Enthralled with Her Wire Work & Polymer Clay Bead Making Projects

Polymer Clay Copper Bezel Pendants by Sarah Wood

Spotlight: “My interest turned to copper work and findings, as soon as I figured out you need a…” ~Melinda-H

Today’s featured guest is someone who many of you are already familiar with… Melinda Herron. She must be keeping very busy with her polymer clay projects, because this is her third time in the spotlight.

Back in July we got to see her first Jupiter Beads, and then in September, her polymer clay jewelry using faux raku, rose beads and more!

What I love about Melinda is that she is the kind of girl that doesn’t waste time thinking about whether or not to try something new. She just gets right to work applying the techniques she learns. It’s also great to see that she puts her own little spin on things.

Related links for today’s spotlight include: (1) Wire Bezel Pendants; (2) Hammered Copper Findings; (3) Pattern Background Fabrics; and (4) Calla Lily Beads.

Here’s What Melinda Wrote:

Dear Cindy,

I wanted to share how you and your site and the wonderful artists sharing on your site have inspired me the last several weeks. My interest turned to copper work and findings… as soon as I figured out you need a “block” of metal to properly hammer I became enthralled with it! Of course my first task was to try out the copper book hooks! Using my jupiter beads I went to work [See Photo 3].

Then while I was browsing your blog I found the posting for September 4, 2008 and I fell in love with the idea so I took it and made pendants using different techniques. The first ones I made I simply made a sheet of clay fabric using a neutral mokume gane technique and a flower cane. It’s the blue centered one [See Photo 2]. The back was just a sheet of translucent clay I put under my “fabric”. However, it didn’t take me long to figure out that it could be reversible so it wouldn’t matter much if the pendant flipped while one was wearing it. All the other ones are reversible [See Photo 1], and were made using extruded clay that was coiled, pressed, stamped and then shaved… rather like a mokume gane. I did this to both sides to make it reversible.

The turtle necklace [Photo 4] and the large lentil necklace [Photo 5] were inspired by your tutorial on copper findings. I have seen many necklaces lately with front closures and I think they are very cool because they are easier to latch and it gives it a very different look. I’ve had that turtle around for months… looking at it, trying to figure out what to do with it and now I’m really happy with it… the lentil was made from the ends of a cane and I just love how swirly lentil beads can make almost ANYTHING beautiful.

And I just wanted to send you a picture of some of my calla lily beads [Photos 6 and 7]. They are some of my favorite pendants right now!!!

As a side note… I wanted to give everyone my secret to the crackly effect of my Jupiter beads… after I ran out of old clay… I found that if you run the extruded snake of clay through the pasta machine as a thick setting it makes the crackled effect and shows the fabulous layers.

~Melinda Herron (Helena, MT, USA)

PS: I’m trying to cut down on my use of the word fabulous, however visiting your site makes it very hard!

Polymer Clay Faux Mokume Gane by Sarah Wood Polymer Clay Jupiter Bead and Copper Bookmarks by Sarah Wood
Polymer Clay Turtle Shaped Pendant by Sarah Wood Polymer Clay Lentil Bead Necklace by Sarah Wood
Polymer Clay Calla Lily Pendants by Sarah Wood Polymer Clay Calla Lily Pendants by Sarah Wood

Your work and your attitude is fabulous Melinda. Thanks for being such a valued member of the community. Please everyone show Melinda some love by saying something nice to her in the comments section below. As well, feel free to ask her questions about the techniques she uses. Betcha she’s got a few more tips and secrets just waiting to be told :)

** 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. Maureen G, 06 November, 2009

    Sorry, but I’ve got to say it…FABULOUS!!!! I wish I was half as brave as you to try all the new techniques. It takes me a long time to work up to trying one, never mind all of them. Great job. And now you have inspired me to get my hands in the clay instead of just looking at all the wonderful things Cindy shows us. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ritzs, 06 November, 2009

    I love your use of copper work and clay beads Melinda, I have been doing some copper work here in chicago and i cant wait to go home and add some clay beads you have given me some ideas to try, your work is (oh dear—- f a b u l o u s—)

  3. Elizabeth S., 06 November, 2009

    I can’t tell you, Melinda, how I love these pieces. I’ve been sitting scrolling up and down for ten minutes, now. What an inspiration you are! Cindy should make you the poster child for successful and beautiful execution of her teaching. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  4. Maria, 06 November, 2009

    I have to ditto what Maureen said. I watch so many of the techniques Cindy shows us, but for some reason can’t sit down to try them. Thank you for inspiring us, Melinda, with your beautiful work!

  5. Anna Sabina, 06 November, 2009

    The only thing I can say other than how FABULOUS they look is…”They look Mahvoulous, Just mahvoulous dahling (Billy Crystal).” I love your excitement and passion. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Lisa Whitham, 06 November, 2009

    Simply lovely…I like them all but my faves are #2 and #4. That little turtle is the cutest! And your wire working is outstanding. I can only hope my attempts will come out as beautiful…
    Keep on making FABULOUS jewelry Melinda! :)


  7. aims, 06 November, 2009

    Oh Man! These are absolutely stunning! I’m sitting here in awe of what you have done Melinda! They are truly beautiful. The fact that you are making your own statement just makes my heart sing.

    Love them all! Just love them all! Wowza!

  8. Helen Sperring (honeyclay), 06 November, 2009

    Melinda, you are just soooooo talented . I guess that’s why you just jump in there creating so many beautiful things. You mentioned a block of metal to flatten the copper wire. Where did you find one? I love the turtle, too. I’ve been playing with the extruder , too. The clay looks so dull when I do it. Not colorful at all. Have any tips? Thanks, Honey

  9. Melinda, 06 November, 2009

    To Everyone: Thank you so much for your kind, sweet words. You will never know how much you all inspire me, and helped me, and encouraged me.
    To Helen S. : I found my steel block at the recycling plant…. They have a huge amount of scrap steel laying around and they cut me off a piece of some sort of beam…. it was the best $7 I ever spent! That piece of metal changed my whole jewelry making style for the better.
    As for the muted colors with an extruder…. often the colors are very muddied on the outside but they are the colors you picked on the inside…. trying cutting it open and look! I coiled a extruded snake so it looked kind of like one of those lolly pops from The Wizard of Oz…. you know with the munchkins… anyways then I make sure it tight and then I stamp it, then I shave off the elevated parts until its flat and smooth and it shows the different colors in a fun way…. Like the 2 top pendants in photo 1.

  10. Edie, 06 November, 2009

    I am curious about the settings for your pendants. Are they solid bezels that you’ve put the clay piece into, or are they wire that has been shaped and then somehow you’ve fitted the pendant into it? If the latter, I’d love to learn how to do that so that there aren’t gaps between the metal and the clay. If the former, I’d love to know your source for solid backed copper bezels!


  11. Melinda, 06 November, 2009

    Those bezels are made from wire…. 12 g hammered flat then made into the shape… once the shape was made I made some polymer clay “fabric” with different canes down to a mid thickness on my pasta machine and used the bezel its self to cut the clay to fit… to make a softer edge I put saran wrap between the bezel and the clay sheet and then pushed it down… I flipped the bezel over and did it again on another part of the sheet… then I took the 2 pieces and fitted them together with the patterns on the outside…. they should fit perfectly because on the use of the bezel… sometimes I fit one into the bezel first and then the other one into the other side to make the fit in the bezel very tight… then I bake it all together… once cooled I take the polymer part out… sand it, buff it and then super glue it into the bezel… it’s very sturdy… believe me I tried to push them out after the glue dried and I couldn’t… (I always want to make sure my creations aren’t going to break if you look at them funny)

  12. Darlene, 06 November, 2009

    Melinda, your work is absolutely beautiful! I’m just getting started with polymer clay, but you are definitely an inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Arlene Harrison, 06 November, 2009

    LOVE the copper wire bezels. Haven’t thought about using the copper wire that way. I’ve done a fair amount of work with copper wire but this has my mind working in a different direction! Thanks for the inspiration and the nudge to try something a little out of the box!

  14. Marsha, 06 November, 2009

    Melinda, I’ve really enjoyed seeing your work! I especially like the calla lilies. They ae such a beautiful flower and you’ve done a really nice job with them! Also, you have helped me to solve a problem I’ve been thinking on for a while now! I love hearts and am having some fun with them but couldn’t figure out how to make them rounded on both sides. Your solution is very simple and brilliant!! Thank you!

  15. ElizabethK, 06 November, 2009

    Hi Melinda, Cindy and all
    Just seen the lovely work of yours Melinda.
    So beautiful and so creative.
    It is wonderful that with Cindys tutoring you can go ahead and find your own creativeness and develope so amazingly, you must be excited with your work.
    Melinda I just love the Calla lillys and the front closing clasps, and all your colours in all the pictures.Thanks for putting them up, as it always makes me feel like I’m so close to a lot of like minded polymer clay artists for inspiration and motivation.
    The front clasps are great as you said for those who have trouble the usual way, a novel idea and takes your wire work so much futher.
    This site is so amazing always coming up with new ideas and then to see them exucuted as wonderful like this just great.
    You are the PIN UP gal of the week Melinda.
    You and Cindy give me inspiration.
    I’ll keep trying

  16. JoyceM, 07 November, 2009

    Melinda, I am a day late in reading this blog. Life just kept me very busy yesterday. I love “Spotlight” and so happy to see you again. I think I will use the word “EXTRAORDINAIRE” to compliment all the “fabulous” that has been written already. I love all your work, your cala lillies are so beautiful, as well as all your other items. These surely give inspiration.
    I’d like to lock myself away with my clay. Turtles are a favorite and yours calls to me so will have to try my hand at that soon. Many thanks for taking the time to share and continued success, you are a true artist!

  17. Catalina, 07 November, 2009

    Love the Turtle! Your work is fantastic! Love the color choices, too! I love making the Calla Lilies, too. We learn a lot here don’t we? Thanks, Cindy.

  18. lynn watts, 07 November, 2009

    I LOVE YOUR STUFF. I have alot of trouble with the swirl in my lentil beads. It just does not swirl into a beautiful thing. I love the sparkle in the beads I have seen and I think it is leafing (crackled), and swirled into such beautiful swirls. I do not know what I am doing wrong. I want to do it right do you have any suggestions? BTW your jewelry is so beautiful and I hope to see more in the future. Lynn Watts

  19. DJ, 07 November, 2009

    Melinda, you have such a wide range of work…you’re pieces are amazing. The bezels are just lovely, I like the canes you’ve chosen for those, along with the abstract designs too. The turtle (those colors, wow), and the calla lily pendants are so delicate the way you’ve shaped the petals. Thank-you for sharing your work (and a few of your tips too). It’s inspiring to see how others interpret Cindy’s lessons…you’ve been really busy!

  20. Cheryl, 08 November, 2009

    Hi Melinda

    I just love your work. The colors are so beautiful. I love the hammered copper hook on the pink flower pendant. How did you fix the copper bezels around the clay pendant.?

  21. Cindy Lietz, 08 November, 2009

    Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments and support you have given Melinda! You guys are awesome!

    @Lynn: The best suggestion I have for you on learning how to get the lentil bead right, is to watch the tutorial video. Click the link by my name for more info.

  22. Cindy Lietz, 08 November, 2009

    @Lynn – Another article you may want to read is Sept 25, 2009 Spotlight with Monica Daris [Click link by by name]. In that article, she discusses how the lentil bead videos helped her to quickly get good at this fun and addictive technique. Sometimes just seeing someone do it is all it takes. Hope this helps.

  23. Melinda, 09 November, 2009

    I agree with Cindy, You guys are awesome and fabulous!! Thank you again…

    @Cheryl. I used super glue…. Look above at my 2nd comment… it give a fairly good description. If you have any more questions, just post them here. I’ll answer.

  24. Laurel, 09 November, 2009

    Oh, oh, oh, these are way cool. I do a lot of wire work too. Love new ideas. Thanks for sharing Melinda. Your beads are gorgeous too.

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