New Clay

It’s been a while since I made something from clay, and thanks to a friend who was willing to haul back my order from their short visit to the US, I now have newly-bought clay to work with!

New clay

Of course, I’m still sticking to my plan of combining salient learnings from more than one PCA project into a single project. It’s fun trying to imagine which projects might work well together! I hope I manage to make something this month.

I’ve also been looking at some beading stitches to decide which one works well for a jewelry set I have in mind. I hope that materializes this month too! πŸ™‚

Totem-Inspired Beads

PCA: Totem beads jewelry

PCA: Totem beads jewelry

My version of Mihaela’s course from PCA. As usual, I used materials locally available to me to make these totem beads, so they don’t quite look like hers. πŸ™‚ Mihaela uses quite a few surface treatments to make her colorful beads, whereas I used one treatment – the Perfect Pearls treatment. πŸ˜€

One technique that I have watched in tutorials a few times, and have now finally tried, is the Sutton Slice, and I used it for the patterns on the black bead. I found it wasn’t very easy to slice the clay off cleanly, and had to try quite a few times to get a good enough coverage on the texture sheet that I used. Not too bad for a first attempt, though, and I do like the technique enough that I want to perfect it eventually. I’ll need to try it with even deeper texture sheets next time, and see if that’ll make a difference for the slicing. I think I’ll also need to try out Mokume Gane, just to see if I do better with the slicing there. πŸ™‚

All in good time, though. I’m slowly running out of clay in my stash, but I don’t see fresh stock showing up in any of the stores I usually shop at. I obviously don’t want to buy old clay, since I’ve faced enough hardships with that, so this calls for clay rationing. I think for my future PCA projects, I might combine techniques from more than one course into a single project…

Wire Weaving: Inspired by Calligraphy Pendant

Wire Weaving - Calligraphy Pendant inspired

Wire Weaving – Calligraphy Pendant inspired

I was thinking I’d make my mom some jewelry as a gift for Mother’s Day (today) but she has specific jewelry tastes. I’ve been working so much with polymer clay (notwithstanding short bead weaving runs) that I’d almost forgotten about the weaving wire that I have. So it was time for some wire weaving!

Rather than try something on my own and end up with insufficient wire to finish the project, I thought I’d follow a free tutorial – The Calligraphy Pendant by the amazing Nicole Hanna. (Spoiler: I still ran short of wire in the end. πŸ™‚ )

Of course, my stash doesn’t include the gauges suggested in the tutorial, so I used the ones that I have — 18 and 24. Yes, I’ve learned that they end up really tough on the fingers. That’s one of the reasons I don’t wire-weave too often. πŸ™‚

Well, back to the project. I used an irregularly-shaped glass bead of about the same dimensions suggested in the tutorial. (I just love its color!) I figured the lengths of the base wires from the tutorial should work, but cut slightly longer lengths anyway. Strangely, they turned out really short. I probably needed at least 50% more wire. I don’t understand this huge discrepancy. Since there was no way to ‘fix’ it, I ended up cutting my project short and finishing it early. It’s not bad at all, but it’s not what I wanted. I couldn’t make another one since my fingers were crying for mercy already.

Turns out my mom too thinks it looks good. Now I’m waiting to see when she’ll wear it… πŸ˜‰

Jewelry Box

Since I barely managed to finish my quota of last month’s PCA courses, I decided to start early this time. πŸ˜€

Jewelry box - after

Jewelry box

Jewelry box - before

Jewelry box (before)
Image used from the online store’s website since I forgot to click a picture before I started. πŸ˜€

Teresa’s course is about beautifying a wooden jewelry box using painting, silkscreening, decoupage and resin. Amongst all PCA projects I’ve worked on so far, the lack of materials where I live is most evident in this one.

For the painting — the acrylics that are available here are kinda tacky, and they dry quickly to a rubbery texture; I find they’re unsuitable for a large variety of ‘advanced’ projects that interest my sis or me. Silkscreens are not available locally at all, and as for the resin, I was going to buy it only if I could come up with a layer that’s worth the gloss. So I set to work on the project with whatever I could use. (I was actually surprised I could find a jewelry box to work on. πŸ™‚ )

I had to first flip the lid of the box inside out, since it originally had a flat outside and an inset on the inside. However, the reverse is what works for this project.

I managed to paint the box fine — a red-brown base layer, and then some white and brown lightly distressed texture over it. I toyed around with the idea of an image transfer onto the surfaces. (Looks like my latest project is still on my mind! πŸ™‚ ) But I’m still not sure that the transfer will turn out 100% alright. If it turns out patchy, that’ll be the end of this box, since I won’t be able to cleanly wipe the ink away. Instead, I tried using a texture stamp to imprint some nice patterns on the box, but it turned out pretty bad. In the end, I just used the texture stamp on a sheet of clay, and lightly ‘antiqued’ it with white paint post-bake. I also added a clay border to the inset since the textured sheet didn’t really warrant using resin. I finished with a thin layer of Mod podge instead.

My project is nowhere like Teresa’s, but I still like it since it turned out perfect to store our antique jewelry. πŸ™‚ My sis wants to decorate it even more, and I can’t wait to see how she’ll enhance it!

Image Transfers and Hollow Bead Weaving

I squeezed in my second PCA-inspired project for the month just before this very hectic month ended. And I’m thrilled to bits with it!

Beaded Pendant with Image-transferred Hollow PolyClay Bead

Beaded Pendant with Image-transferred Hollow PolyClay Bead

The course by Syndee Holt is all about image transfers, monoprinting, and coloring using alcohol pens. The image transfers were pretty frustrating in the beginning — they’d turn out patchy and indistinct. I spent quite some time and effort on repeated variations of my attempts, only to have to wipe away the transfer each time. Of course, there’d still be some residue, which would pollute my clay, tsk! Eventually, I ended up looking around for what others have done about it, and I finally, finally achieved a beautifully solid print. I just love it! (I want to go try one more right now, as I’m typing here. I can see the beginnings of an addiction forming! πŸ˜› )

I’m not buying alcohol pens right now, but I did try some monoprinting. Not very successful there. It could be that my local products are different, and the techniques demonstrated don’t work without modifications to work with these products.

Well, so I just had a image-transferred sheet of clay with me, and nothing to beautify it, so I carefully made my very first hollow bead from the sheet. Of course, I don’t have a cutter of this shape — it’s a composite shape that I made using two different cutters. I made the bead hollow by puffing out the cut shape, and slowly, carefully adhering it to a base. It’s a bit cumbersome, but it’s also more conducive to forming different shapes from a limited quantity of cutters and stencils. This particular bead’s a bit rough around the edges, but that was okay since I was going to do some nice bead weaving around it. πŸ™‚

The bead weaving is completely Peyote stitch. I used the uniform beads that I bought recently (sizes 8 and 15), and some limited stock of uniform beads (size 11) that I’ve been preserving for the time when I can actually work with them like this. I’m not sure what I’ll do when my size 11 beads run out; hopefully, my local stores will start carrying uniform size 11 beads too. <Fingers crossed>

So, think you wanna try any of the techniques I’ve mentioned?

Fantasy Scenery on Glass

Fantasy Scenery on Glass

Fantasy Scenery on Glass

Hmm, this was actually supposed to be a sea life vase, if I’d fully followed the PCA course taught by Marlene Brady. As I’ve come to discover, extensive sculpting is not really my favorite. And as I’ve known for the longest time, extensive repetition is not something that interests me either. Unfortunately, this project combines the two. I felt tired just watching all the repetitive sculpting that Marlene does πŸ˜› and decided to make a really sparse version of her vase, just to help me learn about working with translucent clay on glass.

Instead of a large vase, I used a little jar. Of course, the jar is not tinted like Marlene’s is, so I added ‘artistic tinting’ using runny streams of acrylic paints on the inside of the jar. It looked good, and I can tell you I was tempted to call it a day with just that. πŸ˜€ However, I moved on to the sculpting.

I don’t own a sea life mold, and don’t plan to buy one in the near future either, so I dropped the turtles and fish from my version. However, the rest of it is the repetitive bit, so I changed my scenery to a fantasy one, with flower-like and weed-like objects floating here and there, so that I don’t have to make too many of them. πŸ˜‰

Fantasy Scenery on Glass

I don’t own colored translucent clay either — I have some plain translucent clay, and it was still in its pack. I mixed small chunks of ‘regular’ Premo clay to color it. Good thing I’m of the ‘add-in-small-quantities’ type, because I learned that a tiny, tiny amount of colored clay is enough to tint the transparent one. (In my next coloring experiment, I’ll use tiny, tiny amounts of alcohol inks!)

So after a lot πŸ˜‰ of sculpting, I baked the piece, and as you can see, it looks great with light streaming through it! The clay sticks well to the glass, too, although I’ve not tried destructive things like peeling or scratching it away…

Beadwork!

I finally sat down and finished the beaded jewelry set that I was working on! And I’m pretty thrilled with the result!

Beadwork Jewelry

Beadwork Jewelry

These are essentially beaded bezels around the polymer clay button beads that I made a while back. I used Peyote stitch for the bezel, of course. I started this at around the same time that I made the Peyote stitch tube, so the beads are still the non-uniform ones. I love how the pieces have turned out, though. Making the loops and connections was pretty fun too — especially when I got the ones on the central piece of the necklace correct with just a bit of planning ahead. πŸ™‚

Now that my stash has uniform beads, and more importantly, since I’m more confident in my beading skills, I can’t wait to make my next beading project. I’m afraid I’ll feel the need for size 15 beads soon, and they’re not available locally. (I used size 11 in the current pieces, and had to stitch differently in the innermost row because the beads were too big.)