Sunday, January 24, 2016

Seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter)

This month’s PCAGOE Challenge is Seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter).  I originally had a different project in mind but found these adorable 2 inch by 3 inch metal mini-frames in one of my local stores.  

Each frame features a custom mix of polymer clay and details specific to the season.  Once the clay is applied to the frame, a texture sheet is used to add a design complimentary to the overall design.  Then a glaze is liberally brushed on then wiped off, leaving the glaze in the deeper areas.  

When I think of spring, I see new leaves and colorful flowers marking the end of winter and rebirth.  For the Spring design, I mixed a soft leafy green polymer clay and used two of my favorite canes to add the final touch that just shouts spring.  The pink flower cane is from my cane collection.  Canes were my first love when I started working with polymer clay.  I still enjoy making the canes even though my work has expanded in many different directions.  The leaf cane was made specifically for this project although there is plenty left to add to my cane collection for other projects.  It is actually a combination of 5 leaf canes combined to create a more complex leaf cane.  

Summer is steamy, boisterous and full of fun.  And what is happier than sunflowers!  So for the Summer frame, I mixed a buttery yellow and glazed with a soft orange.  The texture sheet that I used is a mix of flowers.  Then of course the sunflowers.  Each flower cane starts with a petal cane which I usually combine, add a center, then reduce before I use.  But for some designs, the individual petal cane works best.  That was the case with the sunflower.  Each petal was individually shaped and added to the design.  And if you look closely at the leaves, you may recognize that they are a single slice of the leaf cane I used for the combination cane in the Spring design.

Fall brings to mind clean, crisp air and the beauty of leaves turning beautiful colors.  A “skinner blend” was created using green, gold and red to cover the frame.  Then those same colors were pressed into one of my favorite molds created by Penni Jo Couch,  Two sizes of leaves plus a couple of acorns complete the design.  

I live in the deep south so I rarely see snow – and I’m thankful for that!  But for the Winter frame, I wanted snowflakes.  For the base covering I’ve created a “skinner blend” running from a dark royal blue to a very soft baby blue.  The “snowflakes” were a bit more difficult.  After several tries, I finally decided to keep it simple.  I textured some white clay, then added a pretty filigree texture.  I used a very small 6 pointed cutter than looks somewhat like a snowflake to cut out enough “snowflakes” to have a small snowdrift.  I used a silvery pearl stamp pad to bring out the detail and add a tiny bit of sparkle.

These mini frames were so much fun to do.  I’m heading back to the store tomorrow to see if they have any more of these little frames.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Life is the ART of Drawing without an Eraser

My mini-mosaics usually measure 4 inches square but at a recent craft show I had a customer fall in love with a specific message.  She decided to check out the rest of the booths, then come back to the ones where she wanted to purchase things.  This actually happens fairly often with shows, however with handcrafted shows, it could be a problem.  Because handcrafted items are not mass produced, you may go back to that booth that had the perfect gift item only to find out that the last one with that specific message was already sold!

Well that was the case with this customer.  Her son is an artist and the message she fell in love with was “Life is the ART of Drawing without an Eraser”.  She asked if I could do that message on a mini.  Unfortunately the stamp was too large to fit on a standard 4x4 mini, so I told her that I could make a mini that was just a little bit taller.  So the 4x5 mini was born.  I’m liking this size so I’ll be adding some of these to my line of minis.  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Where do fairies live? In a Tree Trunk Fairy House, of course!

One of our recent PCAGOE challenges was Fairy Houses.  Now I’ll be perfectly honest, I haven’t given much thought to where exactly fairies live.  My children – even my grandchildren – are past the fairy tale stage so I had no idea that fairies were so popular.  But my sister suggested that I make a few for a recent craft show.  

I was in one of my favorite general stores and saw some of the classic coke glasses.  My crazy imagination turned that glass over and what did I see?  A tree trunk!

Several of these glasses went home with me and soon were sprouting tree roots.  
So, we now have the beginnings of a tree trunk fairy house.  My next challenge was how does the fairy get into her house?  So I sculpted a door, cured it and then made a mold so I could easily make more.    
Next the trees needed bark.  So I blended some burnt umber and gold polymer clay to create a nice color of brown.  After smoothing the clay mix over the tree trunk/glass, I used a needle tool to add some texture, then brushed it all over with an old toothbrush to smooth it and remove fingerprints.  


After curing the tree trunk, I decided my tree trunk needed some foliage.  I added some large leaves and flowers plus vines with smaller leaves to finish out the design.  A larger flower tops the tree trunk.  Add a stem and you have a fairy house fit for the best of the fairies!     

For more views of this enchanting little fairy house go to my Etsy shop at

Or you can visit one in person at the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi's gallery at the MS Craft Center in Ridgeland, Mississippi. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Life is the Art of Drawing without an Eraser

It’s challenge time again at PCAGOE and the theme this month is ABCs.  Anything to do with letters.  So much of my work does include messages impressed into the clay and incorporated into the design.  So for my challenge piece, I selected one of the 14 inch mosaic stars that I’ve just started making.  The message “Life is the Art of Drawing without an Eraser” is one that speaks to me.  

The star frames/trays come in a set of 3 with the smallest 12 inches across, up to the largest at 18 inches across.  It was an interesting challenge to figure out how to work the mosaics into the points of the star.  After several trials – and errors! – I figured out that the best and easiest way to do the points was to do them outside of the frame.  So I cut card stock to fit into each point, then lay scrap clay out on a ceramic tile and use the card stock pattern to cut the scrap clay to the correct shape.  I then build the mosaic design on the scrap clay.  Before I put it in the oven to cure it, I check again with the card stock pattern and make any adjustments.  

When all five points are cured, I glue them into the points of the star.  I add a layer of scrap to fill in the center and begin filling in with both large and small tiles.  The final cure has to be done in my kitchen oven because of the size.  

This project was frustrating but rewarding.  I am very pleased with the finished product and think it was well worth the effort that it took to work out the kinks.  Now on to the 12 inch and 18 inch stars!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Look what I found at Hobby Lobby!

On a recent trip to Hobby Lobby for other supplies, I saw these cute metal ornaments and, since I have a granddaughter who is very much into horses, decided these might work nicely on a treasure box.  

I used a cream and soft moss green to coordinate with a gold/brown clay mix that makes me think of leather.  I also had a rubber stamp border strip that makes me think of tooled leather so the whole box came together rather nicely.  

Here’s the finished Cowboy Up Treasure Box.  What do you think?