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Wicked! Polymer Clay Jewelry 

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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.

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Here are the guinea pigs of which I speak.

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!

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Wicked Witch Cameo in progress, still just a head! Not too shabby for a first attempt at polymer clay jewelry.
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In progress, now with hair! Beautiful Victorian ringlets!
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In progress, now with hat, ready to bake!
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The finished piece. Pretty small!
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The finish. So very hard to photograph…
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A nice up-the-nose shot of the finish.
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We do gift packaging, too!
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We do gift packaging, too!
Grease and Grace, wicked witch, wicked witch of the west, Elphaba, wizard of Oz, wicked witch, polymer clay, polymer jewelry, etsy seller, etsy art, polymer clay art jewelry, polymer clay jewelry
And last, but not least, my husband tells me everything looks better with boobs. So, here’s the finish, with boobs. How’d it come out?

 

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Skull Decor – Pinstriped Iron Cross

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Our Skull Decor is a serious way to make a statement! A most bad-ass gift, or home decor item. A flamed and pin-striped human skull!
Okay, so it’s not actually human — but this baby is just about life size and rock solid.

Beautifully detailed in a classic von Dutch style by our artist Dean (read more on him in our About section). Very unique and quite a show piece.
A perfect home addition for collectors and novelty lovers of all things rockabilly / psychobilly / goth / kustom kulture or just the bizarre!
>>> PURCHASE HERE<<<


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Making a Pinup Girl – Sketch to Final Painting

Getting ready to get down to work!

Here’s a little look into my world of illustration.

Click images to enlarge.

This is a pictorial view of my process of painting.

The subject is one of my most recent pinup girls, who is now available in 5×7 prints and as note cards.

I have always found that people enjoy seeing an artists work in process. In 2012 I had a gallery exhibition which was entirely based upon that theme. That show was centered around my children’s book portfolio, but it’s the same idea, same process, same technique.

Initial sketches composite.

This pinup was a lot of fun to do. She started as a doodle one night in bed. I did a quick sketch of a plush shark. He came out so cute I thought he needed a little girl friend so next I designed the mermaid to go with him. I wanted it to be tongue in cheek. An “odd couple.”

After a few initial thumbnails (actually, the shark needed only one thumbnail. He went straight from  thumbnail to final, with no alterations, which is unusual) I get to work on the sketches. I rough it out a few times to get anatomy and facial features right.

I liked the idea of her fishtail having VonDutch style flames, sort of a shout out to my artist father but also to the Rockabilly/Hot Rod/Pinup/Kustom culture scene in general.  

The inking stage.

 

Once I felt confident about the sketches I scanned the shark and the mermaid in to my computer. This allowed me to reduce or enlarge their size as needed. This step was necessary because they were drawn, as sketches are very random creations, at different sizes, not suited to be next to one another. By scanning them and playing with them digitally I could manipulate their sizes and rotate as needed.   When they looked nice together I made a print of them and took that to my light table.

The light table and using the computer as stated above are tricks to keeping your project flow moving fast. I don’t have months to paint one image so I utilize my tools to the best of my advantage. If my sketch looks exactly the way it needs to, why draw it again to make it larger, etc?  There are always refinements that happen on the final paper, but it is quicker this way and less hassle.

When transferred to the final paper in pencil, I then added the background. Naughty, naughty me – I had no plans whatsoever for this environment except that it would obviously be under water. I think about composition and kind of just let my imagination take over at that stage of the game. After pencil sketches are done, the whole thing gets ink.

Beginning, laying out background color with the masking fluid over the main design.

By the way – that artist’s tape in these pictures is pretty awful. I think it was a Michael’s off brand. I got it because I had a gift card and I thought it should be the same quality as my usual Artists Pro tape seeing as how it was the same price. No, no and more no. You’ve been warned.

It was a last minute conversation with a Facebook friend (I often post my images to my Facebook while I work to get opinions from friends) that inspired the leopard print tail and the fiery red hair.

The next images show the progression of painting. I think I paint with watercolor ‘wrong’. At least based on what I was taught, but it works for me. I was told once by a professor that I hold my paintbrush like a pencil, and it’s true. I don’t really care. I do sort of ‘draw’ with the brush. Well, anyway, I block in major areas of color first. Like the sky or in this case, water. I use a colorless masking fluid  to block out areas which I don’t want to get any paint on yet by accident. It’s fun to peel off. If you were one of those odd children of the eighties who peeled Elmer’s glue off your hands to see your fingerprints, you’ll get the idea of fun I’m talking about. I’m weird.

Background pretty well laid in.

Continuing the layering of paint process, I add light layers to build up light and shadow. I think a lot about my light source and where it is coming from. Somewhere once I read a quote from Trina Schart Hyman  that helped me:

“Illustrator Garth Williams inspired me to think about light. I was illustrating Snow White when he came to Lyme for a visit. During his stay, he would often look over my shoulder while I worked. ‘You must think more about and in terms of light and light source,’ he told me one day. ‘Light can create drama—light means everything in illustration.’ He was right. I began to open my eyes, and study light.”

When the image is finished it gets scanned once again and I really do very little digital editing, only what is necessary as there is always a small amount of quality loss when digitizing art. Levels are adjusted and

More details get filled in.

sharpness corrected but usually little more.
Once it’s digitized I can get it ready for print!

So there you have it, folks!

Take care,
— Deanna Meyer at Grease and Grace Art Designs

The final product.

 

 

 

 

 

Mermaid is now filled in.
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