Polymer clay challenge week 12 – bead

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This week I made yellow beads for the 2015 Polymer Clay Challenge. I made some more of my patchwork beads.

Yellow patchwork polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Yellow patchwork polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Yellow patchwork polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Yellow patchwork polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

They’re beads, they’re yellow – enjoy!

Spring snow

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With the sun making a spring appearance, I thought I’d better show my snowflake inchies before they melt. I had been waiting for them all to arrive with my swap buddies, but I’ll put the last one down to an exotic postal system and show the rest now.

Polymer clay inchies by Cate van Alphen

Snowflake inchies by Cate van Alphen

I made these polymer clay snowflake inchies for the Virtual Retreat January swap.

Snowflake inchies received

Inchies from Carole Klinko, Claire Fabian, Eva Eriksen and Tina Struck (left to right)

Here are the inchies I received in return. Thank you ladies for your lovely artwork and all the extras you sent with them :)

Polymer clay challenge week 11 – toggle

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I’m so excited, I had an actual sunbeam this morning for taking photographs! I started this week off by making some buttons. They may look familiar from a couple of weeks ago when they were cabochons.

Polymer clay shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

But now they’ve got their shanks on baby ;)

Polymer clay shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay shank buttons by Cate van Alphen

Next I made some bar buckles using the mokume gane sheet from last week. I also made a new sheet of mokume gane for the oval buckle using the offcuts which were still on my board.

Polymer clay buckles by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay buckles by Cate van Alphen

I whipped up a bracelet using some old green ribbon and some of last week’s beads to test that the buckle actually worked.

Polymer clay and ribbon bracelet by Cate an Alphen

Polymer clay and ribbon bracelet by Cate an Alphen

It worked well until I took my jumper off and the whole bracelet came off too. The buckles hold quite well while the ribbon is horizontal, but when the buckles are lifted up they lose all tension and the ribbon just slips through. Maybe they would be better able to grip thicker (or rougher) fabric?

Daffodil bracelet by Cate van Alphen

Daffodil bracelet by Cate van Alphen

Perhaps the buckles should only used decoratively, or just to adjust the length rather than as a closure. I think they make interesting focals and I like the big hole button look of the round one. I’m sure they’d look great with sari silk, but I haven’t got any to test with. Or a band of macrame, but that will have to wait.

Polymer clay challenge week 10 – bead

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This week I made some yellow mokume gane beads using the scraps from last week’s zigzag focal together with layers of white and pearl polymer clay.

Yellow beads by Cate van Alphen

Yellow polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

The result is quite a subtle naturalistic marble effect. Or it would be if banana yellow marble existed.

Yellow polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Yellow polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Maybe it contains a lot of sulphur?

Name the bead

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I rarely make the same thing twice, however I have found myself going back to these polymer clay beads a few times. They are quite fiddly to make so I find them a good way to relax.

Aqua champagne patchwork beads by Cate van Alphen

I think of them as patchwork beads, mainly due to the process I use to make them. The name sort of works when I use a mix of colours like in these earrings.

Patchwork bead earrings by Cate van Alphen

Patchwork bead earrings by Cate van Alphen

But when I use more homogenous colours it doesn’t really describe how they look.

Green beads by Cate van Alphen

Gold beads by Cate van Alphen

Yellow brown beads by Cate van Alphen

I can’t quite think of how to describe them. They aren’t really geometric enough to be Art Deco. Retro? Nouveau Deco? What do you think?

Polymer clay challenge week 9 – focal

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This is my first week making yellow components for my 2015 Polymer clay challenge. To explain how I got where I got, we need to go back to orange, and then even further back to when I was in primary school.

/\/\/\/\ Cue wibbly screen /\/\/\/\

For some of my primary schooling I went to a Waldorf school. This meant that all my books were little works of art. So for maths, instead of drawing a line between a day’s sums we drew a little pattern. The paper was grid lined so I invariably ended up with zigzags of increasing complexity. Sometimes there was more pattern than sums. So when I came to tidy away my orange canes, I saw a load of triangles. Lots of triangles = zigzag!

Zigzag pattern polymer clay cabochon by Cate van Alphen

Zigzag pattern polymer clay cabochon by Cate van Alphen

The first sheet I made was slightly clunky and approaching visual indigestion. I realised I needed areas of plain colour to break up the busy canes.

Polymer clay pattern sheet (WIP)

Polymer clay pattern sheet – WIP

Then, all too soon, it was time to switch to yellow. Since I’d spent so much time fiddling with the orange pattern sheets, I knew there wouldn’t be enough time to make yellow canes AND another zigzag sheet. So I made a mokume gane pendant that was a little underwhelming because it didn’t have the contrast (and I was worried other colours would swamp the yellow).

Yellow mokume gane pendant by Cate van Alphen

Yellow mokume gane pendant by Cate van Alphen

Along came Suzanne Ivester’s “Painting with Polymer” class on the Virtual Retreat and I realised I could use sheets of marbled clay like inlay.

Polymer clay pendant by Cate van Alphen

Yellow zigzag polymer clay pendant by Cate van Alphen

I also made a matching pair of focals, which I’ll probably use for earrings.

Earring focals by Cate van Alphen

Earring focals by Cate van Alphen

I also made some cabochons that will probably become shank buttons.

Polymer clay cabochons by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay cabochons by Cate van Alphen

And I put some of the pattern off-cuts into a ready-made metal bezel.

Polymer clay pendant by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay pendant by Cate van Alphen

It has been really strange working with a new palette of colours especially when I was part way through another project and some of the colours are the same. I think the biggest challenge with yellow will be not overwhelming it with its companions.

Yellow colour palette recipes

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Here are my colour recipes for the yellow colour palette of my Spectrum Challenge. I have used Fimo Professional polymer clay.

Yellow colour palette

Yellow palette swatches

Light Yellow

  • 99 white
  • 1 true yellow

Yellow

  • 100 true yellow

Orange

  • 95 true yellow
  • 5 true red

Chocolate

  • 50 white
  • 17 true yellow
  • 25 true red
  • 8 black

Green

  • 89 true yellow
  • 10 true green
  • 1 black

Beige

  • 99 white
  • 0.45 true yellow *
  • 0.05 true green *
  • 0.5 black

* (0.5% mix of 90 true yellow 10 true green)

Now I’m off to mix colours ;)

Polymer clay challenge week 8 – beads

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I usually post my weekly polymer clay challenge piece on a Thursday, but I decided to do it early this week as I wanted to make some kaleidoscope humbug beads and today is the last day of orange. :o

Polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

I didn’t manage to get the beads the same size as each other, but I did get better at not distorting the kaleidoscope pattern. I also got the corners sharper on the later beads (if you compare with the first bead on the right).

Polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

Polymer clay beads by Cate van Alphen

I can’t believe it’s already time to change colour palette! I thought I’d get bored after a week, and need work with several different palettes based around orange. As it is I feel I was only just getting warmed up and I’m a little sad to be saying goodbye to orange.

Shrink plastic buttons

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As I was making my polymer clay buttons, I thought I should test how they cope with being washed. From my research on the internet, polymer clay buttons hold up fine but I do like to check these things myself. I also remembered that a while back I got the materials to make buttons using shrink plastic, so I decided it would be good to test those at the same time. Since the first batch of buttons I made is packed away, I made some new ones.

My shrink plastic is printable, so I made a variety of buttons to test different surfaces. I still need to test washing the buttons, but there are already a number of things I don’t like about the shrink plastic.

Buttons by Cate van Alphen

The first kind is 100% colour printed, using a pattern derived from my kaleidoscope cane. It was easy to make perfectly aligned kaleidoscope designs using the computer, but the colours are disappointing. The colours get darker (which I accounted for) but they also change when the plastic shrinks. I’ve pictured them next to a polymer clay button for comparison. Somehow the shrink plastic has lost vitality.

Shrink plastic buttons by Cate van Alphen

I made the next buttons by printing out black lines and colouring them with coloured pencil. Generally I like the colours but the ugly khaki colour in the yellow circles was originally orange pencil which mutated when the plastic shrank. And does one button have a wonky shape? Yes indeed! I used a punch to cut out the shapes so they started off evenly sized and perfectly round.

Shrink plastic buttonsSome of the buttons are not very flat either. These buttons have simple black lines printed on the white plastic. And the backs…

Shrink plastic buttons

The backs are slightly discoloured yellow. Perhaps the tile they were on burnt them? I was using my heat gun on the front of the button so I’m a bit confused. Too hot? Too close? Just something that happens?

Shrink plastic buttons by Cate van Alphen

Shrink plastic buttons by Cate van Alphen

I’m not particularly keen on the white edges of the buttons either. Maybe I’m just too fussy. Oh well, we’ll see what the washing machine makes of them.

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