Friday, February 26, 2010

Sunflower Pendant Necklace from Polymer Clay

The optimistic sunflower is one of my favorite flowers. This necklace was originally made as a gift for a friend who lost almost all her possessions when her house burned to the ground.  I wanted to make her something hopeful. It is handmade, entirely from PREMO polymer clay. 

 The pendant was constructed on a "sandwich" base made of two identical flat circular 1 1/4" diameter pieces of pieces of clay (a thickness of 5/64" or Atlas PM#4) containing portions of the broad ends of the three heart-shaped leafs to hold them in place.  A channel was formed formed horizontally between the two pieces near the top of the pendant to act as a channel for the stringing wire by curing the pendant base with a straight piece of 20 gauge wire that was coated with ArmorAll and to be removed after curing. The two pieces of the base "sandwich" were then "glued" together with liquid polyclay.

A petal shaped plug of golden yellow clay was hand-formed and then thin slices were cut off to create the petals. Once the raw petals were thinned at the tips, the characteristic sunflower veining was added by drawing them on with the tip of a piercing pin and the tips were pinched together they were added to the cured base.

Dozens of "Bulls-eye"canes were made of of browns and golden yellow and then reduced to tiny diameters. Once reduced, they were combined together making a round tubular cane to mimic the brown center of the sunflower which eventually becomes  the delicious sunflowers we love to eat. A thin slice of this “seed cane” was added to the center of the flower and the pendant was cured. The ladybugs were studio made with polymer clay and acrylic paint, dabbing on the tiny dots with a "used up" Micron .3 pen tip (and a 3X magnifier!)

 The handmade cobalt colored beads range in size from 4mm to 15mm. Some of them were appliqued with thin slices of a sunflower cane based on a design by Sue Heaser. The canes were meticulously smoothed onto the beads using a 1/4 inch acrylic rod. After curing, the beads were sanded through four grits of sandpaper, then two-part buffed and four coats of heat-set varnish were applied, all making for a shiny glass-like finish that mimics Italian Millefiori glass beads.

Copies of the newly re-designed necklace and matching earrings are available at my on-line shop, MelodyODesigns at ArtFire 

You might also enjoy viewing my Sunflower Collar Necklace.