Dec 31, 2008

Polymer Clay 3 D Mold Tutorial

Making a 3 D mold is simple. Choose a two sided metal pendant, or even a textured bead. You will require 2 of these as you will be making 2 identical molds.

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Step 1: Making the Mold

For the fish you need to make a two-piece mold.

Step 2: Condition enough Elasticlay for 2 of the fish or beads by squeezing between fingers like play dough. Mold maker doesn't need much conditioning as it is very soft. Best not to overwork it, otherwise it becomes too warm and squishy.

Step 3: Roll into a ball, then roll out into a tube and cut in half. Flatten the balls slightly.

Step 4: Brush your fish or object with Armour all or cornstarch as a release agent. Press your fish or object into the clay ½ way.

Step 5: Mark opposite edges with Exacto knife or needle tool, so you can realign the mold and the sides later.

Step 6: Repeat with second fish, but use reverse side of fish and press into clay.

Step 7: Mark each side of the clay ...

...So that marks will match each other.

Step 8: Bake the mold and object together, according to manufacturers instructions. Let Cool.

Remove fish from the molds.

Dec 23, 2008

Polymer Clay Box or Tile Legs Tutorial

Had a Polymer Clay request for how to make legs for a box, bowl or tile. This one is for you, Vanessa :), but also for anyone else who stumbles onto this blog, is new at claying or is just plain curious....Merry Christmas! Forgive me, if I'm not super accurate with describing in more detail, but made this tutorial in a couple of hours.....rush rush rush, lol.
I chose to make a tile stand for one of my crystal balls, using a 3" CD, black premo, translucent liquid sculpey, silver mica or pulver and a texture plate.

Step 1: Condition clay, roll out on #3. Brush some armour all onto the texture plate. Lay sheet of clay onto texture and run back through at #3. Make 2 sheets.

Step 2: put CD onto the non-textured side of clay sheet and trim around CD. Then cover other side of CD with textured clay and trim.
Step 3: After covering both sides of CD, use blade and trim edge.

Step 4: You may want to decorate the edge of the tile with a trim of sorts. Either just roll out a long snake and use this plain, or roll out a snake and prepare a mold with armor all as shown, using a brush. Use very little armour all, you don't want to saturate your mold with it. You can also use water or corn starch. I prefer armour all as a mold release.

Step 5: Press snake into the mold evenly and firmly.
Step 6: Trim along mold, removing excess layer of clay, then carefully remove decorative trim.
Step 7: cover edge of tile with decorative trim.

Step 8: I pressed my crystal into the clay to give it a bit of a 'bowl' to sit in....

Step 9: Apply mica or powder with finger for an antique kind of finish by letting the black of the recesses show.

Step 10: For Legs....Roll some clay with your fingers into a long tube or snake. Use Kato Marxit ruler.... and lightly press into clay to score/mark clay.

Step 11: Cut scores at equal intervals.

Step 12: Cut 4.

Step 13: Roll each end of legs to a point. Try and make them as equal as possible.

Step 14: Start coiling the tapered ends into snails.

Step 15: Try and coil them to about the same length.

Step 16: Lay a coiled leg onto texture plate and gently fold plate over to texture both sides at same time.

Step 17: Use mica/pulver to coat the legs.

Step 18: Apply liquid sculpey on the flat part of the leg. Press a short piece of wire into that part of the leg also, letting just a little stick out (not shown) . This will help adhere it to the base of the tile.

Step 19: And apply each one to the bottom of the tile, gently pushing down on each leg. After you've applied all 4 legs, turn tile over and carefully stand on legs and gently push down. This will help adjust any 'wobble' in the legs and correct unevenness. A leg may fall off, just reapply. Bake in this position. You may need to use little props so legs don't fall over, but the short pieces of wire should help prevent them from falling over.

Step 20: There you have it. You can make little trivets this way with larger CD's and not cutting out the centre hole. You can make legs like this for boxes....whatever tickles you!

Dec 8, 2008

Bazaar, Art Fest and Polymer Clay result

Polymer Clay not glitzy enough? Notes to myself...add some 'bling' to it in future. All my beadwork now is pearls and some sparkle. The crowds were definitely drawn to that first.
Well, the community got together for a great weekend!
First it was St.Francis of Assisi's Annual Christmas Bazaar, then our Winter Celebration Art Fest. The Church raised a fabulous $18,000 for Charity with an amazing $6000 on baked goods alone! As usual we made our bids in the auctions and ended up with a whole bunch of goodies, including the coveted 'Basket', filled with donated goods from the local business community. Will be a fun thing to open at Christmas.
In their basement sale of the Bazaar I made some great finds too, a beautiful scalloped amber glass bowl, an amber and red glass dish, two awesome odd sized column candleholders and 13 antique silver spoons. The spoons lay on a platter that read .10cents. I thought maybe the platter was .10. I asked one of the Sisters running the show if the spoons were really .10cents or the platter and she sighed: "not the platter and no-o....." (ok, I thought, I bet they will be more like $3 or $5 a piece..??) when she says:"I guess they could be 5 cents a piece." I laughed:"no, no, NO! I'm definitely going to pay the 10 cents!" A big sweet smile on her face lit up so bright. You can bet I left a tip too! Some of these spoons are actually antique butterknifes and another one I will take a picture of because I have no idea what kind of tool that was. No idea what I'll do with those yet.
Anyway....I utilized the glass dish right away for my polymer clay bangles and the columns for my small black busts....I don't know if you can see them in the pics.
My "Elizabeth I-Inspired" line was well-received with the twenty-somethings...those drops look great with cleavage or even a turtleneck (see on necklace on red bust above with earrings and just below here).

My Bling Rings, some 'steampunk' style, some chunky sized disappeared just as quickly.

My polymer clay stuff did alright, but women are definitely attracted to my glitzier stuff, especially this time of year.
Are you having as much fun this time of year as I? All your shopping done?...I have and am glad...decorating time today!

Nov 30, 2008

Tutorial done!

Got 2 tutorials done this week, but unfortunately its not on Polymer Clay but Beadwork.
Caprica Pearl Cluster Earrings, Pendant and Bracelet.....shameless self-promotion.
The Bracelet tutorial has 30 some steps and 46 pictures. 16 pages to guide step by step will make this a breeze for even a newbie to beadwork.
The Earring and Pendant tutorial is a smaller version of the cluster, but still packed with plenty of pics, 35 of them and 22 steps. Here is a pic of one of the headers....and a small teaser.

Nov 29, 2008

Polymer Clay Retreat on the Horizon....

It's not even Christmas yet and I'm already looking forward to the New Year. Horizons 2009, a Retreat for Polymer Clay enthusiasts, will be hosted by the Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

When: Friday, February 20 - Sunday, February 22, 2009
Where: Park Inn Hotel on Broadway, downtown Vancouver
Registration will be open to non-members of the Guild starting December 1st. Go visit the Horizons Link to register or for more information on the various workshops that will be offered.

I'm looking forward to some great Demos and Workshops. The hot Canadian Artist teacher list will include Gera Scott Chandler, Wanda Shum, Cheryl Trottier, Joan Tayler and Dan Cormier, among many other fab artists whom I haven't had a chance to meet yet and well....I too will have the opportunity to teach.

My workshop will focus on creating PhotoEz stencils and their use, as well as one of my favorite surface colouring techniques along with stamping. In my workshop we'll be creating bangles and pins, but the technique will be open to any project you desire to create.

Nov 28, 2008

Making Polymer Clay DVD Tutorials

I want to get some tutorials onto DVD.
Having done tutorials on paper and photography with my Cybershot, the recording with a camcorder certainly is turning out to be an adventure, especially for a newbie like me. Am slowly getting the hang of it....slowly, lol, since I don't like 'reading' instructions. I rather push buttons and see what happens (grin). All the 'auto' functions....something wasn't quite right about some of them, but after manual adjustment of white balance and exposure in this low light (even with lighting set up) seems to have done the trick. The little table tripod I got from my friend Liz helps a lot! Thanks Liz! I'm finally using it!

I enjoy the 'editing' part better than the 'shooting'. Recently shot my first 'movie', of a 2 day vacation, lol. I tell 'ya, walking around with camcorder constantly in hand, does annoy some people. I missed some of that vacation, lol, but after editing with Video Wave 9, turned out not half-bad! After adding music, text and special effects, we have a comedy! I still kick myself for missing a great shot though.... on the second morning when we walked out of the hotel, there was a flock of mallard ducks walking past a sign of the "Athletic Club" and a guy was telling them to 'move on'. I was so excited, I turned the camera off! instead of on! tsk, some great film of the pavement though, hehe.
Another program I use is "Picture Motion Browser'. I can take snapshots from my recording and incorporate those pictures into a written tutorial. I'm going to leave a DVD tutorial recording until the new year, but try and get another one onto paper asap.
Well, I think this little camcorder will come in handy (oops for the pun). Here are a couple of test shots from recordings. The Polymer Clay one was my first and too dark, but the last with the Beadwork has improved, don't you think?

Nov 27, 2008

Cheap Cheap (Bead) Worker....

....not of Western origin.
Our economy is lagging and sagging because of the cheap imports. It's so cheap we can just flick down our card and purchase to hearts content. Like the saying goes: "The cheap turns out expensive." Maybe we have come to the end of saturation in our market. Bisphenol A in polycarbonate drinking bottles, melamine in modified milk and soy products, toxins in imported toothpaste, mercury and malachite green in fish, lead in our toys and jewelry components....we are becoming aware. Whats it got to do with Beads or Polymer Clay? I'll get to that.

Purchasing cheap products may be hazardous to your health, not just when using and consuming them, but when throwing them away. You've seen my articles about our beaches becoming filled with plastic and garbage, plastic toxins in the ocean and about Autism . I should add the Disappearing Male.(CBC documentary). These days we are so willing to sacrifice quality to get it cheaper. Hey! lol....why are we complaining about gasoline being so expensive! when we pay more for a liter of ordinary tap-water! The subject of 'toxins' has been on the news quite a lot, but always got swept under the rug again real quick. But.... as with anything under a rug...the bulk eventually gets noticed! The bulk is quite the hill now, isn't it.

Now on the Artist side of the cheap cheap cheap, here is some more controversial food for thought.....

Are you a subscriber and customer of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads? The most recent notice is of a big Holiday sale necklaces for $1!!!! look here Asian Bling for less!

Seeing a major "supplier" selling finished jewelry from Asia not only leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but it may even contain lead such as this simple gemstone piece and this prettier crystal one. Keyword in the description is: "may contain". the supplier isn't sure and feels they can get rid of the responsibility by saying "may"....or the buyer may feel that well, maybe it contains it, so maybe not and there will be less risk. mmm....
Un-suspecting buyers that aren't beadworkers themselves may not recognize a lack in craftmanship when the stringing material is inferior or not nickel-free for those with allergies. Now, it does happen with us that we purchase clasps as nickel-free and then find out otherwise, either because the supplier was unaware and didn't check quality or because the supplier to the supplier was deceptive.....(as in melamine-milk incident). I think wholesale suppliers/distributors should be liable and be able to assure us buyers what a product is and is not.

Now, getting down to what realllllly bothers me about this '....' hitting our market is that we actually have to compete with that!! First of all, we can't compete with the low prices. Wow...look at this.....HIP and TRENDY wood bracelet, 24 for a mere $11.06 and also advertised as low as .26 cents per bracelet. mmm...bracelets are soooo trendy right now, but...can I produce a .26 cent bracelet? way, not even if I don't pay myself! LOL! Or polymer clay beads and bracelets advertised for as low as .29 cents! One of my cheapest beads may sell for that (without a bracelet!). I forgot to add....and "FMG" makes a PROFIT on that .26 cent bracelet, at least 50%!!

Then there are the other Jewelry 'FMG' is selling.... Mardi Gras Beads..... A mere $2.19 per 12. Have you ever wondered how they are made? or wondered about the conditions of those young chinese workers? there was a fabulous documentary about that a while back. Horrific!! Toxic!! There is a link to the documentary on the link.

Ok, aside from that....why in the world would a bead supplier want to sell cheap asian made jewelry and not just beads and supplies (a large majority that also gets manufactured in Asia). Supplies used to be their main focus.....and I ask myself.....why won't the supplier support those of us that purchase supplies from them in the first place?! selling our finished wares too! Ah...I suspect there isn't as much profit in selling our wares as there is with the cheap bling....duh!

So, I wrote to Fire Mountain to ask some questions. I don't expect a response, but isn't a bead supplier that sells finished products and making us compete with that other market contributing to the same lagging and sagging part in the economy when 'cheaper' comes from elsewhere?

Compare the Automakers here to those in Asia.....and who is loosing their job first? The same goes for the Forestry Industry....why are we shipping Wood products to Asia, just to have them shipped back as a finished product? Why don't we give laid-off forestry workers jobs to finish those logs? ....because its cheaper 'over there'. Why don't we process our own cod (as in High Liner as an example). Why do we send our Fish to Asia to be processed and in the mean-time fish processing plants get closed all over PEI and Nova Scotia.....because its cheaper 'over there'.

Well, they say there is always room for the best.....but there is a point of saturation and the glass is just about full now.....

Nov 26, 2008

Jewelry ala Klimt

A few polymer clay tile beads make a set of jewelry. I like the way the beads turned out, satiny and no finish required. Gold and silver leaf, mica, gold and sea green clay....

Made 4 strands of seedbeads as a chain to hang pendant on....

Polymer Clay Cuff Bracelets on PVC

Reduce, reuse and recycle. How handy that hubby had some PVC pipe left overs in his studio. He cut them up for me and I used them on these polymer clay bracelets as well as some boxes. Made a whole bunch, but now am out.
I guess not all piping is the same because some will 'melt', some will soften and can be reformed and others aren't affected by baking at all.
To continue making some other types of bracelets, just ordered some great aluminum blanks from Melanie West.

Nov 21, 2008

Polymer Clay on Canvas

Bought some canvas in various sizes last month. Been wanting to do some collage on them combined with painting. This one is a small trial. Measures just 5 x 7. I used pan pastels, acrylics and polymer clay. I think I'll do another one or two to compliment this one and then try a larger one.
Canvases come primed. If you want to paint with acrylics, do so before applying your clay. I used a little TLS where I apply the clay. All can be baked at polymer clay temperature and baking time.

Nov 12, 2008

Best Pasta Machine Motor for Polymer Clay

Now this is the most ingenious pasta machine motor I have seen. A few polymer clay friends have been complaining about their motors burning out or having to be held together by duct tape. I've never had a motor, but will give this one a try. My sewing machine peddle will come in useful once again! lol

Motorizing The Pasta Machine - Watch more funny videos here

Oct 30, 2008

Polymer clay kelp box

More wire curls and polymer clay.
This box was a bit of a challenge and took 2 days. It's made entirely from clay which means it's not only heavy, but used a lot of clay and required multiple firing. The entire box is 9" tall including the wire curls and legs, but the box without wire measures 5.5 long x 4.5"wide and 3 1/2 inches tall which may not sound like much, unless one takes the 1/4 inch thickness into account. The biggest challenge was the firing and impossible with the height even without the urchin and wire curls. Moved the rack to lowest position and surrounded the box with an aluminum foil tent after my last crisped item. My convection oven is teeny and really 'stunts' my creativity in wanting to create larger items. So, I baked the urchin and wire alone and super-glued it in the end. The finish of the inside bottom is much the same as the textured outside, with the internal sides painted with an acrylic 'moss-like' painting.
I'm beginning to like the wire curls....

Oct 28, 2008

Wired Polymer clay Boxes with a Surprise

Hope you can forgive me for not posting for almost 2 weeks! Here are some wired polymer clay boxes...or should I call them weird? I've been trying to achieve a more organic look with my clay and foregoing the use of any lacquer or varnish. I still work with sparkle and shine, but for this look it just doesn't work.

This busy box got a bit outa hand...

Some boxes are entirely made from Polymer Clay, others use a paper mache base.
Am still working with the sea theme of using starfish, urchins and scallops.

Got the idea of putting a surprise under the lid when I burnt one of them during my multiple baking phase. It was a mistake to move my rack to the lower shelf and not using aluminum foil as a shield! The initial reaction is a big "oh no!" , but as it happens I don't give up so easily and the mistake gave me the idea to add a starfish and make the rippled rock-like surface part of the design.
I will still post on those glass tiles, hopefully this coming week. Could kick myself for not taking pictures of the jewelry I made, but we were in a mad rush to get things done and deliver them to a gallery in Victoria.
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