Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sedona Angel Christmas Ornament from Polymer Clay with Sedona Red Rock Dirt Inclusions

Sedona, Southwestern, or Mexican Angel Ornament available at and MelodyODesigns at Etsy
I had so much fun designing this new Southwestern angel ornament which has joined my 2013 MelodyODesigns Southwestern Christmas Ornament Collection.  She's made from terracotta colored polymer clay with real "magical" Sedona red  rock dirt in the matrix and is targeted to the Sedona tourist trade, so I call her my Sedona Angel. 

Below is a photo of some of the materials and tools that were used to make her.
She has embedded black seed bead eyes. I make the initial "eye socket" holes for the bead with a studio-made tool that I made by gluing a seed bead onto one end of a round toothpick. Then the black seed beads are applied with another little studio-made tool, a seed bead applicator tool I made by dipping one end of a round toothpick into a tiny drop of "The Ultimate" (glue) by Crafter's Pick and letting it dry (a one shot glue application good for the life of the tool). This tool makes is much easier to securely pick up a seed bead without dropping it and then the bead is applied into the "eye socket". Once the ornament has been cured I remove the seed bead eyes with the sharp end of a dress pin and then permanently glue them in with Zap-A-Gap glue. 

Her mouth is made by gently pressing round Kemper cutter halfway into the clay. Getting her mouth into her face in symmetrical way proved challenging and I found that I actually like her expression best when her smile is charmingly off kilter. 

 Her hair is actually hand braided using three thin "strings" extruded from a Makins Clay Extruder. I weigh the three "strings" down one end with some heavy metal washers  while I braid them. 
Her fringed blue-turquoise colored sarape shawl is decorated with a hearts and flowers pattern made by lightly dusting the turquoise shawl with corn starch, cutting the fringe with a craft knife and then GENTLY pressing the heart or flower Kemper cutter into the shawl leaving a delicate impression beind. 

Her body is made from PREMO artist-quality polymer clay to which a small amount of "magical" Sedona red rock dirt has been added. Once the ornament is cut out the surface is textured with 36 grit (very coarse) sandpaper to make it appear to be real terracotta. I prefer the 3M brand I formerly used, but have been unable to find it locally, so I use "Gator Grit" brand. One key I've found to effectively using sandpaper to texture polymer clay is to make sure all loose bits of sanding material have been removed near the edges of the sandpaper (especially any cut edges) before a new piece of sandpaper is used on clay. I also keep a pair of tiny tweezers close by in case I need  to retrieve a loose bit of sanding material from the clay surface. 

Her dress is decorated with thin slices from geometric clay canes. For those who might not be familiar with that term, caning is a labor-intensive construction technique where colored rods of clay are laid horizontally forming a complex pattern  from which a thin slice is cut from the end allowing the pattern to be seen. It is borrowed from the glass making technique used to create millefiore beads. 

 More Christmas ornaments and a wide variety of other ornaments, magnets and jewelry pieces lovingly made from polymer clay are available at MelodyODesigns at Etsy
Click to see an additional blog post on the Crafter's Studio stash and the Creative Process involved the making of Sedona Angel Ornament.