Monday, February 27, 2012

Peacock Collection

When we began selling our buttons and shawl pins in the local stores I was a little concerned that we would be repeating the same designs over and over and it would get boring after a time.  I am happy that really isn't the case and  it has actually allowed me to experiment even further and so we are continually adding new designs on a regular basis. 

These new buttons and shawl pins are from our new Peacock Collection.  They are all now available for sale at Donna's Yarn & Craft Centre in Kamloops.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mica Shift Colors to Dye For

These are some new floral buttons in rich sorbet colors I made using the mica shift technique with Kato clay and alcohol inks.  They were made for a special order to fill for one of the local stores that sell our beads and buttons.   In case you are wondering, mica shift is an amazing technique that creates a three dimensional affect in a smooth or flat piece of clay by manipulating the mica particles.

I first mixed in different inks with small amounts of pearl clay for samples and then baked the sample chips and attached them to cards.  I recommend doing this first as some of the inks can change their color drastically after mixed in with the clay or you might end up with a batch of clay in a color you might not like.

I wanted to be able to use my new clay colors for a mica shift to make the floral buttons so I measured out 3 parts of Kato pearl clay and 1 part Kato transluscent.  I laid out my clay squares and put several drops of ink onto each square and spread the ink all over with a metal spatula so it would dry quicker.

Just for a measurement comparison, my clay squares were 2" and I used about 7 drops of ink per square.

I allowed the inks to dry completely before mixing in.  I then created my flowers from the dyed clay.  You can see how this mixture made an excellent mica shift.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Textured Lace Buttons

I have been experimenting with the Sutton Slice technique and some new textures.  It took a bit to get the hang of it and now I am totally hooked. Here are some buttons I made that sort of remind me of lace.  They all have  metal wire shanks for sewing.

In the buttons below I used the Pantone Spring 2012 color combination of Bellflower, Solar Power and Tangerine Tango.

Some of these buttons were snatched up by several local stores we sell to.  I am in the process of making more and will be listing them in our online shops when they are done.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Unplanned Reorganization

I ended up doing some major organizing in the studio yesterday instead of the claying I had planned.  It all started when I pulled some canes from my trays to use and noticed  they were reacting to the plastic and had started to literally "melt" through the bottom.

I am so glad I had caught it when I did or the damage could have been worse.  I was quickly scrambling to find a new way to store my canes as I wanted to remove them from the trays as soon as possible.  The interesting thing I discovered was that not all of the compartments were affected and as I was removing the cane pieces I realized that only the older canes that contained Premo clay were reacting and the compartments containing canes made from Kato clay were fine.

I never thought of this before and assumed all the clay brands would react the same and when I first tested the tray I had used Kato clay and not another brand.

These weren't all my canes but just my smaller pieces so I decided to empty my hardware from the little drawer units on my clay desk and do a switch-a-roo.  It took most of the day to organize it all but I think I'm much happier now with the new arrangement.  Here is what the trays look like now with all the little jewelry hardware pieces, odds & ends, etc.

And some of the little drawers with the canes:

On a brighter side -- I found these colorful bins at a local dollar store.  They really brighten up the room and make great organizers.  I just need to put some labels on so I remember what is in each one.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Give me a hand

I taught part 2 of the beginner jewelry making class at the Sewing Basket in Salmon Arm yesterday.  We had a fun time and all the ladies went home wearing their new bracelet and earrings to match the pendants they made in the first class.

The ladies in the class are eager to learn more so we decided to set up another class (part 3) in March where I will teach them some more jewelry making techniques that they can build on.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pantone Spring 2012 Colors into Clay

I've been making some large Rondelle Spacer Beads in eight of the new Pantone Spring 2012 colors.  They are now available in our Etsy shop and ArtFire studio.  It seems I am constantly making these beads as I find they compliment my other clay beads really well.  Here they are all strung together on a cord.  They remind me of those candy necklaces I use to buy as a kid.

Of course you could always make these beads yourself using the color recipes I've provided and my tutorial.

Click on the pictures below to go to my past blog posts for the eight color recipes using Kato clay:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sweet Sweet Pink Lilac

When I think of lilac my mind creates images of lilac bushes in a soft purplish color.  The Pantone color Sweet Lilac, however, is actually more pink than lilac shade you would think of.  

While this type of pink is not a usual color I would wear I find it goes well with many of the other Pantone Spring 2012 colors.  Here I used it in these buttons and Nastasha bead combined with Cabaret to add a bit more contrast and pizzazz.

Here are a few more color combo ideas with Sweet Lilac:

... with Tangerine Tango & Cabaret

... with Bellflower

... with Tangerine Tango & Cabaret

... with a touch of Margarita

The recipe for Sweet Lilac is quite simple really.  Here is the recipe using Kato clay.

Sweet Lilac
1 part Magenta
15 parts White Mix # 1-2 *

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pantone Bellflower

Pantone describes this soft and muted shade of purple as fanciful and ornamental exuding uniqueness and creativity.  The Pantone color Bellflower reminds me of fields of lavender or other soft and muted type purples.  These beads and buttons  are a combination of Bell Flower with Cabaret.

Here are a few more other color combinations to hopefully inspire you:

Here is the recipe using Kato polyclay:

Bell Flower

3 parts violet
1/2 part silver
1/2 part magenta
2 parts Ecru mix # 2-8 *

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Shawl Pins

I've been working on some new shawl pin styles lately.  I love making these pins even though they can be quite labor intensive.   I love creating textured ones and highlighting with mica powders and pigments in various colors and then embedding Swarovski crystals.  The bead at the end of the sticks in the ones shown below are created in a similar way to how I make my Double-sided Textured Beads.  

You might recognize the texture I used in these ones shown below which are from my friend Helen Breil.  I love her textures so much and they are so versatile.

These are using the same texture sheets but using a mokume gane technique.  They are not my usual style but I really like the more organic look to them.

Tomorrow I will continue with the remaining Pantone Spring 2012 color recipes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pantone Color Margarita

Green is my absolute favorite color -- certain shades of green that is.  I love vibrant yellow greens as well as deep rich olive tones.  When I started working with polymer clay, most of my pieces ended up green.  I had to overcome that tendency of overuse and force myself to work with new colors and combinations.  Do you have a color that is your favorite and find yourself overusing it in some way?

Creating the Pantone colors into clay has helped me in overcoming this issue and I can now see so many other color possibilities.

I have to say though as much as I love the color green, I am not so keen on the Margarita shade.  They refer to it as a "refreshingly piquant yellow-green colour that is like the drink minus the alcohol".  But when you compare the Pantone Margarita swatch to a real Margarita drink I do not see the similarity.  To me the Pantone shade is more like a variation of last year's Peapod and more like a seafoam as opposed to the cool lime colored beverage.  What do you think?


or this?

See the difference?

Personally I love the more lime green combined with the other Pantone summery colors like Tangerine Tango and Cabaret....

I also prefer a more intense yellow shade of green (like in the flowers above) which has more of a "kick" to it than the Pantone shade that is muted.  But then that is my opinion.

Of course this green does have it's place on the color scale and can work as a neutral to tone down some of the other colors if you prefer a softer palette.  Here are a few photos to get you thinking with the clay color recipe below.


1 part Cilantro Mix # 7-3 *
4 parts White Mix # 1-2 *
2 parts Ecru Mix # 2-8 *

* Base colors for this recipe are found in my Clay Color System.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pantone Cockatoo

A lot of the Pantone colors tend to build on each other when they change from one season to another.  The Pantone shade of Cockatoo, for instance, is actually a lighter shade of the turquoise color Lagoon from fall, 2010.  If you have my Clay Color System, you already have the base recipe to mix up the lighter shade of Cockatoo.

1 part mix # 8-3 (Lagoon)
2 parts white mix # 1-2

Here are some Cockatoo color samples to inspire you ...

Cockatoo with Cabaret ... Gorgeous!

Cockatoo and Solar Power

Cockatoo with Tangerine Tango

Cockatoo with Cabaret & Tangerine Tango