Work in progress and first ever swap

Just a quick update on what I’ve been up to. Apart from baking and eating large amounts of cake and thoroughly enjoying fall colors, I’ve been caught up in a sudden flower cane frenzy. I’m obsessed with layered petal canes especially, and got myself a couple of tutorials to learn how to assemble such canes.

I can’t say my first tries were a roaring success. The blue and white one especially looks nothing like I imagined, or how it’s supposed to. I still like the irregular ruffled look of the petals, so I used it to make some pendants and things. I was quite disappointed with the mismatched sections with the orange flower one (made using this tutorial), but received a flood a positive comments when I posted in on my favorite polymer clay Facebook group (look for HOP!: it stands for Hooked On Polymer clay). After reading all the nice things people had to say, I’ve started looking at the cane in a completely different light! And that’s a good thing, since both these canes used up about 8 packages of clay between them! I kept meaning to make a cane with blue and orange to sort of “bridge” the cane, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet!

Blue flower cane Orange flower cane

Flower canes

I’d signed up for a swap on the HOP! group, and wanted a millefiori pendant to send in. So I promised myself that I’d make some pieces with whatever canes I had by Saturday and work on finishing them up nicely on Sunday.

For the most part, this worked out well. By Saturday night, I had some pendants with orange flowers, blue flowers and both baked and ready. But at this point I suddenly decided that I wanted to include a mica clay pendant as well! So I pulled out my metallic and pearl clays and hastily assembled some Carol Simmons style stacks and veneers and made some more pendants. I sanded and buffed everything on Monday and after hours of agonizing, picked out a couple of pendants and mailed it off on Wednesday before I changed my mind!

Did you feel that paragraph sounded rushed? Because it was! I kept going back and forth on what I wanted to make and changing my mind about the size and style and drove myself up the wall! Which is why I mailed off the pieces I picked out on Wednesday before I could change my mind. Or take a picture!! But I do have pictures of the things that I didn’t pick! Some of these will go into my pendant collection, and I’ll have to find some unsuspecting person to foist the rest on!

Millefiori pendants Mica pieces

Millefiori pendants and mica pieces

The amount of stress I took on for the swap was (is) fairly ridiculous. The group is made of amazingly supportive and POSITIVE people who’re super encouraging. So I’m sure no one will hate any piece they receive. But there’s something a little scary about putting your artwork out there, for people to see and judge. I started this blog for the same reason, to share my work with people. But I still control the pictures and pieces I post here. Of course I control what I send as well, but I kept thinking “What if this isn’t good enough?”

After days of torturing myself about this, I finally told myself to stop! The swap item was to be mailed out by the end of the month, and no matter how much I tried, my abilities weren’t going improve magically in that span of time. I looked at all the pieces I made and asked myself, would I like it if I got this in the mail? I picked up all the pieces and examined them carefully, and felt, yes, I’d like to get this! It’s not perfect, but I’ve tried my best!

Once I got that out of the way, the next question was, what if this isn’t her style? I make lots of chunky dangly earrings and things, but wear small earrings every day. I love making and buying fully beaded necklaces, but tend to shy away from wearing them. I decided to go with a couple of chunky pendants and a pair of post style earrings. I picked one small pendant and one slightly larger pendant, reasoning she’d find something to match her style in the lot. I did want to add a symbolic bead style key chain as well, but didn’t manage to make one in time for my self imposed deadline!

At the moment, my pieces are on their way to her (they should’ve reached by now)! I really hope they reach safely and that she likes them! Even with the stress and confusion, I did enjoy this whole experience. I will definitely be participating in the swap next month and I’ve already started planning a rather ambitious project for it. I will adjust it based on the person if they have any obvious preferences once I have the name, but hopefully I’ll be able to make a piece that I find good enough to send out!

Oh I’m eagerly waiting for my swap piece as well! It’s a three way swap, so I don’t know who’s art piece I’ll be getting!

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