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Monday, January 5, 2015

Statement Necklaces Natasha Style

Natasha Makes a Statement in Polymer Clay

Original Natasha Style Pendant and Beads Blue and Coral PolyClay


Only self confident women will wear a bold statement necklace such as I have designed in polymer clay.  It also required a certain self confidence in my own design capabilities to make a bold Natasha style pendant and beads to be strung together on a richly decorated necklace.

I hope this piece finds a bold and beautiful neck to hang on.  


A close-up view of the mirror image beads (Natasha style) on this necklace: 


For the red coral, white and gold Natasha style bead necklace pictured below, I chose to use a large bright red Pacific coral as the focal and used all my Natasha style beads as accents along the strand of gold toned brass beads, smaller red coral beads and white bone spacer beads.  

Coral, Gold, White Bone Necklace, Hand Sculpted Picture Panel Beads

Perhaps I should share a bit of the process in making such pendants and beads: 

The bead or pendant begins as a stack of colored sheets of polymer clay. The stack is manipulated into a log, which I then twist and shape into a block. At this point the actual picture will not be visible. The outside of the log of clay does not show on the final bead design. After making the log into a rectangular tube, I slice the clay in half and open it to find two mirror images of whatever design the twisting and shaping of the log created. After I coax the two panels with mirror images into one face of the bead, I make a second slice of each of the mirror images, place them back to back with the first set of panels and at that point, I have a four sided Picture Panel or Natasha style bead. 

For this very special necklace, I made four large beads and a couple of small lentil shaped beads with the same colors but not made in the same technique. the Picture Panel bead should be large enough to show a discernible image. These beads are shaped entirely by hand -- my own hands.
 

Below is a close-up of the mirror image Natasha style beads.


Though I had discovered the fun in slicing open polymer clay beads and pushing the slices together, open face up, I needed the inspiration from my tutor, Cindy Lietz,  to make abstract designs by using certain twisting and compacting techniques.  The originator and popularizer of this style of polymer clay bead making is Natasha Flechsig who actually lives presently in a city nearby in Northern California. She is still young and probably was very young when she began to design and tutor others in this fascinating method of creating beads. 

And a final look at Natasha style pendant necklaces with logs of smaller mirror image accent beads. This necklace has coral, too, but it is white coral.  

Natasha Style Purple and White Beaded Necklace with Amethyst and Coral

Natasha beads were made popular by a European glass bead designer a few decades ago.  Polymer clay lends itself to such a bead making process.  The polymer clay can be glazed to appear more like its glass ancestors.  For the designs on this page, I chose to buff them with jeweler's wax and allow them to be what they are: polymer clay. 

You can find a variety of polymer clay jewelry and components for your own designs at 
the links listed here: 

Please leave a comment and up to 3 links to your own creations: 
1.  Comment in the section for comments below. 
2.  Leave up to three links to your online shop items or to your blog entries.  The links will automatically load a photo; you will provide the caption.  
3.  You will see the "Add Your Link" button just below this blog entry and linked photos that others have posted. 









Friday, November 28, 2014

Polly Ceramica Gives Away Bangle Bracelets

Soft leafy green and metallic copper polymer clay spirals dance around this pair of bangle bracelets.  They are medium size with random sized stripes curling around the circular bangle bracelets.





I made these bracelets some time ago and am finally deciding what to do with them.  They are now my Winter Season Give Away.  



Here is a different view that shows the charm of random spiral stripes of both the green and copper.  They measure 2.4 inches inside diameter and the bangles average 1/3 inch diameter for the band.  



The colors really pop after the glaze is baked.  

Browse through more of my polymer clay jewelry designs at my websites: Artfire Polly Ceramica Studio and my Etsy Polly Ceramica Shop .  Here are some examples from my websites: 

  

Copper Illusion PolyClay Hand Sculpted, Painted Bluebird Pendant, Beads


Polly Ceramica Quill Bead Earrings with Blue Crystals, Gold Filled Wires


Original Design Pendant Red, Purple, Green, White, Gold, Sculpted


I now invite you to enter the drawing for the copper and green bracelets: 
1.  Comment in the section for comments below. 
2.  Leave up to three links to your online shop items or to your blog entries.  The links will automatically load a photo; you will provide the caption.  
3.  You are then included in the drawing on February 6, 2015  

You will see the Add Your Link button that sets up your links just below this blog entry:  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bead Glazer Says Do Not Be a Drag!

We hardly ever want to leave heavy ridges of brush strokes on our glazed or painted beads.  We want them as smooth and glossy as my capped quill focal bead shows here:



Finding icicles of gloss hanging from a dried bead or puddles on a glazed pendant are disappointments that are sometimes difficult and time consuming to repair.  In trying to avoid the dripping and puddling, it is easy to find yourself working with too dry a brush when applying successive layers of gloss.

Here is a photo of an unfinished quilled bead that can be a challenge to glaze:



The first task after baking and curing for several days, is to pierce through the top of the bead with a very fine 1/32 inch bit twirled by hand very carefully.  Then we must decide what will hold the bead steady while we apply the finishing gloss.

My first concern would be that the shape of the quill bead is inviting the clear gloss to run right off the tip and hang there like an icicle from a shed roof in winter.  And second task is finding a way of holding the bead still on a wire or a pointed stick.  This is because the quill beads must be drilled at the top and serve as drop beads on a necklace or dangles on earrings.   Finding a wire that is fine enough to fit through a 1/32 inch hole and yet hold the bead in position for applying liquid gloss is often difficult; it has proved impossible for me.  If secured on the tip of a sharp pointed bamboo skewer the bead can allow drips to form all along its bottom length if the bead glazer is not careful.

Nevertheless I chose the bamboo skewers.  At least the quill beads could not jiggle around while I applied layers of glaze over the three days of applying, drying and re-applying, as shown here:


This is a different quill bead that has now been pierced at the top, loaded onto the bamboo skewer and placed in a glass jar to support the leaning bamboo skewer.  The skewer secures the bead tightly enough that I can use my fine bristle brush to apply the layer upon layer over the next three days to achieve the desired depth of color and shine.

Still another concern is choosing the best gloss for the purpose.  I could have chosen a soft almost naked clay look by using jeweler's wax.  But I wanted to make this style of beads shine brilliantly.  So I chose the highest gloss polymer clay compatible finish gloss.  I prefer the Varathane polyurethane water soluble or oil based.  Either one glazes the beads to a glass like finish and can be re-baked after the bead has been brushed with three layers of gloss on three separate days and has waited for a few more days before the piercing.   The liquid gloss should be a comfortable room temperature and you should stir it gently before using it.  Do not shake; that causes bubbles! 

But at this point I have another choice to make: which brush?  My favorite for this size of bead and for applying a very smooth gloss without brush marks is this fine bristle brush: 


It is best to use the brush loaded so that the tip is full but not dripping, and then apply and spread the liquid gloss in smooth, light strokes without letting the brush get dry and start dragging.  Dip the brush lightly into the gloss as soon as you see it is not leaving a glossy finish on the bead.

Tip: Do not unload the brush by dragging the brush against the rim of the gloss container or any other edge.  Allow the brush to drip its excess load into the container before making the first brush stroke.  Small beads usually will not require reloading the brush.

The beads in the photo below have been baked solid, pierced at the top for stringing, and then glazed with high gloss polymer clay compatible finish.  They have then been re-baked to set the glaze.  I then strung them on gold filled wire and gold plated ear hooks with blue Swarovski crystal glass beads.  They are listed in my Etsy shop at the URL shown below the picture.



Visit  MY WEBSITE  to see more of my creations. 

Please leave a comment and up to 3 links to your own creations: 
1.  Comment in the section for comments below. 
2.  Leave up to three links to your online shop items or to your blog entries.  The links will automatically load a photo; you will provide the caption.  
3.  You will see the "Add Your Link" button just below this blog entry and linked photos that others have posted. 


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Adjusting to Changes in Systems and Locations

Since the first week of October, I have been struggling to balance blogging and the task of rearranging my online merchandise to fit the new demands of the electronic device method of communicating with online buyers.  As a result, I am limiting the size of my shop on the Artfire venue, which has been a very good location for my antiques and antiquities over the past three years.

I decided that 400 - 450 items fill the Artfire shop to overflowing and that I should find another place to list my Polly Ceramica creations and maybe some of my other handmade jewelry.  In this blog, I will be discussing my own online merchandise and that of my friends at both Artfire and Etsy.

And since I am enjoying the process of creating jewelry in polymer clay, I will concentrate my blogging efforts at this blogger site and at my AntiqueSilverJewelry site for my Yemen and Turkoman jewelry collection.  I expect most of the news will be here where I propose to continue offering a Give-Away each season and sharing the creations of jewelry artisans and those who create handmade items in other media.

So here goes:

EweniqueEssentials brightens our cloudy late Autumn days with these  


And just look at what Nancy Tonelli of JazzitupwithDesignsbyNancy, another designer and knitter, offers for this season:



CraftingMemories has handcrafted this magnificent filigree necklace in purple, silver and black




Specialtivity has beaded her way to success as a jewelry artisan with pieces such as this

Stained Glass Illusion Pendant Hand Beaded Blue, Copper, Gold Necklace 





Nikki of MyMountainStudio is well-known online as a designer, knitter, photographer and nature-lover.



PrettyGonzo has opened a shop at Etsy where she displays her jewelry art and her skill in photography and merchandizing:

Red Czech Glass Green Freshwater Pearl Earrings Coral Swarovski Crystal 



JRs pillowsandBags has an established business in fantastic fabric designs at Etsy:

Christmas Stocking in Bold Red and Green Print with Large Circles  



DianesDangles specializes in wire wrapped collector coins as jewelry, but she also is a designer of beaded jewelry; see this snowflake charm bracelet as an example:

Snowflake Dangle Charm and Green Glass Pearl Winter Christmas Bracelet



Christie Cottage offers a service for needlework artisans at her shop on Etsy; this cute duck pattern serves as a phone pouch and other practical purposes.



AdorebyNat creates lovable artistic cards, banners, tags, and other decorative items for children's celebrations:

Noah's Ark Centerpieces for Birthday and Baby Shower Party Celebration



PebblesatmyFeet is a master of stone and metal jewelry arts.  I offer these earrings as an example of her art:

Pale Sky Blue Stone Earrings, Copper Paisley Hoops, Aquamarine



Nancy of Wyvern Designs creates the most charming fantasy art by hand sculpting such pieces as this:


Fairy Cottage Christmas Ornament Hand Sculpted From Polymer Clay



Polly Ceramica - that's me - is working at establishing a 100 item shop at Etsy, full of my handmade beads for jewelry artisans.  I will continue to write blogs on my sources of inspiration and my methods of making the polymer clay creations. In addition I will be sharing the creations of other artisans who sell on both Artfire and Etsy.  I also will continue to offer an opportunity for artisans to link their own photos of their products here along with comments on the blog.

Polly Ceramica Art Clay Textured Rainbow Foil Glazed Pendant and Beads

Visit MY WEBSITE to see more of my creations. 

Please leave a comment and up to 3 links to your own creations: 
1.  Comment in the section for comments below. 
2.  Leave up to three links to your online shop items or to your blog entries.  The links will automatically load a photo; you will provide the caption.  
3.  You will see the "Add Your Link" button just below this blog entry and linked photos that others have posted. 





Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lisa Bennett Won the Give-away!

Congratulations, Lisa Bennett of Cards by Libe, on winning the pendant and beads in the Polly Ceramica Autumn Give-away!  Will get the package in the mail ASAP.

I will post a Winter Give-away drawing soon, so watch this space.  Here is a photo of the prize for this present Give-away:



I have no idea what Google did to this photo.  It did not look like this when it came from my camera.  What is with all the green on my white background???

You will get a notice from me soon about the Winter drawing.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Examples of Design, Techniques, Materials and More - 1

Example of my Handmade Jewelry Supplies, a Paisley Pendant and Matching Polyclay Beads



Let us begin with an explanation of my choices of polymer clay, the colors and the techniques I use.  Not that I have a set of rules to follow; I work spontaneously, finding the final shapes and lines within the colors I have chosen to manipulate.  I prefer geometric and abstract surface design, because the visual impact is greater in my opinion.  But I do like to design and make a few millefiori canes and make a handful of beads with them from time to time.  

For my climate, mild and dry for most of the year, a firm, yet malleable and not sticky clay is best.  After experimenting with several brands of polymer clay, I have chosen the Premo brand made by Sculpey.  It holds the lines and colors very firmly where I put them and does not stick to my tools, my hands or my work surface and thereby become distorted.  I can draw symbols, punch holes and move beads around without them collapsing or twisting into an undesirable shape. Here is a photo that will show some of my material, some tools and a reliable, solid, non-sticky work surface:

Polly Ceramica Work Surface, Kaleidoscope Cane, Multicolored Log, Cutting Tool and Premo 

Photo above:  These are just a few of the pile of tools, and only one example of the many different techniques I use for making the many storage trays of canes that I have made. You also see a large bar of white, my most used color of Sculpey's Premo brand.  

Let me show you a couple more photos of my workspace from a different viewpoint: 


The focus in the photo immediately above is still on the same cane and the log shown in the preceding photo.  But I also want to show you two of my most reliable measuring tools: the graduated cutter sizes and the T-square ruler.  Just outside the photo is my digital micrometer which is also indispensable.   I will explain the sheets of clay in the next photo description below: 


In the photo immediately above, you will see two examples of my working methods.  When I plan to make a set of beads that are graduated in size, I choose two or three graduated circular or oval cutters, made like cookie cutters.  Then I roll the chosen sheet of polymer clay either straight from the package as is, or I often make a blend or a mixture of two or more colors of clay.  A blend runs from one color into the other with the edges remaining the original color.  I create a mixture by squeezing and rolling two or more colors  together until they are combined into a streaky new surface decoration or I work on them until I have my own custom color. 

The golden yellow sheet is a mixture not only of different colors in order to get that warm bright shade of yellow; it is also a combination of polymer clay brands.  Pardo is a polymer clay that has a high content of beeswax.  It is stubbornly firm and is very difficult to work with in my very dry climate and relatively cool workshop.  Mixing it with Sculpey ecru and Premo Accent 18KT gold makes it malleable but still very firm.  The beeswax brings that mellowness into the sheet of clay.  Cadmium hue yellow is extraordinarily bright and the metallic gold, with its high mica content, glistens like metal.  So with the mixture, I acquired just the right mellow yellow that I planned.   

This is the first of a long series of blog entries on this subject. I think this is enough for this first blog entry on Materials and Methods, so I will stop here and invite you to leave comments and up to three links from your own studios.  

Visit MY WEBSITE to see more of my creations. 

Please leave a comment and up to 3 links to your own creations: 
1.  Comment in the section for comments below. 
2.  Leave up to three links to your online shop items or to your blog entries.  The links will automatically load a photo; you will provide the caption.  
3.  You will see the "Add Your Link" button just below this blog entry and linked photos that others have posted. 


Friday, September 12, 2014

Polly Ceramica Autumn Give-Away


Polly Ceramica Gives Away Natasha Pendant and Matching Beads

SEE DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO ENTER BELOW THE PHOTOS: 

I know that Autumn is upon us and the jewelry will go to the winner in late October, but there is a reason that I am offering such a Spring colored set of handmade pendant and beads.  Since the creation that I am giving away is an ensemble of hand sculpted Natasha style pendant and spiral striped beads in the same colors of lilac and Spring green,  the winner can make a necklace to wear for Easter and all Summer long.

This offering was suggested by the visitors to this blog when I asked for comments on what you would like to win.  Natasha style pendant, flat oval pendant, and beads for a jewelry designer to use in her own project were all suggested.  I got pretty close to answering all the requests with this Give Away, I hope.

 Just so you can make up your design in anticipation of winning, I will post the measurements of the pieces below these other views of the pendant back and edges, views of the bead holes and other placements of the beads.



I made this Natasha style pendant using the very same stack of clay sheets of lilac, green, white and a very thin sheet of black.  I folded the stack randomly, allowing the lines and colors to meander through the clay slab that I was making.  I then sliced off a section, manipulated it into a round cornered rectangle and sliced it in half lengthwise.  I opened the two halves, leaving them side by side and pushed them together to make a mirror image of the patterns that had developed within the clay rectangle.  

I shaped hand sculpted the pendant into the form you see here, consolidating the two panels securely and then it was on to baking, affixing the bail, glazing with 3 layers and baking again.  The bail is silver plated to maintain the cool colored palette.

I rolled the remaining section of the original stack of polymer clay and spiraled the stripes that represented the colored layers of the clay.  The beads were then pierced, baked, glazed with three layers and baked again.  

I think the winner will have some fun with this Do-it-Yourself kit.  

Measurements: 
Pendant dimensions including bail - 31 mm (1.2 in) x 47 mm (1.8 in)
Bead average dimensions - 9 x 19 mm


                             




     

I now invite you to enter the drawing: 
1.  Comment in the section for comments below. 
2.  Leave up to three links to your online shop items or to your blog entries.  The links will automatically load a photo; you will provide the caption.  
3.  You are then included in the drawing on October 18, 2014.  

You will see the Add Your Link button that sets up your links just below this blog entry: