Sunday, September 29, 2013

My First Attempts at Crystal Clay

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a talk and class at my local bead society by the very talented beading artist Nikia Angel. Her talk was called "Steal Like an Artist," a title sure to grab your attention, but the actual talk was not about stealing per se, but about the different ways an artist will get their ideas and express them in their art. Based on a concept by Austin Kleon, it was a fantastic talk that will be referring to quite often in the future.

Nikia's class was on crystal clay, and it was the first time that I had tried anything in this medium. It was a really fun class, as each student was given several options of which settings, clay, and crystals to use, and several examples for inspiration. However, the class was focused on learning and playing in the medium, so each student's pieces were different from their neighbor's work. I completed two cabochons and one pendant in class:

For my first crystal clay piece, I tried to take an asymmetric, semi-random approach with a collection of mostly round Swarovski crystals, in clear AB, greens, and purples, all with a silver clay background:

For my second piece, which became my favorite of the three, I used a quintet of delightful little fans, and surrounded them with additional crystals to make a pendant. I added a bunch of tiny little silver craft beads in between the crystals, which gave the piece a really neat texture!

I used these beads again on my final piece, a nice little cab featuring several round crystals, again in purple and green.

It was an interesting experience to take this class; the medium is definitely outside of my usual element of precision beadwork, but I was very grateful for the opportunity to experiment in something different. Nikia is a fantastic teacher; she's patient, knowledgable, and very generous with her advice. She has my full recommendation!

Have you ever taken a class outside of your usual medium? How did you like it?


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