Friday, March 20, 2015

Build A Line Challenge from B'Sue Boutiques, Maria Clark of Sweet Willow Designs, Part 3 - The Final Reveal!

Welcome to Part 3 of the B’Sue Build a Line Challenge hosted by Brenda Sue Lansdowne of B’Sue Boutiques. The essence of the challenge was to create a jewelry line based on an original concept using B'Sue components.  The challenge was to develop a cohesive line based on a unique theme with a minimum of five pieces. 

I have to tell you that going in five pieces seemed like a piece of cake.  Five isn't so many after all. Like several of the other artists participating in the challenge, I had to overcome creative blocks and being overwhelmed with too many ideas and nowhere to start.  Here are the components I started with.  You can imagine how necessary it was to settle on a few elements.

Thankfully the inspiration of the group, particularly the local Denver group, helped me overcome these roadblocks and I completed my five pieces.  I'm pleased with the results.
My concept was to use polymer clay to create faux soutache combined with brass elements from B'Sue Boutiques.  Soutache is a traditional fiber arts technique that uses colorful braided cords to make intricate and fluid jewelry designs.  I’ve interpreted the soutache in polymer clay which offers endless options for color and design.  My five pieces include two bracelets, a pendant and two pairs of earrings.

In this first set I used an ornate brass frame and flowers with deep merlot, pink and blush polymer clay custom mixed colors accented with glass pearls.  This set includes a pendant with a 27" chain and earrings with the brass flowers which I cut down and used as accents.

Experimenting with a two tone effect on the brass gave an interesting twist to the design.  The raw brass frame was colored with Gilders Paste in silver.  All of these pieces were sealed to preserve the patina and highlight the clay.

I tend to design in a free form manner with little sketching up front which adds an element of surprise but can be difficult to reproduce.  In the future, I'll try sketching in advance.

The second set used the same brass ornate frame and flowers to keep the line cohesive but in this interpretation I used vintage style silver buttons and metallic cuffs that I made myself from faux leather trim.  The set includes two bracelets and a pair of earrings.

I really liked the way these turned out, the use of the buttons adds interest and design and the faux leather gives a nice glow to the brass and enhances the overall look.  To me this has a Southwestern look with the turquoise, gold and purple clay (hard to see the purple, kind of reads black).

There's a lot more to building a line than just designing pieces of jewelry.  Pricing, branding, watching trends, tiers, selling, inventory management, taking pictures and all the business management tasks that go into a jewelry business have to be mastered for ultimate success.  The class was exceptional in that each of these issues were addressed and participants had an opportunity to weigh in with their thoughts, challenges and strategies.  This was a great learning and sharing experience.

I met two of my goals for the year which was to participate in more challenges and to stretch creatively.  Goals I didn't know I had were to find a community of artists with similar goals and to share, share, share and to make more use of social media.  These goals, while not initially identified by me, were brought to light during this challenge.  That's a great side benefit!  Finally, I challenged myself to try something new and learn new skills.  What a great experience!

You will be amazed at how unique each of the participating artists are and how they went about realizing their vision.  Each had struggles and successes which they share in their blog posts.  The energy and effort each put into the challenge will be revealed as they showcase their lines.  Thanks to Brenda Sue who mentored the class.  It's clear how much of a commitment this was for her and how much energy and passion she put into the process.  A big thanks to her and all the artists!

Please take a look at the other fantastic artists participating in the challenge by visiting their blogs below.

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Featured on The Daily Polymer Arts Blog - Thank You!

Thanks to The Daily Polymer Arts Blog for featuring my leaf pendant colored with Pan Pastels, Prismacolor colored pencils and embossing powder.  Using these materials is a great way to add color and texture to polymer clay.  I'll be doing an upcoming tutorial on using these techniques that I hope you enjoy.  Stay tuned for more!  Thanks again Polymer Arts for the feature in the blog.  Here's the link to the original article.  and to a previous post with other examples of using colored pencils on polymer clay.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SWD Polymer Clay Tutorial - Get Your Swirl On!! - St. Patrick's Day Pendant

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, just a few weeks away.  Learn to make a polymer clay swirl pendant or charm with shamrocks to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  We’ll use the colors of the Irish flag – white, orange and green to make a swirl bead and then embellish it with three shamrocks.  I hope you enjoy this polymer clay tutorial.  It’s the third in my “Get Your Swirl On” series.   See the tools and materials list after the video link.

Thanks for joining me in my studio.  If you enjoyed this tutorial, give me a thumbs up, subscribe to my channel and leave me a comment.  I love hearing from you.  Thanks again for watching.

Acrylic block and roller
Extruder with 19 hole disk – optional, you can roll thin snakes of clay by hand
Cutter – 3/16” hear shape – optional you can cut the hearts by hand with a craft knife
Hand drill or Dremel with size of drill bit to accommodate jump ring or bail

Clay – 1” ball of white, small amounts of orange and green
Jump ring for bail or other bail

Necklace finding

See my YouTube playlist for the series