Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Cuffs - My latest love

I am not someone who is normally into making lots of bracelets.  My jam is mostly necklaces and earrings.  However 2018 proved to be the year of the cuff/bracelet for me.    First I dived into poly clay cuff making and found myself making about 15 cuffs in a couple weeks time.

 That was interrupted by a bead embroidery class which turned my cuff making attention to bead embroidered cuffs. 

Here are most of them starting with the most recent ones.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Class Revisited - Or How Sherry Got my Bead Embroidery Mojo Back

When I heard Sherry Serafini was coming to the Bead Retreat in Orlando, FL, I jumped on it.  Living in Key West, I always have to travel for bead classes because there are none in areas of highest interest to me - bead embroidery and polymer clay. And you pretty much can't go any higher than being in a class with Sherry.

My first exposure to Sherry was a master's class she held in Virginia where she taught lots of tips and techniques for upping your game.  We each brought our own design ideas and beads.  It was fantastic.  This time around we learned and created Sherry's designs. 

Here are the results with some slight modifications on my part.

And below is the one from the Master's class several years ago,which is my own design.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A two for One Necklace - creating detachable parts

After I created this necklace, I wondered if it would be better plain or with the leaves added. My sister-in-law suggested I find a way to make the leaves detachable.  I had one of those,"now why didn't I think of that" moments? And away I went.

I strung the leaves and other beads on silk cord and attached lobster claw clasps so I could attach/detach at will.  Here is the result.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Painted Ladies Cuff

I recently joined the Painted Ladies Group on Facebook.  I did not even know it existed until a couple days ago when I stumbled upon it.  I just love Brenda Hicks-Schalon's mix of ceramic cabachons of various "painted ladies."

It was hard to decide which painted ladies I wanted.  I have about 5 of her cabs left which I will post as soon as I take good pictures of them.  I ended up choosing one to add into a bead embroidered cuff I was making.

Here tis...

Friday, May 25, 2018

When A Necklace Unexpectedly Comes Together

I know jewelry artists will totally get this.  It's the story about how beads talk to you and in a snap, you realize a bunch of beads you have been looking at would  go together to make a fab piece of work.

That's what happened to me.  I had NOT planned on using these beads together.  In fact, my intent was to sell the beads as earring pairs and/or pendants.

 So, how did this happen?

As I was arranging beads to photograph them all together, it just hit me that many of them could be put together to make a pretty cool necklace.  In fact I tried to resist the idea but they absolutely took over my hands and made me do it. 

True story. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Paint Pour - what to do with Leftover Strips

You've done your paint pour and let it dry.  You cut out the beads you wanted.  Now there are leftover painted strips of raw clay from the cut outs.  What do you do?

I don't like to leave anything painted sit in storage long.  I have not had good success in the past with that.  I also think it's risky to roll it up into a ball or other shaped bead  and bake it as I read that acrylic paint, if inside poly clay, can form weak spots as it sweats.

What I did instead was take the leftover sheet of paint pour raw clay strips and press some parts together to minimize space between them and cut off other parts so I could build on the design.  Then, I carefully placed the design on a backing sheet of black raw clay and kept adding strips to fill in the spaces on the sheet.  Once I had them all on the backing sheet to my satisfaction, I rolled that sheet on the thickest setting on my pasta machine and tried next setting and settled on the fourth setting to smooth the design in to my satisfaction.

Next I ran a raw clay sheet of conditioned black clay through the thickest setting and pressed with my hands the paint pour sheet and plain black sheet of clay together.

 I studied the design pattern trying to figure what type of jewelry item it would best serve.  I decided on bangles/cuff bracelets.  The pattern was larger so it would not have been as fab in earrings or even a pendant in my opinion.   I formed cuffs in different sizes and styles and baked them.

 After baking, I added another thin backing and mica powdered some of them.  I also antiqued the outside of two of them.  Here are the results.  P.S.  sorry I don't have any pics of design build stages.  I just get too into it to stop. he he

These were antiqued

Paint Pouring on Poly Clay or How to Make a Mess in 5 minutes

The best way for me to learn to paint pour is to dive in.  Yes, I may take a tutorial or class sometime but I couldn't wait.  Let me tell you.  The way I did it was fun as hell but it was verrrry messy.  I rolled out a sheet of raw white clay, textured it with Victoria James' crumpled foil mold, and then did a blue wash over it.  I let that dry.  Then the real fun began.

I chose several colors of golden's fluid acrylics:  white, a green, a dark blue, and a medium blue, a red, and a yellow.

I began by horizontally pouring a strip of each paint across the raw textured clay sheet in a slight curve having each color touch the one before it.  I just did them in the same color order till I filled the sheet.

I had bought a small aluminum scraper so I could lightly scrape across the paint. I used techniques I had seen on you tube from paint artists and imitated their technique in applying the scraper but I did not prepare my paints the same way they do.  I did not use silicone which would have created cells and since I used fluid acrylics, I did not feel I had to thin out the paint as they do.  

After the first light scrapes across the clay, I spritzed the surface with water to force more movement and used my fingers to create some swirls.  I also picked  up the piece and tilted it a bit to help the paint flow in certain areas. Unfortunately, the only pour picture I have is an early version. 

 As the paint settled, I would alter it again by spot spraying and running the scraper lightly across the piece. 

 As it was drying I would spot spray, lightly touch it with the end of a paper towel which absorbs excess paint,  and add color as I saw fit.  When it was dry (slightly sticky but no color came off on a light touch from my finger), I cut beads, baked, and then sanded them which brought up some of the lighter blue underneath.

  They are shown below.  I also made cuffs from the strips of painted clay leftover after I cut out the beads.  The results of that are in the post after this one. 

So why does my title talk about mess?  Well, because I just dove in, I did not put anything under the raw sheet of clay when I did the initial blue paint wash so paint was all over my claying table. It made for a cool painting effect on the back of my sheet (see last picture which shows back of beads) but was a pain to clean up after.  I did put the sheet on a piece of aluminum foil while the wash was drying.  Also, I did not put gloves on so my hands were covered in paint from manipulating the sheet and adding in my own swirls.  

The pour - first iteration

The beads I cut from the pour

Another view

Cool effect from not putting anything under the clay sheet during initial wash

Cuffs - My latest love

I am not someone who is normally into making lots of bracelets.  My jam is mostly necklaces and earrings.  However 2018 proved to be the yea...