Mar 22, 2017

Lost in colorful Nambi world

Is already the end of March? Where did the time go?
Each winter has freezing and paralyzing effect on me. This past one was fairly long and cold and I slowed down a bit. But I was moderately busy and highly creative. At the end of the last year I revisited my Nambi tutorial and gave it several new spins. I am still hooked up and I keep making new things with this tutorial.

The original tutorial is made in English language and it can be found in my Etsy shop. Additional text files (translations) are now available in Spanish, French and Dutch languages too.

I also started a secret FB Nambi group for everyone who purchased a tutorial. We call ourselves Nambians. New members are added with every new purchase. My goal is to add more value to people who support my artistic journey by purchasing this tutorial.
I share new discoveries there as I go; I add new ideas, share thought and make mini tutorials. Nambi girls are explained there in detail, paints and new ways of coloring, using various tools, questions are answered. We share our work and discuss how to improve it.

If you are interested feel free to join us. The more the merrier! Once you purchase a tutorial I will send you an invitation via email or you can add me as a friend on Facebook.
Once I add you to Nambi group feel free to unfriend me, I am not trying to trick people to have more friends. I can only invite people to the group if we are Facebook friends or via email.

Between December and present day I made some pretty and colorful Nambi stuff:

1. Boxes and vessels

2. Nambi Girls necklaces and brooches

3. Tribal mask earrings

4. Owl earrings and necklaces

5. Orange necklace


6. Pocket mirrors

There are possibly more photos of my work in my Flickr and Facebook albums.

Join Nambians if you feel inspired there's so much more that can be done with this technique.
Stay safe, cool and positive I am going back to my claying table.

Dec 20, 2016

Last minute recycled Christmas tree decoration

As we are in the holiday season I thought you might like an idea for creative and inexpensive Christmas tree decoration. Apart from polymer clay stuff (that you already have if you are a clayer) you probably have all you need at home to complete this project.

For a part of this project, a tree stand, I used almost all of my FIMO stuff but you can use the clay of your choice. It would not change a thing.

Firstly, make a cone out of the cardboard. It doesn't have to be precise, just fixed well. As you can see I used a stapler and a bit of glue to keep it in place.

Secondly, you need to decorate it. Choose a piece of fabric like old silk scarf you're not wearing, lace, denim from old jeans, a leftover from a skirt you shortened etc. Pick some larger plastic beads or a piece of your existing holiday decoration such as small ornaments, snowflakes, smaller lights... you get the point. You can use a glue gun to attach all to a cardboard cone. But don't do it just yet. You will have plenty of time while the stand will be in the oven.

Thirdly, make a stand or a foot (this makes me laugh all the time) for your tree.

I used:
- Black FIMO professional polymer clay
- Cardboard tube
- Plastic FIMO texture plate
- Liquid FIMO clay (deco gel)
- Round cookie cutters 5 and 6.5 cm/ 2 and 2.55 inches
- Brush for liquid clay
- PearlEx #658 Aztec gold
- Tissue blade
- Coarse sanding paper

I also used other polymer things that imply: pasta machine, work surface, baking paper, cleaning stuff.

Cardboard tube can be found in a lot of household product such as aluminum foil. Cut the length you would like for your tree stand.

Condition the polymer clay and roll it through the third largest setting on your pasta machine. Put it on the work surface over the baking paper so it doesn't stick to it. Use the plastic texture plate to make a texture. It doesn't have to be too deep just to be lovely and raised a bit. Of course, you can use any texture you like or if you don't own texture plates use some kind of fabric or plastic to make a motif.

Cut the textured sheet of clay to fit the cardboard tube. Spread liquid clay over the cardboard tube with a brush. Put a textured sheet over the liquid clay on the cardboard tube and make sure it fits to it completely. Check for trapped air between the cardboard and clay. If left there it might cause your clay to crack during baking. Take some time to make a seam tight, nice and blended with a texture.

Roll out two small sheets of clay through largest setting on you pasta machine. Put it one over the other tightly. Texture both sides with a coarse sanding paper. Cut a circle with a 5 cm/ 2 inch cookie cutter.
Use PearEx Aztec gold powder to add a festive look to your stand. Pick just small amounts of powder with your finger and smear it over the raised parts of clay. Cover the 5 cm/ 2 inch circle with the PearlEx powder too.

Use good amount of liquid clay on the inside of the cardboard tube near the edge on one side. Put that side in the center of the 5 cm/ 2 inch circle and press for 1.5 minutes. Goal is for liquid clay, cardboard and clay circle to stick to each other.

Bake in the preheated oven for at least 20 minutes. Always follow the manufacturers recommendations for the baking temperature and bake in the well ventilated area.

In the meantime roll the sheet of clay on the largest setting on your pasta machine, texture it, highlight raised parts with PearlEx powder and cut with a larger cookie cutter.

Start decorating a cardboard cone with chosen materials in order to make your tree.

After 20 minutes, take the stand out of oven and let it cool a bit. It would take another 5 - 10 minutes. Again, add a good amount of liquid clay inside of the cardboard tube, near the edge. Put that side in the center of the 6.5 cm/2.55 inch circle on the textured and powdered side.

Press it for a while and then return it to the oven and bake for another 30 - 45 minutes.
Now you have enough time to finish decorating your tree.

I recommend glazing the tree stand with at least two layers of glaze when it cools down after baking. It will prevent a metallic powder to come off and leave marks on your hands or furniture.

Use soft brush to add a thin layer of glaze. If you wish to speed the process you can bake it for 5 minutes in the oven set on the baking temperature for clay. Take it out, cool the stand, and then add another thin layer of glaze and bake for another 5 minutes. Quick and easy!

But even if you are not a clayer you can make this project by making a tree stand using a cardboard tube which can be painted or decorated with fabric.

Use a glue gun to attach your handmade stand to your recycled tree top.

Voila! You have a gorgeous, unique and inexpensive decoration for holiday diner table, kid’s room or any other part of your home.

Happy holidays to you and yours. :)

Nov 3, 2016

Cactus mania

I just finished an interesting project. It all started with a sweet email from a cactus lover wondering if I am willing to do a custom order for her. She admires my work and was willing to give me full freedom to make fridge magnets with cactus theme. Naturally, I was intrigued.

Once in childhood I actually had a window full of potted cactuses (or is it cacti, I am never sure) and I even sat in one, which was an unfortunate experience, as you can imagine. Once in my teen and young adult years I had a house full of pot flowers of all kinds. I loved and took care of them and they loved me back.
Suddenly, about 15 years ago it all stopped. I don't know exactly why but I lost interest in house plants. Fast forward to my recent project I realized as much as interesting this assignment might be it will be challenging. I had to familiarize with the house plants once again and with those with thorns!

So this project quite unexpectedly turned into a study. My customer wanted bright magnets to stand out so I decided to use my Nambi technique.

I found a book of flowers and actually made detailed sketches. Since I am not familiar with the material I had to see how it will turn out in clay within Nambi technique. Surprisingly, I had so much fun in the process of sketching. Most of the time, for my polymer clay projects I just use very primitive drawings. This time I took time to color the sketches too.
Since both customer and I were pretty happy with sketches, I used my template paper to copy the shape that will become a magnet.

I use this template paper for years, it is sturdy and somewhat transparent, allows making original templates made based on your drawings which can be used many times. You can find this template paper in my Etsy shop.

After that the whole project has gone awry. Right about Halloween my oven decided to play a trick on me and burnt me two batches of these magnets and a batch of beads for another customer. It was crazy! I was mad and cried and tried to eat my misery away.

By the time this third batch got to the oven, they were made quickly and looked great! It is proven that practice makes it perfect after all. I put two thermometers in the oven and sat in front of it the whole baking time. Tell me about being dedicated to the project! They were baked perfectly and were ready for finishing.

Cactus magnets are colorful and vibrant, I like them very much. My customer is happy, apart from purple color on the pot. But since she forgot to mention it in advance, she says she can live with it. Once they were finished I attached magnets to their back.

It is always fun to revisit a technique once developed and make something different with it then jewelry. Nambi tutorial is available in my Etsy shop if you are interested.

I hope you will find these magnets interesting as I do. Leave a comment or a question if you wish to.

Oct 7, 2016

Frame your beads - Free polymer clay tutorial

I recently made few beads featuring colorful circles. At this point they were half way finished.

They needed a thin frame for a proper finish. While working on these beads I made a short free tutorial to show how I make these frames.
It might be useful for a beginner or might give you an idea.
Follow this link and have fun!

This tutorial is free but if its valuable to you and you want to support independent artist with some coffee or chocolate use to donate.
Thank you.

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....