Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Handmade Decals Preview

Take a good look at these beads. Click on them and have a closer examination. These babies are the culmination of over a year's worth of head scratching and befuddlement. I love the idea of taking my own design that I created from scratch and making a decal from it -- but I love the commercial decals too. They're just pretty.

In the recent past I've drawn a bunch of cartoon-y-type daisies and for a variety of reasons they just don't fire well on the beads. I don't know if it is because there are too many lines to deal with or what... but I have only a few that I have been satisfied enough to put in my store.

While watched a documentary a few weeks ago on fractals, a flood of ideas came to me -- the patterns in these fractals are hauntingly beautiful. I found a fractal program on the internet and began playing around, zooming in, changing the function a bit (it helps that I do have a good bit of math under my belt though I would flunk any test given to me at this point in time -- I got a "B" in Calculus over ten years ago, and I will forever and ever find a way to shamelessly brag about that.)

After I had zoomed into a fractal area that I particular liked, I captured it and placed it into my graphic editing program and went to work further altering it, then I printed a sheet of decals and realized I had nothing to mount these beauties on. Now, I didn't completely use fractals -- there are some beads that are from designs that I've picked up here and there, but the bulk of the designs are from the fractals.

The next day I spent trying to decide which clay body to use -- you would think this would not be a difficult decision, but it was -- Should I use Bright White? Medium White? Creamy White? Brown? Nah, not the brown -- then I had to decide after they were bisque fired if I was going to put down an underglaze or keep the white. I kept the white and applied a simple clear gloss and fired them to maturity.

Finally, days later, I was able to apply the decals. I cut them into strips and all sorts of shapes ... teeny little things they are! I fired them to cone 04 (which took me waaaaay too long to figure out) and when they came out I had already pre-cut the small delicate pink roses to apply.

The hard part was to resist completely covering them with the commercial pink rose decals. I realize I have a tenancy to overdo and I didn't want to overdo these.

All in all, I am thrilled at the way this batch turned out. I would like to go bigger with this sort of design, perhaps a teacup or two (or three). We'll see....

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