Polymer clay is a fantastic medium for creative jewelry artists, especially for those that design unique and whimsical pieces that inspire our imagination. One such artist works in miniature, fashioning tiny wearable meals for every taste. Today Rhonda from Neat Eats shares some of her favorite inspirations for incredibly realistic food jewelry.
Inspirational Beading: When did you first get started with polymer clay?
Rhonda: I started with polymer clay a couple of years back. I had loved using Plasticine as a child but always got so frustrated that my little 'sculptures' got destroyed so easily and so when I decided to take up a new hobby I realized that polymer clay was the perfect medium to create what I had always wished to do as a girl. I started off making pieces for family and friends but then word of mouth spread and I started to get orders, which led, in turn, to opening a couple of online shops.
Inspirational Beading: Do you remember your first piece? Where is it today?
Rhonda: My first piece was a little pair of donut earrings which I gave to my daughter and which she still wears. Then I decided to make everyone in my family their favorite meal as little fridge magnets. Not such an easy task as the meals varied from blackened sole on a bed of mash to lamb cutlets with all the trimmings!
Inspirational Beading: Where do you look for your favorite inspiration?
Rhonda: Mainly (because most of my pieces are food inspired) I look through food magazines, watch cookery programmes or peruse the shelves of local supermarkets and delis. Of course I have to buy pastries and cakes just to make sure I am copying them faithfully, nothing to do with the fact I love eating them!
Inspirational Beading: What’s the most interesting or unique thing about your design process?
Rhonda: In 'real' life I am a full time artist and lecturer and so I think I have carried that over into my clay work. I visualize exactly what I want to create and how it will be laid out, and also exactly how I will make each component, before I even lift a piece of clay, which is exactly how I would go about creating a painting. If I don’t like how a part 'looks' I change it and then work out how the change will be made. Only when I can visualize the finished piece and I am happy with it will I then start to model it.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite color to work with?
Rhonda: I don’t really have a favorite color but I have found, since starting to make the jewelry that an awful lot of foodstuffs are yellow or orange which I had never realized!
Inspirational Beading: What are some of your favorite tools or materials?
Rhonda: I prefer the Fimo brand of polymer clay and I also use their soft clay as I find that using the harder clays is too sore on my hands, if I have a lot of it to condition (working the clay with your hands until soft and malleable). I have a large pin tool that is so battered and abused looking but I use it for everything and a couple of little pin tools that I made by just sticking ordinary sewing needles into some clay, molding the clay to make little handles and then baking. I also use a blade cutter and an X-acto knife. I have a couple of old wall ceramic tiles to bake the clay on and little foil pie trays to cover the clay whilst it is baking to prevent the clay from scorching.
Inspirational Beading: What is the most exciting design in your shop right now? What makes it special?
Rhonda: I am working on a whole new set of jewelry at the moment, using the polymer clay appliqué technique, which I am very enthused about. These are little pictures made by applying clay onto a clay background and so far I have made these into rings, pendants and brooches and should be listing them in the shops very shortly. At the moment I am working on flower themes.
Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?
Rhonda: From the very start my jewelry has made people smile. I discovered this when I attended my first craft fair and set up my stall. After about a half hour it was surrounded by customers laughing at the items for sale. Whether it was because they are so small and unlikely items for jewelry or because people had discovered a piece which was nostalgic for them and made them remember a favorite childhood treat. I loved the way everyone left the stall smiling so that is what I try to do with every piece, make someone smile!
You can see more amazing miniature food jewelry designs or request a recreation of your favorite meal at Rhonda’s Neat Eats shops on Etsy and ArtFire.
Copyright 2014 Inspirational Beading and Neat Eats
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