Friday, September 21, 2018

It Must Be Fall



Leaves turning colors -
Velvet covering on the young buck's antlers -
Searching for that light weight jacket for walks -
Enjoying cool night and early morning breezes -
Visiting Flicker in the pine trees - he knows -
It must be fall!

And where did summer go?

In keeping with that theme, this is my new seed pod I'm adding to my collection.



The outer shell is made of copper metal clay and the pod is made of polymer clay.  It's fun to combine the two mediums.  Interested in the process?  Keep reading!

If anyone has been following my FaceBook posts, you know I've been learning about and testing the temperatures of my new Paragon E12A kiln.  The interior temperature is not the same as the digital readout so I've been making my own chart.  While doing this testing I decided to make something from my clay instead of just strips and circles (I'm doing that too).  What better that a seedpod?

The copper clay is Hadar's Friendly copper clay and it is fired in two stages.  A good test for the temperature testing.  I ended up firing the clay leaves 3 times to get it to sinter (a term for clay that actually becomes metal when heated to the correct temperature).  The following picture shows the piece after 2 firings when the leaves looked like metal when sanded.



When one of the leaves fell off and shattered it was obvious that the clay had not reached the right temperature inside.  The remaining piece went back in the kiln to fire again.  That time worked! 

Back of the seed pod after sintering

I left the inside rough to give the polymer clay a place to grab on when I fired it in the copper.  That way I did not have to glue the pieces together. 



Next I made the inner seed pod with a veneer over a ball of polymer and textured it.  I cured the polymer in the copper and proceeded to sand and buff it.  The polymer has a thin coat of liquid polymer dried with a heat gun to give it a crystal clear shine.  That shine gives a nice contrast to the more rustic copper shell. 



The seed pod sits on a small flat area and nestles in with other real and metal pods.  Fun for Fall.

Thanks for visiting!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Holiday Ornaments - Too Soon to Think About Making Them?


It's not too soon to think about holiday ornaments - especially if you are making them!  The holiday season gets hectic for all of us and if you are like me I may get too busy to enjoy what I'm doing.  I find it relaxing to start making the ornaments in time to really enjoy the process. 


Each year I decide what kind of ornament I want to make.  This year I decided to make these polymer stacked ornaments and teach a class at The Prescott Art Market.  The snowflake cookie cookers I've been collecting are the perfect outline shapes since they graduate in size.  For my prototypes I'm using some scrap polymer clay and chose these colors - a light, a medium and a dark - to overlap.


Deciding which layers get holes and what colors to stack gives me the opportunity to embellish.


Textures, rhinestones, lines, and embossing powder and the holes for hanging are added.   The ornaments are cured (baked at 275 degrees F)  and they are ready for hangers or ribbons. 

These ornaments are fun to make and look very festive.  More on the class and time in a later post!
If you are interested in attending, please let me know!





Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Stromatolites - Nature Inspires!


One lovely morning not long ago, Peter and I went to the Prescott Gem and Mineral Show.  Having lived in Prescott for 8 years and making jewelry, you'd think this would have been one of my first stops.  Like many people I know, exploring our own town gets pushed aside until we have visitors. 

The Prescott show (held in Prescott Valley Civic Center) was a pleasure to visit.  It was very interesting and not overwhelming.  We actually had space to look at the items and talk with the vendors.  Lots of variety in both polished and rough stones and in finished jewelry.  This was a welcome experience having attended the gem show in Tucson which covers the city of Tucson and takes days to see.

At one of the booths I was introduced to stromatolites.  A small stone that had layers and concentric circles making a very interesting pattern caught my eye and my imagination.  It would make a great mold for metal clay and polymer clay.  Once I zeroed in on the stone and found it was called a stromatolite, I had to know more.  These are fossils, the oldest found 3.7 billion years ago, formed by the growth of layers of cyanobacteri.  The stromatolites provide a record  of ancient life.  You can find out more about the fossil at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromatolite


Stromatolite

I really wanted to make jewelry from the pattern in the fossil.   Sharing a quick peek at my process.
First I dusted the stone and mixed my two part silicone mold putty.  I've found the best way to get equal parts of A and B is to use a small scale and mix the two colors until they are one. 
The stone needs to be pushed into the silicone putty quickly and well to get a clear impression.  The mold dries in a few minutes.

Mold and Stromatalite
Black polymer clay was on my desk and I could hardly wait to see the impression.  Conditioning the clay and rolling it to the thickness I wanted were the next steps.  The polymer was placed into the mold and carefully pressed into all the crevices.  It's important to be careful to keep the clay in the same place preventing a shadowing of lines.



The fossil design is a little large for a medallion in polymer clay but will be perfect for metal clay because of the shrinkage factor.  The project continued  using a circle cutter to cut the pattern, finishing the edges and dusting gold embossing powder on the medallion.  The  bail for the medallion is also polymer clay.  When everything was finished, the piece was cured (baked in a 275 degree oven for 30 minutes).  Then it was buffed and waxed. 

Bail
Next I wanted to see the pattern in a lighter color and I used a gold polymer clay and added a little bling.  You can see the difference a change of color makes.  It's also fun to see how nature inspires and influences my jewelry designs. 


Same mold - different colors

Friday, September 21, 2018

It Must Be Fall



Leaves turning colors -
Velvet covering on the young buck's antlers -
Searching for that light weight jacket for walks -
Enjoying cool night and early morning breezes -
Visiting Flicker in the pine trees - he knows -
It must be fall!

And where did summer go?

In keeping with that theme, this is my new seed pod I'm adding to my collection.



The outer shell is made of copper metal clay and the pod is made of polymer clay.  It's fun to combine the two mediums.  Interested in the process?  Keep reading!

If anyone has been following my FaceBook posts, you know I've been learning about and testing the temperatures of my new Paragon E12A kiln.  The interior temperature is not the same as the digital readout so I've been making my own chart.  While doing this testing I decided to make something from my clay instead of just strips and circles (I'm doing that too).  What better that a seedpod?

The copper clay is Hadar's Friendly copper clay and it is fired in two stages.  A good test for the temperature testing.  I ended up firing the clay leaves 3 times to get it to sinter (a term for clay that actually becomes metal when heated to the correct temperature).  The following picture shows the piece after 2 firings when the leaves looked like metal when sanded.



When one of the leaves fell off and shattered it was obvious that the clay had not reached the right temperature inside.  The remaining piece went back in the kiln to fire again.  That time worked! 

Back of the seed pod after sintering

I left the inside rough to give the polymer clay a place to grab on when I fired it in the copper.  That way I did not have to glue the pieces together. 



Next I made the inner seed pod with a veneer over a ball of polymer and textured it.  I cured the polymer in the copper and proceeded to sand and buff it.  The polymer has a thin coat of liquid polymer dried with a heat gun to give it a crystal clear shine.  That shine gives a nice contrast to the more rustic copper shell. 



The seed pod sits on a small flat area and nestles in with other real and metal pods.  Fun for Fall.

Thanks for visiting!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Holiday Ornaments - Too Soon to Think About Making Them?


It's not too soon to think about holiday ornaments - especially if you are making them!  The holiday season gets hectic for all of us and if you are like me I may get too busy to enjoy what I'm doing.  I find it relaxing to start making the ornaments in time to really enjoy the process. 


Each year I decide what kind of ornament I want to make.  This year I decided to make these polymer stacked ornaments and teach a class at The Prescott Art Market.  The snowflake cookie cookers I've been collecting are the perfect outline shapes since they graduate in size.  For my prototypes I'm using some scrap polymer clay and chose these colors - a light, a medium and a dark - to overlap.


Deciding which layers get holes and what colors to stack gives me the opportunity to embellish.


Textures, rhinestones, lines, and embossing powder and the holes for hanging are added.   The ornaments are cured (baked at 275 degrees F)  and they are ready for hangers or ribbons. 

These ornaments are fun to make and look very festive.  More on the class and time in a later post!
If you are interested in attending, please let me know!





Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Stromatolites - Nature Inspires!


One lovely morning not long ago, Peter and I went to the Prescott Gem and Mineral Show.  Having lived in Prescott for 8 years and making jewelry, you'd think this would have been one of my first stops.  Like many people I know, exploring our own town gets pushed aside until we have visitors. 

The Prescott show (held in Prescott Valley Civic Center) was a pleasure to visit.  It was very interesting and not overwhelming.  We actually had space to look at the items and talk with the vendors.  Lots of variety in both polished and rough stones and in finished jewelry.  This was a welcome experience having attended the gem show in Tucson which covers the city of Tucson and takes days to see.

At one of the booths I was introduced to stromatolites.  A small stone that had layers and concentric circles making a very interesting pattern caught my eye and my imagination.  It would make a great mold for metal clay and polymer clay.  Once I zeroed in on the stone and found it was called a stromatolite, I had to know more.  These are fossils, the oldest found 3.7 billion years ago, formed by the growth of layers of cyanobacteri.  The stromatolites provide a record  of ancient life.  You can find out more about the fossil at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromatolite


Stromatolite

I really wanted to make jewelry from the pattern in the fossil.   Sharing a quick peek at my process.
First I dusted the stone and mixed my two part silicone mold putty.  I've found the best way to get equal parts of A and B is to use a small scale and mix the two colors until they are one. 
The stone needs to be pushed into the silicone putty quickly and well to get a clear impression.  The mold dries in a few minutes.

Mold and Stromatalite
Black polymer clay was on my desk and I could hardly wait to see the impression.  Conditioning the clay and rolling it to the thickness I wanted were the next steps.  The polymer was placed into the mold and carefully pressed into all the crevices.  It's important to be careful to keep the clay in the same place preventing a shadowing of lines.



The fossil design is a little large for a medallion in polymer clay but will be perfect for metal clay because of the shrinkage factor.  The project continued  using a circle cutter to cut the pattern, finishing the edges and dusting gold embossing powder on the medallion.  The  bail for the medallion is also polymer clay.  When everything was finished, the piece was cured (baked in a 275 degree oven for 30 minutes).  Then it was buffed and waxed. 

Bail
Next I wanted to see the pattern in a lighter color and I used a gold polymer clay and added a little bling.  You can see the difference a change of color makes.  It's also fun to see how nature inspires and influences my jewelry designs. 


Same mold - different colors