Monday, July 23, 2012

A Wedding Necklace - A Commissioned Piece

I don't usually take commissions. The last time I agreed to paint a painting commissioned by a collector who had only a few specific requirements - "the same color but large - 5 ft" I thought I would be safe. No problem. I could paint whatever I wanted in whatever technique I chose, as abstract as my emotions demanded, just constrained by color and size. I couldn't do it. I didn't go into my studio for 3 weeks. I pruned the he......... out of my trees and shrubs, dug up some trees, muttered, stomped, snipped and complained. It's not the way I work. So I learned my lesson - well, sort of. I don't paint commissioned pieces, but maybe, just maybe I could make a piece of jewelry on request.

This proved to be a delight. The dress is dark blue with a beige/cream belt. The lady a lovely woman from Madagascar. Ideas flooded my brain and have left me excited with potential for future experimentation.

Here is the piece.

Blue Lagoon

Attention to detail and finishing is the key to sophisticated work. Don't skimp on the sanding, buffing, edging and assembly. It shows how YOU feel about your work. If you are making fine art jewelry, then take it to that level.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Modular Art Jewelry + Burlesque Blend + Meandering Path

Taking the Burlesque Blend technique, using the Meandering Path design and thinking of connections based on the Modular Art Jewelry idea we come up with this piece:

Gypsy Rose Lee


Gypsy Rose Lee, part of a series named after famous burlesque queens from an era rich with visual imagery.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meandering Path - Burlesque Blend and Bling

This pendant design was used to demonstrate the Burlesque Blend technique at the Claymagination 2011 workshop. The inset design is striking as is and can also be filled with resin, if desired. Some of the colour variations are shown below.

I finally took better pictures so I've reloaded the images. The three dimensionality is amazing, considering the surface is smooth as glass, as you can see below:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Designing Jewelry in Polymer Clay

Polymer clay jewelry can be incredibly strong. Weaknesses usually come about because of flaws in the design of the piece. It's always good to make a prototype and wear it under all kinds of circumstances. If there is a weakness, you'll soon know. However, a little thought beforehand can save you from wasted effort. Areas of attachment often need extra support, as do areas with very different thicknesses next to each other. Two examples follow:

The Burlesque Blend is here used to create a beautiful Japanese-styled pendant. These are two left-over pieces from the sides of the "Meandering Path" pendant (tomorrow) The pearl is suspended between the two legs by a brass wire making for a tactile, kinetic piece (the pearl spins) This little attachment area helps stabilize the two legs of the pendant. Where the Burlesque Blend legs attach to the upper black branch, there is a need for support. The black branch is composed of two pieces of polymer clay stacked together with flattened wire paddles in between that extend down and into the Burlesque Blend legs. This is a very strong yet relatively thin piece.

Orbital Bling:

Support is needed at the three corners of this bracelet. This bangle is reversible and only 1/4" thick and the corners are inset on both sides, making the corners only 1/8" thick. Wire would be a pain to work with in this piece, so the strength here is supplied by paper.

Having been a paper-maker for over 40 years (from scratch, pounding different plants from my garden and surrounding fields) I've come to be amazed at the strength of paper made from the right kind of fiber. For example, thin copy-weight paper made from only processed crocosmia leaves cannot be torn by hand! In this particular case I chose to use manila paper (shape cut from a manila file folder) Both sides of the manila paper shape were covered with white glue and allowed to dry. The clay adheres to this PVA glue when it is baked. Scrap clay is applied to the top and bottom of the paper shape, then the surface pieces inlayed with Burlesque Blend were added. The result is a very strong bangle.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Polymer Clay Bangle Bracelet - Burlesque Blend

Bracelets in polymer clay can be tricky. They can be re-inforced for strength with wire, but there is another way to strengthen fragile parts that will be put under torquing pressure. Take a look at this one. The three angles are cut in and appear very thin yet are very strong. Tomorrow I'll go into the process and explain how I strengthened this piece so it could be designed this way.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Art Deco Fairy Pin - Burlesque Blend

We're in the middle of a heat wave (feels like 41 degrees Celsius - that's 106F !!!!!) and I have had company for the past 6 weeks. Need to get back in the studio. I'll be working with my new, proprietary, Burlesque Blend (first taught at the Claymagination 2011 polymer clay retreat held on Vancouver Island, Canada) and showing you some of the pieces made with this technique as well as some colour variations that look nice in this.

Art Deco is one of my all-time favorite design eras. This piece reminds me so much of the beautiful, sensuous, flowing lines in pieces created at that time.

Art Deco Fairy pim