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!

Happy 100!

100 posts from Sarajane's Polyclay Gallery

This is the 100th post on the blog portion of the Polyclay Gallery. There are now 69 pages as well. In April 2007, I began this version of my website; transferring a large site done in FrontPage with html into a wordpress template and using their CMS (content management system). Since then I’ve learned a lot more about webdesign, arrange the templates to suit myself (and individualize them for dozens of clients), and try to keep up with changes and developments as they occur, like the recent re-do that makes things resize correctly for mobile devices. I try to make posts frequently, but it is a lot to fit in along with time for making things.

This summer and fall have been extremely productive, and I have turned 20 pounds of polymer clay into beads and mosaic tiles. I’ve got round beads, barrel beads, lentil beads and bicones. The lentil beads still have to drilled….which may take me many of the winter afternoons when they come around. Raw clay is too cold to work in the winter here in Colorado in my chilly house, but now it is all made up and ready to drill. 

I’m delighted to be processing clay that has been sitting neglected for far too long. One of the canes that I sliced was made back when we lived in Escondido, more than 20 years ago. The majority of it was not that vintage, but I was pleased to find clay that had been wrapped in saran wrap and stored in shoe boxes still sliced and manipulated well 10-15 years later. Fresher clay is even more fun to work with, and I’m happy to get back to polymer after a long break for school and learning other media.

I’m also going through my supply of sheet metal on hand and etching it all up, with a steady flow of it happening all summer. I just finished the last pieces I had on hand this week, and then the cutting–now grinding takes over. That’s what I’ll be doing for the next week or so, grinding away. Then it will be patina time, and I’ll be getting ready to travel to Ohio. I’ll post pictures of the crystal danglers,  pendants and bracelets when I get them done next month, before packing!

New Color for Fall

The leaves are just starting to turn, but polymer clay and colored inks are providing the ongoing bursts of color happening at my house right now. Click the image to see all three in the slideshow.

A new batch of etched brass beads looks like antique brocade and sari silks to me, and the brass lava light beads are going to be gorgeous with 100% cotton shibori dyed fabric about to be turned into vests that I’ll finish this coming winter–to be ready for summertime when it comes again. I’m also planning upcoming classes in these in Colorado and Ohio. Let me know if your group is interested in booking a day or two day class!

I’m taking advantage of the warm weather remaining to make up new polymer clay canes from the colors I mixed up last year and didn’t get around to using. Now I’m putting about 20 pounds of clay into canes that I’m turning right into a new batch of tiles and beads. As I go I use up the bits and pieces, turning them into beads. Here’s what I’ve been doing while the summer turned into fall!

polymer clay lentil beads

My hands are a little tired, but I rotate the various parts of doing things and am enjoying the great range of colors. This is just a start–I have 75 new canes made and a shoe box full of flower canes, all ready to make into new beads in the next month. Stay tuned for more!

Bon Voyage! We’re Off On A Polymer Clay Adventure

The Polymer Clay Adventure is a fabulous year-long online retreat with 22 instructors created and hosted by Ilysa Ginsburg & Kira Slye. I’m happy to be on board, and my tutorial debuts this weekend. In 10 half hour  video segments, I  show start to finish how to create a ball joint doll using polymer clay.

That includes sculpting the face and body, painting the details, and 2 ways to apply hair. Also included along with access to the video downloads are a dvd and full color 25 page .pdf tutorial that takes you step by step with another ball joint doll. Make it in whatever scale and style you like–dolls are a lot of fun to make.

Then there’s the fun of dressing them up and supplying them with miniature accessories!

I particularly enjoyed the things I learned in shooting and editing the video. Shown here is the opening sequence showing the dolls and the supplies needed to make them.

I shot and included everything in real-time except some of the sanding, which gets pretty boring after ten minutes or so. That means it takes me around 8-10 hours to create a ball joint doll, depending on the size. I do it over the course of a few days, which is not only easier on my hands, but allows me to get perspective on how things are coming along. There is a lot of baking and re-baking to build up the form, then a lot of sanding to refine things.

Sometimes I start and stop and start again, (the ears took two tries) and you get to see that too. They are not so much mistakes as starting points that give you choosing points! Do you like ’em–if not, have at it until you do, but remember that things can be changed a lot with the final sanding.

Preparing for and editing the video took far longer than shooting it though! For those that are curious, I used a Nikon Coolpix P500 digital camera on a tripod that put it over head, focused on my hands and work area, and 2 OTT  full spectrum lights. I have the tripod with two legs on the table, and one extended further and wedged into a nearby wicker dresser-drawer to get the angle right. The lip of the drawer keeps the tripod from falling forward.

When rotated 180 degrees, the viewer gets to see what is going on as though standing right there with me, and I talk as I go, explaining in detail what I’m doing and why. There is also a print .pdf to see it all again from another doll making session with a smaller doll.

For editing photos, I used Adobe Photoshop, and for digital editing, I used a program called VSDC Free Video Editor. My digital camera records sound, but I also used a Tascam DR 05 sound recorder, and an editing program called Audacity. I put many of these items in the electronics section of the Polyclay Picks aStore at Amazon if you would like more information on them.

Those are the technical bits–I look forward to doing lots more video tutorials next year, but for now, I’m going to spend some time making another doll or two and dressing them.

A Bit of Digital Redecorating for the Polyclay Gallery

how to digitally color paper dollsI’m re-doing my Polyclay Gallery website pages in a new format that deals with re-sizing issues for tablets and phones, as well as addressing important SEO issues. I read that as many as 80% of people access websites through devices, and  Google also ranks sites by how well they adjust to the new view ports. So, time to slip into something  new!

It is fun, like redecorating…but I have 69 pages here to clean up and reorganize, so it may take a week or two. I just finished a fairly big tutorial page on using an editing program like Adobe Photoshop to digitally color the paper dolls I drew and scanned. I enjoy the chance to review the pages that I’ve built, and see how best to arrange it and share information and images.

I’ve been trying a different VERY customize-able template that I purchased called “Divi” for some of my website clients, and I like it, so I’m implementing a version for myself.

Every few years I make big changes to keep up with technology and though it takes some work, it is worth it. I hope you enjoy the improvements!


Upcoming Classes in Ohio

We’re getting ready to travel to Ohio and see family and friends as well as do some art and music. I’ve got three classes (etching metal bracelets, patina on metal and kumihimo) lined up at Gahanna Bead Studio at 1082 N. Hamilton Rd. Gahanna, Ohio.  I grew up in Gahanna, and it is always a treat to get to go back and see how it has changed in half a century!

I’ll also have a selection of my jewelry and components (ceramic, metal, and polymer clay) for sale at a week long trunk show. But please, do come say hello August 1 and 2 when I’m there!


metal etching and color on metal classes at Gahanna Bead Studio

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