Often at art retreats, attendees do trades. It can be something small that represents you and your art (a special bags of ephemera, an ATC, a pin or button, you get the idea). Well, if I am going to Artfest I have to jump in all the way. Trades? Of course!
But with trades are the questions, how many to make, am I good enough, will they be well received, what can I make that is unique to me. Oh the pressure!
The fact is I want to trade with as many people as possible. All the little bits and pieces will represent the people that attended the retreat, the new friends hopefully to be made and the fun that I know we are going to have! No one is judging (I hope)!
The list of questions and indecision is really endless, so you have to turn off the voices in your head for a bit and just move forward.
I decided to make a polymer clay charm for my Artfest trades. I sketched ideas, then realized how difficult they would be. Took some time to simplify. And even sat on the ideas for a while.
My plan was to create the charm using an old technique called millefiori. It is an Italian term used in glasswork, where canes are used to create a “thousand flowers”. Literally a design is made that runs through the length of a tube or cane, so that every slice is the same. We use this same technique in polymer clay. It allows you to create a design once and get multiple and hopefully consistent slices from it. It is pretty easy to visualize when you are creating a simple shape or flower, but I needed to create a design that included letters and numbers???
Success, in large part, lies in the ability to break images down into small components. So I took it letter by letter. Here is my ‘A’.
I added each letter as I went along.
I added the date, some flowers using similar colors from the retreat brochure and wrapped it in a black and white stripe. The final cane is fairly large and needed to be reduced.
I reduced my cane until it was nearly 2 feet long. As you are pulling, and rolling and tugging, you are hoping that the design inside isn’t getting distorted. You then start slicing and baking!
I am pretty happy with my polymer charm. I hope it is well received, because I plan to trade a lot!! I promise to share the bounty of my trades with you when I return!!