Friday, December 11, 2015

Jiya dhadak dhadak jaaye

Hello Folks,

It all started with a heartbeat! We were given a whole range of choices from chemistry molecules of Caffeine, Insulin, Heme, t-RNA ( Transfer Ribonucleic Acid). Having done the first three, at the t-RNA, we were a little handicapped by the intricacy of the design so we opted for another unusual one out of the odd 15 ideas that were presented to us - Electrocardiogram (ECG).
While doing a polymer clay workshop for a technique called 'Skinner blend', we deliberately chose these colours. The transition started from Wasabi Green into Jungle Green and finally, Black.

We had been itching to use our glow in the dark clay, and this presented the perfect opportunity. The glow in the dark comes from the phosphorescence property of this clay. The only challenge was glow in the dark came in only Sculpey 3, which if you have used polymer clay before, is an extremely soft clay. Using a scale, we approximately marked a reduced size graph, as in the reference image. and then plotted the sinus rhythm, all complete with a heart!!!

Then we faced our old enemy, Symmetry!!! When one is as easy the second one always becomes difficult when it has to be an exact mirror image. We managed that too! Now they are ready to dangle away in someone's ears soon!!!

Photography was a little bit tricky, to catch the exact glow of the clay! The principle of phosphorescence came in handy again - that is, the clay would continue to "glow" even after light source has been switched off. And it's just a matter of a fraction of a second, within which to take the photo. Using our expensive mobile phones, we managed to do that too! The Samsung S5 played the role of our Camera, and the iPhone 4S as a torch and then, we capitalize on that "one tiny slice of time" to show us the glowing heartbeat. In the end we got it just right, didn't we? 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pouring our blood into polymer clay

An endless budget not only lets you explore a new idea, but also encourages you to experiment.....

The lady who ordered put her trust in us, with an order for her wedding reception jewellery. We were tasked with creating a matching neck piece for a beautiful Sari with a pink, blue and gold combination.  In India, wearing gold jewellery for special occasions is a must, and here she was, opting for customised Jewellery not made from gold. The decision to go all out grand went unspoken! We opted for Polymer clay as it gives us an advantage in selecting colours matching with her Sari and the oh-so-gold-like 3D features.........

We had been contemplating creating a faux metal look. If you are familiar with Silver formation jewellery, you will see that there are intricate patterns, beautifully symmetrical designs, three dimentional settings for precious stones.  While using Polymer clay, it is very common to use texture plates or stamps to give us the intricate patterns required. Our uniqueness comes from the fact that, we upped the ante with completely hand-designed and handmade pattern. Every little 3D effect is completely hand crafted, with no extra help from anything but, a scale, a graph paper and our own imagination. In this particular piece, we kept a beautiful Ice blue Swarovski as the central piece, around which we wove our magic. And it IS magical, how it turned out.

It is a multiple step process you need while narrowing down to the final design. While choosing the Swarovski, we went back and forth, trying to match the colours we had, with the sari and nothing really gelled at first. Having used a Swarovski before, we had decided upon a princess cut as its facets enhance the 3D effect we were aiming for. Once the central colour was settled, we moved on to the designing. Bending to traditional jewellery for inspiration, we chose flowers. At first we experimented with a lotus like 3D look, but the over all design did not leave much space for any intricate work as we had originally planned, so we scrapped that. Our strongest suit so far, has been Calla lilies and while working on another design,

we chanced upon the idea to use smaller petals in a darker shade to offset the central Swarovski colour. Keeping the background gold, we sparsely embroidered using pink and blue in the design. People with symmetrical faces are said to be beautiful, and we used the same idea with our design. With precise cuts to scale, markings to graphs and transferring those onto the polymer clay base was perhaps the most challenging part of the entire exercise. And after almost 2 days of constant cutting, rolling, pasting and molding it was ready! And the only thing that would measure up to the grandeur of the neckpiece was a topaz as, we did that too! Three spiral cut topaz stones fit there like they were made for it! :)

Yesterday we had only handled polymer clay, and today we had moved a step ahead in our own minds with a traditional design.

~ Art'zire/ Pritesh / Richa/ Team

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thumbelina evolves.......

Hello All,

The idea of Thumbelina started with an order where a girl we've known for long wanted something on the lines of Monalisa set. It's not in our fabric to repeat designs, so we started racking our brains for some new idea. After almost a week of thinking, a brain wave struck, where an unused (and largely ignored) bust became an inspiration.....we created a face using a mold but did modifications to the face to make the eyes look enchanting. Sculpting must be one hell of a task and we realized it as we worked with just the eyes of the dame! Our dame became the centre of a gigantic flower in pale yellow gold, with reinforcements at the back to keep the flower strong (oh yes, at Art'zire, we are manic about the strength of the pieces being made)........the bail was modified accordingly to sit properly over the floral centrepiece (compared to the earlier one, where the cut was straight).

The basic idea started forming and then, the colour scheme of the template saree solved the rest of the puzzle for us.

Yellow and purple together can conjure up only one image that fits to a T.........pansies. These little flowers look adorable as they grow in bunches and look like smiling children about to play a prank on you......

We chose pansies, all right but the size we were working on was SO small that we went back and forth with how to handle the polymer clay as such small scales. After trying all kinds of combinations, we settled for yellow surrounded by purple and plain purple as the combinations we'd work with. Painstaking work involving serious focus led to the bunch of pansies that adorned both the bail and the flower. The fairy at the centre was allowed to keep long hair ;) which also became the loop for our dangler at the base.

The final step, namely the make-up of the fairy turned out to be a daunting task in its own right! The eyes are about 5 mm wide and 2.5 mm high. Make-up in double shades on the eyelid seemed like the miniscule dissections one does in the high-school. A 00 number brush also seemed to be overwhelmingly big but then we pulled it off and she ended up looking every bit as alluring as we intended her to look :)

So, here we go, Thumbelina for everyone :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Handling Casting Resin - A series of free tutorials

Hello All,

Here is a series of tutorials for using resin on paper jewellery. The resin is available with A1 Craft Supplies. You can contact them for purchasing the resin. Art'zire want to specially thank Richa Kapre of Rock, Paper and Scissor for her generous contribution to the knowledge in resin-handling.

My humble request to all users of resin: Resin handling is an exercise in patience. Hurrying the process with cause blotchy results. Please do read the instructions on your resin packaging carefully.

Part 1 - Preparation of surface for applying resin......

Very often, you are likely to encounter surfaces that have painted and drawn patterns on then. It is always better to cover the surface completely with a clear drying glue (like Fevicryl Fabric Glue, Camlin Crafty Glue or Faber Castell White Glue). Always allow for COMPLETE drying of the glue before you apply resin.

Part 2 - Mixing Resin

Mixing the resin is the most crucial of all steps in the handling of resin. Unfortunately, very small things can be the make-or-break factors while handling resin. This video shows how one can mix resin. The key is to be patient and work slowly.

Part 3 - Applying resin on Enclosed Surfaces

Resin has most commonly been used for 'filling' up enclosed surfaces to create a "cabochon" like effect. This effect needs resin to be 'filled' in spaces. Though it may sound trivial, these very bubbles (in extreme cases, many small or large bubbles) can bring about "fogginess" to the resin coating and lead to bad finishing.

Part 4 - Popping the Bubbles

No amount of handling carefully can ensure zero bubbles. Fortunately, Richa has worked very hard at developing techniques to dispel these little jewellery spoilers :)

Part 5 - Coating a 3D surface (e.g. a jhumka)

One of the most common question we've been asked so far is, can resin be used to coat quilled jewellery. We'll answer it with a very reserved yes. We don't really know if it can be used on all types of quilling jewellery but it can be used on quilled jhumkas. How? Watch :) [Information courtesy: Richa]

Part 6 - Cleaning a resin coated brush

Since application of resin to a 3D surface needs a brush to be used and one wouldn't want to lose the brush, cleaning of that brush is imperative. Here is the video for how you can clean the brush after using it for coating the 3D surface(s)

Part 7 - Getting "Concave" effect on an enclosed surface

Part 8 - Getting Concave effect on an unenclosed surface

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

An ode to a relationship

Hello All,

We take to writing after a long time..........and take to it with a beautiful thing to announce. A1 Craft Supply has been our choice of suppliers for a whole host of craft material, for quite some time now. Reason? Simple! We are into customization big time and A1 are the only suppliers who bend backwards to get us our quirky requirements to us, in time, every time............don't believe us? See the Jodha jhumkas........they had no idea what we were going to do with such small half pearls but they put their faith in us and searched Heaven and Earth to look for what we wanted. We needn't tell you that Jodhas turned out to be our most popular ever series of jewellery...........

So, when A1 placed and order with us, we got going AND loved doing it. Here comes our version of their logo.........

Some work-in-progress pictures too..........

Sending our heartfelt gratitude to A1 Craft Supply, in the form of the skills we can pour into their order :)

- Art'zire Team