Peacock pendants

I didn’t get a whole lotta claying done this past couple of week. I wouldn’t say I’ve lost my inspiration…but maybe I’ve lost my clay mojo? I usually have a billion ideas swirling in my head and a million projects ongoing. And of course there’ll be tutorials that I HAVE to buy right away and try out right away. There’ve been so many times when I’ve woken up, turned on my TV, sat at my clay spot just start making things! And before I knew it, I’d’ve blitzed through entire seasons and forgotten about lunch. But lately I haven’t had the drive for such claying marathons.

Not that that’s a bad thing necessarily. I suppose choosing to vacuum over building a cane is a sign of growing up! Also, the weather has been getting steadily hotter here in the Pacific Northwest. For someone who essentially grew up in a ridiculously hot place, I really despise summers. I tend to just flop on my couch with two fans pointing at me and not move for long periods of time! But it’s almost August, so fall (my favorite season!) will be here before I know it!

Now all this isn’t to say I didn’t make anything. I can’t stay away from my clay table for very long even if I don’t have the mood or energy for marathons. I made a couple of peacock pendants following Chris Kopano’s PCA tutorial. It was great fun! She recommends using foil backed glass cabochons for these, but I didn’t have any on hand. So I tried a couple of different things. I used a large glass pebble for one and a mini Cabezel filled with Pebeo Prisme paint for another. For the third, I simply poked a ball tool in the middle and filled that with Prisme paints. I wanted to add resin on the Pebeo paints to simulate a cabochon, which works quite well for the Cabezel, but didn’t dome nicely for the other one. So I had to cover the whole piece with resin.

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While I do love these, I still feel like there’s something better I could use for the center cab. I could do away with it completely of course, but I really love the way it draws the eye and makes the whole piece seem richer somehow. I spent a good amount of time searching for foil backed cabs but didn’t find any I liked. Patricia Roberts-Thompson posted a piece she made with a rivoli crystal in the center and that looked lovely. So I’ve ordered some of those.

I was mulling over ideas on how to create my own cabs with translucent clay when an idea struck me, why not try casting some resin cabs? So I went off and mixed some resin and added some blue alcohol ink to it. I quite like these set of cabochons. They’re the right size and while casting is a fairly time consuming process, I can make as many as I like in any color I want. I also experimented with adding some glitter for a brighter effect, which was kinda cool as well.

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I tried these out in the oven and while the cab itself retained its shape, the lovely blue disappeared and color turned kind of yellow. I’ve heard of resin yellowing when baked but didn’t realize the ink coloring would basically vanish. I simply painted over the surface with some blue ink and protected the entire surface with some Pym ii. Well actually I thought I was spraying Pym ii but that turned out to be Triple Thick spray varnish! So far the surface hasn’t gotten tacky or anything, but it’s been barely 48 hours! So I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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I haven’t been caning very much lately, which makes me sad. But I did manage a zig-zag cane from Deb Hart’s CraftArtEdu class. I have to say, it’s a lot more work than I anticipated! I decided to follow the instructions exactly, so I mixed up about 8 custom shades of clay, made several skinner blends and built a bunch of base canes. Then there was all the artful slicing and arranging. I used all Kato clay after a long time and it seemed that each color was at a markedly different consistency. So it wasn’t the most fun making it all come together. But the final cane are quite cool I think. I haven’t made a multicolor pattern like this in a long time. Here are some hollow beads with the chevron veneer.

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I have a couple of more things I’d like to talk about, but I want to break out of the cycle of super long posts once a month! So I’m going to leave it for next time!

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Red, blue and white

Polymer clay flowers

Last week I FINALLY got my red, blue and white themed swap in the mail. While I didn’t end up making anything I originally planned, I managed to get a couple of different things in the box. First off, some more shots of the mirror I framed. I also added a clay hinge to make it a compact mirror. I didn’t spend enough time on this so it’s not as perfect as I’d like. I cured the top and bottom separately but forgot to account for the hinge space in the base. And of course I realized that in the very last step when I wanted to attach the two pieces! I hastily threw some extra clay on top and forced it all together, but it isn’t the neatest job.

Polymer clay mirror front: The Beaded BazaarPolymer clay mirror frame: The Beaded Bazaar

Polymer clay mirron

Ideally, the pattern on front should be beautifully symmetric instead of the weird sort of pulsating pattern I have going. All the clay here is Sculpey Souffle, which caused the square canes to squish to rectangles while slicing. To compensate for that, I shaped the cane into a rectangles thinking it’d give me square slices. Just before I was about to slice it up, I read a tip from Teresa Pandora Selgado (who make GORGEOUS canes out of Souffle) on chilling the cane in the fridge before slicing. Sure enough when I tried it there was zero squishing. Which meant the rectangle cane I’d forgotten to reshape gave me rectangle slices!!

Polymer clay mirror hinge: The Beaded BazaarPolymer clay textured back: The Beaded Bazaar

Mirror inside and textured back

Despite all this, I’m happy with the results. These were all free form canes and were great fun to make. I’m very pleased with Souffle for these types of canes. The colors are lovely and the canes reduce with hardly any effort. I’ll be experimenting some more with this. I used very little red and blue clay to make a bunch of different canes, so most of it went into the mirror. I had a couple of scraps left that I turned into this pendant and earrings. I didn’t add this to the swap because I thought it looked too squishy though!

Polymer clay pendant and earrings: The Beaded Bazaar

Pendant and earrings from leftover cane slices

I got a new Cabezel mold that I have been loving! I really like the petal and drop shapes in this one. The shapes fit together to make large complex focal pieces. I cut out a bunch of bezels and made a pendant and two pairs of earrings. I filled them with some Pebeo Prisme paints and topped it off with resin. If I’d had more time I’d have like to put together a sari silk necklace for this, but I sent just the pendant and earrings.

CaBezel pendant and earrings: The Beaded Bazaar

CaBezel pendant and earrings

I also made a bunch of flowers in red, blue and white. Here are some tulips, a rose, daisy and calla lily. One of my original ideas was just a bouquet of these flowers but they turned out to be pretty complicated to make, so I just finished these few and sent them off. I do plan to make some and stick them in a vase on my office desk. But man, these flowers are hard to make!!

Polymer clay flowers: The Beaded Bazaar P1020677

Polymer clay flowers

Finally, I managed to throw in a hollow pendant based on Wendy Orlawski’s class in PCA. I stamped a sheet of clay with some blue and what I thought was red, but turned out to be orange for the inside, and did the outsides in red, blue and white. Really rubbing your face in the theme aren’t I?! I liked how this turned out, so I made a few similar ones and stuck cane slices inside them. I like being able to match the “frame” color and the colors from the canes. This type of bead makes a nice big focal. I’m thinking of making some long necklaces with just this bead or a couple of larger beads on ribbon or leather cord… I think it’d look good without being too much.

Polymer clay hollow bead: The Beaded BazaarPolymer clay hollow beads: The Beaded Bazaar

Hollow pendants

Once I was done with all this I kinda took a couple of days off from clay. Getting the swap done took quite a bit out of me and I needed some time to regroup and get inspired. I did spend some time finishing up some hearts I made for Hearts for Zach. Here’s a big bunch of them. I still need to add bails to a couple of them and I will be sending this lot off. I really hope people like them and buy them!

Hearts for Zach: The Beaded Bazaar

Many hearts for Zach

Couple of close up shots of the hearts are below. I sorted them loosely into categories. First up are CaBezel hearts with more Pebeo Prisme (I can’t get enough of the stuff!). The picture next to that shows what I consider surface effect hearts. That’s mostly textured and silkscreened pieces. I had great fun coloring some of the silkscreened hearts on glitter clay with some markers. I saw Syndee Holt post this idea on one of the Facebook groups I belong to and had to try it out. Also in the mix are some hearts using my own textures made using Helen Breil’s really excellent radiating textures tutorial. I’ve had this for the longest time but only tried it out now since I thought radiating textures would work nicely with the heart shape. I LOVE the mica powders on these! There’s a close up of just those hearts there, ‘cuz frankly those are my favorite!! I might keep a couple of them!

CaBezel hearts: The Beaded BazaarSurface effect hearts: The Beaded BazaarTextured hearts: The Beaded Bazaar

CaBezel hearts; Surface effects; Textured hearts

Final lots: cane work hearts and some magnets. I pulled a few canes out of my stash and made these. I quite like the black, white and red pattern: it’s composed entirely of extrusions. The magnets use some cane builder canes I made a while ago. I’d planned on making them into jewelry as well but magnets seem to fit better. Besides, it makes sense to stick ice cream cones on a heart doesn’t it?! To say you love ice cream?!

Hearts with cane slices: The Beaded BazaarHeart magnets: The Beaded Bazaar

Hearts with cane slices

Quick update and some canes

Phew, things have been rough at work. All I did over the last couple of weeks was literally go to work, come back late at night and fall into bed. Sadly that left very little time for claying (or anything really). So I don’t have any completed piece to show off. I’m trying to scrape together time to finish my red, blue and white themed swap. It was to be shipped in June!! I had so many ideas for this one: I really wanted to try an extruded star cane for this, and maybe some bargello. But I had no time for that. I have a couple of pieces almost done, will be sending it off on Monday. Want a sneak peak? Here’s a “compact” mirror with a free style cane veneer. I picked up a small square mirror and built a hinge and cover for it. More on this later, it’s a part of a swap so don’t want to give away too much.

Mirror covered with freestyle cane: The Beaded Bazaar

Mirror covered with freestyle cane

I did experiment with Teresa Salgado’s cane bender style cane using Souffle clay. I didn’t like the original triangle section much, but the assembled square looks good to me (the two canes on the left). I used the remaining blends I had for another cane in similar colors. I plan to cover another box with slices of all these different canes. Since they were constructed using the same set of colors I’m hoping they’ll be in harmony. My first instinct is to cover the whole thing with slices of the same cane. But that’s…boring! Since I’m not brave enough to try patching together completely different canes slices, using a set of similar ones seems to be a good start.

Freestyle canes using cane benders: The Beaded Bazaar

Freestyle canes using cane benders

I got me a big bunch of fondant supplies and have been dying to try them out. These are mostly petal cutters for different flowers and a couple of border cutters. I’ve been very into clay flowers since I took the plunge and got Iris Mishly’s entire Flower Academy set. Here’s my first rose below in a random pot. While I wasn’t too happy with this to begin with, it does resemble a real rose. So that’s good! I’m playing with some variations of this and will hopefully improve my technique. It’s fairly time consuming since each petal has to be formed and shaped individually.

Polymer clay rose: The Beaded Bazaar

Polymer clay rose

Tune in next time, hopefully I’ll have more clay time soon!

P.S: I mentioned being into Grimm last time, but boy did that show turn soap opera-ish real soon. Without many other options (or time), I’ve started watching Supernatural. I’ve caught a couple of episodes before so I have an idea about the show. And with eleven seasons, that should keep me busy for a while!

The hamsa swap

To start of the week, here are the hamsas I made for the February Polymer Clay Adventure swap. I’m happy to say they reached their destination safe and sound! I made a peacock based on this super fun tutorial from Christi Friesen and paired it with a silkscreened one that has a peacock feather pattern. I’m so in love with this silkscreen from Tonja’s Treasures. I have some ideas brewing for projects that will incorporate these silkscreens.

Scupted peacock hamsa Silkscreened peacock hamsa  Translucent peacock hamsa 

Peacock themed hamsas

The elephant head was molded based on this excellent journal cover tutorial and was paired with a keychain that had a bunch of smaller silkscreened hamsas.

Sculpted elephant hamsa Hamsa keychain

Elephant hamsa and mini hamsa keychain

Finally, I really wanted to do a phoenix for the third one, but couldn’t get the shape of the bird to look right. And this one was to go to Katie of KatersAcres, who’s an AMAZING sculptor (and all round artist really). So I abandoned the attempt at sculpting and went with a millifeori style hamsa, along with a parrot patterned silkscreen.

Millifeori hamsa Parrot silkscreened hamsa

Millifeori and silkscreened hamsa

All in all sculpting was fun! I still need precise instructions to follow; my experiments with the phoenix sadly proved that I’m not a natural sculptor. But it was still a lot more fun that I’d thought. I’ll definitely be doing more of that. Also, here are the lovely pieces I received in the hamsa swap!

Hamsas I received in the swap

Lovely hamsas I received

I spent the last couple of weeks scrambling to finish up some March swap pieces. I talked about butterflies last week, here’s a GIANT faux cloisonne butterfly. While I liked how it turned out, it’s far too large to be used as anything but a wall hanging! I tried coming up with a smaller version, but apparently I just can’t draw small! So I shelved the idea and went with a bunch of other pieces including a butterfly wing cane, faux mosaic and a fair attempt at soutache. No pictures yet, since I just mailed the package out today. So tune in next week if you’re curious!

Faux cloisonne butterfly

Faux cloisonne butterfly

I’m also planning my first ever fairy door for the second Parker’s clay tribe challenge. This time around, only one entry is allowed per person, so I spent some time thinking about different designs. After some research on different elaborate doors, I have a design sketched out and some test prototype pieces. I’m not going to give away anything else, except that this peacock cane will contribute heavily to the door!

Feather canes

Feather canes

Also in the works, some more feather canes for my owl swap. I’m planning on some sculpted owl pendants, so I have several more canes to make and reduce. This is a three for three swap, similar to the hamsas, so I need to work on swaps for three people. I had a plan in place, and was making progress nicely. But of course now that I’m close to the deadline for finishing them, I’m not happy with just one technique or one style! The good news is I’m close to finished with my initial plan, so I should have something to mail of next week! But till we get there, I’m off to go make about a billion skinner blend sheets!