Saturday, April 24, 2010

Polymer Clay Cane Reduction Disaster

I'm a little frazzled, I've had two strange men peeking in my windows all day today.

The painters are painting the window trim, the front and back porches and the 2nd floor deck. Every time I turned around I had one or both peering at me through the window. I spend most of the day hiding out in my studio or the basement. When I got hungry or thirsty I would press up against the wall and slither down the hall to the kitchen. I'm a very private person, I do not like people looking at me... I would have never made it as a goldfish. This will most likely go on for a couple more days.... my cats and I are not happy campers. Every time I sit down a furry critter.. or two... lands in my lap. Normally my cats are not lap sitters.

It rained off and on all day today.... didn't stop the painters, they just kept painting. I went out and asked how they could paint in the rain and they said "No problem, when it rains heavy we paint on the inside of the porch and when it lets up we paint on the outside". Seems strange to me, I was under the impression you needed dry weather to paint, silly me... I have visions of waking up in the morning to puddles of paint all around the house. They also kept painting an hour or more after it got dark. I went out and asked about that too but they assured me they could see just fine.

Okay now to my cane disaster story.

I spent a couple days building what I thought would be a lovely butterfly cane with flowers in her wings. I assembled the cane... as you can see in the photo... Now I must tell you canes are not my thing, most all of the canes I make are fairly small, about 1 to 2 inches across and 1 1/2" high. There in lies the problem, this one grew to 4" x 5" and was only 1 1/2" high... so when I tried to reduce it I could not get the center to move. I got it down to 2" x 3" before I sliced it open and it was a total failure. It was a big disappointment and I forgot to take a photo... you'll have to take my word for it, it was badly distorted and didn't look like a butterfly at all. I haven't given up on the idea, I will try again with a more manageable size.

Click on the photos for a close look.

I chopped it up and made these... they look kinds like sting rays...
I also made several mirror image tiles.... and lots of what I call "rattlers" cause to me the resemble rattle snake rattlers. The one in the center has little flutterbys going up a chute...
I used a couple other "rattlers" to make a reversible pendant adorned with a bail made of coiled wire and freshwater pearls then completed the necklace with matching wire links.

This is the front view:

This is the side view
and here is the back view.
My muse is into purple lately, here are a couple more purple canes.
I made more mirror image tiles and beads from the disaster cane but I haven't sanded them yet. I"ll post photos when they are looking their best.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Polymer Clay Canes, Buttons and Beads

I am trying to improve my caning skills so I've decided to devote some time each week to caning. This one started out as a simple 5 petal flower cane and then I made it a little more complex with a band of swirls, 1/2 bulls eyes and wedges.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Before reduction:
After reduction. I like it.
Then I went back to playing with buttons. These are sample pieces made with scrap/green "guts" clay

I liked the clean lines of the design on this button, it's simple but attractive. I used PearlEx to highlight the design and then sealed with Kato liquid clay.

The design on the button doesn't show up well in the photo, it looks good on the polymer pieces. One is highlighted with gold PearlEx and the other with silver PearlEx.Another vintage plastic button with an interesting design. I left the button holes as part of the design on this one.
I like the attractive design and the gentle curve on this button. I made a mold with scrap clay which I then used to make the round tile. I didn't like the bumps made by the button holes so I cut them out with a round cutter and added a ball of clay in the center. The raised area of the design is highlighted with PearlEx and sealed with Kato liquid clay. I used my heat gun to clear the liquid clay.
This is a sampling of vintage carved and molded Bakelite buttons. I've always loved these big Bakelite buttons but wished they came in more attractive colors.... and now they will, all I have to do is make molds.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Beat the Deadline. Yahoo!! & Made a Necklace too!!

Finished our taxes one days ahead of schedule.... even got them signed and in the mail. I have spent the last 10 days preparing tax returns for all the kids and grandkids... not fun this year as most everyone owes money and I don't like being the bearer of bad tidings but at least it is done and I don't have to think about it for another year.

In between filling in forms, schedules and work sheets I took little breaks and worked on a mostly colored wire asymmetrical necklace. I did use the polymer clay bicone beads that I posted earlier.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

I used matte finish purple seed beads on the wire doodads.

and a cultured freshwater pearl in the center of the pendant. I like the 3-D effect of the pendant.
The chain in double links of green and brass wire.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Polymer Clay Buttons to Beads

I'm still slogging around in my basement. The cleaning is slow moving as I keep finding things that distract me. My latest find was a box of large coat buttons, many with attractive designs.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

I like the pattern on this button, it is simple but very attractive. I was running scrap clay through the pasta machine and liked the copper look so I used it to make a couple tiles.

This large coat button has lots of texture so I used it to make the hollow pendant.

In between playing with clay, cleaning the basement (actually I'm making a big mess down there) and doing a little yard work I made a few wire doodads.
I made a necklace using one of the "copper" tiles and the blue wire doodad strung on dark blue waxed cotton cord. I have dozens of large buttons with fun designs, good thing I saved them, right?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Polymer Clay Combining Cane Tiles in Pink

House Update: The roof is done, next step new gutters. I'm hoping the gutter work won't be as noisy as the roof work was.

With all that pounding overhead I forgot to take photos of the canes I assembled for these tiles, as you can see I combined magenta, pink, and black and white canes. I am pleased with the way they turned out.

Click on the photos for a closer look.
I added colored wire and pearl seed beads in the center of this one.

I used fashion pages from a 1927 Ladies Home Journal for the background. I think the tiles have a roaring twenties look, don't you?
This one is my favorite. I think I will put a tassel of beads in the center.
It's cool and rainy here today, I hope it clears up tomorrow so the Easter bunny can hide his eggs.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Polymer Clay Combining Canes #4

This time I combined canes in shades of orange and brown.. when I arranged the canes I didn't care for the yellow/green/orange striped canes so I didn't use them in this grouping.

Click on the photos for a closer look.
I like the look the checkerboard cane adds to the new canes and tiles.

This is a photo of the tiles I made before baking
and this is after baking. They did darken a bit, but not to bad, sanding and buffing always helps bring out the color and gives a finished look.

TIP: I have trouble getting a clean even cut when I slice diagonally. When I was reducing the cane with my acrylic rods it occurred to me that I could use them as a guide...I gave it a try and it worked. Just make sure the clay is firmed adhered to both rods.