Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Autumn Leaves Monarch Butterfly Necklace from Polymer Clay

Autumn Leaves, Monarch Butterfly and ladybug necklace from Polymer clay. 
This necklace currently for sale at MelodyODesigns at Etsy 
"Autumn, a second spring where every leaf is a flower." Albert Camus
I love to pick colorful autumn leaves to press, but the colors of THIS polyclay version will never fade. The leaves and acorns are made from PREMO polyclay using vein impressions made from real leaves and a mold made from a real acorn. The leaf color formulas contain some fluorescent clay to make the colors “pop”. All are tinted with a powder made from crushed soft artists pastels before curing. The butterfly wings were from studio made polymer clay canes*.

The  butterfly has a PC body, wire antennae, and seed bead eyes. The butterfly wings are attached to a  thin black butterfly-shaped aluminum sheet that allows the wings to be repositionable. The individual components are attached to a collar made from sewn macramé cording. The ladybugs were made using PC and acrylic paint. 

*Caning is a labor intensive construction technique borrowed from glassmaking similar to making jelly rolls where colored rods of clay are laid horizontally forming a complex pattern from which a thin slice is cut allowing the pattern to be seen. See a photo of raw Monarch cane below. Each tiny component of the entire complex Monarch butterfly is made by laying individual long rods of clay lengthwise and bundling them together with other tiny rods, so the Monarch image you see is actually made up 100's of tiny rods of clay.

A special thanks to Leigh Ross who, with husband Stephen, runs the Delphi newsgroup PolymerClayCentral. Her excellent leaf tutorial originally inspired me to make polymer clay leaves many years ago and got me excited about working with PC. Her lovely work and wide body of  PC knowledge continue to educate and inspire new generations of PC fans.
The "made from scratch" caned Monarch Butterfly is adhered to a thin aluminum backing so that the wings can be repositioned.

Un-reduced Monarch cane  made from old  PREMO polyclay

The Monarchs have landed in Cottonwood!
To see the Monarch Butterflies on a Blue Morning Glory necklace please click here:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Crazy Cat in Garden Collar Necklace from Polymer Clay

Closeup of orange and fuchsia cat in the garden necklace with playful ladybugs.

 Crazy Cat in Garden Collar Necklace

This smiling happy cat resides in a vibrant garden of brilliant blossoms, leaves, and ladybugs  on a collar-type necklace adhered to a sewn macrame cord base.  Except for the realistic whiskers (pirated from a new hair brush), all the components of the pieces made from PREMO polymer clay. PC canes are sliced and appliqued onto the body of the cat. The eyes are made from "brain cane slices". The ladybugs were made from PC and acrylic paint. My cat necklaces are available for sale at: MelodyODesigns at Etsy

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Crazy Cat Pendants #2

These bright and cheerful cats were created to celebrate the joys of being owned by a cat. Except for the realistic whiskers, all the components of the pieces were made using PREMO polymer clay. Cane slices were applied to the raw PC body before it was cured using Liquid PC. The whisker are from a "faux natural bristle" hair brush and were made by curing the face  with small wires in place (the relative diameter of the hair brush bristle). After curing, the wires were  removed and the bristle was glued in the tiny hole with a tiny dap of "Zap-A-Gap" cyanoacrylic glue. The cats eyes are made from a "brain cane" reduced to a very small size. The cats (with a convertible pin/pendant finding, magnet or ornament ) are for sale along with other cats of many colors at MelodyODesigns at Etsy

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cottonwood Aspen Leaf Necklace from Polymer Clay

This shimmering and sunny Cottonwood or Aspen leaf necklace and matching earrings are available for sale at my on-line shop MelodyODesigns at Etsy 
I'm thrilled and honored that my dangling yellow autumn Cottonwood (or Aspen Leaf) necklace made from polymer clay has been featured in "PolymerCAFE" Magazine (Vol. 8 No. 5). Made as a tribute to our Cottonwood, Arizona home, it was my hope to try to capture the sparkling shimmer of the leaves dancing in the breezy sunshine of the Verde River Valley. I saved my favorite leaves that I picked up when we were hiking in Dead Horse Ranch State Park to use as models for the necklace leaves. The necklace also honors the similar aspen trees I loved when we lived in Colorado. The boogieing whimsical ladybugs were added to bring good luck to wearer and just because I love ladybugs.

The entire faux enamel necklace is handmade from polymer clay to which many layers of Kato Liquid Polyclay, Genesis heat set oil paints and mica powders are applied. Each layer is heat set. The veining is made by applying individual tiny lengths of brass wire to one layer of uncured Liquid Polyclay. The leaves each received several coats of water-based varnish after them were cured and each coat was heat set. The tiny ladybugs are constructed from polyclay and liquid polyclay and then painted with acrylics. The chain is constructed from 6/0 and 8/0 lime green Czech glass beads.

Necklace featured in PolymerCAFE Magazine


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Necklace from Polymer Clay

I remember the joy and  excitement of the fiestas that I experienced as a child and wanted to capture that feeling in a high gloss faux glazed pottery necklace.  Though difficult to capture the "glassy"shine in a photo, these beads are sometimes mistaken for Italian glass when I wear them. Actually, the beads and all the tiny, intricate designs are painstakingly handmade from artist-quality polymer clay.

The necklace features tiny appliqued butterflies, hearts,
bright flowers,

and Ladybugs.
To keep the weight of the necklace as light as possible the beads were constructed on a bead core base of Sculpey "Ultralight". Once cured,  a veneer of PREMO polymer clay run through an Atlas  Pasta Machine set on #3 (medium thickness setting) was applied using 2 circle cutter cutouts per bead and the bead was re-cured.

Various appliques of canes and tiny pieces of clay were added using "Kato Liquid Polyclay" as "glue" and the appliques were lightly cured to keep them in place with a crafter's heat gun. The entire bead and appliques was then coated with a thin layer of "Kato Liquid Polyclay" applied with a small paintbrush to mimic ceramic glaze and then cured. Six coats of Varathane polyacrylic varnish were applied with a slightly moist makeup sponge, each coat briefly heat set. Then a mixture of Varathane and Mona Lisa pale gold metal powder was applied with a "used up" ball  point pen refill to make the gold dots.

The spacer beads are PC tube beads formed around a narrow copper welding rod used as a mandrel, cured, sanded, buffed and varnished with Varathane, and cut apart using a heavy duty craft knife. My wonderful husband Sy, who has a great eye, is responsible for the eventual stringing design using the matching spacer beads. Feliz Cinco de Mayo! This necklace was featured at "Polymer Clay Daily".

Cinco de Mayo fiesta necklace shown being worn. 
 This Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Necklace is currently available for sale at: MelodyODesigns at Etsy

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Monarch Butterfly with Blue Morning Glory Necklace from Polymer Clay

Monarch Butterfly and Blue Morning Glory Necklace is currently for sale at MelodyODesigns at Etsy 
(*October 27, 2015, SOLD OUT, Because of interest from customers I'm in the process of making a few new copies of this necklace to sell at my Etsy shop with the intention of having them finished and listed by the end of November, 2015. If you'd like to be notified when they are ready please send me an email. Contact info link located on main page "view my complete profile".)

I love Monarch butterflies and the blue Morning Glory is my very favorite flower in the morning garden. I wanted to make a necklace that would combine them both and capture the joy of my garden so that I could remember the beauty of my garden in the depths of Pennsylvania winters. The dancing ladybugs were added as a whimsical afterthought and have become my shop logo. The Morning Glories, Monarch butterflies, stems, buds, curliqued vining and ladybugs are all made from artist quality polymer clay.

The Monarch butterfly was made from thin slices of a polymer clay cane I constructed. Once cured, the butterfly wing slices were added to a body and applied to a thin aluminum backing allowing for the wings to be repositionable and making the butterfly seemed poised and ready for flight. Caning is a labor intensive construction technique borrowed from glassmaking similar to making jelly rolls, where colored rods of clay are laid horizontally forming a complex pattern from which a thin slice is cut allowing the pattern to be seen. 

           The raw un-reduced Monarch butterfly Cane

The flowers were tinted before curing with Sennelier artist's pastels made into powder by grating and pounding and were applied with a paintbrush. The veining on the leaves was made from molds I made from real leaves. The ladybugs were made with polymer clay, liquid polymer clay, and acrylic paint. The individual components are attached to a collar made from sewn macramé cording.

Please click to see a blog post of the Monarch Butterflies on an Autumn Leaf themed Necklace.                                            

Friday, April 30, 2010

Black + white cat necklace made from Polymer Clay

Close up of Black and White kitty necklace made from Polymer Clay.
Black and White Cat with Czech bead chain necklace.
For much of my working life my wardrobe has been BORING regulation black orchestra garb, so  I decided that I needed to make a series of small discrete black and white jewelry pieces that I could get by with wearing to work without raising the ire of the "orchestra management wardrobe police". The necklace is made entirely from PREMO poly clay, except for the wirework connecting the PC beads. The iris edges are cut from a brain cane of greens/yellows, and fluorescent yellow that was reduced to a really dimension and the pupil is cut from Kato PM #8 or #9. It was inspired by the orchestra's delightful principal 'cellist who likes cats, jewelry, and the color black. The original protype necklace now resides with her. It is also a tribute to Stormy, our first Arizona cat (1968-1983), a stray who arrived smack in middle of a monsoon rainstorm while I was doing the laundry and announced in his piercing half Siamese voice, "Hi Mom, I'm home. What's for dinner?" 

My cat pin/pendants, magnets and ornaments are available for sale at: MelodyODesigns at Etsy 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Baseball Necklace made from Polymer Clay in "PolymerCAFE" magazine

Baseball necklace complete with tiny handmade bat, glove, and dangling baseballs complete with red stitching.

I originally designed this baseball, bat and glove necklace to wear to a baseball game when the symphony orchestra I played in was invited to perform at a game (complete with Fireworks and the "1812 Overture"). The team colors were red, white and blue, so I made this necklace to jazz up my regular boring black and white summer concert attire. The team colors were red, white and blue, so I made the necklace to jazz up my regular boring black and white summer concert attire (and managed to sneak it by the management dress code enforcer!!!). 

The baseball equipment is all made from  polymer clay. The mitt was adapted from a Sculpey “My Sports” mold. I sculpted the ball and bat (complete with stitching) and then made molds. The ball stitching was carefully antiqued in red acrylic paint. The cured bat and mitt were antiqued with burnt umber acrylic paint. Thin coiled wire was used to give a sense of movement to the baseballs as they dangle freely. It's such a fun necklace to wear and I especially enjoy the movement of the dangling baseballs.

I plan on offering copies of the necklace for sale by February 25, 2013, just a tad late for the first day of spring training, but perfect for opening day of the MLB baseball season. I have the supplies on hand so that customers can special order the bead chain in the colors of their favorite team. Please visit my shop at MelodyODesigns at  Etsy

"PolymerCAFE" magazine chose this necklace as the 4th place winner in its Red, White, and Blue Challenge in the May 2010 issue (Vol.8 No.4)

Please click on the link to access more recent blog posts on my baseball and softball jewelry:

Baseball necklace and earrings in honor of the opening of MLB spring 2013

Softball Necklace and earrings and spotting a niche market

Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball Necklace and earrings

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Faux Bakelite Cherries Jubilee Necklace #1

EDITED 1/9/15 My expanded  faux vintage Bakelite inspired Red Cherry Jewelry Collection that now includes both a Long and Short Stem Necklace version and various color chain options, 2 styles of earrings, bracelet and Cherry Bar Brooch is available for sale at MelodyODesigns at Etsy
Faux Bakelite Inspired Cherry Necklace made with  GREEN chain and......
tiny whimsical ladybugs (which can be omitted)
I love the way the dangling cherries move when the necklace is worn.
Today we are offering cherries in honor of George Washington and President’s Day which is fast approaching. My husband and I enjoy watching “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS where I was first introduced to vintage Bakelite jewelry, specifically the “Cherries Jubilee” series, a pricey collectible from circa 1940 with an asking price of $1000 for a mint condition necklace. I immediately fell in love with it and thought that the design could translate into an affordable poly clay version.  The cherries and leaves were made from PREMO poly clay, mega hand-sanded and hand-buffed. Six thin coats of Varathane varnish were then applied to both the cherries and leaves, each coat heat set.  The stems are made from green stereo wire. The delicate 1/2" plastic chain links are a modern reproduction of Bakelite-era chain. The ladybugs were made from PC and acrylic paint. 

This bracelet was made as a surprise gift for my “oh so talented” friend Jana who happens to like the “Cherries Jubilee” series of vintage Bakelite jewelry as much as I do. Photograph courtesy of Jana. The following link will take you to new UPDATE:
A post on a the birth of new cherry bracelet now available from my shops

EDITED: You might enjoy reading the following more recent  follow-up post on my mom's jewelry box and my cherry Bakelite-inspired jewelry reproductions:
"Dangling Red Cherry Bakelite Jewelry and Mom's Treasure Box"

UPDATE:........a Cherry Bar Brooch and an updated Cherry Bracelet have now joined my Faux Bakelite Cherry Necklace and Earring Collection in my shop:  MelodyODesigns at Etsy

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Faux Bakelite Cherry Bar Brooch #1

Vintage Bakelite inspired Modern Reproduction of the Cherry Bar Brooch 
This faux Bakelite bar brooch was inspired by the classic vintage Bakelite Cherry Bar Brooch from the late 1930's and early 1940's. I originally designed for a client who saw my Faux Bakelite Cherries Necklace and wanted a reproduction of the iconic brooch that was part of the original Bakelite cherry jewelry set.  It is constructed from artist-quality polymer clay, stereo wire and delicate1/2" plastic chain links. To read about the construction of the faux Bakelite cherry collection please click here.

This brooch was featured on Clay Play Cafe

EDITED 1/9/15 My expanded  faux vintage Bakelite inspired Red Cherry Jewelry Collection that now includes both a Long and Short Stem Necklace version and various color chain options, earrings, bracelet and Cherry Bar Brooch is available for sale at MelodyODesigns at Etsy

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cat + Mouse Necklace from Polymer Clay

This necklace was made in honor of our beloved kitty who now resides in catnip heaven and who amused himself by playing with mice. The cat and mouse were sculpted from Premo poly clay with glued on “googlie eyes” and whiskers made from paint brush bristles. The leaf was made from a slice of Skinner Blend green to yellow bull’s eye cane with the colors  diffused by rubbing with a fingertip and then the cane slice shaped in a mold.

While not currently for sale, I plan to eventually make copies of this necklace available at my shop, so please check back later at: MelodyODesigns at Etsy

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Faux Rhodonite + Faux Chrysoprase Necklace from Polymer Clay

As I browsed through a “Fire Mountain Gems” catalog I was taken with the beauty of the gemstones Rhodonite and Chrysoprase.  I tried to recreate them in a faux version. The leaves, roses, and larger beads were all made from poly clay. The ladybugs were made from poly clay and acrylic paint.

Colour recipe:The faux chrysoprase is made from a formula containing  LOTS and LOTS of PREMO regular translucent  (not Frost, but the regular kind that plaques) with a tiny bit of green and and an even tinier bit of turquoise with some "inclusions" of frozen grated browns.  The Rhodonite is made from a formula containing  LOTS and LOTS of PREMO translucent with a  very small amount of alizarin crimson.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Faux Talavera Pottery Frog Pendant from Polymer Clay

EDITED: A New updated version of this pendant with the frog on a lily pad is now available for sale. Please click here to read about it: Frog on lily pad

I fell in love with a 2 foot long vintage pottery frog from Talavera, Mexico the first time I saw him and he now lives on our back fence (shown below). His name is Raúl and he was the inspiration behind my 2 inch version. My mini frog (Raulito) was first sculpted in Kato polyclay and then a mold of the cured piece was made from "Amazing Mold Putty", a bakeable silicone-based molding compound. "Kato Liquid Polyclay" (Kato LPC) was poured into the mold to make the final frog. 

EDITED May 4, 2012: FYI both NEW formula Kato clay and NEW formula Kato Liquid Polyclay may no longer be compatible to use with Amazing Mold Putty. In my recent experiments/experience I have found that "Amazing Mold Putty" would not set up when creating molds from pieces that had been sculpted from Kato clay, but would set up when molding pieces made from PREMO. 

ALSO, I recently found that  new formula "Kato Liquid Polyclay" (well mixed) that was poured into molds made of "Amazing Mold Putty" consistently did not cure normally. They all cracked while still in the mold and were extremely fragile, even with samples cured at a variety of different temperatures (275-310F.) for up to 2 hours.  Mold pulls made with old formula "Kato Liquid Polclay" cured normally. I believe that the "new" formula "Kato Liquid Polyclay" can be identified by K1 or KL printed on the label located above the bar code. Mold pulls made from "Translucent Liquid Sculpey"(TLS) cured properly. 

*Note: I realize it is possible that I got a defective bottle  of NEW "Kato Liquid Polyclay". To be sure of the results , I will have to try identical  experiments with another unopened bottle, but the contents of my current bottle worked fine for other typical liquid clay applications

Once cured, the frog was painted with a mixture of 8 parts Kato LPC to 1 part "Genesis Heat Set Oil Paint" and dried to touch with a crafter's heat gun as I worked (not too close and continually moving the heat gun to prevent burning). Once painted,  PC appliques were added using the Kato LPC as "glue". Then the entire frog was cured (tented) for only 15 minutes at only 275F (to prevent browning of the light colors).

Two coats of Kato LPC were added to mimic ceramic glaze, each coat heat gunned, then oven cured, then heat gunned again.  Then three VERY THIN coats of glossy Varathane varnish were applied using a slightly moistened foam makeup sponge that had been dipped in water and then gently wrung out. Each Varathane coat was heat set at 205F. for 5 minutes.

The "rock" base was made with Sculpey "Utlralight" poly clay and covered with a thin veneer made from thin torn sheets of black PREMO (PM#3) with inclusions of grated transulucent and white PC and white embossing powder.  The raw clay was textured with very coarse sandpaper. Because of the light weight of the "Ultralight",  the entire piece only weights 2 1/2 oz, much to the surprise of people who pick it up.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pink Posey Necklace from Polymer Clay

I’m a sucker for any kind of a flowers, especially ones I can wear around my neck. This necklace started as an experiment to see how I could integrate wire/wired pieces into my designs. The flowers and leaves were made from molds and highlighted with a Krylon gold leafing pen and tiny glued-on holeless gold beads. The ladybugs were made with poly clay and acrylic paint.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sunflower Pendant Necklace from Polymer Clay

The optimistic sunflower is one of my favorite flowers. This necklace was originally made as a gift for a friend who lost almost all her possessions when her house burned to the ground.  I wanted to make her something hopeful. It is handmade, entirely from PREMO polymer clay. 

 The pendant was constructed on a "sandwich" base made of two identical flat circular 1 1/4" diameter pieces of pieces of clay (a thickness of 5/64" or Atlas PM#4) containing portions of the broad ends of the three heart-shaped leafs to hold them in place.  A channel was formed formed horizontally between the two pieces near the top of the pendant to act as a channel for the stringing wire by curing the pendant base with a straight piece of 20 gauge wire that was coated with ArmorAll and to be removed after curing. The two pieces of the base "sandwich" were then "glued" together with liquid polyclay.

A petal shaped plug of golden yellow clay was hand-formed and then thin slices were cut off to create the petals. Once the raw petals were thinned at the tips, the characteristic sunflower veining was added by drawing them on with the tip of a piercing pin and the tips were pinched together they were added to the cured base.

Dozens of "Bulls-eye"canes were made of of browns and golden yellow and then reduced to tiny diameters. Once reduced, they were combined together making a round tubular cane to mimic the brown center of the sunflower which eventually becomes  the delicious sunflowers we love to eat. A thin slice of this “seed cane” was added to the center of the flower and the pendant was cured. The ladybugs were studio made with polymer clay and acrylic paint, dabbing on the tiny dots with a "used up" Micron .3 pen tip (and a 3X magnifier!)

 The handmade cobalt colored beads range in size from 4mm to 15mm. Some of them were appliqued with thin slices of a sunflower cane based on a design by Sue Heaser. The canes were meticulously smoothed onto the beads using a 1/4 inch acrylic rod. After curing, the beads were sanded through four grits of sandpaper, then two-part buffed and four coats of heat-set varnish were applied, all making for a shiny glass-like finish that mimics Italian Millefiori glass beads.

Copies of the newly re-designed necklace and matching earrings are available at my on-line shop, MelodyODesigns at ArtFire 

You might also enjoy viewing my Sunflower Collar Necklace.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Valentine's Day Necklace from Polymer Clay

I wanted to capture the romanticism of the vintage Victorian Valentine’s Day cards I loved as a child. The white “collar” part was made from a very thin sheet of Kato Pearl poly clay and constructed in five individual pieces attached together with “articulated joints” so that it’s flexible and moves with the wearer rather than being stiff and bulky. It was impressed with a texture sheet made from a rubber stamped doily design. The leaves and roses were molded from PREMO poly clay and accented with gold “Rub ‘n Buff”. The edges of the doily were accented with a Krylon gold leafing pen. The collar was then loosely tacked (hand-sewn) to a backing made from sewn macramé cording to give it more strength. The ladybugs were made from PC and acrylic paint.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Embroidered skirt with Necklace from Polymer Clay

I re-constructed a lovely vintage black embroidered circle skirt (probably  from the 50's) that I  had purchased and then set out to see if I could recreate the vintage embroidery design in a polymer clay necklace to wear with the skirt to complete the ensemble.

The necklace is constructed of various PREMO polymer clay floral components attached to a base of hand-sewn macramé cording. The ladybugs are made of PC and acrylic paint. By command performance after the fact (thanks Cat and Sue C) here's a photo of the ensemble together.

To read a post about a pink poppies floral necklace that was also inspired by vintage fabric please click.