Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year,
my friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Steampunk Butterfly Tutorial

My new tutorial is now available! Find it on my web site:

What's Steampunk? In short, it is a fiction genre that celebrates steam power and machines. Think of Jules Verne and James Blaylock. This style is continued in visual arts and even music. For more information - Google.

In this tutorial, I explain how to use polymer clay, resin, pre-fabricated filigree, and (the most fun!) parts from an old mechanical watch to create a unique pendant. As always, this tutorial teaches a technique using a project as an example. This means that if you follow the tutorial step by step exactly as it is written, you will end up with a pendant very similar to the one shown here, but you will also master a new technique that can be applied to many more projects of you own. That is when the true creativity begins.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Steampunk Twist

I am having so much fun playing with the old watches! It 's like a treasure hunt – all these little parts somehow have been put together in some complicated and beautiful pattern, and discovering them is amazingly exciting. I re-arrange them to make pendants like the one pictured here. I've seen quite a few necklaces, earrings, and rings with the whole watch movements. My pendants are different, because they show off separate parts and those parts are covered with multiple layers of resin to make the whole pendant smooth like glass.

I have a couple more pendants in my Etsy shop, and I am working on a tutorial, which I am hoping to finish within a week or two.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Filigree, Polymer Clay, and Resin

I added a few new items to my Etsy shop today - five sets of earrings and a pendant, all from my new faux enamel line.

I tend to separate faux enamel from faux cloisonne (although, technically speaking, cloisonne is one of the types of enamel). While items in my faux cloisonne line are all one-of-a-kind, with lots of hours required to create each design using pieces of wire, the faux enamel line is made using commercially-evailable brass or silver filigree. This line is more affordable since it is so much easier for me to make. I can also make multiple copies of the same design, if needed, and explore different color combinations within the same or similar design.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recent Publications

Couple of my works have been recently published in beading/crafting magazines. I had these magazines around for a few weeks now and finally found some time to scan them and post pictures.

One picture shows my miniature hand-sculpted polymer clay orchid beads. I sent it to Polymer Cafe a a few months ago, right when I was working on my first tutorial in the miniature orchids series. I now have two of them available and about to finish the third one.

The other publication is a picture of my faux cloisonne set of beads. I wrote about these beads in my blog earlier this year.

There should be another publication, I think, in December issue of Polymer Cafe. For some reason, I cannot catch this magazine in stores (and they do not send a contributor's copy to people who's work is in the reader's gallery)...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Big Sculpted Orchids Tutorial

A new tutorial for sculpting polymer clay orchids is now available on my site. The tutorial shows how to make three different types of orchids and contains nearly fifty color full-size pictures.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sculpting Orchids
Video on

A couple of weeks ago I had this wonderful (or so I thought!) idea. I decided to make a short video that would work both as a tutorial and an ad for my new line of orchids and then post it on I also wanted this tutorial to be quite original and artsy. I did not want to sit down in front of the camera, recite all the tools and materials, and then demonstrate every step with my comments and explanations. It was supposed to be different...

So, after 2.5 hours of videotaping and two weeks of clipping and editing, I am happy to report that the video is ready and it was uploaded to be seen by everybody interested in polymer clay, sculpting, and/or orchids (in any order).

It is still not ideal in my view, and I would really like to work on its sound track some more, but I simply cannot take it any more right now and need to step away from this project for a while. I may polish it some more later.

While I am waiting to hear people's comments, I shall say that I had lots of fun and have tons of ideas for the new films.

If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link: Sculpting Polymer Clay Orchids

Thursday, September 11, 2008

EnviroTex Lite, Two-Part Epoxy Resin

I was repeatedly asked by people who like my polymer clay tutorials whether they can buy any of the resin I recommend in some small containers. I understand that some people would like to do the project described in the tutorial only ones or twice. They do not intend using this technique often enough to justify the purchase of a quarter gallon of the resin.

To answer these inquiries, I decided to list a trial-size resin kit in my Etsy shop. To try things out, I have only one set in my shop for now, but I can always add more if there is enough interest. Here is the link: my Etsy store

Friday, September 05, 2008

Fire Mountain Gems Contest Results

I've got my necklace with sculpted orchids "Les Fleurs des Fer" back from Fire Mountain. It took the third place in the polymer clay category!

The necklace is in my Etsy shop now.

I realized recently that I am drawn to the Etsy shops that show their jewelry on models. I think it is a good idea, since it is so difficult sometimes to imagine how a necklace would look like on a person. So, here is the result of my experiments in this direction.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Catching Up

So, I've neglected to write in my blog for a long while, and now have too many news for one post. Blogger's wisdom tells me I shall spread my news over a few posts...

The last two weeks of summer I spent in Washington and Oregon. I have not been to these states before, although I've seen lots of pictures and wanted to go there for a long time.

I brought back tons of pictures myself, and eager to share them, but no picture can reflect what I felt standing behind a 170' waterfall in Oregon or wondering through the mist at Artist Point in Washington.

We drove from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR, then Corvallis, New Port, Florence, Eugene, Bent (all in Oregon), back to Portland, through Seattle, up north to Bellingham and Mt.Baker, and back to Seattle. Every day was absolutely different from the day before and from everything else we ever saw before.

In Portland, my 10-year old daughter was enchanted by some particularly friendly squirrels (never mind the hordes of them in our backyard in Maryland). The Portland squirrels were readily eating from her hands, and one even chewed on the edge of her pants.

In Yachats, OR, we dined in a local restaurant with an amazing coastline view, and the gulls were walking outside on the windowsills begging to share our lunch with them.

But my favorite images were the many waterfalls we saw during this trip. I do not want to use any cliches about rugged beauty and such, but they were widely beautiful indeed...

I guess this experience and these images shall influence me as an artist in some way. I cannot report any connections yet, but I am sure I will be able to draw them in time.

Meanwhile (a note to myself) I shall post more often. Check back in a day or two - I have more interesting pictures to share.

...See more pictures from the Washington and Oregon trip in my photo album.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Tutorial!

I just finished writing this new tutorial, Easy Faux Enamel.

This one is really easy, honestly, it cannot get any easier than this. Designed for people who is looking for their first polymer clay or resin project, this tutorial has ten pages of extremely detailed step by step instructions and sixteen full-size photos.

Here is the link:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Custom Order

Sandy's Orchid Necklace

I am very pleased with this necklace. Sandy saw a picture of two miniature orchids in one of my previous posts. The orchids were white with gold highlights. She asked me to make her a necklace with a similar orchid, and this is what I came up with.

The orchid was hand-sculpted from a mixture of white and translucent Kato polymer clay. This brand works great for the applications like this with lots of small details and protruding parts. The golden highlights were made with Perfect Pearls mica powder.

I suspended the orchid from a chain of mother-of-pearl chips and seed beads. Sandy had a choice between two gold-plated toggle clasps, and she picked the one with antique finish and granulation.

Thank you, Sandy. Enjoy your necklace.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

New Tutorial, Sculpted Orchids, Polymer Clay

The second tutorial in series "Miniature Sculpted Orchids" is available now. Here is the link:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Second Place, Art Bead Awards

My set of faux cloisonne beads, Conchita, the Beauty of California, took the second place in polymer Clay Beads Category, Art bead Awards 2008. Works of all winners will be featured in November/December issue of issue of Step by Step Beads and on the Step by Step Beads website.

I love using my faux cloisonne beads as little canvas for wearable art. This set of beads was inspired by an unbelievable story of love between a Russian explorer, Nicholay Rezanov, and a daughter of the San-Francisco Governor, Maria de la Concepcion Marcella Arguello (Conchita, as she was called in the family), at the beginning of 19-th century. Coming from the opposite ends of the globe and from such different cultures, they found each other and fell in love. Being a Russian noble, Rezanov could not marry without the Russian Emperor's permission, for which he had to travel back to St.-Petersburg. Conchita promised to wait for him. She did not know that on his way through Siberia Rezanov fell terribly ill and died. Only many years later did she learned of his fate, but refused to believe it. She received many proposals from many admirers, but turned all of them down. Conchita had been waiting for Rezanov for three decades... When the news of his death were finally confirmed, she devoted herself to charity and teaching Indians.

This bead set is done using my faux cloisonne technique, with all details formed out of pieces of wire. The red swirl details were formed with wire as well; the wire was removed after baking the beads and the obtained impressions were back-filled with red polymer clay. This clay contained some glitter, hence the sparks you can see in the picture. After applying two layers of the resin, the beads were adorned with siam flat-back Swarovski crystals.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Web Site Update

I am very excited to finally unveil a new version of my web site. I had been working on it for a while, writing all the codes form a scratch, so I am very proud of the result. Please check it out:

I changed the appearance of the pages to hopefully make them look more professional. The swirls on both sides of each page are actual wire details from some of my faux cloisonne pendants and earrings. I also made all pages exactly the size of the screen, with a scroll bar added within some of the pages. I really like this lay out, because it keeps all the other elements of the page – all the buttons, the site title, some pictures, etc. - right in front of the viewer, making “scrollable” (is that even a word?) only the text on the page.

I suspect there may be some bugs that I will still need to work out with this version and will really appreciate if my visitors point them out to me.

This is a limited version for now. The visitors have access only to the main pages and all tutorials, but cannot buy my jewelry from the web site. I will add all the individual product pages in the future. For now, my necklaces, earrings, pendants, and beads can only be purchased through my Etsy store. All four of my project tutorials are available both from the web site and from my store on

Saturday, June 07, 2008

New Tutorial

I just finished the first tutorial in my new series “Miniature Sculpted Orchids”. I am planning to eventually have four tutorials, each for a different type of orchids. In this series, I will explain not only how to sculpt all these flowers, but also how to make different millefiori canes for leaves and different shapes of leaves, how to apply these sculpted details to different bases, such as polymer clay, shells, sea glass, and gems. I will also show you how to incorporate various embellishments in your designs, including beads, pearls, and semi-precious stones.

As always, this tutorial is very detailed and has lots of big full-color pictures showing every step (almost fifty in this one).

I am currently working on a thorough up-date of my web site (it's gonna be beautiful!), so I listed this tutorial in my Etsy shop only.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I am a Fire Mountain Gems Finalist!

My necklace, Les Fleurs De Fer (Iron Flowers), was chosen as one of the finalists in this year beading contest sponsored by Fire Mountain Gems. I received the notification yesterday. I am so excited!

This necklace is deliciously mono-chromatic, with lots of details in silver and gun metal tones. I sculpted the orchids and the leaves from black and silver polymer clays and enhanced the veins with silver acrylic paint. The necklace itself is constructed as a multi-string lariat, with flowers on one side, and the leaves serving as a counter-weight.

I now need to send the necklace to FMG for the final stage of the contest. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pictures From My Garden

It is the time for irises. I love these flowers as much as I like orchids. Irises have one definite advantage over orchids in my eyes – I can grow them!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Polymer Clay Vase with Sculpted Orchids

I just finished the vase that I had been working on for the last two weeks. It is 10” tall and 2.5” in diameter at the top and the bottom. I like its form – it is very gracious yet sturdy. I have it covered with polymer clay in copper and bronze colors, with lots of fresh-water pearls and textured details at the bottom and hand-sculpted milefiori leaves and orchids at the top.

I like this combination of a rough textured base with leaves and orchids. I am already working on a step-by-step tutorial for a pendant/focal bead in a similar style.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Publication Update

Exciting news! Shirley Rufener, who wrote a new book on polymer clay "Polymer Clay Mixed Media Jewelry: Fresh Techniques, Projects and Inspiration", sent me a link to the book's cover on

Shirley accepted pictures of two of my faux cloisonne necklaces to be published in this book, so I am officially a contributor.

She says that release date is in the Fall although Amazon lists December 16. The book is set up with a short gallery of projects at the end of each chapter that will enhance and supply inspiration for that chapter (based on the media or material added to the clay) such as pastel chalks, transfers, metal clay, inks/powders, etc...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Faux Cloisonne Class in Kansas City

This Saturday I did my faux cloisonne class in Kansas City. There were nineteen people in the room and lots of enthusiasm. As always, I offered a dozen of different heart design sketches to get people started but encouraged them to experiment with their own designs. My goal for this class is to teach the technique, and not just one or two projects. I was very excited to see people coming up with all these different ideas. Too bad I did not have enough time to take more pictures. The few I took are below:

If you want to see more pictures from this class, follow this link to the page that Lynette Fisk, the Kansas City Polymer Clay Guild Volunteer Webmaster, have already put together after the class.

Special thanks to Debbie Updegraff, Vice President of the Guild, and Teri Stettnisch, the President, for organizing this class.

The Polymer Clay Guild in Kansas City is only two-years old, but they already have a very admirable group atmosphere, a really nice place for the meetings, and a good number of talented and generous people. I hope this guild will continue growing and proving a wonderful creativity outlet for all polymer clay enthusiasts in the area.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

New Tutorial Is Ready

The faux lampwork tutorial is now available from my site.

Here is the link:

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Faux Lampwork Beads

I have some cool beads to show. They are a result of my recent experiments. For a long time I wanted to re-create the look of lampwork glass beads in clay. I tried it a couple of times in the past, but never liked the results. This time I am finally happy about the design.

There will be a new tutorial for this technique. I am almost done writing it and shall have it on my site in a couple of days.

Added on May 2, 2008:

I now have these beads listed in two separate auctions at Just Beads. Please take a look. (And yes, I know I messed up the thumbnail photos for those listings, but they cannot be fixed unfortunately...)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Honorable Mention at Rings and Things Contest, 2008

My necklace Wild Fire won an honorable mention at the Rings and Things contest this year.
I am thrilled!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Free Tutorial, Simple Canes

A new tutorial for polymer clay is finished as promised. It is available on my web site.

This tutorial shows how to make bull's eye cane and how to turn it into a leaf cane. There are lots of pictures and the explanations are very detailed, as always.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A One-Time Offer, Polymer Clay Class

I would like to offer one of my one-day classes at a reduced rate. Please find short descriptions of the classes here:

Here is the small print:

- The class has to be organized before May 23, 2008;
- USA only;
- I must use Southwest Airlines;
- There should be a direct flight from Baltimore, MD or Washington, DC to your city (or a city nearby);
- I would like to have at least seven people in the class.

Please E-mail me if you are interested to discuss the details. You may find my E-mail address in my profile (on the right).

... And in case you are curious, this offer was made possible thanks to the promotion I received from Southwest Airlines.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Free Tutorial, Skinner Blend

I have a new free tutorial for polymer clay on my site. The tutorial explains how to obtain smooth color gradient. This technique is known as two-color Skinner blend. Stay tuned – the next tutorial will be for making a bull’s eye cane and a leaf cane. I already have it in a draft form and shall be able to post it on my web site by the end of the week.

Here is the link to the Skinner blend tutorial:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New faux Cloisonne Necklace and Earrings

When it comes to naming my jewelry... I can use some help (to say it politely). I made this set of earrings and a necklace a while ago. Beautiful colors, nice olivine Swarovski crystals... I love this set. Trouble is, I just could not give it a name. I got stuck on “Olive Garden” (yeah, go ahead, laugh!), but without a name I could not list this set. Desperate, I was about to call it “Green Necklace and Earrings” or something like that. Finally after brainstorming it with my kids, we came up with a reasonable version: “Enchanted Forest”...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I am Back!

I have spent the last week in Paris, France, and just came back. This was my first time there, and totally loved it!

The strongest impression? Beautiful stylishly dressed French women pedaling their bikes among cars while wearing high heels and no helmets! I knew there were lots of bikers in France, but I had no idea that they were so different from those in America. Here when you see a person on a bike, he or she is usually dressed in sports gear, rides on a side of the road (or on a special bike path), and all the cars are going out of their ways trying not to come near the biker. In Paris they were right on the roads, racing with the other cars and buses, and definitely doing it not for exercise as in America, but to actually get somewhere...

I brought back quite a few pictures, and you can see them in my Flickr album ( However, the things that impressed me the most did not get photographed. For example, I did not dare to pull out my camera in the bakery where we were buying our croissants every morning, even when my daughter volunteered to do it. She just turned ten and knows only a few words in French, so it was a major adventure for her.

Another memorable thing about Paris for me was live music on the streets. We even saw a band of native American Indians performing on the bank of Sena. Their music was so beautiful, with such clean and melodic sounds... I captured them on video, but not on a photo camera.

I was also sadly amazed by the number of baggers on the streets of Paris. No, I did not photograph them either... I am convinced there is always a white and a black side to everything, but the good thin is that even though we saw some dark sides of Paris, they were way outweighed by the positive ones.

This vacation was wonderful. We rented an apartment in the historic Paris, minutes from Louvre and Notre-Dame. We saw lots of Paris, exploring on foot Les Halles, Marais, and Champs-Elysees. I was pleasantly surprised how much my kids were actually able to walk (they claim they grew their leg muscles during this trip). The weather was great, and I was surprised to see lots of flowers and trees blooming there already. But the main thing is the city itself, of cause, with its historic atmosphere, narrow streets, and unforgettable buildings...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Black Cats – Polymer Clay Pins

I added a number of items to my shop on Ruby lane today, including the two cat pins below. These guys are completely out of my style. I made them about a year ago while playing with left-over black clay and watching TV. I have no idea where they came from. I usually plan my designs or at least can figure out what inspired them after the fact. These two are a complete mystery to me. I guess that is why I kept them for so long. Finally I found them in a corner of one of the drawers in my studio and decided to let them see the light so to speak. I think they are fun and deserve their place next to my up-scale designs. Any takers?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Set on Ruby Lane

I just added a new set of polymer clay and resin earrings and a pendant on a chain with wire-wrapped Swarovski crystals to my shop at Ruby Lane. This is the set that I made as a result of some of my faux cloisonne focal beads back in January (see my post from January, 26).

Although I am pleased with the results, I do not think I will make another set like this, at least for now. It required as much work as the faux cloisonne things I make (since every line on it is formed with wire), but the same result could have been achieved with a rubber stamp. Of course, with a rubber stamp I could repeat the same design as many times as I please, while this piece cannot be duplicated. Is it important? I need a customer who really appreciates the uniqueness of this set to justify making more beads with the same technique.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Live Radio On-Line Show

Mona Hair form Jewelry Connection invited me to be her guest artist this Sunday, March 2. Time Slated for the show is 10am HST(Hawaii) 11am AKST(Alaska) 12pm PST, 1pm MST, 2pm CST, 3pm EST depending on your time zone.

Mona, a talented jewelry designer herself, does a weekly on-line show about works of contemporary jewelry artists. Here is what she says about the show: “The Jewelry Connection is a concept born of my love and appreciation of my fellow artisan jewelry designers. To create with the intention that the world will in some way be more beautiful for that effort is a noble endeavor, for what brings forth hope more succinctly or profoundly than beauty. Thousands of heretofore unknown or barely known artists are involved in this very effort every day. I want to know them, I want to record someplace that they were here and that what they have done was important enough to document. If you are not a designer, but an admirer of original wearable art, I commit myself to entertaining you with delightful Sunday afternoons, where you may enjoy the experience of meeting some super fine people and witness the audio/visual documentation of their efforts in designs of original wearable art!”

To join us at Jewelry Connect, go to and click on the black and gray button at the top left of the page that reads Start a Show. You may then listen to the show by simply turning your speakers on; no registration is necessary. If, however, you would like to be able to ask questions during the show ether over the phone or by typing them on the message board, you will need to register at first. The registration is free and takes less than a minute.

And here is the link to the slide presentation that Mona put together for me:

Click on the video with my faux cloisonne orchid to start the slide show.

Hope to hear from you on Sunday!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Synergy: Moving Forward, Looking Back

I am back from the Synergy conference. I am exhausted and overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas. The conference spread over three and a half days, if I count the registration and gallery set-up on Wednesday. The seminars (three a day) were scheduled from 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM on Thursday and Friday and 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM on Saturday, with a Gala Banquet and Closing Ceremony after that. In between the seminars, there were other events, such as panel discussions, teacher and vendor fairs, and other presentations. The information shared and discussed during the conference covered such topics as craftsmanship, business, design, new products, available classes and techniques, history of polymer clay, and many other. No wander, by the end of day 3 people were sleeping in hallways to catch some rest.

I attended two seminars on craftsmanship, three on business, and two on design. Every presentation was excellent – both in the amount and quality of the information shared and in the way it was presented. I was very impressed with the way these presentations were organized. For example, instead of having people crowded around the table to see the hands-on demonstration, it was projected on a big screen through a video camera, so that everybody could see what the instructor is doing from their chairs in the audience. Overall, the entire conference was organized extremely well at every step, which is a great accomplishment of Judy Belcher, the president of National Polymer Clay Guild, and the synergy teem volunteers.

My personal biggest impressions, however, were not from anything new I have learned at the conference (although I learned a lot), but from the people who attended the conference. It was very interesting to see not only the famous works I have seen only on the Internet and in books before, but the artists who created those works. There were lots of talented people, at various stages of their polymer clay career, but all with shared love for what they are doing. For me, it was very inspiring to see all these creative people with different personalities and styles of their polymer clay work. Many of them came to polymer clay from other backgrounds, and many are with scientific background, like myself...

The conference was a very rewarding and thought-provoking experience in many ways, and I hope to be able to participate in many more similar gatherings in the future.

Here is the picture from the conference with Carol Duvall and the conference attendees who appeared at her show. Carol was a guest speaker on Friday. It was amazing to see how many people responded when she asked to raise the hands all those who were introduced to polymer clay through her show...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Synergy Starts Today!
The National Polymer Clay Guild's conference starts today. I volunteered at the registration desk yesterday and was very excited to finally see in person some of the amazing works I have seen only on the Internet before. Gallery participants started to set up their "booths" yesterday (it is a 15" by 4' space, so you have to be creative to display in such a limited space). I wish I could show here a few set ups I really liked, but we are not allowed to take pictures in the Gallery room. Here is my set up (90% finished, photographed in my studio). I am off to the conference with a long day ahead of me (8:30 AM to 9:00 PM). Oh, it is going to be so much fun!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Synergy: Getting Ready

Here are two items I am planning to donate at the National Polymer Clay Guild's Synergy conference which starts in Baltimore next week (February 21).

The first one is a story-telling necklace with a faux cloisonne pendant and necklace ends, "Diana, the Hunting Goddess". The second one is a wall decoration with hand-sculpted orchids and fresh-water pearls.

Friday, February 08, 2008

My Customer's Creation

I just love it when people who buy my beads or pendant send me the pictures of their creations! Linda Faigen sent me the two pictures below. She used the sculpted polymer clay beads I made for her earlier this year to make these beautiful hair sticks. What a great idea! Looking at the hair sticks she sells in her Etsy shop I wish I had hair long enough to wear something as pretty as this...

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