Studio Wednesday

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In the time I have between my physical therapy treatment and my favorite tv show “LOST”, I’d like to share with you what I’ve been working on this week.

With the limited range of motion in my frozen right shoulder, I haven’t been able to do a creative activity that I absolutely love: mixing colors in polymer clay. Cranking the pasta machine is torture on my shoulder. I solved that problem by treating myself to a motor and foot pedal for my P.M. What a difference! This has opened up a whole new world for me.

I love my new motor.

My first color mixing project was to mix up some muted neutral colors for a cane I wanted to try out from the new Donna Kato book I picked up from the library. It’s called “The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiore Techniques: Projects and Inspiration for Creative Canework”.

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There’s a lot of cool cane ideas in this great book. Now that I’ve returned it to the library, I’m even considering adding it to my library permanently. The cane slices above were created with a rolled Skinner Blend plug, wrapped and squished and rearranged. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really into creating canes because I like a more organic look to my work instead of geometric precision. That being said, there are some fun organic cane patterns to play with.

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I had some fun with the cane ends I sliced off and rolled around. Here’s a scrap cane that ended up looking like crescent moons from another world.

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Ever since I received a small piece of plexiglas in a goody bag from the first Klay Karma retreat 4 years ago, I love making swirly lentil beads with cane scraps. The larger one with the cane slice bail will be used as a pendant in a necklace. The smaller one could be used for a freeform bracelet. That would be fun to incorporate some polymer clay beads in my freeform work.

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I thought that I’d do something different for the swirly pendant necklace. Using a very thin gauge black wire and some bronze colored size 11 seed beads, I made several lengths of chain stitch. The wire was a bit tricky to work with at first because there is no “give” as there is with fiber. It takes time to figure out how much wire to wrap around your crochet hook to allow you to be able to pull the wire through the loop. I found that working looser rather than tighter is best.

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I made some more chain stitch lengths using bronze wire and black seed beads.

This weekend I’ll work on putting my necklace together.

“Once there were two color kittens with green eyes, Brush and Hush. They liked to mix and make colors by splashing one color into another. They had buckets and buckets and buckets and buckets of color to splash around with., Out of these colors they would make all the colors in the world.”

~from “The Color Kittens” by Margaret Wise Brown

Studio Wednesday on Thursday

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Last weekend I nourished my creative spirit as much as possible as I adjusted to my new schedule. I dedicated myself to creating and finishing a necklace for my “Grow” polymer clay pendant. With the help of my brand new mini bead spinner, I threaded a bead soup of pale blue, green, yellow, ivory and crystal seed beads onto my hand dyed silk cord. It was a little tricky at first to slide into the rhythm of needle and spinning bowl but I finally got the hang of it and then the beads literally jumped onto my needle like eager participants in play. As I eased myself into the flow of the spinning beads, I was reminded of my early school days when I loved jumping Double Dutch. You really couldn’t think about it, you just had to close your eyes and navigate by your inner compass and spacial instinct. In other words, jump in!  Once my cord was saturated with tiny beads, I started crocheting a simple chain stitch, catching one bead in each chain. I made 3 strands like this and tied the ends together.

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My next step was to create small bead caps/cones by weaving the beads in a herringbone stitch. I covered the knotted  silk cord ends with my beaded caps.

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I found a small textured silver toggle clasp in my stash and attached it to the silver loops coming out of the bead caps. I’m still deciding whether I like this clasp for this necklace. It is very easy to put on and take off the necklace so that’s a big plus. And it’s small size goes well with the delicate feel of  the necklace. I’ll have to wear it a couple of times to see how it works.

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Using 20 gauge sterling silver wire, I created a curled spiral bail for my pendant and threaded the strands through the curls.

Curls of soft misty colors. Silvery rebirth spirals. Crystal drops of rain.

Spring is here.

Mokume Gane Earrings

I know, I know. I should be packing and getting ready for my trip. I decided to take a break and do something creative so I finished these earrings. Now I can bring them with me on my trip.

A couple of weeks ago I created a polymer clay mokume gane stack and started playing around with different shapes for jewelry components. Today I glued in some wires, fashioned some earring hooks from 20-gauge S.S. wire and these earrings were born.

I’m experimenting with weaving seed beads around polymer clay components. I especially like the freeform designs of mokume gane to go with freeform beadwork. My most successful color combinations have been when I’ve incorporated light, medium and dark colors. It’s fun looking around the house for various tools and objects to impress into the clay stack. Just mix your colors, create individual sheets, layer them to make a stack and then texture with your found objects. Using a tissue blade, slice from the top of the stack to reveal the patterns. I love watching the patterns emerge. You can make a “fabric” by laying the slices on a coordinating color sheet of clay. I like to take that sheet and run it through the pasta machine to stretch out the patterns so they swirl and dance around.

Ok, back to packing!

Polymer Goddess

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Ever since I discovered the clips from my light tent kit, I’ve been having fun taking photographs of my necklaces hanging from the clips. It’s a great way to show the front part of the necklace, especially if it has a pendant or dangles. A photo of this type of necklace laying down just doesn’t do it justice. I am experimenting with different ways to display my jewelry and the necklace is telling me, in a way, how it looks best.

As I was naming the file for this photo, I realized that this necklace didn’t have a name. Usually, when I’m creating a piece of jewelry, a story or name will start to be “born” based on what inspired me to create. This necklace was inspired by color and gold leaf, as in “wouldn’t it be way cool to make a rich Skinner blend with gold leaf over it and then cut it into dagger shapes for dangles?” And thus, this necklace fit for a “Polymer Goddess” was born.