Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cooking Clay for Jewelry

      Joe and I were lined up to keep the grandchildren for 3 days while the parents went to a law firm retreat. I saw a big container of polyform clay in my studio, the pasta rollers on the edge of the table, books on the subject and thought it was time to go to a new level. I got out the "bead rollers." I read the directions, conditioned some Sculpey III in my hands and felt the girls would find making the beads magical as I did. Click on all the photos to enlarge.

      Hannah chose a package of blue Sculpey and Erika chose pink. They decided to share. I restrained my need for a green bead necklace until today. They strung theirs with Stretch Magic and tied two square knots. I put a bit of glue on the knots. They wore and slept in them for two days here and the beads held up. So I decided I must make my long-wished-for green choker for which I could never find beads. See below for how I made the beads.

      First I consulted Making Polyform Clay Beads by Carol Blackburn. I got out my bead rollers and soft green Sculpey which I conditioned by squeezing in my hands.  

        I have two types of bead rollers. One involves pressing a snake of clay into the top part and slicing off the sides and bottoms. After I mark every 3/4", I pull the clay out and cut the pieces. The secret of same size beads is careful measuring. You put the top on the bottom and roll back and forth a few times and VOILA! The other bead roller has you push pieces of clay through a hole, slice off the excess and extract the clay using a pencil. Again, you move a fitted top back and forth a couple of inches over and over.  These beads will also be the same size. Erika wanted the cone look from the latter.

       After  I gathered all the beads in a box lid, I pushed the thin metal wires through them. The ends of these rested on a tray in the little polyform clay oven I bought w a coupon at JoAnn's. The beads cook for about 30 minutes at 275. Magic. Then I strung them today and made earrings...not matching. I am looking forward to making more beads depending on what I need and sharing the technique with friends.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spring Break in April

   THE SUN IS OUT! In April I wanted to get to NYC to see the Degenerates Show at the Neue Galerie. The lines were long, but I found it helpful to get there ten minutes before the museum opened. I once made an oil painting of Hitler's Degenerate Artists. Hitler put up one show of art he had preferred, but more people attended the other show of artists' work he ridiculed. Here is my painting, containing names of some of the 125 artists censored by the Nazis and others from the Renaissance up to the present who have been subjected to public censorship. Click on photos to enlarge.

    I returned to NYC the next week to meet elementary school friends who were in the area to see Ann's grandchild in a musical. I took those bracelets and NYC quilt birthday card I showed last month.  One bracelet was way too big...but it feels good to make something to gift when you gather with old pals. I enjoyed playing with photos and videos afterwards...at one point making a video with my iPhone of the slideshow and music on my computer. I used Comic Life software to collage photos.

    Easter was next when Joe and David tied the eggs on the tree. After setting our casual table, Joe and I made string eggs we saw at Ben Franklin. We blew up balloons and wound string around. We anchored string by painting all over with a watery white glue called Stiffy. After we hung these to dry overnight, we hid dyed eggs, burst the balloons and draped the string shapes on the lights. It was fun to be kids, but may not do that craft again :*))

     I made up 8 blocks for Katie's Project Hope Quilt and painted (sample) and stitched in the plain areas. I used Jaquard fabric paints and small brushes.  I also created a challenge quilt with strips, cutting casually, called "Where oh Where oh Where is Spring." Here is an earlier photo. I have since free-motion stitched the title in the top row and am still working on this. This quilt will be interactive.

     The Journal Quilt Connection is getting excited about the QC quilt show May 30 to June 1. Hope to have photos soon. This is too much for one post so I am off to bed! Thanks for looking and come to the show!

Elana's Winter
Click video link QC quilt show above