06 July 2015

More Creativity!

I've been neglecting not only the artistic creation (haven't been making too many new tiara designs) but the blog has been getting forgotten as well. The last post was from February! So sorry.

I buy things I am partial to, and I found these beautiful titanium-coated quartz crystal beads, so of course I bought blue and turquoise ones. The first piece I made with them was several months ago, and it's an asymmetrical headband. I've seen this type of headband in fashion magazines quite a lot recently, and wanted to jump on the design bandwagon. This one is a bit more elaborate, and is a traditional tiara design, with the pieces wired onto a very nice comb that I found off of Ebay, of all places! To fill in the gaps, I wired on little crystals in the same color around the base of the quartz.

The piece itself sold quite quickly, which was awesome. The biggest encouragement for me is when I make a sale, it gives me so much motivation to create more!

Red Queen Sceptre

Meanwhile, I've been wanted to get into the accessories market for a while. Many other princess-themed Etsy shops sell not only cute tiaras, but the wands to go with them.

Naturally, I went with the Red Queen theme, and made a simple gold and red wand that is about 14 inches long. It is made completely from wire and rhinestones, with some other craft findings. Definitely a lot of potential in this market to do some crazy stuff, so I've got the wand/sceptre idea in my head for future designs.

And of course, a tiara that matches well with the sceptre. This is actually a similar tiara to three others I have made in the past, what, 4 years? This is a made to order version, and I had the ingenious idea to not use a real watch face (where it can not only be expensive to find a watch to use the face from, but also consistency with what watch face is used and the color scheme, etc.). Instead, I used my handy Shrinky Dinks and made a watch face! So I get my classy Roman Numerals face that I love so much, and I can keep each rendition consistent.

Made to Order Queen of Hearts Tiara

05 July 2015

Love for an Artist

When I was in high school, a new bridge opened up in Tacoma, WA. It had been designed by an artist named Dale Chihuly, and included a popular installation by him called a "Persian Ceiling." Naturally, I fell in love with Dale Chihuly's work after that. His objects are colorful, bright, textured, transparent, translucent, and he works mostly in glass. Glass is a material I haven't much experience with, except for one 3-hour long lampwork glass bead class at Pratt Fine Arts in Seattle, WA.

Sunset Persian Flowers Tiara

In Seattle, there is an entire exhibition dedicated to Mr Chihuly's artwork, which makes sense because he does currently live in the city and was born and raised in the area. The pièce de résistance of the exhibition is a 100-foot long chandelier in the glasshouse. There are over 1,000 individual pieces of glass attached to a steel frame. The glass objects are very flower like, and are from the artist's Persian series, which he started back in 1986. The series is characterized by swirls of colored and clear glass, spider-web like texture, and colored glass around the entire edge of the piece called a lip wrap.

Not being a glass artist myself, and not having the resources to delve into creating a glass tiara that was inspired by this amazing chandelier, I set about trying to figure out what I could use instead to make those delicate Persian designs. First, I tried Shrinky Dinks, but the issue is that when heated in the oven, the flower shapes shrank too much, and actually ended up much too thick. They also didn't have the characteristic crimpy shapes that Chihuly's Persians have.

After a long pause, I then decided to try polymer clay. My sister had bought a large block of translucent white polymer clay. I made swirled canes with colored clay and translucent clay (similar to making a jelly roll), sliced off thin pieces, then carefully put these through a clay pasta roller. The pieces were ridiculously thin, which was perfect, and I carefully draped and shaped these over round balls of aluminum foil that were set out on a cookie sheet. I baked them in the oven for a good long time (that's the trick to baking polymer clay!), and out of the oven, I glazed them with polymer clay varnish.

Where does the tiara end and the chandelier begin? At Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, WA.

I then had to hand paint the characteristic "lip wrap" on each one, so I chose yellow, red, and deep blue acrylic paints to do so. It was then simple to make a wire frame, glue each flower shape onto the frame, and voila!, it is absolutely perfect!

The tiara has about 25 of these delicate clay flower shapes!