I wanted to do a different kind of nature themed project incorporating more mixed media in with my sculpture. While my love affair with the sea and all its creatures continues, I wanted to try something else for my new big piece. After finding a kidney shaped glass dish in Oxfam, I was inspired to make a pond.
Beginning the pond
I had all my materials and ideas but as usual I was procrastinating about starting my new project. I have a tendency to strive for perfection which stops me doing anything at all. I had been looking at Christi Friessen’s book Flourish which I bought a few weeks ago and I just love her approach to creating. Perfection be damned!
My tile for making+
Adding more beads
I decided to start of small and made some fish using a combination of orange colours and translucent. I was pleased with the way they came out, especially as they were my first try. I made my pond over about a week, starting on a weekend. I mixed browns, sand, translucent and grey together to get a marbled affect and started placing it in the dish, building up rocks around the side. I made more marbled colours with some lighter and some darker to add contrast between the rocks. I then began making reeds from green polymer clay, using a similar mixing technique to get a deep colour of green.
Adding the fish to their home
Preparing the resin
As I went along, I realised I was making more of a fantasy pond. The elements where exaggerated and stylised which is my favourite way of working and allows a kind of freedom to take something and change it. I added different beads to round-headed pins, twisted the ends with pliers and added them into the clay.
I’ve been playing around with altering tins for a while and wanted to try something new using them. While out shopping with my sister, I found a smaller tin, about half the size of an Altoid tin and thought it would be a cool challenge to make something fit inside it.
When I feel a bit out of practice with clay I like to go back to something simple such as my octopus. I made two mini ones, one in translucent yellow and the other translucent orange. They turned out so cute! One of these guys could live in my new tin, so I made a tiny bit of coral, seaweed and a starfish to make it more homely.
A short post on some things I’ve made in the last few weeks. I wanted to try and make more projects with resin, and how I can incorporate it into future mixed media projects. I experimented with different mould, making a jellyfish tank using polymer clay and drilling a hole to add wire once it was set.
I made some different sized beads using resin and added metal charms, beads, gems and glitter. I’m still thinking about a project to use them in.
Inside mini glass jar
I’ve also been playing around with different tins and thinking of new things I can make with them. I’ve like spray painting them and using different materials to alter them. No matter how much I try to work in a linear and organised way, my brain just doesn’t want to! So I end up doing several things at once, putting things to one side to set or dry while I make something else.
I think after making my large scale shark coral reef, I felt a little bit of a lull with my ideas. Although I had some vague thoughts on new clay projects, I couldn’t seem to get started. I looked at Pinterest (go to place for inspiration!) and started thinking of a space theme for an Altoid tin. I drew round a tin I had in my drawer at work and did a mini sketch of a 1950’s style rocket. I liked where this was going!
Working with Altoid tins in the past, I found that putting clay over the entire thing doesn’t always work and wanted to try spray painting them. I learned pretty quickly that you should invest in some metal primer if you don’t want the paint to scratch off.
I decided to used my rocket drawing as the basis for my tin lid. I mixed together Fimo clay in black, purple, translucent, green and stardust to get a blend similar to a galaxy. I rolled it through the pasta machine to stretch the colours out rather than completely mix them and placed this on the lid. Next I cut out some basic shapes in silver clay for my rocket, using a deep blue and aqua to define parts of the rocket ship. I used a pointed tool to make some indents and added some small gold pieces for detail. I used a fluorescent clay to make the stars which I thought would be add dimension.
After baking and leaving the tin to cool, I sprayed it with metal primer and left it for a few hours. I then did several coats of black spray paint before deciding what to do with my tin.
I like to give myself creative challenges, and sometimes I think why am I doing this to myself!? But having seen some beautiful polymer clay sea scenes that include different sea creatures, I thought it was time to stretch myself and make a bigger version of my sea Altoids tins.
The first thing I needed to do was find a suitable container for my mini reef. I didn’t want it to be too heavy or deep so it was easy to see all the details inside. After looking round a few charity shops, I found a large bowl in the supermarket for £2 – bargain!
For references and inspiration I looked through Citizens of the Sea, a beautiful book recommended to me by a friend with has the same obsession with sea creatures! I also love Pinterest for ideas and YouTube for videos on techniques with polymer clay.
Now I had all my materials, I gathered all the different coloured Fimo together I wanted to use in the coral reef. I also used white sand for the sea bed, some really shells and resin. I bought some rubbing alcohol and found it is one of the best (and cheapest) things to clean your clay of lint and dust while you’re working, and can be used to smooth the clay.
I started the coral reef in the bowl by adding clay around the edges, which was a mixture of brown, yellow and mother of pearl. Looking at a few pictures on my phone for reference as I made the different coral shapes, I worked intuitively as I went along and found this to be my favourite approach to this project. I didn’t draw out any plan of how I wanted it to look and I think this helped with making something organic and natural.
My tile for working with clay
Starting the coral – taking ages!
As the different shapes and pieces were so small, this became quite a time consuming project. I had to take frequent breaks over the weeks that I made it to save my hands from getting to rough. At first I was going to have one shark and maybe an octopus in the reef, and to get the scale at least semi accurate, I put the bowl to one side after doing a little bit to make the shark. I was very happy with the way he turned out for my first attempt.
When I decided to start doing something with this old key-box I found in a charity shop, I had no idea how well it would turn out.
The original design was pretty horrible but I knew this little box had potential and waited to think what I could do with it.I wanted to do something clay related, but it isn’t very deep so wasn’t sure what function it could have.
What a nasty picture!
As I love this bird card my sister got me last year I decided that would be my inspiration for the front panel. I took the nasty old hinges and clasp off the box and set to work on the front, mixing gradients of green for a lush background. I stamped the background once it covered the front, although a lot of this got covered up. I loved blended colours in polymer clay at the moment so this was a great project of the bird with vibrant feathers in a mixture of blues, greens, yellows and pinks.
Cutting the shapes was a little tricky, as was layering them over each other. I think I could have done it a bit better in hindsight. Once I had the bird shape and tail in a place I liked, I started thinking about different plants and flowers around it. I wanted the bird to look as if it were in a tropical paradise. I mixed together different greens, added snakes of clay for dimension and used canes to add variety to the foliage.
It may be getting darker and colder now, but I love October and I love Halloween! I am a sucker for all Halloween things in the shops at the moment – toffee apples, plastic spiders to scare people, green and ghoulish sweets!
I decided to make some cute Halloween themed charms which I made into earrings. These are now up in my Etsy shop. I also made this cute pumpkin ornament which I love. I found a tutorial online and adapted it a little to make mine. I plan to make a whole pumpkin patch!
I’m still making little creature tins and tried to made a gradient octopus, from a translucent green into copper. He was being a bit awkward though, I think his head is a strange shape! i added the resin last night and woke up to find the tin had stuck to my drawers! Whooops! I spent 10 minutes trying to carefully pries it free with one of my clay tools.
I’ve been super busy this week with work but here are a few things I’ve been making recently. I attempted a rainbow cake, although I used translucent clays and they went darker once baked. I might try this again with better colours. The translucent colours did work really well when I made these two octopus in tins – how cute are they! I love them. I used sand, shells and resin to create a sea effect and made tiny corals and star fish with clay. I am so pleased with how they came out. I love doing sea themes and am planning a bigger piece to begin soon.
I have also been making some tiny fairies as a request from my sister and giving them some shimmer with perfect pearls. She wants to make a fun jam jar project with some children at a nursery she works at so I will make some fairy houses and toadstools to go with these.
This is a shorter post but I have also been working on my YouTube channel and plan to make some more videos. Will keep everyone updated!
This is my recent project of love and hate! it took me two weeks to make this thing and look how massive it is!
After watching Little Shop of Horrors recently the idea of having my own Audrey 2 lodged in my brain. I’d been messing around with polymer clays for a few weeks I thought ‘yeah, this will be a great project, making my own plant!’ – Not realising the amount of time, materials and effort it would actually take to make it!
However, when I obsess over a new project I tend to jump in and I started my research by looking for some pictures of Audrey 2 and making a list of materials I would need to make him.
As I mulled over how I was going to make this plant, I did some pretty basic sketches of the parts to make, but because I seem to like making things hard for myself, I decided my plant would have its mouth open! Mainly because I liked the teeth and thought they would be cool to make.
I watched some videos on YouTube about modelling using Super Sculpey and armatures and bought a new book on polymer clay called Polymer Clay Master Class, while also going out and gathering my materials.
This is what I have been doing recently. Playing with polymer clay and resin. I saw a cute tutorial on YouTube showing how to make a koi pond in a tin using Fimo and resin and this is my first attempt. I found some moss after I did this one so will make another one soon.
I have also been using moulds for my resin, using it in tiny jars and bottles and recently making these monsters using a foil armature inside, I currently have this week off so am starting a new clay project which I hope turns out well! Check it out here soon