Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Hound Dog Necklace joins the Cats and the angst of his prototype birthing process.

The various Hound Dog pieces are available for sale from MelodyODesigns at Etsy
A winsome French blue and lavender Hound Dog pendant necklace that converts to a brooch is the newest addition to our polymer clay jewelry menagerie. After making cat jewelry and ornaments for many years, it only seemed fair that the doggie segment of the population should be honored as well. I've tried numerous times over the years to make a dog companion for the kitties and had always failed before. I think that was because a cat is pretty much a cat, but there are so many breeds of dogs in all sizes and configurations it's hard to make a generic dog. What I did this time was to design a fantasy dog with no particular breed in mind and components of many breeds all mixed together to make him a real Heinz 57 special. What I ended up with was a French blue and lavender pup with long floppy ears, a big nose and a soulful expression that sort of looks like there might have been a bit of Hound, Beagle or Spaniel in his heritage. For some unknown reason, it seems to me that this dog loves jazz, eating hot dogs off the kitchen counter, the New York Yankees and of course, his new prospective owner. 

Hound Dog Pendant Necklace converts to a Brooch
He and I had a some quality time together getting to know each other during the two 15 hour days in my studio it took to design him and get him ready for production. In a discussion about inspiration someone recently asked me how long it usually takes me to complete a design from first kernel of an idea (or dream) into production and then into my shops. My answer, not really meant to be flip was, "As long is it takes to FINALLY get it right". The ideas usually come quite easily, but the technical demands of actually constructing the design can be very challenging. It's frequently an extremely time consuming process to overcome problems and make the design actually work. My mind can visualize things, but figuring out how to persuade the polymer clay to DO IT is an entirely different matter! I make numerous mock ups and samples........ and my trash can constantly filled and overflowing. I save my "almost" samples and give them to the Boy's and Girl's club arts and crafts program, so at least I don't feel like the "oops learning experiences" are totally wasted.
Some of the raw materials and tools needed to make Mr Hound Dog.
I mention the time it takes to go from idea, to prototype, to reality for several reasons. People trying their hand at using polymer clay for the first time often seem to get frustrated because they can't create what their mind "sees" on the first try. I think one of the most wonderful things about polymer clay is the versatility of medium, but that characteristic also makes for a wide learning curve. It can takes a lot of trial and error to learn to make the clay "comply",....... and even then its more like the artist learning to compromise and come to grips with accepting what the clay actually WANTS TO DO on its own and make it a collaborative effort instead.

Customers who see a completed item and price tag often have no idea how long it might initially have taken to design the item, or how many prototypes hit the trash along the way. That's one or the reasons I've started to include behind the scenes studio photos with many of my shop listings. I'd like to try to help educate the consumer who likes buying handmade, but may not understand why things may cost more than the mass produced "Made in China" competition.
Hound Doggie in beaded chain version

Angel Hound Dog Hanging Ornament


  1. How cool that you give stuff over the the boy's and girl's club. This new puppy is just perfect, and holds up to your classic cat design. Been a long while since I've worked with pc. I miss it.

  2. Cute little puppy dog!! It is so true that many people don't realize how many prototypes you go through before you are happy with the final creation. Love your pet creations!! This little guy is a wonderful addition! :)

  3. What an adorable puppy!! I completely understand what you mean about imagining something and then trying to get the polymer clay to cooperate! I have re-made many, many things because I was unhappy with the first one... Thanks for sharing your creating process with us! I think it's wonderful that you give things to the Boys and Girls Club, what a great thing to do!

  4. I love your new puppy dog! Your design is perfect, just by first glance you can tell that it is your own special creation!

  5. Adorable! Around where I live that breed seems to be The thing. Not too big not too small and I see them mostly with women. A new trend?

  6. Oh my yes it can be time consuming coming up with a new design, I go through the same thing. There are designs that I will have to put away and come back to when my mind has landed on an idea for better construction. And I agree about those just starting out, they are disappointed that something awesome doesn't come out of their work easily and quickly. It is a process, one which does get easier with more experience, but you only get that by taking the hard route and spending hours and hours (and hours) to get something just right.

    Love the new puppy =)

  7. I echo what everyone else has said...the design matches your cat perfectly, it is very cute and should be a great seller!

  8. Yes, yes, the design part is HARD! Takes forever, I have been trying to come up with a design for over a month now... so far the table is pretty clean yet. :)

    I love the cute doggy! So cute!! A very nice design with your special touch all over it.


  9. Your pup is perfect Anita! I can appreciate all that went into the final product.... you did good! BJ

  10. Love your design. I also have a red and black coonhound at home. I've also scrapped many designs over the years - just starting to scrap designs in polymer clay ;)