28/12/2010

Sunday Finds - Polymer Clay Sculpture

Okay - you got me! It's not Sunday, but it is the first chance I've had to poke around on t'interweb during our Christmas celebrations. This weeks finds are dedicated to fellow Etsians who sculpt with polymer clay. I couldn't narrow down my picks to just three!!

First up is this cutesy little polymer clay "wooden" horse from trinasclaycreations it is absolutely darling. I just adore it's glitzy little saddle and brushable looking mane and tail. You can find out more about Trina Prenzi on her website Trinas Clay Creations.

My next pick is Jazber, a polymer clay monster figurine by
iHeartMutants aka Nichole Topley. This guy makes me smile - something about the happy colours and stunning detail in his twinkling eye made me instantly fall in love. Nicole's crazy critters are all absolutely unique as she doesn't work to a pattern - each and every one of her cute figurines is painted by hand and is signed.




This guy is soooo sweet! I wanna scoop him up and pop him in a blanket to keep him warm. Mavin the baby elf gnome was skillfully crafted by Dolores Marple of trolltracks. Delores's blog is also utterly delightful too!




This amazing fella is Comic Book Caleb, a Robot Sculpture by RobotsAreAwsome. It was so very hard to narrow down to just one robot from this shop to feature in my Sunday Finds post, the comic book surface treatment - an ingenious thing to do with polymer clay is what swung it for Caleb....this Etsy shop is a corker of a creative cool hang out! You can be kept up to date with what is new with RobotsAreAwsome on FaceBook here.....

Four very different styles, I'm sure you would agree - but there is a common theme of cuteness and a heartwarming humour that links them all for me.

Hope you like these cool creatures as much as I do! Jolene x

22/12/2010

FIMO Classic Colour Mixing Resource

I just found this on the STAEDTLER FIMO website and it is too useful to keep to myself so thought I would post up a quick link here on my blog. Click the image to go to the webpage where you can download this colour mixing chart pdf.

FIMO Classic Colour Mixing Resource

Jolene x

Glitter on New Years Eve

Glitter on New Years Eve by Aimee.

It was lovely to log in to Etsy today and see a message there to let me know my work had been featured. It is such a thrill when that happens. A big thank you to Aimee of Aimees Rock Works for putting my Sleeping Beauty beads in her glittery, girly, magpie’s dream of a gallery.





Aimee's shop is a Mecca for those of us who love rocks. She has a degree in Geological Sciences and a wonderful knack of creating quirky objects from the innocent pebble that are both useful and that will make you smile like these lovely beach pebble place card holders. She also uses rocks to create door knobs, curtain hooks and bottle openers which make excellent man gifts!

A fun mix of naturally formed beach rocks set with aluminum wire place card holders

Beach Rock and Wire Place Card Holders

Jolene
Kitzbitz

21/12/2010

My first FIMO beads

FIMO beads with flower and leaf cane
Here are my first beads with polymer clay, I am pleased with them, they are very flawed but also very pretty.
 
I threw myself in at the deep end, picking a truck load of tricky techniques for my first time out because I love making murrini beads with glass - so it is only natural to want to go to that idea first with a new medium.

I am going to break down for this blog post all the things that I found tricky, what went wrong, what further research I have done and how to best avoid similar problems in the future.

  1. Slicing Cane - The images on my flower canes were getting squashed and distorted as I cut slices. I made them from FIMO soft which I found out later was not an ideal clay for picture cane. I found a great article which said to put your canes in the fridge or even your freezer before slicing and also to rotate your cane slightly before each cut. I have also been using an ordinary craft blade and a thinner sharper blade such as a tissue blade would give less distortion.
  2. Equal Sizing - I rolled a ball of FIMO and sliced it in half, then sliced each half in two again and so on until I had 8 pieces. When I rolled these pieces in to balls they varied in proportion much more than I thought they would. A better method would have been to roll the base clay in it a tube of the desired diameter of your finished bead size and then to measure and cut off at lengths of the desired diameter to make your blanks.
  3. Scale - I made base beads the size I had wanted for my finished bead not taking in to account that I would be adding significantly more clay with my cane decoration - my finished beads were all huge (20-25mm in diameter). Cutting thinner slices of cane to apply would help me maintain scale along with starting with a smaller blank.
  4. Discoloration Whilst Cooking - I found that the transparent FIMO was starting to “toast” on the top – I am using a mini oven which radiates heat down from a filament at the top. I think that this may mean that my oven is too hot or having temperature spikes so I need to get my hands on a thermometer to check out exactly what is going on there. Top tips that I have found for another time are to protect the clay from radiant heat with a parchment tent or to immerse my work in cornflower before baking – a technique used by doll makers in particular. I also found out that some white and translucent clay are prone to a bit of yellowing upon baking and so I will need to experiment a bit.
  5. Translucent does not mean Transparent – With a background in crafting with glass – I read translucent and imagined transparent. Not so! The slices of cane that I cut were way too thick so once baked it is possible to see the impression of colour underneath but none of the actual detail of jelly roll cane or leaf cane.
  6. Painting on Glaze – I used Sculpy sating glaze on these beads, applied quite thickly with a thin soft brush. It worked quite well but there are lines where I apply the glaze evenly enough and it was too viscose to *smooth out* by itself before setting. It is possible to lightly sand and buff polymer clay to a gloss by hand – this will help too in removing some of the tell tale fingerprints marks in the clay which are a dead giveaway sign that I am a PC newbie.
    FIMO beads with flower and leaf cane

    Many thanks to Cindy Lietz and Sue Heaser for publishing the invaluble articles on line for the newbiw PC crafter that I have linked to from this post.

    Jolene x
    Kitzbitz

    20/12/2010

    Sunday Finds - A cog in the wheel

    This stunning little pendant was created by Loretta Wallace of Hipster Designs. I love the rainbow shimmer on the cogs - it brings back a nostalgic remembrance of the kind of holographic art and visual alchemy that was all the rage in the 80's. Loretta's shop is choc a block with handmade scrabble tile pendants in all sorts of cool and chic designs.


    The first thing that drew me to click in and take a closer look at this piece was the lovely detailing on the dragonfly's wings. What led me to pick this piece to feature though was the happy feeling I felt when I spotted the slow/fast dial. The whole balance (no pun intended) of this piece strikes (no pun intended) a chord with me, fancifully bonkers like Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter or Wlly Wonka and yet would be equally at home in the hand of Arwen Evenstar. You can check out more beautiful steampunkery at penny farthing designs.


    These are the coolest little lampwork beads that I have seen in ages - they have had my finger hovering over the buy button off and on all week, and if Christmas wasn't just right around the corner I'd have pushed that button in a flash - they call out to the part of me that since I was a kid has found clockwork things so so pretty - Becky Fairclough is a wonderful talent. You can find her on Etsy and also on her own website http://www.chameleondesigns.co.uk


    Jolene x

    12/12/2010

    My first FIMO flower canes

    It is too cold to venture out in to my unheated studio in the evenings at the moment and my hands are too full during the day with my beautiful 2 year old daughter and gorgeous newborn baby boy.... in a way I have been going a little stir crazy lately without my usual creative outlet at my finger tips.

    I saw a second hand starter set  for polymer clay advertised and thought I would give it a whirl, head filled with fanciful ideas of miniature food and kitsch earrings.

    Flower Cane
    It turns out that what I love about glass, making canes and intricate preparatory work, is absolutely mirrored in the skill set for working with clay - only it is possible to create much more intricate detail.

    I have been searching around on the web this for resources and free tutorials and have found a lot of great information. Anyway enough chattering on - here are my first ever polymer clay canes, based loosely on (but nothing near as good as) free tutorials on flickr.
    Slices of rose cane


    My 5 petal flower cane uses ideas about cutting and fusing for repetition of fine detail that I saw in this fabulous tutorial by ayeletbeads

    My rose cane is a much simplified version of the 3D rose cane that I saw created in this wonderful tutorial by Sigal Simovitch

    They are by no means perfect, but I am so happy with them as first attempts with a new medium.

    Jolene x
    Kitzbitz

    Sunday Finds - Crystal Beadwork


    This rainbow crystal Swarovski bracelet by candybead is beyond cute! It is cheerfully exuberant in a way that makes me smile and also strangely reminisce about my childhood love of rainbow sherbet.








    Last Rose of Summer Crystal Collar Necklace by Lynn Davy - I love the balance, symmetry and the asymmetrical use of colour in this little work of art. You can see more of Lynn's work on Etsy at nemeton. Lynn describes herself as an eccentric English seed bead artist who loves to create colourful, original jewellery with lots of texture and attention to detail. She is a unique talent and a multi award winning jewellery designer.



    My last find for today is this sweet handmade Sterling silver and crystal ring by nayali. It looks modern with clean lines, it is stylish and pretty...ticks all the boxes for me.



    I hope you enjoyed my little window shopping selection of pretty sparkles.

    Jolene x

    09/12/2010

    Terracotta button necklace

    Just a quickie post to show off this beautiful necklace featuring a stunning terracotta flower button by Tan Gray of tanofcourse with a gorgeous hand dyed silk ribbon by Diane Turton
    sowzeredesigns - I think they are utterly gorgeous together.


    Jolene x
    Kitzbitz

    07/12/2010

    Phoenix, Ginger, Copper, Silk and Terracotta

    These pictures show simple spacers made from Phoenix, some I have struck and some I have left unstruck for comparison. For the beads that I struck, I allowed them to cool outside of the flame until they lost their glow and introduced them to the top flame again to bathe them in gentle heat. The colour of the struck beads is a rich soft orange opaque which was easy to achieve with a single strike. I am intrigued by the large variation in colour that can be seen in these images though comparing the struck and un-struck beads. I think that Phoenix would be an exciting glass to use for sculptural creations.



    I made these sweet and simple little spacer beads from CiM Ginger. One of the larger beads has dots of silvered ivory stringer (sis) too. The fine silver leaf used to create the organic patterns and striations in the Effetre ivory stringer have not fumed or reacted with the base of Ginger at all which tells me that it would be a great glass to use if you were looking for a light and neutral non reactive base glass for your bead design.

    This lovely necklace uses both struck and unstruck Phoenix with Ginger spacers to show a progression in both colour and tone. I have etched the surface of my spacers to compliment the wonderful hand crafted terracotta feature button by Tan Grey of tanofcourse. The bead and button elements have been tied together with a sumptuous sugar pink hand dyed silk ribbon by Diane Turton of SowZerE Designs. This necklace is a gift for a good mate of mine for Christmas, hope she likes it.



    The last of my Ginger, Phoenix and terracotta Tan button creations is this bracelet in three parts. The gorgeous copper toggle and findings were made by George Harper who kindly put an all copper bracelet findings kit together for me.
    I had never tried chain maille techniques before and so spent an informative afternoon browsing the fantastic M.A.I.L. (maille artisans international league) database for inspiration.




    Jolene
    Kitzbitz

    Pretty Poi and little sis

    Poi is a beautiful muted dark lilac. Either which way, this colour is lush.

    My Poi test beads are made with silvered ivory stringer which is a widely used effect in lampwork bead making. Every lampworker has their own favourite recipe for making sis - mine is Effetre light ivory with silver leaf (as opposed to dark ivory with silver foil) the organic effects are quite subtle with this combination of metal and glass.

    This bicone is made from Poi with Plum (opal) at its ends. The light spacers at the front are also Poi (worked quickly in the flame and without any fuming effects from the sis) the dark spacers behind are Evil Queen. It is nice to see a few of the CiM Purples together in one image, it shows how well all of these glasses work together.



    These two diddy cone beads are just made from Poi and sis. You can clearly see in the pic some effects of silver fuming on Poi. The bead on the left shows a reaction line between the sis and Poi The bead on the right (made with stringer saturated with a greater amount of fine silver) shows that the whole face of the bead has been fumed and have a darker caramelised look.







    My first necklace shows how soft and beautifully complimentary that Evil Queen, Poi and Ginger look when they have been acid etched. In the second necklace I have framed my Poi, Plum and sis bicone with some sunbaked beads by Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork. In my third necklace I have left my Poi cone bead unetched as I really am a fan of that heavily fumed effect on this bead. All three of my necklaces feature hand crafted Sterling silver swan claps by George Harper of designed by george and very special silk ribbons, hand dyed in small batches by Diane Turton of SowZerE designs.

    Jolene x
    Kitzbitz

    05/12/2010

    Sunday Finds - Fantasy Christmas

    Welcome to my first Suday Browsing post. I spend a lot of time browsing around on Etsy and already create a weekly blog post for the fabulous FHFteam on the team blog. I thought it would be fun to do a little Suday evening Etsy wide themed pick of the week post for my own blog too. This evening I am feeling full of festive fun and am on a fantasy Christmas hunt.






    First up, heavily influenced by the fact I have a toddler princess, are these adorable maryjane shoes with hand painted snowmen and sparkles. You can find these and many other too cute to be true shoe pods at JLPerillo on Etsy and online at snanimals where 5 % of online sales, and 20 % of a special range of goods, go to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association in memory of their daughter Emma.  


    My second find is this stunning cobalt blue blown glass ornament. I wish I could have a barrel load of exquisite glass like this for my Christmas tree! This beautiful has been crafted by Cliff Curtis of Curtis Glass Factory




    My last find is this entrancing snow pixie doll ornament. Her maker Cynthia Toy has been making dolls for 20 years. You can get your fairy doll fix in Cynthia's Etsy shop fairiesnest and on Deviant Art.




    Jolene x

    A Blue and Siver Collection

    A blue and silver collection by Michelle Madonna.

    I have been working very hard to improve my photography and product presentation over the last few months and it is such a lovely treat to find yourself (or rather, your work) chosen and featured in an Etsy treasury by a fellow Etsian. A big thank you to Michelle Madonna of plantology for putting my seaglass beads front and center in her beautiful treasury.

    Michelle's shop is jam packed full of incredibly beautiful images of her eco-chic plant arrangements. Here is a little teaser of what plantology has to offer.

    Totally ZEN! Gorgeous Xerographica air plant in glass bowl, with coarse and beautiful grayish color leaves, all curly and curvy.

    Zen Xerographica Arrangement In Glass Bowl

    Jolene
    Kitzbitz

    04/12/2010

    Soylent powder beads

    I really like Soylent, it melts smoothly and has the most wonderful dark striations, much like a grass green version of the effect that you get from Effetre dark ivory. I found that Soylent is happy to be worked in quite a hot flame without shocking, devitting or pitting. It is a wonderfully unfussy glass. Soylent makes a nice dark base for enamels and furnace glass powders to sit on top of.



    Jolene x
    Kitzbitz

    30/11/2010

    Flutterby Sky - Fremen

    The question is - Have I ever experienced Fremen pitting? The answer, for me at least is no. In the course of experimenting though I did fall in love with how soft and beautiful Fremen looks when encased with Messy Clear and then acid etched.

    This bead is etched encased Freeman tab with butterfly Murrini by Ryan Turner.

    I found that I had to treat Fremen very harshly by superheating for a prolonged period of time to get any sign of the surface sparkles and fizz that tells me the glass is boiling. Unlike with Pulsar though, there is no sign of surface pitting on my beads once they have cooled. Fremen is a wonderfully well behaved glass when I work it in a cool flame.

    Tab focal with moth murrini by Charlotte Dakin-Norris.

    Fremen is described as an opaque sky blue - perhaps this is why I couldn't resist teaming it with fluterby murrini. The dreamy look of these beads means that encasing and etching Fremen is a combination I am sure to come back to over and over again.



    Jolene x
    Kitzbitz

    Messy testing - a few bit-some thoughts on Pulsar

    My daughter Ruby says bit-some a lot at the minute, a bit-some Peppa Pig, a bit-some cuppee tea.....here are my bit-some thoughts on Pulsar.

    Pulsar has a reputation for pitting. I have tested glass from two different batches and found that both did pit when I worked with them.

    I tend to work fairly hot and it seems that Pulsar cannot stand up to prolonged heating in an intense flame without it boiling and bubbling up. This is what causes the pitting and tiny holes on the surface of some of my beads. To get the best from this beautiful transparent blue glass I found that I needed to melt Pulsar more slowly, turning my torch down a bit and working in the cooler tip of the flame. I think that Pulsar looks beautiful with blue highlight mica.


    Pulsar also seems to be sensitive to a slightly reducing (propane rich) flame. This little spacer bead has a rusty/terracotta surface discoloration. I normally associate this sort of reaction to the chemistry of the flame to opaque rather than transparent colours.

    Mostly though I think that Pulsar is made to be etched - it puts me in mind of tumbled seaglass and the ground surface of antique cobalt glass apothecary jar stoppers.

    Jolene x
    Kitzbitz

    Blue Sangre

    I have tested glass from three different batches of CiM Sangre, making a series of rough spacer beads in various different flame chemistry conditions, oxygen rich, neutral, slightly reducing and a strong orange reduction flame. The spacers formed in the reduction flame are the only ones to show any signs of turning blue at all – and then only in small patches.

    None of these spacers have been struck, you can clearly see the transparent yellow areas on many of these beads which is what Sangre looks like before you reheat it to strike to red. I find though that Sangre does strike for me fully and evenly the first time that I bring it back to the flame. The picture to the left was taken indoors under artificial lighting and the glass looks darker, like toffee apple caramel rather than the vibrant and juicy red that it's true transparent shade. The image below was taken indoors also but is lit with a daylight lamp (10,000 lux) and looks much closer to true colour.

    Next I made a large focal sized bead, using just Sangre, in a strong reduction flame. The results were very interesting; streaks of light grey/blue are clearly visible on the bead after kiln annealing. This bead is also totally opaque, the longer working and repeated striking has taken Sangre from unstruck two tone transparent and on to fully opaque which personally I like. It gives Sangre working properties unique in the 104 palette and is a very versatile glass





    Jolene x
    Kitzbitz

    08/09/2010

    Stone Ground Vs. Opal Yellow

    Using EDP, Copper Green, Turquoise and Gold Pink together is a classic and well known combination for zingy glass reactions. I want to see if Messy Color Stone Ground will play well with these colours too.

    I decided to make simple dotty beads using Effetre handpulled Copper Green, Effetre Dark Turquoise with Cranberry Pink, Effetre Opal Yellow and Stone Ground

    Dots, dots, dots

    Each pair of beads in the picture above have been made to the same pattern. The only difference is that the beads in the left row use CiM Stone Ground; the beads in the right hand row use Effetre Opal Yellow.

    It is easy to draw some direct comparisons between the working properties of these two glasses, having used them side by side in this way. It is very difficult to gauge the difference between the relative reactiveness of the two by simply looking at the beads side by side after annealing. Once I had mixed the two sets of beads together I couldn't tell which were which anymore at all.

    dots-2 dots-4

    * I found that Opal Yellow is softer and slightly quicker to melt than CiM Stone Ground. This for me means that when used a as a base bead, it is slightly less easy to control and gravity shape.
    * My particular batch of Opal Yellow was fairly shocky whilst the Stone Ground was very well behaved when introduced to the flame.
    * The batch of Opal Yellow that I am using is a fairly dark one (some batches of this handpulled glass can be considerably paler) but it is still notably lighter in shade than CiM Stone Ground.
    * Stone Ground appeared to be a striking colour, moving from pale creamy to caramel/tan when I heated the beads from cool to melt in raised dots.
    * The Opal Yellow remained consistently pale without any signs of being a striking colour at all.

    I find it very difficult to get a regular supply of Effetre Handpulled Opal Yellow from any UK stockist. Encouraged by the results from my dot bead tests I wanted to see if Stone Ground would solve my supply problems for finding a reliable, neutral, reactive base glass for use with powdered glass.

    powder-detail-3 stone-ground-powder-beads

    The powder beads on the left are ones that I made over a base of Effetre Opal Yellow earlier in the year. The beads on the right are the result of last evening’s playtime - powdered glass over Stone ground. I am very pleased with the results over Stone Ground so far, the reactions I got are every bit as dark, rich and as intense as those with Opal Yellow.

    Stone Ground



    Jolene x
    Kitzbitz