Tuesday, May 25, 2010

wise eyes charm - the process

LOOK! THEY'RE HERE! I love to receive surprises in the mail, so when my self-address package arrived I wasn't even in the house before I opened it.
Here are my characters, right before I sent them out.
I love combining mixed-media with my Precious Metal Clay especially with a swap, it's a bit like sending a little extra piece of me.  I shared some of my inspiration a previous post and I had quite a few ideas, but I guess I'll just have to save them for the next swap. But all my ramblings seemed to kinda "poof" come together one day. And like most of my ideas, they always seem a bit clearer on paper. Even with a few set backs, I'm so happyto have a wonderful team to challenge me and make me see my ideas through.
So, if you are interested here is my process:
I found this hinge at a scrapbooking convention. I really liked the femine shape. I used it as a template for my original piece. I started with rolling out a chunk of PMC Standard 6 cards thick. Standard shrinks 30%, so that would help me achieve the final "charm" size. I put the hinge on the rolled out clay and with a needle tool started to cut around the shape. I wanted it a bit shorter, so I did the top first than moved the hinge slightly to achieve the squatter appearance. To create the bezel, I used coiled clay around the perimeter. So in the pic above there is the original hinge, the original fired shape and then I made a mold of the original. PMC3 was used for the actual charms which shrinks about 10-12%. The final charm is shown in the foreground (which I think makes it look a bit bigger than it is? But you get the idea.)

After pressing the clay into the mold, I gently took it out, pinched it back into shape, let it dry and added any syringe to the bezel to make the inside a bit more deep. Honestly this mold process was not as smooth as I hoped, I think the bezel was just to shallow. But hey, there was a deadline to meet! Here are a few all sanded and ready for the kiln.
I patinaed the fired pieces to give it a bit more definition. But realized early on, that buffing 24 charms in the time allowed was just not possible. Once again a bit of stress comes over me. But I instead just fire the patinaed pieces in my kiln again and it takes of most the black. I proceed to tumble while getting the ready for the "fun part" - Mixed media.
Using Golden's fluid acrylics: Naples Yellow, Raw Umber and Titanium Buff I start the backgrounds and let dry. Then, I got ready for the drawings.

I first set up a sheet with guides, so my illustrations weren't too big for the charm. I tested different pens - pitt pens, rapidiograph, extra fine sharpie, really sharp pencil, even thought my hand carved birdie stamp might work, but no. Then I took out my favorite drawing pen - an extra fine ball point - and that worked like, well, a charm.
Placing a tissue over the guides, I started to doodle. Little scapes, cute roses, sun, pebbles, then eyes, tons of eyes. The children's book, Ping came into my head. Ping, the little lost duck was looking for his home "Their home was a boat with two wise eyes on the Ynagtze River..." It really wasn't until I did all this random doodling that I knew what would actually go into my fine silver frames. Doodling in the sunshine, just letting my head wander and all these little characters started to appear.
Since the tissue paper would turn clear once resin is applied, I painted the back of the eyes white, so they would pop. Then added color to each eye from the front with watercolor and a bit of acrylic. (I tried color pencil, but it kept ripping the tissue.)
I cut or in some cases tore out the eyes and placed them in their frames. I started to like the look, but they didn't have as much impact as I thought they would. Then another ah ha moment - thinking back to figure drawing. They needed a highlight. That twinkle of white made all the difference I think.

Placing the charms on plastic material (in this case a plastic bag) would help if any of the Ice Resin seeped out. And before pouring the resin, I used a small cotton swab saturated in resin to gently burnish down the tissue, then using a toothpick, I dropped resin in the bezels and guided the fluid into each corner. They took about 3 days to fully cure, then I attached the jump rings.
Here are a few of my favorite characters. I think it's interesting how much unique expression is in each one. Sometimes I ask myself, why do I force myself to do these collaborative projects? The stress, the deadlines? It's to help work out my ideas, to focus, to actually FINISH and share my ideas with wonderfully talented artists. I truly hope their wise eye creative charm always helps them find their way home to where they are the most creative.


~ Lora Hart Jewels ~ said...

Ah, paint on tissue paper, tissue paper sealed with resin! So smart. And so cute. I read the article first, now to go back and see the charms you scored.

Rachel Kranzberg Miller said...

Wow! Thanks for explaining your creative process. I loved that you painted the eyes yourself. Your charm is so unique and beautiful!

Lore said...

Very Nice !
Thanks for sharing your process.

Moda di Magno said...

Absolutely fabulous process post!! Thank you C-Lyn!

HappyDayArt! said...

I love every face you drew, but especially the one on mine!

Thanks for the post. Well done!


La Bella Luna Jewelry said...

Thank you for sharing this fascinating process, and thank you for making the charms. I love mine!

Cherylyn Bredemann said...

thanks everyone for all your wonderful comments!