Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Beginnings in Layering Polymer Clay Designs

Polly Ceramica Layered Natasha Style Pendant and Beads 

The making of Natasha style beads will have its part in this short blog entry, but first let me say what a sideways leap into polymer clay jewelry design this layering of clay pieces was for me.  Because I have enjoyed many compliments on this necklace, I can now admit to some of my qualms when I sat at my work table and squished my small Natasha style finished pendant into the textured raw clay background.  

The Natasha style pendant after all had been through all the steps of creating, baking and finishing.  It was ready simply to affix to a bail and hang on a chain as a complete piece of jewelry.  But the beautiful blue lines and swirls in the pendant cried out for something to emphasize them.  And there was another reason to increase the size of the pendant: the beads that I had made were large and very showy.  That told me this pendant had to be the focus of a statement necklace with a pendant that would be large enough to compete with the Natasha style beads.  

That is when I decided to squish or smoosh - whichever polyclay vernacular you prefer -- the finished Natasha pendant down into the textured blue polymer clay base.  I then baked the blue component with the depression sized for the Natasha pendant.  When it was oven cured, I smoothed it with micro grit fabric and set the pendant into the depression with jeweler's glue that is compatible with polymer clay creations.  

Here are some further details on the final creation:

The large accent beads on the strands of the necklace are made with the same technique and from the same prepared clay roll. That is, the pendant inlay and the large accent beads were all made from a roll of swirling designs organically developed within the roll of manipulated clay. 

The colors and shapes began as a stack of separate sheets of blue, silver, coral and pearl polymer clay. By manipulating the stack into a roll and then the roll into a twisted log, this design developed inside the smooth roll of clay. By then shaping it into a rectangular length of clay, trimming the sides and then slicing and opening a length of the clay, I found the design that had formed. I pushed the two mirror images on the slices together and hand sculpted it into the shape that now rests in the textured blue clay background of the pendant. 

The beads and pendant are finished with a jeweler's wax, so they emit a soft glow. 

After firing and finishing the picture panel beads and pendant, I strung the pendant and the matching accent picture panel beads with coral, sapphire, white bone and silver plated beads. The fastener is also silver plated; it is designed to make the necklace adjustable in length. 

The necklace bears a small bronze clay tag with the Polly Ceramica designer logo on it.  

For my designs of jewelry elements for your own projects, see this section of my studio.

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 left. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Polly Ceramica Gives Away a Bronze Torc Pendant

Hand Sculpted Polymer Clay Colorful Wound-around Bead Pendant on Bronze Wire Choker

The center of attention of my give-away for the Summer Season is this long barrel bead of many colors as the pendant on the torc/wire choker.   I call it a wind-around bead because it is made in exactly that way.  After mixing up a pleasing number of pieces of clay and slices of colorful canes, I rolled the sheet of many colors to be very thin and flexible.  I then wound the sheet around a wire and hand rolled it to compact the layers of clay.  Such beads are generally made around a core of black or white clay, but this one was simply wrapped around itself.  

After baking the beads, buffing and waxing them, I set them aside to see what I should do with them.  

Much later when I looked at the set of matching beads and this larger wound bead,  I imagined them on a heavy gauge bronze wire that would hang the hand sculpted beads in the hollow of the throat of the wearer.  Then when I had put it all together I saw it as the perfect give-away for Summer.  

  In this close-up view, you can see the blue agate beads, the copper separator beads and wire.  The torc is made of the heavy gauge wire with casually wrapped spacers in a smaller gauge of bronze wire.  

In the photo below you see the complete choker necklace:

Another view of the various lines and shapes on the cool-colored beads.

This photo shows the other side of the beads.

You can see many more pieces of my polymer clay creations at my website

I also make elements for your own jewelry making.  See some of them at my website 

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 August 20, 2014.  

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

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ShanghaiTai Won the Pendant!

I am happy to report that the Artfire seller Roxanne Coffelt,  jewelry artisan and owner of ShanghaiTai studio,  won the drawing of the Polly Ceramica pendant shown here:

Congratulations to Roxanne! 

I will be posting another item for a drawing beginning after the July 4th holiday and continuing for about 6 weeks.  Each time a visitor comments on any of my Polly Ceramica blogs, her/his name is tucked into my milk bottle for the next drawing.  So feel free to comment.  And you are always welcome to leave a comment on my polymer clay jewelry and jewelry components -- handmade polymer clay beads and pendants at my Artfire website.  The space for comment on this blog is just below this entry.  The space for comment at my Polly Ceramica Jewelry Studio is at the bottom of the pages showing each item. 

Thank you for visiting this little nothing of a blog, but I hope it is a good boost to the ShanghaiTai studio -- and of my own.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Malleability of Polymer Clay

Celadon Wide Bangle Bracelet, Impressed Designs Highlighted Gold Leaf

Not only is polymer clay pleasant to sculpt with our fingers into something new for a gift or as an object for sale -- or even for our personal adornment or for the dining table centerpiece, but it is also easy to use with other kinds of materials.

In some of my own creations, I like to keep the object as purely polymer clay as possible.  At other times, it may be almost unnoticeable that I have slipped some polymer beads into a jewelry creation.  I posted the photo above as an example of purely polymer clay except for the gold leaf wax polish.  

For pendants, I usually attach a metal bail, so I suppose that could be considered an adulteration of the purity of the polymer clay object.  For example: 

Natasha Style Pendant with Image of Copper Vase, Teal Vines and Leaves

In the case of the copper bail, I made it from my own sheet of copper and it has become a part of the design because of its size.  

An obviously intentional mixed media bracelet is shown in the example below.  It is made from my sheet of bronze metal and the polymer clay decorative strip I made and shaped before I attached it to the metal with jeweler's glue.  The agate beads, bronze wires and fastener demonstrate further how easily polymer clay can fit into a more complex design.  

Charm Bracelet Handcrafted Bronze Band and Brown Chalcedony Beads

Sometimes the polymer clay beads that I made by hand hide among the other elements in a necklace.  Can you guess which beads or pendant are the ones I made?  

Please comment below and feel welcome to add up to 3 photos and links to your own items for sale or to your own blog(s). 

The "Add Your Link" button is there for you to use.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Scenic Polyclay Pendant Give-Away by Polly_Ceramica

A Picturesque Pendant Give-Away: 

Do you see what I see in the scene created by line and color on this polymer clay pendant,  created almost by accident in my studio?  When I was preparing a cane (a log or roll of clay of different colors) from some sheets of colored clay for a group of beads, I found I had rolled the log longer than I needed for the number of beads I wished to create.  Not wanting to let the pretty colors of fuchsia, brassy green, gold, teal green and white go unused, I rolled the clay into a ball, cut into it and found that the lines and colors had painted a scene for my imagination: a lady standing under a flowering tree, wearing a teal blue hat, a fuchsia shawl and a teal green and brassy green dress.  She is feeding some very colorful Aracuna chickens at her feet while a bluebird is perched on a nearby bough wishing to share in the chickens' dinner.  

The outside edges of the oval pendant are decorated with spiraling lines of the same colors as those in the scene.  

Below is the back side of the pendant.  I thought the oval pendant was charming enough to enhance it with gold tone brass caps, wire spiral and chain.  

The lobster claw clasp is made of gold plated metal.  The pendant measures 1 inch wide and 2.2 inches high including bail and spiral decoration.  It is 0.5 inch thick.  

You can see many more pieces of my polymer clay creations at my website

I also make elements for your own jewelry making.  See some of them at my website 

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 June 30, 2014.  

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

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Jackie Wins the April Give-away!

A visitor who leaves comments on my blogs is automatically entered into a drawing for my Give-away creations.  For the period of the last drawing I had almost 100 comments and links registered at this blog and my facingEASTdesigns blog.   This meant that about 40 different people were entered into the drawing, given that I do not remove entries even from the last period for a Give-away event.

It was gratifying to see that a very faithful blogger and promoter of other artisans, Jackie of ChristieCottage, was the name on the slip of paper that made its way out of the narrow mouthed old-fashioned milk bottle that I use as a lottery drum for all the entrants.

This is what Jackie won.  I hope the jewelry that I created suits her well.

Within the next 10 days, I will be setting up another Give-away and an opportunity for you to leave comments and up to 3 links to and photos of your own creations or vintage items for sale.  

Hope to see you again when I set up the next drawing.  I am mulling over what to offer in the next Give-away.  Whatever I offer will be designed and handmade by me and will feature polymer clay.  So what would you like to win: 

a) Bracelet?

b) Pendant?

c) Earrings?

I have them all ready and waiting to be given away.  Leave your comment with your own preference.  It would be helpful to me in choosing what to offer.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Polly Ceramica Asks What is Progress?

I received an interesting email from the blogger for The Polymer Arts magazine today that motivated me to write this blog.  It is a very short article about the work of a polymer clay artist who shows the progress of her work from Early through Transition to Current.

Seeing that method of defining one's work,  I would like to get your opinion on how to define  progress or lack thereof.  I am not fishing for compliments. Maybe progress is just a discovery that we can do something different as we experiment with our medium.  Or maybe it is just a change in mood?

I have been creating polymer clay beads, cabochons and flat pendants for less than two years, but I am always ready to try more complex work, so long as I am making something my fingers seem happy to create.  The first photo below shows one of my earliest creations, a cabochon to fit in a gun metal finished pewter finding.  It was not very challenging until I began to apply the glaze, which dried with a few little bubbles between the clay and the glaze, but did not make bumps on the surface!  I don't know how this fortunate accident happened and I doubt if it ever happens again, but it gave the cabochon a nice glassy raku look.

Raku Look Hand Sculpted Polly Ceramica Cabochon Pendant

Within a few months of making my cabochon, I tried a more complex piece.  I had not seen very many bangle bracelets made in polymer clay, especially with wide bands.  So I decided to try my hand at polyclay bracelets.  I had played with making long snakes of multicolored sheets of polymer clay.  And I made a few bracelets by winding the snakes into a spiral stack.  But I wanted to experiment with a different method.  So I decided to braid the various multicolored snake canes and then to flatten them, but leave them thick enough to remain sturdy.  I use the kind of clay that cures to a very dense and shiny appearance without over sanding and polishing or glazing.  For example, this bracelet had a light waxing and healthy buffing and it is ready to go after oven firing.  I liked it enough that I attached my Polly Ceramica logo to the inside of the bracelet.  I would call this my transitional piece, even though my time with polyclay has been short and I should have years ahead of me to do a lot better. 

Braided Rainbow Bangle Bracelet Original Design by Polly_Ceramica

The latest phase of my very short career in polymer art is marked by my fascination with what are popularly known as Natasha beads.  I call them picture panel pendants and beads, because I discovered the pleasure of creating the pictures just by experimenting with a bit of left over clay cane material.  My first picture panel made in polyclay was a pendant, and I was so pleased with the discovery that I now enjoy making picture panel pendants and would happily spend hours each day pursuing an ever more pleasing scent in polymer clay surprising me when I slice open the cane to see who and what are inside.   It is not the pendant shown below, but one that I was keeping as a kind of prototype in my studio.  

Natasha Style Pendant Element Shows Temple Curtain Angel Embroidery

The elements for creating a necklace or pendant and earrings for your self are shown in the photo above.  It is one of my very recent creations and I like the scene with the angel standing under an upside down lotus blossom, as it was described to me by another jewelry artisan, Catherine Waterhouse of ShadowDogDesigns at   I know I do not want to remain in this phase forever; I do indeed want to move to more complex constructions of pieces of clay.  But I am wondering if this is what we call progress or just a change in mood?  

I will let you tell me what you think progress should look like, or maybe better yet, what it should feel like. 

Please leave a comment below and by all means use the inLinkz tool to post some photos and links to your own creations on blogs or websites.