Sunday, 30 December 2012

2013 Challenges

In 2013 I am aiming to push myself to develop my own polymer clay style further so of course I'll need some polymer clay challenges:)

I am currently taking part in the wonderful free online course on Voila! 'How to Become a Better Artist' and I haven't done so well at keeping up due to other commitments but I shall pick that up and try and do a unit a week whilst I'm not crazy busy. It's provoking a lot of thought and creating plenty of 'Ahh' moments. Thank you Christine!

I am also going to take part in the 12 polymer projects 2013 Flickr challenge. That shouldn't be too hard - 1 project a month I can handle that even in the busy months I am sure. Thing a day or even a week for the year is a big commitment I'm not going to take on this year! I shall aim to take part in the thing a day challenge for February on Polymer Clay Central again as I really enjoyed that last year and February is generally a quiet as well as short month.

I have also set myself a personal challenge (well it's a public one now I've shared it here I guess!) to make use of some of the many tutorials and books I have and haven't actually used! So trying to be realistic I am aiming to give myself some time to try some of those throughout January and February. March will get busy due to my exciting trip to the IPCA conference in Altanta - Synergy 2013. One project a week which I shall share here with you - briefly reviewing the tutorial/book and showing the results, that should be at least 9 projects if all goes to plan.

I am also making a commitment to finally update my brand comparison I originally did when this blog was just starting. I tried out Premo, Kato and Fimo soft and classic the first time (see picture below). This time I want to do a more thorough comparison comparing features such as translucence and strength as well as sculpting and caning qualities for the brands Premo, Kato, Fimo soft, Fimo Classic, Pardo and Cernit. I bought all the clay a while ago from Penny at - in fact it was at Polymer Pamper Play in March - shocking I haven't had time to do it since then! If anyone has another brand of clay they wish to send me to try out alongside these please get in touch. I'm aiming for before March but will see how carried away I get playing with all those tutorials :)

Polymer Clay brand comparison showing canes made from different brands of polymer clay
Spliced flower cane made with Kato, Premo, Fimo Soft and Fimo Classic in that order left to right

That should all keep me busy! I also have plenty of social plans for the year as I turn 40 in August so will  make the most of celebrating:) I am really looking forward to 2013!

Anyway I hope you have some exciting plans for 2013! What are you going to do to make it your most creative and fun year so far? I hope 2013 is filled with fun, friendship, laughter and creativity for you all!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Happy Christmas - say it with owls :)

I would like to wish all the readers of my blog a very Happy Christmas and a 2013 full of friendship, fun and creativity! Thank you for following me I really appreciate having you along for the ride. Hopefully I will manage my aim of being more organised in 2013 so will post a little more regularly than I have managed recently! In the meantime here's a Parliament of Christmas owl ornaments...

Finally all my Christmas sales, orders and workshops are over so I can now sit back and enjoy time with the family, and hopefully some polymer clay time for me. I have so many ideas I have had to put on hold due to lack of time, it's just a matter of trying to decide which to pursue first!

I am looking forward to an exciting 2013. In March I am off to the International Polymer Clay Association Conference - Synergy 3 in Atlanta! I am so excited! Hopefully I will meet some of you there! In April I am taking a workshop with Sarah Shriver organised by the London Polymer Clay Group. which I am also really looking forward to along with another Polydays  weekend organised by Alison Gallant in the Autumn.

I am currently taking part in the online course organised by Christine Dumont on Voila! about 'How to Become a Better Artist'. Now I have a polymer clay addiction but no art background (I come from a background of science and teaching) and this is ideal as it is challenging me to look at things in a different way. I am hoping to dedicate some time in 2013 to developing my own artistic voice and will of course share my journey with you as always.

Have a lot of fun!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Pop Up Shop, Workshops and a Ring bowl

If you are in the Bristol area I am taking part in the Making Things Club Pop Up Shop and Making Emporium in the city centre so do pop in and say Hi! I will be in the shop 10-4pm on Thursday 13th, Saturday 15th and Friday 21st December. Some of my jewellery and little creatures including my Christmas ornaments will be available in the shop all the time until Christmas Eve.

I am also running a Christmas Presents Workshop in the Making Emporium side of the shop on Sunday 16th.  I will show you how to make a polymer clay retro cane and then how to use that to cover objects to make unique and useful gifts. Please get in touch if you would like more details or to book a place.

Here's one of my latest creations - a birthday present of a ring bowl for my sister. It matches her wedding jewellery which you may remember if you've been following my blog for a while. If you are new here or need a reminder you can find the blog post about it here.

I hope all your preparations for the festive season are going well


Monday, 26 November 2012

Tiny Christmas Hat Tutorial

I expect you are starting to think about Christmas! Well if you wanted to make some little creatures with Christmas hats here's a quick tutorial to help you. You can find my free tutorial to make the little sleeping cats like the one shown on my blog here.
Cara Jane's Sleeping Cat Tutorial
Cara Jane's Free Sleeping Cat Tutorial

Of course any animal could become a Christmas animal with a little Santa hat not just cats - the owls love them!

Cat with small amount of red and white polymer clay
You will need a little creature such as this cat and a small amount of red and white polymer clay


roll a cone of red
Roll a small ball of red clay and then roll it backwards and forwards with your finger on one end only to make a cone

Here's a nice hat cone

I like to chop the other end off so the bottom of the hat will be flat

trying hat on cat
Test the hat for size, this was a little big so I chopped a bit of clay off and rerolled it into a slightly smaller cone.

Roll a very thin log of white clay - moving your fingers out towards the end as you roll will help the log spread out and get thinner.

Wrap the white around the very bottom edge of the hat to look like a fur trim. Trim of the excess white and join the ends so you have a neat band of white around the bottom of the hat

Roll an even tinier ball of white clay to be a pom pom on the end of the hat. I poke a hole into it so that I can push the red point of the hat into it and then firm it gently in place so that it will stick to the hat but still be round.

Finished cat
Put the hat on your creature and bend it over if you wish - I like them like that myself but you can off course leave it sticking up. Your sleeping cat is now a lovely little Christmasy ornament. A lovely gift for a friend who likes cats!

finished hanging cat
Or add a hole and something to hang your cat (I used tiger tail and crimped it underneath the cat) and you have a unique and special  tree decoration. The head end of the cat is lighter so I make the hole slightly nearer  to the tail end rather than in the middle.

If you've got any questions please do get in touch. I love to get comments on my blogs - or emails!

If you haven't already found me on facebook I have a page there and I'd love to see you there too.

Hope all your Christmas Preparations go smoothly!


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Bright Flowers - a new set

The weather here in the UK is horrible today so I have tried to cheer things up with these bright flowers

These are slightly different from my normal flat flower pendants as they are slightly curved and each petal slightly cupped. They also have a dimension centre which looks like little tubes but is actually just little sticks of clay (adhered with the wonderful Kato polypaste) that I poke a pin into to give the illusion of being hollow. I think the curve looks elegant and adds interest.

The will be for sale this Saturday at:

FishFest's Fabulously Festive Fair, 4-9.30pm,  All Saints Church Hall, Grove Rd Fishponds: arts, crafts, live music, beauty treats, freshly made nibbles and childrens' activities. Buy unique gifts, support local craftspeople and next years' Community Festival!

Will anyone buy them, if so I wonder who? I hope the weather isn't too horrible where you are.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Christmas Fair Dates and NEW CREATURES!

Before I let you know my latest Christmas Fair dates I'd like to introduce you to my new creatures that will be available from the Totterdown Arts Trail onwards. Meet the pigs!

This weekend I will be at  the Totterdown Arts Trail at 13 Hawthorne Street, Totterdown, Bristol with the wonderfully talented Emily Ketteringham and her screen prints of Bristol. I am really looking forward to it as I always meet such interesting people. The trail is open from 6-8pm on Friday and then 12-6pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

The following weekend I will be at FishFest's Fabulously Festive Fair in All Saints Church Hall, Grove  Road, Fishponds from 4-9.30pm. This should be a jolly and sociable fair which is raising funds towards FishFest 2013 (a  community festival for Fishponds where I live!). There will be a wide range of arts and crafts on sale all from local people as well as therapy taster sessions, a cafe serving mulled wine and some live music. I help to organise both the festival and this festive fair.

On Saturday 1st December I will be at the Southville Centre Christmas Fair from 10am-4pm.

I also have some new workshop dates and some exciting news about December I shall share with you very soon!!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

First Christmas Owls of 2012

I can't put it off any more - Christmas is coming and it's getting closer. Here's the first Christmas Owls for 2012

Red and White Christmas Owls 2012 by Cara Jane. Small red and white owl ornaments with santa hats
Watch this space for my latest sales and workshop dates some exciting news about what I will be doing in December!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Black and Grey Flowers

A good friend of mine was making a new dress to wear to a wedding - so I offered to make her some new jewellery to match. It turned out just beautiful! Here it is

If you are familiar with the polymer clay work of Ayelet you will notice my inspiration! I made the grey beads and textured them with salt, they match the colour of the dress.

I'm busy working on some Christmas gift and ornament designs, I hope to be able to share some soon. I hope you are having fun whatever you are doing.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

St Werburghs Arts Trail this weekend (discount for readers!)

I will be exhibiting at the St Werburghs Arts trail this weekend. You will find me in the Jack Brimble Centre on the corner of Lynmouth Road and St Werburghs Road from 11am - 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

It's a lovely little hall and there are a couple of other artists exhibiting there too but there is still plenty of space so hopefully I will be able to do some demonstrations of how I make some of my polymer clay jewellery.

Do come and say hello and if you mention my 'blog reader discount' you can have a 10% discount on sales over £10 as a thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Polydays 2012 - can we do it all again?

Wow what a weekend! I had the best time! I learnt some new skills, I bought some new tools, I met some new friends,I had a great time with some of my favourite polymer people. I really didn't want to come home!

I was a bit worried before I went as I have been having pain in my arm and wrist. Amazingly it got better whilst I was away so I need to do more clay at home too! It turns out it's tennis elbow and using the computer makes it worse, as does writing and driving. Thankfully most polymer clay things are ok! So if I am a bit quiet online for a while please excuse me.

Anyway you will want to see what I made I am sure! We had three workshops - each one lasting a day.

One with Bettina Welker where we made her clever hinged bangles. They take a while to make but are worth the effort - giving a snug fit around the wrist. I went for a purple and teal bangle. I was also able to buy a copy of her new bracelet book - oh I can't wait to try some more bracelets and bangles - thank you Bettina!!
teal and purple textured hinged bangle
Hinged Bangle from Bettina's workshop

Then we had a metallic mokume gane workshop with Carol Simmons. Her work is amazing, it has so much depth to it. I am pleased to say she taught us the secret of that! We also got to use her amazing slicing machine. We made imprinted blocks of mokume gane using Carols handmade texture sheets then sliced lovely even thin layers using the slicing machine. If you want to see the machine go check out Carols blog. The colours of clay and the wonderful patterns turned into some beautiful lentil beads. Carol also had a clever mould for making these.

Cara Jane Metallic Mokume Lentil beads side 1
One side of the metallic mokume gane lentils

Cara Jane Metallic Mokume Lentil beads side 2 - one mokume and the other stroppel
The other side of the lentils.

On the last day we did an overlapping lentil workshop with Alison Gallant. She showed us many other techniques including silk screening. The necklaces are reversible which is pretty cool. One side is black with silk screen printed white dots. The other is made by cutting a bullseye cane with a ripple blade (thanks to Irene for the inspiration on that one). Notice I made a co-ordinating little dangle as well.
reversible lentil necklace green, teal and white ripple patternreversible lentil necklace black and white polka dots

I also made a new pendant in between doing other bits - to match my new hinged bangle.

It was a truly blissful weekend. Thank you to Alison for organising it, to the wonderful tutors for sharing their amazing skills with us and all the other participants for making it so much fun! Oh and a big thank you to Penny - and Valerie and Craig - for bringing all your wonderful supplies for us to buy! Can't wait til the next one!!!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Workshops in September and October 2012

I am pleased to announce my workshop dates for September and October 2012. All these workshops will take place in Bristol, UK. If you want more information please do get in touch - carajaneuk(at)

There will be more workshops in November and December which will have a festive theme - we will be making Christmas decorations and presents. More details will follow. If you want to be one of the first to know you can sign up to my email list here

Workshops Dates September/October 2012

Workshops take place in a small group in a comfortable home environment in Fishponds, Bristol unless stated otherwise. All  materials, use of tools and workshop handouts are included. To book your place please contact Cara - carajaneuk(at) A £10 deposit is required to reserve your place. Payment may be made by cheque, bank transfer or PayPal.

An introduction to polymer clay.

You will learn how to work with polymer clay and to make some simple canes. You will be shown how to use your canes to decorate items such as pendants and how to make beads from them. £30 per person, ideal for beginners

  • Thursday  20th September  7.30pm-10.30pm
  • Friday 5th October  10am-1pm

Cute Creatures

Cute owl and sleeping cat made from polymer clayDecorated polymer clay tortoise earrings

I will show you how to make a tortoise, cat and owl from polymer clay. There will be some of my flower canes available for you to decorate your little creatures. They can be little ornaments or we can turn them into charms or beads. Cost £20 per person, suitable for all.
  • Tuesday 25th September 8pm-10pm
  • Saturday 6th October 10am-12pm at Hobbycraft, Cribbs Causeway,  Bristol

Charming Starflower bracelet

A pretty charm bracelet with little cup shaped polymer clay flower beads

Learn how to make my starflower cane and then turn it into these beautiful 3 dimensional beads. We will assemble the bracelet in the workshop. Cost £55 per person, beads and findings included. Some polymer clay experience required, if you have made simple canes already yourself or been on one of my previous workshops you should get on ok.

  • Friday 19th October - 10am - 3 pm

Friday, 31 August 2012

Frome Market This Sunday

I am excitedly preparing for taking part in the Frome' Super Markets' this Sunday 2nd September. I have a posh new gazebo just in case it's wet but the forecast isn't too bad just now.

I went to visit the 'super markets' in August - it was pouring with rain but it was amazing. There were so many market stalls - over 150! - selling everything from wonderful food to vintage goods. There was plenty of handmade inspiration too. The market meanders through half of the town it seems starting at one end on the car park at Market Yard and up through Market Place and then along Catherine Hill, Palmer Street and Stony Street. And there's a craft market in the Cheese and Grain too! So much to see and so many free food samples - hopefully I will get  a chance to have a look around too!

I am going along as part of Magpies & I, local Bristol based Vintage, Flea and handmade market organisers, who are having a guest slot in the Frome Flea Market. You will find me on the Market Yard car park between 9.30am and 2pm and my lovely sister is coming to keep me company!

The market is on part of the large car park and there will still be plenty of free car parking available.

Just a few future sale dates for your diary - you can find them all on my diary page (link up top under header too):
  • Sat 29th and Sun 30th September I will be exhibiting my jewellery and gifts at the Jack Brimble Centre in St Werbughs Bristol as part of the St Werburghs Arts Trail.
  • 24th November I will taking part in Fishpond, Bristol  arts trail - in my own house! I am helping to organise this event. We ran Bristol's shortest arts trail last year in 2 houses a couple of door apart. This time we are hoping to spread further down the street!

Workshop dates will be announced very soon (I know I have been saying that for a while - kids go back to school on Tuesday so finally I can get some proper work time!)

Monday, 20 August 2012

Peacock Cane

I started this peacock cane ages ago. I looked at several images of peacock feathers to get the colours and the shapes. It has to be simplified a little as I didn't want to replicate a feather exactly - too delicate. I did the centre fairly easily but was then uncertain how to deal with the outer green and gold layers. I wanted to hint at the feathers structure but didn't want to get too complicated.

Finally I tackled it and I'm pleased with how it worked out. Here's the cane
I then decided I had better make a pair of earrings from it (as I am now rather behind with the earrings a week challenge on flickr). I made then from a simple slice but decided they needed a little something to make them more interesting so I added some score lines to indicate the feathers structure and then scored a line down the centre and used that to folded them slightly (as you see I couldn't resist a little peacock too ;)

 I then remembered some brilliant design advice I got from Inga - Kni.Kni about changing the little silver balls on the ear wires with tiny beads - boy did that change the look of the earrings for the better! It lifted them from being ordinary earwires to being special. I could of chosen any of the colours in the feather but decided to pick a nice bright blue to match with the centre as I had pretty seed beads in the colour. Thank you for the tip Inga!

 My kids are still home for the summer for a couple more weeks then I hope to get a little more clay time and update you more regularly again! I hope you are all having fun.


Thursday, 2 August 2012

Green Mokume Gane Set

I made this set of jewellery in Mokume Gane from several custom mixed green shades of Kato clay for a friend's birthday. I was delighted with the result and was dying to show you but couldn't post them just in case!! She's had them now so I can show you too. Couldn't resist a little owl with the mokume gane shavings! As you can see I am making good use of what I learnt from Melanie Muir in her workshops.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Faux Lapis Lazuli demonstration

On Sunday I went to the wonderful London Polymer Clay Group and demonstrated a way to make faux Lapis Lazuli from polymer clay. The focus of the meeting was faux techniques in the colours of the Olympic rings. As well as my demonstration there were brilliant demonstrations on faux malachite from Sue Margetts and faux bone/ivory from Debbie Carlton. There were handouts available for some other techniques.

Here's what I had a go at from the demos/handouts
Faux cinnabar , faux malachite and faux Lava rock

I spent a lot of time playing about with several different Lapis Lazuli techniques and colour recipes before I share my demo with the group. I will try and write some of it up properly to share you with soon, including some colour recipes for Kato clay. My favourite technique was the one in Carol Blackburn's excellent book  In the meantime here's some pictures

The beads are real Lapis, the cabochons in the middle were made with different recipes

Precious little creatures.

Some of the owls have had some Pearlex powder applied to the markings - you should be able to spot the 2 who have. There is also a cute little faux Lapis cat!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Bettina Welker's Pixelated Retro Blend Cane

I was so excited when I saw Bettina Welkers Pixelated Retro Blend Cane Tutorial - it looked so cool! Loads of people have been trying it and it's great to see all the variations popping up on flickr and facebook.

Finally I found some time to try it. Here's my first cane

I then decided to use it to catch up with the earrings a week challenge on Flickr and made these earrings

 Which ones do you like best?

They are all available to purchase direct from me. Please email me if you would like more details.
It is the school summer holidays so I have my children home. We are having great fun and enjoying some lovely weather! Hope you are all having fun!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

New Online Mailing List

I have been running a mailing list for sometime to keep in touch with local people about when I am teaching workshops and selling my jewellery. It has been getting a little cumbersome so I decided to investigate Mail Chimp as a tool for keeping it a bit more organised and most importantly keeping everyone's data safe!

Mail Chimp has lots of tools and enables me to make subgroups within the list of people interested in different things. So I am now opening my mailing list up to people who live further away but may want information on when I finally get that online shop up and running, or want to know when I release another tutorial.

So you will find it over there on the top left ' Subscribe to our newsletter' and there are some boxes you can tick to say what you would like information on. I will try and keep it relevant to you! I'd be interested to see where people are from so do fill in the Location box - just a city or a country. That'll help me keep it more relevant to you too. If you live in Canada I won't email you to invite you to a sale in my house in the UK - although it'd be great if you could all come!!

I would love to show you the new jewellery I've been working on but it's for a surprise so I had better keep it quiet for now. I'll show you as soon as I can!

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Easton Arts Trail this weekend

I am exhibiting my jewellery at the Easton Arts Trail this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, from 11am -6pm in the Community Centre on Kilburn Street. There are lots of other lovely things on display there too - I got a great preview whilst setting up last night. I'll try and share some of them with you when I have more time.

 Here's one of my newer pendants - Electric Zebra Flower in Green and Blue. It's for sale at the arts trail today of course!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Image transfer onto polymer clay - experiments

It was the Bristol Polymer Clay Day today and although only 2 other people came along we had a great day playing with lots of different things including image transfers! We tried out lots of different things and found some things that worked and some that didn't work so well!

Rosalind showed us how to do an image transfer using a toner based copy by rubbing off the paper. I hadn't tried this method before and was impressed how well it worked. The top picture is the original that Rosalind had kindly had copied for us to try. The bottom is my copy transferred onto white polymer clay.
 We learnt that it is better to go slowy and gently when rubbing the paper off, adding a little water often and that you need to trim your image close to save rubbing off extra blank paper. We also noticed the colours dull a little on curing and that the colours seem to come out a little brighter on Kato clay rather than Fimo soft. This method transfers onto raw clay. We also discovered that if you bake the transfered image and then put it in water and rub the image will smear!

We also tried the image transfer from photo paper using liquid Kato clay. I got this to work perfectly using white Kato clay but the others tried it with Kato liquid but on Fimo and the images didn't take at all. Using this method the image transfers during baking which limits what you can do with it slightly. I also found my pieces curved a little during baking so if I wanted a flat piece I would try baking between 2 tiles.

Both these techniques are detailed in Donna Kato's excellent 'The art of polymer clay, creative surface effects' book.

We then played about with the gold leaf crackle effect. We all used the same sheet of gold leaf but on different clays - amazing the difference. The one on the left is a custom mix of Kato clay in a green, the middle one is on blue fimo and the one on the right is on black fimo. The fimo produced a much greater degree of crackling even though the sheets were put through the pasta machine the same number of times.

Then we combined the two and I showed the others how I finish off my badges neatly  by covering the pin back. I think I shall make mine (the one on the right) into a fridge magnet.

Rosalind brought some of her latest jewellery  to show us, I love her bold colours and her use of a little gold leaf on the rings works well to really add a bit of sparkle and interest. Sorry I don't have a better picture, especially of all her fabulous rings. You can see more of her work on her Flickr pages.

Sandra didn't bring any of her things to show us today - and she didn't bring us any of her delicious cakes (which we have complained about ;) but you can see some on her facebook page

It was so nice to have time to sit down and try some new things. I hadn't really played with image transfers much and now I have an idea of the possibilities. If you have any tips or suggestions about image transfer please do let me know!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Earrings Challenge and Easton Arts Trail

The Easton Arts Trail is fast approaching so I have finally got round to finishing some of the things on my half finished pile including some earrings for the earrings a week challenge!

Next weekend I will be in Easton Community Centre with my jewellery from 11am -6pm on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July. I have plenty of new jewellery including quite a lot I haven't posted here - I can't share everything with you or I would have no time to make anything and you would  get fed up of seeing it!

This has also meant that I am starting to get back up to date with the earrings a week challenge. I know you are supposed to actually make a pair of earrings each week - the beads were all made but I just didn't find time to make them up into earrings and photograph them.

Here are some of my latest earrings
Jubilee flower earrings in patriotic red, white and blue

Black and white kaleidoscope cane earrings

Curled petal earrings from the Dark red with a yell palette - made with a some left over cane bits

I'll also have leaflets with some details of my latest polymer clay workshops in Bristol. I have plenty suitable for complete beginners and some for more experienced clayers too. You can also find details on my diary page (link up the top under heading) or on my latest newsletter (link on top left)

It's still raining here - it's supposed to be summer :( Oh well it doesn't matter much when you are making jewellery I guess. Hope the weather is good where ever you are!