Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy August and a New Blog!!!

Can you believe it is August already? Gosh, time really does fly by.  I guess that is why it is taking me so long to make a new post here.  I have been in my studio almost every day, smooshing and flattening and rolling polymer clay.  I had lots of fun making the faux metal from last post and spent quite some time on Flickr and Etsy looking at art beads and found a gal named Rebecca that has the best photo tutorials that I have seen in some time.  I haven't asked her yet, but hopefully she wont mind if I link to her page on carving polymer beads.  I saw how she did this and the wheels started turning.  Just what I needed in order to do the high jump out of that box that I was crouched in.  So with artybecca's photo tutorial in mind, I came up with a few of my own.


I used a needle with a polymer clay handle as my sketching/etching tool.  For a design, believe it or not, I used my hand print that was embossed into the bead when I formed it.  I elaborated on this idea on this bead, and on several others made with ivory clay.

After curing them in my trusty toaster oven and letting them cool, I used brown acrylic paint and made sure to get it in all the grooves that I made with the needle tool.  You then remove the excess paint with a paper towel. I usually set the bead aside to allow the paint to dry into the groves.  I then put rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel (acrylic paint is removed by alcohol...a good tip to know if you ever let your brushes dry before cleaning them) and I gently remove the paint from the bead with the alcohol'd paper towel.  I have tried using terry cloth, but it takes away too much of the paint. If you remove too much of the highlight paint, you can repeat the process.  After making sure the bead is completely dry, I use automotive wet/dry sanding paper and just knock down some of the little nibblets that remain from the carving process.



Keep in mind that if you are over zealous with the sanding, you will lose your design.

So there you have the basic process.  You can use any color clay and any color accent paint, but some of the most fun came from using the technique in Rebecca's tutorial. Her beads are made using scrap clay, and I have a ToN of scrap clay, I came up with these...



After some trial and error using the darker paint, I figured out that I would use lighter paint for the highlight color, so for these I used ivory paint to bring the design out and I was really pleased with the results.  Here we have a closer view of the scrap beads...



As I mentioned before, I etched or carved with a needle tool, and poked and tapped to get the texture.  It's sometimes surprising what images start to appear from just outlining the different colors.  I have bad vision, in addition to my trifocals, I used my lighted magnifying glass to carve mine.  This made the colors really pop, making it much easier to see. I carved both sides of the beads, and here are the backs of a few...


All of these designs were the product of outlining random colors with no theme in mind. This is really a lot of fun and reminds me of doodling or zentangles.  You can lose track of time and sometimes that's a good thing.

After getting the hang of the etching into really soft clay, I decided to do something other than a bead.  It could easily be drilled for a bead, but I was thinking of just putting it on my desk...



For the basic image of the bird, I actually cut a picture of a bird out and pressed it into the raw clay to get the outline. For the rest of the design, I was just winging it.

Since it's been about two weeks since I posted, I still have a lot of other creations to show you.  I started off doing some bangle/cuff bracelets out of polymer.  There was a bit of a learning curve with the bracelet making and some of them worked...

 and some of them didn't...

 This could be fixed, but that's another project for another day.


I've decided that one of my favorite creations in the past few weeks was this faux bone pendant...

It's a bit large and sort of clunky, and those of you that like a more traditional piece of jewelry probably wont go for it, but the women at the post office really dug it.  Here is a close up shot of the focal bead...

It was made using the faux bone technique, into which I gouged some holes after baking.  Then I rubbed some colored clay into those gouges and cured it again.  Then I antiqued it with some dark paint and went to my bead stash for the accent pieces. I actually spent a lot of time on the design and construction of this piece. It's probably going to be one of my favorite necklaces.

While I was taking pictures for this post, I took one of my messy table in my studio and said to myself.  This is really where we create.  There are now magazines out that showcase studio spaces and art spaces.  These magazines are really nice and serve as motivation and inspiration for us all.  But in order to have your workspace shown in one of these types of magazines there area usually lots of rules and regulations and bells and whistles necessary just for submission and who has time for that.  Soooooo, I was thinking, how about starting a blog for real people to show real work spaces and not just the cleaned up version of their studio.  With all that in mind, I'm going to try to start a new blog called...Where We Really Create.  I thought my friends could send me pictures of what their tables look like when they make something and then show me what they made.  No hoops to jump through, minimal rules.  Just me posting your pictures. Sound like fun? I could link to your blog and you can get more followers.  If this sounds cool to you, hop on over to the new blog and check it out.  No followers yet and it will be my art until I get some feed back.  If it works, it will be fun...if not, I've lost nothing but a few hours of my time.

Well, that's it for today.  Have a great rest of the week and don't tell anyone that I stayed in my pj's all day.

5 comments:

JENNY said...

Your beads are so fantastic! Lovely!
OMG! I am so excited about your new blog. I love the magazines you mentioned but I would love to see the real stuff. Ha! I have a stack of bills and papers at my right elbow as I type. And at my left elbow is a drawing I'm working on. It's messy but mine.

Peri said...

Really think the new pieces are interesting. I also liked your tutorial. I think that those people who actually do manage to make things should include descriptions on how they did it... I agree on the workshop idea...how people work in spic and span clean areas is beyond me! Oh but mine is a sight usually! I will check out the new blog and possibly be able to send you a photo or two of The Quail Works.
I just gave it that name! Thanks!

artybecca said...

Glad you had fun with the technique! I really like the bird you drew on the black clay. very nice!

Countryfolk Keepsakes said...

I say this all the time and I'll say it again... You make awesome jewelery art, darlin'!!
~Peanut

Kristen said...

Everything is just gorgeous, Susan! I love to see what you are making with clay! Very pretty. So sad that your gorgeous bracelet broke. : ( Glad you can fix it though.
I like the bone colored beads with the drawing on them with the antique work done.

Have a great day!!!