Friday, May 20, 2011

New polymer clay magazine coming soon

PCAGOE members are looking forward to the launch of a new polymer clay magazine: The Polymer Arts which is expected out in July. This magazine promises to bring inspiration and news to professional and aspiring polymer clay artists through: 
  • Inspiring galleries representing innovative and emerging artists
  • In depth articles on issues, techniques, and events
  • Resource lists with everything from contests, to guilds, to artist support organizations
  • Artist interviews, product reviews, personal experience stories, and more
We are especially excited about this publication because it is the brainchild of our own Sage Bray of The Sage Arts. Visit The Polymer Arts magazine's web page for more details.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mini Tutorial: Squishing Guide for Beads

This mini tutorial comes from PCAGOE member Jill Kollmann of JKay Jewelry Designs.

It's easy to change the shapes of beads that are made using a bead roller, and the challenge is to do that consistently.  Make yourself a "squishing guide".

First, grab your favorite acrylic block that you use for making swirlies.  Find 4, 6mm round beads or crystals.  You are going to place these beads on your work surface to serve as "squish-stoppers".  Place the 4 beads such that you can cover all of them with your acrylic block, which is the squisher.  If desired, you can secure the 4 squish-stopper beads with a teeny spot of clay or double sided tape so they don't roll away.

Take a CLAY bead that you have rolled out in the tri-bead roller round bead slot, and put it in the center of the area created by the 4 squish-stopper beads.  Then squish with the acrylic block.  The four beads will make sure that you apply even squish from front to back and side to side so you won't have a sloped bead.   If your acrylic block is big enough, you can do this with several beads at once.  What I have described here will make rondelles.

Do the same thing with larger or smaller clay beads to begin with, and you can also use larger or smaller "squish-stoppers".  Also try it with beads that come out of the oval bead shaped bead roller, and you'll get some nicely shaped pillow beads.  The larger the clay bead you start with, the more it will spread when you squish. So you can make beads of different sizes and shapes, but they will all be the same thickness if you use the same size squish-stoppers.

In the photo:
The single round bead was made with the tri-bead roller. The one under the acrylic shows how it squishes. I make the hole AFTER squishing - these are already baked. The second bead under the acrylic started out as the oval bead from the tri-bead roller.  My four stopper beads are 6mm round Swarovski crystals held steady with tiny loops of masking tape.

On the strand - a few beads that are still round, but everything else has been squished.  If you look closely at the BOTTOM, you can see squished oval beads on edge at the far right end, and the ones that appear wider are face-up. 

Sizes can be varied by starting with a larger clay bead, and still using the 6mm stopper.  Or start with the same size clay beads and use a 4mm or 5mm bead as the stopper, in which case the beads will spread out a little more and be a little thinner. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 2011 Challenge Winners

The votes have been counted and here are the winners of our May Challenge!

1st Place - Amanda of Polyclarific

Down in the Garden

2nd Place - tie between Arlene of AshPaints and Angela of PolymerClayCreations

Stained Glass Irises Hummingbird with Wild Flowers

3rd Place - Lorraine of WiredOrchid

Red Flower Pendant


1st Place - Valerie of ElysianFields

Woodland Frolic May PCGOE Challenge Piece

2nd Place - Arlene of AshPaints

Stained Glass Irises

3rd Place - Jill of JKollmann

Easter Bonnet Trinket Box.

The 5 voters who won prizes this month:

Jody Ann Coomer
Eileen Boulanger
Kimberly Miller
Maureen DeMartino
Gillian Wiseman

Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you so very much to everyone who voted!

83 votes were cast this month, from the the following countries:

Puerto Rico
United Kingdom

Some of the comments left by the voters:
Was hard to choose whick ones i like best. If I went back again I might change my mind.
Love the creativity!
I always enjoy perusing the entries and appreciate the hard work and creativity of them all.
All the pieces this month were beautiful and very hard to choose. I had to read them over and over to finally decide. Great work by all.
This was a really difficult choice. But, I'm a stained glass fan and from here I couldn't tell that wasn't glass!!
You folks do such amazing work. Always a pleasure to come over and see what you have come up with.
Super Inspirational!!
Susan's valet is just stunning - perfectly conceived and executed!
It was so hard to choose only three pieces - all of them deserve a prize!
Lovely work and hard to choose my favorites.
Beautiful entries all around! I especially love the wonderful design of the Zebra Valet, this piece is stunning!
This wonderful theme brings us beautiful pieces. Very difficult to make a choice

Please join us again next month in honor of Father's Day. June's theme is "For The Guys"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 2011 Challenge: Flora & Fauna

Entries for May Challenge: Flora & Fauna
Go to our challenge blog  between May 1 and 7 to vote for your three favorites and you could win a beautiful polymer clay prize from one of our member artists.
1 - Maria of MariaPsaltis entered a set of Floral Brooches in a pattern of black and red.

2 - Laurel of LaurelSteven entered a rustic piece called Poppies done in a faux ivory, and framed in a faux granite. It's a circle within a circle, with lovely Art Nouveau images of poppies embossed upon it. The pendant hangs from a bit of multi-colored antiqued brass chain, and attached to it is a little textured silvery link used as a necklace bail.

3 - Berit of ClayCenter has entered Pinky's Flamingo Box. "It was a custom order for a friend. It was created from my own millefiori cane work."

4 - Marcy of marcympc has entered a Wall Clock covered in golden Marigolds.

5 - Amanda of Polyclarific has entered Down in the Garden - an adorable little mushroom which is actually a cake topper.

6 - Jackie of ThePleasantPheasant has entered a 3 Piece Pink Spring floral desk set. "This beautiful Pink and Black flower set of desk tools were made by me. The flower canes were made by Seana Bettencourt."

7 - Lisa of HiGirls has entered this Mokame Gane Necklace. The petals of this flower are made of mokume gane on one side and mother of pearl on the other of each petal. Swarovski crystal center and gold and translucent arrow beads finish the piece.

8 - Valerie of ElysianFields is showing us her Woodland Frolic necklace. "Woodland Frolic is a 16" necklace that is one of a kind! Sculpted toadstools, whimsical owls, a fairy leaf focal pendant adorn the necklace. Braided Czech bead strands, turquoise chunks, and swarovski crystals accent the piece and interwoven throughout is a gorgeous piece of hand dyed moss raw silk on a copper chain with copper spiral accents.

9 - Becky of BeckySueCreations gives us this Leaves, Flowers and Ladybug Brooch. The background is a silver with layers of leaves, flowers, and ladybugs It was finished with a thick glaze.

10 - Cindy of ArrowdaleArtStudio tells us that her Red Poppies were "inspired by my neighbors hillside of poppies every summer. All polymer clay and the green "leaf" sticking out is actually a loop for stringing onto a chain. Each poppy is approximately 1" across."

11 - Linda of NKDesigns has entered her Copper and Cappuccino Pendent designed with spotted and striped flowers as well as roses.

12 - Angela of PolymerClayCreations has entered Hummingbird with Wild Flowers and tells us - "I always really try to challenge myself to try something new. After all that is the whole point of these challenges. This month's challenge was "Flora and Fauna". Since everything I do is flora, I really had to think about this one. I have long admired the molds that Penny Jo Couch has made, so thought I would incorporate something made with them. This is my first try at using these molds. I love them! So fun and easy to use. This is a 6 X 8 inch wooden plaque. It is 100% covered with clay, no paints were used."

13 - Jill of shows us her Easter Bonnet Trinket Box. "This box features wire work created by my most favorite collaborator Shaktipaj (Perri Jackson) who designs and engineers to most amazing and delicate wire pieces. The box is 1.5 inches in diameter and just under 2 inches tall at the top of the crown. The tiny pink rose at the crown is 2mm in diameter (1/16th inch) and the larger ones at the brim are 1/8 inch across. We like working small!"

14 - Susan of 11BoldStreet describes her Zebra Valet piece - "This valet was created for the May PCAGOE Challenge theme, "Flora and Fauna". I chose Fauna, represented by a transfer of an original photo of a herd of zebra in Kenya in 1996. A simple palette of black, tan and the new Premo hue "Rhino Grey" lets the zebra stripes stand out. Not shown in this angle are the feet, which are carved to mimic more zebra striping. 4 3/8"x 6" x 2"H. "

15 - Arlene of AshPaints describes her Stained Glass Irises - "This design is based on a clock face I made for my sister last Christmas. I learned a lot making that piece which made this piece a much more successful project. The combination of irises and butterflies seemed to be the perfect combination for the Flora and Fauna challenge. This Faux Stained Glass wall hanging is made totally of polymer clay with the exception of the 8" x 8" hard surface artist panel."

16 - Marie of YoungCreative brings her Hummingbird Pin. "Hand-sculpted hummingbird pin with alcohol ink accents. Measures just over 3 inches (about life-size)."

17 - Lorraine of WiredOrchid provides her Red Flower Pendant. "The background was stamped and tinted with alcohol inks. A simple tomato-red and pearl cane was cut into "petals" for the flower, making a bold, graphic statement."

A special thank you from the winner

Special Mother's Day Promotion Winner
ByTheBrook, a customer of Angela's PolymerClayCreations, received this beautiful basket full of gorgeous polymer clay items as the winner of the PCAGOE Special Mother's Day Promotion. A total of 61 people entered the drawing.

Here is the special message she sent to Angela:

Hi Angela!

Oh my gosh, I am SO excited to have won that beautiful basket of wonderful goodies!!! I never win anything! This has made my week...I just had a brain MRI (waiting for results) and a knee MRI (torn Meniscus), so I've been feeling a tad anxious and down. Winning the basket has brought a BIG smile to my face and really lifted my spirits! :-) I don't know how to thank everyone involved enough..thank you, thank you, thank you!!! 

Smiles and hugs to all,


What was in the basket? 2 clocks, 2 pocket mirrors, 1 large barrette, 2 hair clips, 8 necklaces, 5 pairs of earrings, 1 votive, 1 cookie turner, buttons, note cards, sculpture of a cat in a frame, wine glass charms, lighted keyring, a ring, 2 bracelets - Quite a nice selection! Watch for future promotions and maybe your chance to win.