I first met Wendy Orlowski, a fellow Canadian and the owner of Shades of Clay at the Grand River Bead Society's Bead Fair last fall. It is a long standing international supplier of all things polymer clay.  Wendy bought the business from the original owner, Margaret Scott who retired, back in 2013. Wendy explained, "I never did ask her how she decided on the name of the company……but I do know that she came up with it way before the infamous trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey!"

It's no surprise with the name. Polymer clay is the most colorful branch of the jewelry making world!

Wendy is also the creator of CaBezels (exclusive selection to Shades of Clay is here), unique see through molds for creating both the bezel AND the cabochon.  I watched Wendy demonstrate how it worked and was delighted to see the possibilities - ideas starting buzzing around my head immediately.  I bought one and Wendy gave me another to review:

Wendy has some instructional videos with more in the pipeline. Here is one which shows how she makes a lovely textured bezel using her all in one Cabezel molds.

Shown below are her wonderfully  inspirational finished pieces which should get your creative juices going! (Click the image to see a larger version) :

CaBezels come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. The possibilities are endless!

How did I find the Cabezels? I loved the design potential but like everything, it took a little practice before I could make them properly. These round all polymer clay pendants were among my first efforts with the Cabezels.

You do need to practice to learn how to apply the right pressure to make the frame and the cabochons evenly.  As you can see below, the almost transparent mold allows you to see where the clay is when the mold is placed upside down on the polymer clay sheet.

Some people are very good with the X-acto knife - they are able to make even and vertical cuts. But for others, including me, the easiest for clean, straight edges is to use the thin blade.

You can also bend the blade for the other shapes or you could use cutters if they work.  I liked my round cutter which was slightly larger than the round bezel, it created a nice frame.

Wendy actually lifts off her work from the paper she uses.  I found it best not to do so as you could accidentally distort the work while trying to get the clay off. So I worked on a suitable surface which I could then take to oven for baking. I used ceramic tile (this does leave shiny spots at the back), pieces of parchment paper or wax paper. My favorite is the parchment paper.

If you like making canes, then you'll be pleased to know the Cabezels will come in handy to show them off.  A thin cane can be placed over the molded but unadorned cabochon.  The decorative polymer clay is then pushed around the edge of the cabochon. Excess clay is trimmed off.

There are a couple of approaches to putting the cabochon and frame together.  Try and see which you prefer.  You can bake the frame first and then add the unbaked cane adorned cabochon and then bake it for a second time. The baked frame is then firm and will not distort while you are tucking in the cabochon part. This was the method I used for my blue framed round pendant above.

Or if you are careful, then by all means put both pieces together for a single bake. Just one thing to remember - if your cane is too thick, the cabochon will not fit well. You can try and tuck the excess in but you risk marking the unbaked frame so be careful.  My black framed round pendant above has some tool marks at the 11 o'clock position because I wasn't careful enough!

I really, really had a lot of fun with the Cabezels. It was hard to stop making them.  So tune in later this week for the tutorial where I take the Cabezels beyond the polymer clay world!

If you'd like to win a $25 gift certificate for something wonderful like the CaBezels from Shades of Clay, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Wendy is offering a wonderful discount for readers - 10% off with no minimum.  Use this code : bgem10.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, February 13, 2017. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!

I receive books and products for review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.  They would be the same whether or not I receive any product compensation.

I used natural light, my iPhone 6S with the ProCamera app and the Modahaus TS400 tabletop studio and the rostrum stand (overhead) for final product photography. The tutorial pictures were taken with the same equipment but with artificial lights in my windowless basement studio. Check out my How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar .

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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