Recently I had the awesome opportunity to create a polymer clay mermaid sculpture. This commision was to be a gift for a lover of all things beach related — especially flip-flops! So how do you make that work?
Mermaids Don’t have Feet…
I incorporated flip-flops with a mermaid by illustrating the idea that the mermaid, who has no feet, might have found those flip-flops in the sand and seaweed, washed up on some rocks perhaps, and is returning them to their owner. A fanciful thing to imagine.
The way this was done was by utilizing both clay and natural items in combination. Her little teeny tiny clay fingers are covered in sand, as are the shoes. She carries the shoes and presents them to her owner on a half shell, surrounded by sand and “seaweed.”
Her seashell is removeable and she can hold other items in her hands, if desired. This opens up the opportunity to change things up once in a while!
So, How’d Ya Make It?
Below are a few photos of the process. The entire sculpture was only eleven inches high. This was definitely time consuming, and tricky at times, but super fun to make.
My video tutorial (which isn’t really a how-to, rather, a basic rundown of the process) shows a lot of the early parts of the creation, from creating the wire armature, to making those tiny little ‘flops! Enjoy!
One of the things mentioned in the video is that, yes, I do have MS (Multiple Sclerosis.) I don’t mention it often, but here I think it may be inspiring for others with illness.
*** Be sure to check out our facebook page to stay up to date on our latest creations and our Etsy shop to see what’s for sale now. We are always open to commision (see our FAQand CONTACT info.) Commissions become limited nearer to the holiday season.***
The Art of Creating Art with Distractions – Polymer Clay Jewelry
Sometimes it begins with boredom. Perhaps not boredom, per say, but a desire to do something just to do it. No agenda. Just letting creative energy out, and whatever happens, happens. This is usually either the best work, or absolute shite.
Occasionally I work with my daughter around, and by occasionally, I really mean, like, eighty percent of the time. This can go swimmingly well, or disastrous, but most of the time we work really well together. She’s six, so, you know, things change by the day, interests by the hour, and attitude by the minute. So when working with a kid at home, which is where my studio is, you have got to be flexible. My goal wasn’t originally to create a piece of polymer clay jewelry, but sometimes magic happens when you least expect.
When I have ‘serious’ work, or commissions, I try to do them when she’s out of the house, or someone else can entertain her. A lot of the time, however, she likes to hang out and watch, usually doing her own art project or just being some character in her head. Turning the studio into a castle, or jungle, or something else fantastical (the locations of which and characters also change by the minute.) One has to be pretty good at multitasking to seriously work with a kid like that around.
I often hear, “Okay, mama, you don’t have to play it, just sit there.” Which is code for: You don’t have to actively get in costume, act, and make stuff up, but I’m gonna talk at you, really, really closely and non-stop, until you’re done working. Chatter, chatter, chatter. Like a small chipmunk burrowing in all your tools and supplies, all the while chirping like they do.
So, I play along. I work on whatever project or computer work I may have, concentrating as best I can on it, while still focusing on her, and answering every now and then with something like, “Oh, yes, your majesty!” Or, “Yes, that sure is the best pizza I’ve ever had!”
Then I take a bite of pretend pizza made out of my polymer clay stash with those craft puff-balls thingies glued on top.
When Guinea Pigs and Witches Collide
To give myself a break from the seriously challenging art of making ‘serious’ art with child present, I take days where we make things together on purpose. She’s really into watching tutorials on YouTube. One day while looking up “cute Guinea pig,” we found tutorials on how to make them with clay. (Her favorite is here.) This spawned a mass amount of guinea pig figurines in my home, currently we have twenty, all of which are different colors and have names like, “Lemony.”
One Christmas everyone got a clay guinea pig ornament. They’re everywhere. But I digress. This fortuitous web search spawned an interest in sculpting with clay, not only for her, but myself.
One day we sat down to make more guinea pigs and I decided to try something new. I wanted to experiment with using my metal jewelry trays (which are for fitting cabochons or cameos inside.) The goal was to try to see how well polymer clay would mix with it, and whether I’d like it.
Trying Something New
It worked pretty well, I’d say. Well enough that it sold before it was even finished. Periodically I’ll post my art in progress on social media to get fresh eyes and opinions, especially with something new. This wasn’t my first experience with polymer clay, but it was with creating polymer clay jewelry. I started out with a lump of black clay just trying to figure out what exactly I was going to make. Black clay went into the background of the tray and next came a head in a glorious, almost glowing green color.
I sat there staring at this green head wondering where this was going, no real intentions on the table and it hit me. Wicked Witch of the West. And that was it. From there on out it was a no brainer. I kept at it for a few hours. It’s small, and pretty tedious work. Surprisingly I’m really good with miniatures. It’s surprising because I have little to no patience.
After she was baked, I painted her details on and used some powder metallic. This looks just phenomenal in person, but because of the nature of metallic and the shiny glaze I used, she was irritating to photograph at best. I did manage to get a few though, and her new owner loves her very much.
Thanks for checking her out! Don’t forget to see what’s new at our shop!
Let us know what you think of this first attempt at polymer clay jewelry. Leave us a comment and give us your opinion!