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Another small detour

My lady and I had a complicated start to our relationship, so we picked a day to call our “anniversary” and it’s coming up. She has a fascination with Disney Villans, with Ursula the Sea Witch being her favorite. She does the “Poor Unfortunate Souls” number regularly at Karaoke nights, and often dresses the part. What could be a better accent than some Flotsam and Jetsam earrings?

For character earrings, I thought my best bet would be polymer clay. I’ve worked with it before, of course, but mostly to make quick “fake gems” and other crafty bits. This was a unique project and was definitely a challenge to my sculpting skills and my old tired eyes! (Miniatures are not for cataract folks!)

So my first attempt didn’t go so great, but I documented the “failure” really well. I thought if I put a wire through the whole body, it would hold up the sculptures, and I could build around it.

I quickly learned that the Kraft paper I had on my work surface was going to cause issues, so I found some bits of release paper from the vinyl cutting project a few days ago and used that to work on. The clay released from that surface rather well. Next, I built the eels around the fins, and gave them faces and some swirly movement.

Then I moved them to the oven for a bake.

When I removed them, I immediately noticed several issues. First of all, they were FAR too heavy to be worn as earrings. (I had thought that the clay might become lighter upon curing as most water-based clays do. But it’s not water based, so…duh.) Secondly, I realized I had forgotten a few key details before baking. And third, the wire armature was poking out from the body. Well, heck. Back to the molding board!

Fortunately, I still had plenty of materials. I began again, this time with a simpler plan, and quickly crafted these smaller, but more detailed, guys. A couple of holes and wire, and I had earrings!

One thing that is hard to embrace as an artist is the number of things you are going to throw out. Some things just don’t live up to your vision, or your standards of craftsmanship, or your ability, or whatever. It’s okay, though. These things are NEVER failures. They are training. Everything I learned in the first attempt made the second attempt smoother, better, and easier.

Oh, and if you plan to do ANY small size sculpture, get yourself one of these:

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