Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Oriental Frame of Mind

There is something about oriental style that has always appealed to me, even when I was a child.  I've been meaning to try my hand at some cylinder bead for quite a while, and finally sat down to do just that.

This is the first bead I made.  I impressed texture into the clay, then formed the tube. After an initial baking, I applied a dark mix of acrylics to enhance the design, and baked the piece again to set the acrylic.  The end caps are made from circles of clay and wired to the tube core to ensure strength.  The metal chain tassel seemed just the right touch.

Then I decided to use black and translucent clay decorated with gold metal leaf, alcohol inks, and permanent black archival ink.  The red and green cylinder beads were my first results.  I do like the metal tassels.

I still had some of the decorated sheet left, so made another gold and red cylinder bead, and then decided to make a large pendant.

 I really like this piece. The colors are deeper in person that the photo indicates.  I'm going to have to play some more with these shapes and decoration techniques.  I've only just "scratched the surface."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Using Molds

Molds - they have a wide variety of applications, but for some reason I rarely use them.  Perhaps it's because I enjoy manipulating the clay so much myself that I don't even think about molds.  I did use them when I first worked with silver precious metal clay.  That clay is so expensive, dries so quickly, and cracks so easily that molds enable users to make some really lovely shapes and nice pieces without a loss of the clay.  Polymer is totally different.  I can work and re-work something until it's just the way I want it, and I don't have to be concerned about cost or the medium "wearing out" before I'm done.

All this said, the other day I was making small Skinner blends in fall colors.  I wanted to make some leaf earrings with the fall colors blending into each other.  Somehow, though, when I had the blends made, I just really didn't want to make them into canes and slices...Looking through supplies, I happened upon a leaf mold, and the idea struck - why not give the mold a try?

So, here are some results.  The colors mimic those on the trees in my yard, the shape is fun and interesting without overpowering the colors, and there are posts and dangles to choose from. It's all very "Fall."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Making "Connections"

As I've mentioned before, I really enjoy creating with different techniques. Usually, I then make lots of different pieces, but not often do I create jewelry in which multiple pieces of polymer are combined together.  So I've tried a few different ideas in which multiple pieces of polymer are connected in some way.  Hence, the title of this post:  "making connections."

This fall-color-based necklace is composed of circle shapes which are connected to each other through a simple wire method.  The wires have been covered in the back so the effect against the neck is smooth.  There is a lot of motion in this piece, since each circle moves independently of the others.

The red-black-white mokemu gane piece has jump ring connections, so again the piece has movement.

The last piece is composed of mobius shapes made from a celtic knot cane, then strung into a necklace with faceted beads.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Southwest Color & More Extrusions

I've just returned from a vacation trip to the Southwest. We were primarily in Arizona, though we touched Colorado and New Mexico, too.  Traveling through the painted desert, the canyons, and the cliffs had me reveling in color.  The reds, pinks, purples and blues are both subtle and intense.

It's all so very different from what I'm used to here in New England.  The trees are in their glory, and their colors are vibrant right now as fall takes center stage.  Color is one of the things I just love about nature - and about polymer!  So, I had to start claying as soon as I got home.
The photos here play on the southwestern color theme.  I'm still having fun with extrusions, as you can see.  I used copper and browns, along with various shades of turquoise and blues, and just a touch of cream.  The cream layers in the desert really set off the reds and blues.  Amazing.

I hope the colors give you a taste of what I've just seen. The bracelets are from a slightly different color mix - more brown than copper, more teal than turquoise.  See why I love color!?!