Born To Be Worn by S & T Creations

Posts Tagged ‘Saundra Brown

Remember those great ceramic turquoise melons I used in a recent necklace with coral?  I took the rest and matched them with the coolest wood beads–Saundra got them too, at a bead show out west!  they are like double pyramids, with rough sides, that look like they were painted and then sanded or somehow gilded with a creamy white color.  I matched them with large pieces of “bone” coral for myself.  I even tried them as earrings, but they are too heavy for ear wires.  I need to get with Saundra and convert them to posts I think.

Anyway, back to this piece.  I liked the brown and blue together, but something was missing so I added gold beadcaps.  Lots of them!  A large, fairly flat one worked with the wood beads and a slight smaller more rounded cap for melon beads.  I used a big gold toggle clasp in the back with some extra links, so whoever wears this can adjust it to their liking.

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I have been reading and following some designers that work with polymer clay.  I thought I might play with some clay and see what I think.  I love to explore other mediums where I can be more creative and actually design components, whether those be beads or findings and components.  So I’ve dabbled with wire (my recent post on the copper wire cuff with the crystals) and chain maille using the same wire in jump rings.  I have taken some fantastic classes from Don Norris on silversmithing.  I learned a great deal and I enjoy that too.  Now compared to using wire and solder, polymer clay, friendly plastic and other such mediums usually fall under a listing of “alternative.” However, some things I’ve done have appeared “as is” in some test pieces, but even more importantly, I see a design in these that I then re-create with gemstones, wire and other components.  So, never underestimate the value of working with these things that seem more common, less expensive, and ones that other people may not consider “art.”

Now, before I go any further, let me first clarify that my turquoise links are not something I consider “art.”  But let me tell you what I learned while making these.  First, how to make a join and then make it disappear.  I wanted to see how thin the clay could be and still form a solid piece.  The thinner ones you see here aren’t hard, but a bit “rubbery” feeling. I can twist them slightly and pinch them just a bit.  But they would still hold as a link.  The thicker ones, though, show more color, especially those that are blended.  I compared twisting to rolling in terms of the design it made when I blended 2 clays together.  The blue and silver didn’t show as much as I thought it would, but I love the blends with the white.

My plan is to randomly combine these in an asymmetric combination of links, similiar to the asymmetric chain mail in the Creative Chain Mail Jewelry book I reviewed recently.  I think the color will add more drama.  It should be a very playful, fun design.

I took a piece of molding clay and made a fleur-de-lis mold.  I think it might be nice to make some light weight fleur-de-lis for next spring…..it is the symbol of Louisville and VERY popular around Derby time!  Hopefully I can find some other sizes for more molds, for larger pendants and hopefully for smaller earrings!

I completed an art charm swap—now this time I was at the last minute, but I did get them to the hostess on time (she threatened me and I had to send it priority post, but still–it counts).  I tried to do too many “new things” in 1 swap, and had no idea what amount of time I needed. The only requirements were to use purple and/or green, and silver findings, and they needed to be no longer than 1 1/2″ including the findings.

First, I decided to make artistic “paper” by layering colors of paint.  I used 4 shades of purple and 4 shades of green, along with white and black..  I put on base colors, then started adding colors and textures.  I dipped a straw in the paint then blew hard, so droplets of color went on the paper.  I also dipped it and just tapped the end, so I got small circles of color.  I took various pieces of sponges, added paint and twisted them, adding another overlay of color.  I put on plastic gloves and dotted some on with the tips of my fingers, so the smudges would show other colors through.  In just small circles I really needed colors to be everywhere.  I took a piece of carpet tape that was made of strips of fiber and added paint to it, then laid it on my paper and pressed the print.  It reminded me of shoe tread somehow.

After all those layers were applied, drying in between, I took a 1 inch circle punch and began to cut it—-BUT it wasn’t heavy duty enough for all those paint layers, so  ended up tracing around one and cutting each circle by hand.  I took glue, glued 2 backs together, and began coating first one side then the other.  Each side had at least 2 layers on.

Now came the problem (other than the circle punch).  I bought an assortment of eyelets, but mistakenly thought I could punch the hole myself.  Nothing doing—that became a lot of work.  Once I actually had a hole through each charm, I inserted the eyelet.  I did have an eyelet setter, but it was either the wrong size or I didn’t use it right.  Regardless, I ended up bending over each metal tube with jewelry pliers.  I guess I need to brush up on how to set those eyelets some other time. I put a drop of paint on a sponge brush and went around the cut edges of the charms to seal them.  Slow, but it really looked much better. I tried a few in white, but black I think looked better.

I added a silver jump ring.  On each charm, we needed to add our name and email, so I attached a biz card to each charm.  All these were put in a ziploc bag, then that bag inside a bubble lined mailer.

Saundra gave me some gorgeous coral beads that had a thin silver beadcap on both ends. The metal layer is very thin, but also stunning.  They have a design that has been patinated, then shines so teh black shows off the swirles.  I love the larger size of these attached caps.   I paired these with some great turquoise “melon” beads I had that are ceramic.  The ceramic version gives a very consistent shade, allowing the coral to stand out.  I like the elongated look of the ceramic turquoise, with the slightly paler lines than run the length of the bead.

The back has a large silver toggle clasp that has a marcasite-type look to it.  These larger beads really needed a corresponding clasp to set it off, keeping the design consistent.

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