Friday, January 23, 2015

More Student's Work, Openwork Pendants

It was nice to wake up this morning to this pleasant surprise: Polymer Clay Daily featured the work of Annette Kruger based on my tutorial Openwork Pendants.


Annette's creation is so beautiful!  I absolutely love how she mixed my technique with Melanie West's ideas and came up with her own amazing piece.

Seeing how other polymer clay artists are developing my ideas is one of the greatest pleasures of teaching.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Student's Work, Openwork Pendants

Pendant and post earrings by Linda Britt
I was very excited to see the works of Linda Britt, which she did following my tutorial Openwork Pendants.

On her blog, lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com, Linda shares a number of her creations in this technique, including beads, necklaces and bracelets.

Each of them is interesting in its own way.  I especially enjoyed seeing how Linda is experimenting with this technique, coming up with her own designs and new uses for the openwork elements.

I had difficult time deciding which picture to show in my blog.  Finally I chose this one, because the pendant on the left is my absolute favorite of her works in this style so far.  There is something magical about it!  I hope Linda will continue working in this technique.

By the way, Linda mentioned in her post that she had to be extra patient with this technique.  There is a waiting step, which she said took her much longer than stated in my tutorial.  After a short discussion, I think we figured out what happened.  I hope Linda will try it again and report her results when she has a chance.  Meanwhile I want to stress out that it is important to follow the procedures described in the tutorial exactly as  written (especially for that tricky step).  They are there for good reasons! 

Thanks to Linda, I already edited my tutorial and added an explanation for each step.  I realized, if I explain not only what needs to be done, but also why is that so, than people will more likely pay attention to these particular instructions.  I still need to figure out how to notify everybody who bought the tutorial so far about this edition.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Site-Wide Sale!



Treat yourself to some creative time!

Visit PolymerTutorials.com for the best savings of the year on Eugena's original tutorials. 

You can save up to 50% on some of them!

Wishing you happy claying and a wonderful holiday season!




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Work in Progress


Here is my next project: polymer clay Fantasy Flower Brooches. 

I am showing only one here, but I am planning to have at least three variations of each the petals and the flower centers for my next tutorial.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cabin Fever Creative Arts Fest 2015 Registration


Registration for Cabin Fever Creative Arts Fest 2015 is now officially open! For all details and registration, please visit http://polymerclayfests.wordpress.com/ 

Hurry up!  The first 50 registrants will receive a special registration bonus.

Here is the list of instructors: Jana Roberts Benzon, Maureen Carlson, , Robert Dancik, Dayle Doroshow, Christi Friesen, Lindly Haunani, Anke Humpert, Doreen Kassel, Randee Ketzel, Melanie Muir, Kathryn Jo Ottman, Nan Roche, Sarah Shriver, Marie Segal, Eugena Topina, and Teri Walters.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Little Windows Brilliant Resin

Finally I had time to try out a free sample of Little Windows Brilliant Resin generously offered to me by Fran Valera from little-windows.com.


Brilliant Resin is a proprietary epoxy resin formula by Little Windows. Looking through their web site, I realized that this resin is a well-developed product, with a carefully thought-through line of supporting accessories. On Little Windows web site (which is nicely organized and easy to navigate), you may purchase not only the resin kits in a few different sizes, but pretty much everything else you may need for working with it: mixing cups and wands, a doming mat, molds, bezels, paper punches, color films, and more. This is very convenient.

The cleverest thing in my opinion is that Little Windows allows you to purchase Part B (Hardener) refill separately (not as a part of a kit). Let me explain why I like it so much. Usually the two parts of an epoxy resin kit have different shelf lives, and part B often turns yellowish while part A is still perfectly fine. What Little Windows is doing about it is really smart. In addition to offering a refill for Part B, they also provide clear instructions for storing the two parts of the kit to keep each of them fresh as long as possible.


Speaking of instructions, I want to mention that Little Windows instruction sheet is very clear and informative. It is written for small batches needed for making jewelry with this resin and is easy to follow. I especially like that they included the information about the number of different jewelry pieces that can be made with a typical batch of mixed resin. It helps a lot with planning your work and minimizing the waste of this product.


Since I am working primarily with another two-part epoxy resin, EnviroTex Lite, I decided to compare the two of them side-by-side.


Accessibility: I really like that EnviroTex Lite resin is available in Michael's craft stores. Since there are plenty of them in my area, I can always easily pick up the next batch of resin whenever I need it. Little Windows Brilliant resin is available on-line only, however the shipping is super-fast. Fran and I exchanged emails on Friday afternoon, and on Monday I already had the resin in my mailbox (and she shipped it across the country, from California to Maryland!).


Polymer clay pendant covered with Little Windows Brilliant Resin
Use: Both resins can be used for casting, doming, layering, and filling batches. I mostly use the doming effect in my Faux Cloisonne and other techniques for polymer clay and resin jewelry.


Smell: Before mixing, the smell of parts A and B of Little Windows resin was a bit stronger than that of EnviroTex Lite. However, after mixing the smell of Little Windows disappeared almost completely, while EnviroTex Lite maintained its odor until it cured. Little Windows resin is a definite winner in this category.


Measuring: Little Windows resin was easier to measure because it is less viscous than EnviroTex Lite (this is especially true for parts B of both resins).


Room for errors: I prepared two batches of Little Windows resin: one with both parts measured exactly as specified in the instructions, and the second one with deliberate overage of part A. I added extra 4 ml of part A when making a 15-mL batch of resin (this is a big difference; one would have to be extra sloppy to mix a batch like that by mistake). The quality of the cured resin (it's clarity and strength) is affected by excess of part A more than by that of part B. EnviroTex Lite resin would not forgive such inaccuracy, but Little Windows resin cured just fine. For people who just starting to work with two-part resins this quality of Little Windows resin would be especially useful.


Formation of bubbles: The amount of bubbles was about the same in both resins during mixing, however the ones in Little Windows resin cleared up quickly, and they completely disappeared by the time the resin was poured over my pendant. For EnviroTex Lite, I have to remove the bubbles by exhaling on them. This extra step does not bother me too much, but for a person just beginning to work with a resin, this step could be tricky. Little Windows wins in this category as well (big time!).


Working time: After mixing, both resins allow more than 30 minutes for working with them before they become to thick to handle. The actual time depends on the studio temperature. In my case, I could still pour any of the two resins at least 1.5 hour after mixing. This time is more than enough to complete a few jewelry projects.


Curing time: Little Windows web site claims that their resin settles in 12 hours. To be exact, this time also depends on the temperature, but I am sure it is actually pretty close to 12 hours. Unfortunately, I could not check my pendants exactly at that time, but at 14 hours mark Little Windows resin was completely dry. EnviroTex Lite usually takes about 24 hours to dry to this stage. There is a way to speed up curing of EnviroTex Lite resin (as explained in my tutorial How to work with EnviroTex Lite resin), but it is an extra hassle. So, Little Windows resin beats up EnviroTex Lite in this category as well.


Doming effect: While both resins create doming effect, it looks like in a single application EnviroTex Lite makes a thicker layer than Little Windows.


Clarity: Both resins give transparent crystal clear glass-like finish.


Two polymer clay brooches made with Little Windows Brilliant Resin
UV Resistance: It would be really interesting to compare two light-colored pieces created with EnviroTex Lite and Little Windows resins after a long-time exposure to UV light. Unfortunately, this is beyond the scope of my current test. I've heard that jewelry pieces covered with EnviroTex Lite may become a little yellowish after a few years. To be cautious, let's assume that this is in fact the quality of EnviroTex Lite resin, and there was nothing wrong with its preparation. I cannot use my own pieces to verify this issue, because I am working mostly with black polymer clay and dark colors. On my pieces I do not detect any change of color over time. On the other hand, Little Windows resin is being advertised as a material that does not change its color over time. I have no reasons to doubt this claim.


And finally, the Price: Unfortunately, Little Windows resin is much more expensive than EnviroTex Lite. I can get a 32-oz kit of EnviroTex Lite with Michael's weekly 40% coupon for $21 (with MD taxes it is about $22.50 total). That is about $0.70 per oz. The best price for Little Windows is $100 for 48 oz (and that is without S&H), which means Little Windows resin would cost me more than $2 per oz. That is a huge difference.


So, here is my verdict. Since EnviroTex Lite is so much more cost effective than Little Windows resin and it does the job I need it to do for my projects, I will continue using EnviroTex Lite. However I am going to recommend Little Windows resin to all my students and to any people who is just starting to learn working with resin. It is an excellent product for novice crafters.

ATTENTION: To receive a 15% OFF discount for any of the Little Windows products, type the following code when you check out: polymertutorials (all lower case).

Friday, October 3, 2014

New Technique: Openwork Pendants



Take a look at these new pendants I just made. Can you believe this is polymer clay?



Some of these pendants do not even have any backing, and their walls are as thin as paper! Amazingly, they are strong enough to withstand normal wear as a piece of jewelry.

If you would like to learn how to make pendants, beads, and earrings based on these designs, explore my new tutorial.

I decided to offer this tutorial for a 20% off introductory price for three days only. The sale price expires on Monday, October 6, 2014 at 9 pm CST.

This new tutorial is available on my web site (polymertutorials.com) and in my Etsy shop (etsy.com/shop/PolymerClayTutorials).
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