Jan 30, 2016

Gypsy Nights or how to use scrap clay

This interesting story dates back in 2010. I was working with polymer clay and foils making some simple and small size jewelry pieces. It was an attempt to follow a feedback I got from few customers. I used one color of clay, Lisa Pavelka's foil (learn how to here: http://bit.ly/20cOsLh), custom made/commercial stamps and made several jewelry sets, pendants, earrings and rings.
I finished them with Magic glos, UV resin, also Lisa Pavelka's product.
Here is just one of these sets:

While working on this project I saved the scrap. At the time, I bought foils and even FIMO clay online from abroad so it was quite an investment. Also I admit that I am very stingy when it comes to polymer clay and I try to use every bit of it. But working with foils it is a bit tricky. There are uneven ends or parts not quite covered or stamp is not deep enough.... you know how it goes.
This is a part of scrap clay I ended up with:

Even one look at this pile made me depressed. So I started cutting off those thin parts that absolutely can't be used anymore, making some "real" scrap clay. Then I had a great idea: I'll make a collage! Some of the pieces were small and uneven shape so I could cut the rest of them into similar pieces.
I decided to use black FIMO clay for the background, ran a sheet through pasta machine and started layering small pieces with foil into a collage.

Well... it was not a brilliant idea as I thought so in the beginning. It seemed fairly simple BUT some pieces of clay were resting on a baking paper for 3 days so they were brittle and not all the pieces were the same thickness. It took me a while to combine softer pieces of clay with stiffer ones, to combine colors and to make all the seams disappear.
At the end my collage looked like this:

Today, I would make sure to run all the pieces through the same thickness on pasta machine and I would probably put on some great music to help me relax through the process. LOL

My finished collage was awesome! I fell in love with it and I couldn't stop looking at it. My scrap pile was that amount in the back and I could live with that. I also had a plan how to use it later which helped my mind relax.

Next logical step was to use as much of a collage I could and not make much scrap. It took some time to think and combine too. LOL These are the pieces before baking.

I used my favorite resin Magic glos, for a finish on top of baked jewelry components and I made tiny jewelry collection. I really loved it. It was colorful, joyful and uninhibited so I named it Gypsy Nights.

Needles to say, I sold all the Gypsy Nights pieces apart from one necklace that I kept for myself. Some of the ‘simple and small size jewelry sets’ are still somewhere in the studio. Lesson learned: make jewelry that brings joy and makes you happy! Trust your instincts. Customer feedback is valuable but not always spot on correct.

I love this idea because it can be applied to almost any scrap amount of almost any technique. Metallic scrap pieces would look gorgeous in a collage or extruded scrap clay, layered canes sheets, mokume gane sheets etc. Then there is always a possibility for color combos, cutting similar shapes, laying scrap in a mosaic manner etc.

It might work even for one pendant for example if you are stingy like me or playful or want to try just for fun.
I hope you will be inspired to make something beautiful. At least that was my intention for sharing this story.