Poker chips and possibilities

I did manage to spend some time playing around in my studio yesterday.  Because it had been such a long time since I had last spent any real time in the studio, I decided to do something fun and without pressure.  So I made polymer clay poker chips.

I’m going to the Clay Carnival in Las Vegas next month and I needed to make a pile of poker chips to swap there.  I got out my Stewart Gill paints and just played around.  They’re definitely not high art, but they were fun to make.  Plus I got a chance to use translucent Kato clay for the first time.  Wonderful stuff.  Very clear, easy to make extremely thin sheets and it bakes up with a shiny finish.  The more I have worked with the new Kato clay, the more I love it.

I started the day with metals class at the Guilford Art Center.  I had a grand time soldering some bezels together.  It was so great using the studio’s acetylene torches.  Having a decent torch makes the process go really quickly.

I use 24 guage sterling strip to form the walls of the bezels, bending the shape I want with chain nose pliers.  Then I solder that closed.  File the joint smooth and solder the form to a base sheet of sterling.  Then using a jeweler’s saw I cut the shape out of the base sheet and file, file, file until everything is smooth.  It still takes a fair amount of time to make them, but at least I wasn’t fighting with my tiny torch.  Now I’ve got four empty shapes.  Think of all the possibilities!

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5 Friday Favorites – Bezel Forms

It occured to me that I haven’t done a Friday Favorites post in a long time.  Also I have a bit of free time since E is off visiting friends and she has my car.

Metal bezel forms work really well with polymer clay.  These days I usually make my own from sterling silver sheet or wire, but there are more and more online sources for bezel forms in silver and inexpensive base metals.  Here are 5 sources I have found:  (as usual this list is in no particular order)

Ornamentea sells very cool low relief base metal bezel forms in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.  You can even cover the mesh shapes with polymer clay.  They also sell coordinating chains and findings. As with any of these type of rigid bezel forms, I recommend popping the polymer clay out after it is baked and reattaching with a judicious ammount of two part epoxy.

Singaraja Imports has great “bead frames” in silver in a wide variety of shapes.  They work wonderfully with polymer clay.  You can order online, but I highly recommend checking them out in person if you can get to a bead show on their schedule.

Objects & Elements, Susan Lenart Kazmer’s online shop sells a variety of very cool and unique bezel forms designed primarily for use with resin.  They work equally well with polymer clay.  Her bezels are available in silver and in base metal versions.

Polymer Clay Express has an extensive collection of bezels.  Since they specialize in products for polymer clay artists, they have a range of different items.  Scroll down the jewelry findings page on their website.

John W Golden’s supply shop on etsy has a selection of interesting bezels.  I haven’t ordered from him, but I think the double sided shapes are really intriguing.  I found a link to his resin jewelry videos on You Tube the other day.  Watch all three parts if you are interested in working with resin.  Lots of good information.  By the way, resin looks great over polymer clay.

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Filling those bezels

Over the last few months I’ve managed to make a pile of silver bezels. It takes the right kind of mood for me to get into the groove of filling them. Fortunately, I’ve been in the mood lately:

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Simple shapes, patterns, textures and colors. Half of me thinks I am in a rut and the other half is having fun. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the pebbly sandpaper texture.

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