Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Making a textured polymer clay pendant

Here are the super-easy steps to creating this pendant:

1. Stamp black polymer clay with a texture plate. Cut slits at both the top and bottom for jump rings and gently mold the clay closed around them. Bake according to the directions for your brand of clay.

2. Mix liquid sculpey with gold mica powder. Wipe it all over your clay and let it settle in stamped parts. Rebake.

3. Sand the surface with fine sandpaper to remove mica from the raised surface of the texture. Now the piece will look like a mosaic with black grout! Add another thin layer of plain liquid sculpey to the surface if desired and bake one more time.

4. Create dangles to attach to the bottom jump ring. I kept the middle bead “floating” by using a small crimp on the headpin. Use Diamond Glaze or E6000 to glue brass stampings or other charms to the pendant surface. Add a large jump ring or bail to the top.
Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Technorati Tags:,,,,,,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Artist Profile: Karen Leslie

Dichroic three hinge silver encased pendant with sterling silver curved tubes, Czech glass beads and sterling silver lobster claw clasp

Artist: Karen Leslie
The Jewelry Collection by Karen Leslie

Chunky Amethyst nugget beads with fancy Bali saucer beads and spacers with a fancy toggle clasp

Karen, how do you describe your work?
My designs consist of one of a kind and limited edition pieces. I pride myself on the ability to find individual, distinctive and truly unique components to incorporate into my designs to make a special creation. My designs are contemporary and timeless and can go with any outfit.

Lapis rectangle center stone with Lapis round beads and Bali spacers, sterling silver lobster claw clasp

What is your creative process like?
As far as my creative process, I choose my pieces because I like the different shapes of the stones, color, and texture. I don’t always have a specific design in mind when purchasing my components. It could be months later when something hits me. At that point, I will know exactly what I want to do with it.

I don’t sketch out my designs. I like to put everything on the board and let it evolve from there. I think its fun to play around with the different stones and try to balance all the components to compliment one another.

I usually have the TV on while I am working. Not necessarily listening to what is on but more for background noise. If not the TV, then I am listening to my iPod library of songs.

Sometimes I can work for hours at a time. It depends on what I am creating and what my deadlines are.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
My training consisted of someone giving me a “crash course” in basic jewelry making. In addition, I have taught myself various techniques and I am always looking to take classes, learn new things and advance in my skills.

Double strand multi color barrel bracelet with sterling silver hear clasp with Citrine stone in center of clasp

What inspires you to create?
I seem to gravitate more toward the colors of nature and everyday life. There are so many different things during the day that can inspire you. For example, just looking through magazines or even watching TV.

I also spend many hours searching, planning and designing for each “collection” piece. To find these pieces, I search for them from all corners of the world. I am always searching for that “special piece” to incorporate into my designs. To me, all of the above play an important part in what inspires me in designing.

What inspires you to keep going or when the work gets frustrating or tough?
When I hit a creative road block or get frustrated while working on a piece, I usually put it aside and start to work on something else. After a while, I go back to the piece that I have put aside and have a different prospective now to work on that piece. Sometimes just clearing my head from that design helps me a great deal.

Ruby Zoisite coin shaped beads with double sided Bali beads, sterling silver lobster claw clasp

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
The handcrafted jewelry business is extremely competitive. It takes a lot of work, time and determination. If you want to succeed, you have to be persistent. The creative aspect is only one side. The business side is also another area that is often overlooked and is an important aspect.

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
I have a teenage daughter who plays soccer in school and on a traveling team. We are busy with soccer year round which takes up a considerable amount of time. I try to set aside time for work and family and balance it as much as possible.

Sodalite chips and sterling silver double strand bracelet with fancy double strand clasp with a Sodalite stone in the center

What’s your favorite comfort food?
I have two favorite comfort foods, Cuban and Indian.

Turquoise rondelles with fancy Bali beads, fancy sterling silver front toggle

Technorati Tags:,,,,,,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making a polymer clay frame pendant

1. Pick the items that you will use for your pin and decide on a layout. Do any preparation work necessary (eg, I had to saw the back off of the Mahjong tile because it was too thick to embed well).

2. Condition and roll out a lump of black polymer clay on parchment paper to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Use a rolling pin or a clay-dedicated pasta machine.

3. Lay the pieces onto the sheet of clay and sink them down into it. Remove the pieces before baking.

4. Cut the polymer clay edges with the exacto knife, leaving a narrow border around the objects you’ll embed. Smooth the edges with your fingers. Cut a slit in the top and bottom edges with the exacto knife and insert a jump ring half way into each slit. Smooth the clay closed around them. Texture the top surface with a rubber stamp if desired.

5. Bake as directed on top of a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Exact times and temperatures vary depending upon the brand of clay used.

6. After the pendant has cooled, use a small paintbrush to apply either 2-part epoxy resin or a clear coat finish like Diamond Glaze. Anchor your decorative pieces in place and coat the top with a thin coat. Let it dry thoroughly.

7. To assemble and wear your pendant, attach another jump ring or a bail to the top. Place some beads on your head pin and create a wrapped loop around the bottom jump ring.


Black polymer clay
Pieces to embed
2 gold-toned jump rings
Diamond Glaze by Judi-Kins or 2-part epoxy resin
Head pin


Parchment paper
Rolling pin
Exacto knife
Rubber stamp with crackle pattern (optional)
Small paint brush
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Wire cutters

Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Technorati Tags:,,,,,,

Monday, November 03, 2008

Book review: A Charming Exchange

A Charming Exchange
by Kelly Snelling & Ruth Rae

Having taken part in several really wonderful collaborative projects, I was immediately drawn to this book. All of the wonderful wearables shown in it are the results of round-robins, collaborations, and swaps. It’s amazing how much time and energy it takes to organize just one of these projects, and here is a book that is full to bursting with…well, they claim there are 25, but I swear there are more!

I found several pieces that inspired me to get going immediately and to make something. That doesn’t happen to me with every book I read. Often, I’ll run across a technique that I want to try, or a style that appeals to me, but rarely do I end up toting out my bins and diving right in. Here’s one thing I made, a bracelet:

The projects aren’t overly detailed with exact counts and sizes. For some that may be frustrating, but it’s just the nature of working with found objects and mixed media. Know that going in: you’ll find lots to inspire you here, but if you’ve got to have everything spelled out completely, you’ll want to borrow rather than buy this book. For everyone else…buy it! Quick!

Technorati Tags:,,,,,,
Related Posts with Thumbnails