Friday, May 30, 2008

Playing with colors

I'm still working a regular type job (only part time though) -- so I'm always longing for more time to play around with my clay. I finally managed to take a few days off last week to complete a few projects but some are still waiting for finishing touches and assembly yet. I was mainly working on some new ideas and I'm hoping to take some more time off during the summer so I can work on them.

One of the items I did complete is a new Kite bead necklace but in a shorter choker style.  I made this one for myself as a prototype and in the colors to coordinate with my summer wardrobe.

One of the things I love about working with polymer clay is the endless mixing of colors. I discovered how one can actually create color "recipes" and I've made my own polymer clay color recipe book. Dave and I were also discussing how it would be nice to have a variety of our own "signature" colors for custom orders and so we've been working on those as well. The fun part was coming up with all the yummy names like pink grapefruit, kiwi, caramel, and lemon chiffon. All the names we kept coming up with that fit the colors best happened to be foods! I don't know why -- maybe the influence of being a nutritionist keeps rubbing off or perhaps just our love for food! In any case, we have come up with a good variety of colors to start and can build on them as we develop more new techniques and styles.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Flower Power

As you can see I've really gotten into my flower stage lately. This is a photo of one of my new barrettes -- I will share more on these later. Many people have commented on the "painted" flowers and are surprised when I explain there is no paint involved at all.

All the colors are in the clay and then mixed and combined to create new colors like paints, only instead of using a palette knife and brush, I use my hands and a pasta machine. For those of you who know me real well, you're probably surprised that I would one day use a pasta machine for my art rather than for cooking!  Anyhow, I shared with you how I made my Puffin cane and so now I will give a short demo on how one of my flowers is created:

I first made a gradient blend of blue so that it goes from dark to really light to give the flower petal a little more depth.

I then made a "plug" and added some details.

It is now ready to "reduce" by gently squeezing and shaping. You can see the size of my clay piece in comparison to my hand.

Here is the "plug" or what will be the petals reduced to a long thin snake. They are then cut and individually shaped.

Now I need to make the centre and then reduce it to fit my petals.

The petals are arranged around the centre. Another type of clay is then tightly packed around the petals so that when the cane is reduced, they will maintain their shape and not get too distorted. I packed this cane with a transluscent clay. 


Here the flower cane is reduced and then cut in half to see the inside.

I took one half of the cane and reduced it further and then half of that and reduced it smaller still. I now have my flower cane in three different sizes, ready for use. The last part to using a cane such as this one is to slice it very thinly and then carefully applied. 

I love making canes and you can make them as simple or as complicated as you like. Here is a photo of a pansy cane which is done in a similar manner but with more detail. Now I can't wait to make more creations using my new flowers!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Who's the emBOSS?

We really like doing up special orders for people - it sometimes forces you out of your comfort zone and try something different. This is a shorter style necklace with some matching earrings we did for a custom order. She told me she was really into teal and brown. I like those colors as a combination myself but never considered combining them in clay. We really like the end result but when I was looking at the lentil swirl pendant and disc earrings, I felt it was lacking something and then thought about the latest flower cane I made. Adding the flowers just gave it more of an embossed look and the finishing touch it needed. This could be a new trend for us -- we will see what kind of response it gets. 

We also did something special for her husband since we are starting up a men's line of chokers as well. Both of the necklaces have a hidden magnetic clasp in a matching clay bead -- something else we are experimenting with.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Flowers for Mother's Day

I have my parents visiting from out of town this week. It has been quite a few years since my mom has been around for mother's day, so I'm glad I was able to make something special for her this year. One of the things is the floral brooch here.

She's suffered with arthritis in her wrists and hands for years and therefore isn't able to wear a wrist watch. She wears her watch instead on a chain.

These are 2 chains I made for her watches. They have a lobster claw so can be interchanged with her watch faces.

For Dave's mom, she had picked out this "mokume gane" gecko brooch and some clip-on earrings that matched. She also wanted some earrings with flowers so I made her some to match a necklace Dave made for her birthday last year. I think she will be pleased.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

. . . May flowers

Here is a pill box I covered with some of the flower canes I posted photos of the other day. Below is a brooch, a choker with a floral pendant and another kite bead necklace which is our favorite. I decided I really like working with the flowers and now that I've mastered the technique I can't wait to find out what other flowers are hiding in my clay!