This months Art Elements design challenge is hosted by the lovely Jennifer Cameron and for her theme she chose seed pods. I’ve used these as inspiration for my work a number of times in the past and I started off with an array of ideas for projects in various mediums. However, for one reason or another I’ve been in a particularly uncreative frame of mind this month. Heatwaves are not helpful as the hotter it gets the slower I go eventually grinding to a halt altogether. Anyway, to cut a long story short I got to this past weekend with nothing sorted so I had to curb my ambitions and cut my cloth accordingly…or rather my polymer clay as that’s what I decided to go with. Continue reading “Art Elements July Theme Challenge Reveal – Seed Pods”
These are the selection Sue sent me – aren’t they cute…?
I was also keen to add some sort of accent to the bottom of the amulet so I drilled an extra hole in the bottom and set about wiring it up along with the bead which I attached with a length of brass chain…so far so good.
For me amulets tend to call for long necklaces and I decided to go with bronze chain but to give it some more depth and interest and to support the theme, I went for one of my favourite techniques and wove waxed linen threaded with tiny pearls through the chain.
At this point I felt I needed to add some embellishment for a bit more impact. I was thinking of this necklace as something a mermaid would wear to keep her treasures close so I added a cluster of dangles made up from bronze charms, pearls, Citrine, Ocean Jasper and Czech glass, all of which pick up the subtle tones of the amulet. I’m still thinking about what to put inside the amulet…
And that was it – job done and ‘Mermaid’s Treasure’ was complete! It’s not the easiest piece to photograph well and personally I think it looks much prettier in real life.
I have to admit that although this theme was my choice it did give me something of a challenge in that I struggle to work with yellows…a bit of a hinderance when it come to the sun. The first thing I did was make some ceramic pendants to put in my shop and made myself break out some yellows and golds for the glazes. Although though I didn’t use any of these in my own design there may be one or too appearing in the blog hop.
For my final piece I wanted something a bit more substantial so I decided to make a necklace using a technique I learnt from Jenny Davies-Reazor which combines a cold set bezel and polymer clay. The focal of this piece features one of my own porcelain face charms set in a bezel formed from two Vintaj flower blanks. The bezel is attached to a textured polymer clay pendant which has been painted with acrylic and sanded back to create the effect of sky, clouds and the sun’s aura.
Because the focal is quite detailed I wanted to stay fairly simple with the necklace so I chose to go with inky blue/purple pearls interspersed with gold seed beads to pick up the hues in the pendant. Little brass sun discs add accents at each end of the necklace.
Ravens (who will feed on carrion) are often depicted sitting on human skulls and have associations with warrior goddesses and battlefields in Celtic and Irish mythology (see Jenny’s post for more info). While this may seem a little macabre skulls are actually symbolic of courage, death and rebirth and amongst the many ideas the Raven symbolises are birth and freedom.
I wanted to have a go at interpreting this aspect of the Raven in ceramic clay but haven’t had a chance to work in this medium of late so I decide to try it out in polymer clay. I don’t have the greatest skills as a sculptor so this pendant is a little naive and clumsy but it’s a starting point and I may well pursue it in porcelain where I find it easier to achieve a more detailed finish.
Last up is a mixed media piece called ‘The Night Watch” which combines wet and needle felting with polymer clay and bead embellishment. I’d recently completed a piece using these materials and it got me really fired up so this was the ideal theme to explore it further. The rather dramatic backdrop of the moonlit sky silhouetted by trees was created by wet felting and then defined with needles. The moon and sky are embellished with seed beads and the Raven, made from polymer clay is embellished and attached to the backdrop using tiny seed beads. The beads are actually a dark oily blue rather than the silver they appear and are an absolute nightmare to photograph! This piece is not quite finished yet…the trees need a little something extra to lift the texture but I’m liking where it’s going thus far.
What with everything that goes on it December I didn’t actually start my design until right at the last minute so I had to come up with an idea that was going to work first time. While I was pondering what to do I was staring out of the studio window from where I can see a bit of the woodland that surrounds the area. The sky was that heavy pinky grey colour that promises rain (we’ve already had a ton of the stuff), the branches of the bare tree were stark against the backdrop and a few birds sat huddled together against the elements.
The earthy tones of Rebekah’s seemed to work with this image so I starting picking out some beads that I thought would work with the theme. I settled on a little grey bird by fellow AJE team mate Caroline Dewison along with some Czech glass flower beads. I made a focal pendant by wiring the focal and bird bead together with stainless steel wire and a russet crystal accent bead and hanging it from an antiqued silver ring. I wire wrapped the flower beads and added these to a length of chain attached to the bottom of the focal.
I love the contrast of the flower beads – they give a watery effect to the piece and the stainless steel has that rain grey feel. I think it captures those wintry colours really well. What do you think….?
To see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests have designed with their component just click on the links below.
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