Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

Posts Tagged ‘polymer’

Silver Meets Deeply-domed Polymer (Month of Earrings #25-26)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/03/30

I really like the colors and shape of the four smallest cane slices that I found in the box that “Beading Heart” Barbara gave me (with which to explore designs that mixed silver with her polymer); my challenge with those four was how to work with domes of that depth.

One idea was to just let you look deep into them, each with a little bit of silver dangling in back having a shape and texture that would help point the way:

Silver Meets Polymer #8

I was glad that my earlier “movement” pieces had already shown I could have the wire stretch up the back.

I had also been particularly happy with the outcome of my MoE #16, so I decided to try swapping the roles of silver and the “other bead(s)” to come up with this pair:

Silver Meets Polymer #9

Which, of course, came to me because, by the time I got to thinking about these polymer pieces, I had a set of little cylinders available. Tubes will be the topic of my next post another post soon but, for now, I’ll just say that, “It sure is fun when things work out like that!”

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Even More Silver Meets Polymer (Month of Earrings # 23-24)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/03/29

Since my last trials combining my silver work with that of Barbara’s polymer seemed to work out well, here are a few more.

I think these two black-and-white cane slices are my favorites of the ones Barbara gave me.

Silver Meets Polymer #6
I’m glad my earlier trial with the green and black domed pieces turned out as well as they did: that made it easier for me to decide how to build those up.

I tried something different with these:

Silver Meets Polymer #7

When I put these up for sale I will mark them as “reversible” because you can take the dangles off the (purchased, sterling) earwires and turn them around the other way. The “other side” has a bead at the center, but no silver disk covering up any of the delightful color blend. (Sorry, but I just didn’t think to take a photo of that side while I still had some daylight…)

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Silver Meets Polymer Again (Month of Earrings #19-20-21-22)

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/03/28

I’ve been talking lately with my friend Barbara (aka Beading Heart) about various ways to combine metal and polymer clays. She kindly donated a few of her polymer canes to my earring explorations.

Some of them seemed to fit right in with my experiments into the “spinner disk” concept. I think one reason Barbara and I work well together must be because we both like those domed shapes—here are a couple of my earrings made with her domed cane slices (these photos lack a bit of depth…both the polymer in back and the silver disks in front are concave):

Silver Meets Polymer #2 Silver Meets Polymer #3

In some of the all-silver styles I showed earlier, it seemed to make a noticeable difference to the “balance” of the earrings whether the long stretch of wire ran up the front or the back. With these lightweight polymer pieces, however, it doesn’t seem to matter quite so much (though it is still good if the wires are appropriately work-hardened once you’ve got them in place). That is a useful thing to know going forward.

While we’re experimenting, it also makes sense to try comparing flat polymer disks too; again, the canes were provided by Barbara, and I repeated both of the styles of wires I’d used above:

Silver Meets Polymer #4 Silver Meets Polymer #5

I was happy to see that these seem to remain “upright” better than the the ones with big metal disks. That’s good because it provides a practical reason, as well as an artistic one, for using these two materials together.

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Finding the “Right” Use for Various Components

Posted by C Scheftic on 2010/03/13

A third pair of earrings for the Month of Earrings challenge:

Silver Meets Polymer #1

A good number of years ago, the daughter of a friend received a collection of packages of polymer clay as a gift from one of her aunts (in another state, over 1000 miles away). None of me, my friend, nor her daughter had ever worked with the stuff before (though I’d at least seen pieces made with it). As a subsequent gift from me to this friend (who said she wanted “time” more than anything else), I said I’d figure out what to do with the clay and, the next time the kids had a day off school on a workday for the parents, I’d take the day off to stay with them and hold a little “polymer party” to keep them busy for several hours. (She was delighted with the offer!)

Between seeing the daughter’s clay and making the offer, I did spend one evening experimenting with polymer, just to see what I might be getting myself into. I gave some of my results to the children, and kept a few others that I’ve used here and there over the years. The blue and white beads, above, are the only ones remaining from that episode. Little leftovers, different from each other in size and shape, they have been sitting in one of my bead-stash boxes biding their time.

The little round silver ball has been sitting in a silver-stash box as well. (You laugh at all this talk of stashes? Please leave a comment describing yours, dear reader!) The base was made as I was showing a friend how to work with cork clay: I make small, simple demo pieces and wait for some other opportunity to use them. Mine sat there, unfired, for months. One day when I was trying to show a student some things about manipulating a syringe full of clay, I pulled out the little ball, and illustrated my comments by decorating it.

So along comes this earring challenge. I looked at those three pieces and said, the silver ball is a little smaller than the polymer one, but the three pieces do sort of go together. Make a fourth variation. Thus, the brand-new silver cylinder.

When I went to put them all together, I decided I didn’t want to do the “usual” thing of putting a pair of beads on some wire, topping that with a wrapped loop, and dangling that from an earwire. (I do have some like that in the works. It’s just not what I wanted for these.) I wanted a one-piece construction: for each earring I made a headpin (by cutting two pieces of Argentium sterling silver wire and using a torch to ball up one end of each), put the silver and polymer beads on those (in opposite orders), topped each pair with a tiny white seed bead, and bent the rest of that metal into its own earwire.

One main reason for the usual (two-part) process is to hold it all together. The wrapped loop at the top helps prevent the components from just sliding off the wire and getting lost. Here, instead, I added the tiny seed bead on top: its hole is far smaller than those of the other two components of each piece. After bending the earwire into shape, and rounding off the far end, I flattened the curved part some with a hammer. That serves two purposes:

  • It work-hardens the wire a bit, which should help it last longer, and
  • The flattening makes the wire too big for the little seed bead to pass, thus forcing all the beads to stay on the wire!

I sure hope someone will like them enough to buy them and give them a good home.

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