Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My No-Labor Day Celebration


I've been running so hard and fast lately that the 3 day holiday weekend snuck up on me! Somebody asked me last Thursday if I had big plans for Labor Day. My response was that I planned to do "Absolutely NOTHING!" Which in my lingo means I had no commitments, no where that I had to be at any given time except church on Sunday. If I had been a really dedicated home owner, I would have taken the long weekend to get some things done around the house that need to be done… and I'll admit, I did do just a bit of yard work because it was so nice and just a touch of cool in the air – which for Mississippi in early September is very rare – but the muse just kept pulling me right back to the studio!

I'm on a bead kick and recently ran across a cool tutorial that used a technique similar to the rolled paper beads that have been around for years. But these beads are made with polymer clay. Too cool! There are actually two different types of polymer clay beads in this tutorial but the rolled paper style starts on page 4.

I used a flower cane that I had made a while back using the play-doh method on a gold clay background with a few leaf cane slices mixed in. I rolled them on a small knitting needle, then cured them. Once they are out of the oven and cooled, they went into the rock tumbler overnight. This gives them a satiny smooth finish. But I wanted a bit more shine, so I took them to my workshop for a good buffing.
Then I decided they needed a companion bead, so I made round millefoiri beads using the same gold background, green leaf cane slices and pink flowers. When I first started making beads, I used a bead roller to make all of my beads but with hints and tips from a number of people, I now hand roll every bead. This works much better because the cane slices don't distort as much as when you use a roller.

On Labor Day, I celebrated by making more pumpkin tea-lites and another pumpkin pencil holder. I made a faux raku pencil holder in a new design that involves some sculpting, some stamping, some faux tiles and metallic acrylic glazes.

Then it was back to beads. At our guild meeting last month, we learned how to make faux ivory. I used some of the faux ivory to make a long oval bead and embellished each end with fairly thick leaf and flower canes to make what I'm calling a dimensional millefoiri focal bead. I used more faux ivory to roll companion beads then added very thin slices of the leaf and flower canes. The soft peach flower cane was one that I made to decorate a picture frame and lotion bottle for my niece who just had a little baby girl! (See my post from August 21, 2009) I used the cane ends to make a marbled peach set too. All of these will be posted to my JustBeads.com site soon.
My last experiment was faux cinnebar. I cut some two-hole square beads that will eventually become a stretch bracelet and baked them on two matching small knitting needles. Got to love those little knitting needles. They are so handy for so many things!

So my Labor Day celebration was a No-Labor Day and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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