Jewelry Design Challenge: Fire Element

Jewelry Design Challenge Fire Element NecklaceThe element “fire” was the theme for week four of April’s “elements” jewelry design challenge on the Self Representing Artists in Jewelry Design blog. I’ve been on a roll this month, making my own beads and focals from polymer clay for these challenges.

The element of fire is both creator and destroyer. When I think of that duality of destruction and creation for fire, I immediately picture volcanoes creating islands at sea. Liquid fire, in the form of magma, spews up from the molten center of the earth, creating new land masses at it is cooled by the ocean waters. 

I knew I wanted to design something that evoked a feeling of lava flows, with the glowing red liquid magma and the smoldering black igneous rocks.  Right away I thought of adapting a polymer clay crackle technique I used to make faux turquoise. Linda Moseley’s Masterful Faux Made Easy tutorial shows how to create realistic faux versions of gemstones that have dark matrices. I had a feeling it would be the perfect technique to create my lava. And I was right.

polymer clay pendants

Lava-effect polymer clay pendants.

I made an assortment of pendants and focals from my lava recipe. The trouble with making pendants and beads without an actual jewelry design in mind is I either end up with too many choices, or I wish I had done something different.

In this case, I really wish I had made some “flame” shapes in a smaller size, and as mirror images. Because they would make fabulous statement earrings.

No worry. I can always whip up another batch for the earrings. Meanwhile, I have enough options from this batch to create my design in time for the challenge submission deadline.

polymer clay lentil beads

Lava-effect swirled lentil beads from polymer clay.

In addition to that batch of pendants, I also used scraps from my lava recipe to make some lentil beads in assorted sizes.

Again, if I’d had a jewelry design in mind ahead of time, I would have made them in graduated sizes and pierced them differently, so I could string them as a necklace.

Live and learn. And plan to try that next time. There’s always more clay, even if there’s never enough time.

In the end, I chose one of my lentil beads as the focal and paired it with some actual lava rock from my bead stash. I also experimented with a different bead shape, and made a handful of little lava covered button beads.  Here’s my “Molten” necklace design to represent the fire element.

fire element polymer clay beaded necklace

“Molten” polymer clay focal and beads necklace.

When assembling this necklace I wished I had pierced the lentil bead toward the top rather than through the center. So I could have put it directly on the bead wire and have it hang slightly below the center of the other beads. But since I hadn’t thought of that design idea in advance (next time!) and the bead was already center-pierced, I made a wired pendant bail. Which of course then gave me an excuse to add a red cracked glass beaded dangle. I seem to have a weakness for beaded dangles.

That’s it for the four elements of April’s jewelry design challenge. If I have time before the end of the month I’ll try to pull together a final design that incorporates all the elements. If not, well, the theme for May is Greek gods and goddesses and I’ll be dusting off my mythology books and possibly playing with more polymer clay. I hope you’ll follow this blog (by RSS feed, email subscription, or feed servers linked in the right column under my photo), follow me on Facebookjoin me on Google+, and tune in to my Twitter feed to see what Paisley Lizard designs next.