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!
I’ve been using the Rabbit Laser Cutter at TinkerMill for a few months now, and I’m getting better at putting together the designs and controlling the cutting and etching levels. I’m well under way with jewelry displays, box making, key chains, and the first set of miniature furniture. So far I’ve been using up a sheet of 1/8 inch birch plywood, a great starter wood, but I have my eye on some lovely hardwoods.
The great thing about starting with smaller projects is that you can make a lot of mistakes and not use up that much wood. Now I’m making fewer mistakes and more finished pieces.
Starting with the right design is important, and scale model furnishings don’t leave much room for error. I’m using a free open source program called Inkscape to build my designs, and embellishing with images from the Dover Pictorial Archives, a great source of copyright free material for artists.
I’ve even made wooden versions of the etched metal mehndi hands that I like to turn into pendants. So far I’ve got them in two sizes and 9 designs, and I’m making paired left and right hands for earrings too.
I’ve got lots of fun ahead adding details with fabric and lace and trying other finishing techniques, and I’ll be sure to share how it is all coming along here in the upcoming year. The year 2016 had a lot of difficult moments, but also many creative opportunities to learn and grow, and I’m glad to still be doing that!
In 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.
I’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.