Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crystal clay adventures

I have been busy this week!  I have the Donna Lexa Memorial Art Fair (Mom, click that underliney-bit for show details) this Saturday, and I'm a bit frazzled making more things that I think will fit in.  However, I've had other things going on, too, and my Fibromyalgia is kicking in, so I'm not getting as much done as I'd like.  Throw in a doctor's appointment for Mom on Monday, voting on Tuesday, grocery shopping on Wednesday as well as shipping out a fairly large order (Hi, Karen!), and I'm pooped!

I have two days, though, so if I pace myself and focus (which is proving to be very difficult for me today), I should be in good shape.  Steve says I have enough, but I never feel as if I do.  You never know what last minute creation will be the one that sells.  A number of years ago I stayed up until about 4 am the night before a Christmas craft show making polymer clay beads that look like peppermint candies and putting them in earrings and a necklace.  They now look pretty crappy to me, but I sold quite a bit of it and everyone raved about the beads.  No more late nights for me, though.  I've learned my lesson, especially with the Fibro now.  The show itself will wipe me out for days - no need to pile on top of it with extra fatigue.

The one technique I've been working on this week is crystal clay.  It's called crystal clay because, well, the most common thing to do is to push crystals in.  It's kind of like polymer clay, but it doesn't need to be baked.  Left in the air it will dry to practically cement.  It's two part epoxy clay.  One part is the epoxy stuff, and the other part is the color/clay.  There are at least two brands - Crystal Clay and APOXIE Sculpt. 

I took a class, and these are the two pieces that turned out:

The third one didn't turn out because I didn't mix it well enough.  It's not hard and can be dented with my thumbnail.  Besides, the crystals don't look right.  One of these days I'm going to see if I can salvage the crystals and/or the bezel.  Until then, it sits on my desk as a reminder to mix well.

I'm not going to go into a huge amount of detail on how to use the clay.  It's pretty easy, and I don't want to take away from classes that are out there.  So I'm going to skim.  You'll get the general idea - enough to know if you want to try it and to either experiment or take a class.

First I planned out what I wanted to do.  My readers who know me well will be very surprised at this first project.  Totally out of my color comfort zone!  But I got the bezel on clearance, and the crystals were given to me in the class I took.  Are you ready?

Ack!  Copper and amber!

I took out a blob of each part of the clay, trying to approximate how much I'll need.  This is the hardest part for me - trying to guess.

That looks like an awful lot, but once I mixed it and pressed in into the bezel I had a nice raised square.  It's possibly a bit higher than I would like, but I'm okay with it.  It's copper and amber, after all.  :p  I pressed the three crystals I had chosen into the clay and added a few extras to fill in empty spaces:

I should say at this time that the black clay I'm using is the Crystal Clay brand.  You'll see some using white clay later, and that is the APOXIE Sculpt.

After I got everything placed where I wanted it, I decided to add a bit of sparkle to the clay.  I used a bronze Pearl Ex as lightly as I could.  I was able to get some of it up using Scotch tape, but the crystal clay is a bit stickier than polymer clay (Who knew?  Epoxy clay is sticky?) so I had to be very careful not to bring clay up with the Pearl Ex.  Here's what I ended up with:

I think it's pretty.  Not for me, but for someone who likes these colors.  :)

Here's the planning stage of another piece:

And here's the result:

I used the Micropearl Pearl Ex on this one, and I think it's a bit heavy.  I tried to take it off, but the clay was coming, too.  On this one I dented the clay with my pinky's fingernail to mimic the look of the bezel.  The petals didn't go quite in the same place as I had planned, but as I was working I could almost see where they were supposed to go.  Yeah, I know how crazy that sounds.  I'm an artist.  Deal with it.  :D

Here are the other pieces I made this week:

This is a key/badge holder I got from.... yeah, I don't remember where.  The petals of the flower are glass navette stones (they said they're black opal, but for that price they can't be.  Besides, the backs are all black).  My stepfather bought 72 of them on Ebay for me.  They'll last me a very long time!  I used a blue Pearl Ex to bring out the blues in the navettes.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

It'll be no surprise that most of the rest of the pieces I made this week use the navettes.  I have to use them up!

Here's an adjustable ring:

And a pair of earrings to go with it:

These earrings are lever backs that are already attached to the bezels.  Very neat (and I got them on clearance!).  I have them resting in blobs of polymer clay I use to display rings.  I couldn't get a picture of them otherwise - they roll around.  The Pearl Ex used on the ring and earrings is the Macropearl - it's more glitter than pearl but is pretty subtle, at least on the white clay.

I want to make a bracelet and pendant to match these two pieces, but I don't know if I'll have time before this weekend.  I have tons of other things I want to do!

The last piece I made is a one crystal adjustable ring.  I love the simple, elegant look of it:

The bezel is a bit taller than the crystal, so there's a line of white on the top and bottom.  The crystal really shines in the light.

That's it for the crystal clay for now!  Since I'll be frantic and frenetic (except I'll be slow and only somewhat energized in a rather wild and uncontrolled way instead of fast and energized) the rest of this week, I'm going to wait to blog again until Sunday or Monday.  Wish me luck at the show!


  1. Wow, these crystal clay creations all look impressive - you have been one very busy artist! They are all so different from each other, too. I can't decide between the 3 round pendants which I like best. Best of luck with the art show!

  2. I hope the weather is good for the art show. You have made some very beautiful things.

  3. What a fun blog! I'm glad I stumbled across your writings while on the typical wild-artist-goose-chase online. (That's when I start out looking for one thing, deciding I really should spend my time adding things to my site, adding a few things, getting bored - or finding something more interesting I need to Google, then back to looking up what I was originally looking for, and finally ending on a site about dogs - which has absolutely nothing to do with my art! lol) I'm sorry to hear you battle Fibro - I do as well. I've been really irritable and cranky lately and it finally hit me while I was reading this fun post...I've been doing too much. Like, WAY too much! Since I don't know anyone locally who struggles with Fibro, I tend to forget how much of a toll a lot of energetic activity takes on the old body!

    I really enjoy your blog and am so glad I found it. I will definitely be reading more. I love your style - and from what I've seen, you're talent! :)

  4. "you're talent"?? Yeah - I'm some hillbilly. "Your talent". There, that's better. I'm such a DORK!

  5. can I make own crystal clay by mixing one part china clay and one part epoxy resin?

    1. Hi! Thanks for the comment! I really don't know enough about this to tell you if that will work. If you have both of those things on hand, you could try it with a very small amount. If you do, I would test the crap out of it - make sure it's not sticky after it cures (if it cures at all), see if it breaks when you drop it, stuff like that. I'd be concerned that the two won't mix well because the resin is "liquid" or that it would harden too quickly, not giving you enough time to work. Sorry I can't give you better information than that. If you do get it to work, let me know!