Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cleopatra's Bangle

I've always been inspired by ancient Eqypt.  I still find and read everything I see about it in the National Geographic every month, so Lisa Rapp's wonderful Bangle just spoke to me.  She writes, "Inspired by the Cleopatra exhibit in Philadelphia. This is my entry in the PCAGOE August challenge. Made with polymer clay over a wooden base with gold leaf applied over all and partially removed to reveal the color underneath."  I love the effect - like an old inlaid piece of jewelry with the gilding worn off in spots with age.  Lisa's work is always clever and unique.  She uses bold colors and designs that make statements.  She also creates the most fantastic custom purses that she embellishes with her polymer art and beautiful colorful wine stoppers and salt & pepper shakers.  You can find Lisa's ETSY shop HERE or checkout and follow her on her Facebook Fan page.

Today is the last day to vote in the PCAGOE August challenge.  It's been wonderful and inspiring seeing everything that can be created using foil, leaf, paints and inks - the diversity seems endless.  I'd like to thank everyone that has voted this month and if you haven't voted yet, you can still vote HERE until midnight eastern time tonight!  5 lucky voters will be finding out soon that they've been chosen at random to receive wonderful gifts from out member prize pool!  And remember to mark your calendars for September 1st.  The next challenge will be image transfers - where you use one of the various techniques to transfer a printed image onto clay for art or jewelry.  It's bound to be a beautiful challenge!  

The last few months has been not only about setting up lines of products and experimenting with new caning ideas like kaleidoscope canes, but also about learning about beads and bead composition in general - something I think will forever be a work in progress from a learning standpoint.  I've worked out my own technique for small swirled lentils which I plan to write up a short tutorial for in the near future (I say hope because my schedule has gotten increasingly busy) and will share here.  I've also worked on making tube beads from my kaleidoscope and other canes - as seen in the picture at the left and covered large beads for wine stoppers and possibly chunky necklaces.  It's always a quandary - do I make a solid bead or cover a pre-baked form, do I tumble sand or hand sand, what shapes work best,  how to cane slices fit together on varied or tapered bead forms, do I use liquid kato to 'glue' slices to a form,...  so many questions, but the wonderful thing about art is you're always learning.  The brain is a muscle that needs exercise!  =)

Friday, August 6, 2010

IT'S ALIVE!!

Brown Flower
Brown Flower
Originally uploaded by Debbie Crothers
Well, maybe not alive - but definitely polymer clay.  =)  I was giggling to myself as I sat here at my computer thinking of a title for today's blog.   I mean I couldn't just call it "Brown Flower" - most people who think of brown flowers think of wilted, dead ones and this flower is very much ALIVE.  This wonderful creation was made by Debbie Crothers.  She used a combination of leaf, inks, and liquid polymer clay to achieve this wonderful, glossy, glass-like effect.  Her beads and pendants just GLOW and hardly look like what most of us think of when we think of polymer clay, but that's one of the wonderful insights from this month's challenge to use leafs, foils, inks and paint - polymer clay can be made to resemble just about anything.  Debbie is new to the PCAGOE, having joined  just this past June, but already has made herself at home and wow'd the rest of us.  You can find another one of her wonderful creations on Voila's shortlist HERE.  To view more of Debbie's wonderful creations, check out her Etsy SHOP.

Tomorrow is the last day to vote in this month's PCAGOE challenge.  It's been so wonderful to see what all the talented artists have done with their inspiration and leaf, foil, inks and/or paints.  Everything is so unique and so different.  Take a look and VOTE today!  5 lucky voters win a wonderful prize created by our guild artisans.

Where there's a will there's a way. I think that's kind of the catch phrase for anything polymer clay.  As I started to develop my different canes and lines of products, I'm always asking myself, "What more can I do with this."  Making jewelry is just one venue, but there is so many, many more directions you can take.  Housewares has been a more recent addition to the products in my shop.  It started from thinking about the PCAGOE challenge for June this year when we had to cover a tiny tin with a pattern.  Since then I've covered pens, keychains, designed napkin rings, and been inspired to do so many other wonderful things - from individual ice buckets, to wine markers, to coasters and place card holders.  I think I'll run out of clay before I run out of ideas.  =)  These three napkin rings are from three different lines that I've developed in the last month or two.  They're such a wonderful way to show off the cane patterns.  I'll probably fool around with the design some - make some shorter, some wider, etc etc - but as always, it's been a fantastic clay journey!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mystic & Magical Creations

Elabradorite and Hydra Choker
Elabradorite and Hydra Choker
Originally uploaded by SageBray
Sage Bray always makes me imagine. Her necklaces conjure images of beautiful wicked warlocks casting spells or forest elves hidden among the trees hunting with a bow and arrow. I can imagine her work being worn in movies like Avatar or Clash of the Titans. There is magic there and that magic was recognized when she was named one of the Polymeristas of the Month of July by Voila! The gems in this piece are faux labradorite made with silver leaf, alcohol inks and polymer clay. They're set in faux antique silver and accented by tiny dragon heads - beautiful hand-crafted wearable piece of art! You can find more of Sage's wonderful creations in her Etsy SHOP or follow her BLOG or Facebook Fan page.

Today is day 5 of the PCAGOE challenge and there are only a few days left to VOTE. Sage's necklace is a wonderful example of what wonders can be creating using polymer clay, ink, foils, leaf, and paints.

This has been a fun experiment and one that has turned into a new line that I'm rather excited about. I had talked previously about using extruded clay to set up channels for inlays for sheets of millefiori, mokume gane, or over-layed polymer clay.  Well, there has been such a response to it that I'm trying out some new venues.  I've started with these two guitar tins.  I hand draw the guitar, so each one is slightly different, then lay out the channels, fill, cure, and sand smooth.  I finish with a few layers of liquid Kato so it has a nice dimensional look to it.  I'm currently finishing off a banjo, acoustic guitar and a violin, and plan on doing some more free style artistic tins with faces, florals, etc using this technique along with a tutorial using a more basic idea on a pendant.  The guitars can get rather complicated to finish off and it might be something hard to charge right into.  If you have any suggestions or think of anything fun this could be applied toward, I'd love to hear them.  My friends are always my biggest inspiration!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shells in a Tide Pool

IMG_0449
Tidal Pool
Originally uploaded by River Valley Design
This beautiful pendant is made by Christi Uliczny. Christi hasn't named it, but I think it looks like shells laying in a tide pool as the bubbly currents wash over them. I absolutely love the color combinations! Christi writes, "I used lots of alcohol to dilute the colors and not too much pearl ex powders - the leaf really shows through." Christi has really made her way with her signature pieces like this one and has become a major fixture on sites like Claylessons and Voila with her wonderful tutorials teaching the rest of us the secrets to these beauties. Just the other day, I had a friend over who was wanting to learn how to use more inks and powders and what I feel comfortable with is caning, so I showed her Christi's tutorials and her eyes just lit up! She had me order one for her and made me promise to help her through it. I have no doubt she'll be an avid fan of Christi's - I know I am!  Besides finding Christi at Claylessons or Voila, you can find her work and tutorials also in her etsy SHOP or her BLOG.

Today is Day 4 in the voting for the current PCAGOE challenge.  Christi's piece is just one of many wonderful creations featured this month in the challenge.  Her work is always inspiring and if you're looking for that touch of inspiration also, check out the other entries and vote HERE.  Maybe you'll be one of the lucky 5 voters to receives a guild creation from our monthly drawing.


Today I revisit what first intrigued me about polymer clay - faces.  I think my first thoughts about polymer clay were seeing some beautiful face beads in magazines and wondering what they were made of.  They were simple and child-looking, but had a fun kind of magic about them.  So I picked up some clay and a basic book about it and tore into it.  I didn't start simple - no, not me.  I was determined to create faces without even knowing what I was doing.  Well, the first few attempts were a learning curve in cane reduction - especially since back then the only clays available were fimo classic, sculpey III, and Promat (do you remember Promat?  lol)  So most of my beginning canes were done in sculpey because fimo classic was just frustrating to work with for the novice I was.  And Sculpey always gave me the most wonderful expressions on the faces after reduction.   These canes are still mostly Sculpey III with a more durable translucent border.  This has become my children of the world line.  One that I will continue to add more faces to and change and adapt (but now with more premo and kato lol) - because it was what brought me into this wonderful polymer journey I am on.  I've learned so much since even creating these designs. Clicking on the images will bring you to their page in my shop! Thank you for reading all my ramblings! =)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Zoewyn takes us to Pern

Roe Doubt- head shot
Roe Doubt
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
Laura Medeiros says this about her wonderful dragon,"This is Roe Doubt, he is a salmon colored shoulder dragon. His scales are a rich salmon hue modeled with flecks of gold, and shimmering highlights in other colors. He is tall and pround, and sits comfortably on your shoulders. His name is homage to Douglas Adams, I was reading a collection of his last works called Salmon of Doubt, while working on this guy. And this guy is very very salmony colored. On a technical note: His hide was created with translucent clay, gold foil, and lots of inks, and mica pigments. His scales and wings were created with the same materials, only different techniques and no mica pigments. Laura creates such wonderful works of fantasy - dragons, fairy doors, mermaids, medusas - works that send your mind off to other realms. =) Polymer clay is such a fabulous sculptural medium and the color and play of the flecks of metallics that you can see in this dragon from the different variations in techniques shows how truly limitless it's potential is. If you're interested in seeing more of Laura's flights of fantasy, you can find her etsy shop HERE or visit her BLOG or WEBSITE.

Today is day 3 already in this month's PCAGOE challenge. I've so enjoyed looking and studying all this month's entries - such wonderful inspiration! Every month I see something that makes me go - hmmm, if I did this and this, then..... and off I go on another creative journey. Go find what inspires you and VOTE! Voting goes through August 7 and 5 lucky voters get a wonderful free gift drawn at random from our prize pool. Don't miss out!




Fall is right around the corner and I wanted to share with you some of my seasonal creations to celebrate the upcoming season! I hope to be adding a few more items and creating some more patchwork themed seasonal gift ideas besides just jewelry. We'll see how much time I have. =) Wish me luck! lol

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Take BIG BITES!!!

Big Bites Pendant
Big Bites Pendant
Originally uploaded by BeeTreeByMe
Mary Ellen Nichols writes, "Life is short, take Big Bites!!! Enjoy every moment and stay young at heart! My inspiration for this pendant was the 'Very Hungry Caterpillar.' This is my big girl version, a bejeweled caterpillar on a glitzy leaf! This little guy is my entry for PCAGOE's August challenge. The theme is foil, ink and paint. I used foil to glam up the leaf. I edged it with a metallic heat set paint. The caterpillar is colored with alcohol inks. I also added a few Swarkies for extra bling! Some serious shine on a not too serious pendant. I hope it makes you smile!" It definitely made me smile and reminds me that sometimes you just need to "GO FOR IT." What a wonderful gift this pendant would make for that special person that needs that extra reminder that they have everything in life to look forward to. =) Thank you M.E.!!  Mary Ellen creates the most views of nature.  From this little caterpillar to beautiful flowers and fairies, you can find M.E.'s Etsy shop HERE or follow her on her blog at http://beetreebyme.blogspot.com.

Today is the second day of the PCAGOE challenge.  There are so many wonderful entries this month and making decisions can be tough, but if you haven't voted, vote HERE!  You never know when you might be one of the 5 lucky voters to win a prize from our prize pool!  Here is some of the other wonderful entries in this month's challenge.


1) Big Bites Pendant by BeeTreeByMe
2) Brooch B9026 by JanGeisen
3) Copper and Aqua Gingko Leaves Pendant by SCDiva
4) Fairy Floss Bracelet by OneandOnly
5) Small Dish by ThePleasantPheasant
6) Brown Flower by DebbieCrothers
7) Under The Deep Blue by ArrowdaleArtStudio
8) Roe Doubt by ZoeOwyn
9) Gold Leaf Bangle by HiGirls
10) Rose Copper Silver Enameled Pendant No. 105 by 11BoldStreet
11) Blue Sky Bead by LauraBeeStudios
12) Colorful Watercolor Swirls Necklace by PolymerClayCreations
13) Foil and Ink Polymer Clay Pendant by MirameCreations
14) Rocky Path Tutorial Pendant by RiverValleyDesign
15) Stained by IansCafe
16) Fiery Beads by LaurelSteven
17) Inspire Mosaic Pendant by MarciaPalmer
18) Elabradorite and Hydra Choker by TheSageArts
19) Wheels Within Wheels by BlessedBeadJewelry
20) Butterflies in Flight by AshPaints
21) Rock 'n Roll Bangle by RenGalSA

Tooting my Own Horn.... or maybe playing my own Guitar?

I generally feature a different artist each day for the 7 days of the PCAGOE challenge and this month I'm going to start off talking about my own creation. =)  Well - let's take a journey through Deb's interesting and sometime bizarre creative process.  Well - a little over a month ago, I got a message on ETSY that I was a Groovy Find and one of my items was featured on the Groovy Finds site (I get a little badge now - you can find it in the left column if you scroll down).  Well - I went there and looked at a few things and got curious about this site and that site and came across a pair of earrings with a southwestern pattern that reminded me of my time living in Albuquerque and all the wonderful mosaic inlays.  Well I hadn't done my challenge piece for the July challenge, so I thought, "Hmmm, that would be unique."  And of course then thought of malachite and how it was made for millefiori and then the challenge became how to make faux like mosaic inlays (composites because most of the time they're crushed with resin) that look like gems in a millefiori format with silver offsetting to look like channels.  It was fun and colorful and gave the feel I wanted, though I would use more dyed translucent clays in the future to give more of a gemstone 'glow' to the faux stones.  But it was an experiment and you learn.  In the mean time, a friend had a birthday coming up and I wanted to do something, but just wasn't sure what.  The idea of mosaics and inlays were stuck in my head, so I thought, "Hmmm (ya, I use that a lot) - why not try making channels with extruded clay that I can fill with patterned sheets." So hand drew a design on a tiny tin and made some channels with clay and liquid Kato.  It has some quirks and isn't as all as easy as it sounds, but have gotten some tricks down to the whole process, so decided to put it to use on another new trial and error piece - bangle bracelets.  It made for a very fun bangle with decorative guitars all around.  Very unique and conversational.  The guitars are randomly layered canes of a metallic clay, colored clay, and a lightly dyed or blended translucent.  The background is a mokume gane pattern with metallic red, black, various translucent shades, and gold foil.  All the metallic clays make it sparkle and shimmer all the way around.  Below is the two other views of the bracelet with the two other hand drawn guitar inlays.  Clicking on the photos will take you to the listing on Etsy.


Today is the first day of the monthly PCAGOE challenge. YUP - it's time to vote again! There are 21 wonderful creations this month brought to you by the members of PCAGOE and as always 5 lucky voters win a wonderful polymer creation from our guild prize pool. To see the wonderful creations and vote, click HERE. Here is a mosaic of the beautiful prizes you have a chance to win this month!

1st row, L-R:  Pipsjewellery, BeeTreeByMe, LaurelSteven
2nd row, L-R: 
RenGalSA, 11BoldStreet, ArrowdaleArtStudio
3rd row, L-R: 
ClayCenter, Polyclarific, RozPetalzStudio
4th row, L-R: 
ToniNZ, YoungCreative, SCDiva

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Old Lace Kaleidoscope Bangle


Old Lace Kaleidoscope Bangle
Originally uploaded by RenGalSA
When I start making a cane, I rarely have an idea about where it's going to go - my mind is too busy working on the colors, details, design elements and layout. THEN, when it's done I go "phew" - but really the work is just getting started. And I try to nudge myself with every project - learning new techniques, trying out new styles, experimenting with finishing. This bangle grew out of experimentation. I love my kaleidoscope canes and they have so much history in them when I use up the canes from past memories - girl scout functions, birthday parties, classes, other projects I grew to love - it just seems to me like I'm passing on those memories to everyone that sees or has purchased a piece of that history. My little way of spreading good karma maybe or just maybe leaving that little bit of me around for history to remember. =) With this cane I've covered tins, pens and keychains, made pillow beads and wonderful swirled lentils from the left overs, and now this. I love the tones in this - they're soft and almost have a southwestern feel to them. I finished the whole bracelet by sanding smooth, lightly coating with Liquid Kato several times - always sanding again in between. I'm working on several more as I slowly put together a tutorial on the process I went through that I hope to be offering in my Etsy shop soon. This bangle is mine to keep =) But I should have others to offer in my shop soon, too. In the mean time, here is some other wonderful creations from my experiments with my kaleidoscope canes. Clicking on the picture will take you to the item in my shop. There are so many more, but searching "kaleidoscope" in my shop should bring them all up. Thank you for looking!


It's been a very busy summer for me, but a very wonderful one. I feel like I'm getting so close to reaching my goal and I've made so many friends along the way - I feel truly blessed. One good one that has become one of my biggest supporters and brings me to tears with her compliments and encouragement has been Pam Plumley. I met Pam through the PCAGOE when I joined and friended her when I started up a Facebook account in December (with pressure from my teenage daughter "Mom, everyone HAS to have one"). Since then she has been not only a good neighbor on farmville (my one FB vice - lol), but always has the kindest things to say about my work. And when you're struggling with self doubt trying to make your way in the world, those words always mean so very, very much. A while back I got a message from her on FB. She was starting a new arts & crafts blog and wanted to interview me for her FIRST posting. There isn't words for how honored I felt and I wanted to share her blog with all of you. She has truly put her heart into it and it has so many wonderful links to other helpful sites - it's something everyone should bookmark. And I want to encourage her to keep going, too! I'm so impressed with what you've done, Pam and so honored to call you a friend. Thank you! You can click on either of the photos below to view Pam's blog. =)


EPL Online Catalog
Also - about a month ago, Lisa Rapp posted on the PCAGOE forums about a new Facebook Group called Etsy Promo Love. Great idea - you post you items on the page and for every item you post, you share an item on the page with your friends. It has since turned into another etsy team and
Misty Aurora's Blog
they've put together an online catalog. Clicking on the screenshot at the left will take you to the whole thing. My print is on page 8. EPL has been great and I've made many new contacts and new friends. As part of another EPL promotion, Dina B. aka Misty Aurora interviewed me for a feature on her blog. Dina also makes the most clever and fun polymer jewelry - cute colorful designs! You can find her Etsy shop HERE or view her Flickr gallery at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dingalin. Clicking on the blog screenshot on the right will take you to her blog. Thank you, Dina!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Southwestern Mosaic Necklace


Southwestern Mosaic Necklace
Originally uploaded by RenGalSA
Whenever I make a new project from my different millefiori canes, there is always odds and ends left over and my southwestern mosaic was no different. So after experimenting with pillow beads with my kaleidoscope canes, I decided to put some together from my left overs. A friend saw them and had an idea for a Christmas gift for a friend of hers and that's how this wonderful necklace came to be. This line of gifts and jewelry was a last minute lightbulb going off in my head moment for the July PCAGOE challenge - something different that was more in line with my tastes. I love southwestern style. Now I have more items in the same line that I have lovingly listed in my ESTY shop. Here is a few pictures. Clicking on the images will take you to their page in my shop.





It's a beautiful day today. The sun is shining and the humidity from our stormy days of late is passing. The lawn is loving this weather and needs mowing again. lol There is a huge live oak that lives outside my studio area window that creates the most wonderful dappled shades of light across the green grass. It reminds me of childhood walks in the woods near my home in rural Minnesota. A great environment for opening up to my inner muse to create. Today I want to finish off some new canes and take some more pictures for some tutorials that I've been slowly working on. 1) Tutorial for making a Santa Cane, 2) Tutorial for quick and easy swirled lentil beads, 3) Tutorial for Kaleidoscope Bangle bracelets, 4) Tutorial for making face canes, 5) tutorial for designing kaleidoscope canes from other cane remnants, 6) Making a simple addition cane (where you add clay to make a pattern), 7) Making a simple subtraction cane (where you cut out a pattern from a clay plug), and 8) Creating a custom mosaic design using extruded clay and liquid polymer clay. There is a lot of information that I need to share for each one, so I have my work cut out for me - but I guess I have my own unique spin on the polymer world to share. =) Let me know if there is anything else that you see in my work that makes you go, "How does she do that?" I'll be sure to put it on my never ending to do list! *hugs*

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Texas Pride Utilities Collection

Ok - been neglecting my blog lately, so it's time to catch up some. This is a new Texas line of products that I've been working on for the last month or so. I have many jewelry and housewares items in this line including napkin rings, flatware, wine stoppers, drawer pulls and knobs, keychains, flashlight keychains, pens, and perfume pens. I'm planning on adding even more items to this line, including little galvanized bucket ice coolers, wine markers, coasters - along with coordinating beaded and bangle bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and other beaded items. This Texas Pride line for right now is in burnt orange, white, and black - but I plan on adding red, white, and blue and maroon, gold, and white - along with a few more fun Texas canes like armadillos and cowboy boots. Here is some pictures of items currently available in my ETSY shop.



I've been literally working from sun-up to sundown for about the last month with only a few breaks for Bunco and some meetings, but happened to get out to a small show this weekend in the evening heat. It's been wonderful though getting to know the wonderful members of the San Antonio Polymer Clay Guild and Alamo City Handmade. Both are having shows coming up in October. The SAPCG show is October 9, but the application for it is due tomorrow. If you're interested in being a part of this show, it's going to have wonderful traffic since the Randolph AFB is having a show in the same building the same day. You can find the information and application at http://www.sapcg.org/Fall_Show.html. I will share more information on those shows as it comes available. The last SAPCG meeting, Maureen (Mo) Greene did a wonderful demo on her version of a tie-dye cane!! It was fabulous! I agreed to do a workshop in November - still thinking what I might do, so suggestions are welcome!

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