I was having lunch with my friend and polymer clay jewelry designer, Helen Breil, early this year when she told me she was creating her first online polymer clay class. I was eagerly waiting a chance to review it as I knew Helen made outstanding, contemporary designs. She designs some gorgeous texture plates and silkscreens - see my past post on how to use her silk screens for resin jewelry making. I'm not just saying all this because she is my friend! I would have featured her clever ideas and techniques regardless.

 Some time ago, I wrote about her magnetic lariats.  Well, she has gone on to develop the magnetic idea and a wonderful pendant class. It shows you not only how to create beautiful textures but how to incorporate powerful rare earth magnets into stacked designs which can then be worn as pendants with interchangeable chains and necklaces as well as brooches.

Watch the pendant class preview video here.  There are a total of 18 videos in the full 90+ minute class. Once you enroll, you can see the first three video’s for free (plus material list PDFs) to help you decide if you want to purchase the class.  The PDFs include narration text in both English and French. I never thought before how useful such text would be for those who are hearing impaired or who speak only French!! Helen is the first instructor I have come across who has thoughtfully done this.

Even without the magnetic component to the class, her instructions and ideas for texturing and stacking her irregular geometric shapes in just the right way are all great for any polymer clay jewelry enthusiast.

Helen is truly inspirational as she shows how changing elements (color, texture, shape) and placements can make each piece unique.

It may not be obvious from these photos but she also accentuates the designs by making the top pieces slightly curved thus giving the pieces a more sculptured look.

I particularly love her focals - often buttons and pearls which give the designs the right finishing touch.

Shown here are just a few of the 21 designs she created for the class - it was hard to pick my favorites!  In the gallery sections of her class, Helen offers numerous suggestions to get your creative juices going.

The magnetic pendants can be worn with a variety chains in the sautoir style. They can be easily slipped off the chains and you can mix and match different chains and pendants.

Remember the poll I conducted a while ago where about 58% of readers thought ball chains cheapen jewelry designs? I was in the 34% group who found them just fine (the rest were neutral).  It is how you use them which counts.  As you can see, Helen puts different size ball chains together for a novel and stunning look :

I've also seen Helen wear her magnetic pendants on this double net necklace :

She says you do not need to use magnets. You can modify your pendants and use other conventional necklaces if you prefer as shown here :

Don't feel like it is a necklace day?  Remove the necklace and just add a magnet behind your top to turn the pendant into a brooch.

I also love her lovely open tube necklace where the magnetic pendant can be detached from the main necklace and another substituted.

The class is on the Thinkific platform which is pretty easy to use. You can download the PDFs and the videos if you wish.  Starting and stopping during each video is easiest using the space bar of your computer keyboard. 

I tried to change the viewing speed. This is handy if you just want to go through a section again quickly. But for some reason, this did not work for me.  However, the overall length of the class is about 1.5 hours so this feature is not that essential unlike some of the much longer Craftsy classes I have reviewed before

Rare earth magnets are very powerful and permanent. The most widely used are neodymium magnets. There are different grades of neodymium magnets - N35- N52. The larger the number, the stronger they are. Thicker and bigger magnets are also stronger than thinner and smaller ones of the same grade. A pack of 10 N52 magnets (1.26" diameter x 1/16" thick) which are 50% stronger than Grade N35 costs about $16 which gives you some idea of price.

Neodymium oxidizes with exposure to air so these rare earth magnets have to be coated. Helen did not mention this but some of the magnets are nickel plated and should to be avoided if anyone is metal allergic. Nickel is often the culprit. Other coatings include gold plating, chrome, copper, even epoxy resin etc which are available from rare earth magnet specialists. One option I thought of is to use epoxy resin clay to cover the side of the magnet that is against the skin as in the brooch application. Resin clay hardens without heat and can be sanded, painted and varnished if necessary after it cures.

These magnets have one weakness. They start to demagnetize with increased temperature so you should not bake them in the oven with your polymer clay pieces.  Helen has a great tip on how she gets round this problem.  She also demonstrates the best way to separate individual magnets from a stack of them.  They are very powerful so it is best not to get your finger suddenly caught between two of them!

Helen is right to mention that people with pacemakers should best avoid pendants made with these magnets, just to be safe.  I should also add it is the same for people with implantable cardioverter defibrillators. Hearing aids can also be affected.  Also keep these magnets away from small children who may ingest them.

Even if you don't have heart issues, avoid putting your magnetic pendants/necklaces in your purse as the magnets will adversely affect the magnetic strips of your credit cards!

The magnetic field strengths of the magnets will depend on the size and thickness of individual magnets. Larger magnets have to be kept further away from susceptible devices. This article shows you the safe distances from various devices.

 Note : Smartphones, cameras, CDs, DVDs, vehicle keys, all use non-magnetic storage data so no worries there! My iPhone case has some sort of ferromagnetic material in it. I attach it to a neodymium magnet on the side of the medicine cabinet in my bathroom so I can listen to music! If I were to make some magnetic polymer clay pendants, a row of magnets on the medicine cabinet would be a great place to keep them ready to wear! It also helps somewhat (but not really as important as with the horseshoe type magnets) for strength retention to keep neodymium magnets in contact with ferromagnetic material.

If you'd like to win this giveaway for one free access to Helen's video class, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

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, April 17, 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, products and online classes for review. I  receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links which are provided as resource information for readers. This goes towards the support of this blog. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

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