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Be watching on Friday, May 26th, for a Friday Findings video with a special giveaway of beads and jewelry supplies.
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Here’s a short little video I made for you looking back on all of the tutorials I’ve created in 2016. It’s kind of amazing to think that it’s been a year since I finished my dragon challenge, as the habits I developed over that year I have served me well this year. I learned to be more disciplined, to work at my art whether I feel like it or not, and to make it a priority.
I really love making polymer clay tutorial videos for you all! As I mentioned in the video, I added a third weekly video to my YouTube channel in February. What I didn’t mention was that in August I realized making three a week was just too much. So now I’m back down to two per week, alternating weeks (more or less) with polymer clay and jewelry videos, but always with a Friday Findings video every week.
One hundred thirty seven videos is a LOT and I hope you all have enjoyed them. Let me know in the comments if there are any that stand out to you as particular favorites.
I also created one class for CraftArtEdu.com this year, my Gradient Swirly Lentils Necklace class. This is a fun polymer technique that can be quite addictive. I strongly suggest if you enjoy polymer clay tutorials that you get on CraftArtEdu.com’s email newsletter list as they regularly send out coupon codes for 30, 40 and sometimes 50% off their classes.
Another thing I was really pleased to do this year was create tutorials for fairy garden accessories for Polymer Café magazine.
They kicked off my series with the March/April issue in which my fairy garden birdbath was featured on the cover! That was quite a thrill.
I then went on to make five other fairy garden accessory tutorials, concluding with the fairy garden bridge in the January/February 2017 issue. If you’d like to learn how to make these but don’t have a subscription to Polymer Café or can’t get the back issues, keep an eye out because I will be releasing them as individual downloadable PDF tutorials, once the rights revert back to me (about 18 months after publication.)
Dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters, cat-because he’s a cat
One thing I put in my 2015 looking back and looking ahead article a year ago was that I wanted to do more figure sculpting. Sadly I have only managed to do a grand total of ONE figure this year, this little dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters.
I really have a strong desire to do figures expressing relationships, emotion and interactions and have been studying the work of other artists to see what resonates with me.
Today’s Friday Findings video is just a quick little tour of a new space that I have for recording my YouTube videos. If you’ve noticed over the past couple videos a change in the sound and lighting this will explain it. I hope to be getting a new microphone and improving the sound sometime soon.
Although the space is small, it’s all mine. What’s wonderful about that is that I can come down and record anytime I think of something. The only exception would be if my husband is in the basement doing woodwork. We probably don’t want to hear power tools running in the background!
Anyhow I just wanted to share this space with you as it makes me very happy to have it and makes my making videos for you much, much easier and less stressful.
Here are links to a few of the helpful things you may have seen the video:
Gilders paste is one of those things that I fell in love with the instant I first tried it. If any of you read Polymer Café magazine and have seen my Fairy Garden Accessories series in the past few issues you might have noticed that I use Gilders Paste in all of them.
It adds just a subtle touch of glitz and is so easy to apply. But you don’t only have to use metallics, Gilders Pastes come in a whole range of colors.
As I mentioned in the video there are several more colors that I want to acquire, and you might be surprised at which ones you end up reaching for again and again. The chart above shows the 28 colors currently available.
If you’ve been following my blog for any time at all you know that I just spent entirety of 2015 doing a creative challenge. Specifically, I challenged myself to make a polymer clay dragon every week of the year!
These are some of my favorites, dragons based on the book, Tiger’s Voyage.
Completing the challenge accomplished what I hoped it would, as I’m now much more disciplined about working on my art, rather than just looking at what other people have done and collecting ideas.
Oh, but I do have ideas! And now that I have time to work on my 2016 plans here are some of them:
Use what I learned in the Torch Fired Precious Metal Clay Class I took on Craftsy. Jenny Vestal does a great job breaking it all down for beginners. Now I just need to buy some PMC and get started. I definitely want to make dragons out of silver clay!
Continue working on polymer clay sculpture with a focus on figures. I especially want to develop expression and personality in my pieces. Some of the books I plan to work through:
Christi Friesen’s Flourish – Nearly done with this one.
How to Make Clay Characters – I made several pieces from this book years ago, when I didn’t know much about polymer clay. I didn’t get the concept of conditioning the clay properly and they’ve all since crumbled. Let that be a lesson to ya!
Family and Friends in Polymer Clay – This one is exciting to think about as I can’t tell you how many times I’ve studied someone’s face and thought, “I want to sculpt them.” Now to get some willing subjects…
Create weekly polymer clay tutorials for my YouTube channel. I’ve already started and these will be uploaded every Wednesday, beginning in February.
Continue to write tutorials for Polymer Café magazine. I have some exciting news regarding that publication, but it will have to wait until later, when I can share.
Perhaps turn some of the dragon projects into tutorials? I’m still considering how best to accomplish that.
So those of some of my plans for 2016. Have you made plans or set goals? I’d love to hear about them, feel free to share in the comments. Then we can all hold one another accountable. 😀
**The links provided are for products I own, have used and would recommend to a friend. I do participate in affiliate programs with Amazon, Craftsy and a couple others, but I will never link to anything I cannot personally endorse.
Yes, Keepsake Crafts will make money if you choose to make a purchase through these links. However, I can almost guarantee it will go right back into buying more crafty goodies! ?
The tool that I tell you about today is called split ring pliers. If you must use split rings in your jewelry making, then you really need this tool to help you manage them.
In fact, as I show in the video I also found the tool useful for opening another type of split ring: a key-chain ring. You can use split ring pliers to put keys or other things on your key-chain and not break fingernails in the process. 🙂
I mentioned in the video that I have a love/hate relationship with split rings. It’s only because they’re just such a pain to put on, but I do really like the security that they give.
On my work desk today you will see I have been having a lot of fun playing with soldering. As I’ve mentioned before, Kate Richbourg is an excellent teacher of metalsmithing. In her book, Simple Soldering, she has you make 1-inch square tiles of copper sheet on which you try different techniques. This is your metal “sampler,” so to speak.
So I spent quite a bit of time learning soldering techniques as I worked through these tiles. You might recognize the flower as one from Tim Holtz’s Tattered Florals Die.
I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I softened the metal by heating it in the flame, cooled it and then ran it through my Big Shot die cutting machine. Surprisingly, the Big Shot was able to cut through the 24 gauge sheet. (I was really hoping it would not break my machine!)
It was also fun learning how easy it is to ball up fine silver wire and make my own head pins.
And now, in other news:
Just to let you know, this week is going to be the last time I participate in What’s on Your Work Desk Wednesday.
I’ve been working very hard the past few years to build my little crafting business and, praise the Lord, I’ve finally found a measure of success.
However, with this success also comes a need to rearrange my priorities, and I found I needed to eliminate some things. Things that, although I enjoyed them, weren’t really adding to building my business.
I mentioned a while back that I stopped doing the Tim Holtz tag challenge. And sadly, now I really do need to stop the weekly WOYWW posts.
I will continue to follow many of your blogs and I hope to find time to check in occasionally.
If you’d like to keep up with my crafting crafty doings you can on: