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. Mayโ€™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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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?


Another Notebook Cover

Whoo! My first ‘combination’ project from the PCA courses — another notebook cover, which isn’t remotely similar to the first one I made.

Notebook cover, from multiple PCA courses

I used Sculpey Terracotta clay for the cover’s base, Sculpey III and Fimo Effects for the components, and a whole lot of TLS to bind things together. I’ve used learnings from all these courses —

  • Notebook cover fundamentals from Anke Humpert’s course — the most difficult part here was getting a uniform base layer, since the layer’s bigger than my pasta machine. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Inlay pattern from Suzanne Ivester’s course — this was the one that took the longest time. Also, the non-uniform depth of the stamping at the very edges — I need to figure out a way to handle this. I tried using a paper layer between the clay and the stamp’s edges to prevent it from pressing too much into the clay, but that didn’t help much at all.
  • Succulents from Cindi McGee’s course — I wish I had chalk pastels for subtle shading. I tried paints and it didn’t look so great. Perfect Pearls it is, then!
  • Flower shaping and mosaics from Christi Friesen’s course — I used Perfect Pearls for the shine. I have other ideas for gold leaves / foils, and hopefully they’ll turn out good.
  • Stripey borders from Lisa Pavelka’s course — Of course, the Terracotta clay turned out to be too smooshy to retain the uniformity of layers while cutting, but that does contribute to the organic look, I think?

I’d originally thought of only 2, or 3, projects to combine, but as I kept working on this one, I just kept adding stuff. Good thing I stopped eventually, huh? ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope this cover lasts, and doesn’t get damaged while handling. I’ve kept even the raised elements close to the ground, so to speak, so there’s less danger of them getting chipped, but one isn’t usually very careful when using a notebook, right?

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next project, hopefully…

Swirly flowers on rocks

No, that’s not some kind of drink, it’s what I call these dangle earrings that I made.

Swirly flowers on rocks

Swirly flowers on rocks

I used 22-gauge dead soft wire for these earrings, and faceted black-gray granite beads. This how-to has been late in the making so I don’t really remember how long I cut the wire ๐Ÿ˜ฆ but I think some details are better than none at all, so here goes…

I ensured that for the ‘stalk’ of the flower, I also left enough wire free to go through the bead and to then make an eye loop.ย I then set up my wire jig to help create the ‘leaves’ of the flower, and started shaping them:

Wire jig instructionsI ended the shaping with a spiral that is the flower, which I used my round-nose pliers to make.

Then I strung the bottom of the bead into the stalk of the flower, pressing the flower against the bead with the right amount of stalk showing. I made an eye loop at the top, and snipped off the extra. I then added an earring finding to it.

For the other earring of the pair, I rotated the jig instructions to mirror the one shown in the picture, and made the flower spiral in the reverse direction too.

That’s it! How do you like these?

Amber earrings and bracelet

Strong hands are required to make these amber earrings and bracelet adornment. Well, at least it was true in my case because I used hard head pins to make them. ๐Ÿ™‚

The earrings

Amber Earrings

Amber Earrings

Stick the head pin in the amber bead, and start twisting and shaping the wire. You’ll want to mainly use your round nose pliers for the shape, and chain nose ones for the twisting. When you’re satisfied, snip the extra bit close to the top loop’s intersection point, and add an earring finding to it.

The bracelet piece

Amber bracelet

Amber bracelet

Though you can use a wire of similar hardness and thickness, I just used another head pin with its head snipped off. I first shaped one end similar to the earrings, but with one less loop. I then added the bead and shaped the other end.

There you go, a matching set!

Chunky newspaper bead earrings and pendant

The wire jig has finally been conquered! Okay, maybe ‘conquered’ is a strong word. What I can say for sure, though, is that the shapes I make using my wire jig resemble one another much, much more than they did earlier. More importantly, they resemble the shape that I want them to be. I’m pretty pleased with the earrings and pendant that I created using my wire jig and some chunky newspaper beads that I made earlier.

The earrings

Chunky paper bead earrings

Chunky paper bead earrings

I started the earrings by first making the bottom spiral using my round nose pliers. I used the spiral as the initial anchor to hold the wire while I wound it around pegs on the wire jig. After making the S-shape, I used my chain nose pliers to remove the curves at the point where the S-shape ended. I then threaded the paper bead onto the wire, and made an eye loop at the top.

I took care to duplicate each step for both earrings before moving to the next step; that way, I could make sure that both shapes resembled each other better.

As the last step, I attached the eye loop to an earring finding.

The pendant

I wanted the pendant to be a bit unique. I thought it would be nice if the pendant could be attached to its chain either vertically or horizontally. Of course, I wanted the S-shape in the earrings to be present in the pendant too. So well, this time, instead of a spiral, I made an eye loop and used it as the initial anchor to bend the wire in the S-shape. I strung the super-chunky bead on the wire, and made another S-shape. It was a bit difficult to wind wire on the jig with a chunky bead trailing behind, but I managed it. Another eye loop came last. I made sure the shapes at both ends were roughly of the same size.

Here’s the pendant attached vertically —

Chunky paper bead pendant

Chunky paper bead pendant

And here it is attached horizontally —

Chunky paper bead pendant

Chunky paper bead pendant

Not too bad. What do you think?