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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: