Friday, May 23, 2014

Art Deco Dreams

My favorite two design styles are the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. (If you're here in search of my Bead Soup reveal, please scroll down to the next post or find it here)  My latest polymer project proved difficult, simply because I love both of these styles and I had many ideas and inspiration.My guild's challenge theme for June 2014 is Art Deco/Art Nouveau, hence my dilemma.  I'm actually more drawn to the Art Nouveau style, and I had originally had something else entirely in mind when I stumbled upon this fantastic bottle at my local Goodwill:

This bottle screamed Art Deco to me.  Actually, as it sat on the shelf at the Goodwill it called out to me, "you must use me for the Art Deco challenge"... really it did! ;)  I tried to ignore it, because well, I already had something else in mind for this project, but it sat there staring at me saying, "You can't ignore me, you know you must use me".  And so I brought it home.  This baby is big, with the globe stopper on top, it measures 16" tall, with the stopper pulled off, the bottle alone is 12.5" tall and about 6" in width at the widest point.  The cd in the photo above is for scale, to give you an idea of just how large this piece is. 

So I began by sketching out an idea.  I decided to stick with a traditional Art Deco palette in peachy/coppery tones. I started out with the first layer, covering the tear drop shapes with a blend of translucent premo mixed with a tiny bit of pearl white and a lot of copper metal leaf. For the other areas of the bottle's first layer, I chose premo copper straight from the package.  I cut some circular shapes and a line connecting them down the centers out of the teardrop areas and put it in for the first cure:

After a nice sanding to get rid of any bumpies, during which the cut circles popped off of the piece, I worked on building the next layer.  Using the half circle shape on my extruder, the extruded lengths were used to frame the teardrop shapes in a blend of premo copper, sienna and red.  A cut pattern of radiating rays and circles (in premo bronze mixed with translucent) was put in place to decorate the copper areas.  And a large circle was placed around the top... in it went for a 2nd cure: 

 The next step was to add more circles around the top, cover the bottle's lip and to cover the bottom.  I also had to cover and decorate the globe shaped stopper.  The top 1/3 of the stopper had a beautiful pattern of graduating rings, which I wanted to keep uncovered.  I used the translucent/metal leaf blend, the copper premo and the bronze/translucent blend for the base layer of the stopper.  The cut decorations on the stopper were also done in the bronze/translucent blend.  

 After the 3rd cure, I coated the entire piece with liquid polymer and hit it with the heat gun.  A fourth and final bake to ensure that it was fully cured, and it's finished!  I didn't want a high gloss sheen on this one, so I didn't sand or buff any further, I quite like the semi-gloss finish that resulted from the liquid polymer glazing.  I was going to glue the circle shapes back into place in the teardrop areas, but I like it better as open glass, besides it mimics the open glass as on the top of the stopper. 

Once again, I'm fairly happy with this project.  But it's not one that I feel I need to keep, so it will likely be going into my etsy shop, unless the hubby protests! ;)   What do you think?  Let me know in the comments, and tell me what's your favorite time period for style and decoration?  Voting for this challenge will open on June 1st and will run through June 7th midnight EST.  I'll try to remember to post a reminder here with the link!

Friday, May 9, 2014

8th Annual Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal

The day has finally come for the Bead Soup Blog Party (BSBP) Reveal.  I blogged about the BSBP when my soup arrived in the mail from my partner, and again when my partner got my soup.  You can find those posts here and here.  So, to recap, this is the soup I received:

I created a bunch of pieces, using most of the soup ingredients.  I started on the focal, the curved copper band with swirls and painted coloring.  As beautiful as this focal is, it proved a challenge for me to use it.  The reason for this is that I'm mostly a necklace girl.  This focal was simply made for being a bracelet.  I really tried hard to think of how I could make this into a necklace focal, but in the end I made it what it wanted to be, a bracelet.  I also incorporated the silk sari fabrics into this and 2 of the pink shell beads...  I had some vintage buttons that became the beads for the bracelet band.  Here are some shots of that piece:

I had this pink cord necklace that perfectly matched those pink shell beads... I also had a pendant that I had made out of polymer clay which had that same pink color, and those items were what created the second piece.  From the soup, the only items I used in this piece are the pink shell beads:

Next up, I had to use the clasp.  I didn't want to use the clasp in the same piece as the focal because I have an aversion to mixing metals.  The metals in the focal piece were copper and the clasp is silver tone.  The clasp also is in the whimsical shape of butterflies.  I decided to do a spring inspired piece using most of the multicolored crystal beads that were found in my soup, and I decided to make a butterfly pendant using my upcycled materials.  This butterfly pendant is created with fused plastic snack bags:

Next, I still had more of those fun, bright pink shell beads to use, so I decided to pair them with one of my dyed tyvek pendants as seen here:

The soup included a bunch of pearls, some glass ones and some freshwater pearls.  They were all in various shapes, sizes and colors... and some of them were drilled off center.  I decided to pair them with this great neutral variegated cording that I had.  I also decided to go for another bracelet design and earrings (another rarity for me).

Next I zeroed in on a small grouping of pale green cube beads (possibly fluorite).  I decided to do a boho look necklace with these pairing them with varying strands, disc beads from my stash and some garnet colored glass beads from my stash, and the focal is a multi-colored polymer clay bead:

There were 4 large moss agate (?) beads in my soup which I decided to pair with a polymer pendant that I made last year, which was sitting around waiting for inspiration.  The pendant was created while playing with Lynda Moseley's controlled marbling technique.  I pulled in some coral beads to draw on the orange tones in the pendant:

And finally, I wanted to use at least one of those metal sheets that I was sent in my soup.  Now, they were quite a challenge.  First, I'm no metalsmith... but I do like to play around and experiment with things.  These babies are big, about 3" by 4", and the metal is quite heavy.  I don't have any tools that can cut through that, nor do I have any great shaping tools.  But I do have a vice and decided today at the last minute to play with one of the plates to see what happens. I paired my bent up piece of metal with some thick grey knit cordage, its almost like a scarf necklace:

I still have some ingredients left over for further play! Plenty of the silk sari fabric, a couple more of the various colored crystal beads, the big green lampwork bead, and still a few more of the pink shell beads... oh, and the other 3 metal plates (though I think the one with the best impression will become a polymer clay texture plate). ;)

I had so much fun creating things with the soup.  It was a definite challenge for me, as all of the ingredients were items I wouldn't normally have acquired for my own supply, so it really pushed me to work with things out of my "norm".  I'm considering making 2 of the pieces part of my "permanent collection", so I think it's safe to say that I created pieces with which I'm quite pleased!  Please do have a look at my partner's blog to see what she did with the soup I sent her.  My partner is Arlene Dean from A Glass Bash, and you can find her reveal here.   Here is the soup that I sent to her:

Thank you Arlene!  There were close to 500 other participants in this blog party, please take some time to check out some of the other soups and reveals!  You can find the full list of participating artists, with hotlinks to their blogs here.  Many thanks to Lori Anderson for organizing everything!! Oh, and leave me a comment and let me know what you think about my creations! :)