Monday, January 18, 2010

Completing the Old-- Beginning the New

Right now I have three pieces sitting on my bench awaiting final touches before I declare them complete and ready to face the world. This doesn't particularly bother me-- I have no deadline but my own for them and I've noticed that if I let these pieces sit for a bit, I usually discover some little touch that they need, design-wise. Rushing to finish them would not have given me that “moment of grace” needed to find that final note of completion that is like fitting the last perfect stem into a vase of spring flowers that transforms the whole into something sublime.

But lest you surmise that I've been simply sitting around eating the last of the holiday cookies (actually, I never got them made and a good thing too, since I've gone back to my healthy eating plan with a vengeance), I have become enamoured of blank cast brass cuffs. They are the perfect little empty canvas for all sorts of luscious experimentations and if I could only find a source for cast pewter ones, my artistic life (at least for now) would be complete! You may recall that I discontinued my line of cuffs built around aluminum blanks but I still love the cuff-- it's so easy to wear and feels good on the wrist too.

My love of faux can find perfect expression here but so many of the polymer clay veneers that I use work equally well. Faux ivory has been very successful on them and today I'm trying faux jade and the Ancient Metals technique of Laurie Prophater. I already made a nice trade of one cuff to Barbara Lewis for a marvelous bracelet/necklace she called “Hialeah”. When I wear it I can feel myself wearing a floppy straw hat, sipping an exotic drink and watching racehorses spin around a track in some tropical clime. She really has that “Margaritaville” vibe down in this piece!

But after a rich diet of large, complicated necklaces I've made in the last few months, it's nice to take a break and narrow my focus for a bit--to take one idea and push it as far in one direction as possible. Besides, as 2010 begins, I'm eager to head in some new artistic directions. These cuffs are rehearsals for some collaborative work that I've got in mind to do in the future with a very talented metalworker. He would be the dream partner-- as far as I can see, he can do anything I dream up and he likes a challenge! Also, this week my focus is writing a tutorial I've been invited to do for the Summer issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry--wire bezels for polymer clay. You may have seen some of these used in previous pieces and the idea is just too much fun to keep all to myself. I'm very excited about the opportunity to be in this publication-- it's been one of my goals since beginning my polymer clay odyssey.

Cernunnos cuff

Handmade antler, granite and decayed wood molds, polymer clay - available in my Etsy shop

Aboriginal cuff

Polymer clay faux ivory, hand-applied textures from various shop tools - available in my Etsy shop

Ancient Peoples cuff

Polymer clay faux jade, texture plate purchased from Cool Tools, cuff form handcrafted by Douglas Damm, DD Arts, from repurposed copper flashing

Relic bangle

Ancient Metals technique on polymer clay, texture plate from Victoria James - available in my Etsy shop

Antiquity cuff

Ancient Metals technique on polymer clay, texture plate from Victoria James - available in my Etsy shop

Sorcery bangle

Polymer clay faux ivory, hand-sculpted embellishment, texture from my hand-drawn Zentangle, tearaway technique