Smashing Color

with Maggie Maggio

Project #1 Pivot Bead Strands

tricksy_gnomeThis pivot bead strand is up on tricksy_gnome’s Flickr site.  A beautiful combination of colors!

The idea for the pivot beads came when I started using canes as the underlayer for my watercolor technique.

The original watercolor beads were made for the silent auction at the second Ravensdale conference in 1998. Lindly and I were teaching a three day color workshop together and the first evening I showed her some of my early color washing experiments. At the time I was using a pre-mixed palette of Fimo colors that had foil leaf mixed in. We didn’t have any Fimo white clay so we grabbed some Sculpey II and ran very thin sheets of the Fimo over thick sheets of Sculpey. The resulting sheets looked very much like watercolor on paper so we tore them into bits to cover balls of scrap clay. 

waterbeadssm Since I needed something to donate to the silent auction, we very quickly made a collection of beads and sent them off to the auction coordinators. They were a big hit! The next night a few friends came down to our studio to help make more beads. The crew included Pier Volkous, Elise Winters, and Cynthia Toops, plus Lindly and I.  As you can imagine – the beads were gorgeous!

I am thrilled to announce that some of the original Watercolor beads from Ravensdale will be in the Racine Art Museum’s polymer clay collection. Elise Winter’s and her dedicated team of volunteers have worked endless hours to create a place for polymer clay in the museums around the country. This is an amazing step for polymer clay!

You can help make the permanent polymer clay collection at the RAM a reality by donating to the fundraising for the project. For more information go to Polymer Art Archive and read all about it.  In addition to this latest post – go back and check out some of the previous posts about putting the collection together. Fascinating!

Kudos to everyone in our community who is working so hard to place polymer in museum settings. It helps legitimize the medium for all of us – artists, crafters, hobbyists, and professionals.

crafty-goatI am working on a photo tutorial covering the basics of the original Watercolor Technique. It will also  include some tips and new ideas for making more variations of the pivot beads. In the meantime, check out a review of the book by CraftyGoat.


  1. admin

    September 28, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Thanks – got it fixed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *