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…

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…

Miniature Fairy Garden

Before I saw Lisa’s Fairy Garden Ring video on PCA, I’d not really given much thought to these whimsical creations. Lisa’s course resulted in a whirlwind Pinterest tour of fairy gardens, and it’s quite delightful to look at all those miniatures. πŸ™‚

Miniature Fairy Garden - PCA 2017

Miniature Fairy Garden

For my version of the project, I omitted the ‘ring’ and made only a fairy garden. After all, I don’t fancy wearing a ring that has protruding sections that are in danger of getting chipped or broken. πŸ™‚ This garden is about 2cm across and 2.5cm tall.

I have worked on a sugar skull keychain before, and that involved working with tiny parts, which turned out to be a lot of fun. It turned out that working on a fairy garden is also a lot of fun, and for the same reason. Sculpting tiny landscapes with tinier details is involving and relaxing.

I made the base in a plastic cap so it won’t get squished while I’m working on the surface details. But then, I wouldn’t want the cap to melt in the oven during the bake. (Duh!) So I had to remove the cap later and give some texture to the sides. Thinking back on it, I should just bake a textured base first, and then start work on the surface. That would involve some liquid clay for gluing, of course. Or maybe the plastic cap way isn’t too bad, since it wasn’t much effort to remove the piece and texture it.

I added some mod podge layers for the final gloss, and now the piece is on my desk, and I love looking at it! ❀

Mosaic Notebook Cover

This little blue book cover is my next project in PCA 2017, inspired by Anke Humpert’s course on making mosaic notebook covers. I made one for my sister’s spiral paper pad.

Mosaic Notebook Cover - PCA 2017

Mosaic Notebook Cover

Designing the cover took longer than actually making it, I think! Or maybe I didn’t notice time pass by while playing with the clay because it was so much fun. πŸ™‚

I’m pretty happy with my Skinner blends now. It’s all thanks to my pasta machine that the amount of manual labor involved is reduced a hundredfold when compared to using a roller. Also, like I mentioned in an earlier post, I now prefer drilling holes post-bake, since it gives a neater finish. That’s exactly what I did for the nice little row of holes for the spiral.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however. I did have to fix stuff.

The other side of the cover ended up with some cracks, because I traced over some not-very-visible borders with a knife lightly (or so I thought) but at a few places, the blade did make it through to the other side. I didn’t notice it before baking since I placed my working surface directly in the oven. Later, when I did notice it, I just mixed solid clay with liquid Sculpey and smeared it over the cracks, and rebaked it, and that fixed the problem.

While antiquing, I wasn’t quick enough to wipe away the paint, and quite a bit remained on the raised surfaces too, making it look more green/brownish than blue/violet-ish. I found that wiping with rubbing alcohol (or equivalent) removes the unwanted paint well. So now my mosaic pieces are shades of blue again. (Yay!)

I’d love to keep making these covers — there are just so many possibilities here! I’ll need more variety of deeper stamps, though, if I’m to use antiquing. Right now, I have just too few stamps that I can use.

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!