Sunday, May 31, 2009

More Bags

I hung this quilted hanging I made on a wall in our studio.  I had extra fabric left-over and decided they would make neat jewelry pouches as well -- so here they are... 

They go great with some of the men's jewelry pieces, don't you think?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another Challenge -- Yellow

I'm in another challenge this week and this one is with the Polymer Clay Smooshers of Art Fire.  Our theme for this month is yellow and there are some really good entries in this challenge.  Yellow can be a difficult color to work with at times and especially in polymer clay as it is almost like working with white.  So hurry over to their blog (you can click on the avatar above) and vote -- you have until Sunday evening before the poll is closed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Art Fire Artisan Jeweler Guild

If you've visited our Art Fire Studio lately you will have noticed some changes.  They have upgraded the whole site with lots of added features and improvements.

I recently became a member of another guild since selling on Art Fire and that is the Artisan Jeweler Guild.  In order to join, one has to have an active Art Fire Studio with at least 40% of that containing artisan jewelry.  The guilds' definition of artisan jewelry is that it is made from mostly raw materials.  There are some very talented people in the group and it is nice to be able to share ideas and support each other in our craft.

Each month our guild has a challenge of some kind and for May the theme is Cinco de Mayo.  Here are some photos of the entries and you can go to the Artisan Jeweler blog and vote on your favorite piece.  The pole closes Sunday night.

Cyndie Smith Designs Fortuna Ring

Wickwire Jewelry Lemon Quartz and Multi gemstone Chandelier Earrings

2 Good Claymates Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Necklace

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our New Image

You might have noticed the new banner above on our blog and in our Etsy Shop and Art Fire Studio.  I decided it was time to update things a bit.  I was tired of the pink background but still wanted to keep the gecko theme.

The geckos in the new photos are some pieces I made for myself to wear and you can see them better in our flickr gallery.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summer at the Beach

Summer is already here -- at least in our area and our summer markets are already starting and gearing up for the coming tourist season.  Since our town is on a beautiful lake with a nice relaxing beach I've been busy working on items that go along with that theme, like the flip flop sandal pendants and earrings.  Here are some new colors with more in the making.

These are fun to do as you can really get carried away with all the designs and colors but they are even more fun to wear!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's in the Bag

I've been looking at various ways for packaging our jewelry that looks attractive but is also practical for shipping.  I found some nice organza bags but still wanted something a little different.   I decided it was time to dust off my sewing machine and make my own.  I use to sew a lot, until I discovered polymer clay.  I still enjoy sewing so it is nice to be able to utilize those skills again and combine it with my clay.  I fell in love with these fabrics and felt they were just perfect for little pouches.  Don't you love the colors? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our New Men's Line

We now have a line of men's necklaces in time for Father's Day.  Some of the necklaces feature beads that look like tortoiseshell and others are in copper and gold colors. 

You can see the collection in our Wearable Art Gallery or in the Art Fire Studio under the section "Something for Him".

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Polymer Clay Smooshers

One of the neat things about selling on Art Fire is all the various Artist Guilds available.  One of the guilds I recently became a member of is called the Polymer Clay Smooshers.  It is so exciting to get to know and make friends with other artists who create with polymer clay and support and share tips with one another.  They did a feature and an interview on myself today and you can read it here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Extruder Fun

I'm still working on the tiled table I posted about earlier and it is almost finished. I should have some photos of it sometime next week.  In the meantime I have these clay sheets and pieces left over so I decided to play around and see what I could come up with.  I always wanted to try making those retro type squares with the clay extruder like on the cushions in this photo I cut out of a sales flyer advertising paint. (I love the wall color by the way -- thinking of a shade like that for our livingroom -- )

So the result was this pendant and earring set below.  The pendant is on a really neat red colored cable.  I love the screw type clasp which I covered as a clay bead.  You can see a photo of it on our Artfire Studio.

I made this set for myself for something fun to wear.  The pendant, clip-on earrings and watch bracelet are all reversible and the photos show each side.

I'm not one to wear a bracelet but prefer beaded watch bands instead.  I started out making interchangeable bracelets with my watch faces using the lobster claws but never was really happy with the look.  I've been playing around for a few months now and finally came up with this design.  The bracelet part is on elastic and I basically wired my watch face through the holes at each end to hold the bracelet part.  I now have a silver and a gold watch face in which I can change my bracelets to match my wardrobe.  I was visiting with a friend the other day and she suggested I make these to sell as well. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pretty in Pink

Here are some accessories I made for myself to go with the buttons in the tutorial I showed you in my last post.  This  turned out to be more of a mono color scheme but this way I have more color choices to wear with it.

Have you ever made something that didn't turn out the way you intended but then you end up using it in a completely different way after and turns out better than you thought it would in the end?  Sounds funny but some of my best things I've made have turned out that way.  I never like to waste and of course any clay I mix up or use that doesn't turn out always gets reused in some way as long as it hasn't been fired.  If it looks really nice I will save it somehow until I have an idea for it rather than ending up in my scrap clay pile.   For instance, I wasn't happy with how this cane turned out that I used to create these pieces but didn't know what to do with it.  When I was looking for colors to match my shirt, it just so happened the colors blended beautifully!

Also, when I did the button tutorial I started out making flat buttons for my shirt.  Then I thought I could do rounded puffy buttons and so ripped all my clay buttons I made and redid them.  I saw all the cane slices laying on my table and decided to reuse them in some way so I laid them out on some scrap clay in a similar color and ended up with this pendant.  

So that was actually two mistakes I feel I did but still ended up with something wearable after all!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Polymer Clay Buttons

One of the neatest things I discovered about polymer clay was how you could use it to make buttons.  Since I love to sew, buttons are a really great feature as I can make them myself now in an any style or color I wish!  When I sew an outfit, I always end up with left-over fabric which I try to use up every piece and create matching accessories such as a handbag or something for my hair.  I tend to do the same when working with my clay -- especially if there are left-overs of a favorite cane or decorated sheet I made -- and I will make several accessories such as a necklace, pendant or earrings.  Sometimes I will use my left-over pieces to make buttons for a blouse as well, like in the ones shown in the above photo.

I started out making the typical button with holes and then I discovered these button backs from Fire Mountain Gems.  Here are some I first covered using left-over cane slices.

This is a shirt I bought for a really good price.  I loved the color and how it fit but it came with cheap tacky white buttons. 


 I replaced the buttons with the ones I just made and what a difference it makes!  Now I have my own designer blouse and of course some accessories I have made to go with it which I will show you in my next post.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day Story

Barbara Olivo Cagle is from a family of 16 children and wrote a book about her mother and growing up.

Dave and I both came from an "average" family size of 4 kids so is hard to imagine having 15 brothers and sisters instead of just 3!

Anyhow, in honor of mother's day, Barbara is giving away a copy of her book so drop by her blog and check it out and leave a comment to enter her draw!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A New Table - continued

Well I'm almost done the one table so I thought I would share how it is coming along.  The tiles are all glued down and now it is ready to be grouted with some premixed black grout I bought.  Most of the tiles I cut before firing and then the smaller pieces were cut afterwards.  You will notice I painted the table black.  Some people were worried when I said I was going to do this but now they (including my hubby) agree it looks so much better this way.  The sold green and burnt orange tiles have a mica shift pattern in them which you can't see too well in this photo.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Floating Rock!

While in Vancouver a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a little time with Joan Tayler, one of my a polymer clay friends.  Her work is very creative and beautiful and it was nice to catch up and share what we've been up to the last few months.  While shopping for clay and supplies, she showed me some Fimo in a Granite color.  I wasn't aware they made a granite type clay and as soon as I saw it I had to have some as it was exactly what I needed for a project I was working on.

After I made my "stone", I noticed when I went to sand it, that it floated in the water!  How cool is that?!!  Well this is what I did .. (sorry I don't have more photos).   I first formed the basic shape I wanted out of crumpled tin foil and then covered it with my conditioned granite clay.  I wanted a slight greenish tinge so I added a few drops of "lettuce" alcohol ink.  I didn't add too much as it always darkens slightly after firing.

After baking I sanded it until it was smooth but I'm not going to buff it as I want the nice matte finish as it looks more realistic that way.

I won't be able to show you the finish project yet as it will be one of my pieces I will be  submitting into a juried art show this summer.  Let's just say there will be a gecko involved somehow!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wedding Bells & Candles

I've been pretty busy with a lot of things these days and looking at the calendar noticed that June is already fast approaching.  Time just seems to be flying and it is time to be thinking about weddings already.

When I
 originally designed my first set of candle collars, it was to add a nice accent to our dining table as well as protect the furnishings from melted wax.  One client saw them and commissioned me to design a pair for the head table at her wedding.

I also had a request for a pair of candle collars without the chandelier pieces (shown below) which are nice as well.

These are fun to do and I've done them in dozens of colors and designs.  It got me thinking about setting up a wedding section on Art Fire and Etsy so check it out.