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SusanDolphinDelaney

Healing and Empowerment for Women

Tag Archives: Opal

(The Art Bead Scene post is one click down)

Every month Erin Prais-Hintz gives us an amazing design challenge. The challenges have ranged from photos of dragonflies, to short movies and this month: Architecture.

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When I saw this building, and the others in the challenge, I knew I had to make earrings with Dinosaur Bone. And not just any Dinosaur Bone, Opalized Dinosaur Bone.

In medical school I learned that the hip bone is “spongy” inside. It is not solid bone but has “trabeculae”, long arches of bone in its spongy core. The arches are virtually identical to the arches architects have used over the centuries to create the supports for cathedrals and for modern buildings like the one above.

If you are a nerd like me, you are going “duh” because the laws of physics apply equally to supporting bone and supporting the roofs of buildings.

Here is an X-ray of a hip bone. The image is reversed, so the bone shows black. Do you see the swooping, curved lines?

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Here is a drawing that shows the lines that support the bone:

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If you go to http://www.earrings-everyday.blogspot.com and look at all of the photos Erin posted, YOU WILL SEE THESE SAME LINES AND CURVES IN THE LOAD-BEARING WALLS OF EVERY ONE OF THE BUILDINGS in the challenge.

I am in year two of a five year plan to create gorgeous polymer clay opals.

When Erin posted the April Challenge, I had just seen this photo of Opalized Dinosaur Bone and pinned it to my “Opals to Polymerize” Pinterest board.

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This fossil is a tiny piece of a dinosaur bone, so you don’t see the swooping lines we’d see if we had an X-ray of the dinosaur’s whole hip bone.

Here are the earrings I made:

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I really had fun making these. I created two shades of green opal, two of blue and one of violet. I mixed tiny shreds of these colors into five different color combinations. I wrapped the green ones in Raw Umber Premo and the blue ones in Burnt Umber. If you look closely you can see how this enhanced the natural, organic feel to the piece.

The opal clay sparkles and twinkles just like mineral opal.

I used dyed jade beads as drops below the Opalized Dinosaur Bone. It’s translucency enhances the mineral feel to the earrings.

Here is another shot. The photo finishing to bring up the sparkle of the opal made my hands look a bit blue.

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Join me on a trip down memory lane:

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This is one of my early pieces, a pendant of Fossilized Dinosaur Bone, in this case the spaces in the spongy bone of the dinosaur filled with the mineral Apatite, Fools’ Gold. This is my interpretation in polymer. I have one of these available to sell. Message me at http://www.susandolphindelaney.etsy.com if you are interested.

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This piece, a small pendant, is very dear to me. The green clay is my very first successful batch of opal clay. I’d been playing with a technique which hadn’t worked and I was processing the clay so that I could turn it into Beads of Courage for kids with cancer, and voila, there it was. I had discovered the next step in making beautiful opals from polymer.

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This is another pendant, from my second batch of opal clay. I’d seen an amazing fossil: Opalized Snakeskin, in these colors. I had to try to make it.

Thanks for following my journey.

I am so grateful to Erin for creating these challenges. I always enjoy them, but I must say the deep nerdyness involved in this one kept a grin on my face the whole time I worked.

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Art Bead Scene offers a painting each month as a prompt to create beads and jewelry.

The painting this month is Self Portrait  with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, painted by Frida Kahlo in 1940.

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So many of Kahlo’s paintings focus on her physical suffering as a result of terrible injuries in a bus accident.

Instead of the suffering I chose to focus on Frida as an Artistic Goddess and created beads and then earrings derived from the Jaguar in the painting. I call the beads Eye of the Jaguar Goddess Beads.

I used my emerald Opal polymer clay and layered it with black and translucent black polymer to create the Eye of the Jaguar Goddesses. They shimmer and reflect light like mineral opals. I topped them with a pair of emerald shaped vintage beads collected in Santa Fe, NM. The pale emerald beads sing with the opal clay.

Here are the earrings:

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I am so grateful to Art Bead Scene ( http://www.artbeadscene.blogspot.com ) for these monthly challenges. I grow so much as an artist as I respond to the challenges.

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I saw an amazing opal necklace in Santa Fe. For $4200! It had a gold framed opal focal and opal beads.

I already had an opal pendant, made for me by my Aunt Katherine thirty years ago. I stepped a few doors down the street from the jewelry store to a bead shop and bought these pearls. I went back to the hotel, fired up my computer, and ordered the opal beads through Etsy.

Today I had time to sit down and string them all together. I will wear them with the pendant which I will hang on a short gold chain. The pearl necklace hangs longer. I know my Aunt Katherine would be thrilled.

Katherine worked in my dentist-grandfather’s office during the Great Depression, along with Mother and the other three sisters. Katherine was the crafty one so Grandaddy Doc taught her to work in gold. Back then “filling” were done with gold inlays on the tooth. Katherine continued to work in gold and silver until her death at 84.

Katherine died the way I want to: with her boots on. She had gone to an “old folk’s home” to teach a jewelry class. She went back to her car for something she’d forgotten, sat down on the car seat and died.

I looked up while I was stringing and saw my neighbor’s maple tree blazing over the rooftop. I wrote this haiku:

stringing pearls-/ over the roofline/ my neighbor’s blazing maple.

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Yesterday I had a half day off. I tried and failed to make opal cabochons that pleased me.

When dusting off my Pinterest boards last night, I came across a photo of a fossil, Opalized Snakeskin in Boulder Opal.

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I got up this morning and reworked the opal clay that I’d made yesterday. I chose a lively red clay for the remnants of the snakeskin, just like the original fossil has.

The attitude of the scientist is perfect humility toward the laws of Nature and a patient determination to learn them whatever the cost.

I have an attitude of patient determination toward learning to make wonderful polymer opal cabochons. It didn’t happen yesterday, but I made some wonderful opal in fossilized snakeskin today. It is a good beginning.

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I have continued my exploration of using Polymer Clay to create faux minerals.

Over the holiday weekend I created five Boulder Opal pendants. The blue and green opal is translucent (passes light).

Opal forms in cracks and seams in rock, hence the name Boulder Opal. The surrounding rock is referred to as matrix.

I created the blue and green opal with translucent clay and mixed three kinds of shiny glitter into the blue.

The matrix, representing the rock the opal formed in, is made of a rusty-colored opaque clay and three metallic clays.

Some Polymer Clay artists use thin veneers of the clay they create. I prefer to cut my pendants from a thick slab of the clay. Thus the pattern runs right through it. The back is as beautiful as the front. In this piece, the green opal is more prominent on the back.

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I wore this pendant to work today. I am very pleased with it.

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