Polymer clay challenge week 26 – toggle

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This week I decided to make a polymer clay toggle to go with the water lilies beads I made previously. I still haven’t got round to working out more interesting mechanics for the toggles so it’s back to the circle and bar design.

Water lilies, focal toggle by Cate van Alphen

Focal toggle by Cate van Alphen

It is pretty chunky though.

Water lilies, focal toggle by Cate van Alphen

Focal toggle by Cate van Alphen

I feel a necklace coming on ;)

Water lilies, focal toggle by Cate van Alphen

Focal toggle by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay challenge week 25 – bead

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This week, week 25 of the 2015 Polymer Clay Challenge, I made blue beads. I used the fragments from drilling the big beads last week to make some “frit” beads.

Water lilies frit beads by Cate van Alphen

Water lilies, polymer clay frit beads by Cate van Alphen

I like the painterly effect created by adding mica powder unevenly.

Water lily frit beads by Cate van Alphen

Water lilies, polymer clay frit beads by Cate van Alphen

They remind me of Monet’s paintings of water lilies, so that’s what I’ve named them. ;)

Frit beads by Cate van Alphen

Water lilies, polymer clay frit beads by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay challenge week 24 – focal

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I kicked off my first week of blue by revisiting the big lentils I made for a necklace a few years ago.

Big lentil beads by Cate van Alphen

Big lentil beads by Cate van Alphen

I think I’ll have another go at these as individually they are slightly less interesting than I’d hoped.

Lentil focal beads by Cate van Alphen

Lentil focal beads by Cate van Alphen

They look pretty good all together, so I quickly strung them into a necklace.

Lentil bead necklace by Cate van Alphen

Lentil bead necklace by Cate van Alphen

At the moment, I’m pretty tempted to keep this one for myself. ;)+

Polymer clay challenge week 23 – bead

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This post is a bit late for the end of green, but I did make these head-pins and (one!) pillow bead before the start of blue.

Kaleidoscope head-pins and pillow bead by Cate van Alphen

Kaleidoscope head-pins and pillow bead by Cate van Alphen

I have found green a bit difficult for a number of reasons. The primary difficulty was the disruption and lack of time because of moving house. But also because I’m so used to green being a background colour, I found it difficult to focus on it. Finally I think the monochromatic palette a was a challenge since the colours didn’t have any pop.

Still, I have been able to get some green components listed in my Etsy shop. :)

Blue colour palette recipes

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Today is the start of my blue period ;) so here are the colour recipes.

GlobalHues_2 scan_blue

Light Grey

  • 95 white
  • 1.5 true magenta
  • 3.5 true blue

Light Blue

  • 80 white
  • 20 true blue

Blue

  • 100 true blue

Purple

  • 50 white
  • 40 true magenta
  • 10 true blue

Yellow

  • 100 true yellow

I haven’t quite finished with green yet as I still have some beads to show for this week of the 2015 Polymer Clay Challenge. Also I’m hoping that I will be able to get some of the green components listed in my Etsy shop soon.

Polymer clay challenge week 22 – toggle

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This week I made green toggles for my 2015 Polymer Clay Challenge. I do intend to come up with some more interesting mechanics for my clasps, but I haven’t had the time to experiment. So for this week I went back to making shank buttons.

Green shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

Green shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

I did start making a wire hook to go with a button to complete the clasp, but then I couldn’t find my hammer to harden it (and add some texture). I’ll have to finish it later when I’ve unpacked.

Back of shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

Back of shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

The different designs all came from the same pattern sheet.

Kaleidoscope shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

Kaleidoscope shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

I’ve just realised there are only two days left of green and I’ve hardly been able to give it a fair go.

Polymer clay challenge week 21 – beads

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Since I was disappointed with last week’s pendant I wanted to make something really nice this week, but I’m still cleaning the old house and at one point I thought I’d have to write a blog saying I hadn’t made anything at all :(. Then I realised it was Wednesday morning not Thursday so there was still time. Whew! I took the evening off from unpacking and made these green polymer clay beads.

Green polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Green polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

I made a cane with layers of green which I sliced/squashed using a credit card. Then I used my method of making a Natasha bead round (do you think I can call them Cate Beads?). The two patterns below are from the same cane, but I used different orientations of the Natasha cube to make the poles.

Green polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Green polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Green beads by Cate van Alphen

Green beads by Cate van Alphen

Green beads by Cate van Alphen

Green beads by Cate van Alphen

I finally got round to making a pair of head pins for earrings. I also made another earring pair by making the beads oval and adding gold mica powder tips. They looked a bit lonely in their own photo, but they are there in the top right of the first photo in this blog.

Green headpins by Cate van Alphen

Green polymer clay and coloured copper wire headpins by Cate van Alphen

Maybe next week I’ll have found all my tools and have time to make something amazing. ;)

Polymer clay challenge week 20 – focal

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This week’s offering is a bit rubbish, but the Polymer clay challenge is to make something – it doesn’t have to be good! I managed to excavate enough space among the moving boxes to make a green pendant. It wasn’t easy.

Green shard pendant by Cate van Alphen

Green shard pendant by Cate van Alphen

Panel bracelet by Cate van Alphen

Panel bracelet by Cate van Alphen

The filigree shard is from a disaster in week 18. I wanted to revisit a technique from a few years ago where I made a filigree pattern from finely extruded polymer clay and then, after baking, I squished in a backing of layered clay to make a subtle mokume gane background. Unfortunately when I squished the backing onto the baked filigree pattern, the curves snapped. Then when I came to sand the surface to reveal the colours in the extruded threads the whole sheet crumbled. I’m not sure if it was because the backing clay was thinner than I had planned (I didn’t have as much clay mixed as I should have) or because the clay wasn’t properly cured (I turned the temperature down in an attempt to stop my beads cracking).

I hoped that I could put a shard from the crumbled sheet onto some backing clay to make it strong enough for me to sand. I couldn’t find my blades, so the background shape is a bit rustic (it’s uncut from the pasta machine). I couldn’t find my sandpaper to texture the clay either so I used a scrunched up ball of tin foil. I quite like the effect.

Back of green pendant by Cate van Alphen

Back of green pendant by Cate van Alphen

When I took it out the oven both layers cracked which made me suspect the temperature wasn’t high enough. So I stuck it together with some bake and bond and cured again. This time it held together, but the cracked filigree irritated me, so I added some crackle effect varnish to make it more of a feature. I haven’t used it very often and the cracks were smaller than I wanted. I tried adding some green alcohol ink to highlight the crackles, but it just coloured everything (see the smudge on the right) so that was a fail.

But I made something.

Polymer clay challenge week 19 – bead

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My post is a bit early this week, but we are moving and the internet goes tomorrow. :o What will I do without internet? Oh, right – pack boxes!

Green sequin beads by Cate van Alphen

Green sequin beads by Cate van Alphen

My offering is pretty simple this week – again it’s the moving thing. I made some rustic polymer clay sequin beads. The twist is that they have contrasting colours on either side.

Disc beads by Cate van Alphen

Beige disc beads by Cate van Alphen

I think this will create a nice dynamic effect when they are strung into something like a necklace because the colour will change depending on the viewing angle.

Green disc beads by Cate van Alphen

Green disc beads by Cate van Alphen

Glitter repair

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I couldn’t bear looking at the cracks in my green beads anymore, but I didn’t want to completely obliterate the green patterns, so I added a layer of transparent polymer clay mixed with green glitter. I backfilled the cracks with some green clay first to reduce the chance of air bubbles being introduced. I made a few spacer beads using the excess transparent clay.

Green glitter beads by Cate van Alphen

Green glitter beads by Cate van Alphen

This time when I baked them I put the top shelf back into the oven with a tile on top to protect the beads. It seemed to work – I didn’t find any cracks or air bubbles :)

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