Sunday, October 2, 2011

Christmas Cat Jewelry and Ornaments from Polymer Clay and Studio Photos

Here in Arizona the temperature was over 100 F. until just a few days ago, but holiday merchandizing and gift buying have already started. So lately, being a cat lover,  I've been spending many hours in my own version of Santa's Workshop surrounded by hues of bright red and green as I designed the prototype pendants, brooches and tree ornaments for the our holiday Cat Collection. I thought it would be fun to show photos of my workshop as I unveil the photos of Mr. Christmas Cat, himself.

First I conditioned a whole lot of artist-quality polymer clay with a dead blow hammer and kept two pasta machines busy as I made a large selection of canes using different colors, and color combinations. Then the canes were then reduced to of variety of different diameters and shapes. Caning is a labor-intensive construction technique borrowed from glass making similar to making jellyrolls, where colored rods of clay are laid horizontally forming a complex pattern from which a thin slice is cut allowing the pattern to be seen.

The next step was slicing up a whole passel of thin cane slices cut with a tissue blade.
(My favorite tissue blades are those sold by Carolyn Stearns  at Carolyn's Clay Creations)
Then the body and head pieces were cut out of sheets of various clay thicknesses using an oak tag template and a craft knife. The body is 2 dimensional, but the head which is eventually attached to the body is gently coaxed into 3 dimensional features by the addition of tiny logs and balls of clay on the back side of the head. Then the contours of the face are gently sculpted with rubber shaping tools and fingers encased in rubber gloves.
I also use one of my favorite tools made from ball bearings glued to a piece of bamboo to help with the sculpting process. I use the 1/4" end to help with the eye sockets.
And now for the moment you've all been waiting for.........Drum roll please............ta's Mr Christmas Cat. The version below is that of a pendant style necklace that easily converts to a brooch by removing the satin cord. He and his friends come with either a red or green body in various jewelry and Hanging Ornaments in several styles and  colors are now available for "adoption" and gift giving at MelodyODesigns at Etsy 

To read more about the making of the ornaments please click Ornament Blog Post
Mr. Green Christmas Cat

Worn as Brooch

Clever jewelry  finding that converts from pendant to brooch


  1. Thank you for sharing Anita, I enjoyed reading and seeing how your sweet kitties are made! I love Mr. Christmas Cat 2011! Looking very festive and holiday like at your work table, even though it's been 100 degrees there in Arizona!

  2. 2011 Christmas Cat is spectacular! I can't believe how clean your workspace is; and so organized!

  3. Your workspace does lok like an organised and creative space, no wonder you produce such beauties. must go tidy mine!

  4. I think your cats are the cutest! Loved seeing how you bring them to life.

  5. The cats are so charming. Thanks for showing us how they're grown.