Friday, May 25, 2012

Button, button, who's got the ......?

Cindy Wimmer's Button Blog Hop a few weeks ago really got my button-related creative juices started. My partner in this button love-fest, Celeste Thurston, had sent me a package filled with more buttons than I could use in just one creation. Since I work a lot with the color red, I decided to finish up a piece that I started over two years ago.

Starting with a polymer clay mokume gane blend of red, green, white, black, pink and cream I covered a quantity of beads with slices from the mokume stack, placing them over a base of red and gold. I had a lot of the mokume blend left over so I amused myself with building a long cylinder bead (4”), intending at some point to wrap it in wire. The resulting beads were reminiscent of gypsy bandannas and I sold several sets on Etsy. Then the leftovers sat in a bag.

Gypsy beads

 About a year ago I found the Gypsy beads again and began building a necklace base, using some red flower-shaped Czech glass beads with Picasso finish-- my favorite!--older twisty gold polymer spacers, early faux coral polymer beads and some experiments with Maggie Maggio's watercolor technique for polymer which I adapted to my own eclectic style.

Watercolor bead

The long cylinder bead proved difficult to position in a design, since it needed to hang vertically in the piece. My idea for the wire wrap evolved into a beaded wire twist, which not only added color to the cylinder but also morphed its shape into something more interesting.

Gypsy cylinder bead

Again, the necklace sat, waiting for .....something.... to motivate me to finish it. Then inspiration struck.

For the Button Challenge I had made a complex polymer base for the Bakelite buckle from Celeste which had Mayan overtones (for me). I decided to made another base to support a red Bakelite bead from my stash and stage two more buttons from Celeste on top-- a Bakelite cream fluted and a red Czech one. But this time I decided to go with a round design to play up the shape of the buttons. I layered and sliced and built and then antiqued the focal in various colors before glueing on the buttons.

While all this was coming together, Douglas was viewing a program called “Ancient Aliens” about the recent discovery of a massive complex of buildings beneath the waters of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, near an amazing pre-Inca ancient temple site called Tiahuanaco. One of the images made him call me into the living room to look: it was the image of a god with a halo of shapes very similar to my focal!

Tiahuanaca image


I never turn my back on synchronicity so I looped two large jumprings from a chain purchased at Michael's through some convenient holes in the focal and my long process was completed. I named it “Stone in the Center” to honor the temple site, Tiahuanaca, and the deep and mysterious lake in the Andes Mountains. When modern meets ancient, the two can make some real design drama together.

"Stone in the Center"


  1. Egads, wow, that pendant is incredible. I really love the irregular key/puzzle like pieces radiating from behind the red and ivory Centre. Amazing, all of it...and you know I love to read about your process!

  2. Gorgeous! Love the layering. Love the 'Faux Bakelite' and those background beads that flow out as rays. Wonderful stuff!