I have another new subscription box to share with you! This one is called Knack (https://www.theknackbox.com/) and is a monthly subscription that is a little different to some of the others I’ve signed up to. With Knack you as a subscriber get a say in what the future projects will be. I signed up in time to receive the June box which was polymer clay earrings. After signing up I received an email asking which colour clay I would like included in my kit and have since completed questionnaires about which glass bead project I would like to see in the July box (majority vote wins), what colour beads I would like and a general questionnaire about what kinds of projects I would like to see in the future. The interaction is great and really makes you feel part of a creative community. The instructions for each kit are presented as a live session on Zoom, but if you can’t make the date then you can watch the video either in your account on the website or via the Facebook members group.
Included in the June box was:
- Polymer clay (black, white and colour of your choice)
- Greaseproof paper
- Earring wires
- Jump rings
The session was hosted by Eveline Zemla from Flamingo Jewellery and the project was to make some marbled earrings. I couldn’t attend the Zoom session but I followed along with the video on Facebook. The edited video was about an hour long, but I would imagine that the Zoom session was a bit longer than that. Eveline started by going through the equipment included in the kit and extras you might need such as scissors/a knife etc, and what temperature to heat your oven up to. She then demonstrated how to condition the clay and whilst we were doing that she then showed us two different marbling techniques. The first was one I was familiar with, making sausages with the clay and twisting them together, the second I hadn’t done before but I thought it was a great technique once I had had a go. It involved adding small pieces of clay to a larger, flat piece which created a more delicate look than the first technique when it was rolled up.
Although it was a little strange watching a tutorial on something I already know how to do I tried to complete the project as though I were a beginner so I could see how the kit would work for someone who hadn’t used polymer clay before. Eveline mentioned that she would normally use a pasta machine to roll out the clay and cutters to achieve a more uniform look, as I do too, but for the purposes of this kit she was showing us how to do it all without any fancy equipment. I found that I actually really enjoyed getting back to basics and creating more organic pieces just using my hands.
Whilst the beads were baking in the oven Eveline showed us how to make small tassels using thread and a fork. It is a very similar technique to making pom-poms, but you tie them on one side rather than in the middle, cutting only one side open and then transferring them from the fork to a jump ring.
Once the beads were baked and had cooled Eveline then explained about sanding them. She used a basic nail file to do this, but mentioned that some makers use sand paper or sanding blocks to reshape their pieces or smooth rough edges. She also said that it made her smile/laugh when she saw jewellery that had not been sanded or had evidence of finger prints on as it showed that the maker was a beginner or amateur. I have to say that I disagree with this sentiment. I often find that when I have sanded my polymer clay it leaves scratch marks and scuffs on the surface of the clay which ruins the look of the piece, unless you are willing to work through all the different grades of sand paper from roughest to smoothest. I have been playing and making with polymer clay for probably over ten years now and have attended several courses on using it too. I have found that if you take enough care and attention whilst you are making your piece before baking it then you probably don’t need to sand it at all.
After she had demonstrated the filing Eveline then showed us how to construct the earrings using the ear wires, jump rings and pliers. During the video we were encouraged to make enough beads for a couple of pairs of dangly earrings with several connections in each one, however I found that I didn’t have enough jump rings to complete the designs I had in mind. I found some spare in my studio, but not everyone would have some lying around. If I was redoing this kit I would do a bit more planning before making my beads.
Overall it was a fun project and I enjoyed being a ‘beginner’ again. I’m looking forward to the July project as I have never made a hair clip with glass beads before so I really will be a novice! Knack is quite a new subscription box that only started in May. I did actually back order the May box, but the project was candle making which I have done quite recently in another subscription box so I haven’t got around to completing that one yet. As soon as I do it’ll be up on my blog! The monthly subscription for Knack is £22.99 including postage, but there are also options to buy a longer subscription or a one off box.