Since I rediscovered polymer clay this year, my mind has been spinning with ideas about how it could be used with metal clay. Add in glass clay to the mix, and my creative juices have been really flowing! Well-known glass artist Paula Radke made the glass cabs out of her glass clay.
I am the first to admit that I’m learning polymer clay and while my finished bracelet is not perfect…there are several ideas to take away and try in your own work:
a) Polymer clay is fun! I love that I can work with both fired and unfired clay.
b) Carving polymer clay is addictive! I took a class with Celie Fago and she showed us how to carve polymer clay and the importance of creating test pieces of polymer clay so that you can test that the clay cured after baking it.
c) Glass clay is divine! Oh the colours! Paula’s cabochons remind me of something I’d find at a European flea-market.
Ever have the thought that because you can’t draw you aren’t an artist? Well, according to the newest craze spreading across the country, if you can hold a pen and make a line, you can draw beautiful pictures. Does this make you an artist? Maybe not, but just about everyone who has tried it creates at least ONE original drawing, often worthy of framing!
Last fall I was introduced to a drawing technique called Zentangle®. A friend found it online, I ordered the kit, three of us watched the video, tried it out and we were hooked! We each have different backgrounds, but we were each able to create a set of diverse and interesting drawings.
The premise behind the process is that you combine some Zen time, soft music and quiet environment with a directed type of mark making, and you create small, 3.5”x3.5” (8.8cm) drawings full of dynamic patterns and shapes. By engaging your right brain in this way anyone can draw some pretty spectacular designs. Zentangle® provides a way to shift your focus and perspective onto the process of what you are doing and away from the results. Continue reading…
Products Reviewed: Helen Breil Designer Texture Stamps,Rivet Piercing/Setting Tool and the Jool Tool
Helen Breil Designer Texture Stamps Zentangles®, a meditative, repetitive form of doodling, seems to be everywhere these days. Last month, Metal Clay Artist published an article by Linda Styles Smith that explored a number of ways these highly graphic drawings could be used for textures in metal clay. Those who like the patterns, but don’t feel like creating their own, can now get the look from designer Helen Breil’s intriguing line of texture plates inspired by her experiments with Zentangles®. Continue reading…
The real trick to making fingerprint jewelry in metal clay is getting a clean, detailed print impressed into the clay. In my experience, all metal clays types can take fingerprints beautifully. But there are a few different ways – both direct and indirect – to harvest the fingerprint and impress it into the clay, and each has advantages and drawbacks and produces a slightly different result.
The three most common approaches are:
1) Pressing the finger directly into metal clay.
2) Taking an impression of the fingerprint into a molding compound, and pressing the molded print into metal clay.
3) Taking an ink fingerprint on paper and then using the image to create a photopolymer plate (PPP) or to etch a copper texture plate.
In this article, I’ll describe the major pros, cons, and unique considerations for each approach. Continue reading…
Colouring is in vogue—at least for adults! I couldn’t believe it was a trend at first, but then one day I was colouring with my kids and realized that I’ve coloured in their colouring books for years! It’s a peaceful pastime. Choosing colours and how to shade in areas is fun and good for the soul. Creative people need a way to express themselves every day. Colouring fills that need for so many artists and crafters. Is this trend reconnecting us with simpler times? Is it part of the movement to purge our houses and live with less stuff? Colouring doesn’t require many supplies. It is also a peaceful and meditative activity. Continue reading…
This ring combines several different design elements to create lots of visual interest. The earrings are a fun, simple and striking complement, and you can customize all these pieces just by varying the finish inside the domes.
Project and photos: Jane Font
Editors: Jeannette Froese LeBlanc and Margaret Schindel
[Editor’s note: I spent a rainy afternoon in my studio last weekend….staring at the ceiling. While I should have been thrilled that I could actually find space on my now partially cleared and totally painted studio floor…I wasn’t. I lay there among my stuff and mess. Defeated. Ready to give up. I pondered the wisdom of tearing apart my “epicenter” my “she-cave”. Am I ever going to finish this clean out and re-org? My hand fell on an old issue of Metal Clay Artist… I opened it on an article by Melody Pierson. I procrastinated cleaning a bit more by taking the time to read and savor her article. I thought some of you who are also in “mid-re-org” in your studios and that maybe a dose of humour might help! Enjoy!] Continue reading…
Last week marked the end of the “60 Day Studio Challenge.” Two things got in the way of my publishing a final article and showing off my finished studio. Number one: I’m not finished yet! I need more time. Sixty days sounded like plenty of time to whip even the most dismal studio into shape. Wrong! Painting the floor and some of my studio furniture took longer than I expected. I’ll explain the floor (admittedly just fishing for sympathy here!). Imagine a 12-foot square room divided into three 4-foot by 12-foot sections. I had to move everything off of one four-foot square section to paint. When that section dried, I had to move everything off the next four feet so I could paint the second section. Ditto for the last section. That’s a lot of moving (or in my case, dragging)! And that was just the painting portion of the project. So I need more time. In choosing 60 days for the challenge I should have realized that I need 60 days in total, not 60 consecutive days! So now that I’ve cleared that up, counting the 20 non-consecutive days I’ve spent so far on getting my studio back in shape (over the course of the past two months), I have about 40 “studio days” left. I will finish. I have a friend coming to work in my studio and former students looking for classes. So I am very motivated…just temporarily stalled.
The other thing that prevented me from writing an article about my “out of shape studio” last week was world events. By now you’ve all seen the gut-wrenching images of the young boy whose body was found face down on a beach in turkey. He, his young brother and their mother were three of the 12 Syrian refugees who drowned that day while trying to escape to one of the Greek islands. And those 12 souls were symbolic of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other migrants and refugees who risk their lives daily trying to reach the relative safety of Europe. My heart aches for them and for their families. In light of these tragic events, working on my studio and writing about having too much “stuff” somehow seemed disrespectful. In fact, anything to do with art this week just felt frivolous to me. Continue reading…
Many things we do in life have purpose. But, this in itself doesn’t imply that we always see all of them as particularly purposeful at the moment of doing them. In fact, we might often wonder, “Why do I have to do this?”
Some of the things we do are just necessary activities of our everyday human existence. Those tend to be the unavoidable things that are part and parcel of daily life; household chores, school and family activities, work related tasks. There are a myriad of things that simply have to be done. They may not always be our favorite things. But, since they have to be accomplished anyway, realizing their necessity as we do them makes them a bit more purposeful and easier to tend to. Continue reading…
Readers of Creative Fire have been asking for more polymer clay techniques to use with the metal clay creations. You asked, we listened! In this installment of Clay Convergence we’ll look at a widely popular millefiori method that’s not only easy to make, but gives great results time after time. People with little or no polymer clay experience are often intimidated by the idea of working with polymer clay. They believe it’s difficult and time consuming to learn how to achieve complex looking effects. This is an often-held misconception that this project will hopefully dispel. While it’s true that some millefiori versions can be highly difficult, it doesn’t have to be the rule.
This method is one I learned from polymer clay artist Esther Anderson earlier in the last decade. This article doesn’t address how to create the metal clay bezels or frames that showcase this design. That’s up to you.
As you can see from the photo of the finished pendants a variety of metals, shapes, sizes and textures were used. You’ll have to bring your creativity to the bezel or frame you wish to create, but this step-by-step technique method will teach you how to create canes with a mod, tiled look.
Most directions for extruders call for using separate devices for both metal and polymer clays. Cross-material contamination is undesirable when using these tools. You’ll learn an easy tip on how to use only one extruder for both clays as well as how to keep the device clean between uses. Also included is an extra tutorial on how to create a coiled bail or fired and finished metal clay bezel settings and frames.
As for determining your color palette, this is your choice. I recommend working with three to four colors when creating your cane. Using more than four colors may create a mottled effect. Also, it’s a good idea to use at least one very light and one very dark value for maximum contrast and canes that pop! Using colors that have similar tones can result in muted results. This isn’t a no-no by any means, but it’s good to know what to expect when getting started. The best part is experimenting with color combinations as you create a myriad of mosaic tile canes for your metal clay projects. Uncured millefiori canes can last for many years when properly stored.