New Aztec Earrings

I'm having so much fun making earrings with these Aztec beads. My first pair in macaw green already sold last week! I've got several new designs in progress - I hope to have them finished and listed in my shop shortly. Here are my newest in golden-brown with little black drops on top.

See them on Etsy here.

Off to Italy!

The past two weeks have been all about a special design for a very nice lady in Italy. She saw the stamp tests I made a while back and asked me to do a custom piece for a special friend living far away. She also wanted a matching piece for herself. So here they are: a talisman for him and a pendant for her.

Two blue butterflies in the sunshine above two trees reaching out towards each other, their roots intertwining on a grassy hill - like two friends...far away...but also so very close. And on the backs, I inscribed their names each with a blue butterfly flying above.

This new project turned out to be a bigger challenge than I'd first thought, but I'm very happy with the way they turned out. Last Thursday they left for Italy. I love the thought that I was able to help bring two people so far away a little closer with my creations!

A Special Charm for a Very Special Cause

Christine Damm of Stories They Tell is creating a special gift for her sister-in-law, Vila. Vila has been diagnosed with leukemia and is in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy. To remind Vila that there are many people that care so much about her as she goes through this challenging time, Christine is putting together a charm bracelet. But what makes this bracelet so very special is each charm will come from a stranger, a stranger somewhere...anywhere...who cares for Vila. Christine hopes to get 50 charms or so - just imagine all the stories that will be put into this one bracelet...

So here's my charm - a little kitty in the sunshine.

I created a new stamp for this design and did the casting in faux pewter.

And on the back I inscribed the words "The Sun is Shining". They come from one of my most loved books: J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: "Don't be gloomy - the Sun is shining." I've always loved this quote, especially when I'm sad and gloomy, because I'm reminded that no matter where the Sun is, it is shining - it may be night, it may be so very dark and stormy, but somewhere high above the shadows the Sun shines on...always...and forever.

And here's the stamp.

As a thank you gift to those who take part, Christine is giving away three of her own beautiful creations to three randomly drawn contributors. If any of you would like to contribute to this wonderful gift and make a charm for Vila, head on over to Christine's blog for more on what you can do...Let's make this the most special gift ever!

Black Ruby Dragons

More dragons in pewter - actually this is where my new pewter designs started. I found these ruby red drops on Etsy a while back and they've just been waiting for a dragon to hold them. So a couple days ago I mixed up some faux pewter. Now I just have to wait for the chain and beads to arrive...

A single dragon - this one is 40mm long.

Here's how I did the back - I started with an oval contouring it around the drop (the bulge in the middle) and curling the edges toward the back. Next I sculpted the dragon and placed him around the stone. Then it was off to the oven to cure. Next, after cooling, I added more clay to the back, making sure it would lay properly when worn. Then I embedded two gunmetal rings for the chain and baked it again. And finally I applied the patina to make it all pewter like.

And of course I had to do a double dragon pendant with one of the drops! It's always fun to work with more than one. This pendant is 53mm long.

The back of the double dragon pendant.

New Dragon and Phoenix Pendants Finished!

Four finished pendants cast in both faux bone and faux pewter:
They each measure approximately 73 x 37mm.

The dragon in bone.

And the back showing the bail. I work these designs by first casting the dragon or phoenix and contouring it a bit (the bail fits better...and it just looks better that way). Then I cure it for about a half hour in the oven. Next I add a thin layer of clay to the back, smoothing it along the sides and adding texture (my fingerprints!). I place the bail and bake it one more time. And finally, I paint the entire surface thickly in Galleria artists acrylics and quickly wipe it off leaving a nice patina in the detail.

The phoenix in bone.

And here's pewter - I just started using this mix this week. I'd been wanting to get a pewter effect for a while and I was surprised at how well it turned out...You'd never know seeing the clay before the patina! Sometime I'll have to remember to get photos before adding it.

I did the bail the same on the pewter.

The phoenix in pewter.

New Dragon and Phoenix Pendants in Progress

Technically I guess these pieces are molded - they are very similar to my stamps, but with more depth.

I'm going to try them out in the "bone" mixture I use for my Little Dragon necklaces. I haven't decided if I want to create necklaces or just list them as pendants...I love the sculpting and painting part and once I get going it's hard to stop and decide on a necklace design. ;-)

Back with more photos soon...I've got some Little Dragons waiting to be made today (I'm using a couple glass ruby drops this time)...maybe I'll have the time when I finish them to mix up some "bone" clay for these new molds!

Heart of the Forest Necklace

The first of my new stamped necklaces is finished! I used a jade green clay mixture and added a bit of red for the heart. I also made a texture sheet so I could make matching beads. To make the beads I first baked a core bead a little smaller in diameter than I wanted the final bead to be, then I wrapped the core in a thin layer (4 on my atlas) of clay. I rolled each wrapped core over my texture sheet. All the beads and the pendant were lightly polished and given a wash of burnt umber to enhance the detail.

Two more new stamps just came out of the oven - I'm off to try them out!