Posts Tagged polymer clay
I had a very busy time over Christmas. In the end we got the bits and pieces for making my lampwork enclosure from B&Q instead, since the carpenter completely failed to give us the quote he said he would… and we never heard from him again! So there was some excitement and a lot of hefting involved in getting large pieces of MDF and cement board home on public transport. (Our ‘local’ B&Q is not particularly local). Most of my Christmas presents from my boyfriend were construction materials and tools! I hadn’t done anything more DIY than putting together flat pack furniture, so it’s all been rather interesting. I’m not entirely finished yet, but everything’s cut to size and sanded. The sanding has taken a while and been exceedingly messy, as sanding is. I’d have got it done faster if I didn’t have to cover everything with dust sheets each time before I could begin! Then there was all the hoovering after. The sanding itself was quite fun though – Black & Decker power sander go VROOOM.
I finally got hold of the correct fan too (don’t ask – motto of the story is to always go for the eBay seller, since they actually care about negative feedback!) so that’s sitting in its box waiting for me to attach the power lead.
Christmas was also hectic because I had the bright idea to make some of the presents. This always takes longer than expected. I also got a very last minute commission from my mum to make a necklace using my polymer clay tree cane for my brother’s girlfriend and ‘a few’ other necklaces she could give to other people. I went for the simple as possible option – polymer clay beads on leather or waxed cotton cord, with hook fastenings. I did make the hooks. I’d been experimenting with the polymer clay version of mokume gane, a Japanese metalworking technique (mokume = woodgrain), so I made a whole load of lentil beads decorated with thin slices from my mokume block and some quick small spacers using the stripy offcuts from the sides.
I also made a green mokume block and used it to decorate a pair of glass tumblers as part of my parents’ presents.
I shall end with a picture of my glass. Oooo, glass. I’m not buying any more until after I’m up and running and have a good idea of what colours I want more of.
What we have here in the first photo is my Effetre starter pack, split into transparent and opaque (the pringles tubes!) and between them is a mixed selection of Effetre stringers. Then there’s a CiM selection pack (so pretty!) and a small Reichenbach 104 selection pack. In front there’s some frit in tubs from Tuffnell’s, three Val Cox frit blends, two sets of shards from Rachel Elliott, and the rods at the front are CoE 96 from A String of Beads.
Photo 2: the top half are colours I ordered with my starter pack and expect to be staples – dark ivory, turquoise, ivory, white, black, clear, petrol green. Then there’s some I got later – Effetre straw yellow, light brown transparent, ink blue, light silver plum, and at the bottom some Double Helix Aurae. I’ll be saving that one up for after I’ve had some practice! (Double Helix does silver-rich reactive glasses that do some amazing things. Also on the expensive side!)
Did I mention oooooh, glass?
I am also going to the UK Flame Off in Towcester in April. Demonstrations! Torches to try out! Vendors and the lampworkers’ village to make me spend all my money! I’m staying overnight on Friday and will be there both days. It’s very exciting!
(If you want to see what I’ve been making before I get round to mentioning it here, have a peek at my Flickr photostream).
I made these pumpkin beads to wear to a Halloween party. I used this tutorial from Polymer Clay Central to construct the cane, then reduced it to different sizes. You can see some of the offcuts and stages in construction in the first photo below, along with the beads ready to go in the oven.
The beads were hurriedly baked the morning before the party, and even more hurriedly strung on brown cord. The earrings were put together once I’d actually arrived, so there wasn’t any opportunity for more than a basic knot. I’m going to redo them a little more neatly and also treat the cord ends to stop them fraying.
I love the way that polymer clay lets you either blend colours by squishing them into each other, or lay them side by side, totally unblended. The moment of cutting the waste ends off a newly assembled or reduced cane to see the finished article is purely gleeful!
Here are my recent polymer clay creations. The temporarily strung ones are baked, the rest aren’t (and all the little flowers and leaves are cane slices waiting to be used).
The leaves were a failed experiment – I should have used a lighter colour in the skinner blend (green to brown). The geometric pattern cane was actually made out of the rest of the leaf cane. I stuck three pieces of it together to make a sort of triangle around a centre, then filled in wedges of the light grey-green to make it round, surrounded it by a thin layer of black, made the cane rectangular, cut it into four lengthwise, put them together in a 2×2, reduced that, repeated the last two steps… and ended up with what you see. There’s one set made of thick slices of it, and another where I added pieces to the surface of some nearly-black beads with mica. One large round, two rondelles, two smaller rounds.
With the flower canes, I cut some slices off before reducing them. I think in the end I reduced the little blue roses a bit much – the smallest ones are really tiny. I’m rather pleased with the rose cane, though. I did it late at night from this rose tutorial and was working with really tiny thin pieces of cane for each of the petals, nothing like the nice chunky ones in the pictures, and it still came out rather well! It’s a really nice design.
The big green “stone” in the first picture was actually supposed to be me mixing a background colour – I got halfway through squidging them together and they looked so pretty I couldn’t make myself continue. So I made a big chunky organic nugget instead, which I am currently wearing on a necklace made of green ribbon and brown cord, with some little brown glass and wooden beads knotted on too.
(I think I need more practice with using ribbon – the end result is ok, but not as nice as I was thinking. The necklace has a hurried S-hook plus rings fastening that’s both secure and easy to use… but gets really caught up in my hair. Doh.)
The other swirly beads came about in similar ways – end offcuts from the canes, mostly. I love swirly organic-looking things. The mica in some of the beads (everything that uses any green, really) is from Fimo Effect. I got opal green and pearl and they give a really lovely look. I got silver-look too, but I think something’s wrong with my block of that. I spent an hour trying to condition it, but whenever it got even slightly cool, or if I tried to run it through the pasta machine, it just started crumbling again. As the other effect clay conditions even more easily than the Fimo Soft, I think something must have gone wrong while it was being stored by the supplier. I got my clays from an eBay seller who lets you pick any 9 blocks, specifying your colours. Oh well. The rest are all fine. I need to get a lot more white, though! And maybe a big block of transparent too next time I order…
This is an attempt to stop being at least a month behind in my posts! Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last little while – some earrings, some wirewrapping with and without beads, some chain maille, a little seed beading (most recent at top):
You’ll notice some variation in photo quality… I got my new camera! It’s a Panasonic Lumix TZ6 and it’s utterly lovely.
I’ve done some more polymer clay beads since then – photos coming soon! I got hold of a second hand pasta machine, which lets you do all kinds of fancy things with polymer clay, so I’ve been making lots of canes to slice up and decorate beads with. (Think of a stick of rock – you assemble everything so the design runs all the way through it, then slice thin pieces off the end to use).