Sunday, December 11, 2011

New bezel - Turtle

We have a granddaughter who is of Kiowa and Iroquois descent.

While she was visiting recently we talked about her heritage and then Googled Kiowa and Iroquois 'symbols' in Google Images.

Some Kiowa images were of eagle feathers and stepped patterns. As we talked we made some quick sketches of designs with eagle feathers.

The Iroquois were forest people and their images were filled with forest dwellers, trees and birds. One of the images we liked was a turtle.

With a little playing around we came up with a design that included both peoples. A turtle with the Kiowa eagle feathers and stepped patterns on it's back. See picture above left. At the top is the rough shape of the turtle with a cabochon shell on the sheet of paper on which we drew the original designs.

I made the eagle feather cane right away. She got the first pair of earrings.
The turtle bezel took longer but finally came together yesterday evening.

This first, large turtle
bezel shown will hold a 30 mm by 40 mm standard cabochon. I'm thinking three or four sizes in the mold. I love the idea of a 'scattering' of turtle pins and maybe some tiny turtle earrings.

Right is the bezel with the cabochon removed. The bezel has no texture, details or finishing touches but it should not take long.

Penni Jo

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Playtime! Eagle Feather Cane

Today was play day! After all of the Thanksgiving holiday hustle and bustle, I was just bursting to make a cane I'd had in mind for weeks. An Eagle feather cane.

I do not do a lot of caning but this cane would have a two fold application.

1. One half of the cane would be used to mold feathers.

2. One half of the cane would have details added to make a stylized feather that would not require molding for the details. This detailed Eagle Feather cane technique will be the base of my newest class.

Shown upper right is the initial cane. It is a Skinner blend of four colors. It has no veins or details at this point. This large cane was next cut in half dividing it into two pieces of the same shape.

One half of the initial cane was reduced to a small feather shape. From the small feather shape cane slices were cut about the thickness of a tooth pick. See A Right.

The slices were pressed into the small feather opening in Best Flexible Mold PJ006 Thunderbird Medium. See B. Right.

The end of the feather with the vein was over-filled and 'clubbed' after de-molding to make a thickened end in which a hole could be pierced before baking.

The baked feathers were dropped into cold water after baking and allowed to cool. After cooling and drying the jump rings were threaded through the holes and closed in preparation for threading onto a bracelet or neck cord. These molded Eagle feathers were created for the members of my TOPS group as awards.

To see the 'clubbed' end, see the topmost feather in the pic to the left. It shows the back of a molded feather.

Detailed Eagle Feather Cane

Shown right is the secondary cane created using the initial Skinner blend design.

Thin, partial angled veins were added.

Then a long center vein was added for realism. This cane is not designed for use with a mold but as stand-alone design.

After the cane was completed it was reduced. The ends were reduced slightly and the center was reduced more. By tapering the reduction to the center, feathers of many different sizes can be cut from one cane.

Left is a photo of eagle feather slices cut from the secondary cane. They are about 1 3/4 inches long.

Eye pins were inserted into the top and down the center vein before the feathers were put on a satin textured ceramic tile. By holding the feathers on the vein, you can guide the eye pin through the feather and prevent the end of the eye pin from going through the feather instead of along the vein.

After placing the feathers with eye pins onto the tile the edges were pressed down onto the tile creating a slight 'doming' of the feather. Natural feathers have a subtle 'domed' curve on the front of them.

The feathers were baked and allowed to cool in the oven. After cooling, the eye pins were removed and glued in with Cyanoacrylate glue.

The feathers were strung with a silver metal bead, coral and black glass beads and strung onto an eye pin. The excess was formed into a second eye pin on the other end and linked to hypoallergenic ear wires to make a simple pair of Eagle feather earrings.

Here's hoping that you have recently had a play day too!

Penni Jo

BTW, you can purchase the mold shown above PJ006 Thunderbird Medium along with about 50 other molds here at Best Flexible Molds.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Thanksgiving gift for you.

Because we are very thankful for our customers and friends we have a special for each of you!

Best Flexible Molds has a
Free shipping event

until Friday November 25th 2011 for our USA customers!

& $5.00 USD off shipping for overseas customers!

If you have not visited our website lately, we have some new molds.

PJ044 Egyptian Symbols I – Scarabs (Parts shown left.)

Please feel free to share this special with your friends. To go to the webpage with larger photos, click on the pictures.

Have a wonderful holiday time with those that you love and those that love you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cameo mold is finished!

After weeks of work, sculpting, shaping, and planning the cameo mold is finally ready to ship.

There are five cameos and one cameo ring.

Four of the designs are old cameos that were molded then more clay flowers, ribbons and leaves were added to give them a fresh, rich look. The large cameo in Victorian style with a young woman wearing a big hat is an original sculpture based on a photo of my daughter at 17.

The cameo ring band is 3 ¼ by 5/8 inches and goes up to size 17 1/2. A ring sizing chart is included in the mold. Great for metal clay!

Here are the Sizes of the Cameos

  • C-1 = 1 9/16 by 1 15/16 inches - (40mm x 49mm)
  • C-2 = 1 3/8 by 1 13/16 inches.(36mm x 52mm)
  • C-3 = 7/8 by 1 3/16 inches.(23mm x 32mm)
  • C-4 = 7/16 by 13/16 inch. (12mm x 21mm)
  • C-5 = 1/2 by 11/16 inch.(13mm x 18mm)
The project included with the mold is how to mold the cameo with the bezel in three colors of clay. Shown right.

While trying out different styles of cameos, these two designs were created using translucent and milky white clay for the images allowing the dark background colors to show through.

It took some tests to figure the translucent to white mix, then how to mold just the images using it. There was no way to see if the technique would work except to add a dark background. They both turned out very well it seems.

A small bar pin is planned for the center of the ring. The band will be cut from it along the edges of the leaves. It will have a larger cameo hanging from it with two eye pins for a lavalier pin when finished.

The mold is approx. 3.25 inches by 4 inches by 5/8 inch thick. Made of to
ugh, long lasting urethane rubber it flexes efficiently to allow easy release of the molded parts.

It's good to have it finished and now it is time to play with it!

Penni Jo

Monday, November 7, 2011

Still working on Cameos

Sometimes things sound easy to do when the idea is in my head. How hard could it be to mold an old cameo. Press clay into the mold, add a few leaves, flowers and swirls to bring a richer texture and more detail to a rather plain cameo? Sounds easy.

Yeah, right. I should have considered the fact that I've lost the vision in the center of one eye and that micro sculpting might take me a lot longer than it used to!

The larger cameo on the left was the first and went ok, not easy but OK. It now has a border. This photo is colored in Photoshop. Can't wait to try it in clay!!

The ring sculpture, right, with the very tiny face, flowers and leaves was, to say the least .... not easy. The photo of the ring shown here was taken of the brown clay sculpture. When a mold is made of this sculpture it can be used to make rings using a variety of clay and color. The next picture of the ring will be much prettier.

The ring was a challenge to make but, not that it is finished, I am really liking it and may try making it up in silver clay. We'll see.

If so, I'll post a picture.

Penni Jo

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Finished COPCG Guild Project

Two weeks ago I taught a Faux Embroidery class at the Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild in Moore Oklahoma. Since I'm a member of the group I teach whenever I can and enjoy the many lessons brought by our members. What a great group! We meet the second Saturday of the month at the Hobby Lobby store in Moore, OK. It faces I-35 and is pretty easy to get to.

This 'embroidery' lesson teaches how scraps of Skinner blends can be used to make 'threads' and 'ribbons' that are variegated, going from light to dark or from one color to another and was demonstrated at the start of the lesson.

Sometimes when demonstrating a stitch or technique I get just enough finished to hit the highlights. I took the unfinished project home with only a vine with a brown to rose flower on it with a few leaves.

When we have a month with five Saturdays, if possible, we will have a play day. I hosted the one today and pulled out the started project and finished the design. Jane and Myra joined in on the fun. Myra working on her project for next meeting... Pandora Beads. Jane brought her unfinished embroidery and we were soon happily working away.

The piece I used for the demo started with a sheet of black clay (I chose a very dark background for the greatest contrast so everyone could see clearly.) textured the clay with burlap and cut into a heart shape. On the black project heart shape I showed how to create a number of stitches, the stem stitch #4, simple leaf stitch #5, large flower stitch #10, french knot #13, tendrils #1 and the border using scraps from all the colors twisted into a colorful rope #14.

Starting with a stem stitch vine on the left, I added leaves and curls. Buds were added to the end of the curls using three #10 Large flower petals. The calyx were added using step #5, the simple leaf stitch.

It was nearly finished but felt... hmmm, a bit boring. Jane had a beautiful blend of orange to yellow orange that she thought 'needed something'. We lightened one end with a light yellow and darkened the other end with burgundy. The resulting loaf was fabulous.

A slice was cut from Jane's orangey loaf and four butterfly wings were created. Black clay added the dots and swirls for a final effect.

Myra finished her tutorial and Jane made a bead as per the instructions while Myra took the step by step photos. It is so very exciting to see how the beautiful Pandora beads take shape and how they can be embellished.

I like my finished project very much but have no idea what to do with it. It seems to be too large for jewelry, 2 3/4 inches wide and 3 inches tall. Maybe a tiny wall hanging? Embellishment on the front of a handbag?

Hummm, gotta think about this a bit more. Any ideas?

Hope you find time to play this week!
Penni Jo

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Surprise

There is a program that tells us when there is a mention of our site on the web. This morning it took me to this blog, Oh Schwiet Scrap .

It has wonderful pages and I dearly love the look and the Victorian theme of Stacey's blog.

As for the pages, the interwoven elements and decorative accents are rich and varied using more than just paper. It was a joy to spend time looking at the various elements and how they were woven into the design of the page.

Imaging my surprise after looking at the photos several times this one just 'popped' out. The key and keyhole are from one of our molds PJ024 Key to My Heart.

Thank you Stacey. Your work is wonderful and we are tickled pink to be included.

Penni Jo

Monday, October 24, 2011

More re-sculpted cameos

Four more pretties for the mold! only a ring is left to be made.

The upper left is a tiny one with a bezel. Very sweet.

The two on the right are the same cameo but the lower one was reduced in size using Reducit II. A very touchy material that, when properly mixed, strained then mixed with part A does a fab job of reducing an item with complete clarity.

The lower left is a cameo sculpted from a photo taken of daughter Viktoria when she was just 15. Her photo went into the Fancy Frames, a United Design photo frame line. I'll scan it someday and post it later.

I'll start on the ring tomorrow.

More later. Goodnight all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Something old is new again!

Like many women, I love cameos. Old ones, unusual ones, face ones, even bird or flower ones.

As a sculptor, they all have one outstanding draw for me.... they are sculptural. Some slightly sculpted and some deeply sculpted.

One of the vintage cameos in my collection was made of Bakelite, a material from the 40's, an early form of durable 'plastic'. The cameo upper left is a part created using a mold that was pulled from the original cameo. The problem, over the years, the original cameo detail has 'blurred'.

Wanting to remedy this and bring greater detail to the design it seemed that the best thing to do would be to try to determine the underlying design and try to restore it.

It has been a long time since I've done much micro sculpting and my eyes are not what they used to be however, this would not keep me from trying. The picture, above right, shows the uber-restored details and the slightly enlarged background.

Next, the cameo will receive an appropriate bezel (setting) that will be part of the finished design and it will become part of a new mold of re-sculpted cameos in a variety of sizes.

Left is an image colorized in Photo Shop showing how the finished cameo might look if the details were molded of white polymer clay and the mold then filled with a soft purple background.

Now, back to work!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Snowman project

Here's a cute idea for a winter project.

Materials needed:
• Best Flexible Mold #017 Let It Snow!!
• Wooden Bird house available at hobby and discount stores. (The one shown cost $ 2.27.)
• Polymer Clay: Red and white.
• Acrylic paint; dark blue, medium blue, black, red, orange and green (or any colors you prefer for the snowman’s hat, mittens and scarf).
• Brushes: 1/2” brush to paint house, smaller brush to paint the hat, scarf and mittens. Small detail brushes to paint snowman’s eyes and buttons and bird’s eye and beak.
• Strong glue like E-6000®.
• Varnish recommended by clay manufacturer.
• Optional: Paper clay may be used instead of polymer clay.
• Optional: Eye screw and 6” of light weight chain or wire for a hanger.
• Free tutorial available on our Free Tutorials Page.

If desired, you can build a light weight birdhouse from foam core board for a center piece or just for fun. Foam core board is not for use outdoors or with birds or animals. Click on the image to see full size pattern.

Have Fun!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More and More Holiday Fun, Elegant Poinsettias!

Holiday time can be beautiful as well as fun.

If you are looking for elegant and beautifully sculpted poinsettias, leaves, holly and winter birds, this is the mold for you. Also included in the mold are holly berries, a poinsettia, leaves and loops corner piece, and a ribbon loop. Shown Left are molded parts from this lovely mold.

There are, in this mold:
  • Two poinsettias with two leaves.
  • One poinsettia corner piece
  • Three holly leaves and a cluster of three berries and a single berry.
  • Two perching birds in two sizes
  • A single ribbon loop.
All of the parts can be molded in multiples to make larger designs.

The corner piece can be used flat as in this little magnet frame idea, right. This little frame was created by Miss Martha's daughter. The corner was molded in colors. Leaves green, flower centers yellow and the flowers of red clay. A sweet winter bird perches in the flowers and leaves. The parts were attached to a tiny frame, just big enough for a sweet school picture.

If you do not have a tiny frame one can be cut of clay, embellished and baked. After it is cool, a piece of thin plastic can be cut and glued to the back of the finished frame and a favorite holiday photo can be glued to the frame. Add a magnet or two to the back of the frame and you have a wonderful holiday memory magnet.

Each mold comes with the measurements of the amount of clay needed to fill each mold opening and a measuring chart. No need to guess, just measure and press.

Also included is a free tutorial to make the project shown on the right. The elegant footed box project instructions show how to cover a paper mache box with clay and embellished. Also included are instructions on how the corner piece can be bent and wrapped around the corners of the box to form 'feet'. The instructions also Below right is a simpler version of the project that comes with the mold.

The poinsettias, leaves and birds can be used to make a number of jewelry designs etc.

Our flexible molds are made of tough, urethane rubber and are approx. 4 inches by 3.25 inches by 5/8 inch thick. All the parts are from my own original designs and sculptures.

Our Angel Policy: With the purchase of our molds you have permission to make one-of-a-kind pieces in any quantity to sell at fairs, bazaars and craft shows; However, you may not hire employees to make items from the molds or sell through commercial accounts without permission.

Just imagine how many delightful ways you can use the molded parts.

Think jewelry, serving pieces, greeting cards, name tags, Welcome sign, scrapbooking, guest soaps, decorative votives (the polymer clay must be on the outside of the glass and not come in contact with the flame), metal clay, etc.

This mold is available at Best Flexible Molds.

Monday, October 3, 2011

More Holiday Fun! Here Comes Santa Claus

This fun mold will have you humming "Here comes Santa Claus".

Shown left are brightly colored parts from the mold. Santa was cast in a variety of colors of clay as were the Christmas trees, stockings and present. Only Santa's eyes and belt buckle were painted. His cheeks and nose were blushed for that 'rosy glow'. Glitter was added to the balls, swags, tree stand and star on the Christmas tree for that fun, holiday sparkle.

Both the Santa and Tree can be used alone for festive Christmas jewelry. The wrapped present, lights, tiny tree, yummy gingerbread man, stockings and bow make cute holiday charms and earrings. Some of the parts, like the light, tiny tree and stockings can be molded and put back to back for two sided designs.

Each mold comes with the measurements of the amount of clay needed to fill each mold opening and a measuring chart. No need to guess, just measure and press.

Also included is a free tutorial to make the project shown on the right. The Santa project instructions show how to make a note holder magnet. The instructions also Below right is a simpler version of the project that comes with the mold.

The Santa alone can be used a a pin, pendant, added to the top of a candy box, etc.

Our flexible molds are made of tough, urethane rubber and are approx. 4 inches by 3.25 inches by 5/8 inch thick.
All the parts are from my own original designs and sculptures.

Our Angel Policy: With the purchase of our molds you have permission to make one-of-a-kind pieces in any quantity to sell at fairs, bazaars and craft shows; However, you may not hire employees to make items from the molds or sell through commercial accounts without permission.
Below are two pairs of earring created using this mold.

Think how well these Cute Wrapped packages

and the sassy Bell and Bow earrings below would sell at a show!.

This mold and other Holiday molds are available on our website Best Flexible Molds. Check us out!

If you are looking for jewelry molds, we have those too!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Holidays are on the way! Let's Play in Snow!

Wow, summer has flown by and it is finally cool again here in Oklahoma. By cool, I mean under 95 degrees F. Cooler fall weather is a harbinger of the coming holidays and a wintery project might just be what the doctor ordered.

This fun mold (parts shown left)
PJ017 Let it Snow!
has a sweet snowman complete with 'knitted' scarf, mittens, coal eyes and buttons, carrot nose and a top hat. This iconic winter figure could grace your home in many ways. Also in the mold with the snowman are a puppy wearing a stocking hat, a pair of 'knitted' mittens, three holly leaves, two snowflakes, two hearts and a favorite winter time bird, the Cardinal. (Mold shown below)

Each mold comes with the measurements of the amount of clay needed to fill each mold opening and a measuring chart. No need to guess, just measure and press.

Also included is a free tutorial to make the project shown on the right.

The flexible mold is made of tough, urethane rubber and is approx. 4 inches by 3.25 inches by 5/8 inch thick. All the parts are from my own original sculptures.

Our Angel Policy: With the purchase of our molds you have permission to make one-of-a-kind pieces in any quantity to sell at fairs, bazaars and craft shows; However, you may not hire employees to make items from the molds or sell through commercial accounts without permission.

Mold is available at Best Flexible Molds website.

With our molds, you can
"Push in Clay ~ Pull out Art!

Nothing says winter fun like snowflake earrings with 'knitted' mittens!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

State Fair Results

The Oklahoma State Fair is about the biggest thing that happens each year! The events, food, fairway, grandstand, music and of course the contests are always well attended.

On Sunday the 18th a group of our polymer clay guild members demonstrated polymer clay playing from 2 to 6 pm. We've done this since the first year that our guild began sponsoring the Polymer Clay Division.

There are four categories.
  • Sculptural
  • Jewelry
  • Beads or Buttons
  • Functional

This year we were in a slightly different spot where it was a bit cooler with more tables. Also, the traffic in the area was heavier, so there were lots more watchers and question askers. There is a large, colorful banner with information about our hobby, our non-profit guild - Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild and the International Polymer Clay Association that we hang up at public events.In addition to our banner and since our guild will be putting on a retreat next April and Christi Friesen will be teaching, Myra created a poster for the retreat and also half page handouts for the public.

Jane took care of all the printing including our quarter page handout with info about meetings on the front and some basic items you might like to have if you are interested in polymer clay. Many of the people who stopped by and visited with us picked up the handouts and some signed up for more information.

The opening picture above is a section of the window with a lot of the polymer clay items and winners mixed in with non clay items. There were entries from guild members as well as other folks from around Oklahoma. Guild members enter as many of the categories as possible to have a good showing of many ideas, techniques, and styles and this year was no different. So many beautiful things were on display.

To my surprise my bell doll angel took best of show and a blue ribbon in the sculpture category.

I'd been betting that Jane's drunken giraffe on the margarita glass would be the winner. He makes me smile every time I see him there.

Other prizes were a blue ribbon for the Green Woman pendant and earring set in the jewelry category.

The scarab beetle beads got a pink ribbon.

A blue in the Functional category, a tiny heart shaped jewelry box with roses and polymer clay 'lace'. The photo is not so good because it was shot through the glass of the case.

After the demonstrations, some of us stood around, visiting and packing up to go home. It was a beautiful fall afternoon and as we slowly walked back to the parking lot we could still smell the cotton candy and hot dogs.

Yep, the fair is a wonderful time.