Thursday, June 24, 2010

Favorite Tool: Drinking Straws

This is my most recent collection for my polymer clay tool box. I was wondering how to make the same size balls for various projects since I am not very good at cutting a same size piece from the log each time. We had stopped at a restaurant one day and while talking about what to do, I thought maybe a straw would work. So now I try to get straws of different sizes when I can.

I roll my clay out on my pasta machine on #5 thickness. Then depending on which size I want, I will try a couple of sizes and see which way I want to go. Larger or smaller. You can also combine 1/2 of a piece or another whole piece to create an in between size. By using the straws, I am able to get the same size for each piece. No more guesswork. And straws are everywhere.

You might want to try different pasta settings to see what works best for you. Lots of possibilities here. Enjoy.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Favorite Technique: Color Mixing

I love to mix and combine colors and use the Pantone Fashion Color Report for my inspiration. I then like to use a variety of techniques to create jewelry pieces from those color combinations. One color combo for example is turquoise, fusion coral and Aurora.

I might start with a Mokume Gane technique I learned from Julie Picarello last year which is a lot of fun. I can create pendants, hair barrettes, beads and other jewelry pieces.

I will then experiment with my extruder and make several types of canes for more jewelry pieces.

I also love creating stripe blends which I call my Candy Cane Stripes to make different shaped beads.

And finally, with my left over "scrap" pieces I love to create lentil swirls, natasha beads and other mirror image pieces.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Food Related

Collection by cnewcomb

The Smooshers' would like to wish a very Happy Father's Day to cnewcomb and all of the other dads out there.




Thursday, June 17, 2010

Favorite Tool: Wax Carving Tools

I have lots of sculpting tools. Some are handmade, some are not. I will show them to you in future posts but first I wanted to show you my very favorite, wax carvers. They are stainless steel and some of them look very much like dental tools.

wax carvers

I bought my set on ebay back in 2002 (you can find them in art supply stores too) and have used them daily ever since. I remember looking at the image on the listing page before clicking buy-it-now and thinking I would never use that one that is second up from the bottom. It is the one I use the most. Funny how things work out like that.

Here are a few things that I have made using these tools....

wip magnet

bitchy peas necklace



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Favorite Technique: Caning

written by tooaquarius

What grabbed me when I found clay was beads of course. I needed beads for my jewelry making obsession. Not any beads though. Millefiori or caned beads were my particular obsession.

The technique is a take on the glassmaking version by the same name. Designs, sometimes incredibly intricate, are built up by careful stacking of rods and sheets of colour. Then this large design and pulled and stretched to make a long cane (like cane glass beads are still made today or saltwater taffy candy). Slices are taken off this cane and baked or applied to raw clay.

Thick slices of cane can be made right into beads like these:

Thin slices of cane, often tissue paper thin, are applied to raw clay bases and smoothed in. Then the whole bead is baked, often sanded and polished. Examples of beads made this way:

A few styles of canes that I often use in making beads:


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Favorite Tool: paint stripper

One of my current favourite tools is an old paint stripper that we have had for years, like since I was a teenager!

I was planning on doing some things with liquid clay and one of the things that is often mentioned is using a heat gun to 'clear' the liquid clay after curing. So whilst I was pondering where to get a heat gun from I remembered that there was a paint stripper in the shed. And it works brilliantly!

I now use it a lot to cure super thin coats of Liquid Kato on cured beads - super fast varnishing! You get lots of shine and depth with very little effort. Without my trusty paint stripper I would not have been able to achieve the finish on my Faux Dichro, and various other creations. I love it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Favorite Technique: bas-relief


It seems my favorite technique is making bas-reliefs.
According to Wikipedia a bas-relief or low relief is the quality of a projecting image where the overall depth is shallow in opposite to a high relief more than 50% of most rounded or cylindrical elements such as heads and legs project from the background.
I start with a disk of clay and then I add my image piece by piece and slightly press the edges into the clay disk to attach it. The challenge is to find just the right height for your image and how to still give it some live. It's not as easy and since I'm still pretty new at polymer clay, it's a big challenge for me, but the most fun, I found.
My inspiration are cameos, but also reliefs on Roman buildings which I much admired in my Latin book as a school-kid I remember. Who would have thought one day that admiration would turn into something like this?