I am a messy person. Sometimes this gets in the way of actually getting things done and I get frustrated. Over the years I’ve picked up tools and tricks for keeping the chaos to manageable levels. Housekeeping has benefited a LOT by having an older child and another adult to help. Even though we’re all a little messy, when we all do a bit the house stays reasonable.
In the studio, it’s just me and I cycle from chaos to just a little cluttered about every 6 weeks. One part that drives me nuts is how messy my clay table gets. Part of that is the fact that some production scraps are good to use immediately (or almost immediately) in other projects like swirls, scrap mokume gane or new colours. So, I’d leave them out on the table knowing that if I boxed them up I’d have a “look what I found!” moment six months later. Someone said: immediately separate them by colour value in bowls. So I figured, why not. It has made a difference. I may end up with a few bowls on the table or shelf but at least it’s not scattered.
Drilling beads and other dust making work is another bane. I drill on my “dry” table, on a thick plastic mat. This works fine but makes for little curls of clay and dust EVERYWHERE. And since I suck at keeping that table clear I need some strategies here too. I’m thinking a larger mat, that I could roll up when not in use and stash in the corner or a tray to hold most of the crumbs. Probably enforcing the clean table rule would help too as there’d then be less pieces getting dusty.
Years ago I wrote a post about what you could make with one ounce of polymer clay canes to illustrate that it didn’t take much of an expensive supply to do fabulous things. I guess this would be a similar example with six beads.
You see, my mainstay in my bead shop is little six bead sets. Using the six art beads I made a simple Y necklace, a bracelet and a pair of earrings. My style is fairly low key but by adding more spacers, another layer of chain and a few danglies you could have an ornate show stopper for not a whole lot more in cost.
When I made this necklace, I needed to figure out a way to get the flowers to sit flat and not dangle around like they do for most of the pieces I make with this type of bead. I still wanted to be able to use the pretty stacked seed beads on a headpin for the center. Nothing if not picky huh?
My solution ended up to make it a wrapped figure eight loop in the back. Still using a two inch headpin, instead of a single loop, make a double one and bend it so it lays flat, parallel to the bead. I still had space to do a wrap at the top of the link, which keeps the bead from flopping around. Now the flower is ready to be added to your chain. One the white flower necklace there are little three or four link sections of chain in between each flower.
I had a fun run of ornament making classes with the whole range of clay folks in town. Grade 1 through adults showed up for classes this fall and we made ornaments. These are from my last adult class based on my free tutorial. I will have to update the instructions to include some of the extra ideas that people have come up with since I released it last year.
Here is a very simple, very fast and very effective little candy cane tutorial. I’ve used thin slices of it to make things like the stud slice earrings above, handfuls of mint beads or longer slices of it to make the candy cane earrings at the end of this post. Enjoy!
All 3 colours are Premo – red pearl, green pearl and white pearl respectively. The red and thin white layers are each the thickest setting on my pasta machine. The thick white is double layers of the thickest setting. The green layer is two spots thinner than the thickest setting.
You could totally do this with the extruder and the ribbon strip dies. I was just in a rush and it worked, so it’s what I kept doing! Also, you get a more (in my er… humble opinion) realistic colour if you mix the red and green with half translucent and use white and half pearl rather than the colours I used here in a rush.