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Mar 12, 2011

How I made my reproduction of Dali's "Fertility" painting in polymer clay

Once I have visited Dali's museum in Florida. And since then I am totally in love with Dali's genius! I often just take an album with his art and look through when I lack some creative inspiration.. This is how my Dali Clocks were born and this is how I came up with an idea to make a Fertility pendant. I was looking through online gallery of Dali works and stumbled upon a painting which I've never seen before and which amazed me by the glow that came from it. Here you can see this painting. I knew that same moment that I had to make something like that in polymer clay! And I did!
Here you see the result of thought and work that I had to go through.

A pendant which is indeed a wearable art! This pendant is made fully out of polymer clay. Not a drop of paint was used! The woman's figure is glowing out if the surface of the pendant because of mica shift effect. Tiny mica particles in polymer clay are lined up in the same direction and then distorted in a specific way according to the design which creates a flat surface with "holographic" image on it. Pendant measures approx. 2 3/4" by 2" or 7cm by 5cm. It IS a statement piece of jewelry! The hole on the back of the pendant is large enough to put a variety of strings through, it measures 1/16" by 1/2" or 4mm by 10mm.

And now if you're curious of how I made it - here is a brief process that I've photographed. I am sorry about the poor quality of the pictures.. but it appears to be more difficult to be working with polymer clay and making pictures with dirty hands than I've thought :)

1. So, the first step, I've prepared all the necessary instruments: clays of different color, paper clip, needles, sharp knife and pasta machine. Well, and of course there is a working surface :)

2. I've conditioned my golden clay and have run it through pasta machine probably 20 times in the same direction. It is done to layer all the tiny mica elements in this clay in the same direction.

3. I took my "crippled" paper clip and sketched the image on a flat surface of the golden clay.

Ok, I can already see how beautiful this piece will be :)

4. Now I have engrave the image into the clay, I have to really press it in to distort the mica elements according to the sketch.

You can see that this image is much deeper than the sketch.

5. Well, it's time to see if our mica shift effect worked. In order to do that, I have to cut very thin slices of the top layer of the clay, I have to remove all the unevenness and make it be a flat sheet of clay again. For that I like to put my clay on the bottle. It makes it easier to cut of the thin top layers.

You can see - although not very well that there is a picture revealed on the top of the clay. And this sheet of clay is almost flat, so the image that you see is formed by mica elements!

6. Now I have to make the element that goes inside the opening in the body. For that, I will take blue, yellow and white pearl clays and make a skinner blend (gradual blend)

7. Ok, and now I have to cut an opening in woman's figure (nobody got hurt during this procedure lol) and make sure I have a good looking insert for it..

I've also ran a sheet of black clay through pasta machine on the thin setting to make a nice even back for the pendant. I've put all 3 layers together.

8. Now I have to sculpt the wheat that will go into the opening, and the spikes that pierce the body, and the drops of blood. Not much to it, just a very precise work.

9. And now what's left is just a finishing process of cutting out a pendant in a shape that I like, finishing the sides of it, baking, sanding and covering with glaze. I didn't make pictures of these processes because they are rather boring and I wasn't trying to make a tutorial, just a quick story to let you know how this beauty was born.
And the result is stunning!

If you really like this piece, you can buy it here.

See you later!

Mar 4, 2011

Tips for making jewelry pictures for Etsy

Wow.. this is a tricky task especially if you're on a budget like I am.. I have tried many different things! And as I am collecting my experiences, my pictures start looking better! Ok, so I want to share few tricks now that may be of help to YOU as well.
1. Use Macro setting on your camera. No matter how old it is. I tried and made decent pictures with my 7 yo camera! Make sure to take at least a one good close up photo to show the prettiest detail on your jewelry!
2. Use White Balance on your camera. This feature may help to adjust light and yellowishness of the pictures depending on the conditions of the photography setting.
3. Be careful with a background you chose. Try with plain neutral colors first and than add one or few props. Make sure the props and background don't destract or blend in with your jewelry. Remember that on Etsy potential buyers see your picture as a small icon and you want them to see your jewelry and not as much your props! If you're photographing on fabric, make sure it is ironed! No matter how good your necklace is if the picture is taking with it laying on a wrinkled tablecloth, it will look lousy.
4. Try to take pictures with natural light. Indirect sunlight seems to work the best. Direct sunlight will give you too many sharp shades. Soft indirect light of the sun will help you to keep your jewelry looking on pictures just as it looks in reality.
5. Sometimes you need just a little bit more light if you're making pictures under indirect sunlight (or other set up). You cannot use the flash because it will cause too much glare if your jewelry pieces are shiny and polished. Lamp will have the same effect as a flash.. so what do you do?.. Use the flash BUT cover it with a thick layer of tissue paper (paper towel, toilet paper..) It will allow enough light through but won't cause the glare! Cool, isn't it?..
6. I've tried making a lightbox with a clear plastic storage container. And it works well! Just take a container, turn it on its side - and voila! Add a background, lights and have fun! You may want to add some paper tissues on the sides of the container if it allows too much light through.
7. Use basic Picasa tools to adjust light and contrast and to crop your pictures! Picasa is simple and free to download. Ok, this is it for now. I am still working on improving my photos but this should get you started! I will add more later. And for right now - just as an example of how my pictures start to look:

Feb 23, 2011

Russian Etsy Team

I am pretty excited now as just yesterday I've found Russian team on Etsy! Well, "Russian Artists" team. Not only that, I've been accepted in, too! So now I am exploring what's going on, what the rules are.. what do I have to do.. and stuff. But for sure I feel little bit more homey on Etsy now. Even the fact that you can see Russian language there makes it more comfortable for me to just be there, in a world of thousands of artisans and crafters. Here's a treasury that was created by one of the members. It includes all the members' works. You can take a peak and comment if you like it:

Next week they will have another treasury and I've signed up to participate! I guess I better turn on my imagination :D

Jan 29, 2011

hats, capelet - crocheted

After working so much with polymer clay, my hands were itchy to crochet something.. And as I've bought tons of yarn recently, I've started making some nice things with it.. Here are few hats and a capelet. 2 hats are made some times ago, and one is new. I've listed them on

Jan 22, 2011

What is Polymer Clay?..

I had some friends over and showed them my polymer clay jewelry. And I was asked questions that made it clear to me - my friends thought that I'm buying the beads and elements and only stringing them together.. Nope. I am making my beads, pendants and so forth. I guess, still few people know what polymer clay actually is. I also guess that I should put out here some pictures of the process of creating beads for my visitors to see how beads are actually made.. The most common question is "So, you paint these things, don't you?". No, I don't. In fact, I almost never use any paint at all. All the patterns and pictures you see are made only using the polymer clay of different colors. Often I do mix colors myself to achieve the specific color that I want.. But I do not paint my beads. So.. just in few words: polymer clay is a pliable media, kind of like a play dough. You can play with it, create different textures, different patterns, shapes.. the difference is that you BAKE polymer clay in your oven and it hardens! It hardens so well that it becomes very durable and unless you want to break it and really try to do so, it will stay just as it's been made for years. Polymer clay by itself is not afraid of water, but does not like chemicals and oils. And if it's covered with glaze (which I usually do - for extra protection), then it is afraid of water, so you should not bathe in your necklace or keep your earrings in the bathroom all the time. There are different brands of polymer clay, which differ by their baking temperature, durability and purpose. I am using Premo by Skulpey polymer clay. This clay is created for artists and is very durable, and also flexible. So if the piece is thin, it will bend, but not break. You can read more on Wikipedia or anywhere else. There is a lot of information out there! See you later!

Jan 21, 2011

New goodies

Been busy for a while and have not posted anything. Don't feel good about it - so here I am, with few goodies, new and older!

New necklace "Ocean Depth". I've made cabochons, beaded over them with seed beads and then incorporated some dark blue glass beads and black onyx beads into this necklace..  It looks pretty mysterious and fancy :)

This necklace was a gift to Auntie. She loved it :)

Poppy pin for mom in law:

Military Kitteh - one of the recent custom orders. He will go to Afghanistan, just like his brother Patriotic Kitteh before him. I hope this one, too, will return home safely. I hate wars.

Fiona wearing her BF's coat. Polo, our neighbor's dog, is a pitbul and is Fiona's BF :) They asked me to make a coat for him for Christmas :)

And - as a bonus - the home pic of Fiona on my lap. She does sincerely believe that she's a lapdog, uh-huh! "Si, mama, jo soy chihuahua! Mui bonita!"

Well - see you soon! I am planning on doing some home finances and then - crocheting, a lot! After all, I did buy that $300 worth of yarn for some reason, didn't I? :)

Jan 5, 2011

I am now on!

I've listened to the advise of quite few people and came to the conclusion that it won't hurt to have my own Etsy shop. I've actually registered who knows when.. over a year ago.. but just started adding items there. So if you feel like checking it out - . Though keep in mind that items on my site are cheaper as I don't have to pay any commissions ;) But as my site is now in the developing stage, there are more pictures available in my etsy shop.

Jan 3, 2011

I don't have to be perfect!

I know that one of the things people are sorry most of all when they are facing death is that they did not live the lives that THEY wanted but rather the lives that somebody else expected them to live. I've come to realization of this fact and accepted it. I mean, I've come to realization that life is too short to waste on living somebody else's life and it is too short to spend precious time on something I don't like if I don't have to deal with it. Even if I DO have to deal with it - I should find a way to change it so that I DON"T have to. Providing there is a way, of course.
I've started school and it was obvious from the very beginning that I'd be a good student. So, everybody started to expect me to be good. And although I naturally do learn easily, I was driven partially by these expectations of others and stressed myself out too much because I knew that I "had" to be good. I had to be perfect. Although it helped me in the future to have a full scholarship for college education, it also had brought too much stress.. I still have nightmares where I have to go to school and for some reason - oh no!! - I haven't prepared my homework.. I knew that "good" students would have successful careers.. that they are supposed to be this and that, and most likely to love math and whatever else.. well, if good students do that, I had to, too. I was a good student after all, wasn't I? Well, here is the scariest thing. I've got MS in Accounting. Because in the field of accounting you certainly can make a good career and be successful and make money, right? I've worked as an accountant. I absolutely hated it. No, not fair enough. I could stand it. But just barely. And with all that I knew that I was supposed to enjoy it (after all, how was I supposed to make a career in something I didn't enjoy??). But I could not and did not enjoy it! (And by the way, I don't care much about the math. Oh no, I've just admitted it to myself! Oh...) And that was tough. Knowing that you HAVE to be perfect in doing something and not being able to do so. Since I moved to US, I even tried to find a job in accounting field! Or to find any office position. Couldn't. it's tough enough to find a job for an immigrant, and even more so-in economy like this. So, I am staying at home.. in a meanwhile listening to the stories like "oh, she's only 25 yo but a CPA already!" and others alike. And thinking to myself that "Oh my.. I've already lost 3 years of my career life.. I am so NOT perfect... while everybody else is doing something I am just sitting at home and enjoying my crafts.. What a loser I am". Tough, very tough on my self esteem. BUT!
But.. Suddenly I came to realization that non of that really matters. What is my goal in life?.. It is to be happy and not to spoil anybody else's life. Or even make somebody's life better.. Well, let's see. Would I be any happier if I had a successful accounting career?.. Considering I really don't care much about accounting? I dooon't think so. Am I happy doing my crafts? Oh YES! I made a life of at least one person very happy. And I am doing my best to not spoil everybody else's life. 2 things I enjoy the most in my life.. no, 3 things: being with my hubby, no matter what we're doing, even if it's grocery shopping; crafting (CRAFTING!!!) and traveling - with hubby, of course. I try to do all 3 of them as much as possible. And I am happy. So.. who cares about being "perfect" the way the rest of the world is expecting you to be? Or even the way YOU THINK the rest of the world is expecting you to be? I don't. Not anymore. I will do family finances because after all, I am the accountant in this family. But I won't enjoy it. And I don't have to pretend that I do. Really, I don't have to pretend it even with myself. I can be real with all my imperfect self. I am learning to see my real self and love it. Honestly, I do enjoy it so much. Nobody will give me marks about my abilities anymore. After all, it all comes down to "Are you happy". Yes, I AM. And I intend to stay this way. And nobody will be telling me how I am supposed to live and what I am supposed to be. I am the one who will decide it. I am the one who has to be happy with myself. I am the one who - hopefully - won't have to be sorry on a death bed. I am the one to make a CHOICE.