Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mini Garden Pendants in Epoxy Clay

New Medium - Epoxy Clay!  
Custom Mini Rose Garden Pendant
I've started playing with a new medium - epoxy clay! It's also called jewelry clay or crystal clay and it's a 2-part clay that feels like polymer clay but has epoxy glue/binder in it.

 Epoxy clay - comes in 2 parts.  This is the pack I used from Fire Mountain Gems.
 Also available at Michaels Craft Stores and many online bead/jewelry venues in small amounts.

So what's this strange clay good for?  Many fun and creative endeavors, including making your own rhinestone jewelry or beads, decorating high heels, adding a little something to picture frames....and probably several others .  I chose to make mini-gardens using glass beads and bezel settings!

 A close-up of my Mini Rose Garden Pendant in red.

I'm thinking of and planning more uses for epoxy clay...  If you are like me and want to test out these fun new products, then pick some up and try it!  This is an easy one to use as you don't need any special tools - just the clay, whatever you want to embed, and whatever you want to decorate!  You can use polymer clay tools with this, but I'm not sure if you have to worry about cross-contamination with polymer clay.  This is a little stickier since an adhesive is involved.  If you do use any tools, make sure you clean them well when you are done - the epoxy will make the clay stick very well to just about everything!

Mini Rose Garden Pendant - Coral Rose, Glass Leaves

This clay air dries in 24 hours and has a work time of about an hour.  Fingers work great for forming it if you don't have tools on hand, but remember to be safe - work in a ventilated area and wear gloves.  I suggest vinyl because they are affordable and easy to find (I can find them at most grocery stores in the cleaning aisle).  Nitrile will also work, but some epoxy reacts with latex.

  Mini Flower Garden Pendant - in Blue and Yellow

If you are going to make jewelry, start with the smallest amount you can buy - a very little bit goes a long way.  I only needed a pea-sized amount for these pendants!  If you are interested in larger projects, buy in bulk as it will save you $$$.  Here's some more info and bulk sales:  Epoxy Clay.

Mini Garden Pendant - Leaves in Coral and Cream
These mini garden pendants are now available in my Etsy Shop, PZ Designs, here: Mini Garden Pendants.

I'm working on a variety of styles, with more coming soon....and I LOVE taking custom requests!  I also love sharing knowledge and learning from others, so don't be shy with questions, either!

Happy Creating!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jewelry Magazines - Comprehensive List, Anyone?

I keep finding new jewelry making magazines, and was wondering how many were out there.  I've found the following, and have seen/read most of the ones from the U.S.  The Belle Armoire Jewelry is completely new to me, and the Bead Design magazine is the newest one that I've gotten to read through.  BeadStyle and Beadwork are still favorites, but it's fun to change it up sometimes!  I'm really interested in the international magazines that have been suggested.....

From Kalmbach Publishing Company:

BeadStyle Magazine
(also Special Issues such as Everyday Gemstones, Pearls)

     Yearlies from Kalmbach:

(sold as a Special Issue)

From Interweave Press:

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist Magazine
More Yearlies from Interweave:

From Stampington and Company:

From All American Crafts:

From Northridge Publishing:

From Scott Publications:

From Brysella Publishing:

Creative Fire Magazine (coming Winter 2013)

From Canadian Beading Magazine:

(the only FREE magazine I've found - available online)

From Aceville Publications Ltd.:

From The Guild of Master Craftsman Publications:

From Ashdown Ltd.:

 Bead Magazine (from U.K.)

From Traplet Publications:

From Universal Magazines:

From Woodland Publishing:

Creative Beading (from Australia)

From Digital Beading Magazine:

From Beader's Best:

Perlen Poesie (from Germany, available in English)

From Fantasy Craft Srl:

Bijoux che PASSIONE! (from Italy - no translation available)

From Boutique Co.:

Beads Friend (from Japan)
(publisher's page - in Japanese)

Unknown Publisher:

Bead Art Magazine (from Japan - Yearly)
Showcase from the Yokohama Bead Art Show

From Glass Line:

From Rock and Gem Magazine:

Rock and Gem Magazine
 (if you are interested in more Lapidary magazines, check out this list: Inland Lapidary)

DISCONTINUED - Some jewelry making magazines that are no longer in print.  Many still have back issues available:

So what jewelry magazines have I missed?  I'm sure there are others out there - please leave a comment so I can add to this list!  It would be awesome to have a comprehensive list!

Happy Reading!

EDIT:  I will add the mags I've missed here:

From Valu-Publishing:

 Bead-It Today 

From Amos Press, Inc.:

Crafts and Things 

From Ashdown Inc.:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Designing an Asymmetrical Necklace

There are 2 main types of asymmetry in jewelry:  boldly asymmetric or subtly asymmetric.  I've found some gorgeous pieces from various Etsy sellers to help make my point (you can follow the links below the images to go to each jeweler's shop).  The one above is definitely a bold, while the one below is more subtle.  All of the artists shown have a better grasp on asymmetrical design than I....

So why am I interested in these asymmetrical necklaces?  Basically, I like a challenge and I enjoy pushing myself as a designer.  Since I usually make symmetrical pieces of jewelry, I'm getting out of my comfort zone with some asymmetrical pieces.  Sometimes my best creativity comes from a good challenge! 

The biggest difficulty for me, as a designer, is finding a visual balance when creating an asymmetrical piece.  The necklace above is balanced on the one side by the heavy bead dangle, and on the other by multiple fine chains.  I LOVE visual balance.  It doesn't matter if the necklace is bold or subtle, it's still a challenge for me to find that balance that makes a pleasing piece of jewelry with that  little visual kick that asymmetry provides.  

Unsure what I'm talking about?  Let's see if I can explain it!  Perfect balance would be something symmetrical - a butterfly with it's wings open.  Visual balance doesn't have to be symmetrical, though that is the easiest.  Two small objects can be balanced by one medium object, for example.  In the necklace shown above is an example of balance, too - there are 3 circles on each side of center, but the circle composition differs.  In art, balance is discussed in composition of a painting, drawing, photograph, etc.  I think balance is important in jewelry as well - for many designers, this is an art form!  For more in depth explanations that are still easy to follow, check out these links:  Balance and Visual Balance, or Google it!

I think the pieces I've shown from other jewelery artists on Etsy are exemplary examples of what I would like to have when I'm done - beautiful, wearable designs with that little fun twist that asymmetry provides.  Here are a couple of my completed attempts (my most recent undertaking is still "under construction"!).

 My 1st attempt at asymmetry in design -
The branch is supposed to be balanced by the beaded chain.

My 2nd attempt at asymmetry in design - 
The 3 black beads are balanced by the color and shape change in the blue jade.
Happy Creating!
PZ (PZ Designs on Etsy)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Same Focal Bead, Different Jewelry Designs

 Forget Me Not Earrings - color combo inspired by the beautiful flower
I have been going through my bead stash and found these lovely blue jade disc beads.  I remember (vaguely) buying them but then they just sat around waiting....

Black Swallowtail Bracelet - inspired by the lovely butterfly of the same name
So I scooped up the jade and some other beads and started creating!  From 1 string of beads, I made 4 pieces of jewelry.  I know the earrings are basically the same design, but I think they feel different because of the accent materials used.

Blue Anemone Earrings - this pair of cluster earrings reminds me of the anemone and poppy flowers
This has inspired me to continue to "destash" and create several pieces from a strand of beads.  Why stash beads at all?  I bought them to create, right?!

Bluejay Bracelet - color combination inspired by the bright bird
Maybe this will inspire you to go through you stashes, too, and see what goodies lay forgotten....

All of my available designs are in my Etsy Shop.  All of my designs can be seen in my DeviantArt Gallery.

Happy Creating,