Friday, March 27, 2015

Fabric, Mexican Tile and Polymer



Stepping into a fabric store is a little like Alice going into Wonderland.  There are so many colors and patterns, textures and tools!  I used to sew and that was my excuse to investigate any fabric store in any town I visited.  Now I usually go with a friend who quilts and just look.  But every once in a while I find a piece that I just have to have – just to look at.  Inspiration fabric is what I call it. 


This piece brought back memories of many kitchens and baths and furniture I designed for clients using Mexican tile on the walls, floors, counter tops and accents……NO not all at once! It reminded me of Cinco de Mayo and Tucson with Mariachi bands and colorful flowers. I bought a ¼ yard, set it by my desk and looked at it often.  This week I decided to make some polymer canes and see what I could do using the fabric as the inspiration. 














First the colors are selected and mixed.  Then I started making the black and white cane (bull’s eye) for the center and started building canes to combine into the pattern. 

This shows the ends of the canes that are uneven or not acceptable for a complete slice.  These were used to create the bead, medallions and buttons I made

Canes in progress - pieces of the whole!

This is the same cane in different sizes
 I've learned to save parts of a cane for future use and I've learned to save the leftover clay to make buttons and beads!  In fact, I got so involved in using the scraps after I finished the canes that I have yet to make something from the final cane pictured at the beginning of this post.  (A cane is a roll of clay with a pattern running through it.  It is a term borrowed from glassmaking) 

To make the beads, buttons and medallion shown below, I made the basic shape out of scrap clay and thinly slice patterns from the end of the canes pictured above.  I layered and combined them to create the patterns you see.  For the beads, I added translucent polymer in a pattern to give more interest and depth.  If you look closely you can pick out the different cane patterns as they overlap one another.

Finished Medallion Necklace


Finished Art Beads
 I'd love to hear your responses to my Mexican tile fabric inspiration!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Meet Turq the Paperweight Lizard!


One of the techniques I learned at Hadar's Tucson workshop used flat floral ribbon to make the shapes for clay.  The floral ribbon is flexible and can be cut with scissors.  Once it is bent into a shape, clay is cut and dried against the ribbon.  It is removed after the clay dries and
one can proceed assembling the pieces.  At the class,we worked making jewelry but I wanted to experiment a little more and decided to make contemporary lizard for fun. 

I used Goldie Roman Bronze clay as one of my goals this spring is to use all my various metal clays from several companies and then decide which I really like.  This turned out to be my largest piece I've made and just fit in a rectangular pan I had. Something I had to consider when I designed Turq.  His finished size is 3"x 5".

My basic design with the floral ribbon

Placing the dried clay pieces on a background

Decisions:  do I want a bronze lizard that covers the skeleton or not?

Nope!  I want to inlay some colored stones in the body and around the head.
  The lizard fired beautifully causing much happiness!  Next sanding and polishing and then grinding the turquoise chips into finer pieces.  I decided to use coral beads along the spine for accent.  The stones are held in place with groutless tile adhesive and had to be done in 3 layers.  Pretty time consuming.
Turq the Lizard is resting on my artifact shelf enjoying his place of honor.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fabric, Mexican Tile and Polymer



Stepping into a fabric store is a little like Alice going into Wonderland.  There are so many colors and patterns, textures and tools!  I used to sew and that was my excuse to investigate any fabric store in any town I visited.  Now I usually go with a friend who quilts and just look.  But every once in a while I find a piece that I just have to have – just to look at.  Inspiration fabric is what I call it. 


This piece brought back memories of many kitchens and baths and furniture I designed for clients using Mexican tile on the walls, floors, counter tops and accents……NO not all at once! It reminded me of Cinco de Mayo and Tucson with Mariachi bands and colorful flowers. I bought a ¼ yard, set it by my desk and looked at it often.  This week I decided to make some polymer canes and see what I could do using the fabric as the inspiration. 














First the colors are selected and mixed.  Then I started making the black and white cane (bull’s eye) for the center and started building canes to combine into the pattern. 

This shows the ends of the canes that are uneven or not acceptable for a complete slice.  These were used to create the bead, medallions and buttons I made

Canes in progress - pieces of the whole!

This is the same cane in different sizes
 I've learned to save parts of a cane for future use and I've learned to save the leftover clay to make buttons and beads!  In fact, I got so involved in using the scraps after I finished the canes that I have yet to make something from the final cane pictured at the beginning of this post.  (A cane is a roll of clay with a pattern running through it.  It is a term borrowed from glassmaking) 

To make the beads, buttons and medallion shown below, I made the basic shape out of scrap clay and thinly slice patterns from the end of the canes pictured above.  I layered and combined them to create the patterns you see.  For the beads, I added translucent polymer in a pattern to give more interest and depth.  If you look closely you can pick out the different cane patterns as they overlap one another.

Finished Medallion Necklace


Finished Art Beads
 I'd love to hear your responses to my Mexican tile fabric inspiration!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Meet Turq the Paperweight Lizard!


One of the techniques I learned at Hadar's Tucson workshop used flat floral ribbon to make the shapes for clay.  The floral ribbon is flexible and can be cut with scissors.  Once it is bent into a shape, clay is cut and dried against the ribbon.  It is removed after the clay dries and
one can proceed assembling the pieces.  At the class,we worked making jewelry but I wanted to experiment a little more and decided to make contemporary lizard for fun. 

I used Goldie Roman Bronze clay as one of my goals this spring is to use all my various metal clays from several companies and then decide which I really like.  This turned out to be my largest piece I've made and just fit in a rectangular pan I had. Something I had to consider when I designed Turq.  His finished size is 3"x 5".

My basic design with the floral ribbon

Placing the dried clay pieces on a background

Decisions:  do I want a bronze lizard that covers the skeleton or not?

Nope!  I want to inlay some colored stones in the body and around the head.
  The lizard fired beautifully causing much happiness!  Next sanding and polishing and then grinding the turquoise chips into finer pieces.  I decided to use coral beads along the spine for accent.  The stones are held in place with groutless tile adhesive and had to be done in 3 layers.  Pretty time consuming.
Turq the Lizard is resting on my artifact shelf enjoying his place of honor.