Tutorials unravel the mysteries

Rebecca Watkins unravels the mystery of her textured beads with a quick (and free) visual tutorial. Her methods and tools may surprise you. She shows more examples on her Etsy site.

You may also enjoy the step-by-step look that Tory Hughes offers on her most recent “Tahitian Flora” project. It’s educational to watch as she sketches her project before she begins.

Look closely and you’ll see that she forms the pieces into shallow cups in order to mimic the blossoms. She presses the flat pieces against her knuckle and bakes them on a paper cone to achieve a gentle shape. Tory promises another look at stringing as this project progresses.

Beads that speak for themselves

I was looking for polymer that was springy and required no explanation since I’m fresh out of words.

Luckily Silvia Ortiz de la Torre posted this necklace that fit my requirements precisely. If Google translator is accurate, this is Silvia’s rendition of beads from a tutorial by fellow Spaniard, Natalia Garcia de Leaniz that appeared in the new From Polymer to Art magazine (the Blue edition). They’re super textured and built on cores of crumpled foil to keep them light. Silvia uses eye-catching graduated color on the base beads.

Let me know if I botched the translation. The beads are exuberant in any language!

Delightful diversions

There’s nothing better to veer your week off track than a couple of interesting polymer techniques. If you’re facing serious deadlines and chores, stop reading right now.

The first tantalizing tutorial is a bit of Japanese-inspired faux lacquer from Nan Roche. Alison Torres reports from the CFCF event in Maryland that’s in progress this week. Nan briefly describes her method in this short video. (The picture is Alison’s work from Nan’s class.)

Then I happened upon luminous faux mother of pearl from LesEthiopiques. The text on Hélène’s free tutorial is in French accompanied by step-by-step shots of her discoveries. Wouldn’t that be fun to try?

I have deadlines and chores of my own that I’m avoiding. Perhaps if you trot off and try these tricks, I can focus. Sneaky, eh? You try them so I won’t have to.

Creating signature style

Tricia Dewey’s newest polymer beads hum with color and they come with a good story.

Tricia bought Christi Uliczny’s popular “Rocky Path” tutorial and modified the instructions extensively to create beads rather than pendants. Tricia used the tutorial as a launch pad to combine leaf and alcohol inks and mica powders on polymer in her own way.

Sidelined by an elbow injury, Tricia was taking a break from her fossil series of polymer/encaustic multimedia wall art to experiment with beads. Using a new set of instructions and working on a smaller scale, Tricia’s signature style still shone through.

Giving thanks, giving back

Pennsylvania’s Genevieve Williamson starts this week of giving thanks with a sweet little fiber-y bead tutorial.

As Genevieve says, “I’ve had some polymer artists extend themselves and share their knowledge and present me with great opportunities. Kindness should overflow, shouldn’t it? So it seems appropriate that I make my first small attempt to give back with a tutorial at the beginning of America’s week of Thanksgiving.”

The kindness flowed back from Germany in the watery colors of Kathrin Neumaier’s fish bead necklace. Kathrin acknowledges that her idea for carving the fish beads came after seeing the rough hewn look of Genevieve’s carved beads and rings. The link was sent in by Margit Böhmer.

There is much caring and sharing in this community and yesterday was an example of your goodness. See Monday’s post if you missed all the ruckus and the happy ending. As Angela Mabray said, “Now that that’s settled, let’s all get back to work.”

Maggie’s missing link

Link to video

When Maggie Maggio quietly fiddles and fusses at a retreat, you know that she’s brewing a new scheme. She generously agreed to share with you her latest development, polymer clay split ring chains. Making this design was a relaxing way to look busy, get rid of scrap and have great looking new jewelry. By the end of the week we had heaps of links. I got out my camera and you can see the resulting video in the right column.

Students of Maggie and Lindly’s color book will probably pounce on the concept and come up with great variations. We only scratched the surface. Many thanks to Maggie for showing us her new method which she’s calling Maggie’s Missing Link.

Download the split ring template sheet and read Maggie’s latest blog post here.

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  • I'm Cynthia Tinapple, an artist, curator, and leader in the polymer clay community for over 20 years.

    On this blog I showcase the best polymer clay art online to inspire and encourage you. I also send out weekend extras in the premium newsletter, StudioMojo.

    You can find my book, Polymer Clay Global Perspectives, on Amazon.


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