Thursday, January 29, 2009

New workshop for 2009

Hello! I'm teaching a new class here in Manila called I Heart Clay, a polymer clay workshop for beginners.

What: Introduction to Polymer Clay Art, a beginner's workshop (Valentine Edition)
Fee: P1,600
When: February 7
Time: 2pm to 6pm
*All materials and polymer clay included. Snacks will be served.

Make 4 Valentine-themed projects, to keep for yourself or to give as gifts. Learn the basics of polymer clay art, and start your own handmade adventure this year.

Only 4 slots available. An intimate affair.

For reservations, email

Friday, January 23, 2009

I was a talent show juror

I found myself in a very unusual situation last week. I was once again in front of the camera (the second time in a span of five days), but this time I wasn't doing any hawking of my polymer clay goods. This time, I became juror for Talentadong Pinoy, a reality show on TV.

Talentadong Pinoy is pretty much like America's Got Talent. Every episode eight contestants perform on stage for 90 seconds. If the three "talent scouts" (shown below) like their act, they move on to the next round. If the act was more of a nuisance than a performance, they get three big Xs, and the curtains close down on them. The jury scores the performances of those who got to round two, and whoever gets the highest score competes with the defending champ. Winner gets big bucks.

Never in my life did I see this coming. When I got the invite, I thought of declining, because frankly, what the heck do I know about judging a talent show? There isn't a single drop of talent on me. Ask the neighbors - they've heard me sing karaoke.

But it turned out that 8 individuals from different fields were being chosen, didn't matter if you were talented or not. I was chosen because I was a bead artist. Ok, maybe I've got that. So I figured, what the hey. I've got nothing to lose. Bring on the jugglers and Kenli singers.

That's me at the jury booth, sneaking a snapshot between takes. The disadvantage to being a cosmetics-dimwit is being at the mercy of the makeup artist. I ended up with weird makeup. Oh well.

I was chosen as foreman/chairman of the jury, so I got to hand the envelope of results from the jury to heartthrob host Ryan Agoncillo. For fear of pre-empting the show (it hasn't aired yet), this is all I'm going to say: choosing who becomes P50,000 (around $1,000) richer is like having your teeth pulled. Agonizing.

But all in all, it was such a fun experience, I'd do it all over again.

Here I am after the taping with talent scouts Arnel Ignacio and Cherry Pie Picache, and host Ryan Agoncillo.

The episode will air on Saturday, January 31 at 7pm on TV5. Thanks Ms. Rachel for inviting me, and for taking the celeb photos!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New stuff on etsy

Posted new yummy trinkets on etsy, lookie lookie:

Yummy pendant: Chocolate Chip cookie charm

Yummy pendant: Cookies n Cream cupcake

A Valentine Hunt

Find Love with PCAGOE Artists!

The members of PCAGOE, the Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy, are sponsoring a Valentine Scavenger Hunt. To participate simply visit my shop beginning February 6th 2009 and continuing until midnight e.s.t. of February 12, 2009, and find the Valentine hidden among my items.

When you find the Valentine, convo me through Etsy and give me either the URL of the listing where the image is hidden, or the Transaction Number for the Item.

That's it! You must be a registered Etsy user to qualify, so if you have not already registered, please take a moment to do so, and you can join in our fun! Registering is fast and easy.

On February 14, 2009, I will draw a winner at random using a random generator. I will notify the winner by return convo and issue you a (the Prize). I will also post the winner's name here on my blog.

Here is a list of the other member shops participating in the hunt. Every member is offering a different prize! And be sure to check our team website for a complete list of participating shops!


Proud to be a PCAGOEr

Almost two months ago, I finally got the courage to apply for membership to the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy.

*The PCAGOE is a global group of polymer clay artists united through, which is a marketplace for all kinds of handmade goods. Our members create fine art and fine craft, including decor, jewelry, wall art, and functional objects.

This guild is also called a Street Team on Etsy, and street teams are actively engaged in getting the word out about and the value of buying handmade goods directly from the maker. Etsy is a shopping site for all kinds of handmade goods. Artists and buyers can come together in a shopping and selling community forum, and in general there is a more personal touch to the shopping experience because buyers are communicating directly with the maker of their goods.

I've been admiring the members' works for years, but I didn't apply sooner because I didn't feel worthy. I'm glad I finally summoned the guts to apply - I've never found a friendlier, more inspiring group. I felt star-struck as I joined the forums, what with the ranks of uber talented people, internationally acclaimed teachers and published artists whose works have appeared in books and magazines. Being part of PCAGOE makes me want to work my butt off all the more, and take my art to a higher level.

But the best part for me is definitely feeling the support, camaraderie, encouragement, and respect in the guild. I look forward to visiting the forum everyday, even just for idle chatter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Green polymer clay jewelry

Environment-friendly polymer clay? What an oxymoron.

But still thinking of the polymer clay+junk recycling project from the previous post, I decided to head on to etsy to search for examples. I think that for polymer clay design to be truly sustainable, it has to feature recycled materials not only as embellishment, but as part of the structure. The recycled components should be a necessary part of the piece, and not just decor.

There isn't much stuff on etsy that meet my criteria, but here are a couple of my favorites, featuring green yet chic design:

Iris Mishly from Israel made this beautiful black and white necklace from polymer clay and recycled aluminum discs that were once part of a computer. Available on her etsy shop Read her blog here.

Wirefox from Colorado Springs used a recycled bottle cap as a bezel to fashion this pretty pendant from polymer clay.

Do you have an upcycling project that features polymer clay? I would love to feature you! Please leave a link below.

On sustainable design

Sustainable design (also referred to as "green design", "eco-design", or "design for environment") is the art of designing physical objects, the built environment and services to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability. It ranges from the microcosm of designing small objects for everyday use, through to the macrocosm of designing buildings, cities, and the earth's physical surface. It is a growing trend within the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, engineering, graphic design, industrial design, interior design and fashion design. - from wikipedia, entry on sustainable design

Truth be told, being a polymer clay artist sometimes makes me feel guilty. Polymer clay is plastic, so it's not as earth-friendly as, say, doing pottery or working with natural fabric.

A few months back, some college students emailed me asking for ideas for their recycling project in school. They wanted to make polymer clay jewelry, incorporating old tin cans and such. I suggested they go for completely recycled materials instead, like acrylic sheet cuttings from signage shops, which can be turned into jewelry like this:

That ingenious cuff above was created by yebattasupadont, using a recycled acrylic sheet/plexiglass. See her shop for more green jewelry.

I could have been wrong in suggesting to the students that they ditch the polymer clay plus tin can jewelry idea, but I felt (and I still do) that there are better ideas for a school project on recycling. Polymer clay costs Php140 to Php150 around here (around $3), versus the free plexiglass cuttings they can get from signage shops.

However, I do believe there are ways to conscientiously work with polymer clay. Here are a few ideas:
  1. Never throw clay away. Reuse and recycle: every little bit of clay can still be used. If you hate the color of the clay you mixed, use it as a base. Cover it, paint it, embellish it. Your creativity is the limit.

  2. Don't burn clay! When you burn clay (like what often happens in a toaster), you release harmful gasses to the environment. Use the right equipment, and make sure you bake at the right temperature.

  3. Don't underbake clay/Don't use brittle clay! Make sure your clay pieces are strong, and will last a lifetime. Churning out low-quality pieces will only contribute to the waste we produce. Stop making disposable items. Polymer clay is plastic, it's supposed to last forever.
Sadly, I know of some local producers of polymer clay jewelry who do not bake their clay properly. Their clients either received damaged goods that cracked while still in the mail, or discovered later on that the pieces they bought were brittle and were falling off the pins. I hope they heed my call and change their ways. Irresponsible baking often results from a lack of proper knowledge. So I suggest they read up.

Got other tips for sustainable design when working with polymer clay? Post a comment!

Pick a cupcake, win a Wii!

One of my favorite flickr contacts, Bakerella from Atlanta, USA is giving away a Wii! Bakerella makes the most gorgeous and creative cupcakes (the real ones). See her creations on her flickr.

This time, she made cute Mii (Wii characters) cupcakes which are so adorable you'll hesitate to eat them. To win a Wii, all you have to do is pick her Mii out, and post a reply on her blog here.

I love Wii! It's the only time I'll ever get the chance to kick Marco's ass in boxing. Teehee.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

While I was offline...

Rundown of things I've been up to these past 12 days:

  • Guested on Umagang Kay Ganda
  • Played juror in Talentadong Pinoy - that was definitely something you don't get to do everyday.
  • Had my craft studio repainted (it took the whole week!)
  • Because of the repainting and a few house repairs, I had to spend a chunk of the past week cleaning...
  • And cleaning...
  • Still cleaning house like crazy. I'm not yet halfway done, I'm going nuts!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

FYI: How Millifiore beads are made

I found another interesting link online, thought I'd share. This is how real Murano beads are made.

DIY: Packaging for post earrings

I stumbled upon this tutorial by EnthralDesigns through twitter, thought I'd share with you all. I like it because it's easy to do, yet it's so functional. Perfect for stud earrings. You can then insert these into little ziplock baggies, and they're ready to go! I've always wondered how I can package studs without them poking holes through the ziplock bags.

Photo from EnthralDesigns at Art Fire.

Read the tutorial here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

You can share, but please attribute

The Handmade Pilipinas posts (along with the pictures) can be shared with others, under the following conditions:

1. Credit me.
2. Link back to this site.
3. Do not use for commercial purposes.
4. Do not edit or alter in any way.

Creative Commons License
Handmade Pilipinas by Angeli Sobrepena is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Baking polymer clay

How to bake your polymer clay pieces
Part 3 of a series, a Handmade Pilipinas post
Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

All the information below is protected by the Creative Commons license.
Creative Commons License
This article by Angeli Sobrepena is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Baking polymer clay is an exact science. You need to know the right way to bake your creations if you want them to last a lifetime.

Why does polymer clay need to be baked?
Polymer clay is made of Polymer Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and liquid plasticizers. These plasticizers are what make the clay pliable. To harden the clay, the plasticizers need to be burned off, thus the need for baking.

What happens if you do not bake the clay properly?
The number one mistake most newbies make is under-baking the clay. When polymer clay is exposed to heat, even if not at the right settings, it still hardens. However, not all the plasticizers are completely burned off, leaving some parts of the piece raw. This mistake is not immediately noticeable. After a few months or even years, however, the chemicals left in the half-baked piece will begin to "eat" the clay. This makes the piece crumbly.

How do I make sure I do not under-bake the clay?
Make sure you bake at the right temperature, for the right duration. Always follow the baking instructions indicated in the polymer clay package. Remember, the baking time indicated is always the minimum.

What equipment is used to bake polymer clay?
Polymer clay needs to be cured at an exact temperature for an exact period of time. That said, you can use whatever equipment that produces heat, as long as it consistently gives out heat at the exact baking temperature for the right duration. Below is a rundown of polymer clay brands I use (and trust) and their baking temperatures (in degrees celsius) and times. Different brands have different settings, so always check the package instructions.
  • Premo - 130C, 30 minutes minimum
  • Cernit - 101C to 132C, 5 to 20 minutes, depending on size
  • Fimo Classic - 129C, 30 minutes minimum
Your best bet is to use a regular oven used to bake food. It has a temperature control knob and a timer - all you'll ever need. The oven I use I've owned for years. I bought it for P1,600, but now it retails for P1,700 to P1,800. There are cheaper models you can buy, but I chose one with the convection fan.

Can I bake polymer clay in a bread toaster?
If your bread toaster has a temperature control knob which allows you to set the temperature at exactly 130 degrees celsius (or whatever setting your clay requires), it's fine. But if your toaster only has a simple low-medium-high heat knob, it's hard to keep the temperature at the right setting for the right duration. Unless you tweak your baking method using only your bread toaster, chances are your piece will turn out half-baked (hard outside, but still crumbly inside) or burnt. Why not save time, effort, and clay by using the right equipment early on, right?

Why is proper baking so important?

Polymer clay is plastic, so it's supposed to last forever. But when you do not follow proper baking procedures, you'll end up with a disposable piece. When a polymer clay piece is half-baked, the clay inside still has some plasticizers that can leach or eat your piece, making it crumbly a few months or years after. On the other hand, when you over-bake the piece, the plastic will burn, giving off toxic fumes that will harm you and the environment.

This is Part 3 of a series, a Handmade Pilipinas post
Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

For more information, join our workshops! Email me at

All the information above is protected by the Creative Commons license.
Creative Commons License
This article by Angeli Sobrepena is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Where to buy polymer clay in the Philippines

Part 2 of a series, a Handmade Pilipinas post
Read Part 1 here.

The most complete source for polymer clay and tools in the Philippines is The Beadlady Craft Cafe in Cubao Expo, Quezon City.

The Beadlady Craft Cafe and Art Studio
Shop 54 Cubao Expo
Gen. Romulo St.
Cubao, Quezon City
Open daily 1pm to 8pm

Online store:

Polymer clay products carried (in alphabetical order):

  • Clayzee Polyclay

  • Kato Polyclay

  • Lumiere

  • Pearlex

  • Premo Sculpey polymer clay

  • Photo-transfer sheets

  • Push molds

  • Studio by Sculpey polymer clay

  • Texture sheets

  • Tools (clay blades, sculpting tools, craft knives)

You can also buy beads, chains, and charms here.

If you're not from Metro Manila, you can order online.


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