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?

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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!