Shiny, shiny beads

I’ve been obsessing over shiny beads lately, based on Debbie Crothers’ embellished beads tutorial. I also got her liquid clay tutorial, which has so many tips on how to use Kato liquid clay to produce a fabulously shiny bead. I’ve been experimenting on different things mixed into the liquid clay as well. Some have worked well, some, not so much!

Blue polymer clay beads: The Beaded BazaarRed polymer clay beads: The Beaded Bazaar

Red and blue beads

I tried to stick to some color schemes with the vague idea of stringing them together to make necklaces. There’s a red lot and blue, what I started with. I also tried some simple black and gold beads. Lastly, my favorite, peacock colors in burnished gold, blue and green! I’m trying to think of a good focal for the peacock colors, I think the beads have the potential for a lovely statement necklace. I might also add some purple beads.

Black and gold polymer clay beads: The Beaded BazaarPeacock color polymer clay beads: The Beaded Bazaar

Black and gold beads (L); Peacock beads (R)

I love the look of these black and gold beads as well! The black ones were supposed to be just for practice, but I love their simple look. I think I might make them into a simple necklace. The giant burnished gold ones are hollow! I think those would be great with some ribbon maybe? I’m not sure how to string these up.

I managed to string the red beads together to create a nice chunky necklace. Large Ultralight clay beads make sure it’s not too heavy. I really do like this one! It’s a touch too big for me, but I’m still tempted to keep it.

Red beads necklace: The Beaded Bazaar

Red rose necklace

For a touch of cuteness, here are some holiday themed miniatures I’ve been working on. I plan to put these on my monitors at work! I know I have a wee Christmas tree somewhere as well, which I’ll have to dig out!

Winter miniatures: The Beaded Bazaar

Winter miniatures

Tube beads and faux ceramic

I don’t have much to share here. Most of my time recently has been split between challenges at work and working on finishing up a Japanese themed swap that I was supposed to send out last month! But I’ve been in touch with my swap partner and we’re both travelling this month. So we decided to mail our pieces in a week or so. She suggested doing a “sync-ship” so we’ll both get our packages around the same time. And of course the minute the deadline moved, I pushed away the pieces I’d been working on energetically and went off on a clay tangent!

Even with all that, I have finally finished a few different things. I still need to do some finishing, but that shouldn’t take too long (I hope!). It’s funny, at first I had no idea what to make for the challenge. And then slowly I found about four different tutorials for Japanese related things that I already had and ideas started flowing. I didn’t have enough time to implement my original idea, which was to make a tiny Japanese garden or Zen garden. But I still have that at the back of my mind and will be making one when I have a moment. I think a wee Zen garden will be great on my table at office.

There are a few other techniques I tried as well. I bought the Cosmic Ceramic tutorial set from Iris Mishly a while back and have been playing with it on and off whenever I find a scrap of white clay that I’m too bored to reshelve. I haven’t nailed down the realistic finish yet (have you seen these gorgeous pieces from Christi Uliczny?! I think this one is my favorite). But I’m having a total ball with these. I’m finally putting all the PanPastels I have to good use, as well as various assorted stamps. I’m in the process of organizing some of my craft supplies and I keep uncovering stamps I forgot I owned!

Faux ceramic beads

Polymer clay faux ceramic pieces

Another artist I’ve been following a lot lately is Ludmila Bakulina. She has a wonderful YouTube channel with lots of tutorials and tips. The one that got my juices flowing was a video she did recently using texture sheets and stamps with clay. What piqued my interest was that she showed a bunch of CoolTools textures that I’ve had trouble with, because they have a very fine texture. And boy does her technique work like a charm!! Here are a set of hollow tube beads I made with various small texture sheets. Also, a earring pair sitting on top of the fine line texture sheet I used for them. Even with the crazy close-up, you can barely see the texture. I have NEVER gotten a clean impression with this one by just pressing the stamp into clay. But rolling the clay onto the stamp created a wonderful raised pattern, nicely highlighted with Gilders paste.

Hollow textured tube beads Fine texture earrings

Textured tube beads and textured earring pair

In other exciting news, I’m finally off to Carol Simmons’s master cane workshop this week! My bags are packed, my supplies are in and I’m all ready to learn buckets of things! I spent some time making a few color keys in preparation for this workshop which was quite insightful. I never realized the lovely shades of green between Cobalt Blue and Zinc Yellow. I will be making many more of these scales once I get back and start trying to mix more custom colors of my own.

Polymer Clay Color Keys

Polymer clay color keys