Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Favorite Technique: Mokume Gane

This post is written by WireRunsThroughIt

Hello! Right now I think my favorite technique is Mokume Gane and creating skinner blends.
I just created a loaf that was really amazing.

Each piece I create with the Mokume Gane technique is usually my favorite piece.
Mokume Gane is Japanese and it means "wood eye metal". The process involves taking usually metal colors, and creating thin slices and painting on one side of each sheet then you stack them on top of another and take a dull rounded instrument like a straw and poke holes into the loaf, in some cases you can fill the holes with a different color to create an "eye" or knot pattern. Then you take a blade and slice it very thin to get flakes that you can arrange onto another sheet roll into a patterned sheet or create individual beads.

I also like to use fabricated ivory with mokume gane, as it is very Japanese, Ivory is another staple I see a lot in Asian work, so I wanted to incorporate either ivory or bamboo. When I create I like to keep it in theme and get as close to the actual look as possible, or I create with no hold barred attitude and throw all reason out the window! I like extremes!

Here is my latest piece created with Polymer clay.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Favorite Tool: Extruder

This post is written by 2GoodClaymates

My favorite tool is definitely the extruder.

I use it for creating canes like the one used to cover this mirror compact and pen.

I also love to create filigree patterns like the ones in the cross pendants shown. Different colored clay is extruded in tiny strands and then arranged into a pattern.

My favorite use for the extruder is finishing off my pieces with a filigree design used on the pen and mirror compact shown above as well as these bangles which is actually hiding the seam.

I have a few tips to share on making better use with your extruder. Before inserting the log of clay into the chamber, give it a squirt with a bit of Armour All and rub it all over. After extruding your clay, the remainder will come out easily leaving the extruder chamber fairly clean.

I also like to store my extruder discs with some "cheat sheets" and clay samples. I picked up this tip from Angela at Craft Goat. http://blog.craftygoat.com/2008/06/extruder_discs_get_to_know.html

Lay out your discs on the scanner, scan them in and then print them out, or print out the sheet she has provided.

Condition some scrap clay and extrude small samples from each disc and bake them.

You can glue the clay samples onto your cheat sheet or store them with your discs like I've done:

I placed each cut out sample from the cheat sheet, the matching extruder disc and the baked clay pieces into small bags. I then numbered each bag and punched a hole at the top.

The bags all fit on a shower hook which I hang above my clay table. Whenever I use my extruder, I have my clay sample that helps me easily decide on which size I need. I then have my print out so I know where the disc belongs after I’m through with it for storage.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Favorite Technique: Bead Making

This post is written by Gingerbells

My favorite technique has always been bead making and incorporating them in my designs.

I made jewelry featuring only commercial supplies for years and while they were pretty there was nothing to them that made them truly mine, anyone buying the same supplies could make the same pieces.

Then I found polymer clay and was so excited about all that can be done with it. It brought a new dimension to my jewelry designs. I now feel like every piece I make is truly mine; good or bad.

I love to make beads in many shapes sizes and colors. I love to use canes to make my beads, the combination of colors and patterns can make some beautiful beads. I make them for stringing and for my favorite style which is bead-woven and bead embroidered designs.

I love polymer clay because there are no limitations to what can be done with it.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

DIY Supplies

Beginning today we are going to have Do It Yourself Sunday for a while. Do you want to start from scratch with a tutorial or a cane? Or create jewelry, perhaps embellish something? We have whatever you need to get you going.

Today we bring you BeadsByHaffina. Here is an entire shop dedicated to handmade supplies made from polymer clay. This is just a small sampling:

Bright, Funky Bead Mix

Mica Shift Heart Shaped Buttons

Faux Labradorite Style Cabochons

Handmade Mica Shift Polymer Clay Toggle Clasp

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tool Drool: Untraditional tools

This post was written by HouseMorbid

My favorite tools are found items and my fingers. I use the ends of paint brushes to make delicate turns. My exacto knife to cut in patterns and tiny details. I take apart pens to make templates for circles and other needed shapes. I also use the grips on things to make patterns - ex - exacto knife handles have a cross hatch pattern that looks great on rolled clay. I really like the corn starch suggestions and will have to use those. Oh and tin foil is another favorite tool for wrapping items in to keep them from burning and to make textural patterns.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Favorite Techniques: Faux Ceramic

This post is written by EmilyClaireCreations

I love ceramic. My husband and I love collecting ceramic pieces at art shows. It is one of the things that inspired me to try polymer clay. I don't have access to a kiln, but discovering a way to mimic the look of ceramic, and create something of my own design, was a challenge that I had to attempt.

I read every book I could get my hands from the library, on about polymer clay. So many ideas, I didn't even know where to start. One of my favorite pieces was a faux distressed terracotta pendant necklace. I love grubby old flower pots and the interesting patinas the pots acquire after so much use.

My favorite technique of the moment, is working with acrylic paints for distressing and glazing. I've been experimenting with sponging and layering colors. I like to mix up acrylic paint with polymer glazes (Donna Dewberry Studio Glazes) to create ceramic type effects. The colors float and settle and they give the pieces depth and interest.

I could never get tired of working with polymer clay, there are just too many new ideas to try.



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Introducing pennyslane


What got you interested in polymer clay as a medium?
I really didn't know anything about polymer clay until I started beading, and found that I was uninspired by the selection (and price) of beads available at most craft stores. I picked up a few packages of clay and glitter, and have been having a blast ever since!!!

What inspires you to create?
Everything, I can't help thinking about colors, shapes,and textures most of the time. A walk through the woods has me thinking about what I can do w/ greens and browns, a stroll through a souvenir shop or thrift store leads me to objects I could make a mold from, and then there's paper, fabric, crayons, foils, spices, embossing powders, stamps, and on and on, etc.... I don't know where to stop!

Do you have a favorite technique?
Marbling different colors together just relaxes me. It's simple, but sooo satisfying.

Of everything you have created which is your favorite?
Right now, that would be my color crumble beads. A local woman had a box full of at least 10 year old Fimo blocks listed on Craigslist. I couldn't stand the thought of polymer clay going to waste, so I brought it home, threw it in the food processor, and started experimenting. I love the beads that have come from my Craigslist clay:)

What do you prefer to make out of polymer clay and why?
Beads and pendants are my favorites, but I also love making wine charms, magnets, frames (personalized to create great baby shower favors) and hair clips.

How do you decide what to make?

Is there something you wish you could make in clay that you have not yet?
I want to make more decorative items for home (light switch plates, candle holders, etc.).

What makes polymer clay a better fit for your products than other mediums?
Polymer clay is so durable, lightweight, versatile, and can be waterproofed for wear in any kind of weather. It can be combined with so many other mediums and can be baked in a toaster oven in my garage!

What is your best advice for someone starting out in polymer clay?
Have patience, take time to condition, don't take short cuts, and only use glazes made for polymer clay!

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