Finding my way through polymer clay!

I am a polymer clay artist on the coast of California. I am inspired by the shapes and colors of nature, especially the beauty you find in or near the ocean.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Image Transfers by Donna Kato - Due Monday August 30

Hi Everyone!

For this tutorial craft along, I wanted to double up with a challenge I am doing for the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy of which I am the newest member.  Since I am learning new techniques for this month's challenge (image transfers) you can learn with me!

I have found a great tutorial on how to do the image transfer technique on Craftedu put out by none other than the famous Donna Kato!  Watch the tutorial here:

There are lots of image transfer tutorials out there, both on YouTube and on craft websites and blogs.  They all give the same basic directions.

Have fun!

If you want your version posted along with mine, please email me your photo (and a small caption if you so desire) no later than Monday August 30th at 6:00pm PST.  I'll update a post with results on Tuesday the 31st!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Results: Ponsawan Sila's Texture Plate & Bubble Beads

Well folks, I gave it a good shot.  And I gotta say, I found this series quite frustrating.  And I wasted a ton of clay.  It was a seemingly simple concept, but there are little tricks and things that must be obvious to the author of the tutorial which were not at all obvious to me.  The first set of texture plates I made I guess I didn't make deep enough because the resulting "bubbles" didn't come out too hot:

I also failed to follow the directions on the thickness to make the clay sheet layers which probably added to the fail. Nothing to brag about, right?  So I made a second bubble texture plate with deeper impressions and tried again. It came out only marginally better.

Another problem with this tut was the part where we had to "carefully slice off the bubbles one by one".  But with the bubbles so close together, I found I would end up slicing adjacent ones thereby screwing them up.  I think this is the point where I gave up, at least mentally. I bullied through though as I wouldn't be a very good hostess if I didn't complete my own projects, right?

I opted to make a cuff bracelet instead of a bead for the end product.  I wanted the knobby texture, which I thought looked neato for a bangle so I didn't slice of the bubbles low and I didn't flatten out the sheet when I was done slicing as they appear on the original tut.

I actually like the bangle.  However, the size of my wrist is not conducive to a cuff, and I didn't realize that the heat of your arm would make the cuff flexible while you wore it (Donna Kato has a great tutorial about adding wire armature to cuffs to avoid this bending issue -- which of course I found after I was done).  So this cuff is headed for the bin!

I made a couple of other texture plates while I was at it. I don't know if I will use these ever, but that remains to be seen.

My biggest gripe, besides the problems with the execution, was that this same pattern / texture could have easily been made just doing a simple bulls-eye cane.  I thought of this while in the midst of frustration.  I sure wish I had realized it beforehand.  Oh well.

Sadly nobody else did the tutorial this time around.  I hope I have others for the next one!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ponsawan Sila's Texture Plate & Bubble Beads - Due Aug 18

I am going out of town this weekend (wearing my bangles from last weeks challenge at a wedding!)  so decided to do a double tutorial with a 2-week due date.

Both of these tutorials come from Ponsawan Sila's tutorial blog.  She makes the most lovely items and is so generous to put her tutorials out freely!

The first tutorial is the slide show below - make your own texture plates.  I think this is such a valuable and MONEY SAVING skill all of us polyclay artists need to learn.  I am going to use this tutorial to make myself the bubble texture plate Ponsawan uses in the second tutorial - Bubble Beads.

If you don't feel like making bubbles, this seems like a thing where you can make any shape for the texture plate and apply the plate design you create in the second tutorial so please feel free to make any sort of beads you feel! - I look forward to seeing Birdy Beads or Swirly Beads or Squiggle Beads or Flowery Beads if you so desire.  Have fun!  I know I will!

The texture plate tutorial (also embedded below):

The bubble beads
Find the tutorial here:

If you want your version posted along with mine, please email me your photo (and a small caption if you so desire) no later than Wednesday August, 18 th at 6:00pm PST.  I'll update a post with results on Thursday the 19th!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Results - Quick Bracelet Sets

These were super easy and came out really cool.  The advent of this post also sparked a discussion about alternatives to Pearl-Ex powder on the Craftster forums.

When I set out to make the bracelets, I wasn't as interested in the surface techniques as I was in the idea of 1) using a soda can and 2) making the bangles follow the same line so you could wear multiples together like puzzle pieces (although, I did make one using a stamp and Pearl-Ex just in the spirit of the tutorial)

I am also very happy to say that I have folks interested in participating! 

Onto the results!  For reference, here is the original again and the link to the tutorial can be found in this post.

And here are my versions:

As you can see, I did one fast and dirty with the Pearl-Ex.  It's only OK, but since I was rushing through it, it leaves a lot to be desired.  It should also be fairly obvious that I did double thickness (two layers of the largest setting on my pasta machine) on this.  Since I was making these with an actual purpose, I knew I wanted things to be a little weightier.  The decor on the surface of the other pieces are from canes I made to match a dress that I have.  I am really bad at canes.  There will be tutorial posts on them so I can get better!

I also had a participant in this post who's surface decor came out so great!!  Check out Christina's work:

She writes, "I was not able to find pearl-x powders so I used some old eye shadow and I think they turned out great."  Great tip Christina!