Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Necklace from Polymer Clay

I remember the joy and  excitement of the fiestas that I experienced as a child and wanted to capture that feeling in a high gloss faux glazed pottery necklace.  Though difficult to capture the "glassy"shine in a photo, these beads are sometimes mistaken for Italian glass when I wear them. Actually, the beads and all the tiny, intricate designs are painstakingly handmade from artist-quality polymer clay.

The necklace features tiny appliqued butterflies, hearts,
bright flowers,

and Ladybugs.
To keep the weight of the necklace as light as possible the beads were constructed on a bead core base of Sculpey "Ultralight". Once cured,  a veneer of PREMO polymer clay run through an Atlas  Pasta Machine set on #3 (medium thickness setting) was applied using 2 circle cutter cutouts per bead and the bead was re-cured.

Various appliques of canes and tiny pieces of clay were added using "Kato Liquid Polyclay" as "glue" and the appliques were lightly cured to keep them in place with a crafter's heat gun. The entire bead and appliques was then coated with a thin layer of "Kato Liquid Polyclay" applied with a small paintbrush to mimic ceramic glaze and then cured. Six coats of Varathane polyacrylic varnish were applied with a slightly moist makeup sponge, each coat briefly heat set. Then a mixture of Varathane and Mona Lisa pale gold metal powder was applied with a "used up" ball  point pen refill to make the gold dots.

The spacer beads are PC tube beads formed around a narrow copper welding rod used as a mandrel, cured, sanded, buffed and varnished with Varathane, and cut apart using a heavy duty craft knife. My wonderful husband Sy, who has a great eye, is responsible for the eventual stringing design using the matching spacer beads. Feliz Cinco de Mayo! This necklace was featured at "Polymer Clay Daily".

Cinco de Mayo fiesta necklace shown being worn. 
 This Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Necklace is currently available for sale at: MelodyODesigns at Etsy

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Monarch Butterfly with Blue Morning Glory Necklace from Polymer Clay

Monarch Butterfly and Blue Morning Glory Necklace is currently for sale at MelodyODesigns at Etsy 
(*October 27, 2015, SOLD OUT, Because of interest from customers I'm in the process of making a few new copies of this necklace to sell at my Etsy shop with the intention of having them finished and listed by the end of November, 2015. If you'd like to be notified when they are ready please send me an email. Contact info link located on main page "view my complete profile".)

I love Monarch butterflies and the blue Morning Glory is my very favorite flower in the morning garden. I wanted to make a necklace that would combine them both and capture the joy of my garden so that I could remember the beauty of my garden in the depths of Pennsylvania winters. The dancing ladybugs were added as a whimsical afterthought and have become my shop logo. The Morning Glories, Monarch butterflies, stems, buds, curliqued vining and ladybugs are all made from artist quality polymer clay.

The Monarch butterfly was made from thin slices of a polymer clay cane I constructed. Once cured, the butterfly wing slices were added to a body and applied to a thin aluminum backing allowing for the wings to be repositionable and making the butterfly seemed poised and ready for flight. Caning is a labor intensive construction technique borrowed from glassmaking similar to making jelly rolls, where colored rods of clay are laid horizontally forming a complex pattern from which a thin slice is cut allowing the pattern to be seen. 

           The raw un-reduced Monarch butterfly Cane

The flowers were tinted before curing with Sennelier artist's pastels made into powder by grating and pounding and were applied with a paintbrush. The veining on the leaves was made from molds I made from real leaves. The ladybugs were made with polymer clay, liquid polymer clay, and acrylic paint. The individual components are attached to a collar made from sewn macramé cording.

Please click to see a blog post of the Monarch Butterflies on an Autumn Leaf themed Necklace.