Friday, April 09, 2010

Polymer Clay "Swirlies"...

... no, not the swirlies some of us unfortunates received in Junior High School, but lovely lentil beads with swirled patterns on the surface.

After viewing photos on Flickr which featured some really stunning examples of this technique, I felt inspired to try it. The internet is rich with information and truly generous artists who are willing to share their knowledge. A video on You Tube demonstrates how to make a bicone using a sheet of acrylic, a table, and a round ball of clay. Very cool.

I tried it with a ball of plain clay, then added some design elements: four slices from a leaf cane and some trimmings of my sheet of gold-leaf- on-black clay.

I swirled away, and this was the result.

I liked it, but wished the design had made it's way out to the edges of the bead. I tried again, but used only three slices from the leaf cane.

MUuuuch better!

Some photos I'd seen were of bi-colored swirled beads and I tried to do that. I have a flower cane with nice color contrast: green and orange center with purple petals. I covered a ball of clay with two slices from this cane. The mistake I made was to place the ball on the table with the green center facing up. As I swirled, the green disappeared leaving only purple. Pretty, but not what I was after (bead on the left).

I tried again with the green area perpendicular to the table, and "voila!" I stopped swirling a little too soon with the bead on the right, but now I know how to get what I want.

I made some bead sets:

as well as some of the fun-and-funky variety:

These beauties make fabulous focal points for simple necklaces:

Click on above image to see the listing at Etsy

I'll be listing these for sale over the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl


Snap said...

Wow, Kate! Lovely. Something new all the time. You are having so much fun! Brava!

SweetbriarStudio (Christie) said...

Oh Kate! I think the top one is my personal favorite. but then, I probably say this each time you post :). Beautiful!

Fete et Fleur said...

The first one reminds me of my favorite marble boulder I had when I was a little girl. I loved it's swirly pattern. I still have it to this day. Beautiful work, Kate.


Beadwright said...

Hi Kate, it amazes me how your beads look like glass. These are exquisite.

Alice Stroppel said...

They're beautiful Kate.

EADotCom said...

Exquisite! Inspiring!

Robin said...

How beautiful! I love the ones with the solid teal on the top.

Stephanie said...

Honestly Kate...these are magical!

surfingcat said...

They are great!

thanks for sharing with us what you learnt. I am still playing about with these swirls too. I think I might before and after photograph all mine for a while.

Rhonda Roo said...

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.
You just couldnt make anything uncool if you tried.
Im still trying to make hair dos with my playdoh fuzzy pumper barber shop and youve got high art goin' down.

Marsha Neal Studio said...

Beautiful pieces! Great techniques... Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

The BEST tutorial on how to design a lentel bead EVER! I have been going nuts trying to figure it out and now I get it...THANK YOU!