Optical Effusion

March 31, 2017

I get asked a lot of questions about my technique, especially about how I achieve certain designs or patterns (Yes, I'm talking about you, Seth). So, here's just a quick view into my artistic process, as I work on a new line of bracelets for the fast-approaching Handmade Arlington arts & crafts show, on April 1st.


The silver sheets below appear to be 3-D & highly textured, but they're actually all smooth as a mirror, made from a Premo! Sculpey® silver clay. The technique is often referred to as "mica shift" because it exploits the properties of the mica pigments used in those clays. Both natural and synthetic micas are flat, plate-like particles.  When the particles are all oriented with the flat dimension facing the same way, the light reflects off of those flat particle faces.  When those particles are misaligned, the clay is less reflective and appears darker.  So these patterns, in which the angles of the mica pigment particles are deliberately aligned (or misaligned, as the case may be), create beautiful optical illusions of depth with brilliant shine from the flat sheet's surface. 


The gold plates are sanded, drilled & finished pieces made from a similarly treated Premo! Sculpey® gold clay – all they're lacking is the elastic cord to connect them into the final product.


The final image, below, shows green plates separated by black seed beads, forming a really cool bracelet. To see several of these pieces up close, drop by our booth at Handmade Arlington on Saturday, April 1st!!


Silver 3-D Sheets:





Gold 3-D Plates:


Green 3-D Bracelet:



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