25 August 2013

Bead Fest Pity Party - Class of One

I have stacks and stacks of books. I can't stop myself from buying them!

A more recent acquisition is the book Polymer Clay Global Perspectives by Cynthia Tinapple. Cynthia Tinapple is the found of the popular blog Polymer Clay Daily where she curates incredible finds from artists across the globe. I have devoured her book from cover to cover. I was expecting a huge eye candy laden tome of remarkable pieces from artists the world over. What I found is all that and more. I was so delighted to find very in depth interviews with renowned polymer clay artists like Tejae Floyde, Fabiola Perez Ajates, Genevieve Williamson and Rebecca Watkins. One particular profile I took great notice in: Christine Damm. I am uber excited that I will finally get to meet Miss Christine at the ArtBliss workshops coming up at the end of next month. I love her approach and I can't wait to learn from someone I consider a Master teacher!

I stumbled on this whole polymer clay adventure I call the Great Experiment a few years ago and every single thing I have learned has been self taught. Really you cannot screw up with polymer clay. It is very forgiving and open to possibilities. It can mimic other more precious materials, like gemstones and metal, but it can also be a humble supporting cast member as well. For me, polymer clay is a canvas that I can transform with inks, stains, paint and impressions. There is so much that I don't know. And the more I play with it the more hungry I become to push the limits of what it can do.

I am incredibly honored that Miss Cynthia included some of my rather rudimentary offerings in her book. She found me somehow a few years ago and approached me to create some jewelry with her polymer clay beads for her trip to Nepal to teach women there how to make the beads and see what they could become. Knowing that something I made was carried halfway around the world to be an inspiration for other women is so awesome. You just never know how you will touch someone's life, including those you may never meet in person!

{This necklace featuring Cynthia Tinapple's pumpkin shisha beads is in the book!}
Miss Cynthia's beads are so amazing, don't you think? I still have a few in my stash that I really should use to make something. The colors, the painstaking details, they make my head spin. Since I only use pearl clay for the most part and I have my own ways of adding color and patina. But I really want to see how to use the wide array of colors to take what I do to the next level.

I traveled to Michigan in May to work with Heather Powers on how to make canes and I loved that. It was my first time with colored clay and mixing shades and building the intricate details. But I am lazy and lack the patience and foresight needed for creating such layered pictures like Heather does. Now that I am home and lost my directions, I can't remember how we did it, but I love the result! I guess I will leave that sort of cane to the experts. However, one thing we did while there is take little bits of scrap and built an abstract cane that I really loved. I wanted to recreate that experience.

So I did a little searching and came to find out that this is called the Stroppel Cane (link takes you to the YouTube video) named for Alice Stroppel who developed this technique and shared it with the world about two years ago. This prompted almost immediate worldwide attention as people took the idea and morphed it to suit their styles, tastes and palettes.Really cool how the internet brings knowledge to everyone so instantly and helps to further art everywhere!

I decided that I would use this technique to represent the painting for the Art Bead Scene for August called Tres Personajes by Rufino Tamayo.

Since I don't play with clay the way the Alice Stroppel does resulting in leftovers, I made some mini canes and just some little pieces in the colors of the painting and embedded them in the layers of thin black clay. I sliced the thin canes to reveal the almost sedimentary striations of color matching those I saw in the painting and made them into my stick pendants.

{Tres Personajes stick pendants}

Each one is just a bit different. And I see great potential in this technique for those times when only color will do, but I will find a way to include my messages with this, just you wait. These Tres Personajes sticks are available in my Etsy shop. And today, instead of a gift certificate, I would like to giveaway one of these new pendants. It won't reach you to make something for the Art Bead Scene blog hop that I curate on Friday, August 30th, but I bet it will get your juices flowing!

To win, answer the following question {and be sure that I have an email to contact you if you win!}:

Add a link to an online tutorial or a book for any creative endeavor that you have tried or would like to try.

Don't forget that I am having a Bead Fest Pity Party in my Etsy shop through Monday, August 26th. Use the code PITYPARTY13 for 15% off your total of $20 or more.


Kym Hunter Designs said...

Erin, your pendants are lovely and I love the variation of colors! Working with polymer clay is something I haven't been successful at, but I will definitely keep working trying.

I love learning new things and my next goal is to learn foldforming with this book http://www.amazon.com/Foldforming-Charles-Lewton-Brain/dp/1929565267

My email is kymhunterdesigns@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Oh there is such a lot I'd like to learn, and try out, but sadly I have limited time right now. Still, this evening I have been trying out patina methods from Kerry Bogert's Rustic Wrappings book. I'd really like to try some of the projects in this book, one of these days I will!

Tanya said...

Oh, Erin, I love those pendants. They are so great and fun. As for a tutorial, I would love to try something out of "Chained" by Rebeca Mojica. I took a class from her at Bead and Button and have been having a blast with chain maille since.

sandi m said...

Very cool technique that I could see incorporated with your words.
Your pendants - the loop is the face and then the body of color, love.
If I ever learn polymer clay - some day - would try anything from Ronna Sarvas Weltman's Ancient Modern book. And also Christine Damm's book when it's published.


Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

Not enough hours in the day, Erin! There is always something new in the world, but for now I am keeping things simple. Here is a link to my favorite PC teacher, Cindy Lietz. After making hundreds of videos over the past 5+ years, she and her hubby Doug now do this business together full-time.


This is my favorite recent tutorial for a paisley cane, which I love for it's bold graphic design AND the fact that a clay extruder is used (++ control).

I love Alice's technique for leftovers, but it is sometimes difficult for my OCD to accept the "surprise" that occurs when cutting in LOL. I tend to do as you have and "control" the cane for a specific purpose. I think your pendants are a wonderful example of just that, and lovely as well, Erin!

asdf said...

love the whole post!

IG: @risabella__

Ann Schroeder said...

Your new pendants are amazing! Thanks for the chance to win one.

I would love to make make these clusters for some lovely earrings: http://www.brandigirlblog.com/2012/03/tip-share-how-to-make-jewelry-clusters.html

Unknown said...

Dear Miss Erin, I am sitting here looking over at the mini-library of PC books I have collected over the years, and had to chuckle when you said add a link to "a" tutorial (this comment box isn't big enough to include all that I could choose). The sheer joy I have felt learning new techiques for this medium (including Alice's fantastic idea), make me want to shout to everyone "You have to try it!". Currently am helping by adding my comments to a blog broup that has formed to give it a try. As far as myself, I will add this link to one of the many I have book
marked. Hope anyone who clicks on it, enjoys, and even better, pulls out their clay. artybecca.blogspot.com/2012/03/tutorial-easy-method-to-make-faux-rice.html

Saraccino said...

I have a lot of things and ideas I want to try... I hoped to get a little bit more done this weekend but work comes first. Also I am working on a commission for earrings for a weeding. Love that but it is not really experimenting ;)

Apart from polymer clay I just read some hours ago at art jewelery elements this post: http://artjewelryelements.blogspot.de/2013/08/saturday-shareball-chain-end-loops.html

I want to try this! Now I just need a torch, steel plate and hammer... and also a tumbler? Way to expensive at the moment... sniff.

ACBeads said...

Erin, your newest pendants are gorgeous and I'd love to win one. There are so many books and tutorials out there, and many of them are free. I've recently come across a book 'Creative Seed Bead Connections' by Teresa Meister where seed beads, jump rings and wire are used to make exceptionally beautiful jewellery. Thank you for the giveaway and all the inspiration I find in your blog. Ana

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

This is one wonderful post. I was working with a fab bead yesterday by a polymer clay artisan. I cannot express to you how very much I love polymer clay. I used to bid on justbeads auction site strictly for polymer clay beads. I was and remain so in love with the beauty of beads made of polymer clay!
I have only ever made one polymer clay bead myself. I realized then that I should use my abilties to enhance other artisans focals and sets! :)

xox jean
did somebody just say win? am I missing something? OOOOOOOO!!!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Oh a link! This is a rocking link to a great tutorial from a dear pal of mine who has it all going on re: polymer clay. :) Just like you, only different!
She is one great teacher, too!
Emma Ralph in the UK.
here is my email!
xox jean

Shai Williams said...

Erin you always ask questions that cause me to ponder. There are just so many things that I want to try. In fact, I keep a PinInterest board ( http://pinterest.com/sshaiha/inspirations-jewelry/) that is full of techniques or designs that I want to further examine.

One thing that I have on my list and I am determined to try is resin. I have everything to get started just been procrastinating. Not really even that. My muse has been demanding all my time.

KayzKreationz said...

I love your work. I would really like to learn from Heather about making canes and beads like she does. But I think this also looks very interesting to learn.


Mal said...

These are gorgeous pendants but not the only reason for replying! I loved hearing about the other links and tutorials and agonised about choosing just one. A real turning point one for me though was working through the pdf Of Tory Hughes' Creative Development Manual at a time of huge life change and this has had a pretty profound and enduring impact. The skill that I think is a metaphor for making that first step is the magnificent Skinner Blend. Where would I be without it?? Love love love your collaborative piece with Cynthia. Loved it then. Love it now! Wendy

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

The jewelry you made with Cynthia's (awesome)pumpkin beads are gorgeous- perfect for her trip to Nepal!

I absolutely love the pendants you created using the Stroppel cane technique-they are fantastic!

Thank you for inspiring us Erin!

Jennifer Stumpf said...

Beautiful beads- what a wonderful post. Very inspiring!!

Unknown said...

Hey Erin - I love the new pendant/beads and the beautiful strands of color. I am looking forward to seeing what else you will be working on.



Stories They Tell said...

Erin, leave it to you to do something elegant and original with the Stroppel cane! "Less is more" as they say and yours are uncomplicated and go to the essence of the design-- color and form. I love them!


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