Barbara’s Blog – BBD Art Jewelry

A New Tutorial!

I’ve received so many inquiries from fellow polymer clay enthusiasts who love my “Matisse Inspired Cutouts” Earrings  as to whether a tutorial for making them is available and here it is! The tutorial contains over twenty full-color process photos and step-by-step instructions for making the polymer clay components as well as creating drop earwires and hoops from stock sterling silver wire…you’ll never have to buy commercially made earwires again!  I love Art Jewelry and consider each earrings a wearable mini-sculpture! 

For those of you who don’t work with polymer clay but love the “Matisse Inspired Cutouts” earrings, I presently have thirty-four one-of-a-kind earrings listed in my Etsy shop. Although the earrings are asymmetrical, the colors and themed of the components coordinate beautifully! Each earring is priced individually so you can mix and match to your heart’s desire!

You My Be Wondering…

Have I abandoned beadwork? Absolutely not!  And I promise to get back to beading eventually, but my creative muse has the upper hand and at the moment she is dictating that I continue designing with polymer clay cutouts.  Do you know the story of “The Red Shoes”?  A ballerina sees a beautiful pair of red satin slippers in the cobbler shop window and when the cobbler presents them to her and places them on her feet, she starts to dance and cannot stop.  She dances continuously and eventually dances herself to death!  While I seriously doubt that creating earrings will result in my demise, these colorful polymer cutouts keep calling to me to make another pair!  Each playful earring is a flight of fancy leading to the next design and the design after that!  Thus far, I’ve made over thirty one-of-a-kind mix and match “Matisse Inspired Cutouts earrings and the designs continue to evolve.  I’ve kept several  for myself, but the others are can be found in my Etsy shop!

Back in Working Order…

My hydraulic press has been out of service for several months. After 26 years of service, the ram was leaking oil like mad and the pressure gauge had “given up the ghost”.  A new Bonny Doon ram with gauge is quite expensive, but what good it to have an unusable press?  Besides, I really wanted to use the press again so I “bit the bullet” and shelled out $380 plus shipping for a replacement. I’m confident this new ram will most likely outlast me!  If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you know that I’ve been working on collections of polymer clay Matisse Inspired “Cutouts” earrings , which I absolutely love to make and wear, but I’ve wanted to add metal cutouts to the mix as well!  Using a die and hydraulic press to cut out a shape is definitely faster and far less labor intensive than sawing the shape out by hand, plus you get consistent results when producing multiples.  Below are my first sterling silver cutout shapes using the new ram with several of my Potter USA dies.  It certainly is wonderful to have my press back in working order!

It Started in March…

After months of winter gray and white I needed some color in my life! Polymer clay came to the rescue as I made colorful flowers and used them in a bead-embroidered collar, which I entered in Fire Mountain Gems “Creative Clays” contest (thus far it has made it to the second round of judging).  Wanting to continue working in a floral theme, that project was followed by my “Fleurs et Papillon” cuff. Now, spring has finally arrived and each day flowers and ferns are emerging both outdoors and in my studio! The vivid colors of the cutouts Henri Matisse created in the later years of his life are inspiring my latest works. I so love the pair of blue and green asymmetrical polymer cutout earrings that I made two weeks ago that I just had to make more! This collection is the result of my toil…or should I say play because these were really delightful to create! No two earrings are exactly alike, but they all coordinate beautifully! I find mixing and matching jewelry to be great fun! On any given day I might wear a hoop earring on one ear and a long dangle on the other or I’ll wear just one earring leaving the other ear bare. Do you do that too? I’ve decided to sell these earrings individually rather than in a set for that very reason! You’ll find these in my Etsy shop!  Here  are a few closeup photos from my One-of-a-Kind Matisse Inspired Polymer Clay Cutout Earrings collection…Enjoy!

Channeling Matisse…

In the 1940’s during the later years of his life, Henri Matisse began to create with paper cutouts almost exclusively. He described these works as “drawing with scissors”. Using large sheets of painted papers, he created exciting and modern brightly colored abstract works. My latest pieces are inspired by these cutouts, but my medium of choice for these art jewelry creations is polymer clay. Playful components of cutout flowers, leaves and butterflies are now dangling from loops and long sterling silver earwires that make a bold fashion statement! The earring shown in the above photo measures 3″ in length. Wearing a long earring of such vibrant color is totally new to me and I’m loving it! I think of it as a mini-sculpture! Presently I’m in the midst of creating a collection of cutout-themed earrings in all manner of shapes, sizes, and colors…I haven’t had this much fun since kindergarten!

The Tutorial and Beading Kits are Ready!

I’ve just finished the tutorial for my “Fleurs et Papillons” Cuff!  While proofreading the tutorial it occurred to me that there are so many possibilities for making the cuff! Although I used Metallic Iris Brown seed beads, it could be embellished with all manner of novelty beads and crystals!  And for those who don’t work in Polymer clay, fabric could easily be used for the flowers and butterflies! I can envision this cuff made with etherial layers of moire, organza and tulle stitched to the beading foundation with sparkling flat-backed Lochrose crystals! And instead of using a brass cuff blank as the armature, the cuff ends could be joined by ties of flowing satin ribbon…a Faerie Queene-worthy creation!  Does that whet your artistic appetite?  You’ll find the tutorial in my Etsy shop along with the beading kit!  Enjoy!

More Flowers and Butterflies!

I’m having a spring fling! I’ve just finished my “Fleurs et Papillons” mixed-media cuff incorporating polymer clay and bead embroidery! Was this fun to make? Delightful! And it worked up rapidly once I’d made all the polymer clay components. I’m in the midst of proofreading the step-by-step tutorial for this cuff, which will contain templates for cuff, flowers and butterflies, as well as a template and bonus instructions for making the collar rendition shown in my April 1 blog post! And it’s loaded with color process photos! The tutorial and a few limited edition kits are available in my Etsy shop!

In a Blue Mood…

Presently I am loving the color blue…everything from Twilight to Powder. Perhaps the profusion of beautiful bluebells sprouting along our woodland path contributes to my wanting to work with all shades of blue. My husband thinks it’s because his eyes are Azure blue! I love that blue goes so well with Chartreuse, another favorite color of mine! It’s only natural that my present polymer work is an amalgam of blues. What am I going to create with these flowers and butterflies? Stay tuned…you’ll see in my next post!


Remember all those polymer clay flowers I made last week? Were you wondering what I would make with them? I had several ideas in mind, but bead embroidery was the technique I chose. Until now, I’ve employed the usual components…seed beads, of course, plus cabochons, pearls, and crystals, but I’d never before thought of incorporating polymer clay into a piece! It’s as if a new world of bead embroidery has opened up…I’m so excited by the possibilities! My “Fleurs et Papillons” bead-embroidered collar is composed entirely of Bronze and Metallic Brown Iris seed beads with several polymer clay butterflies nestled in amidst layer upon layer of colorful polymer clay flowers! I’m going to have such fun wearing this collar! If this piece could sing, its song would evoke all the loveliness of springtime!

Form and Function…

Flowers in your hair, flowers everywhere…for all you flower children, here’s a sneak peek of a new project I’ve just begun!

I’ve just made dozens of polymer clay cut-outs.  In the above photo they remind me of flower motif wall paper that was very popular back in the 1960’s! How different they look after being heated and shaped into cupped forms as shown in the photo below! The added dimension makes such a difference! I’ll be working on this new project over the coming week…you’ll have to wait to see the final product! Let the fun begin!

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