Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It’s a season of hearts and flowers!

Valentine’s Day has been a favorite holiday since I was a kid and we made homemade cards. Such fun!

Times are not as simple now as back then but I still love the hearts and flowers. Not only does it remind me that love is still alive but also that spring is just around the corner.

Not too long ago several of my clay buddies and I got together to ring in the New Year with an clay-in! One of the things that we made during our late night playing was rose canes. I’ve taken some of those rose canes and mixed them with other flower and leaf canes from my stash to make several heart shaped pendants in a salute to Valentine’s Day. These are available in my Etsy shop should you want to share hearts and flowers with somebody special.

Also don't forget that our local guild, the Central Mississippi Polymer Clay Guild, is hosting Julie Picarello in April for a two day jam-packed weekend workshop of her signature style mokume gane plus how she finishes the designs and puts it all together.  For more information, go to our website.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Guess who’s coming to Mississippi in April?

No…. not the Easter bunny! Well, he may be coming too, but I’m talking about one of our favorite polymer clay designers/teachers, Julie Picarello. Julie was (secretly) commissioned to made custom pieces for each elected officer of the then newly established Central Mississippi Polymer Clay Guild back in 2008 and we’ve been ohhhing and ahhhing ever since.  The picture to the right shows the set that Julie made just for us based on our new president's favorite colors.

When we discussed who to invite to be our first workshop teacher, her name was a front-runner and after much coordination and communication back and forth, we’re all set and ready to go! Julie does limit the size of her classes so if you are interested, please go to our website and print out the form as soon as possible. It would be good if you have previous experience with polymer clay.


Julie will be teaching at the Southern Heritage Cultural Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi on Saturday, April 24 thru Sunday, April 25. Here’s the class description from Julie’s website, Yellow House Designs:

Imprint Mokume Gane & Mixed Media Workshop

Mokume Gane, which loosely translates to "wood-eye-metal", is a Japanese metalworking technique traditionally used to adorn samurai swords. An adaptation of this process can be used to create vibrantly colored and beautifully detailed polymer focal beads and bead sets. This two-day workshop will focus on the process of imprinting & designing beads as well as how to integrate them with washers, metal tubing, semi-precious gemstones and vintage objects to create a stunning and unique piece of jewelry.

All supplies are included with the exception of clay - semi-precious stones, washers, metal tubing, copper or brass chain, 23k gold leaf, sandpaper and unique imprint tool kit.

Day One: Bead Design & Finishing

1) Color Stacks - Color inspiration, mixing tips, custom palettes & incorporating 23k gold leaf

2) Imprints - Use a wide variety of unique tools (& make your own!) to develop a design

3) Base Sheets – Incorporate imprint slices with contrasting and/or textured base layers

4) Focal Bead – Shaping & smoothing a focal cabochon bead and/or bead sets

5) Finishing – Info and tips on sanding, buffing and bead drilling techniques

Day Two: Jewelry Fabrication

1) Tool Review – Pliers, cutters, pin vise, hammer, jewelers file

2) Focus on Design – Bail, stone incorporation and accent pieces

3) Create Bail – Metal tube, wire-wrap, riveted or hidden

4) Fabrication – Create coiled wire end caps and a hammered clasp

5) Links – Useful resources for supplies, color choosers, etc.


If you are interested in coming to Vicksburg, Mississippi to join us for this exciting learning experience, be sure to sign up soon. We’re offering an early bird special that will save you $20 on the class fee.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kaleidoscope in Blue Heart Pendant Necklace

I just found out that one of the newest items listed in my Etsy shop is included in a treasury.  With Valentines Day just around the corner, I'll be adding more heart and valentine related items but just wanted to share with all of you just how much fun kaleidoscope canes are.  I ordered the Millefiori Symmetric Mirror Cut tutorial from Iris Mishly.  Iris does beautiful work and has several very detailed tutorials for sale as well as some free tutorials at PolyPediaOnline.

Here's the link for the Hearts Galore treasury featuring members of the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy:  http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list_west.php?room_id=83102

Here are two more examples of things made with the kaleidoscope cane that haven't been strung yet.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Something new from ClayLessons.com

Not too long ago, I heard about a new site for polymer clay enthusiasts - http://www.claylessons.com/.  This is a spin off of an existing site - http://www.jewelrylessons.com/ - and is designed to provide clay artists with  a place to share their artwork and an opportunity, if they so choose, to post and sell tutorials.  I posted some photos to the gallery and before long, I received a request to create a tutorial for one of the beads.  It was approved today and is now available for sale.  Just click on the link above for ClayLessons.com and look for Millefoiri Rolled Beads by ashpaints.