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Thursday, February 13, 2014

After They've Seen Paree...

How will you keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?  

Happy Valentine's Day! 

For Christmas this year I ordered myself 50 pounds of luscious earthenware clay with the hopes of making lots of beads. I lugged that clay into my studio, tore open the box and quickly sliced into the slick, gray clay.  The smell of wet leaves and fertile earth drifted into the air, and I was immediately transported into summer. The feel of the cold, damp clay on my hands reminded me of the thick, strong earthworms that I usually find while gardening. I was giddy with the endless possibilities that I would create!
Then reality hit.  I used to work with clay a lot. I had wheels and kilns and glazes and TIME. You see, I like the idea of earthenware clay, but it requires lots and lots of time. You condition the clay, then create the piece, then let the piece dry for a few days, then fire it for a few hours, let it cool for another day, then glaze it, then fire it again for another few hours and let it cool for another day, then you open the kiln and... It's like Christmas! Magical! Unfortunately, my life is not conducive to earthenware clay at this time, so I boxed it back up and looked for an alternative magical fix.

I have never been a fan of polymer clay. It's just too polymery (yes, I just made that word up!) for a clay snob such as myself.  However, a few years ago I met a fellow bead artist that was a member of my bead society, and he reintroduced polymer clay to me with his beautiful beads. After researching polymer, and discovering the new clays and techniques and brilliant artists that work with it, I decided that polymer might not be so bad after all. So jonesing for clay, I went and bought a few bricks of polymer clay and got busy creating beads! And boy, am I hooked! This stuff is incredible! It's easy to work with, fires in a simple oven in less than 30 minutes, and can be painted with almost anything! It fits right into my mixed media studio and I couldn't be happier! The possibilities are endless and it is readily available, even in this one horse town I am currently living in. 

Here are three heart beads that I made using various stamps and tools to create texture. 

Here are the same beads that I colored using alcohol inks, crackle paint and rub and buff product

Then I had to dig through my packed up studio boxes to find some beads and findings so that I could turn them into jewelry. 

Here are the finished pieces. I also made the beads that match the large polymer pendant and I made the clasps for both pieces as well.

I think I've seen Paree now!

Until Next Time...I hope you get off your farm too!