Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Questions

Good day everyone.  I hope that all are having a wonderful weekend.  It is beautiful in Florida today, breezy and sunny.  Spring is sprung here and it is wonderful. 

I have a question and I hope that someone who works with polymer clay can perhaps help me.  I have recently started working with polymer clay and thus far most of my creations have come from the poor results of attempting a 'skinner blend'.  When it does not work out I just use the mess I make of it and create something from that.  So far it is not bad.  The beads and creations look okay and I have received compliments when I wear it.  But here's the catch.  

I really really want to learn to do canes and it seems that nearly all of them require that first you must create a 'skinner blend' of your clay colors in order to achieve the cane that you want.  However, I can't seem to create the 'skinner blend'.  I try to follow the instructions to the letter.  I have realized or think that my first problem was the instructions indicate to run clay through pasta machine at setting #1.  I believe that it may be the thicker setting on that instructors machine, however, my thickest setting is #9.  So the second time around, I used that setting.  Still the same results, NO BLEND.  

It seems that I put the sheet through the machine and I come out with a sheet that is only about 3 inches wide, then when I fold it as instructed, of course it is only 1.5 inches, run it through the machine and I get just a little over 2 inches wide when it comes out, so that is three runs through the machine and it just does not seem that it can be folded anymore.   It certainly is not blended after only 3 passes through the machine. 

I guess I just don't know how to get a large square of clay through the machine to begin with.  I am sure that it is something sooooo simple that I will feel like and idiot when someone explains it to me, but can you anyway? 

I would appreciate anyone who may have the answer to this dilemna responding to me either through this blog or through my studio to my email or directly email me at abeadedaffair.pam@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading this and thank you to anyone who can solve my mental block on this particular problem.  I am sure that when I get over this little problem, there will be many more. LOL.

THank you for reading.

May God Bless You.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

As Promised Finished Polymer Clay

OK here we go artisans and interested parties.  I have promised photos of the finished polymer clay experiments that I was working on.  Here they are:

This is a photo of most of the pieces that I did just for a quick overview of the work.  Some were made just using scraps of the clay left over and others as you can see are beads with a lace cane overlay.  My very first lace cane.  I know this can be better.  But hey, first try here right.  I would really love if anyone who does a lot of polymer clay could critique the work for me perhaps on the photos below which are a bit clearer to give me some direction with what I am doing incorrectly and what I should be doing better.  Of course, personally, I think polymer clay is a medium which allows the artisan to do pretty much whatever they want.  However, I am aware that there are better ways to doing some things than I have figured out by myself.  This is strictly a hands-on learn as I go process.  No tutorials, no classes, just conditioning the clay and using my imagination.  Wow, what an an imagination. LOL.

Another photo.
The above photo is of pieces made using only scraps, some combined and some not.  They are sanded and finished with a polyurethrane water based gloss.  I like the shiny look to these.


The above photo is beads that have been created using the dark teal green clay color as a base and overlaying with a lace cane.  This provides a darker bead than the photo below which is made from using the yellow color clay base with the same lace cane overlay.
The next photograph is again beginner beads and they were finished by tumbling with some fairly smooth stones.  I had tumbled the stones for a while and removed the very smooth ones and used the ones with a few slight edges to them for tumbling with the clay beads.  The result is pretty good. 
As you can see, these are not as glossy as the previous photo.  These are finished with the exact same finish, 'polyurethrane gloss".  I also think this finish is really good even though not as glossy.  Desirability depends on the wearer of the pieces.  I like to use both in my jewelry although I am not sure that I like the effect if they are used together in the same piece.

The next photo is of just a pile of the beginner beads which were tumbled but of different colors.  These were all done using scrap clay.

These were created as said, with scraps but I did not use the yellow clay as before, this was a mixture of a couple of colors until I had something that I liked, no recipe used here.  Yeah I know, I should use recipe or at least write down what I did so that I can recreate the effect if it is one that I like. 

The last photo is of a set that was made from the above pieces, a bracelet and earring set.  I really like this set.  I have enjoyed showing it off to people. 

These experiments have given me at least one thing.  The desire to continue with polymer clay.  I have really enjoyed working with the clay and letting my imagination run wild "so to speak".  I think that the creative juices could really flow when using this medium and the sky is the limit as to what an artisan can create using clay.  There are so many varieties of clay to choose from, one only has to find the brand and colors that suit their needs. 

I have been reading a lot of information regarding different clays and it seems that every artisan has their preference as to which one they use.  I find that Sculpey III which is used here as well as Premo for some works really well for me.  I will be continuing the polymer clay experiments and trying different color combinations.

Now I just have to perfect the skinner blend.  My attempts thus far have proven to be considerably less than satisfactory.  However, in my defense, I am only beginning to get used to the pasta machine and how it functions as well as the method for the skinner blend.  My first attempts came out too thin way too early and therefore just could not continue to be worked.  That is how I came on so much scrap material to use for beads.  I just could not bring myself to throw it away.

I hope that you have enjoyed the photos and look forward to viewing more experiments in the days and weeks ahead.  I am looking forward to viewing the progress of my work to see how it progresses.

Good luck, have a blessed day all.



Friday, March 11, 2011

Creating Some Fun

Well hello everyone, it has been a little while but I have been pretty busy.  I have been trying to learn to use polymer clay.  I have posted previously some first attempts and they were, well, okay, but not where I would like to be.  Of course, that was very first attempt.  I will be posting some more photos in a day or so of some finished pieces of polymer clay.  Some are of the first attempt but sanded and given a gloss and some are newer pieces that I was practicing making canes and then some of the scraps that when I saw them, I liked the look so I made a bead with them.

But today, I want to show you the latest piece of wire wrapping that I have done.  These are simple earrings and was again, just practicing some thoughts.  Let me know what you think.  I like them.  One of my Twitter followers a bead company sent me a message indicating that they really liked this pair. 


They are a red glass bead that came from a mixed bag of beads I bought at a Hobby Lobby called "Asian Spice".  I really liked the colors and am going to try to make a necklace with the remainder to go along with the earrings.  The beads themselves are approximately
14 mm I think.  It is difficult to gauge since my template only goes to 10 mm and the manufacturer did not give that information.  I have worn them and received compliments on them.  I think folks just like the fact that they are a shiny bead for one and the gold wire just adds a bit of 'bling'. 

The next pair is made using a tear drop stone of purple with some variations throughout the bead.  It is a really pretty bead and was not sure how best to show it off, so this was my attempt.  I am not sure that I am satisfied with the finished look but will wait to look at it for a while longer before I decide if I want to start over with a different design.  I will show this one in gold wire as well as copper wire.  Hope you like them.


Gold wire wrapping
     copper wire wrapping.

As you can see there are some black veins running through this purple bead which give it some punch.

I think I really like the ones done in gold best, but the copper looks pretty good too.  I am partial to gold wire so that is why I think the ones in gold look better. 

The other pair that I have done is like the red dangles above but using a "blue-green Magnesite" bead which so closely resembles a light colored turquoise bead or even closer resemblence to some light chalk turquoise.  I have chosen to use this bead as it can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of turquoise and for my studio which attempts to provide beautiful handmade jewelry for women at a modest price, this works.






I hope you enjoy the photos and I look forward to hearing from many of you.