Saturday, September 27, 2008

Featured in more Etsy Treasuries this week...Thanks!

Hello, Just learned that some of my work has been featured in a few Etsy treasuries again. A treasury is a collection of like items that are pulled together by an Etsy member and featured as a group. Sometimes they get selected for the front page of Etsy, which is great publicity and a nice honor. I keep my fingers crossed that I will be lucky enough to be on page one some day.

Thanks for selecing me
PoliticalPooches. My pendant is the one on the lime green polkadot background below. See the full shot here

And here is another one by Floralia. Mine is the crow in goggles... 2nd treasury it has been in this week. Thanks Floralia! See the full shot here

Always a nice surprise to be picked by someone! =o) Thanks again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Precious Metal Clay and Polymer - A new line is born

Today I released the first few pieces of the new "Rustic Roots" collection which combines fine silver metal clay bezels and hand carved faux bone & ivory polymer clay centers. They are nice an neutral and can be dressed up or down. A little bit whimsical. A little bit folksy. A little bit different than I have seen out there. I had fun creating them and will be doing more soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Stuff - Fine Silver Beads and Jewelry Added to the Store!

What a blessing! I've had a few large wholesale orders lately, but they pretty much depleated my shops!

It's taking me a while to get some stock built back up. I have recently added a few new things... check 'em out! There's a sneak peak in the left column of this blog, or visit the stores.

Fine Silver Jewelry

Fine Silver Beads and Findings

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life is Just A Fantasclay!

As I have been poking around the internet trying to learn more about polymer clay used as faux bone and ivory, I have come upon some wonderful artists and I would like to share some of their stuff.

This is 1/2 of a chess set by claywizard. Visit the
Shop. I love it:

This is one of the best polymer ivory roses I have ever seen. So beautiful. Made by theluckyrose. Visit the Shop.

This is a cool light switch plate cover by mosaico. Visit the Shop.

and there are many many more wonderful things out there... to many to blog about! These will do for today!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My FANTASTREE Featured in Etsy Treasury

Nice to be featured in someone Etsy treasury again. I'm honored my FANTASTREE pendant is in good company with the other items "StormCloudHills" selected to showcase as some of her favorite trees and green things that can be found in Etsy stores.

Click on the image to see the whole treasury.

Thanks StormCloudHills for featuring my work!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Faux Ivory Vessels

Hi, I just wanted to share something I spotted on a blog that I really love and hope to be able to emulate some day. It is a faux ivory box made of polymer clay. I think it is wonderful and really looks like old petrified bone or ivory.
I have always loved ivory carvings, but I don't like the thought of accidentally supporting some cruel or greedy practice of collecting it, though I think most ivory comes by more honorable methods these days. With polymer, I hope to create the look sans guilt.

Found it here: my oldies but goodies . While you are at it, check out this sites entire collection of polymer clay related posts. Some interesting finds in there!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Precious Metal Clay Beads

Nope. This is not a picture of some alien form of plant life, or a scientific model of a Universe of oddly shaped planets. It's one of the things I have been working on lately... fine silver precious metal clay over porcelain beads.

There are 3 kinds of beads that I make using the fine silver of Art Clay Silver or PMC ~

*Hollow Silver Beads
*Solid Silver Beads
*Silver Overlay Beads

Hollow Fine Silver Beads
Hollow beads are made by putting silver over a core material that will burn out during firing in the kiln. (You should not try this with a torch.). There are many possible materials you can use. The most common are paper clay, cork clay, cereal. Yep, that's right.... breakfast cereal like Cheerios & Kix make great cores for beads, though it is pretty fragile to work with. Paper clay is a bit of a pain in my opinion because it does not completely burn away. You must chip it out of the center of the bead after firing. For me, cork clay is the perfect core medium. It is easy to form and it completely turns to fine ash when fired. This is how I do it...

Form the desired shape in the cork clay and let it dry for at least a day. Insert a wood toothpick into the cork where one of the bead holes will be. Don't put it all the way through, just insert deep enough to secure it in the cork. Break another toothpick in 1/2 and coat it with a non stick medium like "Slik". Stick this on the other side where the hole will be. This one will be removed before the bead is fired to allow a place for the ash to fall out of. Prepare a 'mandrel stand' by sticking a chunk of polymer clay to a plastic lid. Use the long toothpick as a mandrel to hold the bead while you work on it. Coat the cork in melted wax or a thick layer of water soluble glue, stick the toothpick end into the polymer mandrel stand and let the coating dry completely. The wax or glue will burn out faster than the cork, allowing a little wiggle room to accommodate the shrinkage of the silver clay & it keeps silver from flowing into the porus core surface. After the coating is dry, cover the bead in a thin rolled sheet of silver clay, syringe clay or use a paintbrush to paint the bead with silver clay paste. If using the paste method, you must use at least 5 layers of paste, letting each layer dry before adding the next. Once you have your silver base, decorate using syringe clay, paper clay, etc. Let it dry. Remove the short toothpick. Place the bead open hole side down, on a bed of fire blanket or vermiculite. Fire per manufacturers instructions. I fire my low fire ACS at 1270 for 30 minutes. The cork burns out around 700'. Until that point, you must leave the top vent of the kiln open. You will smell the cork burning and see a puff of smoke. (Be sure not to breath it. Work with plenty of ventilation.) Plug the vent hole after this occurs. After the beads are cooled, finish as you would any metal clay pieces.... burnish, tumble, antique, polish, etc.

Solid Silver Beads
This type of bead is pretty self-explanatory. Form metal clay into the desired shape, put a hole in it, fire and voila! You have a solid silver bead! Some ideas... After forming the desired shape, stick a wood toothpick all the way through to form the holes & keep them open during firing. In the kiln, they will simply burn away. Or you can use professional bead mandrels made especially for this purpose. You can form large hole beads or tube beads by wrapping a sheet of clay around a drinking straw. Remove the straw from the dried clay before firing.

Silver Overlay Beads
This type of bead involved putting a layer of silver over a core that does NOT burn out during firing. The core remains he center support for the outer silver surface. I have heard that brass and steel can be used for a core, but I have no personal experience with that. My favorite core material to overlay is porcelain. I prefer this method to the two bead styles mentioned above because the overlay beads use less silver, weigh less than solid beads and cannot be crushed like hollow beads. How I do it...

Form a mandrel from a drinking straw by cutting a slit about 3/4" long on one end of the straw, then cut a small slit perpendicular to that at the end of the first slit.
Roll the cut end of the straw into a tighter tube and insert into the bead. The tension from the straw should be strong enough to hold the bead on it securely so that you can work on the bead while holding on to the straw. Coat the bead in at least 5 layers of paste clay, letting each layer dry thoroughly. Decorate with syringe clay, sheet clay or stamped clay, etc... When it is dry, fire per manufacturers instructions. Burnish, tumble, antique, etc...

Visit my shop . Many new beads & fine silver findings to be added to the store soon!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's starting to take shape... I'm officially a "fimo-er" again

I used to love to create with polymer clay. I think any one would. Who wouldn't like to re-live their childhood days where Play-doh was life and you could simply squish your mistakes and roll them into a ball and start again?

Somewhere a long the line I stopped using this medium. I think it is because though it made me feel like a youngin' on the inside, it physically exhausted my carpal tunnel syndromy hands to no end. Plus, how many plasticesque knickknacks can one have sitting around or pawn off on friends and family?

This summer while visiting my inlaw's I was re-introduced to polymer clay. We conditioned it to a nice soft form using a pasta machine. Back in the days when I was into polymer, my hands were the pasta machine. This tool made working with the clay a million times easier and more fun. A magazine article recently reminded of one of the things I really did love to create with polymer, and that is faux ivory and bone. I started thinking how great it would be to incorporate a little bit of a primitive look to my rustic silver work.

A few $$$ later, I now own a pasta machine, clay oven, and much clay. I have made several silver bezels. Now I am working on the 'ivory' carvings. I may also do a few boxes like the one pictured in this post that I made for my sister several years ago and maybe some buttons too. Look for the new primitives line coming soon!