Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October's Art Bead Scene Challenge

"Dragonfly Lamp"
By Émile Gallé, late 1800's- early 1900's
French Art Nouveau, Cameo Art Glass
October's Art Bead Scene Challenge is "Dragonfly Lamp" By Émile Gallé.  It is cameo glass which is a luxury form of glass art produced by etching and carving through fused layers of differently colored glass to produce designs, usually with white opaque glass figures and motifs on a dark-colored background. 

Émile Gallé (8 May 1846 – 23 September 1904) was a French artist who worked in glass, and is considered to be one of the major forces in the French Art Nouveau movement.   revitalized the glass industry by establishing a workshop to mass-produce his, and other artists', designs. The factory would employ 300 workers and artisans at its height and remained in operation until 1936.

This month's art has many different elements that can be used for inspiration:  dragonfly imagery, trees, movement, wings, insects, leaves, tulips, glass, light.  The colors are a gorgeous complimentary color palette of golden yellow and shades of lilac and lavender rounded out with rusty burnt sienna and raw umber.

                                                 Dragonfly beads by BayMoonDesign

I love the dragonfly motif.  I have found it to be very popular in jewelry so I selected the dragonfly as my inspiration. The motif brought to mind Heather Power's course "Cane Design Bootcamp" to mind.  I am slowly working my way through it.  Even though I just finished Week 2 of it, I have viewed all of the videos for the entire course a number of times and I remembered that this course had a few ways to put the dragonfly motif on polymer clay beads.  I selected the method in week 2 of creating a polymer clay cane of a tiny dragonfly because it looked to be the easiest and I love to be successful.  The 3 beads that I photographed are the only ones that I choose to share because they are sadly my best.  

Making polymer clay beads is a struggle for me.  First there is the conditioning of the clay.  I have gotten to the point that it is no longer a huge ordeal.  I devote 1 day to that.  I am pretty pleased by my lavender that I mixed.  I used a pinch of white, silver, and mostly purple to get a color that I think matches well to the art.  The yellow I made isn't as deep and bright as the yellow in the lamp.  At the time I made it, I thought is was.  I think I nailed the brown when mixing the clay.

Day 2 was devoted to making the base beads which were all yellow.  This process included putting the holes in the beads.  I am pleased that I am getting better at putting a whole through a tube bead.  My base beads all turned out well so I see improvement here.

Day 3 was devoted to making the dragonfly cane.  I got pretty close on my third attempt at making the cane.  I think you can recognize my dragonflies are dragonflies.  My major problem is that when I used transparent clay, I hoped that the yellow would show through better than it did.  You really can see the transparent clay sitting on the yellow beads.  Perhaps, I should have used matching yellow polymer clay or cut my canes thinner and blended the clay in better.

Any thoughts?

Heather really has a talent in those hands of hers.  On the videos you can see how natural and easy it is for her to whip up beads and canes.  I would love to know how many beads she can make in a day.  I bet it is more than I could ever imagine.  I just wish that I could end up with a few really nice beads after 3 days of labor.  Oh well, I just need to practice more and more!  I also need to finish my course.

Thank you Heather for sharing your talent and beads!


  1. I think that the beads are pretty cute, I would love to see how they look as jewelry

  2. Hi Divya-Thanks for the kind words and stopping by my blog.

  3. I am very impressed by your beads. I wish I had your patience to practice. I have been threatening to try polymer and haven't done it yet.

  4. I thought these were quite lovely! I love the stylized dragonflies. Heather is a marvel. It is so intuitive for her and effortless to make a cane. I have taken a few classes with her and all it does is reinforce for me how valuable her end product is! I realize that I am not destined for making canes, but I am just as happy buying them from her! Enjoy the day! Erin

  5. I love your polymer beads, the colours are perfect and one can recognise the dragonflies. Bead making does take a lot of time and we are impatient, we want things done fast and at first try.
    Great job!
    Ana Cravidao