Carved beads jewelry

My next project in PCA 2017 is inspired by the Night Out Necklace from Shannon.

Carved beads jewelry - PCA 2017

Carved beads jewelry – PCA 2017. Perfect Pearls shine! ❀

Shannon’s necklace involves hand carving beads. I have great self-awareness when it comes to my knife skills — I know that I’m bad with knives and constantly afraid I’ll slice my thumb off πŸ˜› — so bead carving was going to be a challenge for me. (Gulp!) Not one that I’d shy away from, although I wouldn’t make as many beads as Shannon did. Partly because, you know, too much knife time, and partly because I’d like my jewelry better in a slightly different design.

Making the beads was fun, and even more fun was applying Perfect Pearls on them. Ooh, the shine! The combinations! I used Berry Twist with a hint of Perfect Bronze. (Or was it Perfect Copper? I knew I should’ve jotted down the colors right then.)

I’ll admit the carving was strangely therapeutic, and I’m relieved my thumb is still intact πŸ˜€ but I’ll need a lot (and I mean a whole lot) more practice to make those slices neater. More practice, and more experience to figure out the science behind when they slice off easily and when they don’t. The edges of the focal bead (the cuboidal one) were much easier for me to work on. Maybe it’s the angle of the surface? Was it just that I’d gotten more comfortable by the time I picked up this bead? I’ll need to know more, and boy am I gonna do more carving! πŸ™‚

Back to the jewelry. Another first for me was using a drill bit to make a hole at the bottom of the focal bead, where the tassel is attached. A bold move, considering that it’s the focal! πŸ˜‰ It went well though, and I love how neat the hole looks. I’m officially sold on post-bake holes.

I made tassels from leftover Nako Comfort Stretch yarn, and picked a variety of bead caps, and attached them to the main focal bead and the two spherical beads. Since there’s only one hole for the tassel on the focal bead, and that support is not sturdy enough, I used E6000 adhesive to make it stick and stay there better. Next time, I’ll bake the bead with the wire already in it.

Lastly, I attached the earwires to the earrings, and some bead caps and eye loops to the pendant. That’s it!

Heart earrings

Okay, it’s Valentine’s day again. I’m not a fan of special days that are invariably associated with many expectations of gifts and much pressure to have a great day. πŸ˜› Anyway, here are a pair of heart earrings that I made. Not with this day in mind, they just seemed the easiest stencil to use from a Sculpey template that I bought recently. Until I found that working with them was actually kinda difficult. But I persevered, and well, here they are:

Heart earrings from polymer clay

Heart earrings from polymer clay

For the base, I used dark chocolate colored Premo clay with a reddish tinge, which also has red and silver glitter in it. It needed some hand conditioning along with machine conditioning, because too much machine conditioning can eventually push quite a bit of the glitter to the edges.

Cutting out the hearts was the easy part. My knife did slide too much in the clay because I’d conditioned the clay so well that it was like butter I was clumsy, but I managed to smooth over those nicks later. I cut out a slice from a pinkish colorway cane that I’d made quite a while ago, and laid it on a part of one heart. After many attempts at making the heart puffy, and ending up with as many bad bruises on the clay, I decided that puffing can wait for a shape with all smooth edges, and that I’d stop trying it with a heart with a sharp angle at its top. (On second thought, the bruising was also probably because the cane was Sculpey III, which is super-soft.)

So I went back to the drawing board. I cut pieces from the cane-embellished heart, leaving out the unrepairable bruised areas. I made another heart, arranged the cane pieces on the new heart pair, and flattened them. In the middle of each, I embedded some seed beads. I laid the hearts on a curved surface and baked them. (Yup, a consolation for not making the hearts puffy.)

After baking, some seed beads fell off on their own, and I pried the rest off. I like how they’ve left traces of their insides on the clay, like they’re not truly gone. πŸ˜‰

Then, it was time to try out my first ever sanding. I used coarser (400) to finer (2000) grits and wet-sanded for a while, and buffed the pieces for some more time. Yes! A sheen, finally! (The cane was Sculpey III, and it apparently doesn’t like to turn shiny. Always something new to learn, and that’s what makes it fun for me.) I might eventually buy a machine for sanding and buffing, but for now, I’ll just rely on my arms.

To finish the pair, I connected them to ear wires with jump rings as usual.

Bright Summer Jewelry

My next project from PCA 2017. The tutorial itself involves creating a pendant with canes and gradients. The pendant looks awesome, but if I do make one, I’m doubtful if I (or my sis) would wear it, because it is a tad large for our liking. I really liked the shapes and colors in the piece, though, so I thought I’d make tinier versions from parts of the project. And here’s the result.

Bright Summer Jewelry

Bright Summer Jewelry

Love these tiny things!

Trying to use a gradient for the spheres in these little pieces would not even show the gradient colors much, so instead, I just used glass beads for them.

Shaping the crescents was a bit tricky, but the results are not too shabby. After my last project, I’d thought of trying out sanding for my next project, but the curves in the tiny crescents made it kinda difficult, and I ended up not sanding. I did buff the pieces for quite a while, although I admit it doesn’t make much difference without the sanding preceding it. πŸ™‚ Next project, hopefully…

Crocheted Polymer Clay Jewelry

My first project in the PCA art retreat. And my first batch of improvisations to compensate for lack of supplies where I live. πŸ˜‰

Crocheted Polymer Clay Jewelry

Crocheted Polymer Clay Jewelry

This project uses the invisible spool knitting technique of wire crochet to embellish organic polymer clay beads with a delicate wire mesh, creating teardrop-shaped earrings and pendant. The wire crochet technique is used to create a fine necklace as well.

I could make the beads without much hassle. (Thanks to my sis for lending me her supplies to add the shine on them.) However, I can’t find the fine wire needed for the project here. So I used what I could lay my hands on — a thicker gauge wire.

Now, this wire does not really hold its shape while I work on it, so I couldn’t use the invisible spool knitting technique. I did regular crochet instead, which makes for a thicker mesh.

The wire mesh is also not the least bit delicate — if anything, it’s strong and yet springy πŸ™‚ — but I wanted to work with it instead of trying to force it to be something it wasn’t, so I made the pieces look more traditional Indian instead of modern, by adding more wire-crocheted accompaniments for the earrings. Instead of making a fine necklace, I made a tube that a cord (or a seed-bead necklace) can be strung into.

And I also made a tiny piece that I added as a charm to an old scrunchy bracelet that I’d made. πŸ™‚

So many improvisations! Love the results! ❀ ❀

Premo!

Ever since I discovered that Sculpey III is brittle and not really suited for most of the polymer clay work I’m interested in, I’d thought of buying sampler packs of other clays. I finally ordered some of Premo!, Premo! Accents and SoufflΓ©.

The package arrived, and I eagerly sat down to play with the clay.Β To my disappointment, I found that it was ancient stock, and I just couldn’t condition the clay at all. When my hands finally started aching from all the pressing and rolling (I haven’t bought a conditioning machine yet), I began looking for what other people do to make old clay ‘like new.’ Apparently, most people throw away the clay if it’s this bad. Well, I spent a lot of money on mine, and throwing it away isn’t an option. What else you got, The Internet? Some suggestions popped up about adding mineral oil or baby oil to the clay. Okay, I could do that.

It worked! Really well, in fact. I still don’t know how the oil-conditioned clay will behave over months (or years), but for now, it’s made me happy I decided to try out these new clays. I was apprehensive about the post-bake quality, but the finished products are sooo sturdy. I made two earrings and a buckle.

The earrings

To start with, I twirled two snakes of silver and black around each other, folded the new rope to and fro into a roughly rectangular shape and rolled it flat. I wanted to test making two sets of earrings, one thinner than the other.

Premo! experiment - Thick earrings

Premo! experiment – Thick earrings

For the thicker earrings, I used a rectangular cutter and cut out two pieces. I continued to roll the remaining clay into a thinner sheet, and then cut out a circle using another cutter. (I haven’t used this circle yet.) I used a larger circular cutter on the remaining clay, and then cut the resulting shape into two equal earring pieces.

Premo! experiment - Thin, curved earrings

Premo! experiment – Thin, curved earrings

There was still some clay left, and I rolled it up into a snake, and used it for lining the edges of all four pieces. I then poked holes in the pieces for inserting jump rings later.

While baking, I kept the thinner piece bent over some folded card, so its surface is curved.

Results: The thicker one is sturdy, and the thinner one is slightly rubbery when I try to bend it, but pretty sturdy too. It didn’t chip or break when I tested it. (Reminded me of the time my experimental Sculpey III piece snapped.) Of course, I didn’t try my hardest to break it — after all, what earring goes through such hardships? πŸ˜›

The buckle

Premo! experiment - Buckle

Premo! experiment – Buckle

I used a mold for the torus base. Then, I decided to mix things up, and cut out uneven strips from an old Sculpey III sheet of brown (from the dragonfly project.) I first laid out thicker strips on the base, and then I rolled thinner strips around it. Finally, I firmly attached a decent-sized solid cylinder, made from the same clay as the base, for the buckle’s support.

Result: This piece is born to be a buckle — look at how it’s holding a belt in place! ❀

So overall, I like Premo!, as long as I find newer stock. (Because conditioning old clay is not fun.)

Tiny flower earrings and pendant

My mom had received tiny glass bangles at a ceremony — they’re barely 2-3 cm (an inch) wide. They were obviously not made for wearing, but the uneven thickness of the glass made them look very artsy. With my newly developed interest in polymer clay, I had just the idea for using them in some jewelry.

In related news, I recently made my first cane with some leftover gray and pink clays from a (disastrous) project that I talked about previously. I didn’t have any particular design in mind, I just wanted to practice reducing the cane and seeing if the original pattern stays recognizable. The pattern did change, and I need a lot more practice to get to the stage that I see in tutorials, but this cane is obviously not wasted. (Is anything ever wasted in clay land?) I cut out slices from it for the jewelry I had in mind.

Remember, in my last post, I’d discovered that Sculpey III clay, which I’m using, turns out brittle when used for thin pieces? Well, I used that wisdom this time. If you’re thinking I made something thick, well, you’re in for a surprise. I went even thinner! πŸ˜€ What can I say? I trust my creative instincts, and it pays off sometimes. πŸ˜‰ I cut out slices from the cane, and stuck them to one another like independent-but-kinda-joined petals, and to the backs of three of the bangles. One of them would become a pendant, and I worked on that first to get a feel for this stuff. The other two would make earrings, and, feeling confident from my practicing with the pendant πŸ˜› I made them look mostly alike. (Phew!) I shaped all of them so they would bulge slightly outward.

Then came the baking. I placed tiny paper balls under the petals so they would retain their bulges. And I used my newly-made foil-lined paper box to protect the them from temperature fluctuations. I baked for about 10 mins tops because they’re so thin, and they turned out alright when I took them out of the oven, yay! Maybe I can stop feeling apprehensive about the possibility of burning things now.

I grabbed some jump rings and findings. (Looks like I don’t have blackish rings and findings anymore, and neither does the online store I usually shop at. Time to look around.) I carefully added jump rings to all three pieces, and then earring findings to two of them. Ta daa!!

Tiny flower pendant

Tiny flower pendant

Tiny flower earrings

Tiny flower earrings

Given the fragile nature of all the parts that make these jewelry pieces, I don’t know how long they’ll last. I did apply copious amounts of glue to the backs, and since earrings and pendants don’t undergo rough use, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Not all my fingers, though. πŸ˜‰

Foray into clay

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about my jewelry making supplies, or lack thereof. I’ve mostly been interested in trying out wire jewelry so far, but I’ve not been able to find thicker-gauge soft wire — essential for cool jewelry πŸ˜‰ — where I live. The only other option is ordering from stores outside my country, and I’m not ready to undergo the hassle of international shipping every N months, and all that waiting for the package to clear Indian customs, with no way of tracking its whereabouts. πŸ™‚

So I decided to look for other types of jewelry-making that I could try out, and this time my choice would be based not only on my interest, but also on easy availability of essential supplies.

Enter Polymer Clay.

My sis already has a sample pack of 20 mostly-earthy-and-pastel colors with her that she’d bought from a domestic company, and she’d made an awesome bowl and some cool coasters with it a long time ago. I, being in my wire-jewelry world, hadn’t given much thought to polymer clay then. But when we talked about my supply issue, and she mentioned polymer clay, I was like “Why haven’t I looked at this yet?” Because I’d definitely seen some cool polymer clay stuff on Pinterest.

So I went through some basic polymer clay videos on YouTube, appropriated my sister’s polymer clay supply (muahaha!) and made these dangle earrings.

First polymer clay dangles

I rolled some gray clay into a sheet, and cut out two rectangles. I stamped some circles on the lower half of the rectangles. I then hand-rolled some white clay into a rope, and gently set the rope on the rectangles, above the stamped area. I poked a hole at the top of each rectangle to let a jump ring through later. I baked the pieces at the recommended temperature.

After the pieces came out of the oven, I applied some prussian blue acrylic paint on the stamped halves of the rectangles, and quickly wiped it off lightly so the paint still stays in the etched areas. Some paint remained on the unetched surface as well, but I do like that it turned out that way. I let the paint dry.

I then applied a couple of layers of Mod Podge to the pieces, inserted jump rings and added earring findings. Done!

Needless to say, I’m happy and excited about my foray into polymer clay, and I’m buying some tools when my basics get better. (Yes, tools do seem to be available in India. Hurrah for that!) I’m hoping it’ll be a rewarding hobby.