Digging out Inclusions

Faux-Beach-Pebbles-Jewelry-07smIn my house, anything can be art materials. And I mean anything. We keep trying to come up with more ways to use the hair we brush off our furry kids, but dog and cat hair is troublesome and far too plentiful as inclusions. But seriously, if we have a lot of anything we’d otherwise throw away, my roommate or I have tried making something with it. Dryer lint is rather plentiful here (and full of pet hair too) and has long had its place in my studio. Yes, it sounds odd, but it’s really a fantastic material. I’ve been using dryer lint for years as an addition for strength and bulk in paper, resin and concrete castings. I don’t know why I didn’t think about mixing it with polymer, but someone else did!

Vanessa Brady was looking for something to help create a faux stone look when she came upon the dryer lint idea. And it does work beautifully. You can see here how it gives the faux rock a subtle rough look. I would love to see this faux rock technique in bolder colors and translucents. I may be giving this a try myself in the next couple days just to see. It look quick and easy enough for a whole slew of experimentation. The complete tutorial is on Vanessa’s blog along with other polymer and non-polymer crafty tidbits.

Additional note: On its own, lint is a rather flammable substance so use it with care.  Keep it away from open flames and heating elements. Mix it well in the polymer clay before curing.

 

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Mixed Elements

Alright … one last thought about pushing necklace design. Because we love our polymer so much, many of us may think almost exclusively in terms of polymer elements in our designs. But reaching out and grabbing other mediums can be the very thing you need to push your work in a fantastic new direction.

This necklace by Marlene Brady has the simple, but dramatic addition of felt, which is both a functional element and a contrasting design element. The soft, fuzzy felt gives one of the few textures to this piece that polymer cannot duplicate. The black and the soft edge of the felt contrasts heavily with the white, chiseled beads. Marlene also pushes the design by allowing the felt and heishi beads to fall very long down the front of the wearer. There is no dramatic engineering of the necklace here, but the choices make it unusual, and that gives us a few points to consider towards the stretch of a more traditional design.

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Marlene has been exploring the mix of fiber and polymer for a few years. You can see more of her unusual necklace compositions and other ideas on her Flickr page and her blog.

If you like this blog, support The Polymer Arts projects with a subscription or issue of The Polymer Arts magazine as well as supporting our advertising partners.

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