Monday, June 25, 2012

My entry for the Smooshers In The Ocean Challenge

The theme for the Polymer Clay Smoosher's Challenge this month is In The Ocean.  Once again I had lots of ideas swimming through my head (and not enough time to sculpt them all)!  Eventually I settled on a mermaid.  I always enjoy adding an element of fantasy to projects whenever possible ;-)  Not too long ago I made several beaded pendants using some of my mismatched glass beads.  The beads were all very pretty, but none of them matched.  When I make jewelry I generally like to use matching, or at least similar beads, so this was a good way to display the beads.  I decided that a miniature mermaid wrapped around a pendant made of blue and green beads would be just right for an ocean challenge!
 I started by sculpting the mermaid's tiny little head.  It's always a challenge to sculpt on such a small scale, but this one actually went pretty well.  Sometimes I have to remake a head up to 5 times!  I only had to remake this one twice ;-)  I used tiny blue glass beads for her eyes and gave her fairy ears.  I baked the head at this stage so further sculpting wouldn't distort all the tiny details.   A baked and hardened head is so much easier to work with.
 Next came the torso. I sculpted this and attached it to the neck, using diluent to make the seams perfectly smooth and invisible.  I wasn't ready to add the arms yet at this point.  I wanted to sculpt her tail and get her positioned on the pendant before I made her arms.  That way I would be able to position them perfectly so she was holding onto the pendant.
I swirled together several shades of blue and green Premo polymer clay to create a custom mix for the mermaid's tail and the teardrop shaped beads I planned on adding to the necklace.  Before positioning the mermaid around the beaded pendant I painted her facial features with acrylic paint and colored her lips and cheeks with powdered pink chalk mixed with interference red/ blue Pearl Ex powder.  I really wasn't sure what color I'd get when I mixed the two, but it turned into the perfect shade of pink with just enough of a sheen to make it look very realistic.  To be sure the mermaid was securely attached to the pendant I added liquid polymer clay where her body touched the pendant.  I baked the mermaid and beads at this point.
After the body and tail were baked and cooled I added her arms and hair.  I used wire through the eye pin to suspend the pendant in a coffee cup while it baked for one final time.  This assured that none of her delicate features would be crushed while baking.
The final step in the necklace was to create the beaded components, which were composed of blue and green glass beads, silver bead caps, and the blue and green swirled clay beads.
And this is how the final piece turned out.
OOAK Green and Blue Polymer Clay Fantasy Mermaid Necklace 
I've actually only made a few mermaids (so far), but I have to say this is my best one yet.  I'm very happy with the way she turned out, and I'm glad I took my time while creating this entire necklace.  Once again, this is something entirely new for me- definitely a one of a kind creation!
Thanks so much for joining me on another creative journey!

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