Fine tooth combed polymer

See what Marina Rios does with a comb and an idea on PolymerClayDaily

Homemade tools are such a relief and a pleasure. No need to run out and splurge on the latest cutter or magic potion.

Chicago’s Marina Rios reaches into a drawer and shows us how she sacrifices a comb to make a spectacularly textured snake of clay that becomes a cool bead.

Her generosity and her cleverness remind me of the joy that polymer clay art brings to lots of us. Thank her for sharing.

Sure, StudioMojo looks at what’s trending but we’re really interested in art that requires heart and shows you something new and exciting that makes you slap your forehead with delight. Come take a look.

Mojo makeover

StudioMojo keeps you inspired and informed along with Polymer

StudioMojo just got flashier and more fun! After 10 years, it was time to shake things up.

This week there’s everything from Mother’s Day micro mosaics to instructions for making your own polymer clay.

Throw in some new Corlite, polymer painting, and extruded earrings and you’re charged up and ready to launch yourself forward with gusto.

Join us for this Saturday morning shot-in-the-arm.

Tools for the road

Gail Garbe's PROslicer offers portable precision on PolymerClayDaily

PCD usually avoids talking about products since new polymer tools have been known to raise heart rates and lead to marital discord. I’m breaking my own rule to suggest you look at the PRO Slicer that has just gone into production.

Ontario’s Gail Garbe and her engineer husband Manfred travel the country in their RV for a good portion of the year. Gail sells her Nifty Stuff at art fairs and other stops along the way. Size is always an issue when you’re working on the road so Gail was looking for something smaller than the coveted and now scarce Simmons slicer.

The new PRO slicer that her husband designed has a 4″x4″x4″ work area and weighs 5.6lbs. See it in action on YouTube. This instrument will cut polymer paper-thin. The $650 price tag reflects the cost of its precision parts. The first small run sold out quickly and a second batch is due in July. Here are the specifications.

Gail says that the downside of the project is that filling orders may keep the couple at home.

If the PRO slicer whets your appetite but doesn’t suit your needs, there’s a free I LOVE TOOLS online party coming up on Craftcast on May 23. Alison Lee loves tools…and parties. See what she’s dug up for her 13th tools show.

Lusting for tools

Cable on PCDaily

New tools offer the promise of exciting discoveries, new creations. When we’re cooped up and restless we start thinking, “What if ?”

Melissa Cable thought What if? and popped a band embellished with snap bezels and polymer into the oven to see if the leather would survive. It did and Create Recklessly was born.

If you’re itching for something that will help you take your work up a notch, come on over to Craftcast this evening (7:00 pm EST) for the free I Love Tools online party.

Discounts, giveaways and virtual appetizers! Reserve your seat or listen in later. Here’s what’s on the agenda (including my newest disks):

  • Art Clay World stamps with Jackie Truty
  • Potter Tools USA with Melissa Muir
  • Jool Tools with Anie Piliguian
  • Perfect Match Doming ™ with Janet Alexander
  • The D.R.E.A.M. Machine with Wilma Yost
  • Dover copyright free designs with Barbara Becker Simon
  • Create Recklessly leather tools with Melissa Cable
  • Polymer extruder disks (new set #2) with Cynthia Tinapple
  • The BIG shears with Robert Dancik

Ancient peoples polymer

Christine Damm's Ancient Peoples polymer cuff

Christine Damm’s article on wire and polymer in the summer issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry tempts me to try her loose, eclectic style. I’m on a tribal, primitive jag this week that you can see in her copper and faux jade cuff. The polymer pieces on her Stories They Tell site and Flickr page hint at tales from other times.

Her husband formed the cuff from repurposed copper flashing. The texture is from a Cool Tools plate. (Cool Tools carries mostly metal clay tools and many of them can be used on polymer as well.)

Helm’s secret sources

Sarajane Helm’s site is my favorite source for out-of-the-ordinary polymer clay tools and supplies. This weekend I needed custom made rubber stamps so I headed to the ReadyStamp form on her site.

If there’s a new product (like these inks), she’s researched and compared it. Last month I traipsed all over town looking for varnish and ended up ordering from her online link.

Each time I go to her site, I spend time with her collection of tattooed and Victorian hand beads. They fascinate me and now they’re for sale on her Etsy site.

Thanks to Sarajane for her persistence in finding the best products and for her generosity in sharing with the rest of us. You’ll find lots of treasures buried in her information-rich site.

Vanden Broeck’s metal techniques in polymer

This colorful bangle by Belgium’s Moïse Vanden Broeck traps extruded canes between two polymer clay plates. Moise brings a metalworker’s eye to his polymer work as in this additional bracelet design and these rings.

He also explains how to create a cutter tool using rotary blades which is an update on the original tube bead cutter by Elise Winters.

Nice to have a few mental exercises to get us in shape for the studio week ahead.

Polymer eggs, snakes and more

Carol Simmons has been hatching plans to extrude metallic polymer clays in new ways. (Here’s the link to the large picture of the eggs. The regular link is acting contrary.)

These clay-covered eggs were a recent product of her experiments and she’ll be revealing her discoveries in a class at her studio in Ft. Collins, Colorado this Saturday. Here are earlier posts about Carol’s kaleidoscope-cane works and award-winning pendants.

Egging you on…

May 1 is the deadline for entries in Interweave’s Bead Star Challenge. The prizes are pretty nice (just ask Valerie Aharoni, last year’s winner). I notice that Valerie has tested Creative Imaginations’ Super Seal Spray on polymer with good results.

And at the Chelsea Flower Show in London, they’re looking for clay artists who can help them create a 30 square foot garden. Thanks to Justine for the link.

Check out this faux snakeskin! This Python version from Christina (ArtByLilin) won third place in this month’s Etsy faux challenge. Thanks Ronna.

Lotta links today! You sent in a shower of April tips. Does that mean May will bring flowers?

Road ramblings…

I’m cobbling together a post from your emails since I’m on vacation and laptop time is limited.

In response to yesterday’s post, Patty Barnes describes how she makes her Kemper cutters organized and portable.

“Since I have many sets of Kemper cutters and I like to take them to classes and meetings, I used a metal tin to hold them.

I pressed scrap clay inside the bottom of the tin so that it was about ½” thick. I cut out each shape with the cutters and baked the entire tin. Coating the cutters with cornstarch or ArmorAll and leaving the cutters in place during the baking helps. Polymer clay shrinks a tiny amount and leaving the cutters in place during baking makes for a better fit.”

Kylee Milner (Lunes Bijoux) sent along the link to some versatile, inexpensive pendant bails she found on Ebay.

Art Jewelry Magazine has two articles about Melanie West in their current issue. One is a look at Melanie’s solar-powered home and studio. The other is a tutorial on bonding seamless polymer over aluminum cuff armatures.

Today’s photo is from the Artful Home catalog where I searched on polymer clay and came up with four pages of mouthwatering jewelry and furniture. The credenza entitled Bending Birches by J.M. Syron and Bonnie Bishoff is covered with polymer clay marquetry. Here’s their home site.

Polymer tool holders

My Kemper polymer clay cutters were always running away from me. When I saw someone at a conference with theirs neatly corralled, I decided to do the same.

I never thought of showing this efficient helper off. I’ve seen other artists’ beautifully crafted tools (see this early shot of Celie Fago’s) and this one is no beauty. Recent visitors to my studio thought readers might find beauty in its efficiency.

I’ve since devised similar helpers for other tools (pictured here) that try to elude me. Roll up some scrap clay, press your must-have-handy tool into it, remove the tool and bake. Voila! A studio assistant!

Name that sculpture and win!

ToyCyte interviewed polymer clay illustrator Jessica Fortner this week. They’re offering one of her newest furry sculptures to the person who can name the new series. Catch a good read and a chance to win.