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Pen and Ink on Polymer Clay

Pen and Ink on Polymer Clay

 

Just a quick picture of a new pen and ink pendant. I’m getting ready to go spend some time with the Orlando Area Polymer Clay Guild.   A little bit of ink and a little bit of clay……The main shape is a stamp by Barbara McGuire

These are talented people and I look forward to sharing some of their work next week. Have a get weekend and a fun 4th of July.

On the Other Hand…I Do Plan…

In yesterday’s post I talked about how I don’t plan what to hang my pendants on or from. After thinking about it overnight, I decided that statement wasn’t actually true.

I’m always trying to come up with different ways to add a bail, invent a bail or create a different closure. The project I will be teaching at Fandango this year is a prime example. Florida Sunshine - Alice Stroppel

The stars are the closure. It’s an easy solution and adds a 3D element to the piece, that and the sculpted face. This cat uses the same idea with the tail and the head as closures.

Cat - Alice Stroppel - Polymer

 

You can use this type of closure on almost any design and I’ll show you how at Fandango  in a couple of weeks. And there is exciting news from Iris Weiss the Education Manager from Polyform Products, Polyform will be donating some blocks of Premo for my student to use in my class. Thanks Iris and Polyform.

This piece that I posted a couple of days ago is another easy bail alternative. Creating something different and new is something I really enjoy.

circles-and-squares - Alice Stroppel

I love the creative process of working with polymer clay. However the jewelry making part, findings, stringing, etc, are not on my love list and barely makes my like list. And my usual joy comes from colorful, fun, jewelry. It’s when I decide to create something more sophisticated that I lack the materials on hand to be able to spontaneously finish the piece.

In contrast, I always make sure I have plenty of canes on hand when I begin creating, it’s something I preach to my students. If you have a wide selection of finished canes on hand when you sit down to create, things just flow more smoothly. Not having to stop and make all the canes that need to go into a piece make it possible to create without having to stop the flow.

That’s not to say I don’t start a piece by constructing a couple of new cane, it’s just that I know I have lots of fillers to choose from already made and waiting for me.

So you see, I do plan ahead more than I realize, just not when it involves stringing and findings. So I’m still going to take a look at why I have a block with planning when making something more than a colorful, fun pendant (other than the obvious reason of needing more tools, supplies, etc. ). I’ve accomplished it before and think I just need to get out of my own way. Sound familiar?

So in the mean time, I’ll just keep doing what I love, making fun and funky things to wear and work toward improving my major jewelry construction.

I think these Stroppel Sweater Girls look kind of like Barbara and Cher with red hair. Okay, did that make you smile? Yes? Then my job is finished for today.

 

 

Stroppel Sweater Girls

 

 

Synergy 3 Seeking Higher Ground Challenge – Kathleen Dustin’s Stunning Necklace

Alice Stroppel and Kathleen DustinI can only say that I was delighted to have this picture with Kathleen Dustin wearing her stunning Necklace. She is such an incredibly talented artist and the polymer clay community is  so lucky to have her as one of our polymer divas continually leading the way to excellence.

The entire Synergy 3 – Seeking Higher Ground was about striving for excellence, improving and growing. Becoming the best that you can be.

The piece I’m wearing I’m sad to admit was made at the last minute. I am challenging myself to continue with the design and improve it if I can.

I have a beautiful peacock  shawl given to me as a gift that I wanted to wear wear the night of the banquet. I worked on a couple of designs but wasn’t happy with them.

Even though I say it was a last minute thing, I did try out several ideas before moving on to the one I actually wore.

peacock prototypes

Here are the first three attempts at a pendant. The one on the far right was actually too literal and I wasn’t happy with that. The other two just weren’t coming together. Everything was just too constricted.
Peacock Feather - Alice Stroppel

I liked this one better, but wish I’d started on it weeks before I needed to wear it.

I decided to use my cane mapping technique and add a touch of metallic. It certainly matched my shawl better and I liked the flow. The bad part was not having a fabulous chain to hang it from, even though I wore it just the same. That seems to me to be one of my largest setbacks, making a piece and not thinking about the rest of the story.

It’s why I usually just do pendants and “slides”. I don’t have to think about the rest. I plan to give that part more thought in the future.

So this is my challenge…….plan, plan, plan and Make it Sing

Wish me luck and go spend some time on Kathleen’s webiste if you haven’t been there for awhile.

 

 

 

Fandango! Orlando Area Polymer Clay Guild

I’m glowing (no pun intended ) to be teaching at OAPCG’s Fandango this year, May 2 – 6th. I’ve so enjoyed attending and demonstrating at this event in past years, so being able to teach is just delightful.

I’m going to be combining a little bit of fun to make canes, adding a bit of sculpting and then throwing in a cool closure technique. I’ll also be showing you how I contour the design to finish the edges nicely, it’s a technique I use in many of my pieces. So bring your favorite canes and your smile, we’re going to have some fun.

I’ve been holding this closure technique since last year. This project was designed for Fandango and I haven’t shared it anywhere else. You can use this closure in so many other ways, I made this cat using the closure to create an articulated head and tail. It’s simple and easy to do.

My fellow instructors are Suzanne Ivester and Syndee Holt. Plus this year they’ve added pre-classes on Thursday with Penni Jo Couch and Linda Hess, so I hope you  come on down to beautiful Lake Yale and join us for a fun filled four days.

 

Stroppel Cane Trades

The post office was a happy place for me this week. Three packages arrived with Stroppel Cane treasures inside. Two I’ll share with you now and another amazing prize I’ll share with you tomorrow.

The first package was from Peg Gerard, a  Massachusetts polymer clay artist that has used my Stroppel Cane technique to create some wonderful designs. Several caught my eye, especially the pendant above, I loved the bold black and white spiral cane slices that she added to her Stroppel Cane, they make such a statement.

I’m delight Peg decided to trade with me. I sent her a Stroppel sweater girl and I’m now the proud owner of this striking piece. I’m sorry to say I didn’t take a picture of this sweater girl, Peg, if you read this and want to send me a picture I’ll add it here.

You can see more of Peg’s work on her website Polymer Peg’s Clay Jewelry and on her Flickr site, Polymer Peg’s . You can find her work for sale at the galleries listed on her blog. I first saw Peg’s work in 400 Polymer Clay Designs and have been a fan ever since.

Thank you so much Peg.

Then I was thrilled again to receive this fabulous Love NY skyline from Anne Marie Rodellar or amerena as she is known on the web. I was happy to send her this Stroppel sweater girl in exchange.

Anne Marie is from France and had recently visited New York and when she got back home, produced a line of abstract New York skylines using a Stroppel Cane for the building and sometimes the taxi cabs. I’m headed to New York next month for my nephew’s wedding and am going to take it along with me, perfect.

You can see more of amarena’s work on her blog, amerenabijoux  her Flickr site, amarenabijoux’s photo stream or better yet, you can purchase a New York slide for yourself on her Dawanda site.

Thank you Anne Marie.

On a side note, I am staying in the Dumbo area of Brooklyn. Dumbo….”Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”. It’s one of New York City’s premier arts districts full of both non-profit and for profit art galleries. And..Etsy is around the block ….literally.

This trip piggy backs on a trip I’m taking to Colorado to meet with a couple of my favorite polymer clay artists. We plan on a couple of days of clay and a couple of days of galleries and museums and fabulous eateries. I’m going to be so full of inspiration when I get back, just watch out!

 

Trade With Julie Eakes

I had to share this trade with you. Julie and I met for the first time a couple of months ago and we decided to trade our creations.

This pendant  is an amazing piece of art. Not only did Julie make this incredible face cane she constructed the kaleidoscope canes she’s used for the frame.  I’m thrilled to have this wonderful piece but also to have gotten to know Julie and see her work on this piece.  You can see more of Julie’s work on her blog Julie Eakes. Her most recent cane is a beautiful portrait of her grandmother.

This is my part of the trade, the picture shows all side of the bracelet. Once again I think I got the better part of the trade. Thank you Julie

Lime Green Pendant with Stroppel Cane

I couldn’t let everyone else have all the fun with the Stroppel cane. Can you tell I love lime green? And I think the black and white check sets it off.

Listed in my Etsy shop. I made my own bail on this one.

Oh and just so you know, it is an absolutely gorgeous, spectacular day here in sunny FL. I think this afternoon I need to get outside for a bit. Sitting down by the lake sounds a bit like heaven. Now if I can just tear myself away from this creating mood I’m in……….

Teaching a Polymer Clay Workshop at Beads F.O.B.

I just have to tell you …. I love teaching …. and …….. I love teaching new caners. The smiles and looks on the faces of the ladies in my class this weekend at Beads F.O.B. in Sarasota just put me in a good mood for the next month at least.

Thanks to Karen at Beads F. O. B. for keeping all the paperwork straight and Marty for all her work and for letting me come join the fun. Looks like I’ll be going back to teach again soon so check back to see when you might be able to come join us.

We made so many canes and turned some of them into beads and some into pendants, I’m only showing the pendants here.

Joan Diehl at Bead Workshop with Alice Stroppel

Joan was having a great time and already had plans for a volunteer project and began working on it before class was over.

Marlene Brownell  at Bead Workshop with Alice Stroppel

Marlene

I heard this high little yell from Marlene and wondered what was wrong. It was all excitement  at her table, she had just successfully reduced that little leaf cane and was tickled with herself. It reminded me of the first time I reduced a cane and all the possibilities that were running through my head.

Marty Montague at Bead Workshop with Alice Stroppel

Marty

Marty made earrings and enjoyed the whole creative process. She is one fun polymer clayer.

Lois Mills at Beads F.O.B. Workshop with Alice Stroppel

Lois

I looked up one time to see the biggest grin on Lois’ face. She had just made several successful canes in a great combo of colors and I could see the wheels turning behind those smiling bright eyes.

Christine Kaczmarek  at Bead Workshop with Alice Stroppel

Christine

Christine said she couldn’t go to sleep the first night and couldn’t wait to get back to work on her canes on Sunday. Her enthusiasm shows in her work.

Cathe Keck at Beads F.O.B. Workshop with Alice Stroppel

Cathe

Cathe’s work is big and bold. Her color combinations are bright and work so well together.

I’m so sorry that Marina had to leave early and I didn’t get a picture of her work.

(two days later, update) Marina sent me a picture of her work, I’m so happy to be able to include it. I just didn’t feel right for her pieces to be missing. Thanks Marina!

Marina - Beads F.O.B. Class - Alice Stroppel

Marina Montagut

I love how everyone created their own colors and Marina loves to do mini piece. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

I also didn’t take a class picture.  We ran over time, we were having so much fun, and people started to leave before I remembered the group photo. Thanks to all my student, I really appreciate how easy you made it to show you what I know, it was great fun.

More About Polymer Clay Fish Slides

Fish slide polymer clay

Arlene Harrison from Harrison Hollow Designs left a comment asking what a slide was. Well my understanding was something that slides off and on a cord or wire. But later I began to think about the difference between a slide and a pendent with a bail. Or why isn’t the fish with the hole considered a bead? If I drilled the hole more in the center of the fish would it be a bead or does a bead have to have a design on all sides and be round?

What is the difference between my fish and the pendant I made for my class at Beads F.O.B. in Sarasota? I made the “bail” out of polymer clay for the class pendant and drilled a hole through the bail, with the fish I just drilled a hole straight through with no bail.

Class pendant - polymer clayBut  when I googled bail here’s what I found;

Bail A finding that connects a pendant to a necklace. They come in different forms: some clip onto the pendant, some have mounts to glue the pendant to, and some attach to a ring on the pendant. The purpose is to hold the pendant flat when worn.

So maybe the pendant above is really a slide just like the fish?  I don’t know …….I’ll just have to ask Marty and Karen at Beads F.O.B.. But the good news is I can tell you how to make whatever they’re called.

fish with needle toolOnce I’ve finished my mosaic fish I mount it on a piece of clay (double thickness of the widest pasta machine setting) and cut out with a exacto knife.

Then I poke a hole straight through the body of the piece and then insert small rivets that you can purchase in the scrapbook department.

I bake it and then remove the rivets and re-drill the hole with my Dremel tool then replace the rivets with a tiny bit of super glue. Make sure you don’t fill the hole with super glue. The rivets just finish the hole and neaten everything up.

Here are all my almost finished fishies, some are going to my Etsy shop. But I have to finish them by signing the back with my name and the date, so it will be later today.

Fish Slides - polymer clay

Polymer Clay Cane Mapped Fish Slides

Fish Slides

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on these fish slides for an exchange I will be taking part in. They really have been so much fun and each one is different than the next so I can’t say I was the least bit bored by the number. I still have more to go and hope to finish up in the next few days.

Even though you can’t see it, there is metal leaf on each one of these fish. I’ve recently begun to use the metal leaf with my cane mapping and have some other ideas that don’t involve fish, so stay tuned. By the way you can learn how to map out the use of your old canes by signing up for my newsletter if you haven’t already. Just fill in your name and email address in the spaces on the upper right hand side of this page. I send out a newsletter about once a month and a class up date from time to time.

Okay so I’m not telling the exact true about being bored with these fish. I can say that bored is probably not the right word anyway, I think I get tired of doing the same type of item for a long period of time and have to break it up with other projects or activities along the way. But I’m always excited to come back and make more because they make me smile. Okay so they don’t make me laugh out loud like my girls do, but they do make me smile a lot.

I usually sit down and make five in a row, get them baked and the holes drilled, then I do something else for awhile. Today I am playing around with how to package them. Most of the time in an exchange just including your card  is enough, but I wanted to do mine a bit different this time.

I’ve used cards like this before to display my pins and I think I just might use them this time as well. These are smaller than the ones I’ve used before and I like them better for these smaller pieces.

I have soft wire that I’ve run through the slide and out the back of the card, twisting it together to hold the fish in place. I use a very small hole punch to make the holes so everything looks nice and neat.

The next thing I’m going to play with today is the design of the card. I think it might need some updating, I just signed my name on the top but I don’t think I like that. You never know until you try…words I live by.