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Hello and welcome to this week’s Currently Crafting where I’m sharing a look at what’s on my proverbial crafting table! I realized that November two years ago is when we got ‘serious’ about experimenting with polymer clay, so today I’m sharing a couple of recent polymer clay projects and a few design tips.
My husband and I spent a weekend afternoon shortly before LG was born playing with clay and, while he also made a couple of Halloween pieces that seem odd to share now, we both ended up making a piece featuring a flamingo. I was inspired by two of my favorite polymer clay artists, and he was inspired by the Florida Lottery symbol. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The style of my piece was very influenced by the work of Kay Miller of My Joyful Moments designs. Her Etsy store sells out super quickly after each update, so the best place to see her polymer clay and totally awesome cards is Instagram. I know that creating pieces inspired by other artists can be controversial, so I just wanted to let everyone know her blog specifically says to feel free to create your own designs inspired by her work. It’s always important to consider the wishes and preferences of an artist whenever you create something inspired by their work.
The way I actually constructed many of the elements was influenced by another pc artist I love, Mandarin Moon. We’ve purchased a couple of her tutorials on Etsy and while the flamingo piece is nothing at all like her work, I definitely used a lot of her tips while constructing the embellishments and selecting colors.
I intend to turn the flamingo medallion into a magnet that will probably be a Christmas present. At least, I made it with Christmas and a specific person in mind! I may like it too much to give it away…
If you’re interested in working with polymer clay or improving your designs, here are a few things I’ve learned in the past two years:
Use a range of values. Just like a painting or photograph, most pc pieces look best with a range of color value (lights, mid-tones, and darks). I tend to use mostly mid-tones with a few lighter and darker bits thrown in for contrast and interest.
Plan your colors ahead of time. Take a look at a color wheel to help you visualize what colors go well together, but remember that complements do not mix directly. Yellow and purple are complements, which means they look well together. However, physically mixing complementary colors, whether it’s paint, clay, or another medium, results in muddy, dull colors.
Don’t get discouraged. That flamingo too me a zillion tries to get just right! Polymer clay doesn’t dry out so if you’re not happy with your piece, just take it apart and try again. You’ll be glad you did.
Don’t stop learning! Even if you’ve been working with a medium for years chances are good you can still learn new techniques or experiment with something you’ve never tried before. We love free tutorials and YouTube, but we have also purchased a few tutorials to learn a really interesting technique. Investing in education is always worth it. 🙂
Whenever you follow someone else’s tutorial or pattern, make sure to read up on their policies regarding how you can use the finished item. Some artists are totally okay with you selling items made from their techniques/tutorials/patterns while others are not. Please be respectful.
Do you have any tips to add regarding designing and planning pieces, wether they’re clay, beadwork, mixed media, or something else?