In my year-in-review post a couple weeks ago I alluded to the possibility of doing another personal polymer clay challenge for 2017. As I was disappointed in several of the things I didn’t get done in 2016 I’ve decided that this needs to happen.
My dragon challenge of 2015 was a success, but oh-so-much work! And it took oh-so-much time. Since I’ve got more going on these days this year’s challenge will be a little less demanding. 🙂
My goal this year is to make two polymer clay figures each month. I’ll share the results on or around the 15th and 30th of every month. As you can see from the photo and video, I’ve already completed the first of 24 sculptures.
I was really pleased with the more relaxed pace of working on this piece over the course of two weeks. I could do a little bit here, a little bit there and was able to take the time to add things or make changes as I liked, rather than being constrained by a strict deadline.
I named this sculpture “Make a Joyful Noise,” and the boy’s name is Phillip. I know there are many, many things that could be improved, but I’m still happy with him and his flock of singing friends. Phillip is based on Studious Stan from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters.
For me the trickiest part of making this was the hands, they just gave me a terrible time. But I’ve found a really nice YouTube channel with lots of sculpting help and this video: Tips on Sculpting Tiny Fairy Hands. I’m excited to try her tips on my next sculpture!
I’ve always been a fan of these half and half style bracelets. Perhaps it’s because you can cram so much into one small piece of jewelry: multiple strands of beads, interesting and artistic focals, and even a fancy hand forged clasp.
In today’s video I will show you how to make the faux ceramic bead and the textured round bead. If you are intrigued by the faux ceramic look it may be worth your while to do some experimenting with other liquid polymers and other coloring media such as oil paints.
In this video I don’t show you how to make the swirly lentil bead, because that’s truly a project in and of itself. But here are a few tutorials, some basic and some quite detailed, that show you how you can make your own. If you don’t want to bother just find a lovely purchased bead or one from your stash.
Over the years I have lost a lot of jewelry, sometimes it was due to faulty catches, but more often to my own carelessness. So it is an understatement to say that I am deeply suspicious of magnetic catches that pull apart too easily.
However, recently I took another look at magnetic clasps and realized that they have a lot of redeeming features, such as being easier for those with hand difficulties to use, and that there are magnetic clasp designs that are more secure than others.
In today’s video I will show you several different styles of catches, explain a few things to look for in a magnetic catch and also show you a way to make the worst of the lot far more secure.
Be sure to watch to the end of the video to learn about a time my mom lost a very nice piece of jewelry, although it was certainly not her fault nor that of the catch!
Here are links to a few of the clasps (and others like them) that I show in the video:
Today I have for you the opening of yet another jewelry supplies order from ArtBeads.com. You all seem to enjoy these videos so I’ll keep making them, but if you’re getting tired of them let me know and I’ll stop. 🙂
I also got some bails to finish a second superduo donut pendant, which if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me working on. For this one I made the two sides completely different color schemes, which made it a little tricky to choose a bail that went with both sides. (See the video for a look at the second beaded donut.)
The tila beads are to make this wiggle bracelet, I love the movement! I haven’t seen any patterns, but it seems fairly straightforward if you study the photo. If you don’t feel like making your own, click on the link to buy Cindy’s, her prices are quite reasonable. She has lots of other lovely designs in her shop.
The rest of the supplies are either things that I have in mind for specific future projects and videos, or just random things that I really don’t remember why I got them, but you can be certain one day I’ll find a great use for them!
Here are links to several of these products and ones like them:
I’m still currently in love with super duo designs. If you follow my Pinterest boards you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been pinning a lot of these designs. I’ve made a bunch of bracelets, too. Some I’ve taken apart because I wasn’t thrilled with them and a couple I’m really happy with.
a few of the superduo projects I’ve made recently
I think the fascination is because of the multitude of possibilities in the way they fit together, it makes sense if you know that I also was very much into pieced quilting designs for quite a few years. But now my house is full of quilts and it takes too long to finish one so I only make them for special occasion gifts.
This bracelet will take you a LOT less time to make than a quilt, even with making several samples to decide which colors. When you watch the video you may notice that even though I made all those samples I still did end up trying out a different color, not liking it, pulling out a whole bunch of bead weaving and redoing it.
That’s what I get for being picky!
One thing I did not show you in the video, (because I was so disgusted with myself and just wanted to get the recording done) was that one of my superduo beads had a clogged hole. It was one of the last ones, I was nearly finished with the bracelet and when I went to clear it out with an awl the bead broke. Grrrrrrr….
second hole was clogged, this will be taken apart entirely
In order to finish the video I actually glued the thread across the tip of the bead and kept it face down so you couldn’t see the broken bead for the rest of the video. But now I’m coming clean. ?
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.
It occurred to me the other day that I hadn’t done any question and answers videos in quite some time. Sorry about that!
Even though I try to answer most questions in the comments sections of the videos, it’s always nice to answer them in a video for everyone to see because if one person has a question it’s likely more people have the same one.
In today’s Q & A I answer questions about where to find the supplies that I show in videos, how to finish up crimped bead stringing and why sometimes jewelry designers weave the end of the wire back through a few of their final beads.
Here are links to some of the supplies I like to use in bead stringing:
I have been admiring these tube bead bracelets for quite some time, in fact I made a Pinterest board just for them. You’ll notice the Pinterest board has a few pieces that may be necklaces instead of bracelets, they’re really just the same thing, only longer. And there are a few variations like the long tube on the very long strands, making an interesting and unusual necklace.
I also love the tubes that are sculpted with flared ends, and the ones that have holes pierced through them.
All the different textures shapes and the variation of color make this bracelet very rich and lush in appearance, hence the name, “baroque.” Dictionary.com defines baroque this way:
1. of or relating to a style of architecture and art originating in Italy in the early 17th century and variously prevalent in Europe and the New World for a century and a half, characterized by free and sculptural use of the classical orders and ornament, by forms in elevation and plan suggesting movement, and by dramatic effect in which architecture, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts often worked to combined effect.
2. of or relating to the musical period following the Renaissance, extending roughly from 1600 to 1750.
3. extravagantly ornate, florid, and convoluted in character or style: the baroque prose of the novel’s more lurid passages.
4. irregular in shape: baroque pearls.
There are so many variations you can do with this. I had a few ideas that I didn’t have time to get to, like adding Swarovski crystals or hot fix crystals all over, perhaps surrounded with coils and dots of clay. Also, you could make a long tube, decorate the whole thing, and then cut it into individual beads.
Once again, don’t be intimidated by the long list of tools and materials. If you’ve been working in polymer clay or jewelry for a while, you likely have most of them. And the ones that you don’t have you’ll certainly use in future projects. 🙂
There are many different findings out there with names that can be easily confused for one another. In today’s Friday Findings video I’ll explain and show you what end caps are and what they aren’t. I differentiate them from bead caps which are close, but not quite the same.
Yes, it can be confusing, but I look at it this way: If I end up ordering the wrong finding, now I’ve got a new jewelry supply to try out and and experiment with. 🙂
There are many different ways you can use these great little findings, from the most obvious as an end to finish a piece of cording, beading or something else, to not quite so traditional and possibly unexpected uses.
You’ll see several examples that will hopefully get your imagination fired for new and interesting ways to use end caps in your jewelry designs.
Here are links to some of the end caps I show in the video, as well as some others you might enjoy using:
Since Christmas is so close I figured we all could use a very simple, short and sweet project. These earrings may look complex but as I mention in the video I was able to put together one of them in 15 minutes. So a pair would only take you half an hour after assembling the materials.
Make sure to pick up some very fine bead weaving thread, like the Wildfire I show in the video, as each of the beads gets at least two passes and you need a fine thread to be able to do that through the small 15/0 beads.
In the interest of full disclosure I figured out how to make these earrings after first seeing this design from Linda’s Crafty inspirations on Pinterest. If you like bead weaving you’ll love her site! The original design is by Beth Clark and she has a free pdf of the design at her website. (Along with lots of other great designs!)