Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gorgeous Polymer Clay Inspirations

Today I’m in the mood for a little jewelry eye-candy, and nothing beats polymer clay when you want to feel a little creative awe. Really great polymer clay designs are like a combination of sculpting and painting, yet they’re so much more than either of those things. There are lots of essential techniques that look amazing when done well, such as canes; there are also many unexpected ways to smoosh that yield amazing results.

Like many of the materials that I’ve sworn off for my own designs, I am often envious of polymer clay designers and the things that they can achieve. I stick by my choice, but I can certainly admire the possibilities! So, I did some window shopping without any particular style of polymer clay work in mind, and hand-picked several pieces that are just sure to make you say “Wow”. These are my favorites.

Polymer clay was around for years before I even knew about beadwork, though back then everyone just called it by the brand name Fimo. Though interesting, I didn’t really take much notice of it until after I had started beading, and came across some polymer clay appliqué designs that were utterly stunning. These pink floral earrings by Sweetystuff use the head-turning appliqué technique to perfection.

Creating your own color blends and sculpting your own bead shapes is a super power, as seen in this statement bracelet by Adriana Allen. Unlike your basic beadwork, stringing, chainmaille, or metalwork, there are no rules or limits when it comes to smooshing.

Oh the wonderful things that canes can do! The technique of using cane slices to make gorgeous motifs has been around for hundreds of years, and is still used in traditional glass studios in Venice. The big advantage that polymer clay canes have over glass is the amazing colors and blending possibilities. You can’t get a gorgeous ombré effect like the one playing across these earrings by Natka Handmade without clay!

This is not your grandmother’s millefiori! Once again the depth and richness of polymer clay colors outshines traditional cane designs in these beads by Sigaliot. Although I love new and vintage Ventian glass a lot, it doesn’t quite have the same pop when it comes out of the kiln.

Unlike other jewelry materials, polymer clay can be transformed into almost anything, be it realistic or whimsical. There are some amazing artists out there that create the most edible looking miniature food you’ve ever seen, as well as adorable food themed designs like these popsicle earrings by Dzy Dzy Design.

More sculptural possibilities are seen in this succulent pendant by sofoxyclay. The colors and shapes are gorgeous, but what really makes this design special after the first glance is its size. This piece is actually quite tiny at just 5 cm, or 2 inches, wide.

One of the best things about polymer clay is that you can use it to create components that perfectly match your aesthetic, and are 100% unique. These gorgeous earrings by boele are actually made with wood clay, but have the same one-of-a-kind ‘oooh’ factor that I wanted to find in my search.

Another great example of polymer clay’s versatility is this adorable pendant by My Mini Munchies. It perfectly captures the look and mood of knitwear in a tiny, colorful package. It’s also a great example of how one can achieve any color or combination with blending – we can’t do that with seed beads!

There are some designs out there that, if you’d never heard of or seen polymer clay designs before, you’d never guess were made with a pasta machine and lots of patience. These earrings by Silvia Ortiz de la Torre are a great example of how intricate and alluring this medium can be.

Do you use polymer clay beads in your designs? Have you dabbled with smooshing before? What styles and techniques are your favorites?


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