Polymer clay challenge week 35 – focal

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This week of the 2015 Polymer Clay Challenge I made a ring to go around one of my beads from last week to make a compound focal/pendant.

Indigo compound bead pendant by Cate van Alphen

Indigo compound bead pendant by Cate van Alphen

I even sanded it to make a smooth contrast to the textured bead.

Compound focal by Cate van Alphen

Compound focal side view by Cate van Alphen

Compound indigo pendant by Cate van Alphen

Compound indigo focal by Cate van Alphen

The only problem now is that I think several of them would look good all joined up together to make a necklace, but I don’t know when I’ll find the time to make them.

Sedbergh Sheep Fest 2015 – part 3

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Here are the last of my Sheep Fest pendants. Click here for part 1 and part 2. These are a combination of polymer clay and heat set paint to pick up some of the details.

Painting pendants by Cate van Alphen

Painting pendants by Cate van Alphen

I made the green picture first to test the frame idea. It’s 100% polymer clay with a little acrylic paint to antique the frame.

Green landscape pendant by Cate van Alphen

Green landscape pendant by Cate van Alphen

The back is inspired by the ubiquitous slate walls in this area.

Back of landscape pendant by Cate van Alphen

Back of landscape pendant by Cate van Alphen

For the next pendant I used marbled polymer clay to form the landscape which I accented with a bit of texture, and painted in the details of the sheep and background walls.

Sheep painting slider pendant by Cate van Alphen

Sheep painting slider pendant by Cate van Alphen

Again the back was inspired by dry stone walls.

Back of sheep painting pendat by Cate van Alphen

Back of sheep painting pendant by Cate van Alphen

The last pendant is larger, more of a medallion than a miniature painting. Again I started with marbled polymer clay to form a basic landscape which I accented using heat set paint.

Sheep landscape medallion by Cate van Alphen

Sheep landscape medallion by Cate van Alphen

The bail and edging is intended to suggest the dry stone walls.

Stone wall edging of pendant by Cate van Alphen

Stone wall edging of pendant by Cate van Alphen

The pendant is a hollow lentil which I made in two parts and joined together. The back makes slightly less sense as it is from a sheet of kaleidoscope cane veneer that I had left over on my work surface. It makes a nice pendant on its own, but perhaps it doesn’t work with the rustic stone edging. However, instead of making a more refined faux metal bail, I decided to be true to the front of the pendant. It probably would have made more sense to make a faux stone back too.

Back of sheep medallion by Cate van Alphen

Back of sheep medallion by Cate van Alphen

Sedbergh Sheep Fest 2015 – part 2

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I have been making sheep for this year’s Sheep Fest in Sedbergh. I’ve already done one post, and here are some more of the sheepies I’ve made.

Cross stitch sheep pendant by Cate van Alphen

Cross stitch sheep pendant by Cate van Alphen

I still had some of the polymer clay cross stitch sheep cane left over from last year’s Sheep Fest, so I reduced a length to make into beads.

Cross stitch sheep jewellery by Cate van Alphen

Cross stitch sheep jewellery by Cate van Alphen

Cross stitch sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

Cross stitch sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

I had an odd number of beads, so I also made some phone charms.

Sheep charms by Cate van Alphen

Sheep charms by Cate van Alphen

These sculptural sheep are from a mould of an original sheep I made. I put some off-cuts from a sheet of green cane veneer on the back to keep them interesting from all sides.

Sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

Sheep earrings by Cate van Alphen

I have some more painterly sheep pendants in progress. They might feature in a WIP post soon if I don’t get them finished.

Sedbergh Sheep Fest 2015 – part 1

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In my previous post I mentioned that I’d been working on something other than my Spectrum Year, and now I’m baaa-ck to show you what. From 12th to 19th September it will be Sheep Fest in Sedbergh, so I have been making lots of polymer clay sheep :).

Sheep pendant by Cate van Alphen

Sheep pendant by Cate van Alphen

I started off by finishing the dry stone wall pendants that were a WIP earlier this year. I made a new stone effect frame for the sheep scene with a bigger hole to see the details inside. The back of the pendant is rough and cracked in keeping with the rustic stone wall theme.

Back of pendant by Cate van Alphen

Back of sheep pendant by Cate van Alphen

I made a new sheep scene to go into the original dome. I also got a little carried away adding moss to the wall.

Sheepscape pendant by Cate van Alphen

Sheepscape pendant by Cate van Alphen

I used the crackled components I’d made earlier to complete a necklace.

Sheepscape necklace by Cate van Alphen

Sheepscape necklace by Cate van Alphen

But I didn’t stop there – I made plenty more, and they’ll be following shortly in another blog. I’ll be taking these, and the other sheepy goodies to the Craftworkshop on Saturday. Sheep Fest was great fun last year, so if you are near Sedbergh, be sure to stop by!

Click here for part 2.

Polymer clay challenge week 34 – bead

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I spent my clay time this weekend working on something else, so I went back to my comfort zone yesterday and made some more patchwork beads for this week of my 2015 Polymer Clay Challenge.

Polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Indigo patchwork polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

They are always fun to make.

Indigo patchwork polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Indigo patchwork polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

But what was I working on this weekend? I’ll be baaa-ck soon to show you ;)

Polymer clay challenge week 33 – toggle

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I was tempted to make more shank buttons this week for my indigo colour palette toggle, but then I realised time was running out for me to try some of the more interesting toggle mechanisms I’d planned at the beginning of the year.

Polymer clay clasp by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay clasp by Cate van Alphen

This clasp is formed from two hooks. By aligning the angular cut holes of the two pieces at 90°, they slide together to form a chain link. It’s very satisfying to open and close :D.

Indigo link clasp by Cate van Alphen

Indigo link clasp by Cate van Alphen

The clasp is based on one from a chunky wooden bead necklace that I found in a charity shop, but I’ve made mine from polymer clay instead of wood. It took a few prototypes to get this far, and it is still a work in progress.

Prototype clasps by Cate van Alphen

Prototype clasps

The first couple of clasps were a bit too flexible for my liking, but I didn’t really want to make everything a lot bigger and thicker. I put wire inside the third attempt as reinforcement, but you can just see it peeping through on the inside of the hole.

Clasp WIP by Cate van Alphen

Clasp Doh! by Cate van Alphen

From the photos above it looks like I’ve cracked it, but turn one of the hooks over and there’s wire sticking out. I lost track of which side had the gap in the wire for cutting the hole through, and I chose the wrong place. Doh!

I’ve given the link a good pull apart and although the loops do flex open slightly (the one without the wire noticeably more so) I think a necklace made using the clasp would survive a tug from a toddler. So on the bright side cutting the wrong side helps to prove that the wire does provide some support, but also that I need to think of a way to keep track of where to cut ;).

Green earrings

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I couldn’t resist making several of my green polymer clay beads into earrings. Most of these earrings have now made it to my Etsy shop. Enjoy.

Green and beige polymer clay bead earrings by Cate van Alphen

Dancing mobius bead earrings by Cate van Alphen

Green and gold bead earrings by Cate van Alphen

Green and gold bead earrings by Cate van Alphen

Tie dye pins and pearl stack earrings by Cate van Alphen

Tie dye pins and pearl stack earrings by Cate van Alphen

Green triangle and blue pearl earrings by Cate van Alphen

Green triangle and blue pearl earrings by Cate van Alphen

Long kaleidoscope pillow bead earrings by Cate van Alphen

Long kaleidoscope pillow bead earrings by Cate van Alphen

Perfect for Mrs Wizard of Oz. ;)

Polymer clay challenge week 32 – bead

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This week for my polymer clay challenge I made spacer beads using my indigo colour palette.

Indigo palette spacer beads by Cate van Alphen

Indigo palette spacer beads by Cate van Alphen

I also made some disc beads.

Indigo palette sequin beads by Cate van Alphen

Indigo palette disc beads by Cate van Alphen

And some double-sided disc beads (the other side is indigo).

Indigo palette double sided sequin beads by Cate van Alphen

Indigo palette double sided disc beads by Cate van Alphen

Go long

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I have been slowly working through taking new photos of all my jewellery. It turns out this is only slightly insane, because looking back at some of the older pieces has reminded me of things I wanted to make more of but I never got around to. I really enjoyed making long beaded earrings, so I’ve made some more.

Long rust coloured earrings by Cate van Alphen

Long rust coloured earrings by Cate van Alphen with handmade polymer clay focal beads.

Blue dichroic glass bead earrings by Cate van Alphen

Long blue dichroic glass bead earrings by Cate van Alphen.

They are on nylon beading thread so they have a nice soft drape, and it means I can include seed beads which are sometimes too small for wire or headpins.

Hello world

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Last night I finally got to try out my new Genesis heat set paints. I haven’t dared try to paint recently, since with little children I know as soon as I’ve mixed up some colours I’ll get called away and they will be left to dry out on my palette. Because the Genesis paints remain usable until heat set, I thought they’d be a safer option. I decided to buy them with my birthday money, but I wanted to wait until after we’d moved. My birthday is in February so there has been some antici… … pation!

Hello world by Cate van Alphen

Hello World by Cate van Alphen

So here’s my first little painting. It’s really just a little doodle for me to test out the spectrum of colours. I think I need to get a magenta to pep up the purple since the one I mixed from red and blue was not bright enough for me (I think the red is too warm). The yellow is pretty warm too so I couldn’t get a cool green. I think I’ve gotten used to mixing with 5 primary colours (from using the Fimo Professional True Colours range).

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