Sep 15, 2016

New tutorial: Tangled earrings

I am writing this post to announce my new tutorial: Tangled earrings.


I know what you must think: She made another earring tutorial? Why?
Oh, but darlings why not? 

Earrings are jewelry and they make you pretty or feel good or preferably both. Earrings come in every color, shape and size and for every occasion. They are happy to accompany you wherever you go and they will never get mad if you choose different pair every day. Earrings can tell a story, make a statement or simply match your outfit. Earrings can be gift for yourself or someone special to you. They can keep secrets or be reminders, just like best friends.
What's not to love about earrings?

I'll tell you a secret: First thing in the morning after I brush my teeth and wash my face I pick and put on a pair of earrings for the day before I even brush my hair.
Now you know why most of the time when I am in studio playing with clay, I think of making earrings.

So if you don’t like earrings you should probably skip it. Or if you like neat, precise and project based tutorial with a particular style you should skip it.

This tutorial is sharing a wonderful idea on how to make earrings in a certain way but it is actually wild with a touch of order, somewhat organic but it doesn’t have to be, great to make identical earrings as well as totally different within a pair. You can make them plain colored or colorful, you could sand but you don’t have to, you can mix and match them with many other techniques and the best of all you can always make them your own.
I dare you to make two exactly the same pairs. I simply cannot see how that is possible.

The earrings you see can be big and long but lightweight and fun. They are somewhat flexible and if you take care of them reasonably they will last. I was asked by the customers non-clayers will they break. Yeah eventually! They are made of polymer clay not steel. But as we tested them by wearing and torturing them (dropping, throwing them, stepping on etc. - I am not proud of this you know) they are fairly good as any other pair of earrings.

Also they are so addictive. You can finish one pair and have an idea for another. I have spent many hours with them. I hope you will have as much fun as I did.
When you do, please share what you made, I am so curious to find out about your creations.



May 30, 2016

Jewelry box

I love a good storage space and I have a thing for boxes. I love them squarely, with clean lines, not decorated much, but pretty. So from time to time I am inclined to make them for myself and as gifts. I use either cardboard boxes, thick cardboard or wooden boxes. I use polymer clay, use acrylic paints or decorative paper to cover and decorate the boxes. 

My latest project was a jewelry box for my dear friend's birthday. When visiting her, I noticed that she missed a larger jewelry box. I also took a photo of her wall and shelves while she was making coffee. I also measured the shelves, to be able to purchase a right size box, as a decent spy will do.

Finally, I made a plan and purchased a wooden box, paper, thick cardboard, lace, glue, glaze, a piece of felt and a button. I had a few brushes at home, sharp scissors,working mat and I was ready to start.

The result was very feminine, bohemian style jewelry box. I had the best time working on it. It was a somewhat ambitious idea and I was happy for being able to make it happen.

Here is the photo of the box:

My friend's room is greenish so the box fits in it perfectly.

Open and empty box:

I added a subtle thin lace to the bottom.

I used a green felt and white lace to make small bags for her necklaces and pendants.


This is how it looks when filled with jewelry.

There is a secret door here too.



Behind the door is a world of earrings.
Lace is there for dangling earrings and felt is for storing stud earrings.


A closer look at the earrings storage section.


It looks interesting when filled with earrings, doesn't it?



I hope that you like this one. I am currently working on a new box, same style different colors. 
Stay tuned....

Apr 21, 2016

Tile for FIMO 50 World Project

If you work with polymer clay you must have heard of the FIMO 50 World Project. It is all about birthday, celebration, charity, sharing and love for polymer clay. It is going on from September 2015 and it includes all the polymer clay enthusiasts all over the World.
Read all about it here: http://goo.gl/YXUgU6 You can also visit a Pinterest board showcasing all the tiles: https://goo.gl/T31554

Naturally, I wanted to participate in this project. It took a while to decide on what should I make and the deadline was approaching. I finally decided to make it simple using two things I really like: triangles and color.
So I present to you my modest contribution for this project, a simple geometric triangle tile. I call it "All is well". It reflects my thoughts and my life right now and it really speaks to me.



After finishing my tile I used some leftovers to make these cute hollow doughnut pendants just for fun. I love the colors and the triangle motif on a round shape.


They are colorful, shiny and simple just perfect for Summer. Don't you think?

I am keeping this little candy to myself.

Feb 29, 2016

Making scrap

There was a time, when I was beginner, when I used all the polymer clay I was working with. I could not understand how people made scrap clay or what are they going to do with it.
In time I got it, especially when I taught workshops frequently. It is so easy to produce scrap when you experiment for the workshop projects or demonstrate to your students.
It also made my frugal self frustrated so I had to find ways to use all that scrap. I looked up to other artists for example Melanie West, Ronit Golan, Alice Stropel, Artybecca, Cindy Lietz or found it by myself (Gypsy Nights).


Today I decided to clean up and organize my studio a bit. I found several metal boxes full of old clay. It's like a time travel! I remember clearly that some of it is from 2008 and the other parts are unused scraps from workshops and past projects, mostly from 2011 and 2012.


Well, it is Monday and the day is good as any to make some scrap.
I also found few blocks of very hardened translucent FIMO and decided to start with it. This is not scrap clay but I am happy to revive it.
I will use a food processor and pasta machine after that. Oh, this will be a long evening. Wish me luck.



Do you make a lot of scrap clay? How do you use it?

Feb 8, 2016

Zentangle

I have been ill for days, got a flu or virus or whatever that keeps me from breathing properly, getting up and doing stuff. Yes, I admit that I am a pretty lousy patient. Blessed with my health and immensely grateful for it, I rarely get ill but when I do I am cranky.
It's fine to catch up with TV shows and movies for two days but then it gets boring. I couldn't get out of a bed because I was really sick but as soon as my nose stopped running so badly I got myself paper and several fine liners. I was aiming to have some fun. And I did.

I always doodled something, since I was a kid. These doodles changed from flowers to hearts to lines to something mixed and matched. I don't have a clue about drawing but I love holding a pencil or fine line marker and using dots and lines to make patterns and "little drawings". I didn't think much of it.


Then I started working with polymer clay and everything else was forgotten including doodling, cross-stitching, crochet, decoupage etc. But then in 2009 it suddenly flashed back into my life. I made it in polymer clay. So funny how I forgot about this ceramic tile covered in polymer clay (I suddenly remembered while writing this story). Looking at it right now I can remember how much work I put into it, being an inexperienced self taught clayer and how happy and proud I was with my little tile.


I really started doodling again in 2011. I was traveling to nearby town to teach workshops and had spare time in train and bus, so I started drawing again. Most of these are small doodles or drawings in my notebooks used in that time but I have two or three larger drawings on A4 size paper. It was then that I learned that these drawings had a name and it was pretty cool one: zentangles!

Google says: "Zentangle is a self-help art therapy practice to enhance relaxation and focus. Zentangle is known to many artists and craftivistas as a way to create structured designs through drawing various patterns." How cool is that? There is a Zentangle Method, a step by step on How to make a Zentangle and also a great Guide to drawing pens so feel free to explore and try it yourself (if you haven't already).

I read about it but did not follow any particular rule. I follow my thoughts and intuition, draw and explore excited to see how will it end. It was actually zentangling that got me inspired to develop my Nambi technique in 2012. It is a lot of lines and some dots in polymer clay with some color on top of it. It was so much fun to add color and a lot of new possibilities occurred. In case you are not sure what am I talking about here's one photo:


There is a step by step PDF tutorial in my Etsy shop if you are interesting in learning this technique and it can be found here.

Back to present and my sick days: I made several drawings/ zentangles that I have been posting on my Instagram and FB account. Google is absolutely right, they are therapeutically! I had fun, my mind was calmer and I was feeling less guilty for staying in bed for days. I was creative. It made my soul sing. It made me happy.

Now I am better and I'll be leaving my fine line markers in a drawer because of a piled up chores and orders. So before saying goodbye to zentangles, for a while at least, I wanted to share my latest one: dancing flower girl or freedom or happy or retro. I couldn't decide about a title so it remains No name. The photo is not the best but that is it for now.


Let me know in the comments your thoughts on doodling, zentangling, drawing, nambi..... are you doing any of this?
Now, excuse me I have to go a lot of things are awaiting to be done.

Jan 30, 2016

Gypsy Nights or how to use scrap clay

This interesting story dates back in 2010. I was working with polymer clay and foils making some simple and small size jewelry pieces. It was an attempt to follow a feedback I got from few customers. I used one color of clay, Lisa Pavelka's foil (learn how to here: http://bit.ly/20cOsLh), custom made/commercial stamps and made several jewelry sets, pendants, earrings and rings.
I finished them with Magic glos, UV resin, also Lisa Pavelka's product.
Here is just one of these sets:



While working on this project I saved the scrap. At the time, I bought foils and even FIMO clay online from abroad so it was quite an investment. Also I admit that I am very stingy when it comes to polymer clay and I try to use every bit of it. But working with foils it is a bit tricky. There are uneven ends or parts not quite covered or stamp is not deep enough.... you know how it goes.
This is a part of scrap clay I ended up with:



Even one look at this pile made me depressed. So I started cutting off those thin parts that absolutely can't be used anymore, making some "real" scrap clay. Then I had a great idea: I'll make a collage! Some of the pieces were small and uneven shape so I could cut the rest of them into similar pieces.
I decided to use black FIMO clay for the background, ran a sheet through pasta machine and started layering small pieces with foil into a collage.

Well... it was not a brilliant idea as I thought so in the beginning. It seemed fairly simple BUT some pieces of clay were resting on a baking paper for 3 days so they were brittle and not all the pieces were the same thickness. It took me a while to combine softer pieces of clay with stiffer ones, to combine colors and to make all the seams disappear.
At the end my collage looked like this:



Today, I would make sure to run all the pieces through the same thickness on pasta machine and I would probably put on some great music to help me relax through the process. LOL

My finished collage was awesome! I fell in love with it and I couldn't stop looking at it. My scrap pile was that amount in the back and I could live with that. I also had a plan how to use it later which helped my mind relax.



Next logical step was to use as much of a collage I could and not make much scrap. It took some time to think and combine too. LOL These are the pieces before baking.



I used my favorite resin Magic glos, for a finish on top of baked jewelry components and I made tiny jewelry collection. I really loved it. It was colorful, joyful and uninhibited so I named it Gypsy Nights.



Needles to say, I sold all the Gypsy Nights pieces apart from one necklace that I kept for myself. Some of the ‘simple and small size jewelry sets’ are still somewhere in the studio. Lesson learned: make jewelry that brings joy and makes you happy! Trust your instincts. Customer feedback is valuable but not always spot on correct.



I love this idea because it can be applied to almost any scrap amount of almost any technique. Metallic scrap pieces would look gorgeous in a collage or extruded scrap clay, layered canes sheets, mokume gane sheets etc. Then there is always a possibility for color combos, cutting similar shapes, laying scrap in a mosaic manner etc.

It might work even for one pendant for example if you are stingy like me or playful or want to try just for fun.
I hope you will be inspired to make something beautiful. At least that was my intention for sharing this story.



Jan 25, 2016

Casual Skinner blend

As promised, I will post some of my older free tutorials here in next few days. Let's start with a casual Skinner blend.
This was really a fun experiment and as it usually goes, I made it completely accidentally.

I consider myself to be a fairly patient person. I have a ton of 'nerves of steel' specially when it comes to polymer clay: I am ready to do things over and over if not got right at first attempt, I calmly do precise cuts, assemble small parts and I am even able to sand my beads by hand for hours without much of a drama.
One of the things I don't have patience for is Skinner blend. I simply can't make myself to measure precisely and make a meaningful Skinner blend. All of the sudden I become annoyed and restless and want to speed the process. How crazy is that?

Tutorials seen online often include Skinner blends that are planned, thought through and measured. Obviously, a lot of time and energy are invested in making such beautiful blends. I sincerely admire all the artists that make Skinner blends in that manner.
I quit trying after my third. So when making them I just go with the flow trying to use all the clay I dedicated for the blend I am making and not bother myself with cutting and measuring. To be completely honest I actually enjoy being surprised with the result each time.

Photo shows my new casual Skinner blend experiment. I mixed some scrap clay lying around and made a colorful sheet. Just before putting it in the pasta machine a thought popped into my head: this will be booooooring! I hesitated for a minute and then started cutting pieces of clay out of the sheet and then mixed and matched them.
After running it through pasta machine for about 20 times this is what I got. It's so cool, isn't it?

How do you make your Skinner blends?



Smatram da sam prilično strpljiva osoba, pogotovo kada je reč o mom poslu. U stanju sam da satima strpljivo sedim i radim, da budem precizna bez drame kada je to potrebno, pa čak i da šmirglam bez protesta.

Jedna od stvari za koju nemam strpljenja je Skinner blend. Naprosto nemam nijedan preostali strpljivi živac koji bi mi pomogao da ga precizno merim i složim pre provlačenja kroz pasta mašinu. To svakako nije bila namera Judith Skinner, matematičarke koja je izumela ovaj način mešanja boja u radu s polimerskom glinom. Često na internetu viđam uputstva s unapred osmišljenim i precizno sastavljenim Skinner blendovima. Umetnicima koji ih prave divim se do ludila!

Odustala sam od toga nakon svog trećeg Skinner blenda. Pravim ih kako mi dodje i više ih prilagođavam količini materijala koju sam odredila za izradu Skinner blenda. Nekad ih sečem ovako, drugi put onako i da budem potpuno iskrena, uživam u tome da se svaki put iznenadim rezultatom.
Na slici vidite moj novi eksperiment s "opuštenim" Skinner blendom. Poslagala sam boje, umešane od raznorazne otpadne gline, preostale od prethodnih projekata, a onda mi se učinilo da će ispasti dosadan. Tada sam počela da isecam komade gline i menjam im mesta. Nakon provlačenja kroz pasta mašinu dobila sam rezultat koji vidite na slici.
Kako vi radite pravite Skinner blend?