Blonde Crow Studio


Building a Blue Willow

I’ve been busy claying but you wouldn’t know it from this scrapbook. My latest projects include trying out some new cane ideas from Rian Schreuder-Sanderse’s Facebook page called ’52 weekly cane projects’. A few weeks ago, I created a cane from this tutorial: written by ‘Kalinkapolinka’. I don’t speak Russian so it was a good thing for me that she had clearly documented the cane steps in photos!

I changed my cane to include a lot of translucent clay and I also used blues and white instead of the original black and white clays. I wanted a ‘Blue Willow’ Delft-china look:


Here’s my ‘wedge’ of cane, about 5 inches tall.

six sides

After reducing it a little, I cut it into six parts, rearranged it kaleidoscope-style, and reduced again.

finished reducingHere it is, finished- about 2.5 inches in diameter.

closeup reduced

It really looks intricate, doesn’t it?


These are some buttons I made by covering a core of white with a cane slice. I added a ring of copper wire for the button shank.


A little ring bowl for my bedside table…


You can see how the translucent clay shows off the design well.

Matryoshka Doll Charm Tutorial

BCS- Matryoshka Doll Charms 02

Clay Camp 2015 will be here in less than one week and all my clay friends are excited! For five days, we eat, breathe, and dream about the clay projects we are working on in a beautiful mountain setting near Wallace Falls State Park in Washington State. This year’s swap theme is ‘Charms’ and I decided to make tiny, tiny Matryoshka dolls (less than one inch tall) for my charms. I hope all of the ‘campers’ like them!

If you’re interested in the process, I created a free tutorial to download. For best results, right-click on the link then select “Save target as…” to download:

Matryoshka Charm Tutorial by Maria Brown

(Special thanks to my daughter Lydia for taking all of the photographs for the tutorial we made.)


BCS- Matryoshka Doll Charms 01

Here’s some of the Matryoshka doll’s colorful clothing decorated with simple flower cane slices…


BCS- Matryoshka Doll Charms 03

A doll’s clay ‘scarf’ being fitted before decorating…


BCS- Matryoshka Doll Charms 04

…and the cat hair in the clay mystery has been solved…

Chirps and Rabbits

I created these two spring brooch pins for some friends of mine- I was inspired by some ‘vintage’ Japanese and Scandinavian textile prints and adapted the designs for polymer clay.

BCS- Rabbit Moon Pin BCS- Spring Bird Pin

Owls and Peacocks

I made an ‘owl in a tree’ cane a few weeks ago. Here’s one of the lapel pins I made for this autumn:



And I finally pulled out a peacock cane I started a while back at Clay Camp. I covered it with a layer of Play-Doh, because I was going to then wrap it in scrap clay, reduce the cane, and be able to peel off the scrap and have a ‘background-less’ peacock. I think I’ve changed my mind and I’m going to put him in a tree, Tiffany-style. So here’s the first photo of my progress. More photos to follow as I work at it… it will be a while, as he’s about six or seven inches high.

BCS Early peacock

Fun summer bracelets

This is a bracelet I made from polymer clay ‘disc beads’ in colors inspired by a recent visit to the Mexican coast. I started with simple bullseye canes, then sliced and stretched each disc until they had the organic feel I wanted.

BCS Colored discs bracelet



…and here’s a ‘whimsical beads’ bracelet strung on memory wire I made a few weeks ago. My challenge was to create no two beads exactly alike with this mostly neon palette.

BCS Whimsy-beads bracelet



… and here is a hydrangea flower I made out of polymer clay. It was a lot of work!

BCS Hydrangea

(Just kidding- it’s a bush on my back patio.)


…but here’s some lilacs I made from polymer clay. Really.

BCS Lilacs




‘Happy Home’ cane

I’ve been in a whimsical creating mood these days.  A friend of mine asked me to create some pendants for her that showed a “Happy Home”. I decided to challenge myself and only use extruded clay pieces for this playful cane project.

The chunk of clay in the upper-right hand corner is the cane itself and the rest are the finished pendants. Here’s a close-up photo of one of them:

I made the window from fluorescent clay so it would glow, and you can see the triangle extrusions that make up the roof- squares were used for everything else. A friend says these pendants would make great key chains for house keys. Good idea, Shannon!


Last month I created a sitting Santa sculpture at Clay Camp 2013. Dennis Brown was our teacher for this class, and when we walked in he told us we wouldn’t be using any tools except our hands to create our sculptures- ack! I survived, we had a great afternoon learning, and here is my work-in-progress- cured and half painted with acrylics:


And for those of you who have been asking, I will post the progress of the reduction of my ‘Peacock’ cane here, too. That’s one of my next projects! Stay tuned!



Northwest Artisan Gift Show

Here I am (sorta) with my lovely assistant Lydia at the Northwest Artisan Gift Show last weekend. I was fortunate enough to earn money to donate to Northwest Harvest this year- hooray! Thanks to all the NWPCG volunteers who made this event happen, and a big thank you to the folks who bought my things knowing my proceeds were going to a great cause.

Northwest Harvest is the only non-profit food bank distributor operating statewide in Washington with a network of more than 350 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. They provide over 1.7 million meals every month to this network- and 92 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to feeding people.


My latest runes…

Here’s a few photos of my polymer clay rune and faux stone beads, as promised-

Mermaid scales and rustic green copper swirls…



Autumn colored faux stone beads



Deep red mica-flecked beads



Faux turquoise and copper Celtic beads




This rune is ‘Kenaz’, which represents fire, creativity, and clarification. (It’s on its side in this photo.) I created the faux serpentine bead inclusions with crushed tea leaves and black pepper.




…some faux jade and amethyst beads…




… ‘Tiger cane’ beads, faux sardonyx, and runes…




… faux antiqued silver rune bead with purple accents…




… “ancient” Algiz rune bead, which represents protection and friendship. I embedded copper wire in the clay, which I made to mimic poppy jasper, and then sanded it flat.





…and a faux amber (or peach adventurine) bracelet I made, all out of polymer clay.




I call these “dillstone” beads because I added dried crushed dill to the clay before curing. The rune on the bracelet on the top is ‘Jera’- the rune of balance, harvest and bounty. The runes on the bottom piece are (from left to right) : Jera, Othila, Sowelo, Berkana, Laguz, and Gebo. They roughly translate to Balance, Homeland, Sun, Feminine Energy, Water, and Gifts.




Rustic copper swirls and my signature Celtic crow. (Yes, it’s a crow, Jay.)




Faux green and yellow aragonite beads that I made with crushed tea leaf inclusions (Earl Grey) …




I call these “Butter amber” beads (made with alcohol inks and different brands of translucent clays), paired with freshwater pearls and copper…




…and a few more strands of my faux stones and runes for luck. To see more of my work, please visit my Gallery page.




Rocks, Runes, and the 2012 Northwest Artisan Gift Show!

Come and see me at…

I’m excited to be a part of this show once again- it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase my latest stuff! It will be held at ArtWorks, at 200 Dayton Street in Edmonds, Washington on November 10th and 11th.

I’ve been incorporating rune symbols into my artwork, and I’ll reveal some of my latest projects here in the next few days, before the show. Elder Futhark runes are the alphabet used by pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Norse peoples over three thousand years ago. They were carved onto weapons to give them strength, onto buildings and boats for protection, onto gravestones to ease the departed on their way to Valhalla… many things.  Like the Vikings before me, I carve them onto jewelry for good luck and decoration.

My fellow NWPCG members might recognize my ongoing interest in working with polymer to create faux stones- amber, jade, chrysoprase, jasper and the like. I’ve come up with a few new ones, as well as several beach glass variations…


Clay Camp

Now I can say that I’m an “Award-Winning” clayer (ha-ha)… I won the ‘Best in Show’ ribbon at our guild’s annual Clay Camp. Sure, the ribbon was laminated cardboard, but hey… it’s an AWARD!

We all were challenged to create a nametag that best represented ourselves. My essence boiled down to a crow eating a bowl of Phở with lots of sriracha!


I also experimented with pearl clay and some tiny ball chain embedded in the tinted translucent. I don’t know what I’ll do with them yet, but I’m happy with the results:


And here’s a bracelet that I made from some more ‘faux river stone’ beads. I think I’d like it better if I oxidized the silver. I guess I have to live with it a while and see…

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