Face Cane Designs for Polymer Clay Jewelry Projects and Pendants

Face Cane Pendant

Honing Your Design Skills as a Bead or Jewelry Artist… Be Proud of Your Accomplishments:

Today’s post is about accepting where you’ve been and looking forward to where you are going. As a polymer clay artist you have to begin at one level and continue to develop and grow in skills and inspiration before moving on to the next. We all should be happy and proud of that process!

One thing I find hard to do, is to not be too critical of the things I’ve made in the past. Of course as your skills progress, it is easy to see your previous mistakes and how you would do things differently now that you’ve learned a few new tricks. That is how you improve. But that doesn’t mean what you made before was ‘garbage’ or that should be ‘chucked’ or hidden away.

For example, a couple of years ago when I made the face cane pendant as shown in the above photo, I absolutely loved it! The shape, the colors, the quirky pattern, the smooth buttery finish. To me it was the coolest thing ever!

It was my first face cane. I decided to go with a Picasso style. One eye normal, the other completely sideways. The eyebrow and nose were one zig zagged line and the mouth was twisted at an angle. To add to the Picasso look, the face was created in a triangle and wrapped in black.

Now, looking through more experienced eyes, there are things that would be improved if I ever make that cane again.

The background whites of the eyes would be packed more carefully, so as not to lose the round shape of the iris. And the black outline around the eyes would not be overlapped at the tear duct area.

Also a layer of the face color would be wrapped around the eyes and the mouth first, before packing the rest of the face. This way less distortion would happen to the eyes and the lips.

Similarly once the face was packed, a sheet of the same color would completely surround the cane before wrapping in black. This would minimize the wrinkling and puckering that can happen when canes are reduced.

All the polymer clay canes on the pendant would be made better and layered more carefully with my more experienced hands. Though as far as its construction and meticulous wet sanding, it was very well made, and I am still proud of that.

The reason for telling you this story is because I often find myself apologizing for certain pieces… and that is the wrong thing to for any artist!

When my Mom first saw this face cane pendant, she was crazy about it. She told me she wished it were hers. She loved the ‘artyness’ of it and she could not imagine how I was able to make it with just a few blocks of clay.

When I gave it to her for a Mother’s Day gift, she said, “I can’t believe I get to have this! I am so lucky! I’ve always loved it!”

She still wears it today. So when I look at it with overly critical eyes, it could be perceived as an insult to her taste and also to my past. I’m always learning that it’s better to just accept the praise graciously.

Do you ever find yourself apologizing for beads and polymer clay pendants that you have made? Or undervalue your jewelry because you know you could do better? It would be great to get a discussion going on this topic in the comment section below!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Andrea, 24 September, 2008

    If you re-do this it will be different but not as quirky,which is what is so cool about this piece.If your mum goes off it, send it to me[please].

  2. WENDY, 24 September, 2008

    I’ve done that with everything I’ve made in the past. I frequently go back to look at my previous work. It really does help to look at previous mistakes to remember what they were so you won’t make them again, but on the same note of looking at them, I find that I usually find one piece that I absolutely love now!

  3. Cindy Erickson, 25 September, 2008

    I haven’t been working with PC long enough to have very many pieces from my past:) but, what I do have, I have been the same way as you have been. I notice that when I show someone what I have done with PC so far, I sort of go past the ones that I know have a finger print on them, or aren’t as smooth as I would have liked, really fast…then the person will I am showing them to will usually say, “wait! slow down! I want to see that one too!” Then, I hear myself explaining how it isn’t as good as it should be.

    I think that most of us are like this, shy and a bit embarrassed to show our imperfect pieces of art, just as we are afraid to show our imperfect and vulnerable selves. If we just stop and think about it, we can realize that we had to go through those mistakes (both in our artistic endeavors, and in our lives) to become who and where we are today. Just as we don’t expect our children to be masters in their young lives (although, I swear MY kids were [and still are]!:)), perhaps we can muster up the same love and generosity of feeling toward ourselves. Hmmmmm…now, wouldn’t that be interesting!!!

    Good topic!

    Hugs to you, Cindy…Cindy E.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 25 September, 2008

    @Andrea: Thank you Sweetie! You may be right… fixing could make it loose it’s charm!

    @Wendy: It is good to be able to recognize your mistakes. That means you are improving. It is nice though when you do go back to something old and find you still love it!

    @Cindy E.: I think if we all could show ourselves a little love and acceptance, this World would be better off for it!

  5. Jamie, 20 February, 2009

    Whenever I make anything, I always give it my best effort. No matter my skill level or experience at the moment. At any given time, the piece I am making is the absolute best I can do. So I never apologize or make excuses for any of my work. Sure, there are others better at a given method or style. And yes, I have improved with practice. But I can easily and honestly assure anyone I give or sell a piece to, that it got 100% of my skill and attention when it was made. And I am proud of each and every one.

    XOXO Jamie

  6. Angela T, 20 February, 2009

    I’m new to selling my jewelry and have found myself apologizing for my pieces or waiting for someone else to value that piece for me. No more! I like what Jamie said…”it got 100% of my skill and attention when it was made.” I won’t apologize anymore. Instead, I’ll say “Thanks for the opportunity to learn and grow as an artist while I worked on this piece!” That’s it!


  7. Cindy Lietz, 21 February, 2009

    @Jamie: That is such a healthy way to look at it! I think we waste so much time apologizing for things we can’t do a thing about. If we all could look at our work the way you do and we’d be so much better off!

    @Angela: Bravo!

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