Posts Tagged ‘Polymer Clay’

It’s Marvelous Monday! Time to post an update on what’s been going on in the studio.

I’ve been working on making some new pieces that are more affordable in the the wrist wear department. Errrr, they started out being more affordable and over time I just couldn’t help myself. Honestly, these became mini wearable works of art. The layered polymer clay bracelets will be less expensive than the copper cuffs which are hand cut and embossed, layered with hand cut and stamped leather and then further layered with unusual polymer clay designs sealed in resin and then attached using a wire weaving technique. All clasps and end caps are handmade as well. Some bracelets feature chain and others feature chain mixed with sari ribbons collected from the cutting room floors in India.

For the polymer only bracelets, I started by making whimsical creatures on cool stamped and painted backgrounds made of polymer clay. After curing them I mounted them on hand cut and embossed copper sheet treated with a patina. I realized that the polymer background was covering most of the copper cuff. “To solve this problem, a second design was born!

I made thick embossed polymer cuffs to mount my creatures and their backgrounds on and then made smaller designs and coated them in resin for the copper cuffs. To add strength I embossed and finger painted leather and adhered it to the copper backing. That step is not shown yet in these photos. The last steps will be to add decorative metal discs and chain or ribbon clasps. All items are assembled using a cold fusion method of hand torched wire head pins and a hammer.

I can hardly wait to finish these and get them up for you!

 

 

 

smooshed-clay hammered-clay

Ever have trouble with your clay? Ever sat there for an hour trying to work it with your hands and it’s still crumbling on the floor and you’ve got knots in your hands?

Here’s the quick and easy. Grab a plastic, leather or wooden mallet.  You want something with a wide face to smoosh as much surface area as possible at one time.  You also don’t want it to damage the surface you will be banging on which is why I don’t recommend using a metal hammer.

Grab your super hard chunky clay. Go find some tile or floor space (or work bench) that will not get damaged by the banging. You want your surface to be clean and free of pet hair, glitter and the like because your clay will pick up all of this gunk and it doesn’t look nice in your clay. Unless you like that sort of thing.

I start by banging on a small chunk at a time. If you are blending colors you can flatten out a few little pancake sized pieces and then stack them together and keep on banging. The friction from banging starts to heat up the polymer clay and make it more pliable. I have fixed some seriously dry clay this way.

smooshed-clay

The next most useful thing I have found helpful in conditioning my clay is adding a few drops of liquid polyclay in the center of the pancake, layer another pancake of clay on top of it and bang a few more times, tearing, adding liquid clay, layering, banging, repeat.

kato-polyclay-liquid

Once the clay is soft enough I run it through my pasta machine. I continue to add drops of liquid polyclay in the center of the sheet, fold and roll through the machine folded side first. Always roll the folded side through first so that air bubbles have a place to go as the clay gets flattened over onto itself. You don’t want bubbles ruining your finished product when it’s curing. You’ll know it’s fully conditioned when the edges of the clay are smooth and not torn or crumbly after being run through the pasta machine.

pasta-machine

 

The other way to quickly condition clay is to throw it in a food processor that is dedicated to clay. I do that when blending different brands of translucent or when going for a chunky turquoise look. Generally though, I use the hammer method because I’m working with one idea at a time and I don’t have a need to lug out the food processor for a tiny clump of clay. Plus, smashing clay with your hammer is very therapeutic!

march-photos-70 march-photos-70 Molded from paper thin shells, these polymer clay pendants are sure to catch a curious eye. Shades of deep Aubergine change into shades of bronze and copper. The lines of the original shell can be seen and felt as well as very small mica flakes that are embedded and adhered to the surface of the shell, front and back. The center of the shell has a large Swarovski crystal in the unusual shade of Tabac. The stains and mica are sealed to preserve color and protect the design from handling. I hand hammered red brass into swirling loops and attached copper balls with brass wire to them to give the piece a finished feel. The ear wires are oil rubbed bronze.  After carefully setting the polymer clay in the mold I had fun with painting stains and metallic finishes onto the clay and mica powder. Check my Artfire Shop to see if they are still for sale. I found these paper thin shells on the beach in Carmel, CA on my honeymoon nearly 13 years ago. I’ve never known quite what to do with them. Now that I’m designing jewelry these became a source of inspiration. At once I knew I had to make a mold of them and try my hand at making over nature in my own artistic way. The shells are so thin I was worried they would break in the molding process but they did not. Yeay! 

 

Pea Green Lily Pads  3 Turquoise, copper wire, red stones, Swarovski crystals and a bit of glitter Polymer Clay handmade lily pads with Swarovski crystal set in the center. Accented with dangling turquoise stones and complimentary Czech glass in turquoise set above the lily pad. Deep red Czech crystals and glass bead accent play against the shades of greens and teals. Copper wire is wrapped in around and through these dangles and is then distressed and buffed. At the very bottom dangles a teeny little Swarovski crystal in Palace Green and rests against a little asian coin drop. See my Artfire Shop to see if it’s still for sale.

SYMBOLISM:

Water lilies are symbolic of strength and transformation in a person’s life where that person has come from out of a dark place in life and into the light just as the lily rises up from the mud and breaks through the surface of the water into the light. The lily pad itself captures sunlight and sustains the plant. Water is symbolic of the emotions.

Turquoise: (5th Chakra, throat area) This yummy gemstone is representative of wholeness, communication and spiritual expansion. Especially good for spiritual integration. All parts are valid and make up the whole. On your spiritual journey it is important to integrate and validate all aspects of the self, even the parts that are perceived as negative. This stone is great for self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.

 

sea-urchin-1-of-3 sea-urchin-1-of-3

I love how organically natural this one feels. Made with polymer clay and a molding process (no, not like cheese). I finished the piece with stains to deepen the look of the crevices and added sparkle through beads pressed into the clay. The bail is poly clay as well. The beads going up the sides of the necklace are mother of pearl, crystal and glass. This one makes a statement for sure. Think, Sea Gypsy.

wots-of-wuv-1-of-3 wots-of-wuv-1-of-3

This necklace was created using polymer clay for the three main doughnut designs. The doughnuts were stained and then sealed before stringing onto the necklace. Made with cherry quartz glass and three poly clay centerpieces this necklace is soft and sweet in appeal. Romantic soft pinks pair with gutsy tiger-striped glass beads with amber hues giving it a bit of bite. Maybe just a nibble. The other beads used were pink mother of pearl, glass chips, wood discs and delicate pink crystals. Part of my personal collection.

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