Beautiful Polymer Clay and Beaded Jewelry

I found another talented artist on Flickr, Bridget Derc. She makes beautiful jewelry from polymer clay and beading. I don’t know much about Bridget because she hasn’t revealed much about herself in her profile. An Internet search didn’t reveal anything more.

All I know for sure is that I love her work. Below is my favorite piece- a polymer clay pendant on a beaded rope. I love the colors and the texture in this piece.

Here is an example of the beautiful polymer clay bangles that she makes. She rolls Sculpey Ultralight into sausages, cuts them in half, and bakes them around a beer can to make blanks. After sanding them, she covers them with cane veneers.

Another example of one of her creations. I love the colors and design of this necklace.

You can find more examples of her jewelry on her Flickr photo stream at: Bridget Derc’s Photostream.

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Mummer’s Day Parade

String Band

String Band

Every New Year’s Day here in Philadelphia, the Mummers march up Broad Street. The tradition of mummery started here in the late 17th century with a blend of European, British, and later African-American influences. In 1901, this informal tradition became a city sponsored event and the march up Broad Street began. Marchers used to wear makeshift costumes, but since the 1900’s costumes have gotten more elaborate. Currently 10,000 people march in the parade.

Fancy Costume

Fancy Costume

This is more than just a one day event for the participants. Many work all year to come up with themes, create costumes and floats, and practice routines. Groups raise thousands of dollars to pay professionals to help with the elaborate costumes and choreography.



Although this is not high art, I think it is amazing that so many people have found this to be a rewarding creative outlet. Some people are offended by the political satire and the buffoonery of the comics, but it is part of the tradition of the comics to poke fun. When I saw these religious cows marching up the street, I wondered what it represented. And then it hit me- holy cow!

Holy Cow

Holy Cow

I took these photos of the parade a few years back when January 1st was a balmy day; many spectators were in short sleeves. This year the temperatures were record lows, so I stayed inside, even though the parade route is only around the corner. Maybe January 1st, 2015 will be warm enough to take new photos.

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Hand Dyeing My Own Fabric


Even though there are many beautiful commercial fabrics around, I’ve fallen in love with hand dyed fabrics. For the last few years I’ve been experimenting with different techniques to add color and textures to my own fabrics.


Since I don’t have a studio and I live in the city, I try to do most of my dyeing when it is warm enough to do it outside along the side of my house on a folding table covered with a drop cloth.


Hand dyeing is not that difficult, but there are different elements that you can manipulate to get different results and I love to experiment. My goal is to get the result that I’m looking for with the simplest techniques. Sometimes the results are surprising.


These are examples of some of the fabrics that I’ve dyed this summer. I plan to use them to make art quilts, dolls, and accessories.

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Princesses, Foxes, and Other Crazy Creatures

coppia con volpe

I’ve fallen in love with the work of another artist, Francesca Greco, a painter and artist living in Foligno, in the Umbria region of Italy. Every year, Foligno holds a medieval festival, Quintana, that is filled with pageantry, jousting, and residents in medieval dress. I’m sure many of the patterns and motifs she uses in her designs are influenced by this and the history and culture of Umbria. She combines these influences with bright colors and contemporary patterns to create whimsical characters in wood, paper, and fabric.

I gatti metropolitani

She also writes and illustrates children’s books. You can see more beautiful examples of her work on flickr at Francesca Greco.

foto di gruppo

Next week, I’ll be writing about the fabric that I’ve been dyeing for my own projects and I’ll be discussing some of the techniques that I’ve been experimenting with.

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Lovely Spun Cotton Ornaments

Spun cotton Halloween ornaments by jejeMae

Jejemae is an artist living in Brooklyn who makes little spun cotton creatures and ornaments. She has developed her own techniques to make them by trial and error.

spun cotton patriotic cat girl  jejeMae

They remind me of vintage spun cotton German ornaments. They are very delicate.

Hunt and Gather a spun cotton vintage craft ornament by jejemae

You can find more of her work on her flickr and Etsy.

Spun cotton patriotic circus elephant jejeMae

I’ve been very busy the last three weeks hand dying fabric to use to make art quilts and some accessories. I’d also like to try my hand at making dolls. I’ll be posting about my progress soon.

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Appreciating A Different Point of View

Another of my acquisitions.

I love handmade things. I definitely don’t want to live in a world where everything is mass produced and every decision is made by committee.

Paulina sells her art on Etsy

I was looking at dolls made by Paulina Feicht, a Polish artist, and I started to wonder why her creations appeal to me so much.


I found an art doll Pinterest board the other day that had rows and rows of beautiful and well executed dolls. Although I admire beauty and well executed work, I didn’t find these dolls nearly as appealing as the ones that Paulina makes because they all had different makers but a similar look.


I guess one element that appeals to me is someone who expresses themselves from an original point of view. That is only a part of it, though. I’m still thinking.


I remember years ago, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and I saw one of Monet’s paintings of water lilies. I was rooted to the spot in front of it. I was finally able to move away, but I had to go back two or three times.

I am a visual person so there are some things that I can’t express in words – that’s why I use forms, color, and textures. I’m not sure this kind of attraction can be fully expressed in words. I’ll continue to think about it.

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My Newest Toy

Sorry, this one is taken.

This is my newest aquisition. Isn’t she a beauty? There are three things that I love to do: create, encourage others to create, and find artists who create things that I admire.

Halloween witch art doll

One artist that I recently discovered is Sandy Mastroni, an American folk artist from Connecticut who makes dolls and decorative items like clocks.

cat art doll

I especially love the crazy character and cat dolls that she makes. She’s made some Halloween dolls and decorations that are perfect for the upcoming Halloween season. Sandy’s creations are reasonably priced and you can find them on Etsy.

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More Examples of Embellishing Fabric: Stitching and Beads


This is a shoulder bag that I’ve made from fabric I dyed using the low immersion technique. I made a few using different colors. Not only was I playing with colors and textures that were created by the dying process, but I wanted to add additional decoration to the surface of the bags.


I did this by using thread, beads, and polymer clay ornaments that I created and attached using different methods.


Some I attached with thread and some by using a bead.


I used a simple stitch pattern – lines running in different directions with some more elaborate geometric stitching patterns or flower shapes.


Over the next several weeks I plan to use several techniques to hand dye more fabric, building on what I’ve learned. I have many designs in mind for additional projects using the decorated and dyed fabric, including art quilts.


I hope you’ll come back and follow my progress.

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Creating Patterns on Hand Dyed Fabric


Clutch from pieced fabric

I love the look of hand dyed fabric. After I experimented with basic low emersion techniques, I wanted to experiment with methods I could use to add patterns to the fabric I hand dyed.

Color variation created by low emersion techniques.

Color variation created by low emersion techniques.

I started by using freezer paper as a resist because it is easy to get, it’s safe to use, and I could work on it anywhere because it isn’t messy. The easiest pattern, the one I started with, is stripes or variations of the stripe. I could create different patterns by varying the width of the freezer paper stripes, or the width that they were spaced when I ironed them onto the fabric. I then used dyed fabric and overdyed the stripes, or painted thickened dye over white fabric with freezer paper stripes.

A stripe variation

A stripe variation

Another easy pattern to create is polka dots. I just traced a bottle cap and made a pattern that I traced onto freezer paper. I cut them out and ironed them onto the fabric. I could vary the size of the dots, their placement on the fabric, and use a variety of techniques to create different designs. For example, I dyed, overdyed, or used metallic decolourant that bleaches and replaces the dye with metallic acrylic paint.

Polka dot fabric

Polka dot fabric

Another easy pattern to create is checks. I just cut out squares of different sizes and used different techniques to create variations.

A check pattern

A check pattern

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Why Do We Women Love Shoes?

Paper Shoe Flamenco

I’ve always loved shoes. Unfortunately, I’ve always had a difficult time finding shoes to fit my very wide feet. Now I have a bunion on one foot, which makes my foot even wider. All hopes of getting my feet into any of the shoes that I really want have gone out the window.

Paper Shoe

To vicariously satisfy my love of beautiful, expensive shoes, that I probably couldn’t afford anyway, I decided to start a Pinterest board called Saucy Shoes. Some of the shoes weren’t meant to be worn, like these paper shoes, which suits me just fine since I couldn’t wear any of them anyway.

Paper Shoe Velence

But the shoes do reflect my style – sometimes quirky, colorful, and expensive.

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