Today I would like to take you behind the scenes to show you a bit of how my process works. I'm going to show you how I make the new "Lady Luck Earrings" that I created just yesterday, because as we all know, St. Patrick's Day is on its way:)
First I cut the wire into small pieces, which I then wind back and forth. I use the handle of one of my polymer clay tools in order to get those smooth curves. I also have some round needle nose pliers that I use to make those curly cues at the tops and bottoms. (I use those curly cues in a lot of my designs. It's kind of one of my signature elements of stye.) I then use that hammer in the top right to hammer flat the edges of the design. This gives it a more sleek look and finishes off the metal portion.
Here I am using sulphur to "patina" the copper wire. Sulphur smells awful. I'm used to the smell, but for Nick's sake, I do the patina process outside. The sulphur looks like tiny chunks of rock. I stick one of those chunks in a bowl of water to dissolve it. (Usually, I wear gloves for this part of the process, but for the photo, I took them off even though I am obviously due for a serious manicure!)
Now to make the four leaf clovers. This is where the detail of the piece come in. I have a pasta machine I use to roll the clay into flat sheets. I then use the above tool to cut out tiny triangles, which I then cut into hearts. I use my nails and the edges of my fingers to give the leaves that round, smooth curve.
Then you have a tiny four leaf clover like this! (Ignore the peeling nail polish please!)
Here is a row of lucky four leaf clovers. I usually make my jewelry assembly line style after I receive the days orders. I lay out the parts of the style I'm working on in rows, so I can count and keep them organized. Don't want to spend extra time making too many. These little things take quite a bit of time and effort.
The most challenging part of the whole process is getting the clovers to stay on the earring securely. I fashioned a way to do this from the back. I took a tiny dab of clay and attached it in the back, making a criss-cross with my x-acto knife tool. This way it kind of looks like a screw which ties into my "steampunk" theme that I incorporate into the rest of my online shop.
The last step is to add a metallic talcum powder. I used a brass color for these earrings because it has a bit of a green hue. I stick these in the oven at 275 degrees for thirty minutes or so, let them cool. Then I package them up, and they are ready to go!