I have a weakness for polka-dots. They are like little welcoming beacons for me.  Ask me to pick a pattern and I guarantee it will have polka-dots..or dots of some kind.  So it's only natural that I incorporate dots into my clay work.

[caption id="attachment_33377" align="alignleft" width="300"]My polka-dot bracelets for Sculpey a couple of years ago My polka-dot bracelets for Sculpey a couple of years ago[/caption]

The word polka-dot has been around since 1857 to define a pattern or group of dots usually on fabric.  But did you know that polkadot has a new meaning in the electronic age? "Polkadot is a multi-chain framework that supports interoperability between wildly different chains with different properties."  That new version of polka-dot sounds like it fits right into our clay world, right?  I especially like that phrase "between wildly different chains with different properties."  I want to make THAT clay design!  (I think the great Bonnie Bishoff is already doing this right now in her new work!)

So it's not wonder that I loved the Etch n' Pearls when they were first introduced.  Then I got a little carried away with them on my cutter bracelets.  I still use my EnP's whenever

[caption id="attachment_33378" align="alignright" width="200"]My cutter bracelets that I photographed for the cover of Polymer Cafe My cutter bracelets that I photographed for the cover of Polymer Cafe[/caption]

possible, but I have another way to add my beloved polka-dots to my work.  I use a dot pen- specifically a CraftSmart Gold paint pen (it's like 3 bucks for 2 at Michaels).  I like this pen the best because A) it's CHEAP! and B) I like the color gold - it's not brassy and C) it's CHEAP!  I even designed several of my transfer patterns and silkscreens with lots of circles and places to add dots.

[caption id="attachment_33382" align="alignnone" width="300"]My dotted transfer on the left and silkscreen on the right. My dotted transfer on the left and silkscreen on the right.[/caption]

Mixed metals are so on-trend right now, adding gold dots to a design that uses, say Copper or Bronze will put your design right into the trend!

[caption id="attachment_33381" align="alignnone" width="300"]One of my first times I used the pen. I LOVE it in the transfer design, but I didn't set the ink first. Look and you will see the bleed. One of my first times I used the pen. I LOVE it in the transfer design, but I didn't set the ink first. Look and you will see the bleed.[/caption]

I've learned a little bit about adding dots to my work.  First, practice EVERY time.  I dot on a piece of paper or scrap clay EVERY time before I start dotting my final work.  I think of it as getting into the dot rhythm - holding the pen vertically, aiming, pen nib shape.  Second, if you are using alcohol pens, set the ink first for at least 20 minutes at normal baking temp before adding the dots.  I find that unset ink (especially darker colors like purple) can bleed into the gold.

dots bef after

[caption id="attachment_33383" align="alignright" width="300"]Okay, now the finished, dotted hat band! Okay, now the finished, dotted hat band![/caption] [caption id="attachment_33386" align="alignnone" width="300"]dotting stray pieces on the worktable. What a differnece dotting stray pieces on the worktable. What a differnece[/caption]

So, while I was working on my latest hat band, I had several extra pieces on my worktable and one day while I was waiting on something in the oven, out came the dot pen.  I eventually ran into the house, grabbed the hat and did my dot thing.  It's just what it needed!

[caption id="attachment_33384" align="alignnone" width="300"]here is the actual pen I use here is the actual pen I use[/caption]