Beading From Budapest

I bought these necklaces and lariats in Budapest. I had never seen netting around beads, tubular netting, or so many variations on flat netting. I wanted to try some of the stitches myself, but I couldn’t find good netting instructions anywhere.

When Diane Fitzgerald’s wonderful book Netted Beadwork came out, the mysteries of the netting stitch were revealed along with the tale of its rich history. I recommend the book for anyone interested in learning this versatile stitch.nb

Here’s a picture of the beautiful blue Danube. Go to Budapest if you have the chance. It’s a charming city.


Clayathon 2009

If you want to see even more Clayathon pictures, click on The PAPCG Guild Reporter. Thanks to Arlene Groch and all the other wonderful South Jersey Polyaddicts for making the Clayathon such a success!

Polymer Clay Experiments: Bleaching Baked Clay

Did you ever put clay into the oven looking bright and have it come out looking dark and dull? This sometimes happens to me with white clay, translucent and light yellows. The first thing I recommend is to give your oven a good cleaning, even if you never use it for anything but polymer clay. (A dedicated oven is recommended) I think that scum can build up on the inside of the oven and sometimes discolor light clay and affect the temperature. You’d be surprised what a difference a clean oven can make.

But what to do if your clay is discolored or even burned slightly? Before you throw it away, try bleaching it. I have used bleach on black and white canes. The white got whiter and the black stayed black. I don’t have any pictures of those. A few weeks ago, however, I made some earrings with lots of Premo zinc yellow and they came out looking dark and dull. I put them in a glass, covered them with bleach and let them sit for about a week. Look at the before and after pictures below. The bleach seems to lighten light colored clay but not to wash out dark clay. Try it yourself and see what you think.

Since I posted this, a person wondered if soaking baked polymer in bleach might weaken it. The answer is, “Maybe.” My friend Terri Powell who is a chemist and a polymer clay artist said, ” I don’t know the answer to your bleach question for sure, but my suspicion is yes. You’re talking about putting plastic in acid for an extended period of time. It’s the extended period of time that I think might be the problem–I’m sure just a wash probably wouldn’t be too bad, but the prolonged contact could be problematic. On the flip side, you could just be cleaning off the surface layer of yuck, and not doing much damage to the main body of the structure. I would do an experiment. Take two similar pieces, bleach one, and then try to bend/break both. That might give you some clues. “

Cat Oh Cat!


I decided to make a cat figurine for a co worker after I saw a picture of her cat on her desk. I had never made a cat before, so I worked on two figures planning to give her the better one. I painted the raw clay with acrylic paint to resemble her cat and baked phone wire into the tail for stability. The whiskers are phone wire too. Plumpton consented to model for me. I was amazed to realize that cats have butts and slightly protruding chests. Here’s a slide show of some of the the process and the finished product. I kept the other pussy cat and he sleeps on a shelf in my living room.

If you’re a cat lover or just love to laugh, check out Modern Cat’s Video Archives. If you are just plain wierd, check out the online trailer for the Hello Kitty video game.