Peekaboo Pendant | ABS Challenge

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. May’s inspiration is a piece, Primavera, by Sandro Botticelli.

ABS Challenge May 2018 Inspiration

This month, so far, has not been very good for me health-wise, and I was contemplating not making any jewelry and not participating in challenges, since there were (a) zero ideas popping up in my head and (b) I didn’t know if I’d be physically up to making anything. And yesterday, just like that, something clicked, and a concept that I’d wanted to try out for a while came together with some color choices and ideas that might just work for this challenge. (Probably.) I was feeling better, too, so with some breaks, I just might manage it. (And obviously, I did. πŸ˜‰ )

The polymer clay pendant that I made has multiple components, each of which required some quick individual baking before they all came together. It can be worn right side up or upside down (so there are really two right sides πŸ˜‰ ), which is an added bonus that I hadn’t anticipated!

PolyClay Peekaboo Pendant - ABS Challenge May 2018

Right side up…

PolyClay Peekaboo Pendant - ABS Challenge May 2018

And now the other side πŸ™‚

The inside – a bead

The inside is a flat bead whose color contrasts with the outside. The color was originally a coral red from some scrap pieces that I has lying around, which I changed by using chalks. To make this bead, I used a clay sheet from 3rd thickest setting on my pasta machine. I stamped a texture on it, cut it out to a rough triangular shape, and then brushed in various chalks on it. Next was a quick bake of 15min. After baking, I lightly sanded the piece to make the colors work better with the texture.

The outside – a dome

The outside is a curved, hole-filled dome. I used a black clay sheet, again from 3rd largest thickness on my pasta machine. I don’t own small graduated cutters, so I improvised. I used successively larger sizes of ball stylus tools to shape and enlarge ‘pits’, scraping out excess clay from the pits from time to time. This works fine as long as care is taken to not accidentally tear the sheet while working on the pits. (I had to restart a couple of times.)

Once done, I cut out a larger triangle following the shape of the earlier bead. I then stamped wavy patterns on the sheet with gold Perfect Pearls. I shaped this piece on a curved surface and baked for another 15min.

The back, with a bail

On a clay sheet from 2nd thickest setting on my pasta machine, I stamped a random texture, and cut the sheet following the contour of the outside dome.

For the bail, I first cut a length of 16-gauge wire, curved it, and bent it at the top and bottom so that the bent sections can serve as anchors. I poked a hole each near the top and the bottom of the clay sheet (to correspond to the start of the bends on the curved section of the bail wire.) I then inserted the wire so the curved section is on the textured side of the sheet, and the bent sections sit on the other (inner) side. I baked this for 15min.

The assembly

I set the pieces in place, adhering them to one another using TLS. For the edge, I used a strip of clay of 3rd smallest thickness on my machine. I then baked the assembly for 25min.


If I try this concept again, I’d like to make the edge strip lie neater by ensuring that the dome component has no holes near the edges. Also, I’ll probably need to ensure a better fit of the edges of individual components by carving those edges after the quick bakes.

So that’s the pendant! It might seem like a lot of baking, but the results seem worth it, don’t they?

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Bohemian Earrings | ABS Challenge

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. April’s inspiration is a piece, Disks of Newton (Study for “Fugue in Two Colors”), by FrantiΕ‘ek Kupka.

ABS Challenge Apr 2018 Inspiration

The colors instantly drew me in, of course, but so did the concentric circles. Would I want to incorporate both into a project? As much as I wanted to, I wasn’t able to come up with many jewelry ideas involving a lot of colors that would be ‘me’. So I picked the concentric circles as my inspiration, and these are the earrings I made –

Polymer Clay Bohemian Earrings - ABS Challenge Apr 2018 | Anita

As usual, I started out with something in mind, and my process took me in a completely different direction. πŸ™‚ My original idea was to arrange strips of clay scraps in sections of concentric circles. To my credit, I actually did that. And I didn’t quite like how it looked.

I then went in a different direction. I used a texture sheet that most closely resembled concentric circles, and chose strategic points in the circle-filled layers to impress the clay. I cut out two circles from the layers to make into beads for earrings.

The indigo sections in the circles gave me another idea, and I applied Perfect Pearls to give a metallic shine to the main area of the beads, so the blue provides a deep patina look. Beautiful! I poked holes at the top and bottom of each bead, and baked them on a curved surface for some dimension.

I wanted the focus to be on the focal beads so I kept the earrings simple, using wooden beads and glass beads as accessories.

Shadowbox Shrine

Oops, I almost forgot to make something from my PCA course this month. And when I did start work on a project, I accidentally cracked my version #1 when it came out of the oven. I could almost feel this month pass by without a PCA project, but I managed to make a version #2. And I’m delighted with it!

Shadowbox Shrine

Shadowbox Shrine

This mixed media project by Darlene Madden is a shadowbox shrine, and I think it really highlights textures and layers. Darlene uses various media in her project, whereas I used mostly chalks and Perfect Pearls. None of the pictures I clicked do any justice to the splendid shine that comes from the Perfect Pearls. 😦

I sculpted the key by hand, and for its wings, I used a template to cut out a heart shape, cut it vertically into two halves, and cut slits in them to form the ‘feathers’. I die-cut the lace ornament on top-left from paper, and applied metallic paints over it. I like the bling and weirdness it adds to an otherwise serious piece! πŸ™‚

I also love the mystery that the shadow adds to the object in the center — it would be rather boring otherwise. I think I like shadowboxes. How about you — are you a fan of them?

Textures and Molds

Now that I have new clay, I went through my paltry stash of textures and molds, and wondered if the items in it work for the techniques that I see in jewelry tutorials and courses. I’ll not be ordering internationally any time soon because of the recent tax restructuring we’ve had here, and it looks like my orders will become more expensive than they already are right now, and burn larger holes in my non-existent women’s jeans pockets. πŸ˜‰

The texture sheets with me are mostly the flowers-and-leaves variety — not really meant for jewelry. There are one or two patterned ones too, which I thought I could use. These are good for applying post-texture surface treatments like Perfect Pearls, but since they’re not that deep, they’re not really suited for much else. I used one of them for making earrings (picture below), and that was as deep a texture as I could get. I couldn’t do much else with it, so ended up adding a border and some Perfect Pearls. As for the other texture sheet, I’d used it to try out my first Sutton Slice recently, and it was hard, hard work — I’d wanted texture sheets with more depth even then. πŸ™‚

Earrings - texture tryout

Earrings – texture tryout

As for the molds, again, most are flowers and such, and a few gear ones that I can probably use for Steampunk jewelry. There were a couple of small ones that I used a while ago to make button beads, which I then used for some beaded jewelry. No larger ones that I could use, though. I finally used a vintage art decor mold to see if it’d work as a pendant, and made a hollow pendant (picture below.) Not too bad, but not too good either. Also, this too depends on the shiny stuff, because trying to use a patterned sheet etc. with this mold will distort the design. I reused a Perfect Pearls bedecked flower that I’d created from a mold for an earlier notebook cover project. This flower can make some nice tiny stud earrings, right?

Pendant - mold tryout

Pendant – mold tryout

Well, at least while I tried these experiments, I realized that I’ve now gotten pretty good with Skinner blends. πŸ˜€ I like the green-to-yellow gradient here. I’m also getting the hang of making hollow beads / pendants, so that’s good.

Later, my sister mentioned that the mold I used was one of her purchases, and then we ended up going through her card-making stash of stamps, which I’d somehow thought was only comprised of flowers and critters. πŸ™‚ Some of the stamps might work for a few polymer clay techniques (hopefully.) There’s also some foils that we bought recently, so I’m looking forward to more experiments!

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…

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!