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A few days ago I thought about doing a jewelry series with bats, because they are so well-adapted for flight and are really beautiful creatures.  That led to me realizing that Halloween is on its way, which led me to realizing I should get pieces completed well before Halloween (eep!).  My crow and deer projects are going to have to wait a little longer, for it’s full-steam ahead with bats and cats!

I’m excited because the ideas for the pieces are coming together so well, and after a lot of searching I have found the perfect beads for both sets.  “Sangria” is going to live up to its Spanish name, with bats and roses (both common symbols in Spanish heraldry and history) dancing around vintage deep red glass and real garnets…the perfect complement to a Gothic vampire’s wardrobe.  “Absinthe” will feature poised cats and bright yellow-green to go with the infamous drink, with the coolest glow-in-the-dark Czech glass beads (they took forever to find but I’m excited).  I’m imagining they would be fun to wear to a Halloween party as the sun goes down and the earrings start to glow :-).

I also wanted to start sharing my process along the way.   After the planning and finding reference photos for the animals and plants, I start sculpting the originals in Sculpey on a plain ceramic tile.   This part is the longest, and each animal takes about a day of work.   Most of the animals have to be less than a centimeter tall or wide to fit on a ring band, and because the silver clay is expensive, I try to keep my pieces small to keep prices down.  Here is a photo of the first bat for “Sangria”, halfway done with a dime for scale:

Here are also my three favorite tools: a sewing needle, a “Size 0 taper point extra firm Clay Shaper”, and a fine-tip embosser.  I stumbled across the rubber Clay Shaper at my local crafts store and it has become my little work horse.   I also broke down and bought a magnifying lamp, which has been a big help and keeps me from holding the tile right up to my face like I used to.   When all of the animals and plants are baked, they are *carefully* removed from the tile (I cry inwardly when I break one) and they are positioned on another piece of Sculpey (the ring/earring/pendant shape) for another bake before the next step.
Thanks for reading, and now, back to work for me 🙂