Sunday, 28 February 2010

New Color Inspirations Topic

I have made a new topic (see link on right) to show my work from Polymer Clay Color Inspirations by Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio. I am just starting out with the exercises  but will update it as I go along. I was inspired to do this after visitng Jeanette Kandray's Clay, Color, Creativity blog . . I really enjoyed reading about her experiences with the exercises so here are mine.

Storing clay

In the past I have stored my Fimo Soft in 2 ice cream tubs. One tub with new packets and the other with my open packets. Once I opened a packet I wrapped any left  back in the wrapper  and popped it back in the tub. Any odd scraps went in a 'scrap bag' in the open packets box. I realised that over time sometimes my clay had a few crumbs of a different colour on them which isn't ideal. The bits were just thrown in the box and rumaging aorund for the right colour was what was causing the contamination. Now I am using Kato which is firmer, and more crumbly than the Fimo soft so I will need to be more careful I think, also I am more likely to have blended colours as the range of colours available in Kato is much smaller.

I have decided to try storing  sheets of conditioned clay and mixed colours in punched pockets to see if that helps. I am conditioning a whole 2oz block at once and what I am not using I am sheeting on the largest pasta machine setting and storing in the polythene pocket. I cut down the front sheet  next to the binding so that it opened to get the clay in and out. I saw this system in a video tutorial posted by Alice Stroppel on her blog . I'll let you know how it works out.

I have also started storing my scrap clay in different colour bags rather than all in one big bag. My old scrap bag has lots of lovely colours but all mixed up and some of the nicer colours are covered in horrible clashing crumbs. I also now have a cane offcuts bag for those small but pretty bits of scrap, thinking Natasha beads here. I think I may try and get some divided boxes so I can just leave it open on the table and throw the scrap in the right colour segment rather than having to find the right bag. Again I'll let you know how it works out and please do share your ways of storing with me. Someone must have a great system already!

I know not all plastics are safe with polymer clay but Kato web site states  Polypropylene which is marked as recycling symbol 5 is safe with their clay. I have emailed Staedtler about Fimo as I can't find any advice on their website. There is a lot of information on Cindy Leitz's blog about storing clay and she says things marked with a 1 or a 5 are safe for clay. Generally hard crystal clear plastic should be avoided - I have ruined some good canes in these type of boxes :(

If you have any top tips for storing your clay please let me know.

Next to think about how I store my canes cause a have tried a few ways and no of them have really worked...

Polymer clay cane tutorials put to the test

I have found and used lots of free polymer clay cane tutorials on the internet, thank you to all those clever people out there who share their knowledge.

For a while I have come across tutorials that you have to buy and I have always wondered if it would be worth it. Well one day I decided I would splash out and give them a go. I have been delighted with the canes I have made and I hope I can now take what I have learned from these talented artists into some amazing creations of my own.

The main difference between these tutorials and the ones people share freely is the level of detail. They are complex canes and there are many pages of photographs to make sure you can follow them easily.

I have bought 3 now and love them all.

They are all in PDF format and arrive by email. Here are some of the canes I have made.

Hippy Flower Cane Tutorial from Sigaliot Designs 

The tutorial was from Sigaliot's Designs Etsy  and cost $12. It arrived in my mail box very quickly and I couldn't wait to try it out.  It was well worth the money and I hope she makes some more tutorials soon! This is my personal favourite tutorial.

I made this cane in Kato clay. The detail is beautiful. I kept the centre more simple than Sagit suggested as I only had limited clay colours available and no time to mix. She has really taken time over the tutorial and set it out beautifully.  It was very clear with plenty of photographs. It was easy to follow and produced good results. Sagit details the colours she used on the cane  (she uses Fimo) in the tutorial and gives a recipe for a custom orange she used. She also shows the cane made in a different colour scheme and details the colours she used for that too. Sagit thoughtfully details all the steps in her tutorial including the skinner blend and includes a template with measurements for a 3 colour blend. I am sure if you used her colours you could make a cane identical to the one in the pictures. She also shows some pillow beads made with this cane which was nice to see. No special tools are needed (assuming you have a pasta machine - it is possible without of course but...)

I love her work Sagit uses such bright and cheerful colours and seems to be a real perfectionist. I don't normally even think of  buying other peoples polymer clay things - normally I think oh I'll have a go at making something similar - but I am quite tempted to buy some of her beads, they look amazing and so well finished. I am not sure I will ever have the patience for all that hand sanding etc. Check out her blog

I've said it before but I just want to emphasise what a beautiful tutorial this is to look at. It doesn't effect the result but it is such a pleasure to read it becuase it looks so nice.

Flower with curling petals cane tutorial from Zuleykha
The tutorial was from Zuleykha's Etsy  and cost $10. It arrived in my mail box very quickly and I couldn't wait to try this one  out either (I am not the most patient of people).  It was well worth the money as it's quite a different effect for a flower cane and I look forward to seeing some more tutorials from her, in fact I hope she writes a tutorial for her flower bracelets. This is a great tutorial!

The tutorial is well set out and has plenty of photographs. It is easy to follow and produced good results as you can see. I made this cane in fimo soft clay. She doesn't give details of the colours she used for the cane illustrated but does show the cane produced in 4 different colour schemes which was good for some inspiration. She didn't give a template for her 3 colour blend but there was a clear photograph and my blend worked out well. Zuleykha assumes you know how to do a skinner blend which is probably a fair assumption. She doesn't use any special tools (again assuming you have a pasta machine).

You can see some more of Zuleykha's work at her blog here. Her work is beautiful and I hope to be able to make things like that one day too! Zuleykha has lots of lovely things for sale in her Etsy store. I do particularly love her flower bracelets like this one.

Update - Zuleykha has a tutorial for beads like this on her blog here. Not having done much beading I think I would need some helping putting them together into a bracelet as beautifully as she does.
 Ayelet beads tutorial
The tutorial was from Ayelet beads Etsy  and cost $7. There was a slight technical hitch at my end (mail box full - they are large files) recieving the email but Ayelet was very friendly and helpful.  It was the cheapest tutorial and it was $7 well spent.  When I first came across these Ayelet flowers on Flickr I thought they were amazing and wondered how on Earth she made them. I was delighted to find her tutorial and now I can make my own! It is an amazingly detailed bead and works well as a pendant on it's own so I am wearing this one already. The others are waiting to be turned into a necklace (I am not so keen on the putting it all together bit I realise). I love this tutorial and have had some great comments about this necklace.

This tutorial has plenty of clear photographs. It is detailled and enables you to produce your own amazing ayelet flower beads easily. This was my first attempt and I can't wait to try some different colours. Ayelet doesn't detail the colours she uses and only shows one colour scheme in her tutorial although you can see plenty of her flower beads on her Flickr . She shows a necklace made with her finished beads in her tutorial which is good inspiration. You don't need any specialist tools for this either with the exception of the pasta machine as always.

Ayelet also extremely kindly shares some free tutorials on Flickr that you can find here. She is a talented lady! 

I am glad I bought these tutorials they have helped me to make some beautiful canes and I have picked up some tips that have help me to develop as an artist. The price of the tutorials perhaps reflects how long it took these talented ladies to make them. The more expensive ones being set out and decorated better but they all have clear instructions that are easy to follow.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Brand comparison

I have finally written up my polymer clay brand comparison trials. You can find them on my blog here

For me, for making canes I am now sold on Kato. The clay is very firm which helps to keep good definitions in the cane (once you have made it workable).

Here is one of the canes I have made from Kato clay.
This is a pendant with a crystal added to the centre

A smaller slice made into a simple bead

This cane was made using a tutorial I bought from  Sigaliot Designs Etsy Store.
It is a great tutorial, very clear and easy to follow and I was stunned with the results I got first time. It is also a beautiful tutorial Sagit has really taken time and effort over it. You can see more of her work at her blog

Friday, 26 February 2010

Busy polymer clay day for all the family

We have been busy playing with polymer clay for a lot of this afternoon (me with my bad foot up on a chair and lots of pain killers). Here are some things we made

James made an X wing (from star wars)

Daisy made a spoon, I gave her the bits she is too young(not quite 4) to be making roses on her own, yet....

I made my first kalidescope cane which was originally going to cover a
base to hold some pens for gifts but I had the wrong type and they melted in the oven so I changed to making  teaspoons and used a few slices of the cane to made a bead just because and off course the cane end tortoises I now always make. See polymer passions blog  for details of how to make them.  

Here is one of the 'filament wound' spoons I made as a gift for some people I used to work with 'filament winding' . It is a composite materials manufacturing technique where you wind carbon fibre around a steel madrel to make a carbon fibre tube. This is made from fine extruded black polymer clay (fimo in this case) wrapped round a teaspoon handle that had been coated in a layer of black fimo. I think this effect would be good using some colours so I will try it out another day.

I also  made a rather large bangle! I bought the tutorial from Tonjas Treasures but hadn't printed it out so tried it from memory having read it once. Being on crutches I formed it round a glass on the table which was to hand as I can't just rumage around like I would normally. I don't have any texture plates so must get round to making some to do this next time.


I have set up a new flickr page with my polymer clay photos on it
you can find it here

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Some more things I made in the past

Black, white and red heart. I made this with some cane ends and I love it. It just sits in a box of baked fimo bits. I ought to find something better to do with it!
Made May 2008

Heart shaped keyring. Made May 2008

A panda I made for a friend. Made March 2008

Things I have made in the past

Peppa Pig cake topper made for my daughter's 2nd birthday cake. Made March 2008

Earrings made from beads made from a slice of cane for my niece.Made March 2008
Spoons made from an extruded rainbow 'string' for my children. They use them everyday and I keep thinking I should make my own special spoon! Made August 2008

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Monday, 22 February 2010

Bee brooch

I made this brooch as a birthday present for my Mother-in-law. Feb 2010

Friday, 19 February 2010

Hospital again today

I am off to hospital today for an operation to remove some lumps growing on my foot. I am hoping to be back making polymer clay things soon and i really will post some photos.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Inspiration from Zuleykha

I have recently been very inspired by the work of Zuleykha who has 2 blogs one in Russian and one in English They both have lots of pictures on. I recently bought her curling petal cane tutorial and am looking forward to trying it. I will post some pictures when I have done it

Update 27/2/2010- here is the cane
Curling Petal Cane made from tutorial available here from Etsy

Monday, 8 February 2010

Welcome to my polymer clay blog

I have worked with polymer clay since I was a child, making tea sets for my dolls house. It has been a hobby I have played about with on and off over the years and until recently had only used Fimo clay.

Over the last year I have been making some beads and some jewellery for myself and friends and have bought a few books and some new tools. At the moment I am completely hooked on polymer clay and am determined to raise my level of creation from being OK to brilliant!

I wanted to share the things I learn on my journey as I have learnt a lot from many of you through the internet - thanks to everyone who shares their information.