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?

Jan 22, 2016

A return to blogging

I am going to try to blog again this year.

I started blogging in 2008 and was an active blogger for 6 years. My blog was about polymer clay in my native language, Serbian. In 2009 I enthusiastically started this blog in English but life kicked in. My father got ill and died in 2010, during the grieving time my marriage came to an end, my Mom moved in and a lot more of small things added up together.... you know how it goes. Eventually I stopped blogging, letting my old blog and website float quietly and peacefully into the history.

Just few days ago I discovered that this blog still existed and I got excited. Most of the reasons for starting a blog back in 2008 remain relevant to me today. I want a cozy place to express my thoughts and feelings, I want to describe my artistic doubts and fears, I want to share my excitement and experiments about polymer clay, I want more ways to connect with fellow artists, customers, friends and also I honestly miss writing. 

My primary focus is still polymer clay but I might just write about anything that excites me now. 
I hope that blog bug bit me hard enough to persevere. I don't have a plan or a strict schedule. Lack of a plan gives a 'go with the flow' feeling of freedom and openness I missed with previous blog. Let us all see if I ‘grew up’ at all and what I've learned in past few years.

All that being said, follow if you dare or proceed at your own risk. LOL
My first post will be to add a free tutorial or more of them that were available on the old website.

Blogging journey begins, thank you for coming on it with me!