More Christmas Ornament Ideas

It’s the time of the year for Santa’s workshop to be in full swing.  I am making ornaments again, and this year I am incorporating felting with the polymer clay.  I could use some elves to do the needle work for me, but I find needle felting very relaxing (when I don’t stab myself with the needles-thankfully not too often) and mixing the different yarns and color of roving reminds me of painting.

The ornaments here are mostly needle felted over styrofoam balls.  I wet felted one base and decided that needle felting worked better for me.  The embellishments are pom poms, additional yarn and roving, and polymer clay canes and beads.

The Internet is full of sites offering free felting directions. Feltmakers List FAQ is a good place to start.  YouTube has lots of videos and some are quite good.  And since crafters  have diverse ways of doing the same thing,  it’s always helpful to read a few sets of instruction and watch a few different videos.

I’m Inspired!

I have started to work through Polymer Clay Color Inspirations: Techniques and Jewelry Projects for Creating Successful Palettes, and am quickly becoming obsessed with what this wonderful book by Maggie Maggio and Lindly Haunani has to offer.

I decided to limit myself to Premo in order to limit my choices and because that’s the clay I usually use. I completed the package color testing exercise and made a value sorter.

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This was getting interesting. Terms like tint, shade and value started to make more sense. I read about pivot tiles and made six of them.PT1PT2

I was so fascinated by the color shifts that I made six more pivot tiles with different colors.

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Then I made clay plugs from the leftover colors this time, extruded them and made canes.   Since each cane started from the same pivot color, they all work on some level.  Now I am hooked.  To pivot beads and beyond!!!

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I found a neato color test you might want to try.  Go to the Pratt and Lambert site and find out what color personality you have.

A New Polymer Clay

robindemoRobin Milne    introduced her fellow members of the The Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild to a brand new clay at our last meeting!   Robin had been tapped to introduce Pardo Jewellery Clay manufactured by German Company Viva Decor at the Winter CHA Show in Anaheim, and she came back with clay samples and brochures.  What could be better?

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Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in gumball-sized pieces packaged in 2.7 oz jars.  Robin said it has no odor when  raw or baking and it’s easy to condition.  It uses beeswax as a plasticiser in place of phthalates.

But is it durable?   Robin was  able to run it through her pasta m31achine on the thinnest setting without tearing and, when it was baked, she could tie it in a bow.  She could bend a cured bookmark-shaped piece of clay in a circle without breaking it.  Although the clay is on the soft side, she could produce decent canes with it.  And she was able to sand and buff it to a high shine.

Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in a beautiful range of jewel-toned colors, and the metallics contain plenty of mica. The manufacturer, Viva Decor,  says it can be mixed with other brands of polymer clay without a problem.  

Poly Play Clay, is  the only retail supplier I know of at the current time.  They don’t carry all of the 64 colors of Pardo Jewellery clay yet. Owner Trish Hodgens says that eventually,  however, they  plan to carry every color Viva Decor makes available to the United States Market.

Robin also recommends another Viva Decor product: Precious Metal Paints.   She’s tried thse high quality paints on raw and baked clay; they don’t scratch off and cover beautifully.  When the paint is applied to raw clay, allowed to dry, and run through the pasta machine, it crackles like metal leaf.  The mica in the pain is so small, you can use the paint for screen printing. And, Robin says, “the colors are amazing!” 

If you want to see what Robin has done with Pardo Jewellery Clay and Precious Metal Paints, press here.

I don’t know if anyone in the United States currently selling the Precious Metal Paints, but you want more information on them, check out U.K. supplier The Fruit Pixie.

 

 

Canes, Canes and More Canes

I initially tried polymer clay because of its amenability to caning techniques.  I had always loved African Trading Beads and wanted to try my hand at millefore.  No matter what I do with polymer clay, I always find myself coming back to caning.

So when my copy of Donna Kato’s eagerly awaited new book, The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiore Techniques came in the mail, I snuck off and read it from cover to cover.

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You don’t need intricate canes to have a pleasing design. The simple caned necklaces below were inspired by a design I saw in South Africa.  I learned the spiral and jelly roll cane techniques from Donna Kato’s demos and classes.

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Continue reading “Canes, Canes and More Canes”

Earrings Earrings Earrings!

    
Here are some polymer clay earrings I’ve made over the years.  The techniques include screen printing, stamping, geometric caning, mica shift and the use of inclusions and washi paper. The lantern earrings with the copper dangles are hollow, light and comfortable to wear.

I’ve started to make my own ear wires and I recommend that you try it.  You’ll save money and will be able to fashion a custom wire that compliments your design.

McFarland Designs offers an excellent tutorial on how to make round ear wires. To learn how to make fish hook ear wires, check out this video from My Daily Bead on YouTube.