Friday, December 05, 2008

Polymer and PMC pendants

More ideas for a polymer and pmc workshop I want to teach. Pendants painted with metallic acrylic paints and covered with translucent. The rectangular one has a strip of gold leaf sandwiched between translucent..and a window of arnold grummer flakes mixed with liquid clay. And for that touch of class, I added hand made pmc bails and garnets set in pmc...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hammer and Hand

I've joined a jewellery artists collective called Hammer and Hand in Byron Bay. The way it works is that each of the seven artists display their jewellery ( gold, silver, stainless steel, pmc, polymer clay, glass) in a shop which is a part of the new Byron Artists Trail and give one day of their time to man it. There's a jewellery bench for us to work from while we're there and I believe cappuchinos can be delivered! Heaven on a stick for this little hermit who hardly gets out into the big wide world.
As luck would have it, I join them just days before the opening of the new Byron Artists Trail...which is on Friday this week. If you're in the area, pop in for a drink and nibbles anytime after 5...or come any time, we're open 7 days a week, I'm there every Tuesday, come and watch me play with clay!
Hammer and Hand at
1/4 Ti-Tree Place, Arts and Industries Centre

Monday, November 17, 2008


These pieces are not finished. I probably won't finish them as they've both got a terrible case of the moonies. I suspect the paint's moisture content is the problem although I made sure they dried thoroughly overnight. I've used Stuart Gills Byzantia acrylic metallic paints before underneath Premo Frost with good I was disappointed to find moonies develop this time. Such a pity because I love how the rest of it has come together. Oh well, back to the clay table!
ps I do like the opal effects from the Arnold Grummer flakes, seems the best way to deal with these are to mix them with liquid clay and bake a thin layer directly on a tile...comes up a treat!
Edited to add: It just dawned on me what's causing the's been raining here non stop for the past two days in our semi tropic climate...might have to put off using translucents for when the sun is shining!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Metal clay focal toggle clasp

Here's something different for me. Not the green...we all know I love green...but I've never made a large focal toggle clasp before and rather like the way this came together. Thanks to Ann for the idea! Don't you love how arty people share ideas and learn from each other. That leaf charm is a sage leaf...a leaf I had read wouldn't take the PMC paste well. Ha! Just goes to show you not to be put off by what you read. I've thrown it together with some green turquoise and freshwater pearls. Remind me to take a proper beading class. I've no idea how to use thread, I've always wired my necklaces with a really ultra flexible wire but only for simple necklaces like this. The instant I want soft dangley bits and additional loops of pearls, I'm in trouble cos the wire doesn't cut it. So it's off to a beading and knot tying class in 2009! Good heavens, that's only about 6 weeks away! Whoosh! What a year!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Now is the time to smell the flowers!

It's very weird...I hear all this stuff on the news and see all the red arrows on the stock market...the media is having an absolute field day with all the hype that everyone is listening to and clucking about...and own world doesn't reflect this. I'm still in my studio almost every day creating or sharing what I know. I'm still watering the garden and picking flowers. I'm still taking the dog to the beach a few times a week. The sun still rises like the big beautiful orb that it is. Sure, my teaching diary isn't as full as it was...and I can't go to all the workshops I want either. I'm drinking $8 wine and growing vegies. If money gets really tight, as it's done before and not necessarily because of the 'market', then who cares that I can't have that holiday or buy those Berkies I want. I don't. I still have me...cuddles with my dog...artful adventures... flowers...friends... endless love, creativity, abundance everywhere I look. My tummy is full, my heart is open...and as luck would have it, I have enough clay and equipment to last me well into next year...
When the goddess gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When business is quiet, we all get to stop and chill for a while...a pity it took economic distaster to get us to slow down, but there ya go! That's often how it is. I'm sure you'll all agree that now is the time to get our work and in living our lives. I love how Christine Kane puts it..."Being creative at it's deepest level means that you're a creator, not a reactor, that your life is your work of art, that you get to choose what to put in it."
If business is slow, then NOW is the time to write tutorials for attempt those projects you never had time learn new start a blog/journal/write a book on claying and approach those summer schools/colleges/vacation care and aged care places regarding teaching do demos at markets/fairs/sidewalks/exhibitions...
Life is what you make it. Always was. This is simply just another opportunity for you to shine. NOW is the time.
Kinara (friend pictured) doesn't miss a chance to smell the flowers...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Earrings from another time

Posted by Picasa

I'm really enjoying the look of these, they look like earrings from another time, unearthed. I must get myself some gold wire, that's what lets these down, they need gold ear hooks.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


While in Sydney, I had the opportunity to learn Keum-boo from Roz Eberhart at Eclectic Studio. Oh my! I was instantly hooked.
I can envisage many happy hours ahead immersed in golden goodness! I particularly like it for when I'm going for a really ancient feeling piece which I think these little experiments have highlighted well. I want to make little boxes now!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fun and the 'follow this blog' button

I had to provide a few pics for an article in Australian Beading mag and didn’t have any high res shots of me teaching so my next door neighbour obliged in ‘being the student’. This isn’t a very ‘professional’ shot so it didn’t make the magazine but I love it for the fun value.

Try the new 'follow this blog' button starting to creep in on many blogs. I just added a button to my blog (under aussiepolclyers sign)

It's a new feature that allows you to let the bloggers you follow know that you are a fan. As a follower to my blog, it also ensures you get linked! Neat eh! For more info:


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Possible Grafton Artfest projects

I live in a beautiful part of Australia and am surrounded by trees...60 acres of forest at our back door. And where there are trees, there are birds. These metal clay pieces have been inspired by my love of nature. They make my heart glad...
These will make great projects to teach at the Grafton Artfest in Spring 2009. I'm very fond of the copper look patina. I also had a chance to try out pre-made fine silver tube bails for pendants (see back of tree goodess pendant) that I bought from the Eclectic Studio ....very handy indeed! And that gorgeous ginkgo leaf is pasted pmc on a dried gingko Pam Annesley found for me at the Sydney Botanical gardens. You're s'posed to paste over fresh leaves but none of them survived the trip home so I'm thrilled that this one on a dried leaf was successful.

CCIP conference 2008

We've just had our first CCIP retreat/conference in Sydney. It was just fabulous to meet all the students who have gained certification over the past year and to reconnect with all the senior instructors from the various states in Australia. My old friend Pam Annesley was there bearing gifts! She had recently been to the USA and had done a workshop with Klew. She knew how inspirational Klews drum beads were to my early days with polymer and so she brought me back a bead!
The CCIP conference was a huge success with demos given by all the senior instructors i.e. bronze clay, flexible pmc, scultping, mosaics, colour blending, use of core adaptors with Makins extruders...something for every taste! Many of the students submitted pieces for the competition we ran and honestly, it was such a joy to see such a huge array of original art and so beautifully finished. For me that was the highlight. To see that they have all adopted a really professional attitude to finishing...makes me proud to be a part of this team and gives me hope that these 'contemporary clays' will become as much a part of the Australian art scene as it has in America.
I hope to show you pics of some of these pieces but am waiting on names to link to them. In the meantime, I've been claying myself...those pics to follow shortly...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Sydney Botanical Garden Inspiration

This little blogger has been too busy teaching and travelling this last month and the few pieces I'm working on in fits and starts haven't been finished so by way of apology I have some inspirational pics I took at the Sydney Botanical Gardens while there for our first CCIP conference/retreat (which by the way was a fabulous success!...more on that later in the week).
The pic directly above looks like giant bok choy doesn't it? And how do like those carnivorous beauties in the hanging basket? My particular favorite was the reb bamboo...I wanna plant some of those in my own garden...that red is so striking. And don't you think that sculpture would be fabulous in silver clay syringe or flexible clay ropes...? In miniture ofcourse.
After today's teaching little ones at Mullumbimby school vacation care, I am a free bird till sometime next week so I'll be claying my little heart out. Am soooo psyched to be finally getting some ME time! Have a heap of new things I want to try. Back soon...pwomise!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Endless Mokume Gane...translucent this time!

Ok, so I finally figured out a way to get maximum silver leaf effect under layers of spectral coloured translucent clay...and wrote a tutorial about it for Australain Beading. It won't be published for a while but I'll give you the heads up when it is.

The mokume gane journey continues

Remember these colours? These are made from the same mokume gane stack I used to make the workshop piece earlier. Since the workshop is aimed at beginners I didn't want to get to complicated but add a template you designed yourself and a layer of translucent and some delicious fibres and some end beads to finish...and this is what you get. I'm also rather partial to the pin.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mokume Gane: The next level

One of my regular workshop participants, Hector Vera, commented he wanted to take his mokume gane skills to the next level, saying he loved the work of Ann Dillon and could I teach him how to make a similar looking mokume gane. I so love a challenge, esp if its focus is on one of my favorite polymer clay techniques. So, in true Melly fashion, I experimented with different layering techniques and different finishing techniques till I got it just right. When Hector came for his workshop, I was able to show him the different results I got using varying thickness of layering and methods of finishing...and we forged ahead and these are his fabulous results. You really get to see the gorgeous crackled leaf better if you click on the pic for a larger view.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mokume Gane and Transfer workshop

Here are some workshop examples I taught this week. Mokume gane is originally a metal smithing technique that can be used with polymer clay. Multiple (thin) layers of different coloured clay impressed with objects then shaved, revealing the glorious mystery of colours underneath. This is a really popular technique with my students as are methods of transferring graphics onto clay and creating stylish pendants like this one...

The Fabulous Redheads

Greer, Gill and me (right to left) on a Saturday polymer clay adventure! Greer turned out to be one of the naughtiest students I've had! Who would have thought? (big grin) And Gill was her usual inquistive creative whole-hearted dive right in there self! I had a ball with these two gorgeous redheads.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pillow Bead Tutorial

The current Australian Beading magazine has my pillow bead tutorial for anyone who might like to try them...check it out here:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rainbow Patina

These earrings are the ones I made in the patina demo the other day. I love this look! There are so many colours glistening through. If you click on them for a larger size you'll appreciate what I mean...
Having looked at them again, I see I need to polish up the little balls back to silver to make them stand out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Teaching heaven

These one-on-one silver metal clay workshops are proving to be really fulfilling...for both the student and me! It's a much more freeflowing way of teaching and the feedback I'm getting is awesome.
What I generally ask when people book in for a one-on-one metal clay workshop is to bring pictures, both drawn and from books and magazines, of the type of jewellery they like or want to make...keeping in mind to keep it simple. I don't promise we'll make something like it but we use these sketches and inspirational pics to form our own prototype. In Jen's case, we took her drawing of an elegant long earring, altered it slightly in it's design to ensure success for a first piece (ie simplified it a bit with clean straight lines) and included certain elements like texturing, adding layers, adding elements, making bails so that many of the basic techniques are covered. I want people to go home after a day here with a good basic foundation so that once home, they can immediately start to create with confidence. We then made a polymer clay protoype. Having a much better sense of what 'works' asthetically when I see it in 3d rather than a flat drawing, making a test piece really highlights what needs to be altered before the pmc pack is even opened.
So Jen.. and enjoy these pics of her pieces. You can imagine how happy she was, having made these exquisite pieces on her first ever play with silver clay.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mullumbimby series in metal clay

I've been experimenting with different layering techniques. Same hill, different medium. PMC is always more challenging.
I wanted a real dimensional look so opted for layering sheets one on top of the other rather than different textures all on one layer giving the impression of layering (see last post)
The tops of these landscape pendants ended up with a rather attractive curl on them probably due to the last thin sheet which acts as 'sky'. Having such a thin sheet attached to a thicker body of work was asking for it really. I was going to bend them back but they sit nicely on the hollow of my neck so for now I'll leave them be.
I'll patina one tomorrow to see whether I like it but won't do them all...I've noticed that most of my sales are the unpatinad (sp?) bling bling variety... and while I prefer the antiqued look myself, it makes sense to go with the flow of the sales...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Deciding on teaching projects...

Teaching workshops involves choosing projects that are both appealing to wear and constructive as a learning curve for the student. These fit the bill pretty well I thought.
I had a little window of time on Sunday to make these as an example of what a beginner might choose to make on their silver claying debut with me. They involve rolling the lump clay into sheets, cutting base squares and letting those dry, then texturing three small sheets, cutting them and using some of each on top of the dry base sheet. Adding paste, drying, refining and firing with a butane torch complete the lesson.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Workshop fun!

Meet Rosemary! I don't often remember the camera when I'm teaching, but since it's been a while between blog posts and I needed pics, we snapped a few off while Rosemary was staying with us for a three day CCIP clay retreat. These pics were taken on the last day and since we flew through the workshop, I asked Rosemary whether there was anything she'd like to try with me. Well, trust her to say 'a signature cane'...ha! Talk about jumping from grade school to uni in one swoop! Well, if she was up for it, so was I, so here we are at the end of the day starting on her signature cane. It's not totally finished, she wants to put a border around it yet and will finish it at home...but over a glass of wine, she learned a lot about cane building and we had a ball making it...
Our lives have been busier than usual so I'm sorry there hasn't been as many claying posts as usual. It's been a few weeks of concentrating on the property, tree lopping and milling and general advancement towards designing a guest house. If you want to see what we've been up to, check out our personal blog.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Cynthia Blantons blog is always full of great info. Today it's about blogging and being alerted when your favorite blogs have been updated without having to go there first.
Ok, so I've taken some time out, don't be too quick to scold me. I have a husband with a lame foot so everything he normally does, I have to do. Y'know, nothing like a little wake up call to appreciate the ones you love is there? Anyway, it's been a pleasure to look after him these last few days...till about midday...then I start to get antsy and by evening I'm ready to snap. LOL! Eckhart Tolle ( Oprahs favorite right now) would say to bring some awareness to the emotion...not to fuel it with more thoughts but simply to watch it arise and recognise it as habit of the ego. And ya know, it's true. Cos when these feelings come up and I simply watch them, not trying to engage them, not trying to change them, not pushing them away, not resisting them, not even having an opinion about them, just simply let them be there and watch...they disappear! Yes, really! So while I haven't been claying AT ALL, I have been on another creative inner creative journey. And all cos of Curt's bung foot! Blessings come in all kinds of ways...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Studio snapshots

Libby Mills, an American polymer clay artist, is featuring snapshots of studios from all over the world in her blog. It's been so wonderful to see how others have set up their studios and to gather a helpful tip here and there. This week, she's featuring mine! What a lovely surprise to come home to...
Do check out her other blog entries...she writes a very interesting, useful and eye catching blog.
I've been away teaching in Queensland this week (was an absolute pleasure to teach this gorgeous group of women) so I'm just resting now for a day or two before I get back in my studio. Hope to have something new to show you soon.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Grafton Artfest Autumn 2008

Well! Can you tell I've been busy? I normally always get some window of time to write on the blog but it's been a little crazy these last few weeks. Crazy but loads of fun and so fulfilling. I've just had a week teaching at my first Grafton Artfest, a fabulous event held in Grafton NSW, bringing artists and students together from all over Australia to learn all manner of incredible arts.
I had the most amazing week teaching both polymer and silver claying to a keen bunch of students. This is what I love most about teaching. Watching the joy on their faces when they see the results of their efforts. Look at their happy faces! What a week! Jam packed full of all kinds of techniques. I love the shot of them heads down diligently searching for their silver pieces amoungst the steel shot just after the polishing. For you teachers out there, an easier way for students to find their own pieces amoungst the others is to press them in polymer first so that they have a template of their own pieces to match up against. Saves a lot of time and prevents squabbling over pieces!
The shot with the pussycat is amazing in itself. Apparantly this cat lives at the school and is looked after by a big hearted maintenence guy who says that cat rarely goes near people...and yet she graced us with her presence all day, even curling up to sleep in one of my boxes. A room full of lovely women must have lured her in eh!
And have a look at the work these girls accomplished. If you click on the picture you'll get a bigger shot which you can also zoom in on. I made sure I took very high res shots so those who want a good look, can! And to think most of them had never even opened a pack of clay before.
All in all, a truly fulfilling and fun time for all of us. Thanks so much to everyone who made it possible. Special thanks to Suzanne and Janice from Aussiepolyclayers for your support and friendship and to Sylvia and Myra and the'mystery woman' for buying the pieces I put in the auction to raise funds to help make Artfest possible.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

When something speaks to you...

Aussiepolyclayers Rock Swap was a pivotal point for me, Lisa, thank you for choosing such a fabulous theme for our swap...because I had to produce something that wasn't 'normal' for me. Something that made me uncomfortable in a way because I had to think outside the box of everything else I'd ever made. So I went with what Rock meant to me, the rich reds and browns and yellows of aussie rocks, the smattering of vivid opally colours, the crags, the layers, the fissures and boulders and bulges. I had so much fun making those that I used the same layered landscape theme in producing something even closer to my heart. Mt Chincogan. Ever since we moved onto this land in Mullumbimby (aboriginal for 'small hill') I've been wanting to create something representing Mullumbimby. I added fine silver bails I made with the Makins extruder with the core adaptor to which I added more clay to create an organic effect...and finished it off with fibres and polymer clay end caps.
If you hang on a tick, I'll run and take a pic of the 'real thing' from my front yard...
Ahhhh, it's great to have my camera back!