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

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