Saturday, July 30, 2011

Silicone Mold Making

Thanks to my beloved Kerin Gale book, I was very interested in trying to make my own silicone molds. As a test, I decided to use this floral finial from one of my lamps. Like resin clay, the silicone mix comes in two parts. You take the amount you need from each and mix together the two equal parts until you have a uniform color.

From there, you must quickly press the object into the silicone because you only have three minutes to work before it begins to cure. There are other brands/types of silicones that give you more of a work time.

You let it set up for 25 minutes before removing it from the object you are casting.  For use with some types of clay, it will need to cure for an additional 24 hours before use. I really like the ease of making the molds and the detail I achieved. Have any of you tried making your own silicone molds?

I am exceedingly excited to have enrolled in one of Kerin Gale’s online workshops and am making a resin clay pendant. I will be letting you all know how I fare with that project very soon!

I have begun reading some more mixed media books that include large amounts of mixed media jewelry. Also, I know I posted a lot less than usual the past two weeks because I had family in town, but I will now return to my normal posting amount.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Great Fynds in Dahlonega

Thanks to the impatience of my son, as many times as my family has driven through the cute square in downtown Dahlonega, I have never stopped in any of the shops. However, we just discovered that there is a historic gold mine (gold was discovered in Dahlonega in 1828, a few decades prior to the California gold rush) in Dahlonega too, so my husband and son headed there while my mother, sister, and I went shopping.
One store we visited was Great Fynds. Here I discovered some beautifully handmade, Peruvian jewelry that are fair trade. I fell in love with these hand threaded  earrings pictured below. Therefore I was “forced” to buy them!

I have been having a wonderful time with my mother and sister during their visit.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Small Break

Hello, faithful followers!

I am taking a two week break while we have family (my mother and sister) visiting us.

But, I will be returning very soon with more adventures in clay, resin, and who knows what else???

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Exploring Epoxy Clay

I was extremely excited when my order of epoxy clay arrived from Aves Studio. As I have mentioned numerous times in past posts, I have been curious to try it out. Since I am brand new to both polymer and epoxy clays, I cannot yet determine if I prefer one medium to another.

Here are two short video clips of me mixing the clay before use. (I cut myself off at the beginning, but I am saying that my hands are coated with lotion). 

The epoxy clay has a stronger chemical type smell than polymer. The epoxy clay is also extremely sticky until it starts to harden a bit more. Kerin Gale warns about this in her book, Inspired Remnant, Curious Dreams. I had to use lots of hand lotion to keep it from sticking to me. I also found it more malleable than polymer.

I used a stamp to texturize the piece of clay and also added liquid gold leaf paint.  Kerin Gale suggests sitting it on some silicone (like the back of a mold) while it cures as silicone is about the only thing it will not stick to. I found I even needed to add a bit of lotion to the silicone to keep it from sticking. My sample piece is currently curing overnight and I will post more about how it turns out tomorrow.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Seeing Mary

Thanks to the very wise advice of my sister-in-law, I have decided to hold off on trying to work on stocking and opening my Etsy shop until Liam is back in school next month. This will give me more structured days to find a balance between crafting and working. I will also be teaching the same course and therefore have less course prep work to do such as lecture notes.

My friend, Donna, over at The Woodwife Chronicles is doing a survey on the Divine Feminine. I encourage you to head over and take it - you might see my answers posted there in the comments! Speaking of the Divine Feminine, last night my family and I watched Primetime Nightline: Miracle Mysteries about Marian sightings. I wrote previously about The Miracle Detective, a nonfiction book about the same topic, focusing especially the Marian sightings in Medjugorje. I believe that these Bosnian sightings are real.

One thing I did not realize until I read The Miracle Detective, was that the Catholic church takes an extremely long time to investigate Marian apparitions. They have numerous criteria that must be met to consider a sighting valid. For instance, only 12 (that I can tell, from my best research abilities) have met official church approval so far. Medjugorje is still under investigation.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Adventures in Polymer

I have been testing out some beginner polymer clay techniques. First I used plain color clay. I added some pink glitter powder to this just to get more of a fell for how the polymer cures and what it looks like when complete. My resulting pieces were not that wonderful, but I guess this is part of the learning curve, and I was just wanting to test the clay out.

This morning, I tried out some basic caning techniques. I really love the caning techniques and some of the color, pattern, and designs that can be achieved with caning.  You can see the bead where the caning is strong versus the one that took on more of a marbleized effect after I mixed the clay more. Still not a wonderful crafting job, but getting a tiny bit better.

I also tested a rubber stamp just to see the results with clay, and added some green glitter. My epoxy clay is on its way from Wisconsin to me now. I purchased a small amount to test out. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Crazy Week

After going to Wisconsin for our annual Fourth of July family reunion, my remaining week has been a blur of student projects and discussion board posts to grade. On top of that, I had some major tech problems right in time for my lecture on Wednesday.

During my trip, though, I got some great jewelry reading done. One book I brought with me was Inspired Remnants, Curious Dreams. This book focuses on using epoxy clay for mixed media projects. Most of the projects featured are jewelry items using epoxy clay. I found this book to be fascinating. Since I have been increasingly interested in trying out polymer clay, which you can bake in your oven at home I was curious to see what epoxy clay was and learn more about it.

Epoxy clay is self-hardening, so it requires no heat/firing and also is extremely hard when dry. It does have two parts that need to be mixed. Inspired Remnants provides lots of excellent directions for using epoxy clay as well as various tips and techniques. Kerin Gale’s book is the first one about crafting with epoxy clay and I found it very inspiring. I am now itching to try it.  

I would like to try both polymer and Epoxy to see the differences and if I have a preference for one over the other. Can you tell I will be ordering some epoxy clay?