Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I made a big mess. And some earrings.

Holy moley people, I've been in a making-things trance. I walked away from my desk last night and then came back and saw this colossal mess and decided it was probably time to clean up and list some things.

We could make a game of this picture. Can you spot the...
  • Cheese grater? (What? You don't keep a cheese grater on your desk? What do you do when you need grated cheese?)
  • Car wax? (I swear these items were not staged. They're all there due to having been recently used. I could explain further, but it's so much funnier not to.) 
  • Industrial sized bottle of ibuprofen?
  • Upside-down illustration of Rachel Dratch?
 Out of this disaster came lots of new things. Too many for one blog post. I will, however, share all the earrings I made to catch up in the 52 earring challenge. I left off at week 12, and around that time is when Anke (who started the challenge) came up with the idea for bi-weekly themes. So week 13's theme was "twig".

Bottlebrush Pod Earrings
I went hunting for twigs in my yard to use as components of earrings, but ended up being more inspired by these little pods that grow on my bottlebrush plant. There's a twig in there, too....kinda. I wanted to make a mold of the whole cluster of pods on the twig, but the pods kept falling off, so instead I plucked all the pods off and made a mold of the twig itself, and then embedded the real pods right into my castings from it.

Bottlebrush pods, plus some other twigs that didn't make the cut.
I painted them with ground copper paint and used patina solution on them.

These are a little too fragile for me to want to list them. A hard pinch can crush the pods. I may attempt to recreate them all in clay, though.

For week 14, I took inspiration from a lampwork artist who makes beads onto old keys. Unfortunately, I can't remember now who the artist was or even where I saw it. If anyone knows , please comment. I'd love to give credit where credit is due.

I made my version with polymer clay. Not quite as involved of a process, but nevertheless, pretty cool looking.

Key to Possibilities

I'm not 100% sure, but I think these keys may have been from the original doors to a Victorian house I lived in when I was a kid. I remember that the old doors were in the basement and the keys were still in the locks. I don't remember what became of the keys, and I also don't remember where these ones came from, so I'm guessing they're the same ones.

I hunted the local historical society's website for old timey pictures that might include my old house, but this was the closest I could get. It's about 2 blocks down the street. It looks pretty much the same now, except the street is paved and the world has color now.

I also made a small batch of beads with the same colors as the ones on the keys. They'll be listed soon. I really like the one that came out spotty. I might keep that one.

Week 15's theme is Easter, but remember how I said before Easter that I was over it? Well, I'm still over it. So, I made shrink plastic tribal mask earrings.

Hand-Drawn Tribal Mask Earrings
I've found the first downside to working with shrink plastic- It doesn't photograph well. Once you get enough light on them for the camera to see the detail, it also picks up every little pencil stroke. In person, these look way more smoothly colored. That's the magic of shrinkage.

The sketchbook page from whence the mask came.

I also did some of my Easter eggs with tribal masks this year. I guess I'm into masks lately. This wasn't the only one, but the other came out looking like a Mexican luchador mask, which is cool, too, just not what I was planning on.

And, since I seem to be constantly falling weeks behind on the challenge, I went ahead and did week 16's earring, too, just to be a little ahead of the curve.

Mandolin Jangle Earring Dangle
 Now, in the comments section, give me your theories on why I have a cheese grater at my desk. Hint: It has nothing to do with cheese.


  1. ....LOL...love your stories behind the earrings!! And I know why you have a cheese grater on your desk, I have one myself: I use it for grating polymer clay to make tiny spots. I guess you use yours for a similar reason....;-))

  2. Yes I have a grater too, for the exact same purpose, grating clay. I also have a potato peeler and various other kitchen doodads. Earrings, masks and eggs are all gorgeous especially the key earrings.

  3. I love the keys! And I love the mess.

    It is always such fun to see the wonderful things that come out of our messes isn't it? Not everyone would agree with that, but if things aren't out in the open for me I can't find anything. As a result everything gets left where it lies.

  4. Love the earrings.
    As for the cheese grater... it's a weapon of (m)ass destruction used on anyone who dares interupt the creative process.
    But, that's just a guess.
    (you DID say "guess")

  5. Oh, I love each and every design! And the cheese grater - are you going to display all your earrings by hanging them through the holes?

  6. You wanted to sprinkle some clay on your pizza?

  7. Other possible use for grater - to make pastel dust for colouring clay? Not tried this, but I've got one for grating clay to make faux stone.

  8. Just came across your blog, and um.... it's awesome! I love your polymer clay work. Genius! Never seen anything like it.

  9. I couldn't quite imagine what the grater would be for until I read the comments above. I was thinking maybe for trimming the edges on the Tribal Mask Earrings, but surely there is a better, more precise tool for that.

    (By the way, I hate to admit it, but I already failed the first part of this game. I can't find the cheese grater in the photo! I assure you this is no criticism of your desk, only of my finding skills. My desk looks the same only with different items!) Fun post! I really enjoy your writing style!