Before I started with polymer clay I had never really heard of pillow beads. When I made my first few, my daughter ‘borrowed’ them to use as Barbie doll pillows so to this day they remind me of little doll minis rather than beads.
These are 2 each of beads I made with little clay fabric swatches I made a few weeks ago. They are all 5/8″ squares, plumply stuffed with scrap clay… and a fabulous way to use clay fabric. Since you can flatten sheets of clay in the pasta machine, to reduce the bumpy feeling, I often recommend pillow beads to new clay bead makers. If you are careful, there is minimal finishing to do, the shape is easy to hold to sand or varnish and does not roll away when being photo’d or worked on.
I have (easily) 200 different canes in my stash, of various size, design and colour. Sometimes, I dig out a bunch and make clay fabric. The clay fabric gets used on any sort of item that has flat surfaces like pillow beads, cutter beads and pendants or pens.
When I’m dreaming this stuff up I usually work from one of two directions. I either unify a sheet by colour or by pattern. I use the term ‘unify’ loosely here, the idea is to use canes that may not otherwise get out to play much!
First, here is an example of by pattern. One section is of my current stock of mums and the other of roses, sliced and placed on a black base. Though the colours vary greatly, the pattern still ties the sheet together. The shapes are similar and the eye appreciates that.
Second we have a few of my by colour pieces. Black and white, coffee tones and accents and blue-greens. The colours are picked from a variety of sizes and designs but limited colour ways.
To see some more of the clay fabrics I did with this run take a look at my flickr. Next up, a lot of items! These pieces look small but after the slices get smoothed in and the sheets flattened on the pasta machine, I imagine there will be enough to make many dozens of items just from these few sheets.