Sunday, December 11, 2011

By the Numbers

Numbers have great significance in many cultures. In Western culture, the number “3” philosophically describes the Deity in both Christian and Celtic societies. In Navajo culture, “4” represents Nature's essential elements-- wind, water, air and fire. The discovery of the zero allowed civilization to advance in science and mathematics. Numbers represent our birthdays, wedding days, holidays and significant dates in our world's history.

But as designers, we just love numerals because of their unique graphic appeal. They are like ancient runes, significant because of what they represent but pictorial in their aspect. They are modern hieroglyphics, language and design all together.

I love browsing typeface sites like so many cool fonts that drive my imagination wild. I used to work in a graphics department and I've never lost my love for letters. But recently I was invited by the folks at Create Mixed Media, publisher Northlight Books' blog, to create a set of numerals for this week, December 11-17, for the blog which they call "The Week as Art". Seven days' worth of numerals are depicted by a different mixed media artist every week. I decided to make mine in polymer clay and embellish them with lots of texture and color. Here they are in full size.

December 11
Black polymer clay, hand-applied impressed designs, heat-set oil paint

December 12
Bronze polymer clay, hand-applied textures from silicone molds, German Silver gilders wax

December 13
Ivory polymer clay, heat-set oil paint to antique and color

December 14
Polymer clay, hand-applied texture, heat-set oil paints, African Bronze gilders wax

December 15
Polymer clay, faux bark handmade texture sheet, heat-set oil paint

December 16
White polymer clay, commercial texture sheet, heat-set oil paint, Silver gilders wax

December 17
Mokume gane veneer polymer clay - metallic and opaque clays

 If you haven't discovered the Create Mixed Media blog, head over there to check it out. There are lots of informative and interesting posts by both editors and guest editors on wide-ranging topics of interest to anyone interested in jewelry-making and every kind of mixed media, covering everything from art retreats to setting up a home studio or marketing your work. This week on Thursday, December 15, there is a webinar by my friend, Barbara Lewis, author of Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry. Registration is free but be sure to reserve yourself a place.


  1. these are awesome! i don't know why we always feel compelled to pick a favorite - why do we do that? i so love each one of them... but i am drawn to 13 - those figures give it an ancient feel...

  2. I'll pick a number the finish on 12 the best (though all are very really great.)

  3. That is just so cool! I have a love of fonts. Have since I was a child. These are so very clever. And unique. And artistic. And colorful. And wow, look at that texture! 11 is my lucky number but I like the texture on 15, as if it could get lost in the woods. ;-)
    Enjoy the day!

  4. Those are beautiful. I love the textures and the colors.

  5. Christine, it's so exciting to see your polymer numbers! So this is what you have been busy creating...and wow, they are each incredible. I enjoyed your intro. on number lore...and once I saw your line-up (and how incredible unique each one turned out) I knew my favorite immediately! Can you guess? #12. You created such incredible depth and texture to each and every strip that makes up each number...I've had to go back several times to admire each line that makes up the numbers. I really love those swirls at the top of two. I'd love to see more components made in this exact style! So ornate and decadent.

  6. Wow...I'm lovin' that 12! Would you make me a cabochon in that clay for my Cab 52 project...:-))