Thanks for joining me and Happy Friday to you all. Last time I blogged I shared with you my adventures in making polymer clay beads and pendants inpsired by this abstract painting by Augustin Lesage:
I ran out of time to show you the pieces I made with the beads, so I’ll share them today. It was a bit fiddly to start with – I wasn’t for sure how to incorporate the beads into a design, how many to use, how to lay them out… that sort of thing. I tried several different ideas and then finally inspiration struck…. hard. I was planning to make an necklace and earring set and umm, well… you’ll see below. I’m going to facetiously entitle my collection “Untitled” after the painting.
In the order I designed them, “Untitled Necklace #1” was my breakthrough piece. The painting did little to suggest a theme other than guide the color palette, but I needed some imagery to pull together a cohesive design. I spent some time looking at the shapes in the painting which reminded me of veined leaves,butterfly wings, and bird feathers, so I used those as my focal points.
I’m really pleased with the design of this necklace. It features mixed metals (a new favorite of mine) with a copper skeleton leaf layered with a gunmetal feather as the main pendant. I found glass flowers in the same hues of the painting with copper highlighting to echo the finish of the leaf. I attached the pendant to one of the larger beads I made with some decorative bead caps. Because I wanted the pendant to be the center of attention, I kept the stringing material plain and just used a recycled bit of faux leather lace.
My second piece took inspiration from butterfly wings.
I cut out a wing shape from the clay and lightly textured it to give the impression of veination. This design is quite simple and pairs the wing pendant with a czech glass flower in an awesome shade of ochre yellow. To give a bit more interest, I made little white dewdrops from seed beads to dangle on the jump ring. The extra bit of white here pairs well with the touches of white in the bottom of the wing. This pendant is strung on tan silk cord.
I used two more beads I made to make earrings to match either necklace. They’re embellished with bead caps and glass flowers that mirror well the first design without being too matchy.
For some reason I didn’t stop there. One of the earlier designs I had been thinking of was a modular choker with several clay pendants strung together. I didn’t like the way that looked, but was fascinated by one of the pieces that I cut as an asymmetrical rectangle. I tried several other designs using this pendant and this eventually became my favorite piece.
It has a subtle art deco feel to it which I think captures the spirit of the painting above quite well. For a while now I’ve nourished an obsession with 1920s-30s culture – art, architecture, fashion – everything. I love the lush, romantic bling of the era and I’ve seen a few movies that feature the time period, so I think I was unduly influenced – but I love it. I softened the harsh lines of the pendant, branch, and gold ring with the flying bird, which I painted to give it a patina finish. I used tarnished gold chain and added in some amazing glass beads that are tinged with gold on the tops and bottoms. I’ve had these for a long time and was happy to find a good use for them. Oh, I love this necklace! It reminds me so much of a glistening 1920s ballroom with chandeliers and gold sconces, velvet chairs and warm wood floors. (see, I told you I was obsessed!).
The earrings for this set are made with some long thing clay pieces I cut out. I couldn’t resist adding a pair of my little flying birds to them to match the bird on the necklace. And smaller glass beads sit on top. Although you can’t see them well in the picture, the earrings themselves have a scalloped design to them that perfectly fits the 1920s style.
And that’s the collection! I went a little overboard, especially with a piece of art I didn’t even really like to begin with, but that’s where the power of imagination and play will take you. Have a great weekend!
Blessings to you,