Monday, 30 August 2010

An exhibition of jewellery, stained glass, embroidery, patch work, felt and painting

I'm taking part in an exhibition of tutors work from Missenden Abbey where I teach polymer clay. It's in High Wycombe library and runs from Thursday 2nd September to the 29th.( see invite) Not exactly on everyone's door step I agree but just in case anyone does get there I will give them a pair of polymer clay earrings of their choice FREE- whey hey! 


Friday, 27 August 2010

8,192 reasons to be absolutely charming...

To be honest I'm not really into charms so when my sister asked me to 'quickly' make a charm bracelet for a 13 year old whose into music, gymnastics and animals etc I found this really good site,

They have over 8000 charms on every single subject under the sun. Also other bits and bobs, findings etc. Next day service, good quality stuff and I believe they ship worldwide. Also, I actually got to speak to a real live human being when I called them.

So if you ever need to buy a tiny Scottie dog or bowling ball in sterling silver you know where to look!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

On the art of procrastination and Websites!!

I've had my website since 2005, it was put together by Michael Taylor  It lists my events and teaching courses, testimonials and a bit about me and pics of my jewellery from a few years ago-all fine and dandy.

Now it needs a jolly good seeing to, in other words- UPDATING. At the moment all my new work is going onto flickr- see and I need to seriously think about having some sort of e-commerce.  

I am the worlds greatest procrastinator and it is a case of getting down to it. I've had some great offers of help so as it's a horrid wet day here in London - just do it Debbie!!

In the meanwhile a few pics of some of my more recent stuff

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

10 of the best....books on metal clay

Really, really difficult to chose ten, much less put them in any particular order. I guess I'm aiming here more at someone starting out but as ever all totally subjective. Just cos your book isn't here doesn't mean I don't love you!
  • CeCe Wire 'New Directions in Metal Clay'. project lead but really good intro covering all the basics
  • Jackie Truty 'Metal Clay, the Complete Guide'. again, very comprehensive, geared towards Art Clay Silver
  • Hadar Jacobson 'The Handbook of metal clay, Textures and Forms' I'm always dipping in and out of this and her other 2 books. I'm a huge fan of her work and her simple, elegant techniques.
  • Sherri Haab 'Metal Clay and Mixed Media Jewelery' and 'The Art of Metal Clay' Quite a craft orientated approach but fun and easy projects to follow.
  • Tim Mcreight (Ed) 'Precious Metal Clay Techniques' A whole range of top top artists share their particular specialisms. Not beginners stuff but crammed full of information.
  • Barbara Becker Simon 'Metal Clay Beads' Stunning projects. I did a class with her this year,she's a hoot.
  • Linda Kaye Moses 'Pure Silver Metal Clay Beads'  You wait forever for one book about beads to come along... also good and different enough to get both
  • Patricia Kimlie 'Perfectly paired, designing jewelry with polymer and metal clays'. A really different take on using both materials together. I thought of it first but she did it!!
  • Kate McKinnon 'Sculptural metal clay jewelry' really different and interesting approach, lots of food for thought.
and by no means least...

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Using polymer clay as a sketching medium for design

Rather than drawing my ideas in 2D, I use polymer clay as a sketching medium for designing my metal clay work. It means I can easily work out not only the actual look of a piece but the 'engineering' as well. This saves the worry of the clay drying out or the feeling that once you have invested time, energy and money into something you feel you have to keep going even if it isn't exactly right.

With the polymer I feel much freer to experiment, I can see how a piece works in 3D and I can repeat the process until I'm really happy with it. Then it's much easier to 'translate' into metal clay working quickly and fluently.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

10 of the best.. books on polymer clay

OK- a few caveats first... Actually, I could put these in any order but we do LOVE a top 10 list! There are of course 100's to choose from but these are the books that I am constantly dipping in and out of ; I think they're well written, well illustrated and, depending on my changing interests always have something new to offer. I've listed the publishers but as far as I know they're pretty much all available thro Amazon

  • How to make polymer clay beads. Carol Blackburn        My book of choice for people starting out with polymer clay.
  • The Art of Polymer clay: Millefiori techniques. Donna Kato
  • The Art of Polymer clay: Creative surface techniques. Donna Kato. These 2 books really cover everything we need to know, clear and easy to follow.
  • Polymer Clay Creative Traditions. Techniques and projects inspired by the fine and decorative arts Judy Belcher 30 different projects following interesting art inspired themes.
  • Polymer Clay Surface Design Recipes 100 mixed media techniques Ellen Marshall
  • Polymer Clay Color Inspirations, techniques and jewelry projects for creating sucessful pallettes. Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio The queens of colour, quite technical but a must have for moving into the realm of creative colour.
  • The Art of Polymer clay: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration. Katherine Duncan Animone  more advanced and projects aren't so easy to follow but amazing work.
  • Ancient Modern, polymer clay and wire jewelry. Rona Sarvas Weltman a strong, style lead book with a fresh and modern approach to polymer clay- love it
  • Mixed Media Mosaics, using polymer clay tiles, beads and other embellishments. Laurie Mika  Pub. North Light Books. Again, strong, style specific but polymer clay with a message! 
  • and last but by no means least.... 400 Polymer clay designs   Published in 2004 and IMHO due for an updated version, however eye candy galore and constant source of inspiration.
The upshot of all this, I've had to join a book club cos I don't read FICTION anymore- call me sad or what!!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Have you been Zentangled yet?

I first came across the 'concept' of Zentangles via Susan Lomuto's  ( one of my daily must see blogs btw)

It's basically a black and white doodle, and as I have been a compulsive doodler since school I thought oh good, a new idea for an image transfer on polymer clay for my big bangles. I then look into this via and discover a whole world of people doing the most amazing drawings with Flickr groups , blogs galore, Squidoo lens  -the works. There seems to be this whole philosophy around doodling! and I quote

'Zentangle turns drawings into artistic design while reducing stress and improving focus....developed by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, the traditional zentangle includes a ritual to help get in touch with life while creating beautiful art'
Suzanne McNeill certified Zentangle teacher

Hmmmmm.. call me a sceptic but this is a case of arty b*****x right ? or maybe it's the next big thing What do you think ?. Anyway, a few of my first attempts follow

Thursday, 19 August 2010

It's my blog and I can brag if I want to...

Talking of mixed media, after all this is a blog about polymer amd metal clay, it only makes sense to show off some of my earlier work using the 2 materials together. Why? because I can!

Metal Clay Today, a great online magazine

Metal Clay Today  is relatively new and a really welcome addition to the gathering number of publications on and offline about all things metal clay. You can sign up to receive the mag on their site

In their own words
'Metal Clay Today is devoted to giving recognition, encouragement and a voice to the many gifted artisans, teachers and enthusiasts in the metal clay world.'

They run competitions and the current one is all about mixed media work, a theme close to my heart ( did I get my act together to submit- er NO!)

However many did and the entered work is amazing, I'm particularly impressed by the quality of the photography. You can vote for your favourite. Mine's a space piece by UK's Lisa Cain ( but I shouldn't really tell you that!!)


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Learn from the masters on CraftEDU

Donna Kato, famed polymer clay artist, teacher and author of some of the best PC books around has gathered a pretty awesome bunch of artists on  Not just polymer and metal clay but a whole range of other crafts and fine art. There's also a blog

I just bought the tutorial to make this landscape cane by Bettina Welker. It's well written and easy to follow. Needless to say, I havent actually made it yet!!

The tutorials are for sale but there are some freebie intro videos as well.

It's a definite trend to sell tutorials, Etsy are chocker block with them, also check out

But if you cant take a class with the real deal, it's absolutely the next best thing

Didn't manage to get to the PMC Conference in Purdue this year?

Nope- neither did I. It looked fab and judging by feedback from ecstatic delegates was pretty dam good!

However don't panic cos they've posted all the handout out notes from the event. To be found here

Some are more 'stand alone' than others. I particulary liked Bench Tricks from Elizabeth Agte, Putting Beauty in the Details from Terry Kovalcik and Enamel Illusions from Cindy Silas.

I think its so generous of both the presenters and the PMC Guild to share all this info but hey , that's the metal clay community for you!

My projects in Making Jewellery Magazine- a jolly good read!

Making Jewellery Magazine hit the high street just over a year ago and I think it's probably the best of its kind in the UK at the moment.  It covers easy to do 'at home' projects with metal clay, polymer clay, beading, lampwork, as well as more tradtional silversmithing work. Also some pretty good links to jewellery suppliers.

It has a bit of a way to go before it's as good as the American Art Jewelry mag but a very good start.

They're also very good at posting projects on their website. Check out

I've written 7 jewellery projects for them using metal clay and polymer clay and 2 event reviews .You can see those on my flickr site with a bit of preview below.

Happy reading

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

I LOVE teaching

Since I was 16, when I spent a month in a Primary School after doing my 'O' levels, I wanted to teach, and that's what I did for many years. Admittedly that was with 7-12 year old kids and long before jewellery making was even a remote twinkle.

Fast forward, several careers later and here I am again teaching, adults this time, metal clay and polymer clay and I'm LOVING it.  What's more, you never seem to lose the knack...

I teach polymer clay and metal clay at City Lit at  
The London Jewellery School,  
Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery and
Great Missenden Adult Ed College

See what some of my students from City Lit and other places have to say...

I also teach privately from my studio in North West London, either 1:1 or small groups up to 3/4 people
So when I say designer, maker ,teacher- I mean it!!

Monday, 2 August 2010

So proud to be featured on Polymer Clay Daily

Check out Friday 30th July on which featured my Big Linx necklace and 'Over the rainbow' Big Bangle. Completely chuffed to have had work on my fav polymer clay blog IN THE WORLD!! and over whelmingly positive feedback as well. Which is good as the little critters take ages and ages to make.