Friday, March 25, 2016

Inside the Studio with Mary Harding

Inside the Studio: Mary Harding

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a prize each week to encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries. And here are the results from last week!

Congratulations to Andrea Porter You have won of a $25  gift certificate from Humblebeads. Please email Heather to claim your prize.

My Inside the Studio post this month is a follow up on the post I did in Februrary titled Inspiration Part I  about being inspired by some sea shells sent to me by a friend.  Today I am revealing the results of using the textures of these shells to create ceramic clay beads.  

                                                various shell textures
I found this set of textures the most useful for making beads. I made silcon molds from some of these shells and used them to create  a variety of beads with.  I also found that some of the textures that pleased me in this set did not make good molds:  either the texture was too great and would result in long protrusions that could easily break off or be harmful or that the texture was too small to be be visible in a small pendant.   Of this set I made 2 molds that turned out really well.  One was of the small clam shell as seen in the picture below:

several small pendants or charms made from a clam shell mold

These clam shell beads came out well because the mold was bold and clear.  It was easy to form these small charms and the addition of an iron oxide stain on the stoneware clay, defined the ribs on the shell and I think make a dramatic presentation.  

                                           2 part silicon mold of the underside of a sand dollar shell

Of all the molds I  made, I found this  mold to be the most versatile and beautiful.  It has an intricate pattern that extends over a wide area so it can be used both selectively and as a whole print.  I chose to use it on several long hollow beads that I made.
long hollow bead sand dollar texture view 1
                                                long  hollow bead sand dollar texture view 2

I used it again on two other hollow beads:

                                                   sea shells from Florida 

The other shells that I found most successful for making textures were the two clam shells on the far left of this picture.  I did not make a mold from them but rather used them to imprint textures into beads as in the examples below:

                            Long hollow bead imprinted with clam shell and sand dollar textures
                                     Bib pendant with clam shell and other textures

And then I made some toggle clasps with imprints from some of the shells

And finally, I used a sea urchin to imprint the toggle clasp below and glazed both the clasp and the clam charm in a creamy white/red glaze giving the pieces a much less rustic look.

The Ice

And how did all that beautiful ice inspire me? I had a hard time thinking of how to interpret the ice as a texture.   I think it must have been a subconscious effect as I made quite a few drop beads during these last weeks that I dipped into glaze for coloring like the ones below:

Colored icicle bead drops
Not exactly a texture but surely a shape reflection...

Now for our question:  While I was making these beads I realized that there are lots of textures out there that I had never noticed before--like what I found on the sand dollar, or the tiny spirals on the top of snail shells-- you can see one in the third bib pendant.  
 What kinds of textures do you like to use in your work and where do you find them?
Leave a comment in the section below and you will be automatically entered to win a set of sea shell textured charms.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the beads I made with sea shell textures.
Thanks so much for stopping by.


Saraccino said...

I just love to look around me and try to use everything to create texture or pattern in polymer clay and ceramic clay. I go from the kitchen to the bathroom to our balcony... the world is full of hidden texture stamps ^^

Dawn of LaTouchables said...

Your work has definitely inspired me, Mary. I love the hollow forms, and those ice-drip beads are drool-worthy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mary for sharing your seashore finds and inspirations with us! My current favorite texturing process is etching copper. Love the finished product after oxidizing and polishing. Nothing like it!

Malin de Koning said...

Oh what a great set of beads and components you have created there. Especially the ones inspired by the shell beads. Absolutely wonderful! I love the textures and the colors. At art and design collage we had a great course about nature as a designer. I especially remember we went to a botanical garden and looked at cross sections of different types of plant stems. Nature is super clever and very beautiful. Always a better designer than us.

Karen Z said...

Well I'm not a bead-maker, I'm a bead-user... so I notice that textures created with sea themes, such as the ones you describe, inspire me the most. That said, I do collect textile and paper/cardboard/plastic scraps of all kinds to use in my mixed media art. The more natural, the better!

Erin S said...

Gorgeous! Love the shell texture on all these pieces. I've used brass mesh for texture before with pretty good results. Also cinder block and rough wood grain.

Heather Wynn Millican said...

Your work is just lovely!

AntiquityTravelers said...

wow what an amazing walk through the studio

Unknown said...

I love the textures you made and used! I use things from nature that come from all over my yard. Twigs, leaves, petals. I just used a flower from my garden as inspiration but not so much texture. I like to use a printmaking etching tool and caving tools for carving to make texture and express movement in my polymer clay. I have started playing with vintage patterns from things I've collected through the years too.

Nicola said...

I work out in nature so have a wonderful time collecting nuts, leaves and interesting vines for my polymer clay work. If not using found items for texture, I'm always drawn to nature inspired themes as the possibilities are endless. Such a wonderful walk through, thank you :)

Stories They Tell said...

I love these beads, Mary! I can just envision them with more saturated colors for stringing into necklaces and bracelets. There's really something special about the vibe when you use natural materials for texture molds. One of my favorite molds is the one I made from the inside of a sand dollar.

Stories They Tell said...

I love these beads, Mary! I can just envision them with more saturated colors for stringing into necklaces and bracelets. There's really something special about the vibe when you use natural materials for texture molds. One of my favorite molds is the one I made from the inside of a sand dollar.

Claire Lockwood said...

Look at that mould - amazing detail! Fab stuff, Mary! Hey! - Am I allowed to win now??!!

Creative Designs by Cheri said...

I love the texture of tree bark and yellow dandelions!! All of your designs are beautiful!

Rising Designs said...

You've done it again. You continue to amaze and inspire me in my clay work. I can so relate to your use of natural textures- started a land and sea clay project with my classes the other day!!!

Julie Wong Sontag said...

Wow, such beautiful new work! I am loving this series! xo -- Julie

lakesuperiorwaves said...

I like things from nature like twigs, leaves, ferns, rocks, bark, anything with how these turned out for you.

TesoriTrovati said...

My word! That sand dollar texture is GOLDEN! I love textures. I have been buying a lot of more commercially available stamps, but recently got some that are more natural, like twigs, bark and even the rings of a tree. I am excited to get to use them in some art! I love the soft colors of those tubes with the texture as well. And those candy-colored icicle drops! Glorious! Thank you for sharing your process. Enjoy the day. Erin

Carole said...

I have a mold made from a piece of hand-crocheted lace that I just love.