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!

Wire weaving experiment

I ordered new wire-wrapping wire recently, and with this wire and an 18 gauge one I already have with me, I attempted my first wire weaving.Wire weaving pendant

The weaving was fun while I was coiling it near the pearl, but got pretty difficult as I neared the top. I’ll probably need to go a gauge or two thinner in the future, but I’ll reserve that judgment until I finish another weaving test run. Maybe I just need practice, and this will not be an issue.

With this weave, it was also difficult to keep the coils pinched together — they just kept loosening up, just a little though. Another indicator to practice more. πŸ™‚

I was in a different headspace while cutting the wire, and ended up cutting a really small length of wire, hehe… Since I was just practicing and didn’t know how the piece would turn out, I decided to go ahead with that length. When it ran out, I continued with new wire added in. You can see that ugliness near the weave beside the pearl. I’ll need to snip it and adjust it so it won’t be visible much, but I’ll leave it for another day. (Laziness wins today! πŸ˜› )

I had hammered the ends of the thicker wire before I started, and after finishing the weaving, I hammered the top a bit too. I like the texture it creates.

Overall, for my first attempt at wrapping wire, I consider this a success! πŸ™‚ I’ll try out a different weave next time to see how I fare.

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! ❀ ❀

Dragon Pendant

Another challenge that inspired me to try out something new!

The team at Art Elements launches a themed challenge every month. I’d thoroughly enjoyed working on a sugar skull keychain inspired by their October theme. This month, it’s a winter themed challenge, and Niky from Art Elements came up with a dragon-inspired theme! And who can resist dragons? πŸ™‚ So I tried my hand at a dragon pendant, and then decided to officially participate in the challenge as well. I’ve been inspired indeed! πŸ˜€

Polymer Clay Dragon Pendant

Polymer Clay Dragon Pendant

Thanks to Niky for coming up with this theme. I wouldn’t have tried something like this otherwise. I loved making the pendant — from inspiration to design to execution! Someday, when my claying skills improve, I’ll make some different dragon jewelry that does justice to the sheer awesomeness of this magnificent creature. Until then, this will do. πŸ™‚

I originally had a design in mind for a dragon curled around a large bead, but sculpting a dragon was not something that I was looking forward to, especially so soon after sculpting the sugar skull. I have a mold with some paisley vine-like shapes, and I thought one of them could work as the dragon’s body. I changed my design to suit this dragon shape, molded the clay, and made the tail pointier.

Though I’d thought of adding scales similar to the appliquΓ© flower petals I made for my sugar skull, I didn’t think I’d be able to work much on the dragon’s curly body. So I poked dots on its back instead, and made some ridges on its belly.

I set the dragon on a big flat wooden bead, with a large white glass bead behind the dragon. The setup still looked a bit empty, and I cut off thin strips from a gold-and-brown sheet I’d made, and arranged them behind the dragon.

I covered the back with a layer of dark polymer clay, and bent two wires to form loops that I attached to the back. I then wrapped a strip of brown clay along the circumference, marked ridges on it, and added more of the gold-and-brown strips over it at the top.

I kept the piece aside for a few days — just in case I finished more projects, I could bake them all together. I took it out this week to fiddle a tiny bit with it, the behind-the-dragon strips broke off partially! 😦 I didn’t have the patience to remove all of that area, and risk damaging the dragon as well, so I added a few more strips to the broken area. The new strips didn’t work well with the old ones, and no gentle prods could make them do so. I finally poked dots in them to force them to stay. To keep things consistent, I carefully poked dots in the other similar areas too. It’s not as good as the original, but it’s not bad either… Liquid Polymer Clay would probably have helped here, and it’s now gone up a slot in my to-buy list.

Finally, I made two tiny horns and a tiny eye, and attached them both to the dragon’s head. I wondered if I should try to add anything else (wings), but I couldn’t risk the dragon’s body crumbling like the background did, so I went ahead and baked the piece before anything else could break off. It came out of the oven well. Phew! πŸ™‚


Here’s all the beautiful dragon-inspired jewelry that everyone has made —

Guests

Kathy Lindemer
Kelly Rodgers
Shai Williams
Tammy Adams
… And of course, there’s me! πŸ™‚

AJE Team

Caroline
Cathy
Claire
Diana
Jen
Jenny
Laney
Niky
Susan

Dragonfly focal piece

Inspired by the dragonfly art hole that I went down in Pinterest early this month πŸ™‚ I made this polymer clay piece.

Dragonfly focal piece

For this piece, my focus was on trying out blending. And my, is it hard to get it done by hand or what! (I don’t have a clay conditioning machine yet.) I eventually stopped since my hands weren’t too happy with all the rolling, and I had enough of popping tiny air bubbles that would form during the fold-and-roll. I could have continued another day, but I really wanted to make a dragonfly πŸ™‚ so I cut out four wings from one blended sheet. I’d blended blue and brown for the other sheet to use as sky + ground, but it wasn’t thick enough for a strong base. (This is still the brittle Sculpey III.) I decided to use a paper backing for it, and add a frame. The frame didn’t fold well at all over the paper, and I let it be because trying to remove it would either spoil the base sheet or reduce its size.

For the eyes, I rolled two little balls of equal size and positioned them side by side.

For the thicker part of the body, I used another ball rolled to a more oval shape. After positioning it below the eyes, I softly poked it with a sharp needle a few times to give it some texture.

For the thin part of the body, I used an extruder. I think I needed to condition the clay much, much more than I had, because I had to press super-hard to extrude it. I did get enough out for the body, though, so I just got the remaining clay out of the extruder. I made the end of the body a bit thicker by folding that end a bit and softening the fold.

After baking, the paper base did get a bit distorted, and the clay with it. I think the solution would be to partial-bake multiple times — once for the base, with something heavy on the base to force it to be flat, then arrange the dragonfly on the base and bake it again. I’ll have to try this way the next time I make something like this. (Or use foil instead of paper.)

I attached a hollow polymer clay cylinder to the back so a cord can be piped through. I’m not sure if I’ll use this piece as a pendant, but it’ll probably do for a focal piece on a tote bag or clutch. For that, I might have to add another pipe to the back so it can be secured better.

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˜‰