More Handmade for the Holidays



Look at these great ceramics from my fellow open studio potters at Fleisher Art Memorial.  You will be able to buy these and other wonderful things at Handmade for the Holidays, Saturday December 8, Fleisher Art Memorial 719 Catharine Street Philadelphia PA  11:00 am to 5:00 pm

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Denise Branco

Bas Relief sculpture of the exterior of Pat’s Steaks, a real South Philadelphia Institution!  It measures approximately 8 by 14 and is beautifully framed.

One-of-a-kind teapot by Marjorie Waxman.  She’ll be selling mugs too.

Cynthia Bayer’s  boxes for  your holiday treasures.  These are great for candy, cat treats and jewelry.  Give as a gift or use as a gift container.


Ornaments and goodies galore from Sandrine, Pat and me.





Puerto Vallerta

This week I am posting from lovely Hacienda Mosaica located in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I’m taking a class with Richard and Jane Salley called Magic in Mexico.



It’s beautiful here as you can see from the pictures.




This is is our classroom studio.  It’s fun to work outside in the open air.  I”ll be back next week with some new skills.  For now, it’s off to the Wednesday Night Art Walk.

Four Birdies Swinging


I finished the birdie ornaments and decided to put them on swinging perches because they are swinging birds. In fact, their first stop after they left the workshop was a party where Mr. Green found a home on a Christmas tree


I managed to catch the birdies in candid shots before they flew off to their new homes.  They are made of polymer clay with  newspaper and foil armatures,  I painted them with liquid clay stained with alcohol inks-a technique I’d never tried until I saw Kate Clawson‘s work and attended the class she gave for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild


I managed to catch the birdies in candid shots before they flew off to their new homes.  They are made of polymer clay with  newspaper and foil armatures,  I painted them with liquid clay stained with alcohol inks-a technique I’d never tried until I saw Kate Clawson‘s work and attended the class she gave for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild


The birdies chat before they depart for their new homes. 


Christmas Ornaments in Progress

I’m trying some new things this year.  I decided to try making armatures out of compacted newspaper wrapped with aluminum foil.  I could have used all foil but I wanted to recycle.  So far, it’s worked pretty well.  Nothing I’ve covered and baked has cracked and it all seems pretty solid.  I’m not sure how I am going to hang these ornaments when they’re done.  I’ll figure that out later.


 Three birdies dancing.  These are the armatures covered with scrap clay, painted and baked.  I am going to add some more clay features and bake again.  The crooked beaks are intentional.  I  want the birds to have personality.

Birdie in Oven

One Birdy Baking

Tinted TLS

I added a drop of the ink to about two tablespoons of  liquid clay to paint the bird..  You don’t need much ink; a little goes a long way


I like the translucent look of the tinted liquid clay. Since my scrap clay was mud colored, I painted the bird with white acrylic clay before I baked him the first time  to get the full effect of the translucent clay.    He gets a second baking for the blue layer.


One sea turtle swimming.  This guy has the same newspaper and foil core.  I painted the fins with liquid clay tinted green to test the effect.  He still needs a lot of details added and a proper shell.


This ornament will be a pussy cat.  It’s baseball sized and built around a newspaper and foil core,  


It’s starting to take shape.  I haven’t decided whether to give him crazy feet or put feathers in his mouth.

The Model

I’ll ask the model what he thinks.

Felt Birdy Holiday Ornaments

I decided to make felted flying Birdie holiday ornaments this year for Toni, Terri and Sarah. Why birds?  I like birds.


Three Birds-a-flying


Roving, Fiber and Feathers

Auditioning Feathers

Ms. Bluebird  nearly complete


I like to needle felt with a leather glove on my left hand.  I  stab myself less often.


Carding the roving to blend colors for Ms. Pink

Close Up


 Ms. Pink  takes a break after completion


Yet more carding and color mixing for Ms. Green



Ms. Green  with her pins still in; I glued and felted in the feathers and embellishments.


As I was  making the Birdies,  I realized that the glamorous Ms. Pink bore a slight resemblance to Toni.  Bluebirds have a special meaning for Sarah who also loves glitter.  (Ms. Bluebird took a dip in the glitter when I wasn’t looking and Ms. Pink made a hat for her.)  Ms. Green wanted a skull charm necklace so she would look good with Terri. I did not have one, but she let Ms. Bluebird and Ms. Pink do her hair like Terri’s, complete with red bangs.  Ms Green thought she looked Sqwaksome!

I left the Birdies resting on their communal perch.  They are now in their new homes.

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. 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