Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mandala inspired by the colors of Thailand

The November challenge for my etsy polymer clay guild is "Mandalas".  When I first started thinking of what to create, I thought of the colors of the mandalas I saw in the temples of Thailand.  Often you could see stunning stain glass mandalas behind statues of Buddha as in this photo I took during our trip.


In addition to the beautiful patterns, I was struck by all the bright colors.  I decided I wanted to use bright colors; those that reminded me of Thailand.  Orange for the monks was a given, teal for the lush jungle vegetation, yellow for the marigold wreaths you see everywhere,  purple for the color of Saturday, blue for the shimmering rivers, wasabi for the cuisine and just a touch of silver.

Next came my drawing.  With polymer clay I seem to have a need to get something on paper as a way of getting an idea to my "right brain".



My idea was to have open spaces in the pattern which would sit on a black base as a background.  I used liquid polymer clay to build the base.  I cured the clay in the largest Fat Daddio's circle cutter.


Now to start the build.  Again using a leaf/tear shape cutter I cut out eight leaves.  I used a circle cut from card stock to build on.  The uncured clay is held in place on the card stock with dabs of liquid polymer clay in the same color.





By this time the drawing is history, I just keep deciding on cutter shapes and colors and keep turing the mandala adding embellishment upon embellishment.  I have to admit, I kept avoiding the middle! Finally ready for the oven:


I noticed a few little details were off a bit, so I straightened those before it went in the oven to be cured.  I also made a pill box cover and retro cane from some of the leftovers.  I always like to take advantage of conditioned clay (one of my least favorite tasks).

When it was cured, I held it up to the light and I really like the way light shown through the open spaces.  I decided against using the black base which would block that look. 

Completed piece: Colors of Thailand Mandala approximately 7" in diameter.




But then: It started to come apart, so on the black background it went.  I always learn valuable lessons in these challenges. 




More colors of Thailand, photography by Betsy Strebe all rights reserved.
























Friday, October 3, 2014

Fabulous Fall Browns contest

I am so honored to be selected for the "On Fire for Handmade" contest Fabulous Fall Browns.

Fabulous Fall Browns


Monday, July 28, 2014

So proud to be included in the On Fire for Handmade list Home Decor

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Winged Creature night light

This was made for the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE) August challenge "home decor".



I've been on a night light kick lately, having lots of fun with translucent polymer clay (liquid and solid) and alcohol inks.  So I knew I would make a night light. I made two for the challenge and this was the one I decided to enter in the challenge.

As always I started with a sketch.  I get these fun ideas and (at my age) if I don't jot them down RIGHT away they are gone forever.  So this sketch ended up in one of many trusted journals. To the right is the drawing on graph paper that will be used to make the pattern.


The graph paper gets glued to thick card stock to make a sturdy pattern.  Here are the pattern, pieces created and cut out.


Okay, now to dye the translucent clay.  This is the hardest thing for me, to wait for the alcohol to evaporate so I can blend the color into the clay.  Really, really hard.  Patience is not what I am know for :). Also you can see the start of cutting the "wings" sections.


The assembly begins with extruded jungle green (I do love that color!), for the framework.


After I added the jungle green body, head and antennae, the piece was cured.  Then it was time to build the backing.  The backing is clear translucent clay, and the purpose is to provide strength and a clean back look. I use poly bonder to combine the layers.



The finished product is a large 5" tall x 4 1/2" wide by 1 1/2" deep:

light on


light off


on from the side


view of the back 


Thank you so much for sharing my experience.  I would love to hear your comments.