Procrastination and Success…and more Rustic Beads

Do you work better with a deadline looming over your head, or do you prefer to have nothing pressuring you? You’d think that by now I’d know myself better. I hate deadlines. They make me get all cramped inside of my head and I feel overwhelmed so then I just procrastinate and end up finding other things that seem important at the time. Of course when you procrastinate, that means the deadline sneaks up on you and then you have even more pressure to get things done.

Because of my hatred of deadlines, I don’t do custom orders anymore. In the beginning I did allow them and quickly found that the deadlines loom and it becomes stressful. And then there’s the added problem of trying to create something according to someone’s specifications. And art doesn’t always work like factory work. Things don’t turn out the way you’d hoped and then you’re even more stressed!

But earlier this week a very nice woman contacted me about making a certain style of Rustic Beads in a specific color palette. Hey! That sounds like fun! I like making Rustic Beads. So against my better judgement, I said yes. I gave myself two days to get them done. (I hear you now…two days! Not long enough!)

Yeah, well, I know. And I spent two days doing everything else. I needed to plan the menus and make a shopping list and that meant I had to balance the checkbook and do the budget. And of course in such situations, Facebook suddenly has very important things that must be shared and seen. Plus the usual husband and children things. So next thing you know, the two days was up. Sigh. I am so ME. I finally baked the beads late on the second day. Here they are cooling, with Tubby the Burmese. (Or is he warming?)

Tubby loves being a polymer clay cat. It means he gets to enjoy the warmth of the stove.

But without a deadline I actually don’t fare much better. I suppose I need that pressure to get myself focused. And in this case it meant that it got me motivated to make more the next day. I ultimately made a huge batch of lovely Rustic Beads. At first I rushed it, but then I relaxed into the process, turned on the music, and let the colors flow. You should see the paint under my fingernails. Creative!

Paint in styrofoam trays that are used as disposable palettes.By the way, every once in a while someone will tell me that it’s “not really polymer clay if you use paint“. I suppose they have this idea that you must always use the color of the clay itself to create your designs and that painting them is just cheating. Really? You know how I feel about rules in the world of creating with polymer clay! (You don’t? Go here and read my little essay on The Right Way to Use Polymer Clay.) So yes, I use paint. And it’s fun. Here’s what I made:

Rustic Beads and Components made from polymer clay by Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree.

I posted some of these pictures on Facebook and many people wanted  to know how to make these beads themselves. As luck would have it, I’ve written the whole thing up in a tutorial. Why not treat yourself and have some fun making Rustic Beads of your own!

Buy the Tutorial

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18 thoughts on “Procrastination and Success…and more Rustic Beads”

  1. Enjoy your site and all the banter in the comments.
    Wasn’t nail polish invented for those of us who can’t keep them free of our craft? But from experience, don’t rely on clear to hide the days experiments and successes.

  2. It’s strange but I never bought colored polymer clay. Always thought it might look tacky…lol…but now I know what I can do no matter what color clay you use, you always find your way to a happy accident!!

  3. When I started with polymer clay I didn’t use color.
    Now I love working polymer clay with colors.
    I bought this Ginger’s tutorial last year.
    Great tutorial, I learnt a lot of using colors on polymer clay.

  4. Oh joy now i know that my friend ali and I are not mad after all we just belong to an elite creative group determined to actively participate in the business of living life to the full. Why else would one be born. After all Bess of Hardwick was 70 by the time she built Hardwick Hall so there’s plenty of time ( at least two years in my case) to create our masterpiece
    Happy days
    P.s. yes it’s 4.00 a.m. …….thinking and planning and worrying time!

  5. I am a constructive procrastinator, too. The thing is, even when I am avoiding a task, I am thinking about it. My subconscious and my muse are on the job even when I am not. So while I may have been able to make a more “perfect” something if I had taken my time, I might not have had the idea for the thing at all if I tried to start sooner. I’m glad you were able to remember to have fun with your beads, which turned out beautifully. And to those who think polymer clay should be left entirely to its own devices, I ask “have you never heard of mixed media art?”

    1. Ah, you’re a “ruminator” then? I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m kind of the same way. I’ll avoid and procrastinate until I get it all sorted out in my head what I want to do. Then I attack and work like the wind.

  6. Ginge, I laughed all the way through the paragraph that started “Yeah, well, I know.” Had I been writing this article, that paragraph woulda come out word for word the same. (That email response I sent you recently? Oh, you didn’t receive it? Go read that paragraph. Sigh.) (Well, my explanation has a lota sad stuff in it, too, but also that paragraph.) When I hafta fly somewhere, I pack like a Tasmanian devil at bedtime the night before the flight, in spite of plans that I WON’T DO THAT THIS TIME.

    It appears that deadlines are your friend from the photos you posted!

    1. Binky my dear, as always you crack me up. And the sad stuff is sad indeed but…eh…you just gotta roll with it. Hope you’re having a better time wherever you flew off to…

  7. The idea that using paint would be a kind of “cheating”… does that also mean that glazes on porcelain and clay are also cheating? (you could use all the different clay colours after all) ^^ What a really strange idea!

    1. Exactly! In fact, many of the ceramic beads and components I’m seeing now are “cold glazed” which is a fancy way of saying that they’re painted. The same materials are used that we use to paint polymer. Amazing.

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