Lisa Pavelka “Complete Guide” Polymer Clay Book Review

Posted on 4 Comments
Library Reading Parker - Polymer Clay Sculpture by KatersAcres

I am a 100% self-taught polymer clay artist…and from being involved in many different polymer clay communities, I’m NOT the only one!  It turns out that most polymer clay artists are self-taught.  On Tuesdays I usually give you some kind of a tip or trick to working with polymer clay.  Today I’m going a step further.  I’m giving you an entire book full of tips & tricks to help you as you learn to clay.  That’s right, today I am doing polymer clay book reviews and hopefully will be able to do a book review every month for you!  

Continue reading Lisa Pavelka “Complete Guide” Polymer Clay Book Review

Polymer Clay Pens Extravaganza!

Posted on 3 Comments
Polymer Clay Pen by KatersAcres
Rollerball Pen Handcrafted from Polymer Clay Flowers by DesignedTurning.etsy.com

I have an addiction…I am addicted to pens.  Not just any pens, polymer clay covered pens.  I have always been a fan of pens and have more pens than any 4 households need.  However, when I discovered that I could cover my pens in polymer clay…a new kind of obsession was born!  An obsession to creating and covering pens with polymer clay.  I’m showing off some very awesome polymer clay covered pens from artists around the globe.  Feel free to leave your comments and links to your own polymer clay pen creations at the end of this post.

Continue reading Polymer Clay Pens Extravaganza!

Spot Free Polymer Clay CAN Be Achieved

Posted on 11 Comments
KatersAcres Polymer Clay Studio Working Area

Working With Polymer Clay

I recently received an email from someone whose work I admire greatly.  She asked me how I kept my Parker colors so crisp and untainted from the other colors of clay.  I do have a “secret” method to keeping my polymer clay colors from mixing together that I will share with you today.  Working with polymer clay is always fun…but can often be frustrating too. In all honesty though, the “secret” is no secret at all…

Use Lotion

Kater's Acres Polymer Clay Studio Work Table

I have an entire post dedicated to the benefits of using lotion when you are working with polymer clay.  But using lotion is the first thing I do when I enter my studio.  It’s so important to me and working with polymer clay that I keep a bottle of it right in front of me at all times…you can clearly see the bottle of lotion, right there, front and center.  Make sure to read the article as to why using lotion is a good thing for you and for your clay!

Use Cornstarch

KatersAcres Polymer Clay Studio Working Area

By looking at my polymer clay studio work area here in these photographs, you can see many of the things that I use often.  The other thing that you should notice in this photograph is the huge container of cornstarch.  I don’t use corn starch often, but I use it when I have colors that I know taint my hands, work surface, and other clays.  Most of those colors are any shade containing reds, black, or green pigment colors.  In order to use cornstarch to prevent my colors from bleeding, I have an intricate process.  Feel free to use my process and achieve nice results working with polymer clay.

HOW-TO USE IT:

Tap your moist fingers into the corn starch (get the moist by using lotion or wiping with a baby wipe).  Then rub that cornstarch onto your hands (similar to washing your hands).  Then lightly tap the cornstarch with your fingers again and rub onto your work surface.  Then play with your clay like normal.  When you are done there should be very little of the color on your hands and on your work surface.

Please remember that using cornstarch also will keep your clay from sticking to the surface and other clays…so use sparingly!

Separate Your Colors

Polymer Clay Color Palette for Oct. 15th, 2012 from KatersAcres

Often on my FaceBook page you will see me post pictures similar to the one here at the left: a color palette of something that I’m working on for the day.  What I didn’t notice until after I took this picture, was that the white clay on the bottom looks like my work  surface.  It’s not my work table, yet it’s so white that it almost looks that way.

In order to prevent color bleeds, I always start a project with an idea in mind.  I rarely start from scratch.  In this way, I condition the lightest color first, following through to the darkest colors.  In the case of this palette I conditioned the clays in this order: white, gold, green, brown, red, & black.  In each, if any particles were picked up from the previous color, it seamlessly blends into the clay with no “ack, I got red onto my white” spots.

First Thing’s First

Autumn Harvest Parker StoryBook Scene by KatersAcres

In the same way, when I begin a design, especially my Parker StoryBook Scenes working on the lightest color first.  In most cases (except Christmas designs) Parker is a bright and vivacious yellow color.  I always make Parker first.  Since Parker is the featured element of all my StoryBook Scenes, he must be perfect.  So in whatever you are working on, be sure that your primary object of focus is the item that you do first, while your hands are clean!

When All Else Fails 

When all else fails, after you’ve successfully done everything you can think of to avoid color bleeding, you still have red spots on your white and blue spots on your yellow.  When this happens, you must do what you must…break it out…the bottle of rubbing alcohol.  Rubbing alcohol is my secret weapon…but truthfully something I use only about once a week.  Read my post on rubbing alcohol to see how to effectively use this to remove stains from your hands & work surface. (And yes…you can see my bottle of rubbing alcohol to the far left on my work surface.  Yep, I don’t use it that much, only when I have too.)

If you think before you begin your clay process, you should have no trouble with your polymer clay colors bleeding on you.

Thank you for being a part of the Kater’s Acres Family, Sculpt Your Dreams!

KatieSignature

My Handmade Business Card Holder

Posted on 6 Comments

I have been doing craft shows for about 10 years now.  Over time my designs and set up has changed…except for one thing…my business card holder.  I always put my business cards in a little flower shaped glass dish.  It matches my other “pretty” display fixtures…but seeing as I no longer sell the jewelry component of Kater’s Acres and function strictly on polymer clay sculptures, it was time for a change.  For this years’ fall craft show I decided it was time to spruce up my business card holder into something that matched my business…

Continue reading My Handmade Business Card Holder

Tutorial: Cut Millefiori Canes Like a Pro

Posted on 7 Comments
Cut Perfect Millefiori Cane Slices with this Quick Tutorial from Kater's Acres

One of the hardest things to do is to cut a cane in an even, thin slice, without any drag.  When I first began working with polymer clay millefiori canes, both raw & baked, I had the hardest time cutting them in thin, even slices.  One side would always be thicker than the other or I’d adjust my blade halfway through the slice and create very unpleasant “drag marks” on the sliced piece of cane.  After several years, I got smart and solved my problem…

It’s not easy to cut a millefiori cane with accuracy and precision every time.  Trust me, I know.  But there are a few things that you can do to make your millefiori cane cutting adventures a little easier.

Continue reading Tutorial: Cut Millefiori Canes Like a Pro

Mandarin Duck, Aniko Kolesnikova

Posted on 9 Comments
Aniko from Mandarin Duck

It is my pleasure, as always, to introduce to you polymer clay artists.  Polymer clay artists, designers, & sculptors are indeed a rare breed: always fun, unique, & joyful!  Today’s polymer clay artist, Aniko Kolesnikova, is no different.  It’s my honor to feature her today.

MEET ANIKO

Angels Flight Journal Cover by Mandarin Duck

My name is Aniko and I am almost 27 years old. I was born to be an artist and I never let out my brushes out of my hands since I was 3 years old. When anyone asked who I am dreaming to be – I always said “An Artist”. Well, when I was little I thought artist is someone who ‘paints a lot and is poor’ as my mom said.  I never knew anything about polymer clay or other media.  (Although, I was quite successful with plasticine and organic clay.)

I was born in Latvia, Riga but my family tree takes me to Russia and Ukraine (So I am half Russian half Ukrainian by blood). I feel more like a citizen of the World because I speak fluently 3 different languages, lived in 4 different countries and seen so many nationalities.

Right now I live in UK for almost 3 years now. I call myself a chameleon person because I can adapt to circumstances, places to live, and country traditions. I always try my best to explore other people and try to understand them.

Child of a Dragon Journal Cover by Mandarin DuckEDUCATIONAL ROOTS:

My original education is Architecture and Interior design but I worked only few years in this industry and understood that huge spaces is not something I am able to handle. I am more Macro person. But I am perfectly capable of making my house pretty decorated and clean. So my 7 years in university wasn’t all pointless stuff. J

I got introduced to polymer clay on my last year in University. We had a sculpting course for half of a year and they said – I have a talent.. I was quite pleased but I could not imagine where and how I can get with plasticine figures.

INSPIRATION & CLAY BEGINNINGS:

Tropical Spirit Journal by Mandarin Duck on Etsy

So time passed and I stumbled upon some amazing journals on Deviantart made by my dearest friend and biggest past inspiration Mandarin Moon. She told me about polymer clay existence and there I was … facing the whole new world of polymer possibilities. I started as a failure and some of my first clients even asked for their money back. Although it wasn’t my ETSY experience but more sort of person to person deals with my friends. Then I practiced more and more and now I am who I am. (I’ll let you) judge it for yourself.

ETSY SHOP HISTORY:

Fantasy Steampunk Dragon Journal by Mandarin Duck

My ETSY store “Amandarinduck” was created in Aug 2010, but I have sold more than 5 years on ETSY. I had about 5 different shops from which I still keep three. One of them is Amandarinduck where I sell my polymer clay. Before this summer I was dealing with lots of different jewelry [semiprecious stones, gold plated jewelry, feather earrings, polymer clay] but now I decided to work with polymer clay only and I am mainly concentrating on jewelry and journals. Sometimes I do custom orders on jewelry boxes from clay as well.

My other shop is for Macro dreamy nature prints and it is calledSunnykiss”.  I also have third shop, Mandarin Feathers, where I sell feathers. Because I love feathers.

MY UNIQUE SHOP:

Enchanting Spring Locket by Mandarin Duck

Well first of all I haven’t seen any journals like mine on ETSY. It seems like I am working in a different style then others. I can spend more then 48 hours on one journal and I will never finish it till it’s really done. No cutting corners, no time saving with push stamps, standard textures and things like this. It’s 100% handmade by my own hands. There is only one artist on ETSY I truly think is similar to me. This is my very first inspiration and a person who made me familiar with polymer clay – Mandarin Moon.

My shop’s name has different story. So please don’t think that I was so inspired by Mandarin Moon that I even took half of her name…It’s just a coincidence.

There are beautiful leather journals or mixed media journals, but polymer clay journal range is quite small and I feel like I don’t even have competition on ETSY. Again, here I am not trying to say I am a queen of polymer clay. I am just telling what my followers and clients say. Hundreds of comments on Facebook, thank you letters from my clients and even thank you gifts is a proof to my words. Amandarinduck is also a shop that makes it’s clients 110% satisfied. I give them not only their item, but also love and support (especially with custom orders), cute letter, cute package, extra gift each time they purchase something, and some of my clients just become my friends so they also come back to me again quite often. Not to mention that they also get a discount if they are return customers.

Prometheus Necklace from Mandarin DuckWHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ITEMS IN YOUR STORE?

I do love making journals but at the same time I love making jewelry. I have few items I love and they mean a lot to me. They are nature inspired jewelry pieces, few of my jewelry boxes and almost all of my journals. Also I do love how different is my Prometheus collection is and Prometheus bangle is a favorite piece out of whole collection.

This is an absolutely accidental item. It was a challenge from my fiancé. He said to try something new and offered a theme “The Alien movie”. Well.. I like challenges… It makes me want to prove that I can do it, because even my motto is “Yes, I can”. So I made it and it attracted so much attention. All of my followers and friends, even males were all wondering how much it costs, can it be adjusted to man’s hand and so on.

But to be honest, each item is a story to tell just because I spend so much time making it. It’s like I live a separate story each time.

Beetle's Sanctuary Gothic Themed Sketchbook by Mandarin DuckCUSTOM ORDERS:

Well, when I tell to my clients and followers that I do custom orders I usually add something like “I can do everything you want”. So “everything you want” phrase would probably explain my custom services the best.

I do custom journals A6-A4 sizes, all sorts of jewelry and jewelry boxes and also some custom figurines for special ocasions. I prefer working in my unique sculptural style, where I create almost 3D objects, looking like fairytale alive creatures, natural fresh and blooming flowers or dark and gothic motives. I love creating a story in clay. Something that has a meaning. Even if I make an abstract composition – it still has a feel to it, a style, an idea.  Flora and Fauna themes do inspire me the most. Elves, fairytales and magic objects are my passion, too.

The only thing I don’t do is standard polymer clay techniques like canes and everything you could do with canes. This is something my heart doesn’t lay to. Although I do some cane video tutorials – I would never be able to work 48 hours on a cane project…I am not a cane person.

Mandarin Duck Giveaway via mandarinduck.comGIVEAWAY:

Mandarin Ducky is having a giveaway.  Please join her on her blog to participate in this awesome giveaway!

 

 

 

 

FIND MANDARIN DUCK HERE:

WEBSITE

STORES: Mandarin Duck, Mandarin Feather, SunnyKiss Photography

BLOG

FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, YOUTUBE, VIMEO, DEVIANTART

Painter Parker© by KatersAcres

Are you are a polymer clay artist? Would you like to be the featured artist for the month? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, please go HERE and answer the questionnaire and email your responses to me. Artists are subject to approval and are featured on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Polymer Clay Brand Review for Sculptors

Posted on 23 Comments
Polymer Clay Blocks

“I only use one brand of polymer clay.”

Has someone said this to you before?  Or have you said it yourself?  Maybe someone has said to you, “I only use Fimo Classic polymer clay.”  In either case, I call this the “polymer clay snob syndrome.”  I’ll be honest, I too prefer a certain brand of clay over others, however, I will use whatever I have and often times clay that I have found on sale or on clearance.  So why am I against “polymer clay snob syndrome?”

Continue reading Polymer Clay Brand Review for Sculptors

Tools of the Trade

Posted on 5 Comments
Polymer Clay Tools with Parker by KatersAcres

Polymer Clay Tools from Every Department!

Polymer Clay Tools with Parker by KatersAcres

My tip for you today is a reminder of what you can use when working with polymer clay.  Working with polymer clay takes time, energy, and is the best reason to dig into every other craft & hobby out there!  My husband said to me one day while wading through every single aisle in my local Pat Catan’s, “why can’t you just crochet or something?”  I laughed because I knew exactly what he meant.  What he meant was that there’s a clay/sculpting aisle and we go down it to shop, but then I hit up the stamp section, knitting section, button & sewing aisles, plus the flower section, baking/cooking section, jewelry section, and eventually end up in the paints with a final trip through the clay aisle again (just in case I missed something).  What is it about clayers that makes this happen?

Continue reading Tools of the Trade

Hard Clay Blending Technique

Posted on 21 Comments
Easy Blend Polymer Clay Technique by KatersAcres

Hard Clay? No Problem!

My Easy Blending Polymer Clay Tip No Special Tools Required

One of the things that every clayer struggles with at times is rock hard clay.  Clay that does nothing but snap, break, and never get soft.  The easiest answer to this problem is a food processor.  But, you may not have a food processor and that’s okay.

Today’s polymer clay tip will show you how to become friends with your clay, warm it up, soften it, make it malleable again, and even blend it to perfect.  In fact, with this easy polymer clay tip, you don’t need any special tools or machines.  You only need your hands, clay blade, acrylic roller and pasta machine.

Continue reading Hard Clay Blending Technique

Trina’s Clay Creations

Posted on 4 Comments

Thank You, Trina

It is with sadness that I do this artist feature on Trina’s Clay Creations.  Why is this sad you might ask? Almost 2 years ago, Etsy created “Teams.” From the outset, I began an all polymer clay team, The PCETeam (Polymer Clay Enthisiasts) of Etsy.  I sought out inspiring artists of different clay disciplines to aid in the creation, growth, and promotion of our mutual love, polymer clay.  One of those people that I was blessed enough to meet was Trina Prenzi.  She has a natural sculpting ability with clay that is immediately noticeable. Her fine attention to detail and adorable whimsical creations is uncanny. It has been my honor to know her, work with her, & feature her today.

Continue reading Trina’s Clay Creations

Floss Box Clay Storage Solution

Posted on 15 Comments
Polymer Clay Storage Solutions by KatersAcres

Polymer Clay Storage Solutions by KatersAcres

Clay storage is a challenge for any clayer, especially when 80% of clayers are working in a space the size of a closet. One of the hardest things about having a small studio is having adequate space to store things in, especially blocks, more blocks, and pounds of clay.  This is especially hard for me, a clayer, who may need multiple brands of clay, custom blends, inclusions, etc.  Today I’m going to share with you how I store my opened packs of polymer clay, the clay that is constantly being used.
Continue reading Floss Box Clay Storage Solution

Using Lotion with Polymer Clay

Posted on 20 Comments
Polymer Clay Tip - Use Lotion First from KatersAcres

Using Lotion with Polymer Clay

Polymer Clay Tip - Use Lotion First from KatersAcres

POLYMER CLAY TIP OF THE DAY

Haven’t you ever noticed how after claying all day (or part of the day) your hands are dried out, your cuticles begin to tear, and you get a large amount of hangnails?  This is because the clay (though non-toxic and gentle) takes the moisture that is in your hands and absorbs it…all of it.
This being said, there are several things that I have on my studio table at all times.

Continue reading Using Lotion with Polymer Clay

Repurpose X-acto Blades Using Scrap Polymer Clay

Posted on 3 Comments

 Repurpose X-acto Blades Into a Great New Tool

Repurpose x-acto blades? Absolutely you can do that! This simple and quick tip had a huge response in last week’s email, twitter, & even on FaceBook.  It was shared, retweeted, and commented on more times that any previous tip I had posted. So today I will show you how you can take that old, grungy, and slightly beat up old cutting blade and repurpose x-acto blades into something more useful.

Continue reading Repurpose X-acto Blades Using Scrap Polymer Clay