Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Polymer Clay Daily!

It's kind of funny, but I never posted about this in my blog.  I think each of us read the posts and hope for the day when it's their name and then.... I was featured March 9 - yes, that's the day after my birthday - by the premier polymer clay blog in the world, Polymer Clay Daily.  My Van Goghish cuff bracelet below caught Cynthia Tinapple's Eye and she did a very nice write up on my experiments with scraps.  I do have to say that it looks darn good for a clay hand-me-down. =) And others must have agreed because my sites got over 20,000 hits in just 2 days.  
Magic
The bracelet is rather simple in design.  I had made a series of rainbow colored canes for my PCAGOE Challenge piece and had lots of rainbow colored left overs from all the color mixing I did.  I chopped the leftovers up by color groups and stacked them next to each other - adding a few specs of chopped up black for effect.  From that colored block of stacked, chopped scrap clay, I made a Starry Night Spiral Cane ala Donna Kato - and yes, it does look very Van Gogh as Donna's name suggests. You may have already seen the variation tutorial I posted for this wonderful rainbow colored magic swirl cane on July 11. I made a few more fun canes from the leftovers that you can see on my Flickr site and then Rainbow Stroppel Canetossed all the leftover ends and bits and pieces into a Stroppel Cane - an ingenious use of leftovers brought to us by Alice Stroppel.  You can watch a Stroppel Cane demo by Alice herself HERE.  I've been tickled at the response and feel absolutely humbled by the wonderful polymer community.  I've questioned my path so many times over the past years and truly feel like I'm on the road to where I want to be.  Thank you, everyone!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Joys of Extruding!

The July PCAGOE Challenge theme was "Extruded." What a fun challenge! Extruding clay has come a long way from the days of making your hands sore with the old silver extruders. My Makins Extruder is a blessing and has allowed me to play with some beautiful techniques that I'd never have tried with my old extruders. Check out these Salt & Pepper Shakers by Lisa Rapp! They are made with simple extruded snakes that are pinched and bent to simulate knitted stitches! I gotta try this - I've seen some absolutely brilliant items created with this technique! Lisa's wonderful Salt & Pepper Shakers won first place in voting by her fellow PCAGOE members.  Congratulations, Lisa!

This was my entry - one of my guitar tins made with a extruded "Klimt" background.The outline of the guitar was created from a rope of extruded gold as were the strings and the other features. They were placed on a canvas of liquid polymer and manipulated into the design and baked. The inside of the guitar was inlaid after baking using a background of extruded klimt cane with coordinating colors. After sanding the surface smooth, I added an additional layer of liquid polymer to seal the inlay and fill any gaps. It's a fun little project made with lots of extruded fun. =) I'd like to thank my fellow PCAGOE members for voting me 3rd place in the challenge! Here is a pen in a matching "Klimt" pattern.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Making a Magic Swirl Cane

Rainbow Swirl

Here's a goodie for using up some of your random fun scraps. I originally published this in my April newsletter. If you want to read the whole newsletter, the link is http://ymlp.com/zV9foZ. I'd love for you to post your canes or any projects you make from them on my Facebook Page!

1) Grab some piles of left over scrap clay in colors you want to blend. Make sure the piles are similar in size.




2) Chop up the different piles of scrap clay with a blade or in your food processor. If you make it too fine, you'll lose the details of the different shades, but this is a fun way to vary the look of the cane as well.




3) Stack the different piles of
chopped clay next to each other.






4) Chop up a bit of scrap black clay and divide it evenly between the piles. How fine you chop it will determine how fine the black accent streaks are in your cane. Mix the black bits into your piles and mix the piles very slightly between colors to blend them.

5) Roll and press your pile of chopped bits into a square. At this point I cut mine in half to make another cane (haven't decided which) and resquished the remaining half back into a square. It was about 3.5".

6) Run the slab of clay through the pasta machine on the thickest setting - from one color to the next as shown. You want to make sure you run it this way so that the colors run through the sheet as streaks of color. If you run it through from the edge with all colors, they will be just dots of color.


7) Take your sheet of clay and
divide into 3rds lengthwise. Stack your three long sheets.




8) Run a thin sheet of black through your pasta machine. I did this on a 5 setting when my machine goes from 1(largest) to 7(smallest). You can make it thinner or thicker depending on your taste. Stack your black sheet on one side of your colored sheet and trim the excess.

9) Roll your cane from either end - your choice - with the black toward the outside - i.e. the black will be laying against the table as you roll your cane up. Your cane is now finished! Reduce and enjoy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Custom Designs

It is always a bit of an honor and a challenge when you get that message in your inbox asking about custom designs. This one was fun.


The customer wanted drawer pulls for her custom laundry room. The room had tile that was white and cream. She asked about putting laundry related shapes on a white and cream checked background. I started out with my extruder again - making white and cream square logs that I stacked together with "grout" in a tan color to add separation and interest. I then created 3 canes - a clothes hanger, a clothes pin, and a jug of bleach. I covered the pulls in a base layer of clay to make a smooth bed for the pattern sheet. That sheet started with thin slices of my checkerboard cane overlaid with thin slices from my laundry room canes. The final pulls were sanded and buffed to a glossy shine. I'm looking forward to seeing a picture of them in place on the cabinets that I can share!

If you're interested in any custom items for you home, please feel free to contact me! rengalsa@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's All About the Color!

As much as my clown from my last post was about shades of gray, these pieces are all about COLOR. I've had a lot of creative ideas floating through my head, but most of the time I wonder what to do with all the leftovers after I finish my creative vision. This was the case with the clay from my Mime Bracelet that I featured in my March Newsletter. I made 3 tiny canes with my scrap - a rainbow zigzag, a basketweave, and a spiral like the tutorial I shared in my April Newsletter. From the leftovers of these three canes, I also made a Stroppel Cane. These coordinate and can be combined beautifully, but also make beautiful stand alone items, like the bangle bracelet pictured above and the perfume pen to the right. Unfortunately, my experiments with those canes is limited since they were small to begin with, but the results always give me more ideas for future experiments. Plus, the lucky buyer who grabs them from my ETSY shop will have a unique treasure.

Here are a few more fun finds from my ETSY shop using my colorful scrap canes!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Clowning Around

It's hard sometimes to put into words where your inspiration comes from. As long as I can remember I've been creative - drawing and cutting out my own paper dolls from the moment I could hold a scissors. Every creative moment molds you and one of my pivotal ones was getting a paint by number set with two clowns - one happy, one sad. It was complex and I was very young, but my mom knew I needed the challenge. I was fascinated with the face painting, the expressions, and it began a love affair with the human face and capturing emotions with concepts and design. In starting this latest line of polymer art, I wanted to get back to those ideas that inspired me in my youth.

These earrings are called "Rainy Day at the Circus." They have a translucent sad clown face on a black, gray & white pixeled background. I wanted the gray back drop to represent the gray of the rain in contrast to the bright colors in the clown's nose, hair, and flower. They were my entry in the May PCAGOE challenge - "Artist Inspired." And it's not what you may think, I wasn't inspired by the artist who painted the original painting that paint-by-number from my youth was based upon. When I thought about it, the artists that inspired me were the clowns or more specifically the clown that most of the sad, tramp clowns were based upon - Emmett Kelly or "Weary Willie."
Here are details from the matching cuff bracelet and mini salt and pepper shakers.  The 3 matching pieces are for sale in my ETSY shop.  Click on the links to find them:

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Pansy Butterfly Cane

There are a bevy of beautiful butterfly canes out there and just as many instructions on how to make them - from the simple to the complex. Mine is based on the techniques found in my Pansy Cane Tutorial, but can be used with any Skinner Plug or even a rounded Ikat Cane. As always please share anything you create on my Facebook Page! I'd love to see your work, too!

1) You'll need two color coordinated canes to begin with. One that is approximately 3/4" x 6" and another slightly smaller. I used half of the canes that I used to make the Passion Flame Pansy cane that is pictured at the bottom of this blog post.

2) Mix a dark color that coordinates with your cane, but is a shade darker or you can use black. Make a sheet of this to wrap both of your canes.

3) Also make two bullseye canes with white (or light colored) centers and your dark mix from 2. Make the canes with different sized centers.

4) Cut off a 2" section of your larger cane and set it aside. Reduce the cane to 5/8" and cut another 2" section. Reduce again to get 2" sections that are 1/2", 3/8", and 1/4".

5) Reduce your smaller cane to 1/2 and cut off 2 2" sections. Reduce it again to 3/8" and cut off two more 2" sections.

6) Shape your sections of your longer cane into long teardrops and stack them together longest on top to smallest. Place varying sections of both of your bullseye canes along the outer edge.


7) Shape your sections of smaller cane into elongated teardrops and place the longest ones in the center and the shorter ones on the outside. Attach varying sizes of your bullseye canes to the outer edge on this wing parts well.


8) Place your wings together. At this point you can use them as is or reduce them and cut them in half and add a body to the center. Fill as needed with translucent.

9) Enjoy!

Here is the Passion Flame Pansy Cane that was also made from the same canes that I used to create my Butterfly wings! Holler if you have any questions! This tutorial was originally published on my monthly newsletter. You can find the whole newsletter HERE or SUBSCRIBE!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Polymer Classes at Michaels!

Moving to the Dallas area has been such a blessing for me in so many ways. I have a wonderful man in my life, beautiful children, and I get the chance because of my proximity to Michael's corporate office to try out new class ideas at the store in Southlake, Texas.

I'll have 2 series of Summer Camp classes. One the week of June 11-15 and another the week of July 16-20. The classes will be held from 2-4 pm and are open to ages 13 to adult - younger with an adult in attendance and my approval. I've also had requests for an evening class, so am starting a class Monday evenings from 6-8pm June 11, 18, and 25 and July 16 and 23. If there is enough interest, I plan on extending the Monday night classes into the fall or adding new classes.

The classes are very basic millefiori classes using simple striped cane variations, Skinner blends, and basic shapes. Don't let the samples scare you - these are projects anyone can do and are great projects to share with your kiddo home from school for the summer or take it with a friend!

There are a few general supplies that we use in all the classes, those include the following:
Clay/Pasta Machine - Amaco SKU #039672123816
Clay Tool Kit with a Clay Blade SKU #039672110595
Graduated Rotary Mat - Olfa SKU #091511300145
Wire Cutter
Round Nose Plyers
Clay Roller - Art Minds SKU #400100852521

We use a crimper to make bracelets for several of the projects as well, so picking up a jewelry tool kit that has plyers, cutters, and a crimper can be a good investment - plus the case is nice to keep them organized and handy.

Rainbow Stripes Earrings

June 11 2-4pm
July 16 2-4pm
July 23 6-8pm

Additional Supplies:
2oz white, black, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, & purple clay or one multipak (Fimo or Premo)
Head/Eye Pins
Hook Earwires
Accent Beads - glass, your choice

These are fabulously colorful and simple! They are made from a simple block cane of stacked sheets of colored clay that is sliced thin and wrapped around a tube of clay. I'll be teaching how to create your cane, form the beads, and then assemble your earrings. If time allows, I'll demo some other fun uses for your cane - like candy striped tube beads!

Stripes and Pinwheels

June 12 2-4pm
July 17 2-4pm
June 11 6-8pm

Additional Supplies:
2oz white & translucent clay (Fimo or Premo)
Head/Eye Pins
Hook Earwires
Toggle Clasp
Accent Beads - glass, your choice (school colors)
Silver Accent Beads - Bicones or your choice
Crimper
Crimp Covers - Beadalon SKU #035926057272
Crimp Beads - Beadalon SKU #035926075368
Accu-flex Bead Wire - silver 49 strand

Need an elegant, modern bracelet to go with your new outfit? This class shows how to make some very, very simple square beads in your favorite color combinations. I'll show you how to put them together into a simple bracelet with some basic jewlery making techniques.

Fangs & Claws School Spirit Cha-Cha Jewelry

June 13 2-4pm
July 18 2-4pm
June 18 6-8pm

Additional Supplies:
2oz white & translucent clay (Fimo or Premo)
Head/Eye Pins
Hook Earwires
Toggle Clasp
Silver Chain with jump rings - Bead Landing SKU #40010090613
Accent Beads - glass, your choice (school colors)

This is a great class to sink your teeth into! How many schools out there have animal mascots - tigers, lions, bears, dragons, you name it! With a simple striped cane, I'll teach you how to make fabulous claws & fangs that you can coordinate with your school colors for jingling school spirit fun! It's so simple - make one for all your friends!

Floral Filigree

June 14 2-4pm
July 19 2-4pm
June 25 6-8pm

Additional Supplies:
2oz white, gold, and one other clay - your choice (Fimo or Premo)
Head/Eye Pins
Hook Earwires
Toggle Clasp
Filigree Chain - Bead Landing SKU #400100839478
Flat Backed Crystals - Create Your Style/Swarovski Elements

Doesn't this look hard? Not so! This is a simple application of any petal cane that only takes a steady hand. I'll be teaching how to use a simple Skinner blend to create your unique petal cane that you can then use to make fun filigree flowers!

School Spirit Paws

June 15 2-4pm
July 20 2-4pm
July 16 6-8pm

Additional Supplies:
2oz white(or black) & 2 school colors of clay (Fimo or Premo)
Head/Eye Pins
Hook Earwires
Toggle Clasp
Accent Beads - glass, your choice (school colors)
Silver Accent Beads - your choice
Crimper
Crimp Covers - Beadalon SKU #035926057272
Crimp Beads - Beadalon SKU #035926075368
Accu-flex Bead Wire - silver 49 strand

Need a fun way to raise some money for your class project? Make simple paw jewelry in your school colors! It's an easy design and has wonderful applications.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bowls and Vessels

The June PCAGOE Challenge theme is "Bowls and Vessels." There is some absolutely stunning entries this month, like this fabulous teapot by Berit Hines! Berit does some fabulous work and is a fellow caner. All this month's entries are all definitely worth a look for Father's Day or for a special gift idea. The voting goes through June 7, so don't forget to vote for your chance to win a prize from the generous donations of our members!  

This is my entry - the pretty mini salt and pepper shakers that you may recognize from my Butterfly cane tutorial in last month's Newsletter. I've been experimenting with different patterns of flowers and butterflies and ways of using and coordinating left over canes. The two canes for these cute little salt & pepper came from the same basic petal cane from my pansy tutorial. I'll be doing more experimenting - some scrap cane ideas and also I've been looking into writing a comprehensive millefiori book for ipads and iphones using ePub. Now it's time for a few more coordinating colors! Back to the clay table! 


Monday, June 4, 2012

Suzy's Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom

It is always exciting to open your email to find a note that says, "You've been featured!" And as a thank you, I'd like to share the Blog featuring me in my newsletter as well. Suzy Myer's Blog is Called Suzy's Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom. She is a fellow Etsy shop owner and sells the most beautiful Ukrainian Eggs there like the one pictured.  

June 3 when I checked my email, I got a wonderful surprise - a note on Etsy that I was being featured. Her article the next day was on Millefiori - which is the basic technique behind most of my polymer art. Millefiori means "thousand flowers" and is a term originally associated with italian glass which was shaped into rods or 'canes' to be used in bowls, beads, paperweights, etc. Millefiori is also the term used by polymer artists to describe the wonderful canes the creature that decorate their art. Suzy featured several millefiori artisans - glass & polymer - including myself and my lovely perfume pen made from my rainbow pansy cane. You can check out the entire blog post including the other wonderful featured artists at http://suzyssitcom.com.

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