PC challenge 2016 Week 7: Pixelated retro bangle

Another quick post, to show a pixelated bangle for this week’s challenge. This was made for a friend (she has it now) who really liked the retro pattern for some reason! I made another one as well without black and white in between, but felt that was too dark. So I made this one with the contrasts packed in which I liked better. Ironically, she preferred the darker one!

Pixelated retro bangle

Pixelated retro bangle

Here are a bunch of small earrings, made by squishing together tiny pieces of clay for my recycling challenge. These were made using the process I described in my post on scrap clay. As you can see, it pairs nicely with other jewelry made with the same pattern. The picture shows the pendants made using the same mokume gane stack. I was able to put together some nice sets with two or more pairs of earrings and a matching pendant. So hold on to those scraps!

Mokume gane earrings Mokume gane pendants

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PC challenge 2016 Week 7: Mokume gane coasters

This week, I’m combining my two clay challenges (a finished piece each week and recycling something each week) into one. Although I talked about using baked beads every week, I also have an abundance of raw clay veneers sitting in various stages everywhere. And chances are, if I can’t think of something to make them into when I make them, I won’t get any brainwaves when they’re out of sight, tucked away in a dusty box somewhere.

So I pulled out some of those dusty boxes a while back and looked through all my veneers. There were some in there that were over two years old! Nothing really caught my fancy until I came across the giant paisley veneers I made after Carol Simmons’ workshop. And a light bulb went off, coasters!!

So I burnished the veneers down on a thick sheet of scrap clay, cut them out carefully and baked them. Once baked, I covered them with some Clearcast 7050 resin, which I believe is good for coasters. I can’t say it’s my favorite resin to work with. The ratio for mixing is 2:1 instead of equal parts like most resin brands. But I hope it’s better suited for coasters that can take hot drinks. I have a couple that I made using Famowood resin, and hot mugs stick to the coasters.

Mokume gane coasters

Mokume gane coasters

After the resin cured, I attached some sticky cork to the back so the coasters can be placed on any surface without harming it. At this point the sides of the coasters still showed off the ugly scrap colors, so I went over that with a leafing pen.

Coasters side view

Coasters side view

I had exactly four veneers, so that worked nicely for a set of coasters. I really like this idea! It’s a great way to use large patterned sheets, and the resin really sets off the mica clay. I’d initially planned on adding one of these to my work desk, but my mom really liked them, so the set will go to her.

Mokume gane coaster set

The full set of coasters

PC challenge 2016 Week 6: Ikat necklace

Real quick update today to show off a long necklace I made. I don’t have a whole lot of time for claying at the moment, so I’m kinda cheating and resurrecting something I made already. But I don’t want to let up on this weekly posting schedule I have going! So it’s my piece for this week’s challenge.

Ikat necklace

Ikat necklace

The necklace has beads with a fine Ikat pattern and black spacer beads. This was custom made for a friend who wanted a long black and white necklace with a finer pattern rather than a bolder one. Initially I’d planned on leaving all the beads as is with no finishing. But since I chose to use shiny black spacers, the matte clay beads looked odd with them. So each bead was sanded and buffed with a coat of Renaissance wax.

Ikat beads

Ikat necklace closeup

For my recycling challenge, I found a bunch of silk screened discs that didn’t get added to the first set of necklaces I made. I’m trying to use them up so I don’t have the lone disc sitting around. I joined three purple ovals using a nail head rivet to make a chunky focal and added some chain to it. I really like this look! It’s bold, yet simple and suitable for every day use. I really like riveting! I’m not sure if I can use that to create a whole necklace, but it’s great to layer components for a single complex piece.

Riveted silkscreened necklace

Riveted silkscreened focal

PC challenge 2016 Week 5: Fridge magnets!

Quick change of pace again for the challenge. I have a batch of fridge magnets to show for this week. This is partly because I spent much of this weekend making canes from an old Cane Builder tutorial that had some cupcake and ice cream canes: fridge magnets seemed to be a good use for them. Also made a couple of magnets with the candy slices I made the previous week.

I didn’t want to to use the cane slices as is, so I added them onto a base of glitter clay. After baking, they still seemed to need a little something… So I added resin to just the cane slices to have them pop a little. I really liked that look! I did that with all the magnets I made. You can kinda see some resin that seeped between the ice cream cone slices on one of them. I made another one where I butted up the slices better. Originally the plan was to make a series of magnets of the same size with a single cane slice on each. But I reduced the ice cream cane a little too much, so that was adapted a bit!

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Polymer clay fridge magnets

I had great fun with this! I used some scrap slices to make little magnets for myself (the rest are for my mom). When I made the canes, I had no idea how I’d use them. I made them because I really like the shading effect here, with the hint of shadows and light. I’ll definitely be making more of these canes! I think the slices would look great when molded onto a cookie box or candy dish.

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Fridge magnets using scrap slices

Also, since I dedicated this post to magnets, here’s an Aspen magnet I made for a friend. We’d visited Aspen last fall to see fall colors there. As with the canes, I didn’t start out planning a magnet. I was playing with some Kor rollers and mica powders, which resulted in a leaf imprinted sheet colored in. As usual I didn’t have the heart to cut apart the (small!) sheet, so used it as is in a magnet.Aspen magnet

Aspen magnet

For my recycling this week, here are a few stud earrings I made with leftover scraps of veneers. Most of these are from my silk screen phase, so there are matching necklaces too!

Polymer clay earrings

Stud earrings

PC challenge 2016 Week 4: Out of season Christmas ornaments

I had some visitors over last week after a really long time. What that translated to was clearing up my dining table and the chairs and put away the packages of clay, bits n pieces of canes, cutters etc so that people could actually sit on the chairs (without getting poked by a stray cutter) and eat some food placed on the table. While I was doing that, I came across some Christmas ornament projects in various stages of abandonment.

At first I threw the plain cube one into a pile of other Christmas stuff I needed to pack away. But then I found the canes I’d prepped to cover it, and the other partly covered ornaments and decided to finish them up one way or another. There was a brief period of stress, where I covered two sides with the same cane but wanted to cover the remaining sides with different canes. I wrung my hands over the asymmetry of it all and contemplated making a couple of new canes (I didn’t have 6 different canes or enough of the available canes to divide evenly over 6 sides). Finally I decided that it didn’t matter what I did, since I was making it for me. Also, one side would be hidden from view anyway, and you know what, the repeated pattern is pretty darn nice!

Caned cube ornament Cube ornament Cube ornaments blue sides

Cube ornament with cane slices

So I covered two sides with a blue gemstone cane, one with a green gemstone cane and another with a green 3D cane I made last week. I debated using plain clay, or even paint for the top and bottom. After getting ready to cover the remaining sides with glittery clay (I LOVE the new Premo glitter clay) I went and looked at my cane stash. I found a green and yellow gemstone cane reduced to teeny tiny proportions (can you even tell that it’s a gemstone pattern?) and an extruded blue 3D pop cane. Since this matched the color way I had, I went with slices of these for the remaining sides of the ornament.

I also finished up this tie dye caned one. Well it’s supposed to be tie dye. I like the colorful pattern, and it looks decent with bits n pieces of whole slices crammed into any gaps (I still haven’t figured out a perfect way to cover a round ornament with square slices). I had about six leftover slices of the blue cane lying about, so those went on a tiny ornament.

Blue and white caned ornament Tie dye ornament

Round ornaments covered with cane slices

Finally here’s an improvement on the symbolic style ornament. I started this a while ago, it took a while to color in. Since I wanted two distinct colors, I had to antique carefully in stages. It took a long time and buckets of patience. While I’m happy with the result, I’m not going to be attempting this technique on such a large scale again!

Molded ornament

Molded ornament

I’m skipping the recycling part of my challenge for the week. Partly because using up the old canes and clearing my work space of things counts as recycling in my head. Also, I did pull out a box of beads intending to use them in something simple, only to realize there were enough beads for a necklace and a half in there. I have the beads laid down on my bead board and I’m trying to decide on some pattern that’ll let me get away with NOT making any additional beads. One idea is to make one regular sized necklace, about 22 inches long and one shorter necklace finished up with cord or chain for the beadless portion. Another idea is to just use all of the beads and make a loooong necklace. I haven’t decided on either route yet. Here’s a picture of my bead board. If anyone has any ideas, please leave a comment! Putting together jewelry is NOT one of my strengths.

Bead board

I spent a significant amount of time this week working on my swap pieces. I can’t share any details yet, since I’m still finishing them up (gah, sanding!). I’m aiming to send them out this week, so hopefully I should be able to talk about them soon!

PC challenge 2016 Week 3: Organic grungy pods

I have something different to show this week. I finally got around to sculpting some flowers, following Doreen Gay Kassel’s totally fun tutorial. I’m not a sculptor by any standard; I can’t even roll an decent tube of clay! So I’m pretty pleased by how these turned out. I’ll be trying some more variations.

Now I liked how the sculpting went, and initial antiquing went well too. But somewhere towards the end (of course towards the end!!), my coloring process went awry and I ended up with rather muddy colors rather than the bright and pleasing colors that Doreen creates. I’m not sure where I went wrong exactly… But I still like the effect, so I’m labelling these grungy and pretending that the effect is exactly what I was aiming for (ignore the rest of this paragraph, okay)!

Organic grungy pods

Sculpted podsFull view of organic pods

Grungy organic pods

The flowers will be placed in a cleaned up frappuccino bottle on my work desk. I spent a bit of time looking for a different vase for it, but ended up sticking with the bottle. I really like the shape of this bottle, it seems to be made for holding flowers. Here you see it sitting on my red center table (how cool would it be if my work desk was this color?!). I hadn’t planned on doing anything special with the bottle, but I think I might add some simple dots at the base to dress it up a bit.

Grungy pods in recycled vase

Organic flower pods in a vase

I was scrambling a bit to do something about the recycling piece of my challenge, and then I found a couple of chunky stud earrings I’d actually made for the first week of the challenge! But I dumped a giant tile over it and couldn’t find them in time to photograph them. When I lifted the tile to use it for something else, I found the poor things with the earring posts snapped off because of the weight of the tile! So I added some more posts, which gave me a chance to try out Liquid Fusion glue. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while, I’ll see how it holds up. It’s also a good lesson to keep my table cleaner!

Chunky gemstone earrings

Chunky stud earrings

I had the day off on this Monday for Martin Luther King day, and had a very productive weekend, claywise. I have a bunch of cane builder back issues that have been on my to-do list forever. I spent some time giving the mandala cane a try. It is not a forgiving cane at all! But thanks to Meg’s careful instruction, I used less than 2 oz of clay in total. Of course I have a very small cane to show for it, but given that it’s not as perfect as I’d like, that’s a very good thing. Having tried this cane two times now, I can see where I’m going wrong and how I can improve. I dug out a slice from my first try to show what I mean!

Mandala canes P1020182

Mandala cane (left); 3D canes (right)

I also made some simpler canes for a project I have in mind (more on that later, I’m not sure how it’ll work out). There are two 3D canes in different color ways and one sweet cane (sweet as in the shape of a sweet, not as in look how sweet this cane is)! I really love the candy one. I have zero ideas on what to use it for! It doesn’t really lend itself to millefiori style pieces. Maybe some wee fridge magnets? Still glad I made it though, just looking at it cheers me up! Maybe I can cover a jar with clay and add some slices of this to make a candy jar… Ok clearly I have SOME ideas on how to use it! 🙂

Candy cane Candy cane

Sweet canes

The rest of this week will be catching up on some sanding and finishing, and trying out a more complex cane. Tune in next week for more details!

Polymer clay challenge week 2: Silk screened bangle

It’s week 2 of the Polymer Clay Challenge! I’m liking this already. It’s ensuring that I blog once a week at least with smaller snippets instead of waiting forever and collecting about thirty pieces to photograph and process. Well that’s the plan at least! Not going very well at the moment seeing that I was already late with the very first post.

I mentioned before that taking pictures is challenging. I have a complicated light setup with a big photo cube and lights clipped to bookends and balanced precariously with heavy candles! It takes a while to set up and pack away, so I need a few hours of dedicated time for it. But I have a positively tiny photo tent on the way right now. I’m hoping I’ll be able to set that up very quickly and my kitchen light will be enough. We’ll see how that works out!

Onwards then to my piece for this week. I had actually planned on making a different piece altogether (that will be shifted to next week now). But I had this pink-purple blend sitting around my work surface. I’m trying to keep my work area cleaner, so I decided to use that blend and clear up some space. I was debating what I could use it for when I remembered the new silk screens I received from Polymer Clay TV. I’d been meaning to try a silk screened bangle for a while, Teresa has a very simple tutorial on this. So some experimenting later, ta da!

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Silk screened bangle

I really like the look of this! I used printed paper templates for the wavy edge, for some extra pizzazz. I usually cover the back and sides of such bangles with a thin layer of textured clay, but wasn’t sure how I could do that neatly with this shape and surface treatment. So I just applied some gold PanPastel along the edges and on the back (it was a terrible muddy color that I couldn’t possible leave as is). After baking it, I sealed the whole thing with PYM ii. I’d planned to glaze it after the PYM layer, but I like the sheen, so decided against it.

Also, for the recycling part of my challenge, I had some circular cutouts leftover from making a domed frame on the hollow bead maker. I pushed the baked pieces on to a raw sheet of clay, cut them out and rebaked the whole lot. Then I just attached some earring posts to them. They make great chunky earrings! Full disclosure: this wasn’t my idea. I had a couple of friends over looking over my jewelry collection to pick out things they liked. While digging through my scrap bucket, one of them found the little discs and suggested using them for studs. I’d planned on throwing them away at some point, so figured why not give it a try, and am I glad I did!

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I have a bunch of bangles and necklaces I made on request for these friends, I’ll be posting pictures of those soon!