Jewelry · Pendants

Art Elements Mar Theme – Nests

I’ve loved following the Component of the Month challenges from the folks at Art Elements, where team members would give away components every month to design with. I’ve seen some gorgeous stuff from the AE team as well as the guests. The only reason that kept me from participating is that historically, I’ve received most international packages of any perceived value after substantial delays (or they’ve gotten lost), so there was no guarantee that I could make something in time for these challenges.

Now, Art Elements has changed its design challenge format to monthly themes that encompass all art mediums, and I jumped at the chance to be a part of it! The theme for this month is Nests.

Of course, I thought of a birds nest first, but I wanted to see if I could come up with something different, so it was relegated to Plan B. I went through my bead stash for inspiration, and I thought of a pearl nested inside a clamshell. I spent some time with the idea, but found I wasn’t going anywhere with it.

While I was ruminating, other options that could replace a clamshell were also flitting around my mind – and I settled on the idea of an organic-looking nest for the pearl using polymer clay. Now that could work as a pendant! By now, however, I only had a week to make the piece. (How do I always end up here? 😉 ) To my relief, I managed to find the time to work on it, and this is how it turned out –

Art Elements Challenge - Polymer Clay Pendant with Nested Pearl
The outermost layer, and the upper part of the inner layer, are quite iridescent, but we know that it’s difficult to capture that shine sometimes. 🙂

The nest layers: I conditioned my Fimo clay just enough for it to be pliable but still have jagged edges. From this, I cut two strips – one for the inner layer and one for the outer one. Along the jagged edge of the inner layer, I added some slices from a mokume gane slab that I’d worked on a while back. On the outer surface of the outer layer, I used a texture sheet repeatedly to make quite a few ridges. Then I smoothed out any remaining jaggedness from the edges.

I attached the layers onto a base, shaped them, and baked them. While baking, I used little paper balls to keep the layers from drooping out of shape. This bake was a short one, because I still had to make the back of the pendant.

The back: I first smeared liquid clay on the back. From a length of wire, I made eye loops on both ends for the bails, and placed it on the back, between the top and center. I covered the back with a mildly textured circular sheet of clay. More baking followed, for a standard bake period this time.

Surface treatments: I painted the outer layer with acrylics, and sanded away the paint from the raised surfaces for a distressed effect. I then added more surface treatment using waxes and mousse from Art Alchemy and Nuvo.

Finishing: I placed a large faux pearl bead within the inner nest layer. For now, I’ve strung a stray cord through the bails for the necklace, but I’ll replace it with something else better soon.

Phew, I’m still surprised, and jubilant, that I managed to finish this pendant! 🙂

If you’re curious to find out what the AE team and the other guests have made for this challenge, go have a peek at their blogs!

Guests:    Alysen    •    Anita (that’s me!)    •    Divya    •    Kathy    •    Kym    •    Mona    •    Rosantia    •    Sarajo    •    Tammy

AE team members:    Caroline    •    Cathy    •    Claire    •    Jenny    •    Laney    •    Leslie    •    Lindsay    •    Marsha    •    Niky


37 thoughts on “Art Elements Mar Theme – Nests

  1. Your blog is the first I visit for this theme of the month and reading why you couldn’t join our COM challenges in the past even if you would have loved to, shows me, that to change things over at AE was a good idea. Thank you! 🙂

    And I love you pendant! I struggled myself with the theme, not because it was so difficult, but rather because it spoke to me (especially the bird nests) and that can sometimes be as challenging as a complete removed theme!

    PS: I also always end just a few days before the end of the challenge not even have started 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and the rest of the folks at AE for this decision, Claire! Seeing the many inspiring ideas in the blog hop, I’m beyond excited to keep playing and expanding my repertoire! 🙂
      And I agree, something familiar and resonating with oneself can be at least as difficult as something out of one’s comfort zone. I love the direction you took with the stencils in the short time that was left for the reveal!


    1. Thank you, Cathy! I love textures, and I’m glad I got to play with them in this challenge. Thank you very much for coming up with the fabulous theme! 🙂


    1. Thank you, Alysen! Some day, I’ll know how to capture mesmerizing details in the pictures I click. Until then, I can at least talk about them. 😉


  2. I would have personally never associated nests with polymer clay. It is great to so many interpretations of the same theme. That is why I believe these challenges are great

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Caroline! I’m ecstatic that this time, my execution mostly matched what my mind visualized when I started. 🙂


  3. What a unique idea! I love how you added interest to the shell by painting the outer layer with acrylics, and sanding away the paint from the raised surfaces for a distressed effect. It was well worth the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kathy! It took a few tries in previous projects to get it right this time, but I too think all successful results are worth the trials and errors that precede them. 🙂


  4. It’s a nest, and a pod, and a flower, too! I’d love to see the back, it sound like you came up with an interesting construction to use it as a pendant on a cord. It’s beautiful and so are the colors!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the raw edges, all the texture and that you explained your process, I love reading about how things were made!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, yes, yes! To the hesitation to rely on the post. To the enthusiastic embrace of our new format. And to the time flies conundrum. I think your nest is great, put I love polymer, so it’s a natural. I can’t wait to see what you create when it’s time to change up the cord. Thank you for joining us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love to see that you and I are of like mind in many aspects, Jenny! 🙂 I’ll get back to the necklace after a tiny breather, I too am curious to see where it takes me.


  7. Lovely! Thank you for playing along with us! Pearls are so precious, it completely makes sense to either protect them in a nest or envision them growing in a lovely nest. I am inspired!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lindsay! The blog hop has inspired me to rethink my original clamshell idea in mixed media instead. 🙂 I’m really glad that you folks have expanded the challenge!


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