Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm Still Around

Well it has been awhile, but I haven't been idle so I thought I'd show you some of my first attempts with polymer laughing allowed or aloud (snickering is ok). What started off as a small plastic lunch box sized container holding a couple of packs of clay and the odd cookie cutter has grown exponentially in just days. I'm now up to a large deep drawer sized plastic container with more clay, cutters, tissue blades, acrylic rollers, stamps, texture plates, a ceramic tile and numerous other bits and bobs and now I think I have to get another very large container to keep it all in. Oh dear!!! Not to mention 3 books. And with DH being on holidays it's rather hard to keep it all looking like just a very small extension of my jewelry making stuff. He just looks at me and shakes his head as if to say "now what's she making".
So below is my attempt to make my own texture plates using clay and stamps then baking it. Not terribly successful, if you look carefully you can see where the stamp has shifted as I rolled it over the clay and there are double and sometimes triple lines. Oh well, practice makes perfect.

This is white clay with black embossing powder mixed in. Not quite how I expected them to turn out, I thought the powder would sort of melt and run and I'd have this wonderful kind of marbled effect. But not bad. The texture on some of the pieces has all but disappeared after baking and the piece in the top right got squished too much on one side.
I was trying to make some disc spacers for beads but they turned out a bit wonky too.
This is part of the latest batch that will go in the oven sometime today. I'll see how these black and white discs and a few pendants turn out. The grey discs and pendants were supposed to be marbled black, white and translucent but I over mixed and ended up with grey with the odd white splotch here and there and basically just blah.
Some of the tools of my "trade".
The pasta machine is the only thing I didn't buy, it was given to me a few months ago and has been hidden because I knew once the family saw it they'd get all excited thinking I was going to make home made pasta. In their dreams! When DS saw it this morning he hopefully asked was I going to make home made ravioli for dinner, well I just gave him one of my withering "puleeeze! do I look like the kind of mother who makes home made pasta......are you insane?" looks and he just shook his head (a bit like his father) and left for work. Terrible thing to disappoint your family in such a way I know, but they'll get over it.
Now this is the type of bead I'm aspiring to. This is from a book called Ancient Modern by Ronna Sarvas Weltman and she makes the most gorgeous contempory jewelry using polymer clay and wire.
Hopefully one day my stuff will look even half as good as this, in the meantime I'll just keep practising and learning and I'll enjoy the ride.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Earrings and A New Obsession (oh dear!)

It's been a fairly quiet week so far, apart from a spate of earring designs being created at my desk. After my PMC weekend of last, and having a bit of play with polymer clay I've become a bit obsessed. I'm now researching, learning, trolling the internet and spending a bit of money (tools, books, clay etc.). So look out for future blog posts on my polymer clay journey that I'm about to embark on. You can't wait, I know!!!
Blue agate, rose pink rhodocrosite beads and silver spacers and hand made ear wires.

Gunmetal grey connectors and hand made ear wires with chandelier crystals.
A little bit of fun. Shell oblong beads hand stamped with stazon ink.
Same shell beads with a floral stamped design.
With DH being on holidays for the next 3 weeks and glued to the TV for every world cup soccer game, not sure how much creating I'll get done. My desk and computer are in the family room and I'm one of those people who loves dead quiet when I'm working. No music, no noise and definitely no TV when I'm at my desk, I find it so distracting and it just sucks the creative juice right out of me. The Kippers have a large flat screen in their lounge room so hopefully he'll go in there and watch it when they're not home.
These earrings are on my Artfire store along with a few others.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Best Weekend

I had the best weekend. For the longest time I've wanted to do a workshop with Pam Annesley. Pam is a wonderfully talented and creative artist, not only is she a certified Precious Metal Clay instructor but also teaches Polymer Clay and textile art. Her house and studio are in Bindoon about 80 odd kilometres from Perth, so I organized a day class and an overnight stay in her lovely home.
So I set off about 8.15 am on Saturday morning in the trusty Jazz and arrived about 9.45 for my class to start at 10.00 and had Pam to myself all day, it's not often you get to have a one on one class with such an experienced teacher. I wanted to try my hand at working with PMC so Pam set me to work playing with polymer clay first to get an idea of what I wanted to make and and using the various tools.
I wanted to make a pendant or two and also try making some bead caps, with mixed results.

After learning how to roll out the clay between playing cards and carefully cutting out the shapes with various tools, we then placed the pieces in a food dehydrater (one dedicated to craft) and left them in for about half an hour until they were thoroughly dry. By then it was lunch and Pam served up the most delicious quiche with a fresh salad and beautifully sweet juicy local oranges. Her property is slap bang in the middle of citrus orchards.
Once the pieces were dry Pam showed me how to torch fire them using a creme brulee torch.
Then they were polished with a wire brush to bring out the sheen. I hadn't worked with liver of sulphur before which is used to give silver a lovely patina, and I was a bit over zealous and left them in a bit too long, so they're quite dark and grungy looking but I rather like them.
A view from Pam's back yard looking up towards the hills. Now we've had some rain everything looks lush and green.
Here's Pam in her studio, check out the view she has everyday.
In the evening we decided to go to the local pub for dinner and after Pam had told me some of the delicious dishes that were on the menu, my mouth was watering at the thought of prawns in garlic sauce. But alas, it wasn't to be......a big sign on the menu board "Sorry, cook has gone home sick" so we had hamburgers and chips! Very tasty none the less.
We made our way back to Pam's and I made use of her studio and her extensive library of fabulous art books. Slept like a log (must have been that fresh country air) and woke up to a beautiful morning with nothing but bird song and the bleating of sheep from the paddock next door. Bliss!
So if you're looking for a PMC, Polymer Clay or textiles workshop taught by someone who is very patient, knowledgeable, with oodles of creative spark, Pam is your girl.
She will be moving closer to Perth in the next couple of months so it's an even bigger incentive to take one of her classes. I'm definitely booking a polymer clay class when she's all settled into her new house and studio.
Thanks Pam for a great weekend.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Small Things Make me Happy

I love this dark silver chain. It just seems to go well with all kinds of beads and all different colours. This is a mixture of white porcelain beads, strawberry quartz, rhodocrosite in a watermelon colour and lime green glass chips.

A black acrylic focal.
Wire wrapped some of the beads.
And sometimes things just work. I bought these three metal disc for a song. Got home and went straight to my desk, pulled out black rubber tubing, some barrel beads in black and silver and whipped up this.
I took me about 30 minutes to put together.
And I love it. I'm wearing it as I write this post because it makes me happy (and I've had a few nice compliments about it as well)
Sometimes things just work. Sigh!!!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


6.00 am and I was still snoring. Well it was cold and too hard to get out of bed and she got cross with me because I didn't get up and go walking with her.
But I redeemed myself.