Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Necklace #3: Blossoms & Keshi Pearls

I really like this necklace. It has a certain sweetness.   It's actually quite a simple design. I think it is the combination of the irregularity of the keshi pearls mixed with the deep colors and pointed shape of the blossoms that makes this piece interesting.

It took me a little experimentation to determine the best way to design the hole on the back of the blossoms so they fit snugly with the pearls.

There are jonquil Swarovski crystals in the center of the blossoms and near the closure.  I used a magnetic rose-shaped clasp to finish it off.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Necklace #2: Flowering Vine

Although this type of sectional design has been used in necklaces in a variety of different mediums, this is the first time I've tried it myself.  I like the way the sections move and change size, while the pattern or design flows from one section to the next.

I love flowers and vines, and thought they'd work well in a sectional design.  Of course, I had to make a Skinner blend for the base.  The vines continue from one piece to the next.  I chose to make the background move from light on the ends to dark in the middle, while the vines start with just leaves at the ends and progress to blossoms with variegated colors as we move toward the center.

The closer view below shows the texture on the base. Perhaps you can also see there is a leaf and a flower that extend a bit beyond the base pieces.  I wasn't sure how that would work with pieces that were hooked together and moving.  Now that I've made this piece, I plan to make others and extend more of the decorative components beyond the base.  I think it adds interest and more dimension.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Necklace #1: Polymer & Seed Beads

I've been working on three necklaces for the annual Regional Art Show in Westerly. This show draws from a large area and is open to all artists, not just members of the Artist's Cooperative.  It is a juried show using a judge who is not familiar with any of the members.  This makes the jurying process exciting for everyone.

I decided to try some pieces that are different from anything I've done before.  As I get them completed, I'll get them photographed and post them.  Here is the first necklace I made. I made the focal section from a Skinner blend and embellished it with a freshwater pearl and swarovski crystals.  The necklace chain is a hand-beaded zig-zag chain, finished with a sterling silver clasp.  This second photo is a close up of the focal section. Asymmetrical fun!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Going Very, Very Tiny

Decorating bottles with polymer is a lot of fun.  The  Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild participates in a project, Bottles of Hope, in which small bottles are decorated with polymer and distributed to patients as a wish for well being.  I've enjoyed making bottles for the program.  The other day, I ran across some very small bottles - tiny, actually - and they just seemed to be begging to be decorated.

Decorating these tiny bottles turned out to take a lot more time and finesse than I'd originally thought. The various pieces of polymer are incredibly small, and needed to be placed carefully.  I also discovered I had to bake each layer separately.  It's been fun to make them, and I wanted to share three little bottles with you.  This round little bottle has a pointed bottom which provided a perfect perch for the vine.

The photo on the right with the orange butterfly and the dime should give you a good idea of the size of these little pieces.

 This photo demonstrates how the cork is "chained" to the base via polymer.  I designed them so each tiny bottle has a chain that attaches the cork to the bottle.  There is also a polymer loop for the addition of a chain or ribbon so the bottles can be worn.  This bottle has a flattened shape and was easier to decorate than the first shape.

This last little bottle has a square shape so it can stand up all by itself.  Because of the width of the bottle, there is more space for design and the pattern flows around the shape.

So what do you think - kinda cute, aren't they!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Metallic Collages

As you could see in my post in early March, I have been bitten a bit by the collage bug - and I'm really enjoying it.  I think part of the intrigue is the puzzle-like aspect of making a sheet by fitting together various pieces.  Of course, determining the pieces themselves, their placement, and balancing colors is all part of the process.  I like the additional dimension of the cut out pieces - the circles in this case - that allow me to swap-out colors.  The lime and silver sheet has circle cut-outs.
The teal sheet was my second sheet using these colors and this time, rather than cut out additional shapes to "swap", I used an artist's tracing wheel and went along all the edges of each piece, creating a quilted stitch look.  This idea comes from Ron Lehocky, who has tons of excellent tips and tricks up his polymer sleeves.

The pieces I'm sharing with you today incorporate metal leaf into the clay.  Recently, I ran across a series of photos that demonstrated gently pressing the metal leaf sheet into the clay with the edge of the tissue blade, and then pressing and massaging the leaf "into" the clay so that it stayed on the surface but was imbedded a bit into the clay.  This creates a crackle effect and makes the sheets easy to use and cut.  The metal leaf just acts like part of the clay.  Of course, it is still a metal leaf surface, so the end product needs some sort of protective coating.  For my pieces, I used Lisa Pavelka's Magic Gloss.  I have always been pleased with the results of this product.

So, here are some photos of the pieces I've been making.  I love teals, so, of course, my first pieces used a custom mix for that color.   Lots of earrings and a pendant on the left, and a piece with some motion on the right.
Next, I went purple.  I liked this color with silver leaf, and, in addition to pendants and earrings, I made a bracelet.  It is hinged together with silver jump rings and uses 2 magnetic closures.

Finally, here is a red group.  I used Premo's Alizarin Crimson nudged up a few shades lighter.  I really like the rich red this created.