Mixing Premo with Bacon Bits?

I know that everything is supposed to go better with bacon and somewhere, somebody has already baked Premo with bacon.  But not I, she said.

This post is about failure.  Not only my failure to hear correctly when someone recommended mixing Premo with Bake and Bend (not bacon bits) so it would be more flexible, but also about the failure of my experiment to make an easy-off-easy-on flexible bangle out of polymer.

I know, I know, there are dozens of ways to do it and I have in fact make a few bangles myself quite successfully.  Still, when a new possibiliy for ruining clay comes my way, I jump at it. <Ahem>  Shall we begin?

 

 

Ex1
I began by extruding 10 inch hollow polymer tubes and baking them for an hour.

 

Ex3
Then I rolled out a sheet of clay on the pasta machine on #3 and textured it to hide the inevitable dings.
Ex4
I placed the clay textured side down on a tile, arranged the tubes and filled in the middle with a sheet of clay rolled on the thickest setting.
Ex5
I folded the ends of the clay over the tubes.
Ex6
And coaxed them into place.
Ex7
I used my tissue blade to move the clay as dinglessly as possible.
Ex8
I was able to smooth everything pretty well. I used Genesis Medium to make sure everything was adhered. After baking for another hour, I tossed the strip into some ice water to cool.
Ex9
The ends trimmed off to show the hollow tubes.
Ex10
I threaded memory wire through both tubes. The clay was super flexible and it was not difficult to curl it to accommodate the wire.
Ex11
But I had wire ends to contend with and the bracelet was a bit too short to accommodate any kind of closure. So I decided to cover the ends with fresh polymer and rebake the bracelet
Ex12
Aside from the wacko colors, I managed to shape some clay around the wire ends. The ends were embedded in the clay and I used the Genesis Medium to attach everything.

 

I put the bracelet into bake and it was then that my troubles began.  The mess you see below is what came out of the oven.

 

Ex13
Oddly enough, the clay on the inside of the bracelet is unaffected and  the clay is so flexible I can bend the bracelet back on itself without the inside clay cracking.  So what went wrong?

Looks like it’s  back to the drawing board!  Suggestions welcome.

What I Made at Clayathon

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I decided to try making hollow beads using marbles as cores.  The technique goes like this:  You cover a marble ( mine were 25mm and 32 mm) with  clay, poke a little hole so air can escape and bake for 20- 30 minutes.   You slice  the clay open and slip out the marble.    I learned a neat tip from Olivia Surratt.  Don’t cut all the way around the marble; think clamshell.  If you leave a bit of clay attached you will be able to line up the halves perfectly.  Then I glue the bead back together with cyanoacrylic glue.   You can also use Genesis Medium and pop it back in the oven for a bit to set it.

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Marbles covered with white clay before baking

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Finished bead.  I got the texture from rolling the bead in salt before baking.

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Beads covered with zig zag canes before going in the oven.  After they come out.  I sand and buff.

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Some of the finished beads strung with bicones and spacers

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You must admit she looks stunning with or without the beads!

For more Clayathon pictures, press HERE

Happy Happy!

Happy Bracelets  combine beads with flexible tubes of polymer clay.  You can flex and bend the bracelets and the clay  doesn’t crack (Ok, OK,  it probably will crack if you go at it with a jackhammer or drive over it with a monster truck.  What I mean is that the clay in the bracelet won’t crack with normal wear.)

I made my very first Happy Bracelet at Clayathon   and was so excited to discover another side to the so-called flexibility of polymer clay that  I wrote a blog post about it.  People were curious about how I made them,  and I promised to write a tutorial.

And now I am happy to announce that a complete Happy Bracelet tutorial

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Is in the August 2013 issue of Polymer Cafe

Thank you Anne Huizenga and Polymer Cafe!

And last but not least,  the winner of  bead giveaway number three
(drum roll please . . . .)

is  ZanC! 

What I learned at Clay Carnival Las Vegas 2011

I learned that Las Vegas is stranger than I remembered

I learned that normal people will pay a lot of money to get married standing in a fake gondola floating in a man-made canal.

I learned that grown men with beer bellies become Roman Gladiator impersonators if they stand in the chilly night air clad only in underpants (briefs-not boxers), the appropriate helmet and sandals.

I learned that I do not have to go to Hawaii to see a volcanic eruption, and that I can even drive past the volcano while it is going off.

I learned that in Las Vegas, there is an impromptu Elvis Impersonator convention every day of the week.

I learned a lot about polymer clay from a great bunch of teachers. I  met  wonderful people from all over the world.  I had a marvelous time.  OK, OK, maybe I didn’t do shots with  some Japanese guys I met in a restaurant like someone I know.   But I did have fun.

And I learned some new polymer clay techniques including how to built a sturdy hollow form (Beach Bangles); how to make a pendant that is also an elegant closure (Sorbet Pendant); and a cool way to combine baked and raw clay (Desert Brooches).       No disrespect to Elvis, but this is the real reason I went to Las Vegas. At any rate, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The pictures below show what  I made in the classes.  Some projects turned out better than others,  but I learned a lot in Las Vegas-including that it must be hard work standing on the Strip at night in your underwear.  No, I really hadn’t known that!

Judy Belcher Spring-y Bracelets

Leslie Blackford Le Carnival Box

Kim Cavender Wood Gone Wild

Natalia Garcia de Leaniz Funky Desert Brooches

Donna Kato Squash Blossom Pendant

Daniel Torres Mancera Beach Bangle

Sylvie Peraud Colorful Pendant

Bettina Welker Sorbet Pendant

For descriptions of the Clay Carnival Las Vegas 2011 classes, go to the Clay Carnival Blog.

Tutorials for some of the classes are available on-line at CraftEdu.com

Next Week: A short video on Clay Carnival.

Clayathon Wrap Up with Pictures

 

Clayathon is a place to relax, mix with great people, see the work other people’s work in progress and watch demos of  polymer and non-polymer techniques.  I saw demos on caning, faux dichroic glass,  soldering solver bezels, metal fold forming, and I gave a demo on drilling glass and making ring clasps with copper washers.  Lisa Clarke of Polka Dot Creations was there with the latest books and videos and Wilma Yost was there with the latest products from Polymer Clay Express  including their Shape Frames  that Wilma showed everyone how to use.  We had a cane swap and worked on a group cane too.  To sum it up, we had a blast.

Here are some pictures. 

Clayathon 2011

Clayathon is organized by the wonderful and talented Arlene Groch and her talented team of South Jersey Poly Addicts, (which is not the same thing as having a dual diagnosis, although Arlene does confess to having an “out of control” polymer clay addiction.) There is something so poetically just about a woman who gave up her law practice for polymer clay and invited friends to come and use her conference room, not for depositions and settlement conferences, but as a polymer clay studio.

If my Meniere’s disease, which has been acting up this week, does not have me Jackson Pollocking the carpet, I will be there along with the rest of my friends. Actually, Clayathon is a great stress reliever so I’ll have my doctor write a prescription.

Here are some pictures from past Clayathons.




Color Inspired Natasha Experiments

OK, I admit that I’m brain-dead and dog tired this week, so I decided to post  pictures of one of the polymer side trips I made while I was working my way through the exercises in Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. You’ve heard of Natasha Beads and there are a myriad of tutorials on the Web on how to make them.  I made the pieces below by chopping up bits of clay I used for different color exercises, compacting them into a plug as for a Natasha bead, slicing the plug lengthwise and opening it to reveal the design.  I  rolled the  clay to make the two sections the same thickness but tried to maintain the integrity of the design. Then I cut out shapes with a tissue blade or a clay cutter.  After baking and cooling, I coated the tops with doming epoxy resin. I plan to finish them with bails or pin backs.

Here are the results.

Painterly Polymer Necklace

 

I had a lot of color swatches and scraps after  I completed the pattern and color sample exercises from Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.

 

Pattern Samples Bracelet

 

I layered them onto a 1/8″ sheet of clay and rolled them through the pasta machine to see how they would look as I rolled them thinner and thinner.  The well-leached clay crumbled in interesting patterns.  The fresher clay spread in a manner similar to what you see in Maggie Maggio’s Watercolor Technique.  I continued laminating clay (see the transparent layers),  noted where the most interesting patterns were and cut out  pods.  After baking, I put the pods in polymer clay bezels, baked again, drilled and strung on buna cord with o rings and polymer tube beads.  It’s difficult to see in the photographs, but I put a layer of Envirotex Lite  on top of the colored part of the pods.  The necklace has a matte finish and a bunch of tiny dings that, in this case at least, I think adds to its appearance. 

I plan to play around with this technique and will post any interesting results. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


She “Puts It All Together”

So, here I am at the last chapter of  Polymer Clay Color Inspirations, “Putting it All Together.”   To put it all together means using  the lessons learned  in the previous chapters to make a final project-in my case a polymer clay collage box that  corresponds to my paper collage and color palette. To make my project, I covered a cigar box with  multi-part Skinner Blends and canes, and used  back filling,  stamping,  inlay, texturing, and pattern sheets.  You might recognize some materials from earlier exercises.  Here is a picture of my collage and  and some of the clay I used.


Before starting, I auditioned and rejected lots  of patterns and canes.  As I was covering my box, I was constantly applying clay and  taking it off  or applying clay  and baking  and then prying it off! And I made even more patterns and canes in the process  because, as every polymer clay artist or beader knows, no matter how many colors and beads you have, you never have enough.  Never.

I had so much fun trying different things that I don’t consider this time wasted at all.  I took my time and tried not to use  something unless I thought it was right.   I must confess that  I did go against my better judgment a couple of times as I was nearing the end.  But they say that finishing  a project like this  is usually more an act of surrender than the certainty  that it’s as good as it can be.

Here are pictures of some of the canes and patterns I considered

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Somehow, everything came together in the collage box.  I am still not one hundred percent that I made all the right choices, but I do like the majority of them.    And one of the hardest things in art is knowing when you’re done, isn’t it?

One last time: the top of the box, the collage,  and a sampling of the materials from which I made my selections.

My next post on Polymer Clay Color Explorations will be the  “course evaluation.”

Texture Sampler Pendant

Here is the latest in my foray into Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.  We are on the second half on Chapter Nine, “Exploring Texture and Pattern in Your Colors.”
Texture has an influence on color because it affects the way light interacts with surfaces.   And even the light from different times of day can can affect color (as anyone who’s  been disappointed with a paint color that looked great in the store knows.)     The goal of  making the Texture Sampler Pendant  was to get a hands on view of how texture and pattern affect color.  In this exercise, you are directed to make a tapered pyramid shape and cover each side with a different texture.  I had plenty of left over bits from my color scale mixing, so I had lots of colors to choose from.     I had fun making  lots of different texture samples, but I could only use four on the pendant.

Since  my collage some texture in it, most notably the bumps on the flower pot and the sea horses,  I applied little balls of clay in different collage colors to  one side of the pendant.  I  tried to pick up the oranges and the greens on the second side with the “Dimensional Oval Cutout” technique from the book. I attempted  to mimic the leaves in the collage with overlapping cane slices on the third side, and I  used slices of another cane topped with indented dots on the fourth side.


I decided not to use the option antiquing the textures with paint.   I deviated from the exercises with the “hat” of disk beads at the tip and I used slices from a striped cane to separate the segments rather then twisting two colors together.
With the exception of  faux techniques, I have rarely used textures in my polymer clay work before.  I think that’s about to change.   Here are some pictures.

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