Swirly Pendant | Art Elements Challenge

I’d thought I would have loads of inspired ideas for the Art Elements ‘Swirl’ theme, but I found myself continually revolving around only one concept – swirled polymer clay lentil beads. However, I couldn’t really think of anything much different from a couple of lentil bead buttons I’d made a long time ago, so it was a no-go. As the month drew to a close, I thought I just won’t participate this time. Then I decided to give mokume gane a try. As usual, it didn’t go so well, but I managed to salvage the project, and it turned into this –

Swirly pendant, polymer clay | Anita

Think this just about qualifies as a participant for the challenge! 😉

I used an embossing folder for the mokume gane texture, with a red clay sheet over a thicker yellow one, so that a patterned yellow shows up on the red when I slice away the raised areas. The slicing didn’t really work so well, so I impressed the same texture again onto the same clay. From this sheet, I cut out a square that would fit into a pendant frame that I own. I then applied red and gold Perfect Pearls on the raised surfaces of the square, and smoothed out its edges.

I filled up the pendant frame with scrap clay – I anyway had leftovers from the slicing and the cutting out of the square – and then set the square over it so it appears somewhat domed. A 20-minute bake completed the pendant.

So that’s my super-quick project for the Art Elements challenge. Today’s the reveal, and I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing what the other guests and the Art Elements team have created, and I hope you are as well!

Guests: Alison Anita (You are here) Cat Caroline Jill Kathy Karin Kimberly Mischelle Raven Sarajo Susan Tammy

AE Team: Cathy Caroline Claire Jen Jenny & Lesley Laney Marsha Susan

Advertisements

Icy Blue Earrings

This month’s We’re All Ears challenge on Earrings Everyday goes a bit meta – it is inspired by another contest! 🙂 The original contest was Circles are the New Triangles, and was hosted by Spoonflower (where you can create custom-designed textiles – oooh!) Erin at Earrings Everyday rightly thought that the designs are fun inspirations for some earrings.

One of the designs caught my eye, since I’d bought a white dress with blue prints recently. It was one of those happy times when I instantly knew which inspired elements my earrings would contain – circles! triangles! fabric! white! blue! – and which technique I’d want to use – antiquing! Though the concept for these earrings is icy blue, looking at the results, I feel like there’s a bit of spring hiding in them too.

Icy Blue Earrings | Anita

I began by rolling out a sheet of white Premo! at medium thickness, and poked pits into it in circular patterns. I then cut out triangular shapes for the focal beads, cut out arcs from their tops, smoothened the edges and faces, and baked them.

Now for the antiquing. I smeared slightly thinned blue acrylic paint on the beads and into their recesses, and after a while, wiped it off from the raised surfaces. I repeated the process once more, and lightly sanded the surfaces to remove unwanted paint. I then drilled two holes each along the top arc.

The beads were now ready for a thin coat of Vintaj glaze, and I left them to dry overnight since it was already pretty late in the day.

The next morning, I added a small jump ring to each of the holes, and connected them to a larger jump ring so it nestles in the top arc of each bead. I also added an earring finding to each of the larger jump rings.

For additional interest, I cut strips from some spare threadbare blue/green fabric, and used a lark’s head knot to tie each strip at the intersection of jump ring and earring finding. I dabbed E6000 at the back of each knot to secure it, and snipped away the ends a bit more.

I totally love this pair, and it’s a perfect fit for my dress.


Don’t forget to check out entries from the other participants by heading over to the reveal at Earrings Everyday!

Simple/Elaborate | ABS Challenge

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio have extended their July challenge into August, and as a result, there’s no August picture. However, a while ago, they’d published their intended set of pictures for the whole year. Since I’m already done with July, I thought I’d try my hand at August from that earlier set, though I have no idea of the painting’s history. (That would have been an interesting read.)

ABS Challenge Aug 2018 Inspiration

August’s picture is of a woman bedecked with jewelry. What caught my eye was how each component in the adornments was pretty simple, but all put together, the effect is that of showy elaborateness. Now that’s a good idea to work on!

I didn’t want to go too simple, though, so for my beads, I thought of trying out a polymer clay technique that’s still a bit of a challenge to me – the Sutton Slice. The basic premise is to (a) press well-conditioned clay onto a texture sheet, (b) slice away all the clay that is not in the recesses of the sheet so you’re left with a clay pattern in the recesses, (c) press a clay sheet of a different color onto this clay so that the clay pattern sticks to this sheet, (d) admire your textured pattern. The process went much better this time – at least the slicing did – which I’m incredibly happy about. It did take me a while, though.

Simple/Elaborate earrings | Anita

I flattened the texture just a little bit, and made barrel beads with this sheet. The pattern cracked (as expected) while I curved the sheet to form the beads, and that gives a weathered effect.

After baking the beads, I applied a couple of layers of Vintaj Glaze onto them. When I’d experimented with this glaze last time, it’d turned a bit tacky, but that didn’t seem to be the case this time. Maybe it’s because I applied thinner layers now and waited a longer time between layers? More experiments are needed for this one.

For the earrings, I’d thought of using a couple of glass beads that I own, but they didn’t fit the clay beads. After a lot of trial and error, I zeroed in on some metal components, including wire. Just some tweaks to the components – bead caps facing outward vs. inward makes a lot of difference, and so does the addition of a basic spiral of wire – did justice to my idea of simple contributing to elaborate.

That’s it! How do you like the earrings?

Inspired Art Deco Earrings

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature beautiful artwork every month, and invite their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by this artwork. July’s inspiration is Art forms in Nature, Plate 85, Ascidiae, by Ernst Haeckel.
ABS Challenge July 2018 Inspiration

Haeckel’s work was interesting indeed, and what blew me away was his incredibly stylized representations of animals – instant inspiration, indeed! Some stamps from my stash quickly came to mind, and in the end, I picked a filigree motif stamp to create art deco style earrings.

Sea-Inspired Art Deco Earrings | Anita

I mixed blue-green polymer clay since the beautiful sea creatures in the picture were inspiring as well. The beads themselves are simple stamped beads, with chalks and Perfect Pearls added in on some areas to accentuate the motif. I baked the beads on a curved surface to dome them slightly. During the bake, one of the beads chipped – I have no idea how – and later, I had to stick it back on using TLS and rebake the beads. All’s well in the end, though.

I debated about adding some gloss, or even a subtle shine, to the beads, but nothing really felt right, so finally, I just left them as is. The rest of the process involved incorporating some glass beads on wire to turn the clay beads into earrings.

So that’s my quick, inspired earring pair!

Stitch Marker Case | Art Elements Challenge

The team at Art Elements hosts themed monthly challenges, which involve a reveal and blog hop at the end of the month. The theme for June is Sunflowers, picked by Sue.

I read the theme announcement, and recalled this small, cubic container that I’ve appropriated for storing my stitch markers. I’ve always wanted to decorate it using polymer clay – nothing elaborate, just a background layer and a button each in the middle of its visible faces. I imagined sunflowers as the buttons, and decided to go ahead. For a project that I wanted to make for so long, I ran into quite a lot of unexpected turns, and the results were not what I expected. I’m still wondering if I can make some modifications, so this project is still a WIP.

Polymer Clay Stitch Marker Case

Possible next step: mute the background a bit so it doesn’t overwhelm the sunflower buttons

I started out with the background, deciding to play with alcohol inks again. I drizzled some inks on a long strip of white Premo! clay (this goes around the body of the case), and spritzed it with alcohol, both when wet, and after a while when it dried up a bit. The pattern didn’t quite turn out like I expected it would, but I decided to use the strip. I followed the same process with a square sheet of clay for the lid.

For the sunflowers, I wanted to use different yellow clays from my stash. I used a mold to make flowers with each of the yellows, vertically sliced each flower into 5 roughly equally-wide pieces, then swapped pieces between different flowers. Now each flower has stripes of slightly varying yellows, and I like this look. (The flowers look a bit wan now on the bright background. In hindsight, I should’ve lightened the background – maybe by covering it with a layer of white-tinted-translucent clay? But well…)

Meanwhile, I realized too late that the case is not all metal like I’d somehow always thought it was. (Weird how we sometimes don’t notice things right in front of us.) Only the lid is metal, and the rest of the body is plastic – unbakeable, sigh. Should I try a different material? I didn’t really want to. I remembered reading about some polymer clay artists getting around this problem, making their plastic container bases withstand the baking by filling them up with water to the brim. (I should’ve tested this out before I covered it with clay, but well… :))

* I finally found the water tip, demonstrated (with pictures) by Garie Sim.

I put things together, covering the case with the background sheets, and adhering the flowers using a bit of liquid clay. The flowers still fell down or slid down a bit though, so I used a heat gun to bake them slightly and keep them in place. I burned one of the flowers in the process, but then thought “why not?” and burned the rest in a controlled manner. I’d originally thought of antiquing to highlight the texture of the flowers, but this works too!

Then came the baking, with the case filled to the brim with water. I don’t think I’ve ever been so anxious and uncertain since my first ever polyclay bake. I’m happy to report that the water-filling tip was a great one! The case is completely undamaged, and the clay still fits the case well.

All things considered, I’m amazed that this project was at least this successful – there were way too many go-with-the-flow moments with this one – and as always, I definitely learned something new. Thank you, Sue, for the inspiration that finally got me working on this long overdue item from my list! I hope I finish it to my satisfaction soon.


Since this is a blog hop, I hope you check out what the AE team and the other guests have made for this challenge!
Guests: AlysenAnita (you are here) • CatDivyaJillKathyLindaLindaMischelleNormaRavenSarajoTammy
AE Team: CarolineCathyClaireJennyLaneyLesleySue

Kaleidoscopic Earrings

Sometimes, an idea strikes you, and regardless of whether you know how to execute it or not, it persists. That’s just what happened this month when a concept for a pair of earrings popped into my mind, which would work for not one but two challenges! I didn’t know if it would work out, but I did know I had to try. So these are the earrings I made using polymer clay, and they’re mostly true to how I envisioned them in my mind. That means happy times!

Kaleidoscopic Polymer Clay Earrings | Anita

This project also marks my attempting canes after a long hiatus from when I tested the caning waters. I used simple colors and simple patterns for the cane – nothing too ambitious until I get better at it. 😉 The cane turned out pretty usable, but there’s some distortion from the reduction, and I’ll need to figure out how to avoid that. The slicing also resulted in some distortion, and I learned later that I should let it cool well before I start slicing. (Lesson to remember for the future.)

As for the making of the beads – I tried out a different hollow bead concept since I knew I was going to use cane slices on the bead. I covered large, metallic beads in brown-black Premo clay – also ensuring that I poked holes in the clay to match the ones in the underlying beads. I baked the beads, and then sliced them into hemispheres so I could remove the metallic beads. I then used some liquid Sculpey to adhere the halves back together, also sticking the cane slices in a kaleidoscopic pattern along the join using more liquid clay. Another round of baking, and the beads were done!

Well not fully done, of course. I wanted to glaze them, and tried out some Vintaj Glaze for the first time. I loved it when I initially applied it, but after a day or two, I find that it’s a bit sticky, so I guess it’s not viable.

Anyway, continuing with the earrings – now I only had to add in other beads into the mix. I used beads and headpins to make simple embellishments revolving around the color scheme of the focal beads, put them all together, and voila! we have super-lightweight earrings.


With these earrings, I’m participating in these challenges –

  • Art Bead Scene Studio’s June monthly challenge, which features an oil painting, Les Ibis, by Jean Metzinger. Jean’s role in Cubism inspired me to go with the cane-based concept, and the colors and the nature theme definitely contributed.

ABS Challenge June 2018 Inspiration

  • Earrings Everyday’s We’re All Ears challenge, which features Kaleidoscopes as the inspiration for June. And who hasn’t been mesmerized by those? 🙂 I used mirroring of cane slices for the pattern on the beads, inspired by those in kaleidoscopes. I’m also pretty excited since it’s my first time participating in this challenge! 🙂 This is a blog hop, so do check out the entries from other participants by clicking on the Linky Tools link below.

    We're All Ears Challenge June InspirationPowered by Linky Tools
    Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list

Tide Pool Pendant | Art Elements Challenge

The team at Art Elements hosts themed monthly challenges, which involve a reveal and blog hop at the end of the month. The theme for May is Tide Pools, picked by Lesley.

I had zero creativity during most of the first half of the month since I hadn’t been feeling well. But I started feeling better, ideas started swirling around in my mind, and I was even able to experiment with yet another new material for this project. So here we have it, a tide pool pendant using polymer clay, resin and alcohol inks –

Tide Pool Pendant - PolyClay and Resin

I’ve never seen a real tide pool, but there’s no dearth of beautiful tide pool pictures online, so I picked the elements I’d want in my pendant, and sketched the layout.

The pendant frame is a store-bought one, and is about 3cm (1.25″) long, so I had to make the sea creatures pretty small in order to still have space for the water. I hand-sculpted all of the creatures with Premo polymer clay.

The starfish started out as a pliable ball, from which I tweaked out arms. I did most of the shaping using my fingers and larger ball stylus tools. For the texturing, I used smaller ball stylus tools and a toothbrush. I added some chalk-based colors to highlight the textures. I love how this has turned out, and it’s a small inspiration to try out more sculpting (which I feel is not really up my alley.)

The purplish round creature below the starfish was intended to be a sea anemone, but it was a bit too small for my amateur hands to handle, and in the end, I just made a flat circular clay surface, scored it for some texture, and quickly brushed some chalk-based colors over it to add to the texture.

The small, pink, bowl-like creatures are the tops of sea sponges. For these, I used two shades of pink clay, and rolled tiny balls from them. I then used a ball stylus tool to shape the tiny balls into tiny bowls.

I arranged all these creatures on the pendant frame, and baked the setup for 25min.

For the ‘water’, I used ICE Resin, with tiny amounts of blue and green alcohol inks added in for the color. This is my first time working with resin, and I love it! I added the inks after completely mixing the 2 resin parts, and mixed the resin again to help the ink assimilate. After carefully pouring and prodding the resin into various nooks and crannies of the pendant, I also brushed the creatures with some of it to keep them wet and slimy. 😉

The only problems I have with resin are the cleanup (I got some on my clothes 😛 ), and the leftover resin that will need to be discarded since it can’t be stored for later use. Here’s a bonus pendant that I made using the extra resin from the current project, some glitter and a mold – it’s got nothing to do with the challenge, though. 🙂

Resin and Glitter Pendant

I adore both pendants, and love the resin-boost that this project has given me. Thank you, Lesley, for this inspiring theme!


If you’re curious to see what the AE team and the other guests have made for this challenge, go have a peek at their blogs!

Guests:    Raven       Kelly       Cat       Kathy       Tammy       Alyson       Elaine       Mischelle       Deborah       Anita (you are here)      Jill       Shirlee       Sarajo    •    Melissa

AE Team:   Caroline       Cathy       Claire       Jen       Laney       Lesley       Marsha       Niky       Sue       Lindsay    •    Jenny