Friday, 7 December 2007


Look what I found while I was looking for something completely else, which of course still remains undetected. Since I had to move I'm always looking for things but seldom find them. I know exactly where I stored everything in the old flat but a lot of stuff seems to have disappeared along with it, although I know it must be somewhere.

These are unfinished machine-made Christmas tree ornaments. They are almost 20 years old. Back then we had a school trip to the glass works of Lauscha in Thuringia which has a 400 year old tradition of glassmaking. When we visited the factories we were allowed to take those with us. The upper one is an unfinished Christmas tree ball. It's already silvered and usually it would have been decorated with a handpainted design in one of the next steps. It has especially thick walls, thicker than the glass of light bulbs. It's much thicker than the thin-walled and fragile baubles traditionally used here for Christmas decoration. These bolder ones were made to be exported to the USA. (Aren't Americans able to handle fragile things?) The lower one should have become a walnut ornament. It shows quite well the process of forming the piece with a mould.
Outside of the factory building I saw the most amazing pile of scrap and rubble imaginable. A huge and beautiful glassy pile of broken Christmas baubles sparkling and glittering in the hot summer sun in all the colours of the rainbow. What a sight! It looked so unreal, truly magical.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Winter Night

One month ago I made this bowl. Now I finally baked it together with some other items I completed meanwhile. It's the most sparkly thing I ever made because I used glitter colours. I can't decide if it is tacky or gorgeous. It looks so much like a twinkling frosty winter night to me, although the white parts looked brighter before curing. Fimo glitter white seems to contain a big part of translucent clay. I spent 2 1/2 hours alone just placing the slices on the bowl's surface because the design evolved while I did it. I am slow, but I get completely absorbed in it when I do things like that.

Friday, 23 November 2007

My Week

My little plan failed. I wasn't able to do anything decent with my hands this week. My wrists just hurt like hell and my fingers are a bit swollen. Maybe I should plan to make some little things every second week rather than every other day, although I'm bursting with energy when it comes to new ideas. Today was the first day I touched polymer clay again but I was only able to make six beads. So I read some books instead. I loaned several books about art glass from the library because my visit in Glashütte and many, many pictures I found online roused my enthusiasm for this material again. We had a beautiful wall made of quite ordinary but nevertheless very fascinating glass bricks in kindergarten. I think of it all the time when I look at and drool over the pictured objects in the books.

At the beginning of the week I picked the last of my tomatoes. I grew them on my balcony. I had to move last year and since then I have a balcony and even better I have one that views southward. It would have been a waste not to try my gardening skills having such perfect conditions. I love tomatoes and I love peas - some of the most delicious things there are in my humble opinion. So I tried to grow them and surprisingly enough it worked. I sowed them myself. Eight tiny tomato seeds turned into a little jungle. I liked to watch them grow. I didn't do much else but giving them water and worry on hot and stormy days. Two of them grew as high as 250cm, so everything became a lot bigger than I thought. I had two different sorts of cherry tomatoes and one usual sort. They gave me plenty to eat in the past months and they even resisted the frosty nights we have now. But I had to harvest the last ones now, even though they're still green. This sounds like there were only a few left, but indeed I picked a batch of 242. My complete harvest from June till November has a total amount of 1340 tomatoes. I never expected that much!

Friday, 16 November 2007


I'm a bit angry lately. I feel very inspired and have some nice ideas for new canes and patterns in mind, but my hands just won't work. It's grey and cold and wet outside, fine weather for crafting but it makes my wrists hurt even more. Nevertheless I want to try to do some little things at least every other day. So I made some beads a few days ago but again I noticed I somehow lack the sense of how much pressure I actually apply so it took a lot of patience until I managed to make them round. Sometimes it feels like I always have to start from scratch again and there's no progress at all and then I think it is just worthless. But I'm addicted after all.

Monday, 5 November 2007

New pictures of old things

A few days ago I put an end to six clayfree weeks. This also inspired me to bring my blog into shape and today I finally added pictures of the things I made in the past couple of months to my gallery. It's a bit frustrating though to see that I wasn't able to do more. Others could probably do that in less than a week. But at least I made them at all. As you can see I'm very fond of bowls.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Hot Glass

Some days ago I went on a trip to Glashütte. This name means something like 'glass foundry' in English. It is an idyllic village not far from Berlin with a tradition in glassmaking. Now it mainly serves as a museum. It shows that the working and living conditions of glassmakers were far from easy or romantic in the days when every single mass produced glass item like a bottle was blown solely with the power of lungs under exploiting conditions. These days only two glassmakers still work there. They show their art of glassblowing to visitors. To see the working process is most fascinating! I'm so fond of it! They are very passionate about it and are full of love for their material. A glassmaker today is designer and worker in one person, which I think must be very satisfying.
He made the small bowl you can see in the picture below.
On the left side are jars with ingredients to colourise the glass, behind him is the furnace, and in the background is the kiln to anneal the finished items.

Blowing the pipe.

This guy is crazy. He touches molten glass with his (wet) fingers for a split second.
On the right side still on the iron is the drinking glass he just made.

My purchases. I like the bowl for its liquid look and
I had to buy some handmade millefiori beads of course.

Monday, 3 September 2007

There's no place like home

This was my home for 22 years.

Friday, 24 August 2007


Making beads is particularly exhausting for my wrists and fingers but I hope it strengthens them. I have some doubts though. Making beads is also a lot of fun! They need a lot of practice. I made bookmarks of my first sets and along with candlesticks I had made I gave them as gifts to some very nice people. The reactions I received were so positive, it still makes me glad.

Monday, 6 August 2007

My first face cane

I made my first bowls in May. Meanwhile I've done some more. It's still like magic. I can't get my eyes off them. I love the patterns so much.

I also made my first face cane. It's features and paleness are inspired by designs of Margaret MacDonald and Charles Rennie Mackintosh and so are the stylised rose canes I built.

If you look closely it looks like this one has a tear falling from the eye on the right. But that's just an air bubble that got trapped between glass and clay. Usually they show up in less appropriate places.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Cockerel and Ball

I ordered a big range of colours online and couldn't wait until they arrived and I found great pleasure in building flower canes and tried Skinner Blends. I even made some good ones without a pasta machine. Although it was an odd thought to me to run sheets of clay through a machine that is meant for food I bought this useful tool. I convinced myself that I'm really serious about my new hobby and that it wouldn't be wasted money.

My next project should be a surprise for a dear friend of mine. He didn't like my first attempt at all. Sadly he was the first one I showed it to. Imagine how I felt when my excitement met his dislike. He said he doesn't like flowers. But as I like him more than he does my work and as I wanted to challenge myself although I'm just a beginner I made him a glass showing the badge of his favourite and most beloved football club Tottenham Hotspur. It took hours to build a complex cane as this and I'm always slow already because of my hands, but it was fun. The hole thing got a bit distorted when I tried to reduce its size but I realised I rather leave it as big as it is than mess it up in the end. I have no proper tools to cut a big cane like this into neat slices, so slicing it was also a sensible part. The finished glass looks like this.

It looks rather Greek then English to me but it is flowerfree and fortunately very well liked by my friend and I'm very proud of it.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

The Beginning

Since years I've got a lot of problems with my hands and arms that include inflammations and quite a great deal of pain. I don't want to go further into this boring subject, just tell that I'm at a disadvantage when it comes to working with my hands especially as I always wanted to be an artisan.
I was in hospital at the beginning of the year and had some occupational theraphy that included working with natural clay. I made the vessel you can see in the picture. I think it shows that it was made with aching hands.

It looks quite clumsy, doesn't it, but my therapist recommended me to work more with that sort of clay to strengthen my muscles. But I feel it is much too hard to work with for me. I need too much help and I don't like that at all. I want to be independent of others to feel good and to be creative. Besides I can't bake it at home as it needs much to high temperatures.

So I looked for other materials to work with. I already had something like Fimo in mind because I had worked with it many years ago although I knew from this experience it's too hard for me as well. But then looking around in a shop I found out that there's something new called Fimo soft. Since when is it new anyway? If I had only known earlier of its existence! To try out if this stuff pleases my demands I randomly bought five colours that I liked. At home I saw three of them are labelled 'translucent' so I searched the internet to find out the purpose of that and also to find some inspiration as I had no idea what I actually could form and sculpture. Here in Germany polymer clay is a material children play with. I wasn't aware that there are so many adults in the world doing so many beautiful and artistic things with it until I saw them in the web. It was most inspiring! As I read about the ancient technique called Millefiori invented by glass artists centuries ago and as I saw what stunning things you can do with it my only thought was: "I want to be able to do that as well! I must!" I spent several weeks reading about it and pondering until I made my first cane. I did not want to mess it up. I wanted my first attempt to be successful. I made a very simple flower cane of the translucent colours I bought. I made it on March 25th. I covered a candle holder with the slices and was very, very satisfied with the result.

A huge inspiration for me is the idea of covering vessels using Millefiori canes and especially the work of Orly Rabinowitz I stumbled across when I searched Flickr. Her work is amazing! Take a look!

My first attempt made me so glad! The material is soft enough for me to
use, although not on a daily basis, but as you can see I was instantly hooked!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Starting my blog

Welcome to my blog!
My name is Jana and I live in Germany. I decided to write my own blog to keep something like a diary about my work with polymer clay which has turned into a little obsession. I also want to improve my English or rather use it in the first place so I'll write in this language.
I started working with polymer clay only three months ago, so my first postings will be about this time until I reach the present and then I hope there will be a lot of news to add in the future.