Today, I'm featuring the second stage of the Pebbles Project within the Making Framework. Last week, I mentioned about moving on from the basic shaping of Polymer Clay to make little pebbles and stringing them to form a bracelet (look back for images).
After forming simple pebble shapes using just hands (I think this is a really important stage) it's time to try out using different 'found' items to make patterns and/or impressions in the clay. Experimenting (and lots of it !) is key. Sometimes, a very simple toothpick or an old pen top can create great marks on the surface which looks brilliant as a unique decoration. Again, experimenting is very important and shouldn't be hurried - try out as many different 'tools' as you can find. Often the ones which don't appear to be interesting, create amazing patterns.
The next little project for developing and improving on the basic Polymer Pebble is a small pair of earrings with a simple surface pattern. This little project is called Pebble Plus. The earrings start with a basic Pebble, followed by decorating the small surface of the earring bead with a chosen pattern (see the image for example ideas, all made with tools found around the home)
An earring post is then embedded into the clay and baked or cured. At this stage, we are using a bought post.
Post curing another very small clay ball is blended over the back of the bead to double secure the post to the earring bead and gives the earrings a clean and minimal look. A wash of acrylic paint can highlight the pattern. Again, lots of experimenting is good at this stage. The paint can be rubbed off quickly and several colours used in layers to great effect. The beads are then finished with fine sandpaper and sealed with a wax layer (could be shoe polish). In this example a yellow/mustard colour clay has been mixed and the surface design is made with a craft knife tip. Brown acrylic paint is smeared over the whole surface and rubbed off. These beads were sanded and polished with clear wax shoe polish and rubbed with a soft cloth to give a dull shean.
Although, this process is quite simple, Makers can get a real sense of achievement using different patterns and choosing colours. Finished earrings can look very professional and each will be unique. There is a challenge in creating balance with size and shape. Stud earrings need to be quite small and balanced or they are uncomfortable. Good design is often simple but simple design needs to be perfectly executed !
Thanks for reading.