Thursday, December 25, 2014

Global Warming - Polar Bear sitting on a Hudson Bay blanket

I knew I wanted to do a globe shaped nightlight for the January PCAGOE challenge theme illumination. I have just finished taking Leslie Blackford's ( class at Creative Journey Studios in Buford, GA ( on nightlights - an awesome experience.

Global warming is of great concern to me and I worry about our future generations both two and four legged when it comes to the changes it is causing in our environment.  I decided to do a polar bear on a shrinking sheet of ice to signify what is happening.  The Hudson Bay blanket takes me back to my childhood when there were no such worries.

The first steps were to gather supplies: lots of conditioned Pardo translucent (a haul from Buford!), alcohol inks, a round globe vase and an electric cord with socket for a night light bulb.

The worse part for me in working with alcohol inks is waiting for them to dry.  Another Buford find was this rubber "brush" to apply a thin layer of ink to the clay, faster drying ... a real score for very impatient me!

I ended up not using the butterscotch - it is put away for votives to come.  The other three colors I used to make a skinner blend - yes me a skinner blend which I wrapped around the globe vase.  Forgetting just as I did in Leslie's class that the open part (top) of the vase is the bottom of the nightlight.  Fortunately with the translucent the skinner blend got lost in the curing - so saved there. While wrapping the clay around the globe I pinched and smudged the sheet to different thicknesses to obtain the effect of ice, even leaving the glass show through in places.  I then used various sizes of round cutters to cut pieces out of the "skin" and fill in with lighter blue and clear translucent circles. A close up of the ice:

I added another layer of clear translucent over the darker top area to lighten the look of the ice.   Just under the "drips" of this layer I highlighted with blue alcohol ink to emphasize the clear layer. The base and iceberg (under the blanket) are made from the same clay  mixture as is used on the globe touched with a little white acrylic paint to represent snow.

Now for the polar bear, unfortunately I have no photos of the process of building her (from white !Premo), but just know that I went trough a bit of a struggle here.  Building creatures is way outside my comfort zone. Everything I came up at first was way too cutesy for such a heavy topic.  I kept going until I felt I had more of an arty looking polar bear.

The finished product!  Approximately 7" tall by 5" wide at the globe's widest point.

To access the light bulb, remove the globe and the the socket is exposed.  The clip on the socket seats into the hole in the bottom, and the feet allow for space for the electrical cord.  Turn on and off with the line switch.

More views!

Would love to hear your thoughts and thank you for visiting my blog!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE): Mandala Challenge Winners

Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE): Mandala Challenge Winners: The winners in the PCAGOE November Challenge "Mandalas" are: Public Vote Top entries selected by the public: 1. Geometry Clas...

I am so happy to be in the top three for both the public and member voting.  These are very talented artists.  What wonderful work by everyone.

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.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PCAGOE challenge for July - Mixed Media

The PCAGOE challenge for July is posted. Another fun group of work, vote and you will have the opportunity to win a gift certificate from one of the many sponsoring shops.

Click here to go to the challenge.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE): July Challenge "Mixed Media"

Carnival Mask

I love masks and tribal/totem designs so I decided to try my hand at a small mask in that style for this challenge. Materials include a cardboard mask base, acrylic paint, polymer clay, glitter glue and 20 gauge craft wire.  

Sketch of my idea, originally I thought I would extend the nose more and add three layers of "feathers" at the top.  Well that didn't happen.  It turned out to be very difficult to keep the shape of the polymer clay while curing, when it wasn't supported by the mask base.

Starting with a basic cardboard mask from the craft store, I painted it on both sides with Brass Pearl acrylic paint. I liked it already!

Starting the design.  I used wasabi, green pearl, black and purple to start.  The larger wasabi frame was made using a half-round template in the extruder. the others a smaller full-round.  I used liquid transclucent polymer clay to hold the pieces in place. You can see the template for the "feathers", of which only two layers were used.

First curing on fiberfill.  I decided, on the fly, to add the circles to the "feathers".  They were just too plain as large areas of solid color.  

Next I finished the nose design and added the ties. I covered the knots of the ties with circles of wasabi polymer clay. In the oven for the final cure.  

I found yellow and purple glitter glue in one of those sales bins at Michael's and thought it might be handy for something.  Well, this was it.  I used the yellow on the wasabi areas, and the purple on the purple.  Added some nice bling!

Lastly I made the antennae from 20 gauge craft wire.  The spiral came out too wonky so it went in the trash. I decided to use a polymer clay tear drop instead to cover the ends of the wires. 

The results.  This was a lot of fun, and I am encouraged to do more.  

The back, I always like to see the back.

Would love to hear your comments.  Thanks for stopping by and sharing my story.