Saturday, February 2, 2013


Helen Breil, a wonderful polymer clay artist from Canada, has just released an eBook called "Shapes".  The book shows how to create 25 unique dimensional multi shape pendants.

 I was asked to create a jewelry item for the book's gallery using one of the 25 designsThis is the necklace that was in the book's gallery and it's gallery page.

This wasn't the only piece I created.  Here are the other three.

Now I just have to find time to try the other 24 shapes in the book.



I just started playing with image transfers, which I haven't done in a very long time.  Previously I had done transfers using Lazetran Silk paper.  My reason for working with transfers again was a post that had a link to a Donna Kato video of her water based technique. Check out her free tutorial  Donna Kato's Polymer Clay Image Transfer Technique.  I found the technique extremely easy to do.  I don't know if all laser printers work as well.  I have a Samsung CLP 315W.

A few comments on the video:
  1.  She doesn't specify how long to let the image sit before spraying with water.  I sprayed it as soon as I was done burnishing. 
  2. I found it easy to feel when all the paper was off of the clay, so I used touch more than sight to know when all the paper was off.
  3. I also ran running water over the clay to get the last bits of paper off.
  4. I also did a quick test with a laser copy that has been sitting in my studio for a couple of years.  It transferred, though there was an area that didn't transfer as well.  I can't say for sure if it was because the transfer was old.  I used previously conditioned clay, but it was still pretty cool when I placed the transfer over it.  Since my studio is in the basement of my Minnesota (in winter) home, and the heat wasn't on, the 53 degree room temperature might have had something to do with it.

This is a pendant in progress using the first image I transferred.  The image on clay is as good as the image was on the paper.  The portion within the gold metal frame is slightly domed.  I didn't have any problems with the image cracking when it was slightly stretched to dome.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Polymer Cafe Monthly Challenge

I just got my December 2012 issue of Polymer Cafe and was thrilled to see that I won fist place in their monthly challenge whose theme was Black and White.  The three intricate main beads were created using two techniques from my tutorial "Jan's Jacob Ladder Variations" which is a fun, and easy way to create highly patterned polymer clay designs. 

If you are interested in giving it a try, the tutorial is for sale in my Etsy shop

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I finally got a chance to start playing with my new set of Special Effects Palette Knives.  (See photo of the tool set from my January 5, 2012 post for a photo).  Here are photos of what I did using two of the knives.  I used multiple colors of gilder's paste to patina the surfaces.

I like the cross hatching pattern (on the left). It made a nice background for my blue and copper scraps.  I am making it into a collage pendant.  The piece on the right is okay.  I think it is telling me that it wants to be cut apart and only use the right side.

  The straight impression of the palette knife (on the left) is really ugly.  Maybe it will become a usable scrap some day.  Right now I just want to throw it out.  I really like the other pattern (middle photo) that I got by making multiple impressions at right angles to each other.  It makes a nice area of interest, in contrast to the flat area, on what will become a pendant. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I just got my order from Jerry's Artarama for a special effects painting palette knife set.  It looked really cool and I thought it would be great for texturing and impressing clay for mokume gane.  I need to try using it for texturing colored liquid clay also - to paint with clay.  It is available online at:

Saturday, December 31, 2011


I just finished posting a comment on an Etsy forum about glues to use with polymer clay.  I have struggled with glues not working properly for years.  So I decided to post my comment here also and maybe save a few polymer clay artists the frustration I experienced:

     I used e6000 many years ago and I didn't like it. I used to store my brooches vertically in my closet - poked into the side of a cardboard storage box. I noticed that the pinback shifted over time, probably because of the weight of the brooch combined with summer's high heat and humidity in the closet. So I switched to super glue.
     I wasn't really happy with super glue either. I noticed that metal pieces (usually brass frames that I included in my jewelry) would fall off if I dropped the piece. So I switched to Gorilla brand "super glue" because its advertising said it was "impact resistant". Unfortunately I still had occasional problems with that too:

I have since found out a few things about both glues:
- Super glue is very sensitive to heat and humidity. It needs to be stored upright in an airtight container with dessiccant. I never did that. I think it probably failed on pieces that were glued with older glue.
- e6000 is supposed to be put on as a thin layer on both sides, left to sit for a minute or two and then put together. I think I was putting on too thick a coating.
     Now I again use e6000 for pin backs - but just two thin coating and I buy new glue once it starts getting thick.  I use some brand of super glue for metal inclusions. I especially like Loctite brand because you use it upright, squeezing on the sides to get just a small drop of glue.  This makes it so much easier to control application. They also make a bottle with a brush applicator.
     I use Pavelka's Polybonder glue if I have to glue something before baking. It also has a brush applicator. I found that it gets thick and gooey pretty quickly but I hadn't been storing it upright. It was in a ziplock back with dessiccant though. I haven't bought any and stored it upright in a glass jar yet. So hopefully that will extend it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I wrote an article for the December 2011 issue of Polymer Cafe magazine called An Introduction to the Principles of Design.  Included with the article were templates and excercises for artists to try.  Jill Palumbo sent me this photo showing her experimentation with the templates.

My favorite is the one on the right.  I like the contrast of the highly textured half circles with the flat gilded areas.  The linear pattern in the circles also repeats the not quite horizontal lines of the center vertical element.  Because the textural lines in the half circles are on a diagonal they also add dynamic movement to the piece.

Jill does some really interesting jewelry using a very heavy surface texture and bright colors.  Check out her photos on Flickr:

I especially like her Frida Kahlo series and the beads (or maybe brooches?) inspired by Olympia Corvino.