Monday, July 25, 2016

Sea Tossed Shell Necklace

It's been a rough month both physically and emotionally, for varied reasons. I nearly bailed on the PCAGOE challenge for August. I think I'm close to a 3 year streak for consecutive months of entries, so I really hated to miss a month. I haven't been in the studio since last month, and I could feel edginess setting in... this is never a good thing! Luckily, I manage to squeak in some time in the studio last night and today to come up with an entry. The challenge theme for August 2016 is "Beach".

When I originally thought about what I might do for this theme, I had planned to do a piece with a whelk shell and I intended to either film or take snapshots of the process. The plan was to embed a tutorial on my blogpost about the piece. Alas, with the lack of time and last minute studio work, I did not have a chance to do a video or photos, plus, the shell I decided to create is different from the whelk shell that I made for my She Sells Seashells Fairy House, and so the creating of it was another session of trial and error. 

Sometime yesterday I had resigned myself to skipping this challenge, because I didn't have any ideas for this shell piece... I simply wanted to make a seashell but didn't know how that shell would be used. Then I dug around in my stock of unassembled pieces, that I have in a bin, and found the 2 blue circle stacked beads that I had left over from my Cloudy with a Mix of Tyvek Necklace. These blue beads kind of reminded me of cascading waves, or even fish scales... and I started thinking about a necklace that would incorporate these beads and a shell pendant. I didn't want the shell to be too dimensional on the wearer, so I decided to create a worn shell, one that was tossed about and weathered by the ocean. I liked the idea of being able to see the various layers of the interior spiral. 

I set about making the shell with a blend of Premo translucent and Premo white. This piece was created in layers and various bakings, starting with the thin core first and working out to the outer layer last. After all the layers were attached and fully cured, I then used alcohol inks to add some coloring and and white acrylic paint to give a water-weathered impression to some of the areas The inner salmon layers were also treated to a thin layer of liquid pc and a shot with the heat gun to give a glossy look, similar to that of a real seashell.

Next I drilled a hole in the shell bead and strung it and the blue beads onto a strand of silk sari. The sari necklace is made to be tied to secure it, and so 2 blue glass beads were added to the ends to weigh them down. I think the sari strand gives a nice boho feel to the piece.

Excuse the last photo, of me modeling the necklace, I ran out of daylight and couldn't get the focus as sharp as I want. I'll try another day this week, to take a better photo and will update the post with the new photo as soon as I can...

Overall, I'll pretty happy with this quickie project. I do love how the shell turned out. I'm not convinced that I like it with the blue beads, at least not as much as I thought I would. Someday I hope to make a tutorial on how to make the whelk shells. If you're a polymer artist, is that something you'd be interested in learning? What do you think about the contrast between the blue beads and the shell pendant? Would you swap the blue beads for something else? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think of my Sea Tossed Shell necklace.

Voting will open for this challenge on August 1st and will run through till August 7th at Midnight. As always, I'll try to post a reminder here on the blog!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Flute Video & Voting Time!

It's time to vote for the PCAGOE July "Music" themed Challenge! Our guild members, as always, have come up with some inspiring entries. It's always so fun to see how each artist interprets the theme differently. Check out the 6 entries for this month:

You can vote for your 3 favorite entries at the PCAGOE blog. Voting is open until July 7th at midnight EST.

I was delighted to find the Sound Waves Flute that I made for this challenge featured on Polymer Clay Daily early this week! I was grateful too, that some of my favorite facebook pages shared this project (The Blue Bottle Tree, Strebe Designs & Paisley Lizard Designs). Many thanks to all the polymer people and friends who've shared my blog link to this project. Thanks too, for all of the wonderful comments and reactions! 

In the past week, since the original posting, I've received a lot of questions about the polymer covered flute, most of which were geared toward whether the flute actually plays, and whether the sound was affected by the addition of the polymer. So, I created a video contrasting the polymer flute to the uncovered flute. Forewarning: my flute playing is quite bad, since I do not play more than an occasional once or twice a year "pulling it out of the closet to see if I can still play" session.  It has been over 25 years since I played on a regular basis, so keep that in mind when you review the video. 

I don't really detect much difference between the sound of the covered flute and the sound of the uncovered flute.... it would be nice to hear the difference with a flautist who can play well, alas I have no such source. I hope this will adequately answer the questions that people have asked. Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

And don't forget to head over and vote for the PCAGOE challenge, one lucky voter wins a prize every month, it could be you this month!!