Tag Archives: polymer clay mosaic

Empty well?

Empty well today?  Maybe it’s a chronic condition and you say I’m suffering from artist’s block. Writers get away with that quite easily, but artists? We see life in color so the well is easily filled again. Here are some things I do to fill my artistic well:

MAKE CRAFTS

I’m grateful that I enjoy making stuff with my hands. As a kid I learned to sew, knit, and crochet, but these days I mostly create polymer clay embellished boxes and inspirational frames.

polymer clay mosaicI love the meditative quality of crafts. I don’t have to think too much, just make the tiles and paint them. They usually come together easily once I design the box lid or frame.

polymer clay mosaicI also make handmade art journals, which are SO MUCH FUN! I can get real sloppy with inks and paints.

art journalI sell the crafts on etsy in my EARTH AND FAERY shop and they are quite popular. That is a side bonus that also inspires me to make more.

To get back to art making as in painting and art journaling, I come back with a fresh eye after a few days of craft making. My other major inspiration is:

NATURE

If you live in the boonies you are surrounded by nature, but if you live in an urban area like I do, it’s hard to get outside and be surrounded by trees. I live by a park, and that was a choice I made. Pretty much every day I go to the park, and the energy fills me up.

There is something so healing about nature, and it also balances you. Just as you make a commitment to join a gym, you can make a commitment to spend time in nature every week. Look at it as self-care.

YouTube

There are so many tutorials on YouTube you could spend a lifetime getting inspired by other people’s art. Half an hour here and there works wonders. I also love to look at art by the old masters. A trip to an art museum or gallery can be inspiring.

EXERCISE!

Many dread that word, but exercise is essential for well-being on all levels. I find it to be the fastest way to clear out the cobwebs and get the ball rolling. Once it’s rolling, it keeps going.  Exercising and park visits go hand in hand…

ART PARTY

Every month I get together with a couple of artsy friends and we have an art party. We take turns to host it. We make art, talk, and eat a great lunch. It’s truly refreshing and inspiring. I usually end up working in my art journal. Doodling is one way of expressing art while deep into a discussion.

TAKE A NAP

When all fails, take a short nap! You wake up with fresh eyes. 🙂

If none of these things appeal to you, well, come up with your own regimen for creative self-care. Then the well will always be filled.

Creating art is not always easy, but don’t blame it on “artist’s block.”

Have a creative weekend. (Those are the best kind.)

xo

Maria

I thought I would be bored

I thought I would be bored in the long run making polymer clay mosaics. Ever since I came across Laurie Mika’s book Mixed Media Mosaics I have been hooked. That was years ago and I still make them.

polymer clay mosaic
Polymer clay tiles

Check out that cute elephant. I pretty much use dragonfly charms for the center tile, but I’ve had this special charm for a while.

I used to do stained glass mosaics on tables and such, but that is very fiddly and I wasn’t really into beautifying furniture for life.

My main gig is painting, but I have a strong streak of “craftiness” and I find it soothing to plug away at crafty things, namely mosaics. Though I also make some handmade journals for those who don’t know how to start art journaling. Starting with a painted page is easier.

To go back to mosaics, my You Tube video on how to paint polymer clay tiles have gotten more views by far than any of my other videos. Lots of people into polymer clay these days, and that’s great!

If you haven’t seen the video, here is the link.

It’s really not that hard once you get the hang of it.  The variations are endless.

follow your heart
polymer clay mosaic wall plaque

I like to add some inspiring words to the art. People should be reminded to follow their dreams. Otherwise, life is pretty much wasted in my opinion. We all need something inspiring in this day and age….

mermaid
Believe in magic

If you’d like to find out more about making polymer clay mosaics like these, I have an e-course where you would make a box (similar to the one above) from beginning to finish. I show you every step of the progress.  The course is ONLY $23! Check it out.

Back to painting now! Wishing you a creative and happy weekend.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. You can check out the journals and other things in my etsy shop Earth and Faery.

 

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Polymer clay mosaic tutorial.

People have been asking me about more polymer clay mosaic tutorials.

I have posted before on how to paint the baked tiles, and there is a YouTube video on how to paint them as well.  CLICK HERE.

Here are some pictures on how to put the mosaic together with the finished tiles. Since this is a star box I had to fiddle with and cut some of the tiles, which is tricky since they break pretty easily.  It’s much easier to make a square or rectangular design.

polymer clay mosaic tiles
painted tiles ready to be assembled
star box lid
Box top painted black

I paint the lids black to hide any gaps between the tiles. If the gap is too big I place some glue and drop some seed beads to fill the gap.

layout
layout, one tile at a time
finished design
Tiles fitted and glued down

Here you can see some blue seed beads in the top two corners. The tiles were too big to cut for size.  Seed beads are great and they lend some sparkle to the project as well. Choose a color that matches the main color(s) of your design.

painting the box
Painting the box

I painted the box on the outside with acrylic paints.

gold interior
spray painted interior

I spray paint the bottom and the interior with gold paint before I paint the rest.

finished box
finished box

What do you think? Pretty colorful. I had fun making this, and so many others.

I made a mirror that promotes PEACE!  I thought that was a worthy thing to be reminded of while looking into a mirror.  Peace begins within and it’s a choice. I even had a Buddha charm I embedded in the clay and baked.

peace mirror
Peace mirror

The mirror part distracts from the frame in the bright outdoors, but there it is. Polymer clay is so versatile you can make almost any design.

I use old buttons, rubber stamps, charms, found objects, and lettering to imprint the tiles. You can use anything that makes a nice imprint.

If you enjoyed the tutorial, please leave a comment.

Please visit my new etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Have a great creative week!

xo

Maria

Art versus craft

Art versus craft, what is the difference?

What part of us needs to know?

I was making some polymer clay mosaic picture frames today and was struck by the thought that I feel the same when I’m doing crafts as I feel when painting.

In the past I have labeled painting as “art” and anything else that I enjoy to do with my hands as “craft.”  Craft ought to be more lowly than art, but there is NO difference since I’m the same creator.

Doesn’t it all come from the same inner source?  Yes, of course it does. Craft may be more mechanical in that you make more of the same items, but not one is exactly the same.  With my mosaics it’s hard to even make two that look alike, but if you put them all side by side, there is a definite similarity of style and a preferred choice of colors.

When I paint I also prefer certain colors to others. I don’t prefer a particular motif, but if I did, I might find painting easier than facing a blank canvas to start something completely new. I can’t seem to focus on a particular subject.  My color choices do carry “my” signature.  The mosaics all look similar because I have only so many tools in my toolbox for imprints and only so many rubber stamps. No matter. It won’t stop me from creating.

The me sitting in my studio is the one who creates, not necessarily the ego me who likes to think I’m The Great Artist. It doesn’t change what appears on the canvas or on my mosaic frames. If I’m having a good time, that’s good enough for me.

Feeling alive is what I enjoy, no matter what I do.  In other words, doing what I love.

It is a choice and sometimes a compulsion to create, but no matter how things transpire in the studio, I spent the day in a good way.

DSCN2161
polymer clay mosaic frame.

This one will end up with an altered Christmas ornament in the shape of a heart in the middle. I adhere some text to the surface and glue inspirational words on it. Then I attach it to the background that I alter with awesome paper.

DSCN2162
small frame with polymer clay mosaic tiles.

A 5×5″ picture frame.  Fun and fast to make since it’s so small.

What are you working on today?  I wish you all kinds of creativity.

This concludes day 10 of the blogging challenge …

xo

Maria

P.S. Check out some of my stuff for sale in my etsy shop HERE.

Polymer clay mosaic tile tutorial

For years I used to make polymer clay mosaics.  I don’t know if you’ve heard of Laurie Mika and her fabulous book, Mixed Media Mosaics?  I was smitten while reading that and used some of her techniques for making my own boxes and frames.  I have made many, but I got burned out on making them.  They make great gifts!  I took photos of the process, but I struggled to get good pictures.  I will post them anyway since the mirror I worked on is done.

First layer of paint after baking the polymer clay tiles.
I didn’t get pictures from the tile making process, but you knead a block of polymer clay and roll it flat like cookie dough with a rolling pin.  The slab should be about 1/8″ thick.  I then use rubber stamps, old buttons, charms, and found objects that make good indentations.  I cut out the tile with a polymer clay blade.  I put the tiles in a baking pan and put a same-size pan on top, bottom up, like a lid.  I secure the pans together with binder clips and bake in the oven per manufacturer’s instructions.  Carry the pans outside, release one of the clips and slide top pan open to release fumes.  I like to use Sculpey III, but I’m sure Fimo and other brands are good too.  I tried self-drying clay for a batch and it was very difficult to work with.  You can use any color clay since you’re going to paint over the tiles, but black will make the tiles darker.

 

Charms embedded in the clay.

Here is a close up of the jewelry charms I baked into the clay.  They add bling!  These are the tiles after one coat of paint where I usually fill in all the indentations and wipe off the rest.  Looks messy at this stage….

 

Mirror frame painted black front and back.

This is a mirror frame.  I took out the glass part and painted the frame front and back with black craft paint.  It seals the wood and also adds “tooth” to the surface, which makes it easy to adhere the tiles.  Attach a sawtooth hanger on the back before adding the tiles.  There are sometimes holes for hanging, but it’s difficult to use those and get the mirror straight on the wall.  (At least I find it so..lol.)

Second layer of paint

 

Second layer of paint.

 

Same two pictures in different light.  This is the second coat of paint.  I usually smear it on with my fingers.  I try to vary the colors to get more tiles to choose from for my project.

 

Last layer: embossing powder
Finished tiles
Basket of tiles!

Third coat of paint, which is embossing powder in different colors that I also smear on with my fingers.  I use Perfect Pearls.  See how it all came together?  Now the tiles don’t look messy at all, but handmade for sure.  Embossing powder smooths everything out and adds a nice highlight to any ridges.  Where there is white shining through from the tile, I usually go over it with a paint pen or a fine brush, or fill in larger areas, like the purple star and sun with more of the same paint.

A basket of yummy tiles!  Now my mirror frame is dry too and I sand the edges.  Then it’s time to match up the tiles for the design. This is the fun part…  It can be painstaking, but I have never done a project that didn’t come together just perfectly. 🙂

 

Tile selection and adhering.

When the design is done, I put the tiles in order on the table and spread LOTS of glue on one area at a time.  I use Aleene’s craft glue, which works great, but Weldbond is also a good brand of glue for mosaic tiles.  For the wings and heart on the center piece, I used E6000 jewelry glue, which is heavy duty.  I really like my pieces to be solid.  Where there are small gaps between the tiles, I pour in a string of seed beads.  It adds bling and gives the piece a finished look.

Finished!

 

Finished!  I painted the edges with good black acrylic paint.  I also like to paint the back one more time to make it really look good.  I sign it on the back.

Are you willing to try one of these?  It’s not hard, but it looks hard. 🙂  What are you working on now?

xo
Maria

P.S. I don’t have any mirrors for sale in my etsy shop, but I have paintings and mixed media HERE.