Drawer Pulls

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Still waiting for my gouache paint to come… looks like I won’t be painting until Monday at this point!

So while I wait, I decided to knock a couple of projects off my to-do list.

First were some polymer clay drawer pulls.  I can’t believe it, but I looked it up.  I have been designing these knobs since the late 90’s…

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I used to create them for a multitude of hand-crafted artisan gift shops.  You know, the stores we all love to visit and indulge in on vacations and during the holidays.  About 10 years ago I stopped creating them.  The #1 reason was motherhood.  These little drawer pulls take an exorbitant amount of time (more than people want to pay for!).  Twelve years ago I had so much free time…so much crafting vigor…ah those were the days…

Never the less, a customer in New York found me.  She brought a drawer pull she bought ten years ago, into my mother’s gallery and asked if I’d make her some more.  Now she has a grandchild who’s room they are excitedly decorating and wouldn’t these be perfect?  …Yeah, they would….  How could I resist?

So yesterday I dusted off my old pasta machine (that’s how polymer clay artists condition their clay), I hand mixed all the colors, and set off creating my floral pulls, petal by petal until I reach their centers.

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Here were some drawer pulls I created for an interior decorator.  See how they match the fabric swatches?  It’s pretty cool.  I always thought they’d be my ticket to “crafter fame”…but alas…not so. Their time has not yet come…

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Yesterday was like catching up with an old friend.  One you know everything about, inch by inch, spec by spec.  I missed my polymer clay pals.  It had been too long.  It reminded me of just how much time had passed.  It was kind of sad actually.

But, I had no time to wallow, I had 4 kids to pick up from school.  There were soccer try-outs to rush to, dinner to make, laundry to wash…

Yeah. My life has changed quite a bit.  I’d say I’m just as creative as then, maybe even more so.  I am more confident and I clearly know what I want as an artist, but that time factor just eats away at my soul.  I never feel like I have enough time to create the myriad of manifestations rolling around in my head. I am sure the present me will tell the me of ten years from now,” hey, it was just a passing phase”, but never the less I always carry a great deal of frustration about time… It’s my number one metaphysical issue. grrr….

I think the Mary from 12 years ago would say keep going, keep reaching, keep exploring and try to obtain the unobtainable.  It’s what keeps us young at heart. The present me would say the same…and the future holds what the future holds.

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Hey former self, thank you for the trip down memory lane and the great words of encouragement. You know, we should do this again sometime…

yeah,   …sometime real soon.

http://www.becreativemary.com

#116 – “WILD” flowers

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Yep, pretty sure these flowers aren’t from my garden.

I went “wild” today, choosing some crazy colors and a medusa-like spider mum of sorts.  I’m obsessed with flowers especially this time of year!  Everything is just busting out of the earth. It makes my heart skip a beat!

This necklace was made with polymer clay and vintage rhinestones from Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.  I have amassed a wonderful collection of rhinestones over the years.  Like a raven, I am attracted to anything sparkly!

I knew I wanted a necklace full of flowers, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it.  I created each flower with wire built into it for assembling afterwards.  I figured out quite quickly, this wasn’t the way to go.

First of all the wire I chose was too rigid, making it hard to connect the flowers to one another.  Second, because they flowers were all separate, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to overlap and get the pieces to fit tightly.  They also flopped and tipped forward a bit.  Third I made some of the flowers too thin which makes them difficult to hold up to frequent usage, they crumble.

Pretty much, this necklace isn’t very wearable.  But, I did learn a lot.  I learned exactly what I needed, to be able to create another idea I have.  Back in the day, I’d spend a week to 2 weeks Just constantly trying every darn thing I could think of.  By the end of that period, I’d have 50-60 finished pieces.  Then, I would pick maybe twelve that I loved and figure out the best way to mass produce those twelve.

With the 365, it is different.  I can’t create 50 pieces and leave them unfinished and scattered around my studio for two weeks.  I have to start and finish something in one day.  Where as today I probably knew 3/4 of the way through that it wasn’t going to work, I needed to see it through, otherwise I’d have nothing to show for my days work.  It’s a little hard for me to step back and just allow myself to be inefficient.  This 365 has its plus and minuses.  For the most part they have been pluses, so I’ll let the inefficiency go and focus on the journey…

That being said, the not so functional necklace is finished and looks quite pretty.  It just means I have to find a different purpose for it…

#116 - WILD flowers

Here you see, kitchen art.

  I have a lovely wall of pigs in my kitchen and I am always dressing them up.  The little piggy won’t move or get the necklace caught on something, snag it or break it.  The perfect recipient! And I get to enjoy the wild colors which is all I generally really care about anyhoo!

I’m looking forward to taking what I learned today and trying again.

With a 365, there’s always tomorrow!

http://www.becreativemary.com/

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#115 – POLYMER CLAY MOSAICS

 

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These necklaces are something I have wanted to make for some time now. They are based on some of my old designs from probably 2002-2003.  I wanted to make new ones because I never saved one for myself.  I sold them all!

What I cannot communicate via photograph is the amount of sparkle in these necklaces.  They are LOADED with Swarovski crystals.  I’d estimate at least 100 crystals per piece, so when you are wearing them, they glow! Any white spec you see above is a mirror reflection of a crystal, so if you actually saw these necklaces you would notice the crystals first and the color second.  Not true for this photograph though.

You’ll just have to take my word for it!

So back in the day, I would make these circular pendants (no hole in the center).  They’d have a sterling silver backing and generally measure about  1  1/4 inch in diameter.  For these new ones I made for myself, they are 3 inches in diameter.  Big statement pieces.

With all the crystals, they can be a bit dressy.

Oh hubby, you need to take me out for dinner so I have somewhere to wear my new necklace!

:)

http://www.becreativemary.com/

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#114 -BULLSEYE

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The bulls-eye has been a common theme in my jewelry from the beginning.  Mostly because it is an excellent way to bounce color combinations off one another.

I am sure it is without saying, that the Master Wassily Kandinsky has greatly influenced my work, being one of the Father’s of Color Theory.

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I can remember seeing his work at an early age and receiving energy from it.  As if I understood this unspoken language.  I can’t say that about all artists. Kandinsky believed art & music went hand in hand.  I think he tried to communicate this.  Creating movement and rhythm in art as one does in music.

I haven’t created a piece of jewelry in about 2-3 years.  I honestly don’t remember anymore.  As I started up this morning, I pulled all the relics from my old art studio out of a box.  When we moved, I literally took all the contents from my desk and threw them in a box.  My pencil jar, beads I was working with that day, notes on concepts I was working on that month, even unfinished pieces strung but without clasps.

It was bizarre.  It was like revisiting the person I was two years ago that I am not today.  Does that make sense?  Total time warp!

So, I read the notes to myself from that time and decided to finish some of the concepts that I had wanted to create but never got around to.

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You see, back then, I was working on these link bracelets that had really small bulls-eyes on them. Now today, I created a bracelet with big bold bulls-eyes. Where as before they were dainty bracelets now it is more like a bangle.  Throughout the 90’s, jewelry was very conservative.  Now, everything is bold, ethnic and large.

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I have been struggling with creating a matching necklace for these link bracelets. Back then, I tried using the metal links, but this made the bull’s-eyes tip forward unevenly.  It just wouldn’t work. This time I created each bead with an arched hole at their top, so they wouldn’t tip forward or flip around.  It seems to have worked.

Speaking of the necklace from a design perspective , I’m just not there yet.  I tried really large bulls-eyes as a choker necklace, I tried medium-sized bulls-eyes and I even created small ones to see if that was what I might want. None of the sizes jived with me.  I settled with a jumble of all three sizes…but this will not be the final necklace.  I will wear it a few times, figure out what I like and don’t like about it and then try it again.

That is the tough thing about a 365.  Most creative endeavors are not created merely in one day.  But, you get to catch a glimpse of my process and I get a new bracelet and necklace to wear.  Not a bad deal if I say so myself.

I look forward to trying again tomorrow!

http://www.becreativemary.com/

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#112 – FOUNDATIONS IN POLYMER CLAY

#112- Foundation in Polymer Clay (1)

I’ve tried really hard to have something tangeable for every day of this 365, but if I am going to make jewelry with this polymer clay, then I have to allow myself to count a day for conditioning it!

You see, polymer clay is not ready to work with right out of the package.  It needs to be kneaded repeatedly. Because I work with mass quantities, I use a pasta machine to knead and condition the clay.

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Ideally, you want the clay nice and soft so that as you run it through the machine it stays together in one long sheet.  I run each block of clay through the pasta machine around 20-30 times.

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What you don’t want is this – crumbling clay.

 I will not mention a certain online source where I just recently bought 20 blocks of polymer clay.  I was on my 8th bar and all of them thus far had exploded into dust as they entered the pasta machine.  I couldn’t put those blocks together if I spent a year trying to do so.  I swept the polymer clay dust into Ziplocs, returned them promptly to the site and tried to find some clay locally. I didn’t even realize my local art store had a full assortment of polymer clays. How did I miss that? Anyway, I went in, inspected the blocks closely, gave them a gentle squeeze and could tell instantly they were soft, new and hopefully going to work well.  Good Stuff.  THANK YOU SOUTH COUNTY ART SUPPLY!!!

Back in business and ready to get started!

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So the good blocks take about 7-10 minutes each and the drier crumbly blocks take god knows how long….but today I tackled the one tough block in 20 minutes. So let’s just say it took me 3 1/2 hours…and let me tell you, it is absolutely brutal on my hands and wrists.  I can barely type as we speak!  So that’s it, I am out of commission for today and will start fresh Wednesday morning (pottery class tomorrow).

I have an extra hour, so I will sketch and plan out some of the ideas in my head.  I created & sold jewelry for almost ten years.  I think I’ve recently burnt out, I am on Day #112 and have not wanted anything to do with my past jewelry designing.  But slowly, I am feeling the creative juices returning.  Plus I am really craving some new pieces for myself!

Whenever I create something new for myself, I feel like it is a hit.   Whenever I get tangled up in others expectations the designs are lacking…or maybe it’s just my passion lacking.  Regardless, I am hoping for good things.  Not worrying about selling or the potential customers preferences can be very freeing and good for creativity…  Oooo wait a minute. I sound a little bit disgruntled and negative.  I better look at that closely, figure out what that is all about and release it. Yuck!  You see what I mean?  I think I did the jewelry thing too long.

I will go inward, clear out my negativity and get ready for some new creations!

Stay Tuned!

Here is some past work…

collage copy Jewelry show - CopyBackup_of_Jewelry show Invite 2010Sneak Peek

 www.becreativemary.com

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