Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bettina Welker Workshop -- My Bags Are Already Packed!

I was so quite excited when I heard that Bettina Welker was visiting Canada and is going to give a workshop here in British Columbia.  Bettina is one of my top favorite artists I would love to meet and so of course I am already signed up and can hardly wait!!!

It should be a fun weekend (August 13-14) all round starting with the drive out together with my "clay" friend, Joanne (I wrote about her here), and then meeting up with old friends from Vancouver and the Island where the workshop will be held.

It will also be great to learn something fresh and new.  Even if some of the designs taught aren't necessarily our style, it can still be inspiring and the techniques learned become a springboard for new ideas.

If you are in the area and would like to attend, hurry and register today as it is filling up fast!  For more info or to register, see the poster (above photo) for more details or contact either Barb Alexander or Irene Corman

Friday, June 17, 2016

Recovery Time and New Snap Accessories

Just last week I had surgery on my knee to repair a meniscus tear.  I had been suffering with swelling and pain for over a year so was nice to see things moving forward and I will be hopefully walking normally again soon.

Even though it wasn't serious, something like this can slow you down.  I was still been trying to stay active with the clay as much as it would allow but had to focus more on activities that involved sitting rather than standing.

We have found shows are getting harder to do with all the work in preparing, packing, setting up plus the long hours.  We managed to get through the Salmon Arm quilt show and actually found it enjoyable.  The ladies who took part in the Quilted Clay Make & Take had a lot of fun and it was a great way to share with them what polymer clay was all about and hopefully spark some interest in future workshops.

Each lady went away with a quilted clay piece in the pattern and colors of their choice that was mounted on a snap.  We had available a selection of snap base items for them to wear their quilted design and could add other snaps to interchange such as a necklace or our popular magnetic brooches.

Some of the items are new ideas we came up with special for the show and now have them available in our online store.  One is a metal shawl or hair stick with a snap base.

Here is a kilt style brooch pin for a sweater or shawlette.   The snap base has one of our clip clasps so it can be detached and worn on a chain as a necklace.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Salmon Arm Quilt Show is Over

We are recovering from a busy 2 days at the "Everybody Loves Quilts" show this past weekend in Salmon Arm.  This is one of the best well run and managed shows we have ever taken part in so was a real joy to be there.  We had our complete line of "Snap Decisions" collection along with some exciting new items that we will share with you later.

The main attraction in our booth this year was our "Quilted in Clay" Make & Take classes.  We held 6 classes over the 2 days and everyone that took it left with their own clay piece created in the pattern and colors of their choice.

Cleaning up and preparing for the next class
Quilted in clay pieces made by students in class

Quilted in clay pieces made by students in class

Everyone had a good time but this would not have been possible to pull off without Joanne Caldwell.  She is one of our star pupils from when we taught our beginner polymer clay workshop 2 years ago and afterwards helped us form our first polymer clay guild for our area.

Joanne makes beautiful handcrafted jewelry as well as some unique polymer clay items which you can see some of her work on her facebook page here

Friday, May 20, 2016

Everybody Loves Quilts - 2016 Quilt Show

We are excited to be in the quilt show put on by the Shuswap Quilters' Guild coming up already on June 3 and 4 in Salmon Arm.  This large show only happens every 3 years and we had a really great time during the last one

Instead of doing a live demo, we will be involving the attendees with a "Make & Take" project.  The ladies will have the opportunity to make their own 4 patch quilt block design from clay!

There is a lot of prep work involved such as making the sample templates for them to follow and mixing up all the clay colors so they are ready to cut into triangle and square shapes.

We also made clay bases to mount the quilt block designs on creating a natural frame background.  Each base has a large snap on the back so they can be added to a variety of snap base findings and used as an interchangeable button or worn as a necklace, bracelet or ring.      

They are also a perfect match for our "2 or 3 Way Magnetic Brooches" so they can be interchanged and worn several ways:

A - As a magnetic brooch (with charm),  B - As an eyeglass or badge holder (by changing the charm for the fancy metal ring) or C - As a necklace (by flipping it around and attaching to a neck chain).

We have a limited space and time for this "Make & Take" project so will set up a schedule at the show and encourage those who would like to take part to sign up for their preferred time slot and select the pattern and colors of their choice.

For more information on the show, you can follow their facebook page here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Q-Tip of the Day

We love adding crystal rhinestones to some of our work to give it some sparkle or bling.  We only use the genuine Swarovski crystals from Austria as they are the best quality with perfect cuts and sparkle.  

I recently came across a simple tool for picking up and positioning these crystals that works like a charm and is in the form of a pencil.

Use a regular pencil sharpener to give it a point.

Then pick the rhinestone crystal up by applying just a little bit of pressure to the center.

It will stay on the tool while you position it on the clay design.  

If your clay is really soft, you can even use the pencil to gently push the rhinestone in to set it.  We use Kato clay, however, which is much firmer so we use an empty tip from a pen as a tool to set them in.

I was working with some smaller 4mm size rhinestones the other day and the pen blank was just a little too large so I was looking around the studio for something that was smaller and a better fit.   I then noticed our little jar of Q-tips on the table and there it was!

The Q-tips are handy for so many things and I like to cut them in half and store them this way.

I remembered that some of the plastic type Q-tips are hollow inside and the ones we had were that type.  When I tested one out on the smaller rhinestones, I discovered they were a perfect fit!

If you are looking for some genuine Swarovski crystals to use with your clay, we purchase large amounts in bulk and have them for sale in our online store.  We even found these cute little containers for storing and keeping them handy and with the purchase of a variety mix or minimum 5 packages in colors of your choice, you will receive a Rhinestone Pick-up Pencil as a bonus gift.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rainbow Jelly Roll Cane and Recreating With the Left-Overs

We had to make up more of our Rainbow Jelly Roll "cane" last week to fill some orders for crochet hooks and stitch markers.  This cane takes quite a bit of work to make as there are six colors needed to create the gradual blend.

We made some "snap art beads" from this cane as well.

To make the snaps using a cane such as one like this, I simply reduce my cane to the same size as my round cutter used to fill the snap bezels.  I like to stretch my cane out so it lasts as long as possible so rather than using thick slices, I slice it a little thinner and back it with a clay circle.  You can then make it into a cabochon to fill the snap bezel following instructions on page 6 of my tutorial (part 1)

When making canes, we always end up with left-overs (as shown above) so we like to use those "scraps" in other ways.  One of the most popular techniques is creating "Natasha" beads.  The Natasha beads are fun to make.  We call these "inside out beads" as the clay is literally cut and turned inside out to reveal the cool pattern.

One can use so many Natasha beads, however, and while making them one day, I was inspired with an idea to create a new technique that I call Art Deco.  Instead of a square bead, we end up with flat mirror images.  They can then be used to create other shaped beads, buttons, snaps and whatever else you can think of.

These are such happy colors so I named them "Fiesta" and are now available in our online store.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Faux Stone in Amethyst Color

A few of our Okanagan Polymer Clay Guild members got together last week for some clay play time.  We all mixed up batches of faux turquoise and some of us experimented with new colors.  I had been wanting to try creating a faux amethyst so was a perfect time to give it a whirl.  I really love the results and is now my new favorite faux stone color. 

We also played with Donna Kato's faux opal technique and I combined it with the amethyst to create a pendant.

Later we made the faux Amethyst into "snap" art beads which are now for sale in our online store

Faux Amethyst "Snaps"

Faux Amethyst Stone Snap Necklace

Faux Amethyst Stone Snap Bracelet

The faux Amethyst stone was created using my Faux Turquoise technique.

While I share my clay color recipe to create the traditional Arizona turquoise color in my lesson, it can be adapted to any other clay color of your choice.

Here are a few other colors we have created: