Friday, October 23, 2015

Partitions - what to do with old polymer canes

Canes - long rolls of polymer clay set in patterns
If you design and make polymer canes you probably have boxes of them stacked in shelves like I do. And if you sometimes look at all the cases of canes and wonder "What am I going to do with those rolls of patterned polymer clay?" then we are a lot alike!

One of many boxes of canes - waiting!

This week my attention span was just long enough to take a few of the canes and put them together in new ways and make some beads and buttons.  The color choices were blacks, gray, white and a little rusty red wrapped in thin black casings.  The canes needed a little massaging to activate the clay since they were older.

unfired buttons

The buttons are 1/8" slices with the pattern going through the button.  Be sure and notice the color change from the unfired clay to the fired clay.  I try to make a couple of sizes of each pattern.


fired buttons

  The beads are made of thinly sliced canes applied to scrap clay and then rolled in my hands for the shape.  They have a depth of color because there is some translucent clay in the canes.

finished bead

I usually make just a few buttons at a time and I make 3,5 or 7 beads depending on how I'm feeling or if I have something in mind for a finished product.

finished beads 

I derive a lot of pleasure from the colors, patterns and shapes when making buttons and beads and love the instant gratification I get from polymer!

link to buttons:  https://img0.etsystatic.com/125/0/6037243/il_570xN.854582928_mk1y.jpg

Friday, October 16, 2015

'Petals' Experiment in Silver ClayTechniques


'Petals"  finished pendant

Experimenting with different metal clays involves risk, creativity and knowledge.  The risk is about the price of silver and not wanting to waste it.  The creativity is about an idea and the knowledge comes from experience.  

In this project, I wanted to used fine silver bezel wire to hold a unique cabochon and I wanted to use FYI clay.  I knew from experience how to cut tabs in the bezel wire so that some tabs go into the clay and some are perpendicular and lay flat on the clay.  When the clay fires the wire and silver clay setting become one.  What I did not know was what the higher shrinkage rate of the FYI clay backing would do with the bezel wire.  Would it all come apart (I've had that happen) or would it shrink with so much curvature that the stone would not fit? Typically I use the  Art Clay brand of silver clay that does not have so much shrinkage.  This time I wanted to use the FYI clay because it is much less expensive and new to me.  I decided take the risk.

First I measured the bezel wire to fit the large stone; then tabbed the wire and used PMC oil paste the connect the two ends of the wire and fired it in the kiln.  I placed the bezel in a sheet of clay, cut the shape I wanted and painted clay petals similar to the ones in the stone.  Since the stone was large and a bit heavy, I made the surround of clay smaller to compensate for weight.  I also cut a shape out of the back to lighten the weight, cut down on the amount of silver clay and show the back of the stone. Lisa Barth taught this technique in a class I took and has written a great book  about it Designing From the Stone.

Fiber Paper cut to fit in the bezel  with an investment, Satin Cast 20,  to keep the bezel from shrinking became the place holder for the stone.

Investment to hold the space for the stone
 I fired the piece at 1635 degrees F for 90 minutes and was pleased that the bezel stayed intact, the setting did not curve too much, and the stone would fit.  But... there were a few places that the bezel tabs could be seen on the back and a few places that needed to be filled where the bezel and setting met. I added silver clay and some paste, let it dry and put it back in the kiln.  After the 2nd firing all but one tiny place showed on the back and I decided to leave it!  Everything else was fine.

After firing I removed the investment and polished.  
After the 2nd firing you can see the place on the right that could be repaired.  I decided to leave it.



After polishing, using a patina, and adding the stone.  Pretty pleased with it.

Next time I'd recommend a smaller stone and anticipating some repair and yes I was happy with the new FYI Silver Clay!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Painting on Silver Clay with Paste

Flowers in the Wind
I’ve been experimenting and taking online classes again!  Terry Kovalcik has a great class on www.craftcast.com   called ‘Painting and Sculpting using PMC Paste’.  It is well worth taking because there is so much information on materials, tools and technique.  Terry explains and shows details and shares some tips.  After watching the video once, collecting the materials needed and deciding what design I wanted to paint, I watched the video again!



Terry uses PMC clay but I had FYI silver clay on hand and used it for the foundation shape and PMC paste with lavender oil for the painting.  I was concerned about the extra shrinkage of the FYI silver but the two worked well together.  I’m sharing the stages of my creations with you but you need to take the class for the real substance. 


Shapes and Designs - FYI Silver Clay

Out of the kiln
 This technique requires a steady hand and some patience.  Layers of paste build up the image and it is so easy to get too much paste on the brush.


Patina of  Liver of Sulfur 

Butterfly on Flower
Relief was polished 

It will take quite a bit of practice and patience to get anywhere as good as Terry.  I really did enjoy the process.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Making Bubbles in the Wind


As a child, I loved making bubbles.  As an adult I still love making bubbles. I love watching the sun hit the clear bubble and turn it into rainbow colors, I love watching the bubbles float on the wind.  I love watching them glide to a tree and disappear.  I can watch bubbles for a long time!


On a recent trip to Walgreens, I found long tubes filled with liquid and a long wand for making bubbles.  I bought three of them.  One for me, one for a friend and one for a hostess gift!  The three of us made bubbles in the hostess’s back yard and laughed while we played.   I brought mine back home because the want could make more bubbles!








 I found it again this week and yes! I made bubbles on a windy day.  It was so much fun to see them floating on the wind to neighbors yards.  I wondered if anyone else saw them!  Then I wondered if I could take pictures.  I had to try and this is the result!  What a fun hour playing with the bubbles in the wind!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Sorting Chains



This past week has been about care giving to my guy.  Peter fell and fractured his ankle and needed lots of help with getting 'the boot' on and off and with icing.  So creativity took second place!

One evening I looked for something in my stash of stuff to inspire me.  Like most jewelry artists, I have a lot of stuff and it is not all organized and comes from many places including a yard sale plastic box filled with all sorts, shapes and lengths of chain for very little money.  It's been sitting on a shelf since I bought it and that night the plastic box fell on the floor and everything in it scattered.  I had a choice - gather them up and stuff them back in the box or look at this as an opportunity to see what I have.



I started separating the chains into gold color and silver color; then separating them in to types of chains and lengths and pretty soon it became clear that their was not enough time or space!  I really wanted to just stuff them back in the plastic box on the shelf!   My solution was chains by color and maybe by thickness.  Separating the chains into types and cleaning them will have to wait for another time!  At least they may be tangle-free and somewhat organized.  If anyone has a better idea for organization please share it!



There is so much to learn about chains and this even made me realize how little I really know.  Things like knowing what kind of metal, what style and is it vintage or new?  How to clean chain, which is worth keeping and how to store it.  There is always something new to learn!  I just need more time in my days!  This is a start!

  credit:  www.kennygoodman.com
TYPES OF CHAINS
A quick guide to cleaning!   http://www.jewelrynotes.com/necklace-clean-and-care-guide/



Friday, October 23, 2015

Partitions - what to do with old polymer canes

Canes - long rolls of polymer clay set in patterns
If you design and make polymer canes you probably have boxes of them stacked in shelves like I do. And if you sometimes look at all the cases of canes and wonder "What am I going to do with those rolls of patterned polymer clay?" then we are a lot alike!

One of many boxes of canes - waiting!

This week my attention span was just long enough to take a few of the canes and put them together in new ways and make some beads and buttons.  The color choices were blacks, gray, white and a little rusty red wrapped in thin black casings.  The canes needed a little massaging to activate the clay since they were older.

unfired buttons

The buttons are 1/8" slices with the pattern going through the button.  Be sure and notice the color change from the unfired clay to the fired clay.  I try to make a couple of sizes of each pattern.


fired buttons

  The beads are made of thinly sliced canes applied to scrap clay and then rolled in my hands for the shape.  They have a depth of color because there is some translucent clay in the canes.

finished bead

I usually make just a few buttons at a time and I make 3,5 or 7 beads depending on how I'm feeling or if I have something in mind for a finished product.

finished beads 

I derive a lot of pleasure from the colors, patterns and shapes when making buttons and beads and love the instant gratification I get from polymer!

link to buttons:  https://img0.etsystatic.com/125/0/6037243/il_570xN.854582928_mk1y.jpg

Friday, October 16, 2015

'Petals' Experiment in Silver ClayTechniques


'Petals"  finished pendant

Experimenting with different metal clays involves risk, creativity and knowledge.  The risk is about the price of silver and not wanting to waste it.  The creativity is about an idea and the knowledge comes from experience.  

In this project, I wanted to used fine silver bezel wire to hold a unique cabochon and I wanted to use FYI clay.  I knew from experience how to cut tabs in the bezel wire so that some tabs go into the clay and some are perpendicular and lay flat on the clay.  When the clay fires the wire and silver clay setting become one.  What I did not know was what the higher shrinkage rate of the FYI clay backing would do with the bezel wire.  Would it all come apart (I've had that happen) or would it shrink with so much curvature that the stone would not fit? Typically I use the  Art Clay brand of silver clay that does not have so much shrinkage.  This time I wanted to use the FYI clay because it is much less expensive and new to me.  I decided take the risk.

First I measured the bezel wire to fit the large stone; then tabbed the wire and used PMC oil paste the connect the two ends of the wire and fired it in the kiln.  I placed the bezel in a sheet of clay, cut the shape I wanted and painted clay petals similar to the ones in the stone.  Since the stone was large and a bit heavy, I made the surround of clay smaller to compensate for weight.  I also cut a shape out of the back to lighten the weight, cut down on the amount of silver clay and show the back of the stone. Lisa Barth taught this technique in a class I took and has written a great book  about it Designing From the Stone.

Fiber Paper cut to fit in the bezel  with an investment, Satin Cast 20,  to keep the bezel from shrinking became the place holder for the stone.

Investment to hold the space for the stone
 I fired the piece at 1635 degrees F for 90 minutes and was pleased that the bezel stayed intact, the setting did not curve too much, and the stone would fit.  But... there were a few places that the bezel tabs could be seen on the back and a few places that needed to be filled where the bezel and setting met. I added silver clay and some paste, let it dry and put it back in the kiln.  After the 2nd firing all but one tiny place showed on the back and I decided to leave it!  Everything else was fine.

After firing I removed the investment and polished.  
After the 2nd firing you can see the place on the right that could be repaired.  I decided to leave it.



After polishing, using a patina, and adding the stone.  Pretty pleased with it.

Next time I'd recommend a smaller stone and anticipating some repair and yes I was happy with the new FYI Silver Clay!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Painting on Silver Clay with Paste

Flowers in the Wind
I’ve been experimenting and taking online classes again!  Terry Kovalcik has a great class on www.craftcast.com   called ‘Painting and Sculpting using PMC Paste’.  It is well worth taking because there is so much information on materials, tools and technique.  Terry explains and shows details and shares some tips.  After watching the video once, collecting the materials needed and deciding what design I wanted to paint, I watched the video again!



Terry uses PMC clay but I had FYI silver clay on hand and used it for the foundation shape and PMC paste with lavender oil for the painting.  I was concerned about the extra shrinkage of the FYI silver but the two worked well together.  I’m sharing the stages of my creations with you but you need to take the class for the real substance. 


Shapes and Designs - FYI Silver Clay

Out of the kiln
 This technique requires a steady hand and some patience.  Layers of paste build up the image and it is so easy to get too much paste on the brush.


Patina of  Liver of Sulfur 

Butterfly on Flower
Relief was polished 

It will take quite a bit of practice and patience to get anywhere as good as Terry.  I really did enjoy the process.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Making Bubbles in the Wind


As a child, I loved making bubbles.  As an adult I still love making bubbles. I love watching the sun hit the clear bubble and turn it into rainbow colors, I love watching the bubbles float on the wind.  I love watching them glide to a tree and disappear.  I can watch bubbles for a long time!


On a recent trip to Walgreens, I found long tubes filled with liquid and a long wand for making bubbles.  I bought three of them.  One for me, one for a friend and one for a hostess gift!  The three of us made bubbles in the hostess’s back yard and laughed while we played.   I brought mine back home because the want could make more bubbles!








 I found it again this week and yes! I made bubbles on a windy day.  It was so much fun to see them floating on the wind to neighbors yards.  I wondered if anyone else saw them!  Then I wondered if I could take pictures.  I had to try and this is the result!  What a fun hour playing with the bubbles in the wind!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Sorting Chains



This past week has been about care giving to my guy.  Peter fell and fractured his ankle and needed lots of help with getting 'the boot' on and off and with icing.  So creativity took second place!

One evening I looked for something in my stash of stuff to inspire me.  Like most jewelry artists, I have a lot of stuff and it is not all organized and comes from many places including a yard sale plastic box filled with all sorts, shapes and lengths of chain for very little money.  It's been sitting on a shelf since I bought it and that night the plastic box fell on the floor and everything in it scattered.  I had a choice - gather them up and stuff them back in the box or look at this as an opportunity to see what I have.



I started separating the chains into gold color and silver color; then separating them in to types of chains and lengths and pretty soon it became clear that their was not enough time or space!  I really wanted to just stuff them back in the plastic box on the shelf!   My solution was chains by color and maybe by thickness.  Separating the chains into types and cleaning them will have to wait for another time!  At least they may be tangle-free and somewhat organized.  If anyone has a better idea for organization please share it!



There is so much to learn about chains and this even made me realize how little I really know.  Things like knowing what kind of metal, what style and is it vintage or new?  How to clean chain, which is worth keeping and how to store it.  There is always something new to learn!  I just need more time in my days!  This is a start!

  credit:  www.kennygoodman.com
TYPES OF CHAINS
A quick guide to cleaning!   http://www.jewelrynotes.com/necklace-clean-and-care-guide/