Jul 29, 2014

Gilded Paths Surface Techniques

I finally finished another tutorial after starting quite a few and not finishing them…yet, however…

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The tutorial guides you with 49 steps, 58 photographs and 18 pages which includes a Resource list at the end. Use a variety of simple surface techniques as a foundation to add onto with the use of stamps, textures, mica pearls, chalks etcetera. The tutorial also offers plenty of tips to incorporate into your own pieces. Create sheets of clay to use in various projects such as to wrap pens, crochet hooks, bangles or as journal covers, to create buttons, beads, pins, jewellery etcetera, or whatever you imagine. This project is technique based, so the projects are up to you. Here are some examples of easy works that I made using these techniques which you can leave as simple or enhance as lavishly as you want.

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The projects are up to you, but here is a way to make quick ring dishes with some of the treated sheets.

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I stacked two sheets, cut a large circle. Molded on a small glass ball. Cured in a dish of sand or on an oven safe nylon cutter. Voila!

You can download your copy of Gilded Paths Techniques on my Etsy or purchase it from my Zibbet shop and I’ll email you the copy shortly after.

May 10, 2014

8th Bead Soup Blog Hop Reveal!

I planned on publishing this right at midnight or earlier this morning, but for some reason my Windows Live Writer wouldn't publish. It just kept on saying "publishing your post" with the little animation of files going to my blog, but nothing ever happened. I decided to copy this post over to Blogger, but it wouldn't copy the photos, my font etc, long story short...Time flies and I'm late!
This is my reveal. I admit that Participants of this Party are given plenty of time to construct something with the bead soup each partner challenges one with, but I constantly struggle with prioritizing my time. Juggling family, a special needs adult at home, work and then trying to fit in some fun ‘me’ time is difficult. Somehow I get it done though. I’m glad Lori Anderson, our amazing hostess extraordinaire, of this Party and blogger of http://www.prettythingsblog.com/, gave us an extra week as she struggled through some issues of her own. So...I managed to make all these yesterday!!! Just in the nick of time!
My Partner Fay Wolfenden  http://torchfairy.blogspot.ca/ is a fellow BC Artisan who lives in sunny Kelowna which is located in the Interior of BC. Fay creates yummy lampwork beads. Here is the bead soup Fay sent me…(I lost my photo of the stash, so snagged hers. Hope you don’t mind Fay)





Fay included a couple of sets of handmade copper clasps along with her beautiful lampwork. Owls!! How did she guess?? Maybe she read my mind because I very much like owls! Blue and purple are some of my favourite colors to work with. There are also a pretty lampwork flower bead, more of her fun dotted lamp works, some purple copper swirl beads, metal copper tone beads, glass pearls, crystal and vintage glass. Fay sent me natural  and dark copper wire (not pictured) linen and ribbon. Oh, what a challenge! lol
Here is what I sent Fay…




I included one of my handmade button clasps and a large polymer clay focal. The soup includes mother of pearl, coral, jade, Chrysoprase, cultured sea glass and some copper findings. Can't wait to see what she does with these!
OKAY…here is my big reveal! I used every item, that Fay sent me!…but for one.



  I really wanted to challenge myself to use it ALL! The thing that got me was the natural linen. Maybe it reminded me too much of hemp. My husband is the hemp champion knotter, but my fingers just don’t fly like his, lol. So after a few attempt I gave up. I did use the black linen and ribbon though! I crocheted the black linen, then braided 4 strands of it together.  All that I ended up left with are 6 teeny golden pearls. Pretty good, eh? From my collection I incorporated the chains, rings, crimps, silver toggle, headpins, ear hooks, the green faux sea glass and some copper flower heishi beads.



Here are some of the items from the collage…I used the hammered wire clasp as part of the focal, and used the S part as the clasp only. I think it works.

Which is the nicest...to give to my mom for Mothers Day?? She likes both necklaces and bracelets...

Also at your leisure, check out the many Participants and links here…http://lorianderson-beadsoupblogparty.blogspot.ca/2014/05/8th-bead-soup-blog-party-participant.html

Mar 2, 2014

Rigid and flexible molds for Polymer Clay

I use both rigid and flexible molds. Flex molds are becoming so popular and they are certainly easy and fun to use. One or the other may not necessarily be better  however. Depending on use, a rigid mold can sometimes give better and cleaner results. The rigidness of a mold allows for more control and prevents the design being molded from getting stretched and distorted. Flexible molds are great for when the item is rounded, like a button for instance. Rigid molds are impossible to use for a rounded object like a sea urchin that has a bit of a curved underside. In this example you can see the advantage of being able to stretch a mold to pop out a 3 D item, without distorting the curvature and details and you can virtually turn the mold inside out.

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Flexible molds do have their limitations however, in that it is difficult to create texture plates with them. If one has a large surface area to cover such as creating a 4 x 5 sheet, for example, it’s pretty much guaranteed that one will either end up with an unevenly textured piece, that is some areas will be more deeply impressed and others not enough and some of the details may look stretched. Even if one is successful in creating a texture plate with silicone rubber, creating a positive from such a large mold is difficult as the rubbery texture will shift and distort the image you are trying to copy. Another limitation with the flexible nature of such a mold is that if you are trying to create an equal front and back for a pendant, the stretchy nature of the mold might cause one to end up with 2 slightly different sized pieces.

Here is a short version tutorial on how to create a 2 sided item using a rigid mold.

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Materials: 

  • Polymer clay such as Premo

Tools:

  • · Tissue blade
  • · Rigid mold made from polymer clay
  • · Water
  • · Soft or absorbent brush, or small spray bottle for water
  • · Rubber chisel blending tool
  • · Needle tool
  • · Small metal spatula or exacto knife
  • · Texture such as coarse sandpaper or rough craft foam
  • · Small textured bead or stamp to hide seams

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Step 1: Spritz or brush your mold with water. If you are going to use Fimo to cast from the mold, then do not use water as it will make the Fimo sticky. Use corn starch instead.

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Step 2: Condition clay, roll into ball and press into the mold. Starting in centre of clay press outward to edges of mold.

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Step 3: Use tissue blade starting at about centre of mold and slice away excess. Use the edges of mold as a horizontal blade guard or as an indicator of how much excess to trim. Hold the blade as horizontal as possible as not to slice into the mold. It’s kind of like slicing multi levels of colour clay for mokume gane.

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Step 4: Turn the mold 180 degrees and slice away clay excess on other half.

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Step 5: Using your thumbs, push the clay toward centre of mold or away from the edges of the mold.

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Step 6: To remove the clay from the mold, press onto coarse sandpaper or a coarse craft foam texture.

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Step 7: Mold should lift away, by causing the clay to stick onto the texture, but if it doesn’t…

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Step 8: …you can also use a small metal spatula or needle tool to carefully lift the edges up and then the molded item is easier to remove.

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Step 9: Create another piece as before and then mount the 2 pieces together matching the edges.

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Step 10: With a rubber chisel tip you can easily blend and smooth seams. You can also use your fingertips to gently pinch the largest seam together first and then use the rubber chisel for the finer details.

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Step 11: Seams won’t then have any of the texture. To camouflage you can create a similar texture by using the sandpaper to impress a little bit of texture over the seam, use part of the mold itself, or…

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Step 12: If you have any metal beads with an interesting texture that matches, you can use this as a roller on the seam.

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Step 13: This pendant is done. All it needs is a hole for stringing and a bit of colour. One of my favourite method is to use mica or metal pulver on black for an antique metal finish. Of course you can choose any colour you like.

Find my latest molds, both rigid and flexible in my Etsy shop

WWW.beadcomber.etsy.com

I’ve added a variety of molds to my shop including this Raven Thor Hammer Pendant mold. There is another hammer, a Sea Horse, Mermaid, Egyptian Themes and much more. I’ll be adding more tonight!

Feb 2, 2014

Spiky Elegance Bangle Bracelet Tutorial

I forgot to tell you about my latest tutorial! While it’s not persé a Polymer Clay tutorial it could certainly work with polymer clay beads! A while back I created faux rock spiky beads and used a shambala style clasp, that is with the macramé pull strings. The tutorial shows how to attach metal clasps and beadwork, but you could add the cord pull strings.

This is the initial bracelet I made with the polymer clay beads

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And this is the Tutorial. It’s in all my shops, including Zibbet.

08-09-2013 spiky bracelets

Feb 1, 2014

Waterscape Jewellery

Currently one of the things I’m working on are some Waterscape Jewellery reminiscent of what I used to do in the early 90’s. Back then I called the popular miniature pieces ‘Underwater Scenes’ because they involved fish, octopus and other marine life. I created tiny pieces like coral, fauna, flora and fish from polymer clay and then mounted them on Hair barrettes, brooches, earrings, necklaces etc. Now I’m also creating scenes that take place above or on water that include lizards, frogs, and dragonflies. I just spent a few weeks making a variety of pieces and am told to prepare a bucket full, that these will sell well this season, but I also want to create each piece as a unique piece. Although tedious and a bit time-consuming, not only because of the small scale, but because of the multiple curing process in between elements, I do enjoy making these. Right now I’m contemplating putting away the clay and focus on completing some of these with cording, or beadwork such as bead-embroidery. The other part of me says to keep going with just a few more while the materials are out and on the go. Am thinking the later would keep the momentum going. That’s the downside of a small studio, not having enough desk or counter space to work on multiple things on the go or through the stages from start to finish, even though my husband keeps telling me I would have enough space if I didn’t clutter up my work areas so much. He’s probably right, but as an Artist I keep an ‘organized’ mess. I need to have a lot of materials in front of myself to keep the muse entertained, right?

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I have a couple new creatures to add, such as lizard, toad and dolphin…

Jan 20, 2014

Kick-starting 2014 with a Mini Tutorial …

Kind of a late kick-start, but it’s still January. With ‘everyone’ seemingly on Facebook now,  it’s easy to neglect ones Blog, but it is actually easier to navigate. One can search for a particular subject, keyword or even tutorial. Posts on Facebook get lost amongst all the posts from Friends in the Newsfeed. The benefit of a blog is that while it shows up on my FB wall, I’ll also have it here to refer back to. This year I strive to bring you more updates. I tinker around so much with stuff in my studio and do have so many tips to offer, but I just get so involved that I forget to show you! I need to re-evaluate how I spend my time, you may be able to relate, lol.  I also want to focus more on my Zibbet shop as my Etsy and ArtFire are well set up. My Zibbet is far less costly and we all appreciate some savings right? You may have heard about an Exodus from Etsy to Zibbet, but I don’t intend to give up on Etsy yet, as each shop has its own benefit. Enough said, I digress. Show me already! you say, lol. Okay, okay! The Mini Tutorial!

USB Cover!

I had thought of doing this last year, but never got around to it, but recently a clay friend inspired with her version, so I bought a bunch of USB sticks. Mine are by HP (Hewlett-Packard) which is my fave trusted brand for computer geekery. And these sticks are very small physically, but not so small when it comes to saving Data. I bought both 16 GB and 32 GB. I plan on listing some finished ones that I cover, like this one…a mere 1 1/2 inch tall. A cent for comparison. Cute eh? If you want to make some consider the shape as you won’t be able to cure the actual USB or you may ruin the delicate technology within.

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This truly is a MINI Tutorial in regards to both size of finished product and steps involved. My paid tutorials go into much greater step by step description and photography meant for any level of ability. My minis are meant for those who can look at something and know how to get there without the steps in between.

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From this… …to this and a regular USB stick for comparison.
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Create a slab cut to same size as the mini USB and cure. This will be your USB template. Here you can also see the larger USB without its cap, to show how deep the USB part is that gets inserted into a laptop or computer. Score your blank for appropriate depth. Then use Armorall, Kato Repel Gel or Vaseline to coat your clay blank surface.

Cover top half of template to the score line with a clay sheet and cure both pieces together. When cool, the wrapped clay should simply slide off the template. Before removing (or mount back on) Use a cutting tool to score some shallow lines into the template.  The carved ‘inny’ lines on template will translate to little ‘outy’ lines to the cap and will grip the USB stick so the cap doesn’t just fall off.

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Repeat last step,  for the cap, by using Armourall or Kato Repel etc…and then cure. Let cool and test fit on USB. Then decorate both pieces by adding more clay. Here is one of my examples. Glue the top part to the USB, but don’t glue the cap!

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Going to hang this one on a pretty cord of sorts. I have a whole bunch more stuff to show you soon. Jewelry in the works and another Tutorial to publish tomorrow!!!

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