Monday, March 29, 2010

Inspired by Fabric

I am not a happy camper today. I am mad with myself for not entering this month's PCAGOE challenge.

I love entering the challenges. The themes are always great, and give me the opportunity to push the envelope and really exercise my creativity. The theme, "Inspired by Fabric", is right up my alley, too! Vintage fabrics are my specialty, dang it! I have a collection of somewhere around 1000 vintage fabric images and a closet full of real vintage fabrics which inspire me every day! I use image transfers of vintage fabrics as the basis for many of pendants and brooches.

I even had an entry ready to post, this beautiful Vintage Silk Kimono Necklace. I added it to the challenge pool for about 5 minutes, then withdrew it.

(Front View) Why? Because I really wanted to enter a necklace made from these gorgeous black and white Damask focal beads instead, but a funny thing happened on the way to the entry deadline.

The focal beads' gemstone matches didn't speak to me like they usually do. I went through my entire inventory of gemstones and Swarovski crystal, but nothing worked, even though I had some ideas (faceted black Onyx and Black Diamond Swarovski crystal) and suggestions from friends (jet and pearls).

(Reverse View) NOTHING I put with them worked. The black gems made the black in the focals look brownish gray. The gray gems made the white in the focals look yellow. It almost drove me nuts until 11:59 p.m. last night (entry deadline is midnight), when I threw up my hands and decided not to enter either. I could have entered just the focal beads, I suppose, but that felt like cheating.

So I will be sitting on the sidelines the first week of April, enjoying the fantastic entries of all the talented (and much less neurotic) artists who managed to make the deadline. I'll be pondering my top 3 choices and continuing the hunt for my damask beads' matching gemstones; and I am open to suggestions, people.

Happy Last Week of March, everyone!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

PCAGOE April Challenge - Inspired by Fabric

The theme for April's PCAGOE challenge provides for some really creative entries! Some entries were based on memories of a particular fabric, some depict patterns of actual fabrics, and some used fabric itself as part of the entry. I am always amazed at the diversity of our members and their talents.

Here are the entries for this month. Please vote for your top 3 favorites from April 1 to April 7, 2010 at Five of you lucky voters will also win one of the prizes shown in the prize pool mosaic below!

PCAGOE April Challenge Mosaic of Entries

1) Fun Flower Quilt Pendant by BeeTreeByMe
2) Childhood Dress Fabric Pendant by RiverValleyDesign
3) Patchwork Purse Tins by ClayCenter
4) Spring Quilt Pendant and Beads by CraftsbyCag
5) Cubist Bangle by HiGirls
6) Silver Granite Gauze Cuff by 11BoldStreet
7) Longhorn Patchwork Spoon and Wine Stopper by RenGalSa
8 ) Serape Necklace by PhoenixRose
9) Paisley and Polka Dots Trinket Box by ArrowdaleArtStudio
10) Chinese Brocade Kimono Brooch by PolymerClayCreations
11) Mod Retro Look Necklace by VyaKyasha
12) Butterflies in Flight by AshPaints
13) Polymer Clay Fabric Covered Easter Egg by MirameCreations
14) Ikat Fabric Inspired Beads by TheColorOfDreams
15) Woven Fabric Structure Plain Weave Bone Bracelet by StillPointWorks
16) Pocket Change by IansCafe
17) Spring Fling Pinwheel Quilt Bib Necklace by BlessedBeadJewelry

These are the prizes you could win, just for voting!

Top Row L-R: 11BoldStreet - pen; RenGalSA - tietac; PolymerClayCreations - bead set; LaurelSteven - pendant; Chicki - earrings

2nd Row L-R: SpiritMama - bunny charm; BeeTreeByMe - pendant; ClayHappy - earrings; SCDiva - pendant; ClayCenter - earrings

3rd Row L-R: NKDesigns - brooch; JKollmann - necklace; RenGalSA - bracelet; ClayCenter - covered tin; LauraBeeStudios - bracelet and earrimgs set

Friday, March 26, 2010

Heralding Spring With Some Bright Colors

Yesterday it reached 82 degrees here in the South Carolina lowcountry. Yes, March 25and it was over 80, which means we are in for a hot, muggy Summer in the deep South. Humidity is almost 100% here in the Summer, and as I told a friend of mine this morning, time to gear up for 3 months of feeling like a piece of wilted lettuce. The heat and humidity are the only things I don't like about living in South Carolina. But you can always grab a beach towel and your shades and hop in the car for a quick drive to the coast to cool off, one of the very good things about living here!

I wanted to get a few more things in the shop for Spring and decided to make these bright, beautiful Sakura flower pendants and vibrant butterflies. Talk about heralding Spring! Think I'm gonna need those shades now...

Sakura Flowers 1 Baby Pink, Neon Blue and Spring Green Sakura Flowers 2 Cotton Candy Pink and Sky Blue Deep Coral Butterfly 1 Magenta Butterfly 1

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Tutorial is Featured in a New Etsy Treasury!

I woke up this morning to an email from Jill of AmericanHandmade that she included my Basic Image Transfer Tutorial in her new Etsy Treasury, That WOW Factor. What a nice surprise, and a lovely compliment, too.

I hope you will visit Jill's shop at Etsy. She creates beautiful Dichroic glass pendants. I love this Large Fused Dichroic Pendant. I admire anyone who can do this kind of work. I would burn off all my fingers if I tried. Polymer clay is a much more forgiving medium!

Thanks again, Jill!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Inks and Foil Leaf - A Big Mess For A Few Gems

I think I now own every color of alcohol ink currently offered, and I have practically cornered the market on gold, silver and copper leaf foil. I have had a lot of fun in the last two weeks, but made a huge mess, too. I think I've exorcised my bright, shiny, glittery gene, and after this week, I can mark off one more "basic" polymer clay technique that I had never really done before now. Oh, sorry, we aren't supposed to say Polymer Clay any more, but that's a whole nother post.

I made a few pieces on my own and then purchased Christi Uliczny's tutorial and made a few more pieces and then went back to my own cauldron for even more, with mixed results. Here are a few of the finished pieces. The red and gold pieces are my favorite.

The aqua pebbled ones and the ones which look like crop circles were made based on Christi's tutorial. I think I did something wrong, though, because the alcohol baked a lot lighter than the colors which were applied.

I did discover a cool new tool in this process: White alcohol ink, which looks great crackled on a black background. Now I can get that "eggshell" look in polymer clay without the expense of buying resin eggshell jewelry components.

I am not sure what technique I will try next on my journey to keep the shadow muse close by, but ol' Tink is getting the wandering eye again, so I better think of something quick. I know it won't be canework. I am no caner. I have never been a caner, will never be a caner, and do not want to be a caner, not unless I can magically wake up tomorrow morning blessed with Julie Eakes' talent. Yeah, like that's gonna happen.

I have a bunch of image transfer orders to create, and I just purchased two tons of digital images I haven't even printed out yet, including lots of new vintage florals and some gorgeous alphabet images I'm dying to try! Monograms, anyone?

And okay, one little comment about the polymer clay vs. polymer debate. If we elevate the level of our work, we will elevate the medium, no matter what it is called. Okay, I only put one toe on the soapbox, two toes at most.

Congratulations to the Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the PCAGOE March challenge!

Winners of the Public Vote:

1st Place - #26 YonatDascalu
2nd Place - #10 RiverValleyDesign
3rd Place - #3 Stonebrash

Winners of the PCAGOE Member Vote:

1st Place - #27 TheSageArts
2nd Place - #26 YonatDascalu
3rd Place - #25 ArzuMusa

Stay tuned next month for our April challenge, "Inspired by Fabric", and thank you to everyone who voted!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Texture, Texture Everywhere!

The Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy's March Challenge has begun! This month, the theme is "Texture", and 31 PCAGOE guild members entered. Wowzer!

There are some fantastic entries this month, and we hope you will vote for your top 3favorites at beginning today, March 1st until March 7th.

5 lucky voters, chosen at random, will also win a beautiful polymer clay prize created by one of our talented member artists!

PCAGOE March Challenge Entries 3 Column

1) Cactus Flower Pendant by BeeTreeByMe
2) Snake Skin Mica-shift Bark Choker by 11BoldStreet
3) Leaf Topped Pendant by Stonebrash
4) Faux Handmade Paper Commemorative Wedding Invitation by SCDiva
5) Sea Grass Brooch by CrazyDay
6) Victorian Lace Switch Plate Cover by ClayCenter
7) Faux Granite and Lapis Trinity Necklace by MichelesArtJewelry
8) Violet Textured Star by PhoenixRose
9) Salmon Floral Barrette by JKollmann
10) It's Alive! by RiverValleyDesign
11) Leafy Textured Bangle by HiGirls
12) Pucker up! by Cloud9ClayCreations
13) Give That Doll A Pizza by Polyclarific
14) TH Influence Necklace by BLeeKreations
15) Picture Yourself In Spring by PolymerClayCreations
16) Lotus on a Gentle Pond Pendant by YoungCreative
17) Fun with Fantasy Flowers by ArrowdaleArtStudio
18) BIG Focal Bead Pendant by Juliespace
19) N10-07 Necklace by JanGeisen
20) Can-can Lace Ruffle Garter Bangle by BlessedBeadJewelry
21) Lost City Amulet Necklace by RozPetalzStudio
22) Bronze Age Pendant - Boadicea's Trove by RMKDesign
23) Paradise Ring by PipsJewellery
24) Faux Raku Picture Frame by Ashpaints
25) Antique Textured Bangle from Anatolia by ArzuMusa
26) Rainbow Seashells by YonatDascalu
27) Forest Fairy Autumn Choker by TheSageArts
28) Steampunked Heart by DreamLeaping
29)Wooden Flower Pendant by WiredOrchid
30) Springtime Picnic Necklace by LauraBeeStudios
31) Textured Vase by CreativeArtCenter