It is that time of year where there are LOTS of things planned and schedules to meet. I am attending Fandango again, a polymer clay retreat in central Florida hosted by the Orlando Area Polymer Clay Guild (www.oapcguild.com). Actually there are now 7 of us from the Miami area headed up there the first week of May. The OAPCG does a great job of organizing this event!!
Every year they pick a theme for the event and they have all sorts of ways to participate in the fun from brown bag swaps to bottles of hope to challenges. This year’s theme is ‘wonderland’ and you are to interpret this any way you want. I am working on my bead/charm exchange and decided to go for the Mad Hatter’s hat. Something cute, but simple . . . . I need to do about 65 of them!
In addition, there are two challenges where you are to take an item and do anything with it but not what it was intended for. Both items are from last years goodie bag. I am using a wooden bangle, which by the rules, can be ANYTHING but a bangle. I happen to get two of them last year and started thinking about what I could do with them.
I am pretty good at coming up with ideas, especially ones that I have no experience to support. I then blindly go about my execution and usually learn a bunch. Sometimes I learn that I never want to do that again or, more often, I learn a process or technique that I can use elsewhere.
So my idea for the bangles was to use them as an armature, creating a hollow form that could be used as a coin bank. Initially I thought about making piggy banks, but then the ‘wonderland’ theme struck home and it was obvious . . . . I had two bangles . . . . . I had to make tweedledee and tweedledum!!
So I had my idea, my inspiration photo, and my bangles. Now what?!?! I started by making domes for both the front and back of the bangle to round out the bodies. I figured I could cut a slit into the back of the body to accept the coins, but how do you get them out??? I wanted this to be functional. Hmmmmm . . . . . . hinges . . . . .a cork somewhere . . . . . then I thought inro box! I could have one of the domes (the back one) slide in and out of the body.
I have never sculpted before, so it was interesting to try and recreate the head and faces. They are fairly simple . . . . no hair . . . . . no neck . . . . . no eyebrows . . . . not a lot of color and features all squished into one area, but the nuances were tricky. Luckily clay can be re-rolled and you can start again . . . . and again! And the arms, ugh, proportion!
One of the keys to this project was figuring out which step cames first. If I wasn’t sure what came next, I would walk away and let it sit for a bit so I could think it through.
For example, the striped shirt comes up under the edge of the head and certainly under the arms, so the body was done first, then the head, then the shirt, then the pants and then the arms.
A little step out of my comfort zone, a stretch of my engineering skills and TA-DA!!!
You can see my inspiration photo in the background. Was it Picasso that said creativity has to find you working? Well I have been working. Some steps were executed better than others. But it was a fun experience, I learned a TON and I am pleased with the final result. They will be a nice addition to my studio shelves.
Now, what’s next?!?!