Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Diamond in the rough

I had decided to do something with a different shape for the April PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy) challenge.  The theme this month is "containers".  I had this wooden form in the shape of a hexagon that tapers to a point (the shape of the bottom of my piece).  Something in the shape reminded me of a faceted diamond and thus the wheels went spinning! 


My first job was to cover the wooden pyramid with translucent white clay.  That was then covered with gradients of black to translucent white cut into triangular shapes to give the feel of light reflecting on the facets of a stone. 


The bottom part, having been cured twice, was finished when I set to work on the top.  I had figured if I covered just the widest part of the wooden form up only part of the way, this would create the walls of my lid and should sit easily on top of the base, but how to get the flat piece on the top of the lid?  Well, I just happened to have a big Fat Daddio's hexagon cutter which I used to first determine how far up the wooden form the lid walls needed to come and then cut out a flat piece of translucent white clay.  After curing both the lid walls and the flat hexagon, I glued the two together.  Because I wanted the lid to sit securely in place, I needed to build up a lip inside the lid's mouth, so I did that in the next baking and added another layer of translucent to give more strength to the lid.  After another curing, I then mapped out and placed layers of black to translucent white value in triangle and polyhedron shapes to mimic light refracting off the facets of a stone.


After curing a final time, I sanded and polished for hours.  I was almost afraid I wouldn't make the deadline, but I squeeked it in with an hour and a half to spare! The metal holder was something I hadn't originally planned, but when I had considered this piece laying on it's side and the potential of the lid falling off from the angle which it had to sit, I decided only yesterday to go to my local thrift store.  It seems that whenever I am in need of something specific, serendipity or my fairy god mother, just makes it appear at my thrift store.  I'm quite lucky in that regard.  I had wanted something gold.  I think this piece had once belonged to a copper coffee carafe, it is an aged copper metal (close enough!).  And the hole and three support curves were perfect for my 6 sided geometrical shape!  

While the piece doesn't really scream faceted stone, as the original thought had been, I do like the minimalist geometric shape of this piece and the design interest which the varying values in shapes lends to the whole.  If I were to recreate this piece I would construct the bottom in similar fashion to the top, with more solid values instead of gradations... lesson learned.


Another interesting thing with this piece, is that it can be flipped around to have the lid be the bottom and the bottom become the lid.  With this switch, it can even be simply set on a table without the metal holder.  I like it both ways, but think I prefer my originally intended positioning idea.  Though there are a few things I would change to remake this piece, I am quite happy with how it turned out.  I do think it's a deviation from my typical style, but that's just my opinion, others might see this as fitting right in with the rest of my work....  And I think it is an example of how my handwork is getting better with executing my crazy ideas.  I noticed with this piece, and with the last, that things just seem to fall in place and work out the way they were intended with little struggle, which has not always been the case in my history.  I know that in setting a goal for myself, to complete a full year of my guild's challenges (I'm now halfway into my 2nd year of continuous entries), it has strengthened my skills and honed my idea process, for which I am so grateful.


What about you?  Is there anything that you have done to sharpen your talents or hone your idea process?  If so, please share with me in the comments!  And let me know what you think of this new piece!

Voting for this challenge opens on April 1st and will run through April 7th at midnight.  I'll be sure to post again here, as a reminder!

8 comments:

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    1. Ha ha Line! ;) I didn't mean to be!... I finished this so late, and I like to have that link to my blog in my flickr photo descriptions... so I came up with the idea to say "check back tomorrow to read the story". My hubby is quite good about not complaining when I'm crunching my deadline, so I was trying to get to bed before midnight! ;)

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  2. You always come up with the most original, crazy, and wonderful ideas. Keep them coming! And I agree with you about challenges like this honing your skills. I did 2 1/2 years of a daily photo project and the discipline of having to come up with something improved my skills immeasurably..

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  3. Thank you so much Ginger! I really appreciate your encouraging words and compliments! :)

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  4. Beth, didn't mean to give you a hard time. I was just so amazed by the photos and so curious that I wanted the low-down right away! lol This piece is amazing, not only in its construction but in your own progress and daring in going with your ideas. Mark of a great artist. I agree about the discipline of entering the challenges. I'm on my 2nd or 3rd year of entering all of the pcagoe challenges and I have also found that my skills have improved. Continue what you are doing. Glad that you share this journey.

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    1. Thank you Line for your sweet compliments! I too am glad to share the artistic journey with you and all our other talented guild mates!

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  5. You are seriously obsessed with polymer! Every time I think I was blown away by your last piece, you top it with something even better. I don't even have an adjective to describe this!!!

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    1. Thank you Marie! You are too kind! :)

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