I have been making stuff with polymer clay for a long time. I started with clay to make the beads for my jewellerymaking hobby and kept going until I had boxes of beads and canes. At some point I got selling the beads and canes themselves and now, here we are.
At the 20+ year point I still make stuff that is new to me or at least not *common* and that’s this stack of canes, lots of leaves. A customer requested a bunch of leaf designs that were a bit of a jump from my normal thing. I tend to make a pretty basic leaf cane over and over – I have a video about it, a tutorial, it gets used on a lot of my beads – but this was a chance to challenge myself to make some more interesting stuff. Leafy beads. Leafy sculpture. Leafy art. We’ll see what I get up to but here’s a few bits to start!
This is going to be a series of posts about what the canes and beads I make and sell can be used for. You can see the other posts here.
I try to add things to my craft show lineup regularly. Not only new variations but whole new item lines as well. I aim to do this at least as often as I take things out and mostly I succeed at that. This year one of the new items hitting my shows (and my shop, I guess!) will be wine bottle stoppers. Years ago, I bought a little stack of blanks that I never did use.
I figured these would be more like my little creature ornaments than my flower beads. I’ve been having fun doing the simple sculpting for the ornaments and just kept on going for these guys. Round one is cats, birds and pumpkins. After my next round of blanks gets in I’m betting on sheep, hedgehogs and dogs but we’ll see.
The little metal knob tops got covered in layers of scrap clay then a layer of good clay. Coarse details like ears or tail shapes are added at this point.
Finer details get added next. Things like beaks, eyes, tails. Some details are clay that is used to “paint” lines or spots by smoothing it in and then texturing it a bit.
Final round up of the stoppers after baking. They’ve all been antiqued a little and a bit of matte varnish applied. The stopper ends screw right back in.
I make beads. And I make canes. I make a lot of both and I have for about 10 years so I’m not bad. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many sculpted items I’ve made from polymer clay. For some reason I still insanely promised two new friends that I would attempt cake toppers for their wedding cake!
The wedding was this past weekend, out of town, so I have some raw, unedited pictures of my toppers on the cake:
You can see the bride and groom cutting the cake here and notice I didn’t get a lot of the details correct he he. But I was impressed with actually making the little people that I can sort of forgive myself and the bride and groom, themselves, are enthusiastic supporters of handmade items. The brides jewelry, the decorations, cake, flowers, the flower girls and ring bearers – all wore handmade items or clothes. The overall wedding was cheerful and sweet, full of family and friends.
Technically speaking, the cake toppers are made based off Maureen Carlson’s children’s book for sculpting Your World In Clay. They have little magnets in their feet to stick them to the magnets in the clay base (or to the fridge, I guess). The toppers are about 4 1/2″ at the height of it which makes each little rose about 1/8″.