Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Beads

I kept my word to myself this time.  I didn't start playing with clay until I finished nearly 4" on my rope.  I've only got about 12 or so more inches to go!  Yea!  But as soon as I put the rope away, out came the clay.  My daughter Sara spent the night at my mil's house last night so it was just me and Matthew hanging out in the kitchen.  He was playing X-Box (as usual) and I was getting ready to play with clay.  I asked him if he wanted to help me, and he jumped right up ready to go.  He's always game!

I got this idea from Marie over at Art From My Heart.  Man, is she awesome!  She sent me a link to a cane that was made by stacking extruded squares on top of each other to form a pattern.  I pulled up my Bead Creator Pro program and decided to play around with making patterns.  Here are the steps Matthew and I took to make some new beads...

First, we decided on three colors:  white, red and light blue.  I wanted to bring light, medium and dark tones to hopefully give some contrast in the finished cane.  I think it's really hard to extrude clay.  We worked and worked and worked the clay both with the noodle bender (that's what my dh calls the pasta machine) and with our hands.  The blue was exceptionally hard to work with.  Maybe it was a stale block or something.  We put that clay through the bender at least 20 times, snaked it, mashed it.  We put it in the Stim Pak (that's what Matthew calls the extruder.  A Stim Pak is a thing that you use to heal yourself in the X-Box game Fallout...lol...always about the video games with him.)  Anyways we put the blue in the Stim Pak at least 3 times, couldn't get it to budge and started the conditioning process again and again.  And that was with us putting it with the plunger side on the table, my hands around the barrel pushing down and Matthew's hands on top of mine pushing down.  It would. not. go.  My hands were hurting!  I had him laughing so hard because I put the clay in his armpit to try to get it warm.  It was kinda funny.  I did finally manage to get it through, but I actually worked up a sweat working that Stim Pak!!!

Once we got all the clay extruded and cut to (sort of) even lengths, we started stacking.  Here's what it looked like to start off with:
I put it in the fridge for a while and then took it out to stretch and pull.  I took it in my bedroom, layed in bed, watched t.v. and stretched the cane in the dark.  It was easy to do with it being square.  After I stretched it, I cut it into 4 even pieces and stacked it again...
Ok, so maybe my squares didn't stay exactly square, but I thought it would add "character" to the cane. lol  Do you buy that?  I let it rest for a few minutes and stretched it out again.  Then I cut 4 more pieces and stacked again...
If you look at the stripes on the outside I do think I did a pretty good job keeping it straight.  And you can see how intricate the inside is getting.  One more time of stretching and pulling and this is what I got...
As interesting as the inside is, I liked the outside even more.  I let it rest for the night, but as I was laying in bed I had images swirling through my head on just how I was going to use this cane.  I really like it.  I think Matthew and I did a good job!  This morning I cut the cane into beads.  I poked holes in them, some of them length-wise and some of them sideways.  I'm going to alternate the beads going across and then up/down for a necklace with some rounds in matching colors in between.  Here are the final beads...
I made 18 of them...10 going long ways and 8 going up/down.  I goofed on one and made it a little shorter than the others, and one I started to drop and as I caught it I mushed the end a little.  I'll just put those in the back. :)  Do you like our striped beads? 

Also, I posted this pretty quick after my last post, so if you didn't see my leaf headpins I made scroll down to see those.

3 comments:

Robbie said...

In addition to making these fun beads, you also created a memory! how cool is that!

Mandy said...

Lisa those look really good! I don't know how you guys did that, but it looks really cool. You are really getting good at this!

Barbara said...

What a fun with clay and cane! Very, very pretty, and one of a kind.