Monday, May 18, 2009

Ancient Metals

I've been focused on imitative techniques lately-- faux ivory, jade and metallic effects. In working on my entry for the Art Bead Scene's May Challenge, to design a piece of jewelry using Claude Monet's “Waterlilies” as inspiration and incorporating art beads, I developed a clay veneer to apply to beads that incorporates the impressionistic colors of the painting. I got a pattern that I liked and could duplicate and baked up a batch. But then I started thinking it might be fun to make a second batch just a bit different in effect, although in the same colors, to add to the complexity of the design. I was planning to use only Bali-type silver beads as accents, a bit of a departure from my latest necklace designs, which have been a riot of semi-precious stones, mokume gane technique in polymer clay and faux polymer clay beads. Sometimes restricting your designs to just a few elements is an interesting exercise.

I had initially thought of mixing translucent clay and alcohol inks but decided instead on a technique called Ancient Metals. One of the earliest articles I tried when I first began working with polymer clay was this one, taught by Laurie Prophater in a magazine article in 2007. My way of judging the worth of a new clay technique is to see if I can push it to do more than the orgininal application in the tutorial. The author warned that the technique wouldn't accept too much handling but I had made large beads before with the technique and decided this time to make some smaller beads to add to the Monet beads I already had.

Ganymede beads

Lothlorien Necklace

Well, I had a lot of fun but my results won't be joining the Monet beads at the party this time. I need some different ink colors, I loved the blue but it wasn't the right shade, so I need to buy some more inks. I've never tried mixing different colors of these Ranger inks, maybe that's an experiment for today? Do I ever need an excuse to buy supplies? I believe that having your art materials close at hand makes the difference, you just have to reach for what you want and your creative process doesn't get interrupted searching. But after dumping a basket of beads yesterday (luckily in plastic bags) pulling my article binder from the bookshelf, my long-delayed workspace remodeling project is now in No. 1 position on my to-do list.

Sonnet beads


  1. Those are so gorgeous! Thanks for the in depth look at your creative process. I don't make beads but I sure appreciate the thought and the process behind them! I hope your ink experiment goes well...I would love to see the Monet inspired beads! Enjoy the day! Erin

  2. These are all stunning Christine!! I admire your work tremendously, I think making these kind of beads are a labor of love. I dabbled a little bit in it and I am not so patient. Your beauty comes out in your product!

  3. beautiful. polymer beads, well-- you never know how they're going to turn out. these are lovely.

  4. Your beads are absolutely stunning! Did you roll those colors together to make the beads or is it the mokume gane technique? The colors are so soothing to the eye. Beautiful!

  5. What beautiful colors! Bravo.
    Alice Howe