Kaleidoscope Cane Video Tutorial

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I have finally finished editing and uploading a tutorial for making a kaleidoscope cane. I have the footage where I used this cane to make beads, but as you can tell I’m pretty slow at the editing phase so I’m not sure when that will be complete.

This is part of the sample challenge that I set for myself. If you’d like to join in too, get yourself 24 different colours of polymer clay that are 1oz each and use them all up. You can use an actual sample pack or use what you’ve got and mix up your own colours (that’s what I did). Tag what you make with #24ozPolymerClay so that we can find each other on the socials.

Enjoy!

Dusting off my online shop

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Recently I have been dusting off my online shop. Since creating the initial listings I have changed to a different computer monitor with more vivid colours and it became obvious that the colour balance of the photos was off, they were far too yellow. Therefore for the past few days I have been readjusting all the photos. It has taken ages but I think they look better now. You can see the colour difference down the centre of the photo below.

Zigzag earrings showing difference in colour balance.

So far I have only relisted earrings and I haven’t been able to add new items for sale just yet but I thought it was important to have photos that better portrayed the colours. Since some of these earrings are now a few years old, I have put in increasing discounts based on the year that the earrings were made. The older the item, the bigger the discount. Have a look, perhaps you will find a pair of new earrings to pep up your day. I know the earrings would rather be worn than be stuck in a drawer!

My “Sample Pack” Challenge

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I have set myself a challenge, and I have finally finished editing a video for you to watch with the details.

In summary, the challenge is to get yourself a “sample pack” of polymer clay: 24 blocks of different colours that are only 1oz in size. Then use up all the clay, and only this clay (don’t supplement with favourite colours from your stash).

I’m going to stick to simple additions like glitter or metal leaf, and possibly add touches of acrylic paint to highlight texture. The idea is to work with the different colours, even ones that I don’t really like. I’ve also got different effect clays like “marble” with inclusions that I have never used before.

If you’d like to join in, and I hope you do, please let me know in the comments, or tag your posts with #24ozPolymerClay.

Have fun!

Happy Groundhog Day, pick your colour

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It’s my Birthday today, so I always notice Groundhog Day. Last year my birthday was a fantastic date 02/02/2020 – a palindrome for US and UK alike.

At the time, it seemed like such a lucky number… by the end of February it seemed like a harbinger of DOOM! It turns out that 2020 got worse from there. So I’m feeling cheated. It didn’t happen, I want to try again. Therefore in the name of the movie (Groundhog Day) I am awarding myself a do-over.

2015 Spectrum Year

So what exactly am I doing again? Back in 2015 I set myself a challenge to work with seven colour palettes throughout the year and make something every week. You can see details here (including links to the colour recipes). At the time I felt like I hadn’t properly explored each palette, so I have decided to have another go. I’m not going to specify timescales at this point because, by now, what’s a year here or there among friends?

I’ve made a little survey if you’d like to click through and choose which colour palette you think I should start with first. You’ve got some time to vote since, at the moment, I’m working on another challenge that I have set myself. I’m working on a video which I hope to share soon (maybe next week?) because I’m hoping others will join in. Here’s a sneak peak…

Polymer clay kaleidoscope pillow beads.

Icy beads fresh out the oven

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I have had my head down a bit what with second (and now third) lockdowns in England and preparing for Christmas. I don’t like to start my “resolutions” on the 1st of January as I find it’s still too dark and cold and depressing to try deprive myself of sweeties at that point. However I had reached the point of feeling the time had come to start improving my eating habits and sleep patterns when my sister sent me a link to this beautiful video.

The bit that struck me was when she talked about it being okay to have less energy in the winter and that you shouldn’t force yourself to try to feel the same way that you do in summer. Having grown up in a humid subtropical climate in South Africa, I don’t know that I would ever be able to embrace the cold the way she does, but it does look beautiful from the comfort of my duvet in a centrally heated house. I think in these times it’s okay to have a need to comfort eat and want to hide (for a while), so I forgave myself for being withdrawn and sat down to start making beads again.

“Arctic Noon” polymer clay beads

I was also inspired by the way she spoke about light. This is important to me since I derived the name Fulgorine from “fulgor” which means “dazzling brightness, the light of the sun” because I want my work to be bright and joyful. I try to look on the bright side of life and focus on the positives but sometimes it takes an effort to remember to do it!

I really enjoyed making things again and I also have an idea for a new challenge that I hope others will be inspired to join in with. I’m working on a video of my own to explain it, so hopefully I’ll be able to share that soon.

I hope you all had a happy Christmas and are looking forward to a bright New Year.

P.S. I have started a mailing list! I’m not ready to send out regular messages yet, but if you would like to sign up now for when I do, here’s the link.

Spatial Composition Earrings

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Here is another entry for the Art Bead Scene Studio’s “Art Journey #6“. This time the inspiration was modern constructivist sculpture by Katarzyna Kobro.

Spatial Composition No. 6 | 1931 | Katarzyna Kobro

I was lucky enough to win a package of beads by Erin Prais-Hintz (Tesori Trovati) so I had an easy place to start.

My first pair of earrings feature Erin’s polymer clay components which I paired with hammered wire directly on sterling silver creole hoops. To me the inspiration sculptures are about primary colours and primary shapes so I picked up the circle and the line motif from polymer component. I decided to hang them on the hoops so that the wire additions could be moved to the front or the back to change the composition of the earrings. This also gives them a three dimensional existence like the sculptures.

The next pair of earrings feature Erin’s box charms. I made my own polymer clay components to go inside, but they didn’t feel right when I came to assemble the earrings. Instead used some of the glass beads that she sent and added the white polymer clay circles as a reference to the white curves in the inspiration sculptures.

The last pair of earrings I made were slightly accidental and are not quite fully developed. Originally I made the red polymer clay curves to go inside the box charms, but then I decided I preferred them on their own. However I had only made two for my original idea so I had to make another pair and wait till my oven was full to do another bake so that took an extra week.

The curved components are free to move around the pins to create a variety of compositions. Originally these were just red, but last night (after I had finished making them into earrings), I decided they needed white for more visual contrast. Therefore I dismantled them to add a white outline and baked again. Looking at them now I think I should have made the little cubes different colours too, maybe blue or yellow. However that would mean starting from scratch so it’s not going to happen in time for this challenge!

It’s surprisingly difficult working with minimalist blocks of colour and shape. There’s no texture to hide imperfections or whimsical decorative distractions.

The end of the rainbow

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The scrap ends of my rainbow cane had some lovely colours, so I couldn’t look at them sitting on my board for long without wanting to make something new with them. I decided to make some of my round natasha beads. I mixed some the bright colours with white to get some tonal variation in the finished beads.

These beads are ridiculously complicated to make, involving an extruded cane cut into cubes, assembled into bigger cubes, then cut into natasha beads and then made round. Halfway through I realised I liked the cube format too, so after much deliberation I decided to keep most of them half formed.

I’m still not sure which I prefer…

I also used Fiona Abel-Smith’s tutorial to make another extruded cane with the rest of the scraps and a few others lurking on my table. I like the vintage granny square look that these have. I textured the surface of these beads to add to the textile impression.

Me making earrings

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I made a little video of me making earrings. I have no idea if anyone else will find this interesting to watch!

In other news, I was delighted to discover that I won some lovely goodies for participating the the Art Bead Scene Studio challenge. Here are the firework earrings I made for that.

I’m not sure how postage times will work out, so I may need to participate in the next challenge without these guys. Still, they will be welcome whenever they arrive.

Thank You Rainbows

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Here in the UK rainbows are now a Thing. At the start of lockdown, children put them in the windows of their houses for others to spot on their once-a-day-permitted exercise outing. Now they are everywhere, from painted rocks to banners with messages of thanks to the NHS and key workers. As lockdown eases and I can (often) look at them without crying, I have decided to make my own rainbows.

Believe it or not, it took me ages to work out how to make a cane without a background. I even bought extra translucent clay so I could build up around the outside of the bow to make a square cane that I could reduce. While I was waiting for it to be delivered I was inspired by a solution that made me feel pretty silly…

All I needed to do was make a bullseye cane around a transparent core and it was already ready to reduce. Then, if required, I could remove the central core and cut the circle in half. Voila – a backgroundless bow! It actually took me a whole weekend to mix up 14 colours for this: the seven main rainbow colours and then seven intermediate colours to blend. You can just about see them on the big cane, but it’s not really visible on the reduced rainbow bead. But they are so cute and tiny, I don’t really mind.

I made myself a pair of earrings with my first rainbow beads where I left the translucent clay core. The main lentil beads are hollow so these are really nice and light to wear. I forget that I have them on (not so good when trying to put a mask on/off for shopping)!

Rainbow bead earrings.

So once again from me: Thank you NHS and key workers.

I wish you all a happy day. Stay safe.