Sunday, November 27, 2011

New blog!

I'm moving! Temporarily.

Here's the reason I've been quiet the past few months!


www.beadbaby.blogspot.com

Follow me there. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Letting go



I have a tendency to hang on to the stuff I make.  I have bins and boxes of jewelry I treasure, but I've never worn.  Putting a price tag on something you toiled over, and saying goodbye to it is no fun at all.  What if I can't make something like it ever again?  I'm sure some of you can relate.

My hubby says if that's how I feel about the whole thing, I shouldn't be in business at all. I should just call crafting a hobby.  I received the same lecture from my mom. 

So for the past few weeks, while I've been busy sorting through my collection of crafty bits at home, I was slowly talking myself into letting go of the pretty little things I made the past few months.  They've got a point. My collection's just stored in boxes, and won't see the light of day.  Might as well find someone who will enjoy wearing them as much as I enjoy keeping them.

I chose a few special pieces from my collection and decided to finally list them.  They're all lovingly made by hand, lovingly held on to, but never worn.  Here's one of them - a perfume bottle pendant I covered in polymer clay in gold and old rose.  I added sweet details like "stitched" scrolls, textured and skinner blended petals, and stamped tiny butterflies and leaves at the back.  I then antiqued the whole thing to give it a vintage vibe.




Fill this bottle with your favorite perfume, and wear it close to your heart.  Or concoct a love potion and bring it with you wherever you go. Teehee.  The pendant hangs from an oxidized brass chain.  Romantic and one of a kind.

More stuff posted in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trash to Treasure: Green polymer clay jewelry

  

The Philippine Polymer Clay Guild's challenge for July was focused on sustainable, eco-friendly polymer clay projects.  Titled "Trash to Treasure", the July challenge entailed using polymer clay to give junk a new lease on life.

Finding the raw materials (aka: trash) was quite easy.  I am a pack-rat, so I had a ton of material to choose from - old light bulbs, tin cans, even blank bullet cases from my grandfather's old gun closet, haha!

The hard part was deciding what to make of the trash.  I had grand plans!  But the inability to decide left me procrastinating until the night before the deadline.  I almost didn't submit a piece, but I fought the urge to give up and decided to just submit whatever I could come up with, even if it wasn't anywhere near my original plans.  In the end, I spent only two hours conceptualizing and making the project.  Quite disappointed in myself, because we had 3 weeks to prepare.  Sometimes, when I'm stuck in a rut, I'm stuck real deep. Sigh.

I chose a beat-up doorknob hardware - the part that attaches the handle to the door.  It looks heavy, but it's actually made of an aluminum-type material so it's lightweight.

 

Fresh from my caning spree the week before, I made a new cane, still in a bright and happy colorway.  I decided to wrap the entire thing with clay, then cover it with cane slices.  After baking, I would drill a hole so I could turn it into a big pendant.  I prayed that my oven was in the mood for a drama-free baking session, because I had no room for errors. Good thing Little Miss Oven was kind to me that night, her temperature didn't spike, she didn't discolor the clay, and no cracks or bubbles appeared. Whew.  I slept peacefully.


The next day though, I find out that I couldn't drill a hole into the piece with my pin vise.  I needed to use a power drill, so I texted my brother and asked for help.  But after seeing what I made, he told me I should have drilled the doorknob part before I wrapped it in clay.  It was too late now, the drill could accidentally chip the clay - he didn't want to risk ruining my piece.  Ugh, why didn't I think of that the night before?

I had no choice but to use the piece as a donut pendant, instead of a top-drilled pendant hanging from a beaded chain.  Here's the outcome of poor planning and cramming.




But I am glad to say that all the other entries from my guild-mates were ahhhhmazing!  Very intricate, well-made, and labor-intensive!  Some used the most ingenious materials: toilet paper rolls, old diskettes, broken zippers, even shellfish!  The creativity and ingenuity was inspiring!  Here are a few of my favorites.  Not only are they works of art, but they're all functional!

Jennifer Cruz: old bottle turned into a lantern.
Jhoi Montano: milk can turned into a bag!


Ghie Malig: diskettes turned into a caddy
I saw these in person, and they are even more amazing up close! All the details, the careful craftsmanship, and the successful transformation from junk to functional art - so amazing, I am at a loss for words.

Check out the other entries here!  This challenge goes to show that polymer clay, although a type of plastic, can be truly eco-friendly! I hope our guild's challenge inspires you to try out more sustainable projects!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crazy Canes


Remember that slew of late blog posts I told you about in my last entry?  Here's the first of many!

I went on a crazy caning spree last July.  This is a huge deal for me, since I am not a cane person.  Ironic, because the first few beads I sold were actually cane slices.  Now I no longer work with canes, simply because I am lazy.  Reducing canes can be such a chore!  Plus, few customers appreciate the intricacy of caning, and fewer still are those willing to pay a premium.  So I stopped caning altogether.

If you've been following my work, you'll notice that I stick to projects that are sweet, romantic, or vintage-inspired.  But pumped up by the last guild challenge (amazing cane work in those tiny beads I received in the swap!), and inspired by all the talented ladies in the Philippine Polymer Clay Guild, I was challenged to go outside my comfort zone. 

I decided to give the art of polymer clay millifiore another go.  This time, I won't allow myself to be daunted by the tedious task of cane reduction (is that even the right word?).  I won't think about the commercial value of the project, and focus on just the process itself.

Here are a few of the canes I came up with.  I still couldn't shake off the bright-and-happy colorway I am so used to (I like pastels and bright colors).  But check out that scary-looking red and black cane on the left!  That is so not me!  I shuddered after I made it.  But on hindsight, I actually like it's tribal appeal.


What drives me crazy is how, sometimes, some of the intricate details get lost when you reduce the cane.  I wasn't able to take photos of the larger versions of these, but take a closer look and you'll notice, for instance, that the round pink and white feathered cane on the right is actually the top portion of the triangular cane beside it.  Do note that these are blown-up photos, and the canes are actually the size of a fingernail.  So in real life, you won't notice all the lovely details unless you really stare.


The hubby says this fact actually gives the final product more charm - because the more you look at the finished pieces closely, the more you'll notice all the work that was probably involved in creating it.



So now we're back to the questions I dread the most: how much will I sell these for?  Will people actually buy these?

To test the waters, I made a couple of earrings for a bazaar, and yes, somebody actually bought them!

The ones in the pictures above are still with me though. I still can't decide how I'll string them into necklaces: on a beaded chain, on a cord, on a long link chain?  I'll keep you posted once they're ready.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kokeshi card holders for Sol


My clay and crafty stuff are slowly being tucked away in containers and boxes and closets, and I'm not sure when I'll have the time to bring them out again.  Yes, I am on another polymer clay sabbatical - self-imposed but necessary.

Good thing I have a long backlog of projects unposted since July.  Like these kawaii kokeshi card holders for Sol.

Expect a slew of better-late-than-never posts to come your way in the next few weeks. I'll try to keep myself sane and entertained even without clay.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Artsy Wife and Cabby Crafter

I have a looooong list of stuff to blog about, I just can't find the right time to actually sit down and write.  Things have been very busy around here lately!

To check some items off my list, let me share with you these wonderful, wonderful blog posts about my work and my shop.  Thank you dear bloggers for the love!

I found a link to this blog post in my inbox last June (yes, that's how long this blog backlog is, two months worth of posts unposted! yikes!).  Janice of The Artsy Wife wrote about my work on her June 7 entry and included lots of pictures too! Thank you so much Janice! 


And Michelle of Cabby Crafter, a workshop participant, blogged about her favorite Filipino polymer clay artists, and I am honored to be part of her list!  Thanks Michelle!



Thank you thank you!

Monday, July 11, 2011

One Sunday afternoon

A picnic, a tea party, an afternoon of all things sweet and cuddly.

Though yesterday afternoon was a bit dreary because of the rain, I had so much fun taking photos of my new collection!  There was no real picnic nor tea party outside these photos, but there was definitely a lot of sweet nothings and cuddling going around.  That's because this little one kept me company.

That's my little Izzy. Isn't she adorable? Hihi.

Ok, back to the new stuff.  The past few weeks, I've been making the tiniest cookies, donuts, and chocolate truffles.  All those sinful stuff sweet-tooths like me go crazy over. 

So I spent the whole Sunday afternoon doing a "shoot" on my mom's porch.  Just me, Izzy, a point-and-shoot camera, and the cutest miniature props ever. 

A huge chunk of my time was spent wishing:  I wish I had more props.  And I wish I were a better stylist and photographer. And more importantly: I wish that the goodies were edible.  After drooling and day dreaming, I spent the rest of the afternoon choosing photos to upload to my various websites.

Oh yes, I finally updated my websites!  Well, the homepages at least.  If you're interested to purchase my work, please drop by any of these sites:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Card holders for Norren


I made 10 handmade polymer clay-covered card holders in June, and now I can safely upload the photos (these were given as gifts by my customer, so I had to be hush-hush about it last month).

The one with the three Kokeshi dolls above is my favorite of the bunch.  Here are a couple more of my favorites from this batch:



I am making more of these, so if you're interested to purchase, please do like my page on Facebook to receive updates:  www.facebook.com/beadcafe or check out my multiply: www.beadlady.multiply.com

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Black and white bead swap


Our first swap/challenge at the Philippine Polymer Clay Guild involved creating 17 beads out of only black and white clay.  You can make any size, shape, and style of bead you want - they just had to be all black and white.  I thought the challenge sounded simple enough, but I was sooo wrong!

There were so many possibilities, so many designs swimming in my head, that it was getting too complicated. My almost-automatic reaction was to make a black and white millifiore bead, but I already tried that before when I was a teenager. 


I made a black and white jelly roll cane, and turned the beads into ethnic-looking earrings.  They are now one of my mom's most oft used pairs (photo above). 

For this P3 swap, I wanted to challenge myself to try something new, so in the end, I decided on this flower bead below. 


It's a variation of the Feuille de Autumne beads I made a few weeks back - a swirl bead as base, with two layers of textured leaves to form a flower, and topped with a smaller swirl in the center.  But I realized I didn't have the energy to make 16 more of this bead.

I am not a patient bead maker, in the sense that I rarely make multiple beads of the same design.  I get bored easily, so I usually make just one or two identical beads, then move on to a different project.  This challenge was a test of endurance and patience for me.  Especially now that I get tired easily.  Hindi kaya ng powers ko.

So I had to simplify the flower bead into something more practical, but still charming and still represent me.  The original plan with the flower bead was to add interest through texture and layers.  This time, I wanted to focus on contrast. I was toying with the idea of doing black image transfers onto white clay, but trashed it because I couldn't find an image I wanted to use.


At the very last minute, I finally found a variation I could live with.  I used the textured leaf element from the flower bead, and combined that with the image transfer idea, and came up with my Toile de Jouy leaf beads.  Don't they remind you of toile fabric?


The smaller black and gray leaves were individually sculpted by hand.  They're teeny tiny, so I had to work on them in the afternoons when the light was good.  The larger white leaf were measured using a teardrop cutter for uniformity, then pinched and sculpted by hand to give it a more leaf-like shape.  The image was then hand stamped.

 

I wanted to add a surprising detail to the back of the beads, so I stamped another detail on the rounded corners. These beads are top-drilled, so they can be used as a charm, or added to wire-wrapped projects.



What I learned from this challenge:
  • I've known this for a long time, but I am stressing it again: it's hard to keep white clay white, ugh.  But with practice, I can now make clean, unmuddied white beads. Yay.
  • My eyes can't keep up with me anymore - I can't work with black clay at night.
  • Now I know I was just suffering from tamaditis.  I was just too lazy to do production work.  Thanks to this challenge, I'm now ready to start making identical beads in larger numbers - yey!
Today Mr. Mailman came and brought me the swap beads from my guild-mates! Woohoo!  Here's my loot from the swap, plus a few extra goodies from generous members.


Aren't they all lovely?  Check out more pics of these beads on our FB fan page!

Monday, June 27, 2011

At Home


I'd like to share with you this quick snapshot taken from the shop.  This is our collection of home accessories we've been making through the years.  I'm calling it The Beadlady At Home.

A few handmade throw pillow cases with pretty prints and tabletop mannequins (for organizing your accessories) are available for purchase.  They'll look lovely in your craft room or living area.  The vintage prints on the wall will also be available soon.  Something to watch out for.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Secret Garden Monograms


I'm finally posting some new stuff for sale online, after months of quiet.  Please stay tuned!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The old air Ozonizer (my first attempt at Steampunk)

 

I've always admired Christi Friesen's Steampunk creations, but I never found the courage to try it out.  Until recently.  Thanks to the creative ladies at the Philippine Polymer Clay Guild, I caught the Steampunk bug.  My fellow guild mates Gin Rose Caballero, Ghie Malig, Melody Felipe, and Donna Cruz have all done such a wonderful job with Steampunk that I was encouraged to try it out.  

Here's my very first attempt.  This is actually an old, broken perfume bottle.  I decided to upcycle it by covering it with clay and turning it into a pendant (there's a small hole in the cap where you can string a chain through).

I had so much fun creating this, that I even wrote a little note to Professor Contraption, the quirky character in CF's book Steampunkery.  Teehee.

Dear Professor Contraption,

I found this odd thingamabob in my grandfather's old tackle box a fortnight ago.  It is a glass vial of some sort, with a gold screw-on cap, and a hole in the upper right corner.  It appears to have lost its plug.  The gears do not seem to be working, but I imagine it is an old air purifier. London air enters the hole when the plug is dettached, and you sip the fresh, Ozonified air through the open cap, just like you would a flask of whisky.  Gentlemen in the center of London would have carried such a contraption in their coat pocket, given the murky atmosphere of coal smoke in the city.

I am holding on to it for safekeeping, but know that whenever you are on your way to the old city, you are welcome to come knocking on my door to borrow it.

Angeli


I actually did a little research to find out how they would've sounded like in the good old days of steam and coal.  Just to make the note sound a little bit authentic.  Just for fun. And how fun to find out that June 14 was actually world Steampunk day!


I want to do more Steampunkery!  Will keep my eye open for more broken bits.  If you have some cool but useless stuff (old watches, tiny vials, etc), please send them my way!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More May Flowers

These floral pendants were created using the same technique I used for the Feuille de Autumne piece.  

I love adding the stitched texture to each petal.  They're tiny, so it's a bit of a struggle not to squish them while working on them.  They're each the size of a finger nail, some a bit smaller! Here's what the texture looks like up close:


By just changing the colors and modifying the way petals are positioned, you create an entirely different look.




Sunday, June 5, 2011

Feuille de Autumne


The last week of May proved to be quite productive. I just had to scratch my polymer clay itch, as I have not  made anything new in a while.  I was able to cough up this pendant after a futile attempt to make something intricate.  It's quite frustrating - it didn't turn out exactly like I hoped.

I have a small collection of scrapbook papers which I never use for scrapbooking.  Instead, I use them for inspiration or for photo backdrops.  


I am fond of this particular sheet for its intricate details - delicate stitchery, a burst of color,  and paisley-like patterns.  It's called Feuille de Autumne.


I guess I captured the essence of the sheet in the pendant I made, but it's not really what I envisioned.  

Although I think I got the petals right. I individually shaped each petal by hand then added the stitches, veins and dots.  But when I tried to combine the petals to make the flower, that's when the problem started.  They didn't quite "stand" or "fall" the way I wanted them to.  Every little pinch, they'd die in my finger.  Frustrating! I wanted a bulb in full bloom.  Oh well, I'll try again next time.


Friday, June 3, 2011

The Philippine Polymer Clay Guild

We recently started a local polymer clay guild here in the Philippines - this is actually my 3rd or 4th attempt to form a group of like-minded artists.  The first few attempts failed because of technology - either the sites that hosted the groups began charging, or they remained free but were hard to access and manage.

Since I am on sabbatical from teaching and production work, I finally found the time to try again.  Thanks to the wonders of facebook, we were able to gather a few Pinoy hobbyists and entrepreneurs from all over the country who share the same love for polymer clay, and more importantly, the same vision of creating a friendly and helpful community of artists with the same principles.  We call ourselves Polymer clay People Philippines - a nickname.  P3 for short. Officially, we are the Philippine Polymer Clay Guild.

The past few weeks have been such a joy - I met new people, drooled over their work, and shared fun discussions about all things clay, and beyond!

Just last weekend, a few of us met for lunch - our first Meet and Greet.  It was fun seeing old faces, and meeting new ones.  Apart from the never ending gabfest and the ooohing-and-aaaahing over a few handmade pieces that a few were able to bring, there was no real activity yet for this first meeting. It was a time for new acquaintances. I'm excited for the next meetings!

Photos grabbed from Joyce, Jhoi, and Ling.

Our guild’s objectives:
1. Build a community.

To create a cooperative and caring community of artists who share the same interest and principles, who help each other develop skills through group discussions and meet-ups.

2. Promote respect.

To foster respect among fellow polymer clay artists, and make a stand against photo theft, copying, and disregard for another artist’s rights.

3. Educate.

To hold continuous discussions and trainings that advance our craftsmanship, so we may produce local talent that can compete in an international level.

4. Produce high-quality work.

To elevate polymer clay into a medium of art, and not simply a craft material, by creating exceptional pieces that are of high quality.

5. Uphold local Pinoy talent.

To promote our craft against the threats of mass-produced products coming from China and other countries, by educating people about the difference of our original handmade work from cheap, imported merchandise.
We are still in the process of getting settled in, but you'll hear from us very soon!  Watch out for P3!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blast from the past

Friendster died last night.  I kept putting off saving my data, until I totally forgot about it.  I almost had a heart attack last night when I realized I only had 30 minutes to salvage my old photos.  When I lost my old Picturetrail account eons ago, I lost most of the photos from when I was just starting to sell my handmade jewelry.  So I wasn't about to lose my precious Friendster photos without a fight.  Good thing the actual exporting of files through the Exporter app has been extended until June 27!

Here are some photos I salvaged earlier today.  I can't help but feel nostalgic.


I used to wear really funky neck pieces to school, and would receive a lot of compliments.  That's when I decided to start selling my work.


I don't remember when I made this necklace.  I called it "Vintage Meets Punk".  It must have been in 2004 or 2005, judging from my outfit below. Ah, college days.


And on a side note, here's an old logo from those days, also saved from my Friendster account. Illustrated by dear Marco, and colored by me through Photoshop.  Teehee.


It pains me to think about all those lost photos from now-defunct websites.  I remember many more funky necklaces and out of this world accessories I made as a teen.  Sigh. 

So friends, always archive photos of your work, no matter how crazy you think your projects are.  It will be nice to look back someday, and say, I've come a long way.
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