Friday, April 30, 2010

PCAGOE History / Historical Events Challenge

Every month the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy issues a challenge to its members designed to help us think outside the box. The challenge theme for this month was "History/Historical Events". The inspiration could be an actual historical event or a moment in time that has particular significance to the artist. 14 of our members used this challenge to create a mini-masterpiece based on their historical inspiration.

They've done their part, now it's your turn! We, the member of the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Esty, invite you to vote for your top 3 favorites beginning May 1 through May 7, 2010 at 5 lucky voters chosen at random will also win fabulous polymer prizes handcrafted by our member artists! Here is a list of the entrants:

1) Fly Me To The Moon Pendant by BeeTreeByMe
2) Australian ANZAC Slouch Hat Brooch by Polyclarific
3) The Day The World Changed Forever by NKDesigns
4) Medieval Manuscript Cane Set by ZoeOwyn
5) Headline 1920: U.S. Women Get The Right To
     Vote! Commemorative Brooch by SCDiva
6) My Great Grandmother's Steamer Trunk by
7) Ancient Shards Earrings by OneAndOnly
8 ) Italian-Inspired Terracotta Necklace by YoungCreative
9) Famous Painters of the Renaissance by PolymerClayCreations
10) Sunface Kachina Pendant or Wall Hanging by RenGalSA
11) Bathtub Gin Bootleggers by AlisonEKurek
12) Caveman's wheel Pendant by IansCafe
13) Come To The Tea Party by AshPaints
14) Popular Toys of the 20th Century by BlessedBeadJewelry

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What a weekend!

Well, I've finally come down off cloud 9 after a weekend workshop with Julie Picarello! My mind is so full of information and inspiration that it's hard to keep my mind on my day job! Julie was a great teacher and shared a world of information with us from color mixing, to shadowing, using foils, paints and who knows what else to add interest to our pieces.

This was the first weekend workshop that our guild, the Central Mississippi Polymer Clay Guild, put on and I want to thank all the members who made items for the goody bags, who helped with the set-up and breakdown and who worked diligently throughout the weekend to make sure that everything ran smoothly. I want to send a special thank you – and congratulations on a fantastic job – to Joyce King, our President, who worked long and hard to make this weekend happen. Great job Joyce!

In addition to members of our local polymer clay guild, we had people from several surrounding states - Florida, Texas, Tennessee -- and other parts of Mississippi join us.  It was wonderful to share the joy of polymer clay and learning new techniques with other clayers!

I've included a picture of one of the color schemes I worked with this weekend. These have not been sanded or buffed so be kind! I worked on three different color schemes (I'm just a little bit crazy!) but couldn't get a good clear picture of the purple and green for some reason.

Overall it was a wonderful weekend and one I won't forget for a long time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Layered Millefoiri Tin – fun to do PLUS it's for a good cause!

I belong to a fantastic group called PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy) and each month we have a challenge designed to encourage our members to push their limits and create something based on a theme. I was recently involved in a challenge where everybody was given a small tin box to cover with polymer clay using any technique that we wanted to use. The finished tins are being donated to our team charity – Polymer Clay for a Cause – which will be auctioned in June. The entries that I've seen pictures of so far have been fantastic! I'll go into a bit more detail on that closer to time for the auction. In the meantime, I wanted to share with all of you my contribution and the process.

The background "fabric" was made by marbling white clay with just a tiny bit of blue. The Premo Ultramarine blue is a strong color so you don't want to add much at a time or it will just be too dark! I wanted a soft, cloud-like blue. You also don't want to keep blending because you do want a nice mottled background.

I don't know that it is absolutely necessary, but before I applied the clay to the tin, I sanded it with course sandpaper. Why you ask? Because the clay sticks better to a rougher surface than it does to a smooth surface and I wanted to make sure that the lovely design doesn't come off!

Once I had the tin roughed up, I used the marbled background to cover the bottom of the tin and baked it long enough to "set" the clay.

The next step was to roll out the clay on a relatively thin setting then begin adding the layers. First I added the waves and stripes which are "stacked" canes made with translucent and white clay. I love adding these to designs because when the translucent bakes, it virtually disappears! How cool is that!

Next I added the leaves which made using a technique I learned from Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg, one of my very favorite cane artists. She was one of four teachers on a polymer clay cruise in 2008 organized by Lisa Pavelka and I've been fascinated by her designs ever since!

The pink flowers were added next and the tiny white flowers finished the design. All of this was done while the clay was still in sheet form flat on my work surface. That made it a lot easier to roll the canes into the background clay to get it as smooth as possible before applying to the tin and baking.

Once the tin was baked, I sanded, and sanded, and sanded. Then I sanded some more! After the final sanding, I took the tin to my workshop and buffed it to a beautiful shine. Just for the record, I'm a fan of adding texture so that I don't have to sand so this is a definite departure for me. But the end results are beautiful. And smooth as a baby's – well, you know!

This tin won't be available in my Etsy shop because it will be auctioned for our team charity, but I will be glad to make one similar to it.  I say similar because no two items are ever exact.  That's one of the joys -- and challenges -- of polymer clay!  You can custom order the background color, the color of the flowers, to suit you -- or order it as a gift.  It's a great size to carry in your purse or pocket. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

The excitement is building!!!

One of my favorite polymer clay artists will be in Mississippi this coming weekend for a two day workshop.  I have admired Julie Picarello's mokume gane technique for the longest and I'm excited about being able to spend two days learning more about it and about how she puts things together. 

We only have two spaces still open, so if you are interested, go to the Central Mississippi Polymer Clay Guild's website and get all the details.  I understand from a Facebook post by Julie that this may be one of the last traveling workshops she is able to do for a while due to increased demands at her day job!  See - life gets in the way of the pros too!!!  Here is a picture of the necklaces Julie made for our first slate of officers back in 2008.  All the same yet all different!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A different use for focal beads...

Ever have one-of-a-kind beads that you just don't quite know what to do with? Back when I first got my large oval bead roller, I got real happy making focal beads. Don't ask me why – I was having fun and it seemed like the thing to do at the time.

Well, recently I was on a shopping trip with my sister to a fabric store. She was looking for curtain material for her new grandbaby's room and I was just browsing. I ran across this nice tassel trim and I had a light bulb moment! I could see this cool keychain in my mind's eye and could not wait until I could get home and put one together.

I started out with regular sized beads – and they were ok but did not have quite the "feel" I was looking for. I remembered those big focal beads and tried one of them. PERFECT! Just the right "feel" in the palm of my hand. These focal beads are a little over an inch long and about ¾ inches around. I also made a couple with a large round bead with millefoiri and one of my swirly beads. Nice variety – now I just need to get them listed in my Etsy shop and on Artfire. So much to do, so little time!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Look what Guadalupe did with Tina's tutorial!

Remember back last week when I was so excited about Tina Holden's tutorial?  Well, I wasn't the only one.  While rambling today through the blogs that I follow, I found a post with a necklace that grabbed my attention.  I go to looking a bit closer and sure 'nuf!  It was a butterfly necklace made using Tina's tutorial.  I must say that Guadalupe did a great job and -- hey! It's a butterfly!  How much better could it get????  I do LOVE butterflies, just in case ya'll haven't picked up on that. 

Now let me tell you how much better it could get.  One of us could win that beautiful necklace!!!  Guadalupe (aka Mirame Creations) is hosting a giveaway for your choice of butterfly pendants.  Click the link to go directly to the post about her giveaway.