Something New…

I’ve been seeing a dip in my creative mojo as far as my usual pursuits are concerned. Instead of trying to channel energy into forced jewelry making, I tried out random new things – not really jewelry-related – for a creativity lift. One was some basic weaving, and the other, gel printing (or mono printing with gel plates.)

Gel printing is a lot of fun, and I think it’ll be super-addictive if I keep at it. Acrylics are a staple in our arsenal anyway, and my sister already owns a Gelli Plate, so it was a no-brainer to get it all together on my work table and have some unplanned fun.

Gel Printing Trial

Gel printing itself is very simple – the most basic process involves applying an even coat of one or more colors of acrylic paint on the gel plate, placing a paper sheet face down onto the plate, lightly burnishing the paper to transfer the paint onto it, peeling back the paper and admiring your print. Stencils or stamps can be used to add visual texture and definition to the print, and layering your prints makes complex prints possible. Even the leftover pattern on the gel plate can be used to get a ghost print, which in itself could turn out interesting. So many possibilities!

For this session, my very first, I played with just one texture – a mesh bag. It took me a few tries to use the brayer/roller right. (The brayer is used to spread and mix colors as a thin layer.) Very soon, I ended up with some hardened paint on a part of the brayer, which I spent an afternoon removing – if left as is, that uneven paint layer would make future brayer applications uneven.

I’ll need practice if I want the prints to turn out better, but right now, the idea is to not think much and just enjoy a creative break, and this is the perfect activity for that. Each print turns out different, and the slightly unpredictable nature of the results make it easy to let go. I’ll definitely do more gel printing, though I have no idea what I’ll do with the prints! 🙂

Advertisements

Ode to Autumn Earrings | We’re All Ears Challenge

This month’s We’re All Ears Challenge at Earrings Everyday is all about Autumn. And of course, that means leaf shaped charms! 🙂 I used polymer clay, alcohol inks and Perfect Pearls for mine.

Ode to Autumn Earrings | Anita

The charms

On a yellow-tinged white sheet of polymer clay, I stamped leafy textures from a texture sheet, from which I cut out leaf shapes using a cutter. I also rolled up a snake, and from its pieces, added tiny stalks to the tops of these leaves. I then dripped alcohol inks – sunset, flamingo and watermelon colors – onto the sheets, ensuring they got into all the niches. Using a Q-tip, I removed some ink from the raised surfaces.

After the ink dried, I brushed gold colored Perfect Pearls into the lower half of the charms, again, ensuring that it went into the recesses.

I pressed lightly textured sheets to the back of the charms for better finishing, since the alcohol ink was messily smeared over the back too. After smoothing surfaces and edges and poking tiny holes at the top, off went the charms into the oven for a 25-minute bake.

After the baking, I lightly sanded the raised surfaces to remove more of the alcohol inks and the Perfect Pearls, leaving a colorful canvas of autumn colors and golden shine!

The earrings

I used a length of red wire to match the color scheme of the charms. For each earring, I strung a pre-wired gold loreal seed bead to the wire, placing it near the hole at the top of the leaf, and wound the wire around the leaf’s stalk. I finished the winding with an eye loop. Addition of an earring finding completed the assembly.

I love how much fun these earrings were to make, and how much fun they are to wear!


Do head on over to the reveal and blog hop at Earrings Everyday to see a plethora of autumn themed earrings from talented artists!

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

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. 😉 )

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 😉 ), 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 🙂

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?

Art Elements Mar Theme – Nests

I’ve loved following the Component of the Month challenges from the folks at Art Elements, where team members would give away components every month to design with. I’ve seen some gorgeous stuff from the AE team as well as the guests. The only reason that kept me from participating is that historically, I’ve received most international packages of any perceived value after substantial delays (or they’ve gotten lost), so there was no guarantee that I could make something in time for these challenges.

Now, Art Elements has changed its design challenge format to monthly themes that encompass all art mediums, and I jumped at the chance to be a part of it! The theme for this month is Nests.

Of course, I thought of a birds nest first, but I wanted to see if I could come up with something different, so it was relegated to Plan B. I went through my bead stash for inspiration, and I thought of a pearl nested inside a clamshell. I spent some time with the idea, but found I wasn’t going anywhere with it.

While I was ruminating, other options that could replace a clamshell were also flitting around my mind – and I settled on the idea of an organic-looking nest for the pearl using polymer clay. Now that could work as a pendant! By now, however, I only had a week to make the piece. (How do I always end up here? 😉 ) To my relief, I managed to find the time to work on it, and this is how it turned out –

Art Elements Challenge - Polymer Clay Pendant with Nested Pearl

The outermost layer, and the upper part of the inner layer, are quite iridescent, but we know that it’s difficult to capture that shine sometimes. 🙂

The nest layers: I conditioned my Fimo clay just enough for it to be pliable but still have jagged edges. From this, I cut two strips – one for the inner layer and one for the outer one. Along the jagged edge of the inner layer, I added some slices from a mokume gane slab that I’d worked on a while back. On the outer surface of the outer layer, I used a texture sheet repeatedly to make quite a few ridges. Then I smoothed out any remaining jaggedness from the edges.

I attached the layers onto a base, shaped them, and baked them. While baking, I used little paper balls to keep the layers from drooping out of shape. This bake was a short one, because I still had to make the back of the pendant.

The back: I first smeared liquid clay on the back. From a length of wire, I made eye loops on both ends for the bails, and placed it on the back, between the top and center. I covered the back with a mildly textured circular sheet of clay. More baking followed, for a standard bake period this time.

Surface treatments: I painted the outer layer with acrylics, and sanded away the paint from the raised surfaces for a distressed effect. I then added more surface treatment using waxes and mousse from Art Alchemy and Nuvo.

Finishing: I placed a large faux pearl bead within the inner nest layer. For now, I’ve strung a stray cord through the bails for the necklace, but I’ll replace it with something else better soon.

Phew, I’m still surprised, and jubilant, that I managed to finish this pendant! 🙂


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

Guests:    Alysen    •    Anita (that’s me!)    •    Divya    •    Kathy    •    Kym    •    Mona    •    Rosantia    •    Sarajo    •    Tammy

AE team members:    Caroline    •    Cathy    •    Claire    •    Jenny    •    Laney    •    Leslie    •    Lindsay    •    Marsha    •    Niky

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! 🙂

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. 😉

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. 🙂

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. 😀 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. 🙂 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!