Aurora Technique (Northern Lights) | Polymer Clay Tutorial [Video]

Backgroundless Shaded Rose CaneVid #190: “Sure
would like to see
someone tackle a bead
or clay fabric mimic-ing
the Aurora Borealis.”
~Jocelyn-C

Well I am beside myself with excitement to be able to share another original Cindy Lietz Exclusive with all of you guys. This one is called the Aurora Technique! Named after the stunning natural phenomenon known as the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, which this polymer clay technique mimics beautifully.

Here is a beautiful time lapse video clip from Vimeo, that I wanted to share to help set the stage for this post…

I have seen the Northern Lights myself only once, when I lived for a short time in Edmonton, Alberta Canada as a child. It was an amazing show of rainbow colored lights that danced in the northern night sky. The conditions need to be just right for them to appear. It was an event I will never forget.

Like a rainbow that appears briefly after a storm, the Aurora Borealis is one of those fleeting gifts from Mother Nature, that makes you stop and commit to memory it’s incredible beauty… knowing at any moment it will disappear from view. If you have ever been lucky enough to experience the Northern Lights in person, you will know exactly what I mean.

When I was creating this unique polymer clay technique, there were two stories in particular that came to mind… inspiration from right here within our friendly community.

We did pick out a name for our baby a while ago. Aurora Padme. Aurora because we are in Alaska and Padme because it means Lotus in Sanscrit language and it’s my favorite flower. ~Rada-F

The Aurora Borealis are commonly seen in Alaska, so I imagine their beauty is at least in part what led Rada to decide on the name for her new little baby. On a personal note for Rada… I hope this week’s tutorial will inspire you to make some Aurora beads for your daughter and your family. You may even find that many others in your community will go crazy for these beads as well.

The other snippet that kept coming to mind was Jocelyn’s interpretation of something she saw in Jon Anderson’s amazing Fimo sculptural pieces. By the way, the technique I am teaching this week has nothing to do with what Jon does. The only parallel is the reference to Northern Lights as Jocelyn points out below.

Cindy – Thanks for the link to Anderson’s work. It probably doesn’t make geographic sense but that group of penguins is stunning and the colors make me think that it’s a reflection of the aurora borealis on their chests. ~Jocelyn-C

So without anymore story telling on my part, coming up tomorrow (Friday, February 4th, 2011) at the Polymer Clay Video Library in Vol-033-1, I will demonstrate how to create this amazingly beautiful, yet surprisingly simple, polymer clay Aurora Technique.

Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Supplies & Tools: Video-033-1 Aurora Technique:

  • 1 section each of the following Premo Sculpey Colors:
    - Blue Pearl
    - Gold
    - Black
    - Green Pearl

    - Red Pearl

Note: Polyform is discontinuing Green Pearl and Red Pearl. So if these colors are not available in your area, either mix the recipes for them using this premo color mixing guide, or replace them with the new colors, Bright Green Pearl and Magenta Pearl. Other pearl colors could also be used for this technique instead, if you choose.

The full version of the Vid-033-1 Aurora Technique video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday Feb 4th, 2011. But if you would like to see a sneak peek intro clip right now, scroll down the page a bit to the video player below.

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Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

 



Click Video Play Button

Here’s That “Link Below” Referred To at End of the Video
>> Polymer Clay Tutorials <<

The full version of the “Aurora Technique” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-033 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Cindy – just wanted to tell you that I love your tutorials. I have learned more in the last two weeks than I have in the last four years. I love working with clay but you have made it into an obsession for me. I learn so much faster when I can see it done rather than reading and making so many mistakes. I had made up my mind to pay for the video lessons at another site, at upwards of fifty dollars for just one class. Then I stumbled upon your site. Wow!!! you have made it affordable even for those of us on a limited income. THANK You so much! I will continue to purchase all the back issues as I can and look forward to all the new ones. Again thanks for being there. ~Karon-C

I go back and look over the past videos for ideas, it’s like going to the supermarket and going up and down looking and thinking “now what do I want to make… OH! this looks interesting”. ~Ken-H

Cindy, I have found that your tutorials are so easy to follow and easy to understand. I prefer to learn by seeing and your videos definitely do that and more. I am so glad that I came across your website because I found that your videos and membership are so reasonably priced. Again, thanks for your hard work. ~Catherine-R

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Aurora Technique video tutorial:

  • See examples of several different beads and jewelry projects using the Aurora Technique.
  • Discussion of the tools and clay colors needed to create this gorgeous and simple polymer clay technique.
  • Learn about how simple it really is to make this unique and versatile art bead technique.
  • Plus, with some creativity and ingenuity, there are many ways to come up with unique versions of your own!

The full version of the “Aurora Technique” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-033 Back Issue Package.

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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing the video of the Northern Lights. What a spectacular sight ! And your examples are just stunning. You just continue to come up with the best videos week after week !

  2. Ditto! And thank you for the link to the Premo color mixing guide. Not only do you make our “class lessons” super simple, you even help with our homework! It would have taken me a hundred clicks to find the guide on my own. You truly are one special team!!!

  3. Can’t wait till tomorrow, WOW, kind of reminds me of a little bit of Paua shell.
    On another topic I hope all of our friends in Australia are safe after the recent Tropical cyclone, from the reports I’ve heard it was similar in strength to our Katrina a few years ago.

  4. fran is so right in describing that video as “spectacular”. To see something like that in person must be the ultimate. Cindy, never not tell us a story, those you have shared are wonderful. You give so much of yourself and for me this is a bit more and personal making me want to give you that extra hug.
    This is truly going to be “THE” technique. If I didn’t need to get some things done today I’d wish for a magic button to fast forward to tomorrow already! Looking forward….

  5. Wow, what an awesome looking technique! And another Cindy original to boot! I can’t wait for tomorrow. Looks like I’m going to have a busy weekend playing with my clay. I have several tutes to try out!!

  6. What a wonderful video. The time lapse photography and the music made me think it was like watching a ballet by the angels.

    Cindy, your beads truly DO look like the Aurora Borealis. This might be my favorite technique of all!

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you Cindy…that video was amazing and I am chomping at the bit to try the aurora technique. Cindy you are amazing…looking forward to tomorrow!

  8. Now I have even more incentive to finish transferring a floor plan to AutoCAD so I can use my fabulous new craft/drafting table to work on clay tomorrow! So excited!

  9. Can’t wait for this tutorial. It is my dream to witness the aror borealis in person. Your beads and pendants are so breathtakingly beautiful! I hope mine turn out as beautiful. doug has captured the beauty and colors of your work so well. Thanks to both of you!

  10. Oh these are soo gorgeous!! I just love the waves of color you’ve achieved Cindy. I think what I enjoy the most – and what keeps our tutorials fresh – is the sense of curiosity and detail you share with us. With your own twists you create such beautiful techniques….as we preview the next lesson we can just hear the enthusiasm in your voice, AND it’s simple too!!? Can’t ask for more than that, a treasure trove of inspiration at such a reasonable cost. Just can’t wait for tomorrow!!

  11. Thanks for sharing the video on the Northern Lights! I love the colors. They have always fascinated me. So interested in this tute…especially now that I am feeling better and up for a new tute and challenge. Looking forward to tomorrow! Thanks! 8)

  12. Been to the Tucson Gem & Mineral shows lately. When I cm home. Lo and behold an amazing tute coming tomorrow. Who neat, love the shifting colors. How fun………….Hurry Friday…………… TY Leitz team

  13. Beautiful colours Cindy, although I am partial to the blue/greens.
    Many fond childhood memories of laying on my back in a snowdrift watching the Aurora Borealis. Do they have southern lights in the southern hemisphere?

  14. Ok a little research and here is the info –

    southern counterpart, the aurora australis (or the southern lights), has similar properties, but is only visible from high southern latitudes in Antarctica, South America, or Australasia. Australis is the Latin word for “of the South”.

  15. Seeing the Northern Lights in person is #1 on my Bucket List. What an amazing video. Thank you so much for sharing it with us Cindy, it took my breath away to watch that miracle. By the way, I THINK IT’S FRIDAY NOW, right???????????????? Just kidding, but I can’t wait to learn this new technique. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  16. TRULY AMAZING – I was blessed once and saw the Northern lights a true sight One of Gods most beautiful paintings in motion. I am thrilled the two of you are doing this tutorial for all of us tomorrow. I am ever happier I didn’t get to the blog till later today, now I don’t have to wait so long :) . I ordered several of the discontinued colors of premo at Munro Crafts last week and also 3 pkgs of each new color. So I am set for my color and what beautiful colors premo has developed for us. I can’t wait for tomorrow thanks so much Cindy and Doug. This is going to be one of those top runners, curl your toes, heart pumping, cross your eyes want more, more and more tutorials. You know just like all the others always are :) FUN FUN FUN WITH CINDY AND DOUG!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks again you two.

  17. Yes Ken, aurora australis is our southern equivalent which I have seen a few times in my life, as a child I lived in the southern-most part of New Zealand. My memories of the colours are red-orange and blue-green at the edges.

  18. Oh Cindy, that’s just gorgeous! I love it! :)

    I’ve always liked using pearl clays for Jupiter beads too, especially when you sand them a lot so you see the stripes of colour hidden inside the extruded clay – it’s like magic how they appear. This technique is similar I guess.

    And it’s one of my dreams to see the aurora borealis too, it’s so beautiful.

    I haven’t been so well this week and haven’t touched my clay for a while, but this may well be the inspiration I need to get myself back into my studio! Thanks!

  19. Wow! When Cindy was doing this and extruding the snake, I thought, uh oh, only the black shows. Not very pretty. But then after shaping into a bead and sanding, amazing…the colors came ALIVE! I love this technique and working with “pearls”. Thanks, Cindy!!

  20. I love love love this!!!! I don’t know how you come up with these ideas/techniques but I am so greatful that you share them with us.

  21. Lovely technique. One which I will certainly make use of.. being that I live in Lapland, Finland – within the Arctic circle… and am ultra lucky enough to witness the Aurora on a frequent basis.

    My husband sees it even more than I, as he is willing to walk our dog Dexter deep, deep into the forests around us, very late at night, which is when it is best seen… especially when it is super cold outside. In fact, he sees all sorts of unusual sky happenings, when he is where it is so dark and unaffected by social lighting.

    This year in particular, the sun is very active and so the aurora is also so.. as it relys on the suns magnetic activity and solar winds, to show up well. It goes in cycles. For all those that want to see it.. it truly is worth trying to get to see! It is indescribable.

    I live a five minute drive from Tähtelä, an observatory specifically designed for aurora investigation. Although I am currently not updating my blog… this link below is an old blog discussing the aurora from 2009 when the aurora was quiet. On it I have some photos of the aurora and Tähtelä. If it helps anyone mimic the aurora better.. I have added it here!

    arcticrainbow.blogspot.com/2009/02/northern-lights-of-lapland-sadlynot-so.html

    Thank you for this Cindy!

  22. Wow Cindy, another wonderful tutorial that looks like it is going to be one of my favourites. Can hardly wait to try it out. How you work out how to do these techniques is just amazing.

  23. All I can say is “oooooh- aaaaaaaah” – I’m going to have fun experimenting – this is one of those “magical” techniques in which you never quite know what will be created at the end.

  24. Wow!!! I’m amazed at this technique of yours Cindy. When I saw the black snake coming out of the extruder I was wondering where were all those beautiful colors. It’s so magical those colors coming to the surface when you roll it and then sand the bead.

  25. As I mentioned earlier I am partial to blue/greens and love working with the pearl colours (yes,I stocked up). Even though I am busy preparing for our biennial Horizons (horizons2011.blogspot.com/) retreat and doing another twenty switch plates for a client, I ‘ve decided to use this technique for the thirty-five buttons I have to make for our button exchange.
    For any of our Guild members on here – I saw it first ;-)

  26. I can’t believe how easy it is to create such beautiful beads…guess what I’ll be doing this weekend????? Yep…you guessed it!

  27. Ok, this is amazing! But, I have a question. I have a hard time sanding pearl clay beads and keep the sparkle. I just made some really cool blue rose cane beads from last week and I sanded a tear drop bead and lost all the sparkle. I made a ring with the same cane and the bead was not sanded and it came out perfect. I’m afraid to try this technique only to sand the beads and lose the sparkle. Am I not sanding long enough? I start at 400 then 600 and I can go up to 1200. But, I stop at 600 because I’m so disapointed.

  28. MAGNIFICENT!!!!!!!!!! I love pearls my favorite by far. I probably have 60 – 70 bars of plain pearl and love to add just a small amount of ink or mica powder or even a little colored clay. Yep I was very upset when polyform confirmed discontinuing pearl colors. Thank God they did replace them with a few beautiful new ones. Cindy and Doug you two just keep giving and giving so much of yourselves I just can’t thank you enough for all you have given us ever moment of every day.

    Cat I seem to have better luck on my pearls if I use less sanding and more buffing. My sanding I start out with 600 and go to 1200 and it doesn’t seem to need much sanding in between grits but a little more buffing and the mirror effect comes shining thru.

    Thanks for sharing some of God’s best artistic creations with us.

    Many Uuuugggs. Peggy

    • @Peggy Barnes: Thanks, Peggy! I’m going to buff instead! I doing pretty well with making the beads without fingers prints so, the buffing sound good!
      Huuuuuggggssssss, right back at ya!!!!!!!!!

  29. Hi Cindy,
    I like this technique very much, but I have a question. Have you tried this also without the clayextruder? Is it possible to make it without and role it with your hands, you see I don’t have a clayextruder, but if it is not possible without I will certainly buy one.

    Thank you Cindy
    Louise

    • Well it sure feels nice to see such excitement over this tutorial! Thank you all for your great feedback. I just loved that time lapse video of the real Aurora Borealis and just had to share. It was as close to the real thing as you can get.

      @Michelle R: I loved reading your post. I had forgotten you were from Lapland and could see Northern Lights there as well! Your photos and information on your blog was really insightful. I had no idea they could be very scarce some years and abundant others. What an interesting phenomenon. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

      @Catalina: I am not totally sure what is happening with your sanding process. It could be that your paper is getting too old and that when you go to the higher grits, you’re not really doing that much. Do you have any Micro Mesh Pads? Terry at epoxyjewelry.com is now carrying them and they really are excellent for this kind of thing. Peggy also has a point about the buffing. Do make sure you are doing a good job there and it will make a big difference. It is better to make just a few well made beads, than a bunch of beads that aren’t. Sanding and buffing is quite important to getting a nice finish on these beads so try not and skip through too much of the process.

      @Louise G: Sorry Louise, but this technique just won’t work without an extruder. If you decide to get one, make sure to get the Makins Ultimate Professional Clay Extruder (link by my name) or the Walnut Hollow one with the crank. (Both online and at Michaels). You don’t want the trigger squeeze type. They are difficult to work with and very hard on your hands. This is the case where paying a little more is WAY better. I use the Makins extruder in many of my tutorials, so you will find it to be worth the investment.

      • Hi, Cindy:

        I’m interested in purchasing this vid, but I’m not altogether sure I have the required supplies. The list includes:

        “Makin’s Professional Ultimate Clay Extruder with large round die”

        I’ve got that … ‘cept for maybe “large round die” thing, perhaps. In the video, you’re holding beads that’re as large as your little finger, but my largest round die has a hole about 5mm. That won’t make anything *approaching* little finger territory. Do I need to buy one of the add-on sets of dies before I can make use of this vid? I don’t believe I’ve lost any dies, and I’m quite sure I’d know if I’d lost a huge round die (!), so I’m kinda confoozelated here. Wouldja clarify for me? Thanks!

        Binky

        • Hi Binky, I just measured my die and it was about 5 or 6mm so the die you have is the right one. You will see once you do the tutorial that the size isn’t too critical any ways. So a milometer or two either way won’t make much of a difference. You’ll also see why the extruded clay ends up looking bigger than my pinky. But that’s a secret I save for the tutorial to reveal.

          As far as the huge dies with the adapters, no you won’t need that. But just so you know, I have the set from Walnut Hollow and it actually fits the Makins extruder in case you’re interested. It would also work for the technique, just on a bigger scale. Thanks for the idea!

          I think you’re going to love learning how to do the Aurora Technique! It’s fun, easy and turns out really cool. Have fun!

          • Cindy, it’s *fiendishly* simple, and the payoff is _marvelous_. I love it, and since I pretty much rob Michaels of all its Premo Accent line every Monday and Thursday when they get deliveries, I can sit here making this stuff until global warming ends our ability to see the REAL Aurora Borealis. (And then people will hafta pay US to see it in BEADS! Mwahaha! (rubbing hands evilly))

            Thanks ever so much for the coolness. Guess what I’m doing this weekend?

  30. I have some Northen lights curing in the oven ,as we speak. They are different colors though, I am a Orange,green,purple sort of gal. So I guess, not EXACTLY Aurora -tee hee. Can’t wait til they are done. pant,pant……

  31. I’m not happy with the stuff I made with this technique, but I think I’ve narrowed down what I was doing “wrong”.

    I’m just seeing too many colours – I tried for green originally and got rainbow stripes which individually looked pretty, but once I took a step back made the whole piece look too busy and messy. I think this is because I used a smaller die than Cindy thinking I’d get smaller stripes, but the narrower diameter means that more colours showed through, if that makes sense.

    I’m going to try a couple of variations using the same die, just to confirm if my suspicions are right. First I’ll narrow the range of colours, using say gold, green and blue, which should make everything more harmonious. I don’t like seeing contrasting colours like red and green, or blue and yellow together. The next one’s hard to explain without revealing the “secret” of this technique, but I’m going to stick to the original colour scheme but make the bands of colour thicker (by using double thickness sheets of clay). Hope that makes sense!

    Also I’d forgotten that I actually dislike the colour made when blue and red pearl mix. It just seems so muddy, probably because the red and blue pearl clays aren’t “pure” primaries – I’m hoping that the new magenta pearl colour will solve this problem for me.

  32. Hi all, thank you Cindy for this glorious Aurora technique. As some one said, this video was very relaxing, even more so than others. Maybe it was seeing the video about the A B before actually watching your teaching video, as it made me feel really relaxed and ready to watch the tutorial.
    Well it is so beautiful, and again so simple when explaioned by you Cindy.
    I am going to have fun with this one.
    I have all the equipment and colours needed for it so off I go.
    I have not been here for a week or two, due to Cyclones bothering us, and being evacuated (but only overnight)this time, but it is much worse further up from me, and feel for all those people who were in the eye of it, very frightening. Have seen all what is going on in the States re the Snow storms and feel for you all.
    Hope the next few weeks will be better, and with a lovely relaxing technique like this to work on , to make us feel good.
    Thank you again Cindy and Doug. XXX
    Love
    Elizabeth.

    • @Elizabeth K.: Hi Elizabeth! Just wanted to let you know how sorry I feel about the Cyclones…and all the terror & everything else you all are going through. I can’t imagine how scary it all was (and still is)…thank goodness your fears were eased a bit by Cindy’s cool tutorial, as well as the Northern Lights video. Please know my heart is with you & your countrymen/women. Boy am I happy you were not in the eye of it! I’m sending positive thoughts, hugs, & prayers your way. It will take time, but I’m hoping you all will rebound from this very soon. With the harsh weather & other phenomenon going on all over the world…I can only hope & pray for my friends in those areas, too…for everyone affected by tragedy. Stay strong, my dear friend! My very best to you & your neighbors. By bonding together, you will eventually recover from these tragic circumstances. 1000 Hugs to you, Elizabeth! XXX Love, Kat

  33. Sorry, Cindy — forgot to mention that I love your Aurora Technique! You’re so creative…it’s incredible how you continue to come up with such amazing things. Then you turn them into videos, making them super-easy to do. It’s quite a feat — you make a new video each week! After all this time, I’m still amazed at how you do it! You put out quality video tutes every week for such a low price.

    So I wonder…why isn’t EVERY polymer clay user a member? Seriously…why NOT? The cost is next-to-nothing, yet you get these amazing tutorials! (and recipes, and more…) They’re beautifully filmed, with close-ups, so you can easily see what’s happening. The sound is perfect, and Cindy’s fantastic instruction…it’s practiced & thought-out, so that even “tricky” processes become easy to follow.

    After a year of membership, I believe more than ever — Cindy Lietz is the best Polymer Clay Tutor! This latest “Aurora Technique” is simply more proof of her innovative ways, and how she shares them for just pennies. Let’s spread the word, guys!

  34. This tute was a gift for many reasons, even beyond the beauty of the finished beads as it was kind of a sad week-end here. My son and family adopted a little dog who had suffered a crushing throat injury as the result of abuse or an attack from another animal. Jackson had surgery on Friday by a wonderful compassionate vet who did everything he could to correct the injury. Sadly, although the surgery went well in that the vet was able to repair the damage he died during the night whle still in the animal hospital. I can’t tell you how attached I had become to this little guy in the short time I knew him. As I often do when I am troubled or sad I headed to my craft room where I had recently finished baking my first aurora beads. Still reeling with the news of Jackson’s death I somewhat mindlessly started to sand them and before long the aurora beauty started to show just as Cindy promised it would. I don’t know why but it gave me comfort, maybe because this technique mimics one of the most beautiful phenonomens in the universe to which Jackson’s brave spirit had returned. Who knows? I do know that I will never give these beads away as they are the perfect representation of the beauty of this little dog’s short life.

    Thanks for listening.
    Love,
    Elizabeth

    • @Elizabeth S.: I’m so sorry to hear about Jackson. I hope those beads will give you some comfort. I commend you for going the extra mile in trying to save him. We need more people like you in this world of ours. My Princess Daisy and little Bubby send their love your way :)

    • @Laurel: Thank you Laurel! That means a lot coming from a pro like you! :-)

      @Elizabeth K.: Elizabeth I am so relieved to hear that you are OK. It must have been very scary for you and your family! I can’t imagine what that must be like. To be first concerned for your families safety and then to be worrying too about what the kind of damages you may have to face when you return home. Of course life is the most important, but everyone has worked hard for what they have been able to build for themselves. I just picture myself running all over the neighborhood, trying to find my polymer clay and beads strewn all over the place. That would be heart breaking to lose everything at once like that. I am so glad you were spared this kind of loss and feel for what all your countrymen and women have had to endure. Continued protection to you and your loved ones. Take care Elizabeth. We are all thinking of you!

      @Phaedrakat: Thank you sweetie for your kind words! I would love it if you all were to spread the word. There are still many people who have never heard of this site, who would surely enjoy the help and inspiration for such a reasonable price. I am still shocked when we someone balks about the price or sends a mean email about how we are just trying to rip them off. Clearly they have no clue what they are getting for the price. Oh well, you and a ton of others get it, and that is all that matters. (They probably just sat on a tack or something and need someone to take their frustration out on! lol) Coming up with ideas for the weekly videos is definitely a challenge, but it is exciting and I find that one idea leads to ten more. So trust me… I’ve got videos planned for the whole next year and every week tends to bump something down the line, to make room for a new one. So this creative streak won’t be ending any time soon! :-)

      @Elizabeth S.: Oh sweetie I feel for you. That must have been difficult. :( It was so touching to read how you are dealing with the pain by working through this Aurora technique. What a lovely idea to use these beads as a link to this special pet who held such a big part of your heart, even if only for a brief moment. You are such a kind and loving soul. You’re in my heart and as you can see, in the hearts of many others here as well.

      • @Cindy Lietz from Kato Polyclay Recipes (Harbourview Highrise): Well Cindy, you know the saying, you can’t please all the people…., I still can’t believe in this day of internet commerce that there are that many people who still believe all information on the internet should be free, that was the mentality from when the internet was invented,founded whatever the term is. I guess some people will never change, and it’s not like your charging $10 a video or something like that. In the begining I was a little worried about price but I found a way to get them and BOY AM I GLAD I DID! Those of us in the know truly appreciate EVERYTHING you do for us.

        • @Ken H, Phaedrakat and others: I meant to come in here right away and thank you guys for your wonderful comments above… but I got sidetracked… sorry for the delay.

          To read what you guys have said means so much to me. I know that many of you have been members for several years now… and that the tutorials continue to have value for you after all this time, makes me feel wonderful inside. It goes to show just how truly creative this medium really is.

          Thank you so much for your love and support. I feel as though you are all on this journey with me and I appreciate your friendship, varying views and cool ideas. Looking forward to spending many more years ahead with all of you… full of creativity and fun!

  35. Elizabeth – I’m so sorry about Jackson. As a dog lover, this brought tears to my eyes. I lost my 2 yellow labs last year – they were both 14 – and I still feel their loss so much. I’m glad Cindy’s video brought comfort to you.

  36. Oh Elizabeth….I’m so sorry about your loss. We have always had dogs which were part of the family. I understand your sorrow especially since Jackson had such a rough beginning. He is smiling down on your family I am sure.
    Andrea

    • @Elizabeth S.: Sweet Elizabeth I am so thrilled to be able to call you my friend. So many friends I have met here on Cindy’s blog but not in person, yet I feel closer tothe ones here then ones I grew up with most of my life. So many of you are all so close and dear to me and you, you are definitely a keeper. My heart goes out to you and your family. Your family means so much to you. That is what makes you so very special. You put them first never yourself. I have you and your in my prayers, please if there is any thing else I can do for any of you let me know.
      Love and Uuuggggs, Peggy

      • @Elizabeth S.: I am truly sorry Elizabeth…what happened is especially sad given the lengths you went to save brave little Jackson. You’re a wonderful person, and I hope you’re able to find lots of beautiful things (like the Aurora phenomenon–clay and/or real) to help heal your heart after this loss. My thoughts are with you, dear friend!

        @Peggy Barnes: Dear Peggy — you are a “keeper” too! You are also one of those selfless people, the kind who would do anything for anyone. You put yourself last, even though you live with so much pain… Bless you, your kindness and lovely enthusiasm always make this a happier place. You’re Cindy & Doug’s biggest cheerleader, always pointing out the good in everything. But you are pretty darn wonderful yourself!!! I, too, would love to give you real “Uuugggggs” one day… :D

        Wow, Cindy…I can’t believe anyone would email you about ripping them off! I still think the best thing we can do is spread the word. I know when I first came upon this site, and saw the preview videos…I wanted “more”, but was afraid to join. I didn’t know if the site was “legit” or worthwhile at first. I was ignorant of online tutorials at the time, and hadn’t purchased one before. There are people out there who just want to hear someone they know or trust say it’s OK, and that you really DO get “all that” for under $10. I think Cindy has kept the price low because it’s easier for someone to commit $9.95 to something “unknown.” It worked for me, and now I try to tell everyone about it! If her price goes up, the hesitation of new members would, too. If we want to help Cindy (and other clayers, ‘cuz they’ll love it if they try it!) then we should tell our friends & fellow clayers how great it is… Blog about it, put “inspired by Cindy Lietz’s ____ tute” under photos of your work in Etsy, etc. That’ll make others know it’s the real deal!

  37. CINDY & DOUG THE TWO OF YOU BY FAR ARE THE ABSALUTE GREATEST TEAM! CINDY YOU HAVE THAT WONDERFUL MIND THAT COMES UP WITH THE MOST TECHNICAL YET BEAUTIFUL ARTISTIC PEACES A PERSON COULD EVER ASK TO SEE. THEN DOUG PUTS IT ALL ON FILM IN A WAY THAT EVEN SOMEONE LIKE MYSELF CAN FULLY UNDERSTAND. NOW IF THAT ISN’T SOMETHING THAT DESERVES A BIG FAT RAISE I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.
    CINDY AND DOUG I PROPOSE AN IDEA THAT YOU LET US, ALL YOUR STUDENTS VOTE ON WEATHER OR NOT YOU RAISE YOUR FEES.
    I VOTE YES, YES, YES, OH YA WE HAVE TO DECIDE FIRST………
    WHAT DO YOU THINK??????
    MANY MANY UUUUUUUGGGS, PEGGY

  38. I ALMOST FORGOT I LOVE THIS TUTE !!!!!
    This is going to sound silly to some but Cindy your tutes remind me of my marriage and how much I love my husband. I love him so much I can’t imagine how I can love him any more the next day. Then the next day comes and yep I love him even more. Well that’s how your tutes are to me. I can’t imagine liking another one any more than I like this one it is so good but the tomorrow comes and yep I watch the tute and yep I like it more than the one I did yesterday. Yep I love the Northern lights tute.
    THANK YOU TWO SO VERY MUCH!!!

  39. Wow, I feel like I’ve missed so much!

    @Cindy Lietz: I absolutely love this tute! The great ideas just keep on coming!! I had intended to spend the weekend playing with clay and trying this out, but things did not work out. Soon, though – very soon!! AND absolutely no one should complain about the cost of these tutorials!! The thought of you just trying to rip people off is ridiculous. Thank you for all you and Doug do for us!!

    @ Elizabeth S: I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your Jackson. It is never easy as such a hole is left when they are gone.

    @Elizabeth K: So glad to hear you survived the cyclones without any major loss. At least the snow here hasn’t caused the destruction you all are experiencing. BTW – I had to chuckle at the visions of Cindy running around the neighborhood looking frantically for her clay and beads.

    @Peggy Barnes: You always make me smile! Uuuuggggs to you!!

  40. We have never discussed this but I wouldn’t be opposed to a modest raise in the prices. We have several on here with fixed incomes so it would have to be up to the majority but not lose them. Isn’t it funny to be asking to pay more ??? is it the fumes from the clay do ya think……lol.
    Andrea

  41. Someone thinks $9.95 for three months is a rip off? My goodness. For what I have learned from these videos, I would pay that every month.

  42. I finally got a chance to play with my clay today. My washing machine broke and needs to be replaced because it’s going to cost over $400 to fix it. So I went to my mother’s (who is wintering in the south) with all of our laundry and spent the day there in peace and quiet and had fun with my clay. One of the first things I did was try this technique. It is sinfully easy!!! I kept thinking there should be more to it. Again, thank you so much Cindy. Your tutorials are worth every penny and more!!

  43. Thank you Cindy, I just wanted you to know that what you do is appreciated, when you pour your heart, soul and mind into something creative only to have people disparage(sp) what you’re doing can suck the urge to create right out of you, so just don’t let it bother you, as I’ve read in the books on starting your own craft business, you’ve got some of the best marketing out there – ” word of mouth” – so let what these “folks not in the know” say go in one ear and out the other, they just don’t know what they’re missing.

  44. How exciting, we may see the aurora here in the UK this week!

    Apparently if we’re lucky it will be visible Thursday night because there’s a massive increase in solar flare activity and shouldn’t be much cloud.

    How cool is that??

    • @Silverleaf: Do you know your Lat & Long ? If you don’t what city/town do you live in and I’ll look it up. I wonder if it’ll dip far enough south for Philadelphia to catch a view.

      • @Ken H: I live in Chesterfield, Latitude = 53.2362, Longitude = -1.4392. Hope that’s in the right format!

        I’m really hoping I’ll be able to see something at least, I’ve never seen the aurora before.

        • @Silverleaf: Thanks, I hope you do get to see it, I think we’re too far south. Philadelphia is 39 Lat. and I would have thought I’d have heard something on the news by now. It’s a super rare occasion that it dips this far south, and the last time it was overcast/raining.

          • @Ken H: The aurora forecast website I use says there’s no major geomagnetic activity today. :( But I’m hoping for the future, because the next few years will have much more activity than normal.

  45. I am new to polymer clay work. This Aurora technique is awesome!!! It alone was worth the money I paid for the videos. I can’t wait to view the others. Keep up the great work!

  46. (Cindy, please ignore my email on how to post for this technique, surprisingly I figured it out!)

    This has become my favorite technique. It is simply brilliant. What I tend to do with tutorials, is the same thing I do with cooking. I like to tweak the directions some, because I have trouble leaving well enough alone! While your instructions were perfect on there own, I played around a little with it. Instead of the black, I used a dark silver with a small amount of silver glitter. Also, I had left over clay from a rainbow cane, so I used more colors in the spectrum then was called for. Anyway, it came out so beautifully, I can hardly believe I made it, but the credit goes to you. Thank you!
    Julia

    • @Dorene: Thank you Dorene for saying that! It means so much to hear from people new to polymer clay. Enjoy the process… it’s a fun one!

      @Julia B: Oooo your tweaks of the technique sound wonderful Julia! I’d love to see them posted on our Polymer Clay Facebook Gallery page. One of the things I was determined to do as a teacher of the arts, was to teach in a way that others would be able to find their own artistic voice through the learning process. There is no point in teaching a whole bunch of people to become clones of yourself. I want people to find that joy of creating inside themselves. Sounds like you have found that joy… Way to go!

  47. Have to admit, when this tut arrived I was in a pretty dark cold snow bound existence.

    Wow!

    Every time I watch it I feel like I have sparklers shooting off alllllllll over my body. Just ingenious and fab, especially because if you do the work you get the warm reds and the cool blues all in the same strip of excluded clay.

  48. …and remove the “l”, too?

    (if “excluded” is s’posed to be “extruded”, I mean…)

    Just teasing you, of course. Your meaning was clear, and think everyone understood what you meant!) ;D

  49. LOL!!! Yeah, go ahead Kat and pick on the neurologically impaired kid…….All of you I am sure detect something off, and it’s multiple sclerosis. Decided not to let it stop me from expressing myself here and other places.

    I cannot express how much I enjoy producing these!!!!!! Cindy you are a genius.

  50. Hi there, i just tried this technique and i must have done something wrong. I used gold, lilac, pearl and blue pearl with black at the front, in the order i have written. But when sanded it looked nothing like cindy got. Is it the order i had the colours in? or the wrong colours?
    Any help greatly appreciated.

    • @sandra: Jocelyn answered this beautifully for you Sandra. If the colors aren’t quite looking right, you have either used dull colors or you haven’t done quite enough sanding. Maybe sand with a courser grit like 320grit to start with, or use the blade scraping technique Jocelyn mentioned. The cool thing about this technique is that it is so quick and easy to do and uses not a lot of clay, so you can always try it again until you get it exactly how you want it. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  51. Kat, just kidding. So sorry if I made you feel bad. You know how much I enjoy and value all your contribs here. Cranky day excuse, K? LOL!!!

    Sandra, welcome. Interesting color combo, black, gold, light purple, off white, then blue. Sounds beautiful. Color blending with polymer is an art in itself. My guidelines are try it, and see what happens. Cindy has demystified this process here at the blog, and I would suggest you hit the search box in the upper left to do some research.

    In this case, wonder if more sanding is needed to reveal the color combo beneath the black layer? One way to check is to use a blade to remove the surface black and see if the color combos underneath work. I found that using a blade to remove layers faster to be helpful.

    Second possibility is that due to colors chosen, when squooshed together in the tube, made “mud” rather than blended nicely. I’d advise you to use the Lietz Teardrop blend technique with the chosen colors ahead of time, just using small amounts of clay as a pretest. If the resulting sheet shows sections of “blah” combos, you can move on and try the next set of colors.

    The third factor may be that you are trying to incorporate regular colors with the mica laden colors. Most of the “glow” that occurs in the aurora effect comes from the sparkle, and the lilac may cause dead spots thus emphasizing the black/gray.

    Cindy’s choice of bright primary colors, contrasting with the black, may be the secret to the technique. I tried a combo using the coppers and golds and loved the results. Not as bright, but, gorgeous color gradiations..almost a mokame gane effect.

    Wish you the best of luck.

  52. Thanks guys. Yes the lilac was a dull lilac and I think that was the main problem. I keep forgetting to “Try before you do” ie the teardrop method for trying colours. You’ve told me that before Cindy. I did so much sanding that it went down to the core clay. hence the question. I will have to go back to the drawing board and test colours out.
    Appreciate the help, thanks again.

  53. Hi guys, on with the saga of the aurora technique. I have upload two photos on the facebook gallery page of the second attempt, it looks much nicer than the first one, it still doesn;t look like Cindy’s. Though in saying that, i like it.
    Cheers

  54. I finally tried the technique after hemming and hawing. Wow! It does give me goosebumps. I am going to use maybe one less black circle because the strip of black would not be sanded away even when I started with heavy duty drywall. BUT, after the sanding, buffing on old jeans, and future (brushed on, I remember your comment on dripping Cindy) they are still stunning. I’m going to put them on handmade earwires, big ones and maybe add some shiny beads.

    I plan to keep on practicing (I bought so much of the premo pearl colors at polymer express since they’ll soon be gone) and experimenting. I’m starting to get the hang of this. And really loving it. Thank you Cindy for all you give and to all the Lietz “family” on this blog who have, through advice and their own struggles, have taught me soooooo much. Stay healthy and happy everyone.

  55. The ultimate information source for mica based clays has to be the following: glassattic.com/polymer/mica.h

    In the case mentioned above with plain lilac, a solution may be to make mica powder based clays or to add certain amounts of pearl and translucents in order to acheive colors that will shift, thus add well into any combination for the aurora borealis technique.

    Pages of suggestions, pics, and descriptions….enjoy!

  56. Thank you Jocelyn, love clay attic. Heading there now. 3 a.m. and I should be heading to bed……after the attic!

  57. Hi Cindy,
    I would like to use the Aurora technique on some stemware or decorative serving dishes. Do I need make any modifications? Less black? Also, when sanding glasses, bowls, etc, do I really need to buff the pieces since I always apply multiple coats of glossy or satin glaze? I don’t make beads out of polymer clay-at least not yet.
    Thanks for your time.
    Rolanda

  58. Ok, so who saw the auroras last night that dipped as far south as arkansas? I missed them AGAIN because I didn’t know they were going to happen.

    • Oh, shoot, Ken. I didn’t know about it either. I was once on a plane and the pilot came on the loudspeaker saying that if we looked out the left side of the plane we could see the northern lights. I was sitting in a window seat on the right side of the plane and the person sitting next to me was asleep so I couldn’t get up to look. Darn.

      • I just heard about them, too! I missed it! We need to have some kind of alarm to let each other know. Now, I’m just going to have to make some of these beads to help me get over it. Did anyone else see any and get any photos?

        • I think there are pictures on space.com and I know one of them was from the shores of lake michigan, just like there was a photo from west chester, pa about 30 mins from philadelphia.

      • You know I would have lean over the person and prayed they didn’t wake up!! LOL!! I remember flying at age 5 to Denver and wanted to sit near the window but didn’t have the nerve to pick that seat. The lady that sat there let me sit on her lap to look out. It was great but, I felt cheated because I didn’t have the guts to sit near the window. So, now I alway request a window seat and act like a tourist taking pictures the whole flight! LOL!!

    • That is sooo cool Ken! I had no idea that the Aurora Borealis could drop down so far South. Too bad you missed them. That is a total bummer! (Sorry let my 40’s show again.) Are they expected to appear some more in your area? I would be tempted to stand outside at night for days until they showed again, if I thought they could happen in my area. (Or at least spend some time sitting by the window! lol)

      • It’s a rare event for them to be seen outside of the arctic yet alone as far south as Arkansas and Alabama. You never know, this was an exceptional magnetic storm that erupted from the sun on Saturday and took two days to reach the earth. If anyone is interested check out Space.com, they have photos up on that site, some of the ones from Michigan are absolutely stunning.

        • Heads up folks. Solar flare just hit, so possibility of aurora borealis coming further south. Here is a link to the news and video:

          huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/strongest-solar-storm-sin_0_n_1223841.html?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D129790

          I’d tune into local news tonite to see if you are one of the lucky ones.

          I will stay awake. I will stay awake…..I will….

          • I can’t catch a break, it was cloudy last night and early this morning, I’m beginging to think Mother Nature is trying to tell me something.

  59. I was soooo bummed, too, Ken. Called the local weather tv station, and they agreed we might see some action in CT if the cloud cover cleared. Hah! I should be so lucky. Dragged myself outside at 3 am, dressed in pjs and slippers. Nothing.

    I promise I will stay on top of solar storms, I set a google alert link for them. If you and I are diligent and pray to the borealis fairy, lol, maybe this year could be the year, scientists are reporting we should expect an active year with solar disturbances.

    They actually cancelled air flights with this storm, and some folks reported a lot of wonky online occurances, so I feel sort of bad wishing for them.

    Not terrible, just sort of……lol.

    • Well we have untill 2013 for this current cycle of solar storms, the sun runs in an 11 yr ramp up to what is called solar Max, and then 11 yr decline to solar min., solar max this time is in 2013, so we’ve just got to keep our fingers crossed or plan a vacation to above the artic circle

  60. Well, seems like there might be a good chance to see the Aurora Borealis tonite in more southerly locations, see the link: swpc.noaa.gov/Aurora/globeNW.html

    If you are lucky enough to have clear skies and are up late, by all means take a look at the sky.

    Good luck!!!

  61. OK… I had to pass this along to you guys. It was recently brought to our attention by a subscriber (Robert-N). The entire video (only about 2 minutes long) is fascinating to watch, but the main tie in to this blog is with the very cool filming of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) as seen from the space station looking down on them… more inspiration for this Vol-033-1 Aurora Technique shown above. Enjoy…

    Video Credits and Description: Flying Over the Earth at Night
    Gateway to Astronaut Photography, NASA ; Compilation: Bitmeizer

    Explanation Of The Things Shown In The Clip: Many wonders are visible when flying over the Earth at night. A compilation of such visual spectacles was captured recently from the International Space Station (ISS) and set to rousing music. Passing below are white clouds, orange city lights, lightning flashes in thunderstorms, and dark blue seas. On the horizon is the golden haze of Earth’s thin atmosphere, frequently decorated by dancing auroras as the video progresses. The green parts of auroras typically remain below the space station, but the station flies right through the red and purple auroral peaks. Solar panels of the ISS are seen around the frame edges. The ominous wave of approaching brightness at the end of each sequence is just the dawn of the sunlit half of Earth, a dawn that occurs every 90 minutes.

    • Fascinating Doug, great find and thanks for the share. The nite light concentrations make it look like the planet is on fire.

      Stayed up late the last two nites because there was a slight chance the display would come to Connecticut. If it did, it was when I wasn’t looking.

    • Also, here’s the Aural Alert link I signed up for and what the notification looks like:

      A solar event occurred on the 14th of June that will lead to increased
      auroral activity that may be visible in southern Canada and northern
      United States. We expect the auroral activity index to be 4 or
      greater. Watch the short term forecast at
      gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/.
      The nights are too bright to see the aurora in northern Canada,
      Alaska, Russia and Scandinavia.

  62. Wow, another chance for us lower in lats, LOL!!! June 14, 15, and 16th, 2012

    Good luck, and hope some of you get to see it!

    gse-aa mailing list

    A significant event located on the Sun facing Earth took place on July
    12. The effects of this event will begin to reach Earth early on the
    14th of July GMT.
    Observers in North America should watch for aurora on the nights of
    the 14th and 15th local time. Depending on the configuration of the
    disturbance, auroras may be visible as far south as the middle tier of
    states.
    Activity may remain high also on the 16th. Auroras should be
    visible Southern New Zealand, Tasmania, and of course, Antarctica

  63. Thanks for the heads up, the way things are going I just might get to see the auora without having to travel to the artic, and to think that the solar cycle doesn’t even reach peak until 2013. Keeping my fingers crossed for clear skies here in Philadelphia, it was overcast here for the transit of Venus back in June.

    • No luck again, Cloudy at night both Friday/Saturday and Saturday/Sunday. Oh well, maybe next time……

  64. Not that every pic in National Geographic isn’t wonderful and inspiring, but, if you follow this link, I think you folks will be blown away by this brand news series of aurora photographs:

    Hope you come away with some great ideas, and re-watch the tute. It is amazingly simple to do, and the results are spectacular.

  65. The time you’ve spent on these tutorials and your web site is amazing…and you obviously have a wonderful husband who supports you. Thank you!

    I’d love to dive into the whole deal, really, but I have to pinch pennies right now….I shouldn’t even be spending $ on crafty stuff, but I need my sanity more than ever at this point in time, and I just HAVE TO KNOW how you did that Aurora Technique! So beautiful!

    Thanks again for your time.
    Naomi. &:-)

  66. thank you Cindy! Great tutorial!!!.
    The very first time I made this, they came out wonderfully!
    Fantastically!
    Beautifully!
    and easily!!!
    I’ve also covered some Crochet hooks for a friend, and she absolutely loves them!
    ..I wish I could post a picture here to show off to everyone!
    Thank you so very much. I just love being the envy of all my crafty friends when I showed them what I make. I also told them what a cool web-site you have with all the great classes! I certainly have gotten my money’s worth!!!

  67. I searched the thread so I hope I’m not repeating this, but I have a question regarding layout of the final product. If I want to make something flat, say like a barrette or pendant, what’s the best way to do this without wasting the aurora clay if I want the backside of the barrette to be a solid color? What I did today was rolled a large chunk of aurora clay into a bead (just like the video) and flattened it out but it took a lot of clay to do it. Could I slice off a section of aurora clay or layer them differently to still achieve the same effect? I was thinking I could roll it out flat instead of rolling it into a bead first. I’m not sure I would get the same cool striations, however. Suggestions? Experiences?

    • Hi Karen, without giving away too much from the tutorial, probably the best thing you could do so you don’t lose that organic look, is to make the bead the same way as the video including rolling in you hands. Then you could slice the bead down the center and flatten each side out separately then at least you will take less clay that way and you will have enough for two projects. Hopefully that makes sense. Good luck!

      PS: Doug got your new last name switched over in the system so all future comments should go without a hitch… and congrats on you getting hitched :-)

    • Thanks for asking this question! Having re-watched this tutorial today, it was just what I was going to ask too! I want to try this on the pen barrels, instead of the faux wood tutorial.

  68. I have been enjoying Cindy’s tutorials for a couple of years now – and am finally putting the info into use so to speak! I am doing my first Arts and Crafts Show next weekend – am so very excited! I have made some earrings using the aurora borealis technique. Here is a link to some photos at my site.

  69. Do you have clay suggestions for your aurora cane since some of the original clay colors are no longer available. Thank you, Pat

    • Hi Pat, Aurora’s come in many different colors. Just use any combination of the pearl colors that you like. I think that only the Red and the Blue Pearl are not in the 2oz packs anymore. There is Magenta Pearl, Light Green Pearl, Peacock Pearl, Purple Pearl and in the small sample packs you can still get the Blue Pearl. Have fun!

  70. I tried this technique and made some beads. I thought a little part of the extruded bit got a bit messed up but i used it anyways and was actually quite please with the result. I sold it yesterday.

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