Tips and Tricks

Out of clay, full of imagination

Kathy Koontz turns scrap into not-so-ugly Christmas sweater ornaments on PolymerClayDaily

Soulth Carolina’s Kathy Koontz (FlowertownOriginals) thanks the pandemic for one of her best sellers this season. Yes, Covid slowed the manufacture and shipping of clay but she didn’t let that stop her as she saw her supplies running low.

Kathy Koontz turns scrap into not-so-ugly Christmas sweater ornaments on PolymerClayDaily

Kathy got creative with her scraps. “Whether it’s old canes being reimagined or unsuccessful veneers that I somehow knew to keep, they both found a place in these Christmas sweater ornaments. So thanks corona virus!” There are a few left on Etsy.

Pan pastel relics

Marina Rios makes modern relics with pan pastels on PolymerClayDaily

What look like ancient relic beads were cooked up by Marina Rios (fancifuldevices) using a combination of pan pastels and paste wax on polymer. Looks like some heat was applied too. Rough and ancient yet colorful.

We’ve got additional pan pastel tricks for you on StudioMojo this week. I may not have cooked much this Thanksgiving but I stumbled on some tasty studio recipes for you. No leftovers, just fresh ideas and inspiration for your weekend. 

Red fox ornaments

Laurel Swetnam hangs scrap foxes on the tree on PolymerClayDaily.com

Portland’s Laurel Swetnam loves her deep reds and oranges. By this time of year, she’s left with lots of cane ends and leftover veneers.

Not a problem! The patterns and colors play nicely with each other as she pieces them into these charmingly angular fox ornaments. Simple shapes become stunning ornaments.

Unexpected holiday element

Jenny Sorensen mixes her media on PolymerClayDaily.com

You may not be ready for the holidays but Jenny Sorensen (WishingWellWorkshop) won’t let you forget.

What really got me about this cardinal in the snow ornament was the unexpected element — a cinnamon stick perch! She often adds a rock or wood or some other natural element to ground her work.

The polymer is smooth and whimsical. The cinnamon adds a natural and fragrant touch. I love the holiday combo.

Jumping through hoops

Cynthia Tinapple jumps through hoops on PolymerClayDaily
Cynthia Tinapple jumps through hoops on PolymerClayDaily

Extruding is my studio warm-up exercise. Polymer hoop earrings are selling like hotcakes and look easy enough. Since I’ve been peddling red, white, and blue all week, the palette was settled. I was off to try out hoops.

Lynda Gilcher’s repeat angle wedge extruder disks are perfect for striped canes. She does the math and each disk indicates how many you’ll need to make a complete circle. I assembled my 12 extruded wedge strips of color into a circle.

Insert the resulting cane back into the extruder to produce any shape you want. For the hoops, I extruded the cane through Lynda’s Arches #3 disk. Voila! Hoops!

The messy scrap is the beginning of a brooch (see Jana Roberts Benzon’s idea here). Something about this textured mess seems apropos of our current red, white, and blue. It needs an element that says 2020.

Did you notice that I slid right into tutorial mode? Friday is my day to scoop up the ideas and products that have floated by and turn them into juicy stuff for StudioMojo. Sometimes it’s a how-to, sometimes it’s a looky-looky. Come on over and see what’s in this week’s grab bag.

Rock and roll patriotic bicones

Swirling bicones from Shulamit Raanan on PolymerClayDaily.com

You might think that Shulamit Raanan creates her most exuberant stars and stripes in a small town in a midwestern American flag-waving state. You’d be wrong. “The magic takes place in a little studio, on the second floor of a house standing at the top of a hill overlooking the Yzrael Valley in the north of Israel,” she admits. She’s a prolific maker of buttons, beads, and jewelry as you’ll see on her FB page.

If you need a soothing, meditative polymer technique, try bicones like Shulamit’s. Carissa Nichols shows you how to rock and roll bicone beads from scrap in this video. It’s like learning to ride a bike (without the skinned knees). Once you get your balance you’ll be hooked.

Fill out your ballot, check it twice. You’re all set to vote!

Big reveal cane

Robyn from Kaori shows us her first slice on PolymerClayDaily.com

My brain’s all mushy and there’s nothing better than this cane reveal from Australia’s Robyn at Kaori Studio to capture a tired mind. That first slice is the equivalent of a cat toy for caners.

Robyn from Kaori shows us her first slice on PolymerClayDaily.com

Robyn has pumped out one big batch of extruded dots! She has a baby so she works at night which accounts for the lighting. Doesn’t it make you want to try it? This is what we extruder types dream about. Watch her upcoming jewelry to see where this pops up.

Get the full slicing effect on Robyn’s Instagram (@shop.kaori). Now wasn’t that satisfying?

 

Sticking to a plan

In the midst of turmoil Angie Wiggins sticks to her plan on PolymerClayDaily.com

Virginia’s Angie Wiggins starts every year with a palette of colors that she sticks to for 12 months.

Ribbons of violet run through leftover Skinner blended circles that will become coasters. The colors are easy on the eyes and invite us to explore and enjoy the gradations.

Angie sticks to her plan. There’s something comforting and smart and reassuring in that. Her use of blends is mesmerizing. Check out her Instagram.