Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Crafter's Studio stash, the Creative Process and Polymer Clay

During the months before the holidays I spend a lot of time in my studio doing repetitive production work making hundreds of Christmas ornaments from Polymer Clay. It gives me a lot of time to ponder and reflect........often on very mundane subjects. While making my favorite ornament, the Sedona Christmas Angel, I realized that the number and variety of items in a crafter's hoarded stash directly affects the creative process and success of bringing a new design to life. Not only that, but the number of crafting genres one has worked with in the past also plays a major role. I though it would be fun to share some of the seemingly unrelated crafting supplies and a bit of the history of some of the genres I've worked with in the past that all came together to create the Angel.

Sedona Angel Ornament available at MelodyODesigns at Etsy
I used to be a rubber stamp designer, working with rubber stamp companies and stamping magazines to create projects, make samples and design stamps. One of my favorite projects was a clear empty plastic beverage bottle with a stamped scene inside that could be sent addressed and sent "as in" in the mail with just the addition of correct postage. The twist was that it contained a little button on the bottom which, when pressed, caused a Christmas carol to play and LED lights to twinkle. Hundreds of these bottles were sent to the military through normal mail channels during Operation Desert Storm and many were given out in person at stateside VA hospitals. The magazine, "Rubberstampmadness", dubbed them "Melody Bottles" after my pen name Melody O'Beau. The LED lights were woven into golden star wire garland that enveloped the stamped scene inside the bottle. I'd purchased the garland in large quantities and the left over garland became the halo on the Sedona Angel, once the star portion was trimmed off.
I previously lived in an area where they were several fabric and trim outlets that sold odds and ends of leftover ribbon for very economical prices. I eventually accumulated  a large stash of ribbon to use in stamping samples. As I was designing the angel I needed something for the wings, something that didn't fray, could be easily trimmed and was both shiny and golden. I found the perfect material in my stash.......metallic ribbon (adhered to a piece of the soft plastic top of a yogurt container to stiffen)
I also used to be an avid beader, mostly making tiny beaded butterfly brooches, and still have a huge stash of tiny seed beads (#11-#14!). When I needed something to use for eyes on the angel I tried and rejected a number of items and then I remembered my seed bead stash and found the perfect bead is the exact size style and finish I needed languishing there to use for my dark eyed angel.
So, though I now work making items primarily from polymer clay, I still maintain that one can never have enough OTHER crafting supplies to stimulate the imagination!....... 
(or is that stimulate the ECONOMY?)