Polymer clay challenge – week 45

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I have been a little waylaid from my polymer clay so I’ve pretty much lost track of the 2016 Polymer Clay Challenge. Since it has been a while since I last blogged, here is some of the jewellery I recently made inspired by the broken teacup I previously wrote about.

Shard earrings by Cate van Alphen

Long shard earrings by Cate van Alphen

Teacup shard pendant by Cate van Alphen

Teacup shard pendant by Cate van Alphen

I finished some earrings and a pendant using the shards I wrote about in week 36.

Flower earrings by Cate van Alphen

Flower earrings by Cate van Alphen

I also made some earrings to go with the necklace that I made in week 38 using canes inspired by the flower power pattern on the vintage teacup.

Earrings by Cate van Alphen

Earrings by Cate van Alphen

Earrings by Cate van Alphen

And since I had some canes already made, I made more earrings.

Necklace restring

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A few years ago I gave my sister a necklace. At the time I was experimenting with silk ribbon. Unfortunately, although the colour matched fantastically well there were some structural issues. Firstly the beads were able to slip over the knots intended to separate them, secondly the larks head knot securing the pendant kept sliding to the back and flipping the pendant, and finally three years later the silk was not aging well.

Ribbon necklace by Cate van Alphen

Before – beads strung on silk ribbon.

Therefore I have just restrung it on some fine nylon cords. The colour is not as pretty as the jade ribbon, but I have included some macrame knots at the pendant which will hopefully ensure that it sits better.

Necklace by Cate van Alphen

After – beads on nylon cord with macrame bail.

Necklace by Cate van Alphen

Necklace by Cate van Alphen

If you are interested, there is a free tutorial here on my blog where I make this polymer clay pendant.

Art Vessel – week 39

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It seems my grotto bottle (which you may remember from week 23 and 24) has been waiting for the Art Charm Swap reveal*. Perhaps there is some quantum resonance as I planned to add some similar tiny frogs around the outside?

* Unfortunately the Art Charm Auction has been slightly delayed while Jen Cameron arranges a venue that will ensure all the proceeds go to Beads of Courage. I will share the link as soon as it starts… after I’ve made my bids๐Ÿ˜‰

Bottle WIP by Cate van Alphen

Grotto Bottle WIP by Cate van Alphen

The decoration is STILL not finished, but it is starting to look more interesting. I’ve added some glass gems, which I originally prepared for my Art Charms before deciding they were too big and starting again. I’ve linked them together with swirls of “silver” coloured polymer clay. I was thinking of them as metallic bones in the landscape, except they now look more like liquid mercury. Perhaps the rocks are bones, and these are more like veins.

Bottle WIP by Cate van Alphen

I’m planning to add some moss and plants for the little quantum frogs now on my work board. There may be bugs and a fungal infection or two before I’m finished. I’ll see how it grows.

Art Charm Exchange

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I am excited to finally reveal the charms I made for Jen Cameron’s Art Charm Exchange. The theme this year was Fairytales. My charms were inspired by the story of the Frog Prince.

Frog charm by Cate van Alphen

On one side there is a simple little frog on a lily pad, but on the other side…

Charms by Cate van Alphen

…there are hidden gems. The shining nuggets represent the princess’s bauble and also the more valuable prince concealed within the frog.

Charms by Cate van Alphen

In the story, the princess was only interested in getting her bauble back and made promises that she had no intention of keeping. But by completing her obligation, however reluctantly, she was rewarded (if we assume that marrying a prince is a reward). Perhaps if she had been less focussed on her bauble it would have occurred to her that there is more to a talking frog than meets the eye. If so she may have acted in a more princessly way.

Remember that you shouldn’t let the pursuit of baubles blind you to the wondrous things that you already have (like perhaps a talking frog).

Charms by Cate van Alphen

I made the charms from polymer clay and small glass nuggets. I sculpted every frog (and leaf) by hand so they are each unique.

Frog charm by Cate van Alphen

And teeny tiny!

I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made.

Alenka Obid
Andrea Glick
Angelique Gentry
Brooke Bock
Caroline Dewison
Cassi Paslick
Catherine van Alphen
Charlene Jacka
Helena Hatten
Jen Cameron
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Kathy Lindemer
Leona Smith
Lesley Watt
Lori Anderson
Marianne Baxter
Melissa Trudinger
Michelle McCarthy
Patty Miller
Shai Williams
Sheila Prosterman
Susan Kennedy
Terri Del Signore
Vanessa Gilkes

If you would like to have a charm for yourself, check out the auction (which will be starting soon) where your bids will help raise money for Beads of Courage.

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Polymer clay challenge week 38

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This week I have made some beads using the canes inspired by the vintage teacup I’ve been working with. So far I’ve made one necklace.

Necklace by Cate van Alphen

The beads have different patterns on either side so the look changes depending on how the beads are flipped.

Necklace by Cate van Alphen

I plan to make some more beads using the canes, and I have made some accent beads to go with them when I do.

Beads by Cate van Alphen

Remember it’s nearly time for the Art Charm reveal๐Ÿ™‚. I’ll be showing the fairy tale inspired charms I made along with links to see what the other participants have made. This will also be the start of the auction to benefit Beads of Courage, so be sure to come back on 30th September.

Week 37 – still a vessel?

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I’m not entirely sure what I’ve made this week for my 2016 Polymer Clay Challenge. I decided to do something with the base of the broken cup from last week. I started by covering the sharp edges with polymer clay. Then there was a scar left from where the handle broke off, so I made some retro flower canes inspired by the cup pattern to cover that and make it into a feature.

by Cate van Alphen

I decided to make a little garden inside the teacup. And because I had massively oversized unrealistic flowers, I decided to make it an unreal fairy garden. I made the ground white to match the china cup. And there’s a silver bridge over a golden river.

Fairy Garden by Cate van Alphen

I used gold ink in liquid polymer clay for the river, but it didn’t end up as sparkly as I’d hoped. I did consider adding some residents, but my miniature work is still a bit ham-fisted.

Fairy Garden by Cate van Alphen

I’m not sure that it still counts as a vessel since it’s now full, so you wouldn’t really want to put other things in. My daughter says it’s a wishing garden. I suppose wishes don’t take up much room.

You may have noticed that I have not yet revealed what I made for the Art Charm Swap. That’s because the date is now 30th September 2016. The theme is Fairytales so there will be lots of enchanting things to see then.๐Ÿ˜‰

Week 36 – Anti-vessel

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This week for my Polymer Clay Challenge, I have unmade a vessel. I wrote previously about how I am fascinated with pottery shards, and this week I finally got around to combining them with polymer clay.

I have made a few headpins. These were from a vintage teacup that died of natural causes.

Shard headpins by Cate van Alphen

I textured the backs with a stamp and antiqued them with acrylic paint.

Polymer clay shard pins by Cate van Alphen

I think they are quite successful. The polymer clay seals the razor-sharp edges nicely.

I think I can hear the earring muse calling.๐Ÿ™‚

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Green Jewellery

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I have been making some green jewellery using the polymer clay beads I made last year. These, and other green goodies, are now available in my Folksy store.

Big bead choker by Cate van Alphen

Big bead choker by Cate van Alphen

Macrame bracelet by Cate van Alphen

Macrame and leaf button bracelet by Cate van Alphen

Kaleidoscope cabochon by Cate van Alphen

Kaleidoscope cane cabochon by Cate van Alphen

I also made some earrings using my Blue Palette.

Blue kaleidoscope earrings by Cate van Alphen

Blue kaleidoscope earrings by Cate van Alphen

It’s Sheeptember

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I have been working hard on making some new sheepy items for Sedbergh Sheepfest on 17th and 18th September. This year I decided to stick to a palette of black and white. Here’s a sample of what I made:

Wonky sheep cube necklace by Cate van Alphen

Wonky sheep cube necklace by Cate van Alphen

Sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

Sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

White sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

White sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

I also made a few pairs of earrings using the cross stitch sheep cane I made previously.

Cross stitch sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

Cross stitch sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

Of course working in black and white, I couldn’t resist making a few Op Art inspired pairs of earrings.

Op Art earrings by Cate van Alphen

Op Art earrings by Cate van Alphen

And an obligitory kaleidoscope cane.

Kaleidoscope cane bracelet by Cate van Alphen

Kaleidoscope cane bracelet by Cate van Alphen

These, and more, are now available at the Craftworkshop in Sedbergh. And if you are in the area on the 16th and 17th, the festival is good fun too.

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Art Vessel – week 35

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Hooray! I have actually made a vessel this week. I sat down to make some black and white beads and ended up covering a glass dish with the leftover canes from my AJE headpin challenge.

Patchwork dish by Cate van Alphen

Despite taking great care to avoid air bubbles, I was disappointed that quite a few appeared after baking. They are visible as the top surface is glass with polymer clay decoration on the underside. I do have an idea for something to try on my next attempt to avoid this.

Patchwork dish by Cate van Alphen

The glass blank is a square with curved edges to make a shallow dish. Luckily I have a few more to practice on.

Back of dish by Cate van Alphen

I textured the back and added some gold paint to antique it. I think it could do with a touch of sanding to remove some of the messy paint from the raised areas. But at this point I’m just glad that I made something.