Clay Earrings


Artwork / Saturday, May 11th, 2019

I spent last Summer in Western North Carolina and it influenced me in many ways. One way is (if you don’t already know and are actually reading this) I am leaving Florida. I kinda always knew I wasn’t a “beach girl”. I grew up in Central Florida but I was always dreaming of winding pathways through forest floors, crystal clear flowing rivers, the scent of autumn, mountain views…I could go on forever but let me get back to earrings.

Arts & Crafts in the Appalachians is different than Florida. “Craft” in Florida means plastic beads and felt. “Craft” in the Appalachians means making things with your hands. That’s not to say there are not any craftsman in the entire State of Florida because obviously there are but there is a concentrated amount in the REAL South. (Not Florida. Florida is not the South)

So, I started seeing things through a different lens. I knew I wanted to challenge myself create something that “fit” into this maker culture so I started making one of my favorite things-earrings. If you’ve followed my journey you know I started working on this last year. In October I was putting my art into earrings-and that was a lot of fun-but it wasn’t what I was looking for.

“Artful” Earrings with my artwork inside

So after my first batch of metal earrings (I always knew I wanted to make earrings because I hate all other jewelry but I collect earrings) I decided I wanted to try porcelain to be exact. I have experience with clay. I took a class in high school and another one in college. So once again I traveled to North Carolina to study under a professional clay artist, but that didn’t go as planned. I gained insight into many things during this trip. I can see myself (maybe) working with clay in the future but there’s a lot of upfront cost involved, along with regular access to a kiln, which I do not have.

Unfired clay earrings I made in North Carolina (notice the shapes)

I also went through a small stent of making earrings from actual stones. Here’s what that looked like.

(I looked up the meanings and uses of the stones)

This was fun for a bit but DANGIT it STILL wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted to build something with my hands and I wanted it to be a process that I had to learn and experiment with. I wanted my earrings to reflect the shapes I use in my artwork.

AND THEN…

I discovered polymer clay. I actually learned more about it while researching at-home, tabletop kilns. I learned that polymer clay fires at a low temp so it was something I could “fire” in my own oven. I knew there were a ton of colors and well, I decided to try it. Here’s what that looked like.

I FREAKING LOVE IT!
I use a dremel tool to buff the earrings and make the holes for the o-rings

Each batch allows me to play with colors and experiment with shapes. It also teaches me things like-put my hair in a ponytail when working with the dremel.

That hurt.

I’m also learning how far to space out each hole, how dusty the process is, how long to bake at what thickness, etc. etc. All in all it’s been a great experience and people seem to really like what I’m making!

See earrings for sale with this link

The next thing I’ll be working on is product photos. That’s a work in progress! Photographing earrings is much different than scanning artwork. I found a cool place to take some photos this week…Community Loaves! If you haven’t been, you should go!

Perfect place to take photos!
(and eat a cookie and have some tea)
(and take selfies)
Here are some photos from the day

So that’s what I have so far! It am also working on finding cool names for each type of earring based on their shape and how it reminds me of something in nature. <3 I hope you enjoyed learning more about my process!

You can use this link to head over to the Bits & Peaces website where I’ll sell my earrings: https://carmencayart.bigcartel.com/

~ Carmen