Friday, January 30, 2015

Experimenting with Color on Polymer Clay

I just recently purchased a couple of sets of Pan Pastels to color polymer clay.  I love it.  In this experiment, I created a leaf shaped pin with purple colored wire buds and applied several green and yellow Pan Pastel colors to raw clay with a soft paint brush and then cured it.  The Pan Pastel is very durable as it did not easily scratch off.

Once cured, I used purple Prismacolor colored pencils to add layers and depth of color.  Finally, I added some gold embossing powder to the edges and a bit sprinkled on the main piece to add a metallic tone and add texture.  I like the way it turned out.

This was my first time using the Pan Pastel and so far I'm very impressed with how it works on the polymer clay.  I'll be doing more experiments to test its durability and coloring abilities.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Build A Line Challenge from B'sue Boutiques, Maria Clark of Sweet Willow Designs, Part One

Hi All, I'm Maria Clark of Sweet Willow Designs.  Welcome to Part One of the B'Sue Build a Line Challenge hosted by B'Sue Boutiques.  I was encouraged by new Facebook friends to join the Challenge when I posted some of my polymer clay jewelry.  In part one of a three part series in this master class, I'll tell you a bit about myself and my jewelry making journey as well as share my process and progress as I, and my classmates, create a five piece line of jewelry.

Each of the 57 participants in the master class has identified a theme for their jewelry line which won't be revealed until the last blog hop in March.  So, the suspense will build as we share our thoughts, design decisions and our final pieces.  For my line I'll be combining polymer clay and the great filigree and stampings from B'Sue Boutiques.  I'm not entirely sure how this will turn out!

My studio in Colorado is in the basement I share with my musician husband.  We're at opposite ends but can see each other which makes pursuing our individual creative outlets a kind of together time.  I can hear the lilting sounds of his music and he can sometimes detect the wafting scents of burning clay - just kidding, that rarely happens :)

Here are a few pics of my studio.  You'll note how tidy and organized it appears as thankfully you can't see the mess on the floor and the hazard cones that mark off my space.  I made my own photo box from a plastic box and some rip stock cloth which works well.  Learning to use the camera is really where I need to spend more time to get great quality photos.

 I can't wait to see what all the participants create for their jewelry lines.  Below are the links for each participant.  Be sure to stop by, leave a comment, ask questions and encourage the artists.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  On to the next!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques

Marcia Tuzzolino

Jann Tague

Judy King

Linzi Alford

Cynthia Wainscott

Carole Carlson

Lynn Stinten

Marica Zammit

Catherine Shattuck

Michaele Collie

Mary Craig

Lee Koopman

Erin Whitacre

Monica Casady

Leila West

Cindy Peterson

Leila Belcher

Gloria Allen

Pamela Anger

Tammy Adams

Lynda O'Mara

Elizabeth Hildreth

Dana Hickey

Janet Calardo

Maria Clark

Lori Beekman

Jennifer Kroeger

Amy Jorgensen

Robin Reed

Ingrid Anderson

Louise O'Shields

Susan Killam

Mary Katherine Deis

Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman

Kristy Le

Jan Peters

Mitzie Crider

Gina Hockett

Linda Anderson

Alexandra Sefton

Melida Boman

Teresa Shurter

Melissa Latimer

Renee Hong

Nadine Edris

Lori Meyer

Jennifer Merrill Williams

Denise Lussier Poirier

Renee Allen

Autumn Adams

Elizabeth Owens

Kat BarronMiller

Sandra Ballard

Coral Law

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dear Fergus

I don't post a lot of personal stories on my blog but our dear pet, Fergus, passed away after 19 years with our family.  He was a great friend and companion to our three children and Steve and I.  We'll miss him and are quite sad here in Denver.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Get Your Swirl On! Polymer Clay Valentine Swirl Pendant

Here's a Valentine's Day swirl pendant with a "Be Mine" sentiment and red hearts.  I'm going to be doing a series of these holiday swirl pendants so stay tuned for more!  Hope you enjoy this video tutorial.  Leave me a comment, subscribe and let me know how you enjoyed this video.  Tools and materials lists follow the video.


Pasta machine
Extruder (Optional)
Extruder die - 19 hole
Alpha stamping set
Cutter - 3/16" heart
Paintbrush - stiff
Needle tool or hand drill
Clay blade
Craft knife


Polymer clay - Premo! - small amounts of white, red and pink blend
Acrylic paint - red
Sandpaper - wet/dry 400 grit
Varnish - recommend Varathane or comparable
Jewelry findings - pinch bail or jump ring, necklace finding

Friday, January 9, 2015

Polymer Clay Sculpted Channel Set Hoop Earrings

In one of my recent trips to the local craft store, I came across these neat earring findings with a channel that are used to add beads or rhinestones.  Of course, they make the perfect setting for polymer clay!  This video tutorial will walk you through using these findings to make a pair of sculpted earrings.  Hope you enjoy.

Pasta Machine
Clay blade
Craft knife
Needle tool
Embossing tool or end of paint brush
Texture sheet or coarse sandpaper
Cutters - 3/16" teardrop and circle - there's a tip for sculpting without cutters in the video.
Paintbrush - stiff

Polymer Clay - Premo! small amounts of Ecru, Pomegranate and Turquoise
Channel earring findings
Burnt Umber acrylic paint
Paper towel
Sandpaper (optional)
Sealer (optional) - Varathane or other

Friday, January 2, 2015

Sweet Willow Designs 2014 Year in Review

It's time to reflect on 2014 and look forward to 2015.

In the last half of 2014 I spent more time in my studio than I had in the last three years due to work commitment and travel.  It was good to be home and able to spend time on creative projects.  I was also able to reconnect with my local guild, the Mile High Polymer Clay Guild, which was rewarding and nourishing creatively.

Creating tutorials and filming them for YouTube videos was one of my primary creative outlets.  Sharing techniques and interesting projects with a larger community was one of my top goals for the year.  I had published one video in 2011 which was to have been the first in a series.  I wasn’t able to create the next installments of the series until October of 2014 – over three years later.  Wow.  All in all I published 10 polymer clay videos on a variety of projects including silk screening, making a pendant, three types of earrings, a bracelet and a jewelry making tool during the year.  These videos were well received and I grew my channel subscriptions from 66 to over 300 by the end of 2014.  Not huge numbers by any means but a nice trend.  The comments and words of encouragement have kept me going.  I appreciate every one.

Social media has never been a focus for me although I recognize the opportunities offered by using Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and others.  In 2014 I made a concerted effort to improve my use of social media by posting more regularly.  I have seen how social media drives engagement and community so I’ll work on improving in this area.
My goals for 2015 include developing more tutorials, publishing an article or two in a polymer clay or mixed media magazine and better use of social media.  To push myself I’ve signed up for a couple of art related challenges that keep me creating on a daily basis.  These challenges feel like a lot of pressure right now but I’m hoping that they motivate me to spend more time in the studio.

Wishing all a creative and prosperous new year.  Happy New Year!