Marriage Equality Earrings

In Australia, our Government is holding a postal survey of our views on whether same sex couples can marry.  The survey is costing us over $100 million, it won’t bind the Government, and the related debate is causing harm and distress to LGBTI people.  While many people opposed the survey, now it is underway the strong message is “Vote YES”.

Yes earringsCornflour stopped the rainbow sticking to the log it was shaped around. The log was only removed once the rainbow was sliced.  The end of the posts were bent (for better hold) and were sandwiched between a slice of “yes” cane and circle of clay in which I inserted a heart using a cutter.



Found objects & polymer clay

found object for web

Found object Necklace: polymer clay, metal paint, brass bead, vintage icing nozzle, vintage sewing machine bobbin, small plastic & brass objects, steel wire.

Some years ago I did a class with Tory Hughes.  While Tory often uses imitative techniques, the topic for that class was mokume gane.  One of my samples was the centre piece here, which I didn’t like much at the time.  Tory encouraged me to try to make some pieces from polymer clay that would work with some of my found object pieces, which I did.  So, after having these polymer clay pieces sitting around for years, I finally put them together in this necklace.  The polymer clay pieces are the long brown bead (which has been painted with metal and rust effect), centre square bead, imitation ivory, and rough grey bead.

Another kaleidoscope cane

These kaleidoscope canes are very satisfying.  The yellow/orange base cane here is similar to Sarah Shriver’s canes, made up of a number of stacked Skinner blends.  A few other canes are added at random, formed into a triangle and then put together in a repeat pattern.

While the initial design doesn’t look impressive, it’s usually hard to go wrong once you start putting together the repeat design.  However, I was glad I didn’t use up all the base cane on my first attempt.  Although very similar, my initial attempt produced the design below which is not as pleasing.







Optical illusion

This cane is not my own design but it looked like fun.  Here is someone who has done it really beautifully.  It was difficult to keep the shapes even. I use Kato brand which is rather firm – I don’t think I could have managed with one of the softer brands.  This pendant is made from very thin slices of the canes mounted on a plan colour background and cut to shape.


I also made a cane in grey shades which shows the process.  I used an extruder to make the long triangles, then wrapped the triangle pairs and combined them to make the cane.





Masterclass Camp

Over four days in June I once again attended a Polymer Clay Fests event in Laurel, Maryland, US.

In these classes all participants produce similar work, so there is not much scope for ‘doing your own thing’ – however this means that the classes move along quickly and squeeze in a lot of techniques over the four days.  These are the pieces I made.

The key technique in Melanie Muir’s class was mokume gane using the beautiful stamps she produces, but my main “take outs” from the class were her amazing construction techniques (using buna cord and o rings makes these necklaces strong but flexible) her approach to designing and planning,  and the benefits of spending more time burnishing flat surfaces.  I often do this with wax or baking paper on top, smoothing with hands or the back of a spoon, but firmer pressure and using a heavier object can make the surface smoother and significantly reduce sanding time.

I loved Jana Lehman’s technique for clean geometric designs.  Her work is so colourful and quirky.  I’d like to try this technique with less geometric designs, using home-made cutters.  I’m wondering about using it to add further detail to large cane slices.  Again adequate burnishing was a key to a good result.

Finally, Donna Greenberg taught a class that involved carving and painting polymer clay.  While I’ve done very little sculpting with polymer clay, I’d be keen to try this technique to produce some pieces that could be integrated with some of the found object pieces I work with.

It was lovely to see a few of the people who I met in 2012, including Mags (I love her Bernie Saunders earrings) and Carol – and, of course, the  wonderful organiser of these events, Kathryn Ottman.

Flower cane video

I have described how to make a simple flower cane here.  Here is a video of the process, including making beads. This bangle was worn by one of the actors in Jane Cafarella’s play about surrogacy – “e-baby” which was performed at Chapel off Chapel (Melbourne, Australia) in March 2015.

Sarah Ranken (wearing the bracelet) and Carolyn Bock in

Sarah Ranken (wearing the bangle) and Carolyn Bock in “e-baby””

Background information about the play “e-baby” Jane Cafarella talks about play (ABC Radio National) .

Check this link for an amazing (very short) video of the building of a Marilyn Monroe cane by Adina Pastelina.

Another kaleidoscope cane

I wrote about the impact of repetition, even using a very basic design here.

To see the results of makin kaleidoscope canes from very beautiful and complex canes, see Carol Simmons’ work here and here.

purse mirrorI took very simple canes – bulls-eyes, stripes, squares and a basic leaf, and packed these together to form a triangular cane (below left).  This was reduced and cut 8 times to form the kaleidoscope cane (in the middle of picture below right). Thin slices are then used to cover a blank purse mirror  – after first covering the metal with PVA glue (which is allowed to dry) I use liquid polymer clay for a strong bond.