How’s It Done?

Someone inquired recently about our Lost World Mini Terrarium Necklaces, and how they are made.  The short answer is, very carefully!  Joking aside, they’re the product of a lot of intricate work, and I appreciate the question.  For artists who handmake work for sale, the process is often ignored in favor of the appearance of the finished product.  If you’ve ever hand-made anything, you know that the process, the work, materials, skill, and effort that went into it is 80% of the finished product’s significance.  And those of us who hand-make for a living really love it when someone appreciates the work we do!  So here’s a bit on the process of making these pieces.

I love terrariums; the idea of an entire ecosystem existing under glass, green things growing and thriving, bits of nature you can keep close-by on a table or desk.  We make contemporary terrariums at Hieropice, but only sell them at shows, due to the risk of damage during shipping.  I wanted to make a version of our terrariums available to customers who can’t make it to shows in New England; a small, portable version of them that could be worn.

I began with a variety of miniature glass vessels.  In went the elements of our full-size terraria; colorful sands and bits of fragrant reindeer moss.  I wanted to add something extra-cool; living mushrooms can’t really be cultivated in a terrarium (or at least, to my knowledge) though I’d love to give it a go, but I thought of a way to incorporate adorable little mushrooms into the necklace version, by creating them out of polymer clay.

So, I mixed a few colors of polymer clay to resemble the natural tones of a live mushroom, and rolled the clay around a wire, topped with a clay mushroom cap carefully shaped with a manicure-tool, and with the point of a pin, applied clay polka dots to the cap.  Likewise, I created mini succulent plants with the green tones of the clay, rolling out and slicing tendrils and pressing them together to form a miniature aloe/agave. 

I trimmed the wires and the pieces went into the oven, and afterwards, I strategically placed them in the vessels with a narrow pair of tweezers.  Adding additional Spanish moss or sand, and sealing with waterproof adhesive and a decorative stopper finishes them off, and they’re hung on meticulously-selected chain.  Each one is unique, incorporating some elements and not others, created with color, contrast, and balance in mind.  That’s the process, in a nut-shell, and thanks to the fan who inquired!

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2 thoughts on “How’s It Done?

  1. Pingback: Terraria (in Miniature) | Hieropice

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