Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Inks, landscapes and silver frames

These pieces, like many new things I make, are created by me but are influenced tremendously by other teachers and artists I admire. Donna Kato has a fabulous tutorial in her surface designs book on how to use gold leaf and inks. Susan Turney explored Donnas technique and took it to new levels with her beautiful work. We chatted in depth about how to get a specific look and her advice helped me tremendously. Unfortunately for her polymer clay fans, she has been lured into fabric art recently and we don't get to see much polymer clay from her anymore. The pmc silver frames idea came from Janice Abarbanel who wrote an absolutely fabulous tutorial on using sterling silver frames (which she also supplies) with polymer clay, available in her etsy shop for those who don't want to make their own from pmc like I did here.
Anyway, I thank all these talented and generous artists...and give you my own take on this technique. I am teaching this technique (top ones, not with silver frames) in Sydney in Novemeber, still one place left. Check my website for details (scroll to bottom of page)

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Recently someone turned me onto angels, saying that whatever you want to name them/it... go within...there is great support when you ask for it. I've tried it. It's true!
Then the subject of angels came up again...someone else sent me a link to Robbie Williams great song out about angels, a real heart opener...
And sometimes they come when you least expect when I turned up to teach a wonderful group from the Bribie Island Community Arts Society. On my arrival, I was greeted by Dee who announced that she was my Workshop Angel and immediately started to direct people to lift things out of my car, make coffee for me, make sure I had everything I needed and that the workshop ran smoothly. I can't tell you how wonderful that was! So big thank you to Dee, my Workshop Angel. And also a big thanks to Sandi, another angel, who gave me a bed for a couple of nights and served the most delicious Indian food for dinner and made me feel so at home.

Now I'm gonna be spoiled for all my other large groups like Grafton Artfest and Bellingen Camp Creative. Maybe I should put up an ad "angel wanted, apply within" (haha.. apply winin...get it?)
Anyway, here are some examples of the work that the Bribie Island participants made on the weekend.... and a group photo too...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Musings and mountains

I've always had a facination with mountains. Magestic, immovable, solid...just gazing at one gives me a sense of peace. It's no wonder cartoonists depict gurus sitting on top of them! It's not surprising I ended up living on a property that overlooks the well known landmark of Mt Chincogan in Mullumbimby which often ends up inspiring me to make landscape pendants in polymer and silver clay. This time I've used gold leaf and alcohol inks and covered with translucent clay. I made a batch of them which I still have to sand and polish but here is one finished. I will be teaching this technique in Sydney in November along with some other fun techniques. See my workshop page for more details if you want to learn how to make these too!

Speaking of inspiration, Amy Crawley is a mixed media artist I really admire. Her work often reflects something profound, some inner workings, something spiritually enlightening. She has a great blog I subscribe to and often throws in quotes that strike a cord with me.
Recently she asked for submissions from people for their favorite quote. Being a lover of good quotes, I submitted one too. Read about it here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Nepalese clayers

Every now and then, something comes along that touches your heart and compels you to take action. If ever there was a plight worth supporting, it's this one. My friend Wendy Moore, an australian polymer clayer living in Nepal, has been teaching Nepalese women jewellery making skills and polymer claying skills to help them become empowered and self sufficient. They are survivors of violence, domestic and trafficing (selling girls into prostitution) and are looking at ways of generating an income for themselves and their families.
We are working on ways to get them more clay and supplies, the difficulty is that even if we amass an army of people happy to donate clay, the postal service is very unrelaible. If anyone can shed some light on successful ways to get clay through to Nepal, please write to me at
In the meantime, there is more info at the Aussie Polyclayers forum
for those interesting in trying to send small amounts of clay to keep them busy till we come up with more permanent and successful solutions...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Inro (wearable vessel)

Out of that mess (see messy table previous post) came this delightful little number. Moulded over an EMPTY cigarette lighter, screen printed and stamped with my very own hand made stamp using photopolymer plates.
This inro is a lot easier to make than the previous ones I've made. Like this. In fact, it took me less than three hours where as the other one took me around 8 hours! I've written a tutorial on this latest one for Australian Beading magazine's October issue...and since that's such a long way off, I'll remind you when it's out!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's on your table?

Valerie Vaharoni asks in her blog what's on your table? I love her blog, well worth subscibing to. Anyhow, I'm one of the messy ones. I used to feel a bit embarrassed...till I saw that all the artists I like trash their tables as bad as I do. So it is with gratitude I come across pics like Valerie Vaharonis.
Here's a squizz of mine...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

New look website

I have a fabulous excuse for so few blog postings last month...I have built myself a new website.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Silver Clay Workshop in Mullumbimby

I'm holding a beginners silver clay workshop in Mullumbimby for the locals here. I'm also testing the value of talk back doing an interview on Bay FM on their Arts Canvass segment on Thursday 2nd April at around 10.15am. So tune in if you're interested...
Details of the workshop are:

Silver Clay Jewellery Workshop

in Mullumbimby

Perfect for the beginner or those wishing to breathe new life into their jewellery making, come explore the revolutionary new medium of silver metal clay used to create fine silver jewellery without the need for casting molten metal.

Saturday 25th April, 10 to 4pm

Cost: $80 plus materials (dependant upon the size you’d like to make, approx $40)


Earrings are an example only. You may choose you own design…or make a pendant!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Slaying! Nope, not the dragon!

A wonderful clay buddy of mine from Albany WA once termed silver claying as 'slaying' and it stuck. I've been in slaying heaven for the last three days. I wanted to combine gems (which can't be fired) with silver clay so I fired a pre-made bezel cup into a hole (made with 'it' as the cutting tool) learned from Hadar Jacobsons first book 'The Handbook of Metal Clay". Great book and well worth the purchase. Pity I stuffed up the part where the stone falls nicely into didn't, it went in on a slight angle and got stuck, I couldn't pull it out. So Ms Impatience decided 'oh stuff it' and pushed it as far as it could go, still on an ever so slight angle...which ofcourse made fitting the bezel snugly around it nice and neat an impossible task. Lesson learned. Next time I'll be placing dental floss underneath the stone till I know it's sitting right. Live n learn.
I've had success with applying gold to silver...adding paste (or better yet, acs overlay paste!) directly after it's cooled from firing, then two/three layers of gold paste or aura 22, drying before each next coat, torch fire and burnish gold while still hot...a tip I got from Jen at Metal Clay Australia
I also made Curt a kombi pendant...there's been a shift in our relationship and I felt the urge to make something precious for him. It HAD to be a kombi didn't it! He loves it.
All in all, a very satisfying few days. I'm so glad to be settled back in.
Off to another art trail exhibition/promotion at Hammer and Hand this evening...talking art and drinking red wine, both of which are right up there in the top ten of favourite things...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sydney workshop

Here are some pics of the Sydney workshop in early March. We all had a simply marvelous time and I will be back in October for those of you who want more! Perth will have to wait a wee bit longer as I plan to go back in March. Wonderful to have a bloke at the Sydeny workshop, thanks to Carl for being brave enough to hang out with the women.
The group pic, for those who want to know who's who...from left to right...Maria, Kerry, Janet, Carl, Kathy and moi!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Perth Polymer and Silver Clay workshop fun!

Last weekend I taught a precious metal and polymer clay combo workshop in Perth made available to Aussiepolyclayer members and CCIP artisans. What fabulous fun we had! Made even more so by the bonds that have been formed over many years of chatting online at the Aussiepolyclay Forum. Many of us know each other quite well but have never met in person till now so you can imagine how wonderful it was to finally get together for a weekend of clay fun.

Thanks to my folks for opening up their home for this wonderful event and to all those who participated, a huge thanks to you all for making it a joyful gathering.

Special thanks to Pam Annesley for hijacking me straight after the workshop for an extra two days of claying and experimenting at her home studio in Bindoon.

Stay tuned next week for pics of the Sydney workshop coming up this weekend and also the announcement and pics of the polymer jewellery challenge for both groups.

Debbie and Lex have one of many cheeky moments while I lend a hand.
Zarina finger painting!

Julie merrily painting a polymer clay sheet.

Zarina in an 'ooops, careful' moment! We can all relate to this one!

Lex and Debbie working with silver clay

Julie cutting strips of silver clay.

Group pic...left to right...Silvia, Merryl, Lex, Debbie, Zarina and Pam. Front, Mel and Julie.

Examples of the pieces that were being taught.

Talk about concentration!

Ooey gooey painting fun!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On the cover!

Wheeeeeeeeee! I made the cover of Australian Beading this issue! It's a real thrill...and makes my heart glad for all kinds of reasons. When I picked up that first pack of clay and had my first play about 8 years ago, I knew instantly that I'd finally found my 'niche'. Hardly a soul even knew about polymer here in Australia, Aussiepolyclayers was only an idea in the founders head (Heather Richmond) , it formed a year or two afterwards. There were no Australian online polymer clay shops, no workshops taught, no books available. I was on my own. But... I'd found other people with the same focus at Polymer Clay Central, a USA based forum. I absorbed everything I could about polymer clay online...the PCC forum members were an amazing source of inspiration and help...I discovered there were books and videos...even a tv program in the USA dedicated solely to polymer clay that a friend taped and sent me...I just devoured it all...and I played. I played and I played. And I fell more and more in love with this stuff. Now I teach all over Australia, exhibit in Byron Bay and..... have a piece of my work on the cover of a mag. Just shows you the power of passion!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ruffle beads

What I love most about the internet is that it's been the vehicle for connecting and making friends with people all over the world as well as a constant source of inspiration and education in just about anything that interests me. One such friend is Christelle Van Lingen , a wonderful polymer clay artist living in the USA who has been making these beautiful ruffle beads for some time. She recently wrote a tutorial on them and asked me to test it...and here it is! Delightful isn't it? And not as hard as I thought it would be. Lucy was here that day, she has never touched polymer clay before and I asked her if she wanted to play along with me... she was sooooo thrilled with what she made...she used two 'petals' for earrings too!
And here is the link to Christelles etsy shop and this marvelous tutorial!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sydney/Perth Workshop Examples

These are some different colours and finishes I've been playing around with as examples for the upcoming workshops I'm teaching in Perth and Sydney. I've also used silver leaf instead of gold for a change. The spirals (made from scraps left on the table) and pillow beads are finished with fimo gloss and the pendants and tiles are finished with Lisa Pavelkas Magic Glos which is more like a resin.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Praying for Nature" wheel beads

Inspired by the beautiful BVLGARI tubogas technique and those fabulous tibetan prayer wheels... the middle ring moves around freely. I love the deeply etched stamps and home made textures I used to create these beads and couldn't resist the play on words...nature needs all the help we can give it if the planet is to survive...
Strung on magnetic clasped steel cable threaded with softglass and pewter daisy-like beads. These are keepers!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Aussie Hearts

Called aussie hearts because these colours are so aussie, they mimic the colours of the traditional aboriginal paintings with those delicious rich hues...
Using Premo polymer clay and Kathi's fabulous brain cane tutorial (three cheers to Kathi!). That tute is a little ripper!
What I like about the brain cane is that it's great for heart and other shapes because it doesn't mind being distorted like a geometric pattern would, in fact, a little tweeking here and there makes it even more interesting. Go on, try it! You know you want to...:)
It's been a real 'heart' focus for me this month. Our jewellery collective Hammer and Hand, is holding a 'hearts and witches' night and exhibition for friday the 13th of Feb, the evening before Valentines day. We're all making pieces to suit the theme. These (and the pmc hearts of the previous post) are my heart contribution, they will be for sale on the night. For the 'witches' side of the theme, I'm attempting a broomstick in silver metal clay. A very talented Lisa Moody from SA made one a few years back and I just loved it. I'm halfway making one of my own, am using a gnarly stick for the handle, yet to work out the brush part...


Lets start the new year off with hearts. I'm calling these silver clay hearts "Heartscapes". They mimic my own heart, patterned with life's ouchies, big and small, in fact, made more beautiful for it all, so long as one stays open.........