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!
We’ve traded in the growing expenses and rapidly enlarging census of Colorado for a new way of doing things with a home, home on the range in Wyoming. I loved a lot about CO in the two decades we spent there, and my sons, husband and l all got a good solid dose of Edifying Experience. We had years of schooling that resulted in high school graduations and multiple degrees all around.
While we treasure the experiences and friendships, the desire to go somewhere less crowded and practice art and music grew, and we no longer needed to be close to schools. So, we loaded up the truck and moved north to Wyoming…and let me say, there is nothing quite like moving to put you in touch with all your worldly goods.
I have art supplies I had not seen in ages. I divested of many things, but kept what I want to work with now. Here in the new place, supplies are out on shelves in my new, consolidated work space, where I can see all the inspirational colors, textures, bits and pieces that I’m looking forward to making up into new projects.
For my first batch of creative color in Wyoming, I got the alcohol inks out and started with them on metal. I made colorful sheets of 30 ga. aluminum and cut 4″x4″ squares for sale to other designers as well as larger pieces for me to use. Once I cut up the larger pieces, I now have quite a few 2″x4″ pieces, shown at right, to experiment with using embossing powders and polymer clay. That comes next!
Shown below is what I cut out of one of them; enough for several pairs of earrings, pendants, or parts in a necklace.The two pieces at far right show how little was left over from cutting up this swatch.
In addition to jewelry, I have plans to make laser cut boxes of colorful wood that will feature ink art inlays. I’ll show them off here when I get them made. Now that I have a studio with lots of light, a good internet connection, and plenty of room to take create and pictures of new work, I will post more often. Check back soon to see what I do with the pieces shown below.
We’re filing jointly, my sweetie and me. I don’t mean American tax money though, I’m talkin’ Swiss….Swiss files, that is. The 00 Habilis half rounds, in particular. I love the one I’ve had for several years now–it is a beautifully made tool that gets the job done and gives my metal a lovely edge, takes down corners, gets rid of the pointy parts on wires–whatever task, this file does a great job of it with a good fit in my hand and requiring less effort than the small files I also have but now rarely use.
I like it so much, and my To-Do pile of filing has grown so large that I got another one for my husband, and we’re going to spend afternoons in the backyard filing together for a while ’till I get caught up with the earrings, pendants and bracelet pieces.
We got two of them for Tinkermill (we can take ours in and have a filing party!) and one for a friend of mine. I’ve been doing a lot of etching metal and working with patinas and inks, so there is a lot of colorful and textural fun going on to help me enjoy the filing and sanding parts–a good finish is part of making a good product. So we will be getting into the groove together.
With care these will last a lifetime, so we’ll be taking the edge off for a long time with these!
habilis files available through Otto Frei
I love computer design programs and the computer-driven tools like the laser cutter. But when it comes right down to it, I’m a visual-tactile learner. I need to see the real thing, not just an image on the computer screen. For one thing, my ability to tell what size something is on a screen is not good, because I can make it ANY size there–I need to see how it fits in my hand, or looks on the printed page before I can really settle the critical designs questions like How Big and Which Side Up. That issue of scale translates to more than just the outer edge–does the decorative element read well at the scale I’ve chosen? Do I want the design engraved, or engraved around it…or both? Outlines, or do they crowd the image?
Then, when making components for mosiacs and for jewelry, there is the issue of holes. One at the top, now that I have designated which is the top? Top and bottom both? No holes at all? Two in the middle as a button? So many choices! I can make a good guess, but I won’t really know until I see them and hold them in hand. Thats why I run the first batch on blonde birchwood, with no color distractions. That comes later!
I try the design, the inverted design, with and without outlines. Then I play a bit with the results. Too big is usually quite obvious, and so far too small has not been an issue as I often start around an inch or two. Anything bigger is likely too big for an earring part (I know, there are people who disagree!!) I see which designs and which versions I prefer. Are the holes in the right place(s) and not too far or too close to an edge? Are the cut and etch settings right for the laser? This part can take a lot of trial-lighter, darker, till I find just-right. After that I try them in colorized versions.
Shown above are traditional mehndi design elements, drawn in henna on skin for temporary tattoos for centuries in several cultures. I’ve taken those designs into computerized vector form, and cut them with a laser beam on wood. I LOVE the blend of art, history and science.
I use sales and reactions from others as research and inspiration. If there’s a design I’m not that found of but others do like, I keep making it, but eventually I put the best of them into design sets that I can run. Then, I try some more!
Shown here and at top are some Egyptian and African design elements. I don’t have these new files just right yet, but I will keep working on it. Half the fun is getting there.