Okay, I had a Christmas related post all written out, just had a couple of more ornaments to finish and photograph (I’ve developed an aversion to setting up my light box and taking good photos recently. Have you noticed the pieces bathed in clouded Washington sunshine in the last couple of posts?), when I saw a Facebook announcement that completely changed all my plans. I’m talking about Ginger Davis Allman’s new eBooks on silk screening.
There are two shiny new tutorials, one is a primer of sorts on silk screening and one has an end to end silkscreened project, labeled creatively as an Opulent Tapestry project. The minute I saw the opulent tapestry tutorial cover, I knew I had to have it. I’d been trying to create the subdued blended background for a while now and not getting anywhere, and I had a big bunch of silk screens I’d bought recently inspired by the 2 Good Claymates.
So I bought myself the two eBooks at a nicely discounted price thanks to a coupon Ginger included in her newsletter. And I got down to creating. That was two weeks ago, and I still haven’t packed away my silkscreens! I did put away everything for a day or so, but then I got a bunch of new silkscreens that I’d ordered and that started me off again!
What I make using the tutorials? Well I’m glad you asked! Because I’m so in love with the pieces I made! Some of these were supposed to be presents, and I found it very hard to part with any. I did end up sending the one (just one!) to a family friend, but only after I’d made a similar one for myself.
For the most part I made some large ornament style pieces following the instructions in the Opulent Tapestry tutorial. I didn’t start out with that in mind, but once I made my silk screened sheet, I didn’t have the heart to cut them into little pieces that’d be the right size for jewelry. I experimented with a variety of colors and materials. I adore the ones with glitter clay used as a base especially. The photos do not do these justice, believe me!
While I used bulk of the decorated sheets to make large ornaments, I had enough to make some cabochons and things. The ones on the left are coated with a layer of resin. The set on the right (which were meant to be a present!) are coated with a couple of layers of PYM ii. I like both sets, though getting the silkscreened sheet onto a heavily domed surface without cracking was quite a challenge. The smaller matched pairs will be strung into earrings.
After I got through that lot, I wandered back to the tutorial and read through some variations Ginger suggested. And that produced these! Once I saw these results, I was really hooked!! I had so many ideas in my head! Boxes, necklaces, journal covers, strung bracelet beads… I made a quick beaded watch for my cousin as a Christmas present with silk screened beads, but didn’t get a chance to take a picture (seeing as I finished it at 2.30 am on Christmas morning!).
Silk screened box
If it isn’t clear already, I’m in love with this technique. And these tutorials! I would’ve purchased the Opulent Tapestry one for the details on the background effect alone, but I love the whole project: pairing bright metallic colors with a muted background and finishing with the wonderful beaded hangers. The silkscreen ebook opened my eyes to so many ideas and suggestions on ways to use the patterns creatively. Ginger has only about a million ideas on how to color them. The funny thing is, I already had all the products she talked about, but it never crossed my mind to use them with silkscreens.
Now not all paints and things can be used directly on a silkscreen for different reasons. Ginger goes into this in detail and explains how to adapt certain products for the best results. I really recommend paying attention, the piece on the left is what happens if you don’t. See how blurry and awful that pattern is? The piece on the right was created similarly but actually following Ginger’s tips, and just look at that crisp pattern!
Now I might’ve continued making ornaments to my heart’s content had I not taken a class from CraftCast on making a graduated disc necklace by Lousie Fischer Cozzi. I love the fluidity of the construction, it wraps around so nicely and works with short necklaces and longer ones. And here’s what happened when I tried it out with some silkscreened discs!
When I assemble jewelry, my designs are strictly symmetric and matched up rigidly. Even with that, because of the nature of the patterns and colors in the Opulent Tapestry project, there’s a decent variety in the assembled necklaces. I also like that I can play around with the size of discs, the number of discs and come up with a statement necklace or a simpler daily wear style piece. The one on the left is for me, something I can wear every day. The two in the middle picture are quite elaborate, more of a party necklace. I spent some time playing with the length of chain attached to the discs as well. One of them is about 21 inches long, so the decorative section will sit fairly low. With the other one, it’s almost a choker style, where it wraps snugly around the neck.
Red silkscreened disc necklaces
Now after using chain with some of these, I wanted some different stringing material that would match the rich colors in the beads. I’ve been admiring the work of Staci Loiuse Smith for a while, and she uses sari silk with her wonderful necklaces (here’s a helpful article she wrote on that). I searched around and found some sari silk cord and ribbon in lovely rich colors on Etsy. I ordered some in colors that would go well with these opulent colors and waited impatiently for them to arrive.
They finally did arrive yesterday! I spent all evening assembling necklaces. I love the bright blue cord with the blue and gold discs! Since the base is translucent clay, the color changes based on the angle you look at them, you kinda see that in the photos here. So the bright blue goes nicely with these. And ooh I love the purply-pink one on the right! The burgundy silk cord sets off the whole rich palette. I might HAVE to keep that one for myself too!
Silk screened necklaces with sari silk cord
Did you think that was it?! Not quite! Here’s some more necklaces! Some oval shapes in here, for some variation. The initial plan was to combine the oval and round shapes, but I didn’t like that, so stuck to all round or all oval. I added silk ribbon to one of them, and while I like the colors, I’m not sure I’m very fond of the effect. But the color is lovely!
It’s been a crazy month at work, so a lot of clay projects I’d planned to do have been put on the back burner. Which fit it great with the silk screening phase, since the projects don’t take very much time at all. Which is how I’ve been able to churn out all these shiny bits but I haven’t had time to make me some new canes, or try some other things I’ve had on my list. This long weekend got away from me before I knew it! But at least my necklace stand looks full now!