Icicle Earrings

This month, Erin thought of the theme Frozen (no, not the movie, though she says that works too) for the We’re All Ears Challenge. With the Polar Vortex wreaking havoc on temperatures, one needs to use the snow and frost for inspiration. I live in more temperate climates, so I used the beautiful winter pictures in Erin’s post as inspiration, and made icicle-like polymer clay earrings, with a beady twist added in.

Icicle Earrings | Anita

The icicle components were a lot of fun to make, and this is the most measuring I’ve done in a while. 🙂 All components steadily increase in dimension, and have a mixture of translucent clay and purplish blue clay in varying proportions. The smallest components are a 1:1 mix, whereas the largest are pure translucent clay.

The component colors looked fine by themselves, but brushing some Perfect Pearls over them took them a level higher. Even here, I used a progressive mixture of white and blue to mimic the component color gradations.

When the components were done baking, I strung them along with jump rings into two bunchy chains. One of the components chipped, and I swapped in a beaded component that I’d salvaged from an earlier project. When attached to ear wires, the icicle bunches became subtly gorgeous earrings! I loved wearing them to work earlier this week.


This is a blog hop, and I hope you’ll join me in checking out more inspired earrings at Earrings Everyday!

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Inspiration Station: Art Journal Page

My sister and I have started a theme-inspired creativity session between us this year – our ‘Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme of the month, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. Last month, it was my turn to pick, and I had just seen some incredible handmade bowls featuring electroformed crystals by Sabri Ben-Achour on Colossal – so I chose this as our inspiration.

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration - Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration – Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour, showcased at Colossal

My creative session included a little bit of salt painting with watercolors, a little bit of gel printing, and a little bit of doodling. I started out with the salt painting first, and then added the gel printing when I felt it would complement it. I’ve finally collected my random doodles and gel printed sheets into an art journal, and I’d thought I’d use this as a cover page. When I was done, I didn’t feel it turned out cover-worthy, and it has now joined the other pages in the journal.

Art Journal page inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The salt painting: I painted the top left half of the sheet in two shades of blue watercolors, and while the paint was drying, I sprinkled table salt at various spots. Once dry, I gently brushed away the salt, leaving beautiful patterns that remind me of the crystals in the inspiration.

The gel printing: This involved multiple prints. First, one gel print using brown acrylics at bottom right, with crumpled plastic and a ‘Faceted’ stamp providing textures reminiscent of the crackled ceramics. (I should probably use an actual crackled finish for this, which I’ll try next time.) For the central diagonal strip, I cut out a rectangular stencil-mask pair from paper, and gel-printed white on the strip and a bit of black around it. I’d intended to hand-letter the ‘cover title’ within the strip, which was dropped later since this is not a cover, and I didn’t want to write something random.

The doodling: The white on the strip turned out very patchy (since some of our paints seem to be drying out and thickening) so I decided to doodle around the patches with a silver gel pen. Impressed, I continued to doodle with other colors at other places too. I drew sharp shapes and round ones to symbolize the harmony between crystal and ceramic in Ben-Achour’s work. To add some additional interest, I scratched around at parts of the edges with a yellow gel pen to give a greenish tinge to the blues and browns.

Art Journal page details - inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The details in the blue and the brown, and the oh-so-difficult-to-photograph silver!

 

I liked both the process and the results of this project much better than my attempts at plain gel printing. I think I may have found what works for me!

Sis has made a texture-filled flowery card that somehow reminds me of mini-gardens in hanging baskets and in slotted containers – do take a look!

Sweet Dreams Earrings

Another month ends, and brings another Art Elements reveal with it. Lindsay Starr hosts this month’s theme – Moon.

At first, I thought this was perfect to try out gel prints with a recently accidentally bought gelli plate (we found we’d ordered a round one instead of a square one.) But I still have hit-or-miss results with gel printing (and you can guess which it was this time), so I came back to jewelry.

I tried out an idea that I had of connecting points around wire hoop earring bases with wire to form a crescent moon. The wire didn’t work out, but I felt good old thread would.

Sweet Dreams Earrings | Anita

As usual, this look wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I started out, and as usual, I really like it. 🙂

I changed the wire idea a bit to suit the thread. I first crocheted along a portion of the hoop. Then came out a needle, and I wove the thread back and forth between the crochet stitches to form a crescent shape.

I wanted to add streamers to the moons, but crochet wouldn’t create them as thin as I liked, and macramé would have worked better if only the thread was a bit thicker. 🙂 So instead, I added some really tiny charms, and I think this turned out better than the streamer idea. I wondered whether to embellish the moons with seed beads or sequins, but sometimes, simple is best, and I left it as is.


It looks like quite a few artists have been inspired by Lindsay’s theme, and we’re in for a treat! Hope you’ll check out their interpretations in the blog hop.

Guests: Jenny Melissa Kathy Sarajo Hope Sarah Rebecca Divya Anita (you’re here) Rosantia Cat Evia Alysen Beth Tammy

Art Elements Crew: Claire Laney Caroline Cathy Sue  Niky Jenny Jen Lindsay

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

My sister and I collectively work on quite a few arts and crafts, and we thought we’d try out a theme-inspired creativity session between us once in a while – our ‘Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. We’d like to do this every month, let’s see how it pans out.

Sis chose our very first theme last month: a mood board from Butterfly Reflections, Ink which is in turn inspired by Pinterest. I’d wanted to make a short, squat cosmetics holder for some time, to put eye/lip pencils and sticks in. The mood board was perfectly inspiring to get me started on this project!

Inspiration Station: Dec '18 inspiration

Inspiration Station: Dec inspiration – a mood board at Butterfly Reflections, Ink.

To start with, for the squat cylindrical wall of the container, I used a thick cardboard roll left over from used-up tapes. For the base, I used two circles cut from a chipboard – a smaller one that fits within the inside of the wall, and a larger one whose size matches the outside. I adhered the circles to each other and to the wall’s base.

I then glued striped paper, which I cut from envelope covers, onto the inner and outer surfaces of the base and onto the rim. To make them fit well, I cut them larger than the required size and snipped notches at regular intervals outside the ‘borders’, which proved useful to grip adjacent surfaces as well as to ensure that there are no gaps showing in the finished product. While all this dried in the sun, I moved on to gel printing.

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

The paper for gel printing was, again, from a thread-reinforced envelope, and it provides wonderful texture, both visual and tactile, which I love in containers. I used stamps with circles and patterns for my interpretation of the shapes in the mood board. The gel printing went better than I hoped (but still not exactly like I wanted to – the blues turned out too bright, and pinks are supposed to be flowers and dandelions. 😀 ) However, I just love the outcome! I cut the paper to size and glued it to the outer and inner walls, with the thread still intact.

To set the surfaces and finish the holder, I used matte transparent gel. (Thanks, Sis, for the idea! I think you’ve finally succeeded in making gel ideas stay put in my mind, ready for access at the slightest nudge. 🙂 ) I’ve already started using the holder, and I’m delighted that it’s just the way I wanted it to be!

Sis has made a pretty card for our theme, and you’ll want to look at the cute flower motifs and the background!

Starry Earrings

I guess it’s celestial object inspiration month for me. After the tiny comet earrings that I talked about recently, I made some tiny star earrings! I ended up using leftovers from previous projects for both earring pairs, so they manage to fit the theme of the We’re All Ears Annual Use-Your-Leftovers challenge. (Thank you, Erin, for never failing to host inspiring challenges!)

Starry Earrings | Anita

For these, I used the same leftover clay from my failures in a previous project as I did for the comet charms, and salvaged components from a pair of earrings that I wasn’t wearing much.

I cut out the stars from the clay sheet using a tiny cutter. Similar to the comet charms, I embedded a large jump ring between two stars to make charms with bails. I applied some chalks on the charms for color, and experimented with smearing TLC over each star. It seemed to not smear the chalks, so I went ahead and partially covered each charm with chunky translucent glitter and Perfect Pearls. Off to the oven these went for a bake.

When the charms came out of the oven, I brushed another layer of TLC over the entire surface of each charm, and waved a heat gun over them to set the TLC.

Now all I needed to do was add each charm and a salvaged component to a jump ring, and finish it up with an ear wire! These tiny earrings look really cute, and I can’t decide if I love these or the comet ones more…


Don’t forget to head on over to the blog hop at Earrings Everyday for more luscious earrings from stash leftovers! And hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Black Comet Earrings

A quick post about a quick pair of earrings that I made –

Black Comet Earrings | Anita

I had some blackened translucent polymer clay left over from my image transfer attempts for the coasters that I made recently. I used these for a couple of charms, and made an earring pair by adding in a bunch of bead components that I’d made a while ago – now they kinda remind me of comets (albeit tiny ones! 🙂 )

For the charms, I used a small shape cutter on the clay sheet. Each charm has a ‘bail’ that is a large jump ring partially sandwiched between two shapes. I pressed a texture sheet a couple of times on the bottom half of each charm, and liberally applied white chalk on the surface. After baking the charms, I lightly sanded away the white at the top, leaving behind an ‘antiqued’ pattern on them.

For the ‘tail’ of the comet earrings, I used bead components that I’d made earlier this year. I attached a bunch of 3 components to a small jump ring, then added the charm in front of the bunch, and finally an ear wire before closing the jump ring. Done!

Hope this is a sign that my jewelry mojo is coming back… 🙂

Image Transfer: Coasters

I’ve not participated in challenges lately due to my creativity having become sluggish, but this month’s theme at Art Elements – Stars by Laney Mead, brought forth some tiny sparks in my right brain. 🙂 By the time I thought of joining, I’d already created some Diwali gel prints using the only stencil in our stash that has some star shapes in it, so I hoped other ideas would appear soon.

I considered various ideas involving beading, wire-weaving, faux soutache with polymer clay, and gel printing, but none clicked. Then, I came across some old printouts of star shaped patterns that I’d thought I’d use for image transfer jewelry using polymer clay. Since I was still woefully short of jewelry ideas, I settled on making a set of coasters instead.

Polymer Clay Coasters using Image Transfer

Don’t see too many stars? That’s because I ran out of prints…

 

The ‘sure’ idea

I wanted colorful bases for my coasters, and instead of spending time and the little energy I had on Skinner blends, I brushed a variety of chalks on plain, unbaked circular clay sheets. (Now that was fun. :)) I transferred the star pattern image onto a sheet of translucent clay, intending to adhere it face-down on a coaster base so I could bake the whole setup and then sand+buff the translucent surface. However, before I could place the translucent sheet on the circle, the sheet just tore apart. Argh, the horror!

Since I’d transferred images onto clay before, I’d been pretty sure that this would work, and now I didn’t have enough copies of the star prints left to form a ‘proper set’ of 4, so I opted to just use a different pattern for each coaster instead.

An alternative

The translucent clay just didn’t want to work with image transfers, so I started looking for alternatives. Liquid polymer clay can be used as a medium for the transfer – but surprisingly, it didn’t produce great results on my unbaked sample bases or baked ones. Then my sis suggested transparent matte gel, and it worked brilliantly! So I applied the gel on my baked coaster bases and stuck the paper on it pattern-side down, and waited for the gel to set completely. I then got the paper soaking wet and gently rubbed it away from the base, leaving the pattern behind.

Finally!

As usual, things just had to work a bit differently on the final pieces than on the samples. 🙂 The ‘gently’ part turned out to be difficult, and I rubbed away the pattern at a few places on two of the coasters. By the time I was on my second piece, I noticed that the pattern would appear pretty vibrant and clear while wet, even if traces of paper showed up everywhere while dry. So for my last two pieces, I decided to just leave all of that stubborn trace paper be, and waited for the pieces to dry fully. Then I poured some resin over the coasters, and voila! Vibrant, patterned coasters, just the way I want. They’re still curing as I write this post, so I haven’t tested them yet; I hope they work well and last a long time.


I was pretty sure I won’t have anything done for this challenge, and even though only one of the patterns has any resemblance to stars, I hope this little something is still better than nothing. Thank you, Laney, for the heavenly theme! I’m looking forward to seeing what the other guests and the Art Elements team have come up with; let’s go blog hopping!

Guests:  Jill Divya Alysen Kathy Tammy Cat Samantha Anita (you’re here) Karin Sarajo Rozantia Kimberly

AE Team: Jen Jenny Niky Laney Claire Cathy Marsha Caroline Susan Lesley