The Mother of Invention: A New Creative Map

Sometimes I  sit down at my clay table with a specific goal in mind, but no idea really how I’m going to do it.  Then I document each and every step of the design process to create what I call my Creative Maps – or how I get from here to there..

This time I wanted to see if I could adapt Mr. Jan Montarse’s Easy Back so it could be used not just for pendants, but for broaches as well.  I had thought of and rejected at least 15 different ideas, but once I had a piece in hand, it was so obvious to me!

mapASo this Creative map is in 3 parts. First, the actual adaptation (the JanSyn back?) click the picture to make it bigger!   I was consolidating some transfer art folders into one folder on my cloud and I came across some images I hadn’t played with yet.  Perfect for my trials right?  I also wanted to play with my new Melanie Muir template I got at ES2.


This idea worked!  the shape of the circle helps to lock the pin back into place. So now this piece can be worn either as a pendant (through the top holes) or a pin (using either one of the top holes and one of the smaller holes).  My early prototypes (you will see later) only had one smaller hole, but since I couldn’t be bothered with deciding which way the pin would sit from the back, I put 2 holes.


I found this old image of grasses and thought it would be perfect for another idea I had percolating.  I had decided that my Sculpey New Color Tuesdays for August would be about the blues.  I don’t normally use blue clays, so it was time..

Now since I knew from my coloring that the blue/teal pens shift to lovely greens on gold clays, I decided to add a little bit of gold to this Skinner blend of Souffle Sea Glass and Robin Egg by adding a very thin layer of Premo! 18K Gold over the entire blend before starting it.  This didn’t have to be a perfect Judith Skinner blend of the colors, so I just overlapped the two colors. It worked!  My blues shifted to rich, warm teals!  And you can see that this original prototype (with only one broach hole at the bottom) is sporting both the pendant cording and the pin- I may even wear the pendant with the pin in place since we don’t have much call for wearing clothing heavy enough to support a broach.  The pendant pieces were baked on a large metal bowl to give just a gentle curve to them, while the back is baked on the smallest mound on the Sculpey Hollow Bead Maker that it will fit.


But I wasn’t done!  I did my NCT August Blues mixes and used the scraps from that as just marbled clay to create some more pendants.  I even added some more oldie-but-goodie transfer patterns to the mix, this time experimenting with mixing the patterns and colors.

And finally, I had a bolo tie mount that I had been thinking about, so I started the prototype for it as well.

A totally fun day!

Click here for the PDF of all 3 maps: Map binder

Click here for the PDF of the grass transfer: SP 45-2 combo

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The Advantages of a Disadvantage

synsgraphicsSo most of you know that I’m currently sporting a non-walking cast and using a knee scooter (2).  Looking at the advantages of being a little less moveable, I have been wanting to create some more transfer patterns of my own (vs purchased clipart) for awhile, so I spent an afternoon creating several patterns. These graphic designs were created in Photoshop, while the floral design below was hand drawn, scanned into Photoshop, cleaned up and some small dots added to the artwork.

Then I spent a couple of days trying to get the nerve up to ask one of my neighbors to drive me to Kinkos so I could print them on their toner-based copier so I could transfer them. I thoroughly enjoyed basking in their glow on my living room table for an hour while I cut them apart.

My current knee scooter is designed for outdoors and is too large to navigate the narrow (hoarder style) paths in my studio, but I do have a smaller, lighter scooter (designed for little old ladies) that I found that I could pretty much navigate in the studio.  So between the rolling office chair and the scooter, I spent a productive day in the studio yesterday! I finished 15 pendants and earring sets, using the new patterns and my favorite stamp.

stamp and gellismFirst the favorite stamp part. This is a marriage of my stamp and a gelli plate on Sculpey Souffle. If you don’t know about my stamp:

Now some of the pendants with the new designs (left one is much nicer than this photo) (Premo! Accents Metallics and Glitter Metallics):








And finally, one of my new floral artwork designs (much prettier than the photo):

And yes, Fandangoers and Euro Synergy 2 class people, these patterns will be used in class.  There will be tutorials coming out on Beads, Baubles & Jewels and another popular tutorial site in several months. In the meantime, I’m still teaching it!

syns flowerssm


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2207J My Most Favorite Stamp EVER

syn stamp 1sm step 10
2207J!!! It’s baaaack!!!!  In case you didn’t know, 2207J is my most favorite stamp EVER.  It’s my GoTo background stamp for the last 15 years at least. I just love the large size of it and the non-directional patterning. I can literally close my eyes and open a project file and find a photo with this stamp. My 2207J lives in a place of honor on my worktable.  When Judikins removed it from their website, I went into mourning for years and refused to have it travel with me anymore, just in case I lost it.

WELL GUESS WHAT!!!  I had the opportunity to speak to Judi from Judikins at CHA this year and I told her about my stamp.  She asked me if I knew the stock number by heart and I was so excited I yelled “2207J” like an old blue haired lady would yell Bingo!

I even called my son who was at home and asked him to go out and double check my stamp because I was so excited, I didn’t want to screw it up.  He just asked, “Is it in the usual spot?”  I didn’t have to tell him which stamp (there are literally at least 4 cabinets full of stamps), but he KNEW.  He sent me the photo of the stock number and I told Judi that it was indeed 2207J.  She said the magic words, “It’s not discontinued, it can be ordered from us.”

ocean jar final closeI immediately begged and pleaded with Lee Kellogg of Guadalupe’s Fun Rubber Stamps/StampaFe to order it for me.  She already knew about my history with this stamp.

GUESS WHAT I GOT IN THE MAIL TODAY FROM LEE???  A brand spanking new 2207J with a note that she now has several in stock!  Get on this clayers… I’m sure you have a place of honor to put it! (probably not on the website yet)  or email

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OMG! I found it!

Contact Ribbed Shelf paper makes a great texture! That's it on the left side of this pendant.

Con Tact Non Adhesive Ribbed Shelf paper makes a great texture! That’s it on the left side of this pendant.

I’ve always talked to myself and I’m easily excited over cool stuff for clay – so my (over) reaction to something I’ve looked for over a year for was a LITTLE over the top…

Backtrack – last Sept at the Arizona Polymer Clay Retreat in Prescott I got a little bag of repurposed textures.  One of them is easily my most favorite texture in the world now – except I had NO idea what it was originally intended for.  I was hoping to find out who had contributed it, but she didn’t come this year.

I even took it to Grainger and an RV store to see if they knew what it was.  I was suspecting some sort of patio furniture cover or something…Meanwhile my precious little scrap of texture had it’s own labeled drawer and I refused to take it on my clay voyages in case it got lost.

Imagine my gleeful shock and surprise when I walked by a WHOLE ENDCAP of it at Target today!  It’s drawer liner material! And here were rolls and rolls of it…YES, I squealed.  YES, I jumped up and down..

And YES, the young lady who was also in the aisle with me had an odd “I’m-in-the-aisle-with-a-crazy”  look on her face.  So I quickly explained it to her and showed her a picture of my favorite pendant that I used it on. She seemed genuinely pleased that I had found it…or genuinely pleased that some other people arrived in the aisle…lol

Anyway, this stuff is amazing, roll it through the pasta machine with the clay.  It doesn’t stick to clay much (especially Souffle), so if I forget to spray it with water first, it’s not the end of the texture world.  It DOES have 2 different sides, so find your favorite side and mark it somehow – I cut a notch in top corner like the emulsion side of our old 4×5 film.  Now I can fill that drawer up with more shapes and sizes – I can’t wait!


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It’s our “Moment”

“It’s my moment with my creation and I never quite have that same feeling again….”

View this project on the Sculpey website at:

View this project on the Sculpey website at:

When I was demoing at Sandy Camp last week, we were talking about the minor eccentricities of the new Sculpey Opal clay. I had suggested that clayers use small scissors to trim the opal flakes poking out the sides of their clay before baking.  Someone (oh those rowdy clay troublemakers) asked, “Why not trim it after it’s baked?” I took a second and then told them this:


“We have a wedding coming up in the family and I’ve gotten hooked on “Say Yes to the Dress” where it’s all about that “Bridal Moment”.  I think our “Clay Moment” happens when we take our piece out of the oven…I never again feel that same rush for that particular piece – it’s my moment with my creation and I never quite have that same feeling again.  And maybe that’s why I like that show – I know exactly what they are feeling!”

Now, don’t get me wrong – there are a variety of other positive emotions I experience as I complete the piece, admire the finished piece and share with others, but for me, there is nothing that rivals that feeling when I pull it hot from the oven.  How about you?  What is your favorite time?

Im teachingJoin us for the Polymer Clay Adventure 2016 – experience 24 different teachers, chat with artists from all over the world – all from the comfort of your own home.

And don’t forget that I will be teaching at Euro-Synergy 2 in France next July and Fandango next May!


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Fairy Gardens are Addicting!

So my friend and I were in a local plant nursery and we say this charming display of fairy houses and fairy gardens.  Of course, since I relate everything to clay, I was muttering, “I can do this out of clay”  I had even recently answered an inquiry to Sculpey about if it was possible to make stepstones for a fairy garden out of clay. (answer: YES)

Log finalWhen I got home (in perfect timing) I had received a box with the new products from Sculpey, so I immediately went to the clay table.  First up, a fairy door created with a slice of a small log I had sitting by the fire pit forever.

This project is available on the Sculpey website at:

I used the new Sculpey decals to add detail on the window of the door and lots and lots of stepping stones!

seasideNext up was a seaside mini table garden, using a little beach chair that I bought at the plant nursery.  I decorated the outside of the palm planter, created a table (using a decal for the top) and even made little tiny flip flops.

Then I opened the first of the Sculpey Design-It stencil sets and it was on for the third set.  (I always have to work in groups of three – and yes, I’m a science fiction fantasy person and science fiction is almost always a trilogy).

I created this little table and chair set using the stencilstable set final 1sm
and an extruder.  Here is the link to this project: Souffle Fairy House Table Set

It’s late summer now and the gardens are so overgrown, I have to search for the sets in the leaves, but it’s worth the search – they look amazing!

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Now This is Serious Bling!

OK, it’s my birthday today, but I’m giving you guys a present!  It’s a NCT (New Color Tuesday) on Friday because 1) I just can’t wait 2)If you are lucky enough to have these colors, I *know* how you are spending your weekend at your clay table!

NCT Aug 2015 bonusSo this month I’m spending the month
NCT Aug 2015 bonus 1mixing the new Premo! Opal clay with colors for the Sculpey New Color Tuesday.  I got a wild idea to mix the Opal with the new Glitter Golds.  This is some serious Bling!

2:1 is 2 parts Opal, 1 part Gold

4:1 is 4 parts Opal, 1 part Gold


Happy birthday to me!!  Wheeeeee

And this is what you can do with these colors

And this is what you can do with these colors


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