Learning About Faux Raku Polymer Clay Beads and Kaleidoscope Canes

Deep Crackle Faux Raku by Polyanya

Spotlight: “I couldn’t wait any longer before sending you some pics… so here they are with no sanding.” ~Polyanya

The spotlight article for today features the work of Iwona (aka Polyanya). She is an international polymer clay artist that comes to us all the way from the Shetland Islands, situated off the northern tip of Scotland in the United Kingdon.

What I like about the letter Polyanya sent along with her pictures, is that in addition to her bead making successes, she also talked about some of her frustrations.

Although I work very hard at helping you to avoid mistakes, there still can be a bit of a learning curve to any new technique. Especially if you substitute materials, which I always like to encourage. Sometimes it takes a few ‘swings at bat’ so to speak, before you ‘hit one out of the park’!

I love Polyanya’s determination to figure out the unique properties of the clay she was using, and her ability to make some great beads in the end!

Related links for this spotlight feature include: (1) Faux Raku Crackle Technique; (2) Kaleidoscope Cane

Here is Polyanya’s Story…

Hi Cindy,

Thank you for your nice reply you are lovely!  I’m not sure my beads are worthy of a ‘spotlight’ focus but I couldn’t wait any longer before sending you some pics so here they are with no sanding or anything.

Raku item 1 [See Photo Above] was the ‘balls up’ (do you use that expletive in the States?) I used Kato white (I must point out that I hadn’t used the alcohol inks – still haven’t made the pear bead either tsk tsk) but it was very tricky to gauge its curing time – it went from floppy to cracked very quickly.  The sheet would not stick to the base layer as I tried to put it through the pasta machine, I ended up rolling quite hard with the acrylic roller. By this time I had the idea of making Jupiter Beads as I had some hard crumbles  by now – this really didn’t work.  Not wanting to be beaten I tried to rescue the whole exercise by making lentil beads – forget it! So its ended up as black and gold discs and white crackled tubes.

My 2nd raku beads [See Photo Above] are called ‘New World Beads’ as they remind me of planet earth. I’m not sure how to finish these and am tempted to varnish. The last 2 Raku items [Listed as 3 and 4 in Photo Above] are made with mixing a little gold into some scrap clay, marbling and passing through the pasta machine to the thinnest setting and baking.  This being Premo worked better with the timings and I put the sheet onto a dull green and an antique gold – I quite like this effect and it has encouraged me to explore this technique further.  Again these haven’t been sanded or buffed and I’m not sure how to finish them if at all.

As mentioned in an  earlier blog I also made a couple of  Kaleidoscope canes – No 1 [See left photo below] using Kato concentrates, the second [See right photo below] was a bit more disappointing as I used a mix of brands and they didn’t hold their shape very well – however, when I reduced that particular cane right down I made beads with it and I must say I’m rather pleased with them.  These beads have been tumbled and buffed in the thing that goes round and round and round……..

Thank you so much for doing this Cindy I have learnt so much in the past few weeks, looking forward to more videos.

~Iwona (aka Polyanya)

Kaleidoscope Polymer Clay by Polyanya Kaleidoscope Polymer Clay by Polyanya

As far as finishing your raku beads Polyanya, the only places you will be able to sand and polish will be the ends of the beads where there is no raku finish.  After doing that, you can add a finish such as Studio by Sculpey Glaze or Future Floor Finish. I would definitely put a finish on the raku areas to protect it.

You’ve done a beautiful job Polyanya! Thank you for sharing your photos and story with us!

So go on everyone, share the love and let Polyanya know how you feel about her beads and canes. If you have follow up questions, I’m sure she would be happy to respond.

** If you have been inspired by my teachings and would like to be featured in an upcoming Spotlight Article, then please do write up something creative and email it to me along with a selection of your project pics. Make sure to send me high resolution photos that I’ll be able to zoom in on to show the details of your work. If you don’t already have my email address, simply leave a comment below and I will get it to you right away.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Jamie, 07 August, 2009

    Your beads are very pretty Polyana. I only hope I have such good results with my first attempts at this method (when I can finally do it). I would be proud to say I made them if they looked like yours. And in my humble opinion, your kalaidescopes both look good,large and reduced. I like the colors you used. Thank you for sharing your work with us. XOXO Jamie

  2. Arlene Harrison, 07 August, 2009

    I love the fact that you don’t let the clay get the best of you! Some of the prettiest things I’ve done were because whatever I was working on wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to! The 3rd and 4th raku beads are very nice. I haven’t tried that technique yet. Maybe this weekend after I clean out my closet! Or maybe I’ll just skip the closet – AGAIN! I’ve been putting it off all summer!

    I haven’t tried a kalaidescope cane yet either… so much to do, so little time.

  3. Alice Stroppel, 07 August, 2009

    Beautiful beads, Polyanya! Turning a disappointing cane into fabulous beads is a satisfying accomplishment I’m sure. That is the beauty of this fabulous material, nothing is ever wasted. The ugly duckling turns into a beautiful swan.

  4. Ken H., 07 August, 2009

    They’re fantastic, love the color combinations. Someday I’ll get to the Kalediscope cane. My list of techniques keeps getting longer but the day doesn’t keep up. Just to refresh my geography, are the Shetlands part of Scotland or their own nation, it must be dementia setting in, geography used to be my strong subject in school. :)

  5. aims, 07 August, 2009

    I love all your beads Polyana – even your ‘first attempts’.

    I also admire the fact that you didn’t let the techniques get the best of you no matter what. I’m wondering if I will do the same.

    You have emphasized my whole reasoning behind using Polymer Clay. You can buy any bead you want if you pay the right price. However – trying to find something as unique as what you have done is impossible in the retail world. And if you did find them – what would the price be?

    Love them and your spunky attitude!

  6. Silverleaf, 07 August, 2009

    Pretty! And Shetland is definitely on my to-visit list, if I can tear myself away from Islay that is! I’ve always wanted to live on an island- I know Britain’s an island but it’s big enough not to feel like one and as I live in the Midlands I don’t even get to see the ocean that much (it’s at least 80 miles to the coast).

  7. Melinda, 07 August, 2009

    Wow, I love your Deep Crackle Raku…. They are fabulous! I love the colors you used!
    Your kaleidoscope canes are so fun. I personally LOVE them. Some of my favorite beads have come from those wonderful canes. Fantastic job!

  8. Lisa Whitham, 07 August, 2009

    Polyana, I love the rustic handmade look of your beads..!!! I can’t decide which I like best – they are all so pretty! I can appreciate the extra effort that goes into working with Kato…I work with Kato also. :) Your canes are beautiful too! Since I’ve only just become a member, I may have to buy the back issue with the raku instructions – you’re beads have made me even more interested..!!!

  9. Carrie, 07 August, 2009

    These are beautiful!! I haven’t gotten to the crackle yet, I can’t seem to tear myself away from the smooth raku! And as for the kaleidoscopes, WOW! I would love to know how you made those!

  10. Laurel, 07 August, 2009

    All these beads are fantastic!! I love them all. One of these days maybe I can get around to trying any of the raku. I have a piece of white clay that has the ink on it. Haven’t got around to doing anything else with it and it has been sitting about 3 weeks. When I get around to it I may have to scrap it and start over but it sure looks fun. Thanks for letting us know some of your frustrations too. It is good to know I am not the only one. :)

  11. Polyanya, 07 August, 2009

    Hi to all and Cindy. Didn’t expect to see this today – it was a suprise! Thank you everyone for all your supportive comments much appreciated I assure you.

    I’d love to answer you all personally but I’d better not take up too much of Cindy’s web-space, but there were a couple of questions which I’d like to answer –

    Ken – Sadly Shetland is part of the UK although lies closer to Norway, be great to have independence though!

    Carrie – Its really easy, just a bunch of bulls eye canes that are cut up length ways and arranged to form a triangle – you should try it.

    Lisa – not a question exactly but definitely buy the back issues, I’m working my way through them and buying one every month, same price as a magazine and I don’t buy those so doesn’t cost me much.

    Thanks to Cindy too for the finishing tips for the beads.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 07 August, 2009

    Polyanya, feel free to use as much webspace as you like. I love all the stuff you guys have to say and am so pleased to see the level of support and encouragement that happens here at the blog. Keep it up :-)

  13. Brenda Anthony, 07 August, 2009

    Back issues? I thought all the lessons were videos. I can’t see the videos, but would be interested in pirnted materials.

    Polyanya: I too think your beads are very very lovely. With my dial up connection, the pictures are still a little fuzzy for me, but I “get the idea.”
    Keep up the good work!

  14. Jocelyn, 07 August, 2009

    Iowna, how I love the intricate complexity and delicacy of your designs, they are truly amazing. And your choices in color make them special. Also love your tubular raku beeds, the length really shows off the crackle.

    How long does it take you to complete each complex cane? Do you just apply the canes to beads?

    These kaleidiscope patterns are amazing.

  15. Catalina, 07 August, 2009

    Very nice work! I just had my best friend’s daughter stay with me this past week and I got to show her how to make some canes. I wished we got to make the raku beads. It’s is great to see how your stuck to your guns to over come hurdles. I hope mine come out as nice as yours. Cross your fingers for me!! LOL!!

  16. Elizabeth, 08 August, 2009


    I couldn’t get to my computer yesterday and so didn’t have an opportunity to add my compliments on your beautiful work in a timely manner. These beads are absolutely lovely and when finishing here I am heading to my craft room to try the faux raku using marbled scrap clay. It’s nice, too, to hear of others’ struggles when trying a new technique-sorta gives one the push to keep going. Elizabeth

  17. Cindy Lietz, 08 August, 2009

    @Brenda: What I mean by back issues is a single purchase set of 4 tutorial videos and recipes (One months worth), originally shown in the polymer clay library. If you are new to the library and missed some older video tutorials, you can buy past volumes one at a time. There are no tutorials in written format in the library at this time.

  18. Polyanya, 08 August, 2009

    Thanks again folks, really appreciate the positive thoughts.

    Jocelyn – Do you know I haven’t timed myself – I get totally lost when I’m claying, time has no meaning. I intend to make sheets and wrap stuff like glass votives, vases and boxes.

    I would love to see some of your guys works of art! Big hint!

  19. Nancy Reddick, 13 August, 2009

    Iowana, your beads are wonderful. I love the color selection.Glad you didn’t give up,it was well worth the effort. Your kalidascopes are great, I have tried to do one several times and they always come out a mess. I will have to try your idea of the bulls eye canes. Thanks for sharing….

  20. Polyanya, 14 August, 2009

    Thank you Nancy for your kind remarks. I must admit to much preferring Kato clay (which I’ve ordered rather a lot of) for the kaleidoscope canes, they really hold their shape.

  21. Katy Alexis, 13 February, 2016

    These are fantastic! You’ve done some really gorgeous work! Thanks for sharing!

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