Friday, February 27, 2015

Gypsy Garden Necklace class at Fandango '15

When I was a girl, I lived with my grandparents most of the time and followed my granny around like a puppy. Since I loved doing things with her, sewing, washing and hanging out clothes etc, we spent a lot of time together.

She was born in 1893 of gypsy descent. Her family came from Bohemia. Today there is a fashion style called Boho Chic and I guess this necklace could also called Boho Chic instead of Gypsy Garden. Either way the design has the pedigree.

Back then we were poor. Most of the country was poor so we didn't know it. But, from that came the ability to 'make do'.

Back View of woven parts
As a kid I used to go outside and gather stuff to make 'pretties' with. Leaves, clover, thin twigs, reeds, tiny flowers, wire, seeds etc and would sit in the grass braiding thin reeds for a base then weaving the clover leaves, flowers, buds and other pretties into the braid to make 'crowns' or bracelets, or shoe trims (if you are a little girl with flower bows on your shoes you might be a princess), or what ever my imagination could come up with.

The idea for this necklace might have roots from a very long time ago as it is made up of a couple dozen leaves, flowers, flower buds, and shiny jewels on wires woven into a wire braid! Happily today's necklace will never wilt! Add a pink teardrop, some glass beads, and mold three shimmering dragonflies and you've got the ultimate Gypsy Garden necklace, or bracelet, or shoe bows.....

I'll be teaching a pre-conference class to make the many elements to make this Gypsy Garden at 2015 Fandango. We will be making leaves on stems, flowers, buds, sparkles on wire stems, dragonflies, and teardrop charms.

Left is a dragonfly under construction. This technique was developed by artist/designer Chris Crossland. After molding the dragonfly using translucent clay, the body is dusted carefully with the desired color.

  • By using a very small brush, the color can be applied between the wings. 
  • The same color can be applied between the wings and the eyes. 
  • The eyes can be dusted any desired color.
  • The wings were dusted with PearlEx Macropearl for sparkle and shine.
 For the necklace, I ended up using PearlEx Citron (see photo at beginning) as the blue dragonfly did not show up against the green/blue leaves.

The dragonfly to the left is from the necklace. What amazes me is how beautifully they looked on the wires and they were easy to weave into the design.

This pretty jewel-like Citron dragonfly with Scarlet eyes was baked onto a wire to which it is secure. Four E-beads hold it above the flowers.

Humm, these would make stunning earrings too.!

To add this dangling flower with leaves and sparkles, the wires on each piece were braided together then the braid of pretties was woven into the basic braid.

This little cluster is a focal point when woven into the design. With two leaves, a flower and a sparkle, it adds pizzazz!

 Left are three leaves made of duplex clay. One side green, the other side lighter, paler green. By making the leaves this way the backs can be rolled forward, turned under and give a more lifelike look to them.

The larger leaf is sculpted and designed to be long, thin and lobed. There are four more of these in larger sizes in the design.

The iron on jewels were secured to stems to put sparkles just where we want them. Pretty and unexpected!

Flowers were made from a simple bullseye cane. Buds were made from scraps of the bullseeye cane.

Most flowers and buds had center holes.

A very few flowers had wires baked into the side of the flower for a different effect.

It was great fun making first the elements and then planning where they could go prettily.

For more information about the retreat, check out their website.

Thanks for visiting here. I hope you've enjoyed this gypsy's artwork. 
Penni Jo Couch
designer/sculptor of Best Flexible Molds.

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