
On the Path Ahead
Man and nature on the same trail
Interacting, overlapping








Friday, September 13, 2013

Rocks and More Rocks!





My father loved rocks.  He was happiest when he was rock hounding or cutting and polishing rocks.  As a child, I did not want to have anything to do with my father's hobby of rocks or rock hounding.  And that was definitely my loss. 

Today I have many cabochons that he cut and polished.  It is why I started designing and making jewelry.  One day I came across Cynthia Tinapple’s information on making rocks and I took her Craftscast class http://www.craftcast.com/class-or-recording-item/166269-making-beach-pebbles-from-polymer-clay.  I've been collecting tips from other polymer artists and I decided that would be my first project for my ‘Polymer Clay Personal Workshop’! 
Before Curing - nature's rocks in center
I can almost hear my father say, ‘You made rocks?  Why?  You can just go out and pick them up!”  I guess my answer would be, ‘Because I can!’   I remember him being astounded that I bought large rocks for my yard in Tucson.  His comment as he shook his head, “Why would you spend money on rocks when that’s all there is around here? “  He was looking at the Catalina Mountains when he said that!
Before curing - look at the color change with the after
·      Things I learned while making rocks:

It helps to have a real rock to look at!   I was surprised how little I really remembered about the details until I looked at the rock I was going to mimic.

 Get spices that you like to smell!  I bought a paprika blend of spices (good for fish) that smelled great as I mixed them with transparent clay.  The pepper that I used for blackish color made me sneeze! And was not really black.   Experiment with additives.  I did not try sand but it would be great for sandstone!   
                                                                                                                          
Test cure small pieces because the colors will change with the curing.

 Rocks are generally formed in layers so swirls don’t look real!

  It is really fun to look for unusual rocks.  Some don’t look real but are!

 Mix your polymer rocks with real ones to see how they blend.  Good clue as to how good you are  getting!

 One can get lost in rock making...and forget time.

People looked at me a little strangely when I told them I was making rocks.  But then I realized they weren't all that surprised!

My Rocks and Nature's Rocks combined

Monday, September 9, 2013

A New Look in My Studio


You may have noticed that it has been quiet in my corner of the Facebook world.  That’s because my Peter was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had robotic surgery in Tucson.  We know so much about prostate cancer and the choices for treatment available now.  Peter is doing well, going close to full tilt on his projects and helping me with mine.  We started building a bookcase before all this happened and today we finished it, moved it into the studio and I’m starting to organize and fill it. Of course that entails emptying the bookcase next to it and incorporating all the boxes of wire, metal, metal clay, polymer canes and clay and all the tools.  I’m sure it will be better and that I will be able to find things easier.  We will see. 
!
Thought you might like to see the improvement!

This is  quick before shot just after I returned from "Metal Clay on the Bay" and lots of things live on the floor.


This is after the bookcase is in place and my plastic container are organized (but still need to be labeled).   The new bookcase fits between the two existing ones.  I am so happy!


This is the after shot of the studio space.  I think I can keep it this way a while!  Notice the desk on the left and then notice in the next picture that a pull out tray can now hold my pasta machine.  My back was hurting and I realized that my pasta machine was on the other side of the desk forcing me to twist when I used it.  Peter make a pull-out tray and now I can be ergonomically correct!



Also check out my wood floor!  My chair kept getting stuck on the carpet and the plastic desk pads were not big enough!  I like to work all over my desk areas.  Peter and I bought a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood and cut it to 4 x 6, put quarter round trim on the edges and I put a floor finish on it.  Now I roll all over and it is also easier to clean.

 

While Peter and I were in Tucson for his surgery and recovery, I played with my polymer clay.  It was a perfect time to experiment and try several of the tutorials I've been saving.  In the next few posts, I’ll share my experiments, what I've learned and show you pictures.  Stay tuned for my ‘Polymer Clay Personal Workshop’ results!