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!

Cutting Edge Design Fun

laser-boxesIn addition to the jewelry studio, I’ve been having a great time at TinkerMill in Longmont learning how to use new tools like the laser cutter. I’ve never had the tools available to me to work with wood before, so I’m having fun learning more about a different medium as well as the rather steep learning curve of designing in the CAD programs (Inkscape and also Adobe Illustrator) and communicating with the laser cutter software. But with perseverance, I’m getting there. Once again I’m making use of copyright free images from the Dover Pictorial Archive series as well as my own drawings and photos. 

Starting small with little canvases like keychains and boxes lets me learn more about the machine and the settings, which allow the user to get all sorts of depth and color by varying the speed and power, among other things. You can cut to various depths and also engrave. Below you can see four versions of the same design. The first one has one cut line and a shallower cut line for the outlines. The next one has the outline cut a bit too high. In the third, I used an engrave setting–then I learned how to put the outline cut setting on top of the engraved part, and voila! Like math class, there’s a lot to the numbers themselves, and the Order of Operations is also crucial!

I am making up designs  for boxes that will also feature polymer clay and metal inserts, and for miniatures, even doll house furniture–here you can see a tiny jewelry box, about 2 inches, that was a successful attempt but still needs hinges and a lining. I want to make boxes to house the polymer clay dolls I’ve been making, and each successful project shows me more about how to get the designs I want to fit together and to look great. Each frustration leads to learning the way that works–if you ask enough questions and keep trying. The smoke alarm is a wee bit scary, but I haven’t set it off lately…I’m getting better. 

I’m going to be doing lots of sanding and staining in the upcoming weeks, coloring metal and now wood too. I’ve used it to design new racks and display fixtures for my jewelry as well, and I like them a lot–I’ll be sure to show them off here when they are finished, but there’s more sanding and a coat or two of Rustoleum Varathane still to come. laser-keychains

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Classy Stuff!

boho-3I’ve updated my class listings page with several new metal and jewelry classes. I’m scheduling classes every month now at TinkerMill in Longmont, and I also do instruction for individuals, groups and events. 

Many of the classes, like this new twisted wire and silk boho-bracelet include all the supplies and tools needed to create the project, and are fun and easy! We’ll cover how to twist wire, create clasps, wire wrapped charms, and even cut our own discs from etched and hammered metal. 

Pick your favorite color of silk sari ribbon or hand dyed silk, add some beads, and create your very own set of combined gypsy bangles. 

Make an armful for yourself–or to give as gifts. There’s are upcoming classes to create other bohemian style jewelry including a 7 strand bracelet, earrings, and necklaces. 

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Hammered

hammered1Hammered metal, that is! Pounding sheet brass, bronze, copper and nickle silver is a great stress reliever, and also the first step to making hammered metal jewelry. Different hammer faces create different textures that can simple, or built up and combined. 

Here you can see some sheets of metal, and also the pieces that I’ve cut from them. Hammering, cutting, grinding, filing…even a bit of liver of sulphur patina has been done on some of the bits. Next comes putting them together as earrings and pendants. I’m also putting together a class at TinkerMill in Longmont on how to do hammered metal jewelry and cold connections, along with my fellow instructor Lynne Davis.

Stay tuned next week to see what we’ve made with these and get the class details. 

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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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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