Thursday, December 25, 2014

MelodyODesigns' Faux Bakelite Cherry Jewelry Customer Appreciation Day Part 4 and the new Short Stemmed Cherry Necklace that Ann-Marie helped design

Chic Anne-Marie from Australia looking stylish and lovely wearing her new SHORT STEM version of the Faux Bakelite Cherry Necklace Reproduction from MelodyODesigns at Etsy that we designed together especially for her.

Many years ago I saw a segment of "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS television that featured a iconic vintage Bakelite Red Cherry Necklace from the 1940's. It was love at first sight, but the price of the necklace in good condition at the time was around $1,000, well outside my modest budget. Because I was already making jewelry from polymer clay I decided to see if I could make a reproduction. It was so successful that once people saw it and found out I had made it they wanted one of their own.

My seven piece Faux Bakelite Cherry Jewelry Collection grew from there. Each new piece in the collection was inspired by a customer who had seen a vintage piece of Cherry Bakelite jewelry and asked me to make a custom reproduction for them, because they either couldn't afford the vintage piece or couldn't find a piece in good enough condition to purchase (the stems are typically disintegrating).

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Anne-Marie from Australia who had previously purchased my Bold Faux Bakelite Cherry Earrings. She sent me a photo of a vintage Bakelite Cherry Necklace with very short stems and asked if I could reproduce it so she could wear it with her earrings. After corresponding back and forth the design came together and now a new short stem version has been added to the collection.

The short stem version of the necklace is also available with a green or black chain.

All seven pieces of the Faux Bakelite Cherry Reproduction Jewelry, including a longer stemmed version of the necklace (in various colors of chain), cherry bar brooch, bracelet,  and a dainty pair of earrings are available at  MelodyODesigns at Etsy

If you haven't already seen them you might also enjoy reading:
MelodyODesigns' Faux Bakelite Customer Appreciation Day Part 1

MelodyODesigns' Faux Bakelite Cherry Jewelry Customer Appreciation Day Part 2 

 MelodyODesigns' Faux Bakelite Cherry Jewelry Customer Apreciation Day Part 3

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Making the Temperature of your polymer clay studio work FOR you and my newly redesigned Sedona Arizona appliqued Red Rock Disc Earrings

I live in the high desert of Arizona where summers are bikini hot and winters can be down jacket cold. There are also wide daily swings of temperature that can sometimes vary by as much as 30-40 degrees. Over the years I have observed that the temperature of my polymer clay studio directly affects the ease and outcome of various techniques I utilize in making my jewelry and ornaments. Some work best in the brutal cold of the early hours of a winter morning before the house heats up and some work best in the sweltering heat of a mid-afternoon July. Once I became aware of this I realized that I could make the temperature WORK for me and I started to plan my work around the expected temperature, both the swings that occur during the day and those that occur seasonally. 

For instance, I find that polymer clay is much easier to condition and blend when it's very warm, so I make and stockpile my custom blended colors in the summer, saving them in fat plugs very well wrapped in Saran Wrap© Brand plastic wrap and stored inside sealed Tupperware containers. BTW, to answer a question a blog reader here asked, after trying other brands of cling wrap I agree with what I've read over the years, all brands of cling wrap/plastic wrap are not created equal and I don't mind paying a bit more for SaranWrap©. I have some canes of both Kato and Premo that I've saved for numerous years this way that still slice up well. However, there are several variants like the vintage of the particular clay formula, the tightness of the wrap and sealing effectiveness of the storage containers that might affect the results.

In our hot summer months when it's warmer the tendency of the clay towards mushiness makes it a great deal easier on my hands to form the round balls that become the cherries in my Faux Bakelite Cherry Collection jewelry pieces.

My Six Piece Faux Bakelite Cherry Collection available for sale at MelodyODesigns at Etsy
I find that when I'm making the mold pulls that I use to applique some of my Red Rock Sedona jewelry and ornaments the pieces can be difficult to make in a hot studio because the mold pulls tend to stick in the molds more easily and tend to distort more when removed, so I try to make these pieces when it's cooler.

My Eleven Piece Sedona Red Rock Jewelry and Ornament Collection is available for sale at MelodyODesigns at Etsy
I've observed that it's easier for me to construct and slice canes when the temperature is cool and dry and try to plan my production schedule accordingly. But, if I have to slice canes when it's warm I chill them in the refrigerator first and then slice them on a self healing mat placed placed over a Blue Ice pack.

I texture the terracotta colored bases of my faux Sedona red rock pieces with coarse sandpaper. They are the perfect choice of a project for the hot summer days because textured pieces are so forgiving of mushiness and fingerprints.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MelodyODesigns' Faux Bakelite Cherry Jewelry Customer Appreciation Day Part 3, Rosie Dennington of Rosie Red Corsetry and Couture

Rosie Dennington, owner of RosieRedCorsetry and Couture (in center), shown wearing her cherry necklace from the vintage Bakelite inspired Red Cherry Jewelry Reproduction Collection at MelodyODesigns at Etsy She is flanked by Natalie (on the left) and Ally (on the right).
I first had the opportunity to "meet" fashion designer Rosie Dennington of Rosie Red Corsetry and Couture when she contacted me online about the possibility of customizing one of my faux Bakelite Cherry Necklaces for her to wear to her graduation with her cap and gown. She was graduating from Birmingham Institute of Art and Design with a First Class Honours Degree in Fashion Design with a Pathway to Design for Performance (i.e. Costume Design) and was awarded the title "Young Designer to Watch" in London last year. I felt honored that someone with such a wonderful background in fashion design would choose my necklace!

In the course of our emails back and forth I discovered links to some of her Romantic dress designs and was very impressed. This is clearly a talented woman who knows what she wants. In the past few months since her graduation I have been following her professional career and watched in awe as it exploded. Her gorgeous Romantic Birdcage corset dress was chosen by A-list actress Helena Bonham Carter for her photo shoot with renowned photographer Mario Testino and it appears in full page format in "Vanity Fair Magazine's September 2014 "Style" issue. 

The story of how Helena Bonham Carter came to choose Rosie's dress is a case of serious talent, excellent training and years of hard work meeting with the pure serendipity of opportunity.......with a little nudge from a proud dad. Read the fascinating story in the Birmingham Mail

BBC Radio Oxford interview  with Rosie

Her new RosieRedCorsetry website and her Facebook Page MissRosieRedCorsetryandCouture

I predict a BAFTA for costume design someday (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) for this new young designer. 

If you haven't already read them, you might also enjoy reading:
Cherry Jewelry Customer Appreciation Day Part 1

Cherry Jewelry Customer Appreciation Day Part 2

Cherry Jewelry Customer Appreciation Day Part 4

Customer Appreciation Cubs baseball fan