Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring into Fashion With Some New Jewelry!

Now that Spring is officially here, it's time to clean out your jewelry box and replace those tired old pieces with some gorgeous new pieces.

Some people look down on polymer clay as a "craft" material and not an, Art, (with a big A), material but polymer clay artists have come a long way towards being accepted by the art community.  Some polymer clay artists, such as Donna Kato and Lisa Pavelka, have shown what an amazing medium polymer clay can be.

There is a talented group of polymer clay artists on Art Fire.  Some of them are members of the Polymer Caly Smooshers Guild, of which I am a member.  It is some of these artists that I wish to highlight, today.

This Gorgeous Garden Butterfly Bracelet by Gaia Copia Artisan Jewelry
shows what amazing finishes can be achieved with polymer clay and a little paint.  The bracelet looks like metal but would be much lighter than a comparable metal bracelet.

The Nature Themed Pendant Necklace by Art Asylum
is wild and free, similar to Spring time's riotous growth (before we step in and tame it)!

The Flower Covered Leaf Shaped Pendant With Silver Bale by Amazing Designs
brings to mind a lush Spring flower garden.

This  One Rose Bud Pendant by Valerie's Stuff 
Is charming and elegant in it's simplicity.

And while not jewelry, I couldn't resist this adorable Gold Turtle With An Orchid Flower by Ellymm
He or she is much too cute to leave out!

So, go, getting cleaning and fill your jewelry box with some beautiful and wonderful polymer clay!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hop To It! Here Comes The Easter Bunny.

With Easter fast approaching, I thought it was time to show off some of the bunny related items on Art Fire.  When this idea popped into my head this morning, I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be to find bunny items.

I wanted to highlight the pieces of artists in three of the  guilds I belong to on Art Fire.  It took me quite a while, but I finally filled my quota

So here goes.  Here comes Peter Cottontail!

From the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild

 Creative Critters  Handmade Set of Two Easter Bunny Magnets

  Handmade Specialties  Polymer Clay Easter Bunny

 Kimis Jewelry From The Heart Bunny Necklace or Bracelet


        Fantasy Clay Set of 5 Mini Pastel Bunnies

The It's Better Handmade Guild

From Purpleberry Felt Egg Warmer Cozies

Crystal Beaded Designs Easter Bunny Rabbit Charm Bracelet 

Nina's Corner Crochet Mini Spring Time Bunny Made To Order

Berkshire Bowls Gray Rabbit Puzzle

From The Crazy Train

Acadienne Bunny and Flowers Cross Stitch Bookmark

                                  Blue Morning Expressions White Easter Bunny Earrings
                                                                     Christie Cottage Crocheted Bunny Pouch

Laura's Crafts Bunny Tail Happy Easter Card

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Art Of Cane Work (Millefiore)

I have always been intrigued by those polymer clay pieces that use thin slices of a intricately crafted polymer clay canes.  The technique was originally used in making glass making and is called millefiori, which , in Italian, means thousand flowers.  Pieces of this detailed glass work have been dated to  ancient Roman, Phoenician, and Alexanderian times.  The technique was lost by the 18th century but rediscovered sometime in the 19th century.

I don't know who first tried to reproduce those beautiful glass beads using polymer clay, but they were a genius.  The process is long and involved, using rods of conditioned polymer clay in a myriad of shapes, round, square, triangular, and so on.  These rods are then wrapped with thin sheets of polymer clay and stacked together to form one unit.

Once the image is completed, the entire piece is rolled, squeezed and manipulated  until it is the desired size.  The messy ends are cut off to reveal a miniature masterpiece inside!  Then, thin slices are cut and applied to the base piece of polymer clay.

I've tried my hand at making some polymer clay canes.  I have never been too successful.  Most of the time my slices get distorted, smeared or are of varying thickness and are useless for the project I envisioned.   I keep trying, though, because I am fascinated by the process.

Some of the polymer clay artists from the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild on Art Fire have mastered this difficult technique.  Below are some pieces from those talented artists.

This Flat Modcane Pendant by Dream Weaver's Designs  is a wonderful example of the intricate pattern you can achieve using a relatively simple cane.

This Set of Purple Flowers on Yellow Clay Beads by Blue Morning Expressions  show the delicate beauty of these purple flowers using this intricate cane.

This Black and White Wine Bottle Stopper by Amy Crawley is made with extruded clay.  I'm not quite sure how that works, I'll have to research it, but it produces a bold and striking pattern.

Another piece using the extruding method is this lovely Red and White Extruded Rounds Necklace by Flower Child's Artsy Jewelry

These gorgeous Green Web and Orange Tigerlily Focal Beads by Art Makers Worlds  use the traditional method of cane making.

The Black and White Zentangle Cuff Bracelet by Second Sister At Moark Jewelry  fascinates me.  I just recently discover the Zentangle method and I am itching to try it, both on paper and in clay.

After seeing all these wonderful items, I suggest that everyone run out, buy some clay and start smooshing!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spring Has Sprung, Almost

With the coming of Spring, my thoughts have turned to the promise of green grass and flowers in my garden.  Although, here where I live, the ground is still rock hard and covered with a mixture of snow and ice, with the promise of more to come in the coming week, Spring is less than a week away!

So, in honor of the new season, I created a Spring Flower Necklace to celebrate the potential for  warmer temperatures and gentler breezes.

Spring Daisy Necklace from Wyvern Designs

The pendant is quite large, measuring 4" across and is a bold Spring statement piece.  The daisy is hand crafted from polymer clay and the petals are filled with Delta PermEnamel glass paint, giving it the look of enamel.  Some of  the beads for the necklace, the green, yellow and gold leafed ones, are hand made.  The larger beads are a combination of acrylic pearls and cultured freshwater pearls.  The whole piece is finished off with an antiqued silver plated toggle clasp.

I really like this piece and plan to make a similar on for myself, maybe in a different color.  The gold leafing gives the necklace a retro/vintage look and reminds me of some of the vintage costume jewelry from the 50's.