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!
One of the treats I gave myself during the changeover months of the end of 2017 and the start of the 2018 was to put together a new batch of designs to make on the laser cutter at Tinkermill, the makerspace in Longmont CO. I came up with almost 100, narrowed it to my favorite 80 or so, and have had time during my monthly visits to try about a third of them so far. I’m using up the last batch of birch wood that I colored, and I am prepared to make the next batch; its a great feeling to both use up art supplies AND have more coming to hand! Next time I go there, I’ll be in a major Production Mode, but this trip was Research and Development.
With new designs, I start with creating a file that I think is a good size, but I never know how a component will look as a pendant, an earring, or a box until I cut it and see how it looks in reality. Some designs look better at different sizes, some work big or small. The first batch I cut on blonde baltic birch wood, and see what I like, what else I might like too/better. I almost always try a design version that is smaller and one bigger—just to see. Then I make any changes needed and run a batch or three on the colored wood or try power and speed variations to see how they look.
The next step is to sit with the wooden output and play with the pile, seeing how they look together, how they hang (should the hole be on the top AND bottom< and which IS the top?) and to get some feedback from my beady buddies, who tell me both by their reactions and their comments a lot of good info. If I’ve picked the wrong aspect to be on top, they kindly but firmly let me know it. Many times they have shown me a design I thought was too large or small, too plain or ornate, was actually popular with others (whether or not I like something is not the only judgement criteria, it seems! Others do have tastes that may differ.)
Then I cull out the designs that were not outstanding and build a file of the best. Those, I will be cutting in up to 20 colors this spring! I’m getting ready for a very colorful and creative year. I think I’ll be playing with the wood pieces in more ways too, adding pieces to mosaics boxes and creating graphics before turning them into jewelry or selling them to those other very creative artists that do wonderful work with them. I love that kind of at-a-distance collaboration.
I’ve wanted to put the colorful birchwood and the inks on metal together in boxes for a while–I did one prototype, learned a lot and moved on to other smaller wood and metal projects. But the other day at Tinkermill with time booked on the laser cutter, it all started to come together for some lovely little boxes.
I took all the whole sheets of 10×10 inch wood that I had left from the last batch, and built a template for a box that is 4″x4″x2″.
Then I cut out thirteen sets of pieces. As soon as the colorful piles started to build up, I wanted to mix and match them–which I will do next time! This time I wanted to see one color, a simple side design and a place for the metal in the lid would look. I glued them all up this morning. Then I got to pick which metal pieces went with which box.
That part was a lot of fun, and quick work, too. There were more than 50 from which to choose, but we did not have to look that far before finding great partners for the wood.
I like the results and already have ideas for more and different kinds of boxes and framed pieces!
We’ve been having many hours of filing the brightly colored aluminum pieces, and I’ve been moving towards the heavier stuff…I’ve got a new batch of brass, bronze, copper and nickle silver that I’m etching and coloring with patinas. These I am cutting into earrings, pendants and cuff bracelets.
Once cut out, I will have many days of grinding fun while the beautiful end-of-summer weather makes it easy to be out in the workshop. Not too hot, not too cool….and when it IS too hot, we sit in the shade and file. And file…I’m glad to now have filing help!
So far I have lots of beautiful fall color happening–reds, golds, browns and silvers. I want to do more with combining multiple pieces this time as well as making simple things. I like the way the different metals and finishes look together.
There are more greens and blues coming also, but they take longer to happen. Patience is a virtue in metal working! In the meantime, there’s plenty to do with finishing these.