Darleen Bellan’s Unique Ornaments and Mementos

I met Darleen Bellan this summer at Clay ConneCTion, the semi-annual retreat of the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild and  fell in love with her quirky and inspired polymer clay figurines and ornaments. When she agreed to do an interview with fellow sculptor Sherman Oberson for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s YouTube Channel, I grabbed my equipment, met them in a quiet hallway and we did the interview on the spot.

Darleen’s an animal lover and her ornaments are lots of fun (Chicken ala King anyone?) But Darleen doesn’t restrict herself to ornaments and figurines; she crafts made-to-order pieces memorializing  departed pets and gives each one a unique twist  that gives it  personal meaning.  So what’s the unique twist?   Go to the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s Blog and watch  the video to  find out.

Most of Darleen’s  work is  one of a kind and she welcomes commissions.  If you are interested in buying or commissioning her work, go to her web site or her etsy shop.    Here are some pictures.

Sherman also has some great ornaments for sale in his etsy shop.  His style is different from Darleen’s but

his work is charming and will make you laugh.

Here’s one I bought

and here are some more!

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Season’s Greetings!

Plumpton agreed to help with this week’s post but as you can see, he is not very happy about it.  Not to worry.  He has some turkey in his future that will wipe out all memories of this Yuletide ignominy. If you want to check out holiday posts from years past, press here and here.

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.

New Ideas for Christmas Ornaments

Santa’s Workshop is in full swing again this year, but I’m falling behind. I hoped to have all the new ornaments done by tonight, but as you can see, some are still baking.

The glass ornament with the tassel is a recycle. I found it in the trash, but the bottom part was broken. I cut it off and replaced it with a beaded tassel (I bought a box of them years ago at an “After Christmas” sale) and tied some fancy ribbon to the top.

The rest are glass balls covered with polymer clay. I like to collect interesting yarns, fibers and ribbons and I think they make nice tassels for the ornaments. One of the tassels has big metal and ceramic beads tied into the yarn.









Centsationalgirl.com has a post with great ideas for making ornaments, and links to more than one hundred other pages with ornament ideas and tutorials. Now you have no excuse not to deck the halls. Get down with your bad elf!

Some pictures of more finished ornaments

Happy Holidays South Philly Style

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People live in rowhouses in South Philadelphia and they decorate their front windows and doors when someone has a baby, someone gets married, someone graduates, someone gets paroled or the Flyers win the Stanley Cup.  In other words,  people here don’t need much of an excuse to decorate.  You can keep your fancy suburbs with your large expanse of lawns, triple car garages and gabled roofs.  We’re just fine with our flat roofs, front stoops and double parking.  The constraints just make for more creativity, as you can see from the pictures I took on one frozen night. Heathen’s Greetings.

Christmas Ornaments with Repurposed Materials

I make lamp worked beads; sometimes with scrap glass and I fuse glass, too.  I was pondering whether to toss the little odd  scraps.  ugly beads and fused pieces that didn’t come out quite right.  Then I decided to try something new.  I started playing with the materials and ended up making Christmas ornaments using the copper foiling method.  Here’s what I came up with.   I will give them away as gifts.  They might make nice sun catchers  when the tree is taken down.

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Santa’s Workshop-South Philadelphia Branch

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Some More Christmas Ornament Ideas

xmas121 Here are some more  very  simple ideas for  for Christmas ornaments.  The one on the left is a hollow paper mache ball covered with black, copper and  pearl clay and metal leaf.  I covered the ball in black clay, ran the pearl copper and black clay  through the pasta machine with metal leaf, and then tore the metal-leafed clay and arranged it on the black clay.  The tassel is made of scraps of eyelash and novelty yarn threaded though  a base metal bead and the top of the ornament is finished with a base metal and glass bead.

The second ornament is made from the  leaf cane I first learned from Leigh Ross. I applied the leaves from the bottom up, in an overlapping pattern over a hollow paper mache form and inserted a beaded tassel (bought at an after Christmas sale)  through the end of the ornament and up through the top where I finished it off with beads. I applied small red balls of clay to the ornament to make it resemble holly.

You could cover cheap glass ornaments with clay, and glue or embed a wire on the bottom to hold your tassel.  These would be great projects for kids, especially the first one becaus0e you can use any color clay and yarn, and left your imagination run wild.

More Ideas for Polymer Clay Christmas Ornaments

Here are two more ideas for polymer clay Christmas ornaments.   I made the one on the left by covering a store-bought paper mache form with a leaf cane  made from a Skinner Blend of Pearl and Forest Green Premo Clay.  The veins are done in gold with a bit of red sandwiched between the layers for depth.  While there are many versions of this cane, I learned this particular cane from Leigh Ross.  You can find her  instructions at Polymer Clay Central. I used balls of red clay to make holly berries. After the ornament was baked, I attached a store bought tassel.

For the doggy ornament, I scanned a picture into my printer,changed the background and printed it out.  I made a frame to hold the picture, decorated it with simple canes and made two matching beads.  After baking the frame and letting it cool, I laid in the picture.  I used  a level to make sure the frame was perfectly level before pouring a layer Envirotex Lite over the picture.  A level surface is vital when using Envirotex Lite. You also need a barrier, in my case the edge of the frame, because this material is self leveling and will run all over the place without something to stop it. I sprinkled some glitter in the background of the picture and let it cure for 48 hours. Then I attached the beads, tassel and a hanging wire.

I could not make a photo transfer ornament with my ink jet printer like I did last year because I had run out of the old Epson paper. You might know from Donna Kato’s announcement that the new Epson paper does not work. There are plenty of new ideas for photo transfers on Donna’s siteand on the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s blog, The Guild Reporter.

Last but not least, I also have a project article on how to make a silk screened polymer clay pendant in the latest issue of Polymer Cafe.polymercafe2.jpg

Polymer Clay Christmas Ornaments

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Here’s an easy idea for a Christmas ornament that people will love.  Make a photo transfer using the method of your choice.  The above pictures were digital images loaded onto a computer and reversed.  Then I played with the software to get rid of distracting backgrounds.  After making  and baking my transfer, I mounted it on green clay or gold  rolled to the thickest setting.  I used my wavy blade and needle tool to make holly leaves and berries.  You could also use a leaf cookie cutter.  On the ornament of Max the dog, I cut a bone out of bone colored clay and scribed his name in with a needle tool.  After baking, I rubbed in brown ochre paint and wiped it off.   I drilled holes at the top of the ornaments and used 16 gauge copper wire with wrapped loops for the hangers.  On two of the ornaments, I  drilled a hole in the bottom and looped store bought tassels through.

People who have a new baby in the house love these ornaments.   Here is an example, made in a slightly different way, but you can get the idea by looking at the picture.

Ornament

For more information on polymer clay photo transfers,  check out the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s blog, The PAPCG Reporter, Dotty McMillan’s instructions, and Donna Kato’s blog.