Thursday, March 28, 2013

Polymer Clay Challenge : March 2013

I thought this month I would give myself a challenge within a challenge.  I wanted to make a set of polymer clay beads that I could easily combine with my lampwork beads to make a desirable piece of jewellery.  I set myself these challenges for a number of reasons.  I need to keep my work fresh, dynamic and it inspires new ideas.
I made these beads using green, yellow and a tiny amount of blue Premo Sculpey.  I combined the two colours and made a giant sausage.  I cut the sausage into portions and rolled each one into a round ball.  Next, I placed each ball individually under a perspex sheet and moved the sheet in a circular motion around on top of the bead (pushing down lightly each time).  This motion eventually gives you a lentil shaped bead and at the same time creates the swirls you can see on the surface of my beads.    

These are all the items I started with.  My five polymer clay beads, olive and green seed beads, green tigertail, two flower lampwork beads, four emerald clear glass beads and four lime coloured lampwork beads.  All of the lampwork beads were handmade by me.
I placed all of the materials on a white tile that I use to make my polymer clay beads and had a good look, think, ponder, peruse and head scratch (always good for thinking).  I don't have a bead mat to create designs on (sometimes I wish I did when I lose beads rolling across the table) but to be honest I get along ok without one. 
There probably are rules about how you go about designing and making jewellery but I always start with the central bead or central focus of the necklace.  For instance, in this design I chose the largest polymer clay bead as my central focus and built the necklace from this point. 
I decided to use two strands of tigertail and used the seed beads to create an interesting weave effect in between the larger beads.  So, I placed both strands through my central bead and a dark green seed bead.  I then placed an olive green seed bead onto one of the strands (leaving one strand empty) and took both strands through a dark green seed bead.  I repeated this throughout the necklace as shown in the photograph.  This also gives an element of rigidity to the tigertail and keeps all of the larger beads in place. 
I finished the necklace by threading both strands of tigertail through a selection of seed beads until I had the desired length.  Finally I added a lobster clasp and the necklace was complete.  Next time I make one I will try to include a step by step visual guide. 
Here is the finished necklace which is now living with a very lovely artist in the South West of England.  She makes beautiful handcrafted signs and next time I see her I will ask her if she has a website and I will include her link here .....
Sarah xx


  1. absolutely georgeous Sarah! I adore that green!

    1. Thank you Whitney. It is a very rich colour isn't it? xx