Posted on 23 Comments

Gigantic swampy earrings

New earrings

Hey, remember when this used to be a polymer clay blog?  Well, if you’ve been nostalgic for those days, maybe you’ll like what I have to show you tonight.

This weekend I took a class with Ellen Marshall in Philadelphia.  Ellen is the queen of surface treatments.  Whereas most of my own claywork involves the library of millefiori canes I’ve built over the last few years, Ellen’s involves coloring and painting on top of the clay with a variety of other media.  The two approaches are fairly different, and until now I’ve resisted going the surface treatment route.


You see, my way doesn’t involve any extra materials – it’s just the clay and a small handful of tools.  When I take my clay on the road, I can sling a tote bag over my shoulder and be good to go.  Once you start surface decoration, you embark on a slippery slope of acquisition.  Must-have inks, dyes, paints and powders find their way onto your clay table, and before you know it, you’re towing a gargantuan rolling cart full of your supplies behind you on your way to a workshop.

I’m not up for that.  My minimalist approach has served me quite well.  Honestly, I’m not even sure why I took this class, being as resistant to change as I have been. But take it, I did…

We scraped powder from pastels and used the powder to decorate sheets of clay, and we made texture plates in order to add some dimension to our colored sheets.  For my texture sheet I repeated the same pattern I tend to use on my mokume gane pieces, just to give it a touch of consistency with my other work.

New earrings

I went through three color schemes before I finally had a pleasing sheet.  I promise you I tried to go outside of my zone of predictability on this one, but the yellow and purple sheet didn’t do it for me, and the blue + green + pink sheet was even worse.  Luckily, the old standby swampy color mix didn’t let me down, so  I textured it, and cut out this pair of gigantic earrings.

(Don’t you think this technique would make nice buttons, too?  I can see a big swampy button in this style on a cream-colored neckwarmer.  Mmmm.)

So glad I got a chance to try Ellen’s technique.  And you know, as much as I hate to add to the craft supply clutter, this class has officially put me in the market for a set of pastels.  At least pastels are compact enough to slip into my handy tote bag.  No gargantuan rolling cart for me just yet.  Whew.  Bullet dodged.

[Edit: Martha posted some details – including a video and a slide show – about the class over at the PAPCG blog, if you’d like to see more.]


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Posted on 23 Comments

23 thoughts on “Gigantic swampy earrings

  1. RT @lclarke522: New blog post: Gigantic swampy earrings

  2. these are really beautiful!
    .-= See KarenLR’s latest blog post: AEDM:day fifteen =-.

    1. Thanks, Karen!

  3. bummer, can’t see the video, it is listed private. Looks like the class was a blast. I would love to take a class from her
    .-= See Kathi’s latest blog post: Update From Jenny Pat on her stolen items. =-.

    1. Martha fixed the video now 🙂

  4. i absolutely love them. and i would love a button. i’m knitting a pillow cover and i need something to button it up with. of course i could make my own, but these earrings are stunning.
    .-= See gerri’s latest blog post: how to: keep art journal pages from sticking and write over acrylics =-.

    1. Thanks! I just sat down and used up the rest of the sheet on a handful of buttons. They’re baking now, but if they come out good, I’ll list them in the shop.

  5. They really are lovely – think swampy might be my favorite colour!

    1. Mine too! I just can’t get away from it…

  6. You do the Swampy thing very well Lisa! Beautiful earrings! And I agree, they would make great buttons too.
    .-= See Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor’s latest blog post: Polymer Clay Tutorial | Mica Shift Technique [VIDEO] =-.

    1. Thanks, Cindy 🙂

  7. Ooh, I really like these! Will you be making more to sell?

    1. I didn’t have enough of the sheet left to make big ones, but I made some smaller tiles that I plan to turn into earrings when I get a moment to do so 🙂
      I have to buy a set of pastels before I can make another sheet…

  8. Oh, I love those earrings! Can I buy a set???? I really really want them!
    .-= See wendy’s latest blog post: Enchilada lasagna casserole thingy =-.

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I didn’t have enough of the decorated sheet left to make another pair that size, but I was able to make two smaller pairs, which I hope to get listed on my website today. If you really prefer the big ones, I don’t mind selling you this “only worn once” pair… I’ll swipe the ear wires down with alcohol, of course. Drop me a line if you’re interested!

  9. Great earrings. Can’t wait to see the buttons.

    1. Thanks! They’re all made – just waiting to be photographed 🙂

  10. oooo they are cute and swampy-ish. or they could fit right along with the holiday that is approaching way to quickly!
    .-= See becky’s latest blog post: Save your applause for the end =-.

    1. Thanks, Becky – I’ll have to see if I can whip up a few more pairs in time for that fast-approaching holiday!

  11. RT @lclarke522 Polka Dot Cottage: Gigantic swampy earrings

  12. […] also got a chance to play around with that pastels technique some more, and the resulting tiles will become buttons, earrings, and dangly […]

  13. […] New earrings Image by lisaclarke Using a decorated + textured sheet I made in a class with Ellen Marshall this weekend. Blogged here. […]

  14. […] yes, the button.  It’s decorated in the textured pastel technique Ellen Marshall taught me a few days ago. I figured out a way to make the texture “pop” a bit, and I’m very pleased with […]

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