Friday, February 24, 2012

Not Playdoh! Playing Around with Polymer Clay

I decided to try something new (again).  I saw some very pretty polymer clay accent beads in one of my favorite bead stores, Stony Creek Bead in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and I purchased a few (of course).  Later, I thought I would try my hand at creating my own.  I discovered that it really is fun to play with clay, and I created a few sets of beads that I was pleased enough with that I think I will try to incorporate them into some of my jewelry and bag designs.

I used Fimo brand clay. I just mixed some colors that I thought might work together and played around with shapes.  Once I had what I wanted, I just had to bake the beads.  I applied a clear sealer once they cooled.

Here are some of the results:

I already incorporated one set of polymer clay beads that I made into a necklace design.

As you can see, I embossed a bit of a swirl pattern into the surface of each bead.  One of the great things about polymer clay beads is how light they are!  If these beads were made of stone or ceramic, this necklace would be quite heavy.  It is very light and feels virtually weightless on the neck with these clay accents.  I was pleased to find wire, thread and glass beads that worked so well with the colors of the clay.

I'm not sure how I will use the other clay beads I made.  You'll just have to keep your eye on my ArtFire Studio to find out.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Artists' Market to Benefit Cass Community Services

I'm very excited to announce that Gossamer Tangles has been accepted to participate in the upcoming Leon & Lulu's Artists' Market.  About 40 artists have been chosen to participate on Sunday, March 4, 2012, from 11 am - 5 pm and Tuesday, March 6, 2012, from 3 pm - 8 pm.  

Leon and Lulu's is a unique shop located in the historic Ambassador Roller Rink on 14 Mile Road, just west of I-75, in Clawson, Michigan.  They sell an eclectic mix of furnishings, art, accessories, and unique gifts, including many one of a kind items.

Leon & Lulu's has been a great supporter of the creative community in the Metro Detroit area, as well as other community organizations.  For example, the Artists' Market on March 4 and 6 will benefit Cass Community Social Services, an organization that provides support and assistance to the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed in Detroit.

The Artists' Market should be a lot of fun.  There will be entertainment and refreshments, and the opportunity to peruse and purchase wonderful items designed and made by local artisans.  I am definitely looking forward to it!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Soliloquy of a Burned Out Artisan Lawyer

To blog, or not to blog -- that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The agonies of coming up with something clever
After writing a 30-page legal brief
In my lawyer identity, or to sleep,
Perchance to dream -- ay there's the rub,
For if I sleep, I do disrespect
My unsworn oath to blog each Friday
In my artisan identity.  But gossamer tangles
My mind with pining for my pugs and bed --
To wake refreshed and blog another day.

My apologies to Mr. Shakespeare and any readers who happen upon this.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Copper Rainbow

On almost every listing on my Gossamer Tangles ArtFire site, I make the following statement: "As with all the items I make, if you think you might like this in another color combination, please get in touch.  As materials allow, I am happy to accept custom orders."  I

One of the reasons that I can include this statement is because of the very wide range of colors that the materials I use for my designs come in.  For example, in many of my jewelry creations I use 28- or 30-gauge permanently colored copper wire.  The number of colors and shades of colors that this wire comes in is incredible. I usually use Artistic Wire, as I've found it to be of excellent quality and it offers so many color options.

The photos below show a sampling of the colors I currently have in stock to work with:

Permanently colored copper wire is a wonderful material to work with for jewelry because the color is just that -- permanent. The colored surface does not get scratched or flake off or become distorted.

I just used the 30-gauge red wire to crochet a pair of hearts which I will use to create Valentine's earrings.

It's handy to have a fairly large stock of colors for spur-of -the-moment projects like this, or when I do get a custom order.  At Christmas, for example, I had a customer order several pair of earrings and she wanted to buy them in the colors shown on my ArtFire site, but also wanted me to create another pair of each design in different colors for her daughter.  This allowed them to have matching earring designs, but in their own unique colors.