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.


Sunday, December 11, 2011


In 1990 I went to visit my friend Mary who lives 600+ miles away.  Because she couldn't take time off work to be with me the whole time I was there, I needed to entertain myself.  So I brought t-shirts and fabric paint to play with.  Mary and I continued to paint t-shirts in the evenings.  We had so much fun Mary asked if we could do it again the following year.  Thus was born A&C (Arts and Crafts) Week. 

The next year we discovered polymer clay and tried to create millefiori beads.  We both collect African Venetian Glass Trade Beads.  We were using Cernit brand.  That brand doesn't hold its sharpness after baking, so we were disappointed in the final results.  The following year we discovered Fimo brand.  Nan Roche had also published her book The New Clay, which was the only book on the subject available at that time.  A lot of us referred to it as The Bible.  I still think it is the best book on the market for beginners. 

A&C Week has continued every year since.  We probably should call it something else since we only do polymer clay now, with a couple of days worth of exploration with precious metal clay.  It is also 12-15 days of intensive clay play.  It is very hard to go back to our regular lives when it is over.

Recently I was talking to Mary and she was feeling pretty blue.  Winter was setting in, so all the fun outdoor stuff she does (like gardening) was done for the season.  We had occasionally Skyped since we both have computers with webcams.  However neither one of us has thought about Skyping while working - DUH.

So on Tuesday December 6, 2011 - A&C Weekly was born.  Now we can still sit across the work table from each other and talk while we work.  It isn't as easy to see what the other person is doing.  Holding up something in front of the camera isn't the same as passing the item across the table, or getting up and looking over the person's shoulder.  But it isn't bad.  So if you have a laptop computer and friends with laptops that you like to work with who can't be there in person, try Skype (  It's free and there doesn't seem to be a time limit.  We worked for 3 hours with no service interruptions.  We have reserved every Tuesday night for A&C Weekly until next spring.   

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Other Artists' Work Created Using My Jacobs Ladder Variations Tutorial

I love seeing what other artists create using the same techniques as I use.  These wonderful pieces were created by people using my "Jan's Jacobs Ladder Variations" Tutorial.  Like I always say - Artists don't work in a vacuum. We are always getting ideas from others, then putting our own spin on them.

Created by Dr Mary Kertzman, Indiana

Fimomaus, Goppingen Germany
Jan Geissen´s Ladderman Variationen

Ich verbinde gerne Tutorials von Clay-K√ľnstlern die ich bewundere. Hier habe ich die Blume von Iris Mishly mit der Laddercane von Jan Geisen gemixt.

I like to connect tutorials from clay artists that I admire. Here I have the flower of the Iris Mishly mixed with the Laddercane by Jan Geisen.

Check out her other work on Flickr for inspiration.  She has experimented with a lot of different techniques.