Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Polymer Play Days - Nottingham - June 2010 - more photos

Here are a few more photos of my creations

Spinner Ring I made in Donna Kato's class

Bubbles patterned sheet I made in Lindly Hanuani's class

Hollow balls made in Daniel Torres Mancera's class

A fizzy ball (you'll understand if you were there;)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Polymer Play Days - Nottingham - June 2010 - WOW!

WOW! What a totally fabulous weekend. I was very excited about going but the event surpassed all my hopes and expectations. I met some fabulous new people (who know what polymer clay is - hurrah! ;), I attended 6 brilliant classes and learned so much. I made some stuff I am really proud off. It was amazing to be able to spend all day doing nothing but playing with clay in good company. A huge thank you to Helen and all the others involved for making this event happen!

Here is my first batch of photos  - plenty more to follow but I can't wait to try some of these things again so I am going to play with clay instead of play with photos just now.

What I made in Natalia Garcia de Leaniz's class

What I made in Alison Gallant's class

What I made in Sylvie Peraud's class

I couldn't wait to try this again so had a go that night in my hotel room!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Melting pens

I have been looking for some pens to cover with polymer clay and couldn't find the Bic stics that I know from people in the states are oven friendly. I tried out a few brands - without clay (having already learnt the hard way!) and they all deformed even at 115oC. I asked for help on the PCC forum and Tonja was able to suggest using some papermate pens - PaperMate Flexgrip Elite and PaperMate Flexigrip Ultra in capped rather than retractable models. I couldn't find either of those with caps either - only retractable.

I widened my trials and melted many a pen in the oven but I can conclude the following pens are safe for 115oC (Fimo curing).

  • Papermate Comfortmate - capped ball pen (this also comes in retractable but haven't tried those)
  • Papermate 2000 Stick
  • Papermate Flexigrip Elite (I had the retractable ones cause I couldn't find the capped ones and only tested the barrel)
  • Bic round stic ( I found some in a pound shop - hurrah!)
  • Bic soft feel retractable pen but you can take the retractable part out and it is only the very end cap
  • Staples own brand metal barrelled roller ball pen with cap - cost about £1.99

The following pens melt/distort in a 115oC oven

  • Staedtler Sticks
  • Reynolds by papermate
  • Staples own - Sonix ball point stick pens
  • Staples own cushiongrip ball point pens (retractable)
  • Papermate 2020 Stick

Hope that helps and I hope to be able to show you some covered pens soon

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Very excited!

I am not sure how I have failed to mention this on my blog before but I am off to Polymer Play Days in Nottingham next week! Being a mother of 2 small children it is a real treat to be able to escape and have 3 days of pure polymer clay! I am looking forward to learning some new techniques, meeting some people I have met online in person and spending time with other people who actually know what polymer clay is! ( I am trying to educate the people around me ;)

I have been making beads for the bead swap which is part of this event along with 6 workshops. I am so indecisive I couldn't decide what to make at all so I have a large selection. I just hope there is something to interest everyone. I'll give you a sneak preview

 Can't wait to tell you all about it and show you the things I make in the workshops!

Friday, 18 June 2010

White flower green background

My latest flower cane. I wanted something to cover some yellow aluminium crochet hooks and thought about making a sunflower cane. Somehow I ended up making white daisy type of flower with a green background in Fimo Soft (I usually use Kato these days as it gives much neater results in cane work for me). Strange how you end up doing something completely different at times.

It's quite a jolly little cane, if not perfect and I am using it to cover my crochet hooks.

Patterned sheet swap

I am currently taking part in a patterned sheet swap held on PCC forum. This is a 2 part swap. The first was to make some patterned sheets and the second is to cover an object/objects with the patterned sheets you receive.

I didn't take a picture of my sheets but they were something like this. You can see them and all the other sheets sent in for the swap here on Barbara the host's flickr set (thanks Barbara for hosting and sharing these pictures ;)

Here are the sheets I received. I have until Saturday to do something with them so I had better get busy! I have a few ideas but want to make sure I really use them to their best advantage. I will post some pictures here when I have used them.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

First attempt at a butterfly cane

I used to think that a butterfly cane was too fiddly and likely to distort on reduction but now I have improved my cane building and reducing skill somewhat I decided it was time to tackle it. I had a good browse through flickr at butterfly canes for guidance

Cane ready for packing

Ready for reduction

Finished butterfly canes
I am pretty chuffed with how it turned out. The colour on the wings is actually a three way skinner blend from white through a custom blue/turquoise mix to violet (Kato clay). I started off thinking I would make one wing then use it in 4 parts to construct the butterfly. I realised after I had shaped the blue bits I shouldn't have done that so cut it in half and made 2 slightly different wings by changing their shape slightly and then adding different amounts of white dots on the edges.

I had pushed the top and bottom wings together to see how they looked but then decided I didn't like the shape of the bottom wing.  I went to pull them apart but they were well stuck and I would damage them taking them apart so I was stuck with them like that. I looks OK but I will do it a bit differently next time.

I tried to pack it carefully and reduced it straight away. I reduced it to 3 different sizes the largest being 2.5cm (1") and the smallest being 7mm.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Zebra cane and bracelet

I had a go at the zebra cane from Cindy Leitz video newsletter because I didn't have much time but wanted to make a cane for the PCC forum June Cane Challenge (a good excuse to do lots of cane making). I didn't think I liked animal prints really but thought this zebra one would be a variation on black and white stripes.  I made this cane and decided that I loved it!

I then made myself some beads. I sanded and buffed them today - without the Dremel cause the battery charger is not working :( 

I then spent about an hour trying out different ways to string them (they didn't quite look the same on the stringing as they did in my head). I would do them differently if I did them again. I would make the beads more similar in size. I wanted them to be an eclectic mix just strung together without spacers but wasn't sure that looked right when I tried it. Here is what I ended up with (mark 1 I feel, I feel a charm style bracelet coming on with beads like these and also perhaps another go at one like this but with more similar sized beads). I used up all my cane so I will be making more!

I  must also either select some beads to use with my polymer clay ones before I start making mine or go and buy some beads once I have made them, I never have anything that is just right it seems. I also must spend more money on fastenings. i bought some silver plate toggles which are pretty but the plating is coming of my favourite bracelet already (I have worn it a lot but....). I must invest in some solid silver ones even though they are expensive.

More Mokume Gane

I have been playing about with mokume gane again (along with making some beads and a zebra cane - I'll post about those tomorrow). This time scrap Mokume Gane from the tutorial I bought from Tonja's Treasures. I will have another go at a bangle sometime soon, I just have to sort out a bracelet form to make it the right size!

Scrap Mokume gane pendants

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Improved Mokume Gane

Today I have been playing with Mokume Gane (I meant to make a ghost flower cane but...). I am much happier with my results. I cut and restacked a lot more times (thanks Arlene for the tip!)

I'll make some things with it later - off to pick up the kids from school now

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

New texture sheet and Mokume Gane

I often admire other peoples Mokume Gane pieces but am always dissatisfied with my own. I've played about with the mokume gane technique a few times and tried various different  colours and methods.

Finally I got round to buying some texture sheets and decided to have another go.

Starting stack before rolling

The swirl texture sheet and the clay stack after passing through the pasta machine

The end sheet after slicing
Not quite sure what I will do with it (she'll probably cover a spoon handle you are probably thinking if you have read this blog for a while..) It still doesn't grab me as much as some others I have seen but I quite like it. Colours are a bit wacky! I think I should of had more layers in my stack to start with. The texture sheet is pretty thick which means it gives a nice deep impression but only just goes through the pasta machine. Perhaps I ought to roll it by hand.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Improved star cane

So I was just sitting down trying to figure out how to make them neater when I remembered I had a small star cookie cutter. I was going to use it to make an impression on the end of the block of clay to use as a cutting guide when I remembered seeing somewhere someone making a cane from cookie cutters (sorry can't remember who or where or when - I do remember it was elephants and it was a neat idea).

Here's what I did. The sheet was about 1cm thick, could of made it thicker but it reduced OK

I am pleased with the end result. I wish I had some more interesting small cutters, I have some great ones but they are too big it would be very difficult reducing a disc 15cm wide but only 1 cm deep I imagine.

Quick star cane

Finally after what seems like forever I managed to grab some clay time today. I have been having a lovely time on holiday with my friends and family but I have also been aching to create!

My daughter's school remained closed today after the holidays for a teacher training day but she was happy playing by herself for a bit so I had a go at making a star cane.

Over on the Polymer Clay Central Forum there is a June Cane Challenge where people are trying out new things with canes and posting pictures of what they have been up to. One of the postings was of a star cane made by Kathi. This inspired me to have a go at a star cane too. I made one a long long time ago when I was about 15 but it was very distorted. Kathi kindly shared some tips on how she made hers (check the forum out if you want to know ;) and I managed to make 2 small canes in about 5 mins.

A bit too rushed so they aren't the neatest, and I am not sure what I was thinking with the colour - not very apt for stars. I started out with 2 logs of clay the same(ish) dimensions. I placed the pony bead on top to make a mark to guide my cutting. I cut along the lines the pony bead made to cut out wedges, leaving a solid star. I then swapped the wedges over to the other colour and taa daa 2 star canes!

I am off to have another go now the kids are in bed and I can take a bit more time.