Monday, 11 July 2011

Adventure #6: Totally Organic

Aussiepolyclayers is a great online forum which brings together polymer clay artists from around Australia and beyond. They bounce ideas and advice off each other and have a very friendly, helpful and active member base.
They often have member challenges and for the months of June and July, Zarina has hosted a challenge with the theme "Organics". What better way to find inspiration and motivation to create outside the box, than to apply a theme suggested by someone else and have a timeline to work to!
So my head has been full of organics all week and I've been busily drawing out design ideas and thinking of the many ways this theme could be interpreted. I thought it would be cool to make earrings in the shape of a tree, but who would really want to wear a couple of trees dangling from their ears?!

What about a pair of earrings with leaves seemingly falling down them - that could look pretty and very organic :) So I set about working out how to make a cool looking leaf out of clay. Molds? Cookie-cutters? Canes? While I was mulling over my options, my eyes fell upon a gorgeous L'Occitane soap my mum gave me when she visited in May (Image 1). I just love the shape of this soap and it smells mmm-mmm-yum! So I decided to make my leaves in the shape of this soap with little clay leaves falling down.

Image 1: L'Inspiration

To make the clay grainy, I added gold powder and worked it into the clay. I cut the leaf shape with a zigzag blade and impressed a veined craft leaf into the surface of each side of the leaf. I brushed the surface with more gold powder, then baked. I applied a finishing coat of Kato liquid clay. The small leaves were cut out manually from a thin sheet of clay and then impressed with the craft leaf as well. You can check out my challenge entry here (my forum name is Bestie) and make sure you have a stroll through the whole post to have a look at other clayers' amazing work and different interpretations on the theme 'Organics.'                                                     

While still thinking 'organically,' I started playing with form, making a squiggly slug of a bead (Image 2) and then, without knowing what I did, I made my favourite-thing-in-the-world-right-now (Image 3). It's a fake rock-like thing. I made it using the principles in Donna Kato's 'Translucent Overlay Beads' tutorial in her The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques book. I used two translucent stripey canes and a translucent cane over a dark blue pearl base. For the backing, I used black clay mixed with pearl, which gave this really nice gunmetal colour. After baking, I hand sanded the 'rock' to a smooth finish.

Image 2: Sluggish bead
Image 3: My beautiful feathery-smooth rock

Now, why I love this thing so much, I'm not sure. I think it's the feel of it. Or the look of it. Or some combo of the two. Perhaps it's really just the whole vibe of the thing ;) but I love my rock and I don't care who knows it!

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