Sarajane's Polyclay Gallery

Welcome to Sarajane’s Polyclay Gallery!

Here you will find all sorts of artistic eye candy, information, projects and tutorials about polymer clay, ceramics, metal, graphic arts, textiles and many other media. This is the blog page with all the news, and there are many pages listed in the drop down menu above. Please do explore!

Challenges

challengeMy beading friends meet together to work on projects and share techniques that we figure out. All of us have worked together in stores, shows and events, and we all have varying styles, techniques and levels of experience. We all have beads in common, though! 

At the end of last year, two of our members presented us with a challenge project. We were given two pieces of fabric and a packet of accent beads, and told to make “wearable art” from them. We took a photo of the starter parts, and agreed to take pics of the finished pieces in May.

Well, the project was not the only challenge that all of us had going this year. Lots of stuff came up, as stuff has a tendency to do. I took my project with me to Ohio in April, intending to get a lot done, and never even got things out of the box in which they traveled. I had shingles, which took up two months of time that had nothing creative at all going on, but recovery’s challenges are being met and I’m back to being able to spend time on things just because I want to do something. I’ve gone to a few bead meetings, started a storefront in Idaho Springs, and resumed teaching classes at TinkerMill in Longmont.

This project isn’t done yet; there are many finishing touches to still come. I need to finish the strap, make the clasp, and add a few more decorative details. A few sessions more should do it!

I’m grateful for the techniques and support my bead friends share so willingly, I’m grateful for the time and energy to use and share what I know. I’m grateful for life’s challenge that keep us all growing and learning, and I’m grateful for having some time to spend now and then with BEADS!

Patina Party

patinas-1I’m having my own little patina party, getting a big new batch of earrings, pendants and jewelry components ready to wire wrap. I’ve done lots of electro-etching on sheets copper, brass, bronze and nickle silver over the past year, marked and cut the shapes, ground the edges, and now its time for color!

Then on to so much sanding I think I’ll  get out the beach blankets and sit outside while I work. Of course, being Colorado in April, we MIGHT still get snow…but it is beautiful today, and I’ve got lots to do. Plus, I have another batch to patina next week.

Yesterday’s efforts went very well and I used liver of sulfer, midas blue, and tiffany green commercial patinas to get a wide range of hues. I’ll be teaching a class at TinkerMill on the use of heat, chemicals and commercial patinas on metal, and these are some of the samples.

You can really see the difference sanding the tops and filing the edges makes after the patina process. 

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Spring Flowers

template-first-setI’m learning to use new software and new tools along with those honed for a while now, and the new crop this year includes Inkscape design software that is a lot like Illustrator but lots of CAD stuff in there I’m not familiar with yet.

Combined with the software that runs the 80 watt laser cutting machine, I have now successfully cobbled up some shapes into templates that I cut out of matt board as a test run. These templates will help me cut out flowers in metal.

AND I can now cut my designs out of paper, matt board, leather, acrylic and wood, among other stuff. This cutting edge tool opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me, design and display-wise, so do check back soon to see what becomes of it all!

Classy!

findingsI’m learning my way around Tinkermill in Longmont. There’s a great deal TO learn there–lots of machines, materials, and creative knowledgeable people. I’m happy to be one of them, and to now be starting to offer classes there. How to use the MeetUp service to book classes is just one part of the learning curve.

My first offering there is a class in making findings and components for jewelry using sheet metal, wire, and simple tools.

After I finish a bit more work on my classes page, I’ll also be putting up classes in Intro to Polymer Clay and Millefiore, as well as Business of Art Classes. Its a great start to a year full of new things. Please join me!

Get more info and sign up for the class through MeetUp here!

Experimenting with Color

color-metal-plate-3I’ve often referred to myself as a mad scientist with art supplies, and that certainly is true lately. For several years now I’ve been doing a series of experiments with color on metal using alcohol inks, chemical patinas, heat, and more. Now I’m sharing the info and insights in classes–and here in this blog!

I will be holding classes at Tinkermill in Longmont, Colorado, and Gahanna Bead Studio in Gahanna, Ohio. I’m booking the times this week for Spring, and getting ready with samples and handouts.

embossed-ink-tilesThere will be two classes in Electrical Etching, one for Etched Bangles and Beads and using wire and sheet metal in making Etched Jewelry Components.

Color on Metal Part One will cover alcohol inks on brass or copper, exploring a great number of decorative techniques while Color on Metal Part Two uses chemical patinas and heat to create color on brass, bronze, copper and nickle silver.

metal-flowers-5Also coming up for Spring is Metal in Bloom. Using a few beads, wire, sheet copper and brass, we will create flowers with hand tools available in the studio.

In the course of preparing samples, I cut up sheets of 24 gauge brass and copper into 3 inch squares.

It is a good thickness for making pendants and earrings, and lightweight cuff bracelets. Not too thick for hand cutting and punching, it is a good weight for experimenting.

Not so thick that it is hard to work with hand cutters and punches, and not so lightweight that I can’t use the pieces for jewelry  if experiments go well!

metal-test-tilesSome squares I left at that size, some I cut into 1×3 inch strips and some into 1 inch squares. Some of those were plain, and some etched, and I used them first to create some test squares. I tried one drop, then another drop further over, of all the colors of Ranger Adirondack Alcohol inks that I had on hand. Then I borrowed more from my friend…then bought a few colors I HAD to have like indigo and citrus, and the blender as well. I tried the blender and alcohol both, and both are good in different ways. I decided after experimenting with my friend’s bottle that I needed some too.

I like how the inks turned out with more subtle tones on the etched squares. As I go, I pose questions, how do sealants affect it? Does color rub off after the sealant is applied? (no) and does it flake off if cut or filed or bent? (also  no.)

trinket-pendantThe dropper squares were carried around in a metal box with other pieces and proved that indeed sharp un-filed edges will scratch the color if you keep them in a big moving pile.

So don’t do that–although, I decided I like the distressed look. Lets call it “scrafitto” and say we meant to do that.

I used a square to try a different wire wrapping technique and like it.I may do a few more, and I will subject some to other tests–do check back to see what all I discover!

 

Want to take classes?

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Books in Print

Polymer Clay Gemstones - The Art of Deception
The Business of Professional Art
Adapting Quilt Patterns to Polymer Clay
A Collection of Polymer Clay Masks
Celebrations With Polymer Clay
Create a Polymer Clay Impression