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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Beaded And Braided Bracelet

This is a lovely braided bracelet which I did according to an easy tutorial by CLS designs. She has named it outside beaded bracelet. It is a video tutorial and the link is HERE.

I have chosen to make it with opaque white crystals,and silver coloured craft wire size 18 gauge, instead of the multihull beads used in the tutorial.

Also I have chosen to finish the bracelets with ornate and conical bead caps to give the bracelet a more ethnic look. I have used a handmade hook for a clasp..but it can be easily switched to a lobster clasp also .


Monday, 7 December 2015

Pendant ...Poppies In A Field...

I had bought a few supplies from a fellow jewelry artist including some bezels for pendants. I had made another pendant in a similar bezel using Cold was a shabby style rose on a background reminiscent of the Beatrix Potter paintings. Here it can read about the post on this particular pendant by clicking on the pic below..

This time I went with in a whole new direction for my inspiration ! Poppies are vibrant flowers with their reddish orange or deep red petals and ebony centres. So I was looking at quite a few pics on the Internet and found that the poppy fields looked very vibrant. just below, is one of the photographs that inspired me.

And here is the result of that inspiration ...

I wanted to give some important to the bezel also..I decided to treat it as a frame for a painting of a poppy field. So I painted the background first, a poppy field spread over a long distance.... and in order to show depth to the 'painting' I formed two tiny poppies in relief and also a bigger one, fairly popping out of the frame...

While the idea is clear to me, I wonder how it appears to others...would love to know your opinion...


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Tiny Elf

It is nearing Christmas season and the creative world especially, have been putting out the festive works , as early as is tough not to be excited by the cute gingerbread houses and other lovely creations.

I have wanted to work more with Cold Porcelain but right now making things on a bigger scale is not very feasible. The disadvantage with a clay that needs to air dry, is that it needs dedicated space for the curing process...right now, my work space, storage, curing space and everything else is one table...which makes it tough for working on things and leaving them at different stages of production, which is the only way to have things to post often enough..

My solution is to make miniatures..which I have been doing already, and they do not take up a lot of space . So I got down to making an elf, in keeping with all the Christmasy vibes ...

I did not give the elf a typical Christmas colour. And I made her in a sitting position so that she can give someone company, on a box or book, or even the edge of a table or countertop. She had lovely bronze hair..and I made her cap separate and did not fix it on her head. The total length is about 1.5 inches.

Guess she could be a writer's, or an artist's elf..since Santa's elves and shoemaker elves are the traditional career choices. It is not easy to walk the untrodden path, but the journey would hold more surprises and make life more interesting... So why not?..


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Magic Wand...The Making.

When we visited the Universal Studios in Florida, in May, the toughest time I had, was to get my daughter away from Ollivander's shop. The magic wands, were literally flying off the shelves....I admit, the interactive wands were tempting for anyone.
Any wand, magic or otherwise, would not last long in her hands, so I decided to make her one the easy way....with a bead , and a skewer as the base, and Cold Porcelain Clay, crystals and stones to make it special.
It is a regular wooden skewer we use in the kitchen. The bead I chose is a transparent sphere..but you can choose any beads, crystal or semi precious stones, in various shapes. Choosing a bead makes it easier to anchor the bead to the tip,of the skewer

You may have to lightly file the skewer tip a bit..but take care that it does not thin down to become fragile. Another option would be a piece of metal wire..which should be about 14 gauge or thicker. I used just the White Fevicol glue works well on wooden surfaces..but if you are planning to use any other material, maybe a glue gun would be handy.
The next step, is to take a nice round ball of clay about the size of a gooseberry. Push the broad end of the skewer through the centre of the clay ball. Now lay it on a table and apply even pressure with fingers till the ball of clay covers about half of the wand. I did not intend to cover more than half the wand with clay. If you prefer to have the entire wand covered just go ahead and get a bigger ball of clay. If there is excess, just trim it off as it clay reaches near the bead.
Now it is time to decorate the wand. Roll out very thin snakes of clay and stick them on to the bead . It is better to have a design in mind before you start using glue to stick the tendrils on. I also used clay to fix the area joining the skewer and the bead. To hide the other end of the bead hole, roll a tiny ball of clay , and fix a tiny white crystal on it.
At the handle, decorate with hand made leaves, or any other shapes that you would wish to. I took three tiny balls, rolled them into a point at one side. Then pressed the tear drops thus formed, to make them flat. Added the mid vein and the notches on the side with a thin knife, to give the details on the leaves. I also rolled a few more than snake shapes and added matching tendrils just above the leaves, to match those on the bead. Also wound the longest tendril around the skewer.
Once the clay details have been added, keep it for curing. I kept it to dry for about 5 hours. Once dry, it is safe to start colouring.
Now to paint, I chose Fevicryl Metallic colours in Dull Gold, Pink, green and dark pink. For the tendrils covering the bead, I used a base coat of gold then added accents of green. I also used a few stones to decorate the bead.
I started with the gold shade here too, the undersides of the leaves, then about a third of the handle. To give it am ombré effect, I mixed gold and dark ,pink and moving farther to the end, I used just the dark pink to the end of the handle
The sides of the leaves and the tops were painted green. I added a stone each on each leaf. Again, I gave a base coat of gold above the leaves , on the tendrils, highlighted with green. From above the wound vine or tendril, I gave a coat of pink. While between the tendrils is a mix of gold and pink.
Finally, once the paint is dried, you can add varnish, or Ren wax. I used the latter.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Snippets : Wire Sculpture

Introducing 'Snippets' on Swardaa..this will be a bit of information on history, oft used terms, methods, etc.

Sculpture is the three - dimensional expression of visual art. the term wire sculpture encompasses not just the creation of sculptures, using wire as the predominant medium, but also the forming of jewelry.

Metal wire jewelry, using bronze, copper and other materials, have been around as early as the 2nd Dynasty of Egypt, and the Bronze and Iron at Jess in Europe. The addition of semi-precious stones , beads and gem stones with the wire elevate these to wearable works of art. These are also known as wire-wrap jewelry.

By the 20th century, the medium of wire sculpture was modernised and gained much popularity as an art form by artists like Alexander Calder and Ruth well as quite a few exceptional jewelry artists.
The bracelet in the picture above, was made with the popular method known as Egyptian coil. I used copper wire of 20 gauge for this particular piece. It is a very versatile design that allows one to make a variety of designs by incorporating beads, crystals and other embellishments.
While coiling is a very fun and beautiful technique, wire weaving is yet another way to add more dimension on to your work..Freeform wire sculpting has a charm of it's own..Try it out and enjoy....


Monday, 26 October 2015

Floral Finger Ring...

Wire work finger rings are fun and elegant . And the design possibilities are endless. I made a triple coiled ring and secured it by making a twist and adding coils to the protruding ends. Pretty much like the one I had done to gift my mom with.

This time though I used 18 gauge jewelry wire in silver colour .They were slightly softer than I required..and so I used nylon pliers to harden them up a bit. I twisted the ends slightly different from the earlier copper ring because I has a specific idea on how to adorn it with the Cold porcelain elements..
So here is stage 1, done..!

There are many ways to add the cold porcelain elements..form the floral elements and leaves in advance and then add vines. I find that adding cured elements to uncured do not give the smooth finish that was wanted here.. I coiled Cold porcelain into vines in the same pattern as the wire . Formed three leaves, though they are not very visible, I always like to add details even if they are subtle.



I handformed the big flower first and positioned it over the knotted coil. Then there was only a tiny loop to cover, so I made a tiny bud to go over that space..
Since the flowers and vines are delicately formed, it was not long to air dry. So the next step was to give the colour....Recently, I had been experimenting with country style colours and tints on my Cold porcelain work..but for this, I wanted to replicate the lovely original porcelain look. So I kept the rose colours to a minimum...just the hint of a blush... Even the vines and leaves were just touched with a hint of green...
Finally gave a tiny line of gold to the edges...Delicate all the way through..


Friday, 16 October 2015

Accessories To Match An Ensemble...

It is not very often that I get the urge to make jewelry that match an outfit...mostly , in my case, it is the other way around.. I acquire, or lately make jewelry, and I mostly get outfits that compliment rather than exactly match the piece..or I even have more than a few outfits that go with my favourite necklace or earrings...

This particular instance, I had gone out to get a nice outfit to wear for a very dear and cute nephew's first birthday..

It was a beautiful ethnic style kurtha in black with some antique copper gold print...and I found these wild and vibrant patialas in blues and green with black accents on them...

With a lovely closed collar, a necklace would not have done much I decided to do an earring to tie the whole look of ethnic with the wild colours.

I got out some beautiful antique gold coloured filigree beads. And teamed it with green and blue translucent beads interspersed with some opaque jet crystals... Pretty simple design actually !! But it was a fun exercise ..

So do all of you pick your jewelry, or the outfits?


Monday, 5 October 2015

Miniature Snail In Cold Porcelain

It was just last week that I finally took out my Cold Porcelain supplies. Unlike my beautiful studio back in Chennai, my work space is a table top where every supply I have would vie for space.. so I have to be careful to keep a lot of my stuff away.

I use a foil covered container to dry some of my smaller creations..The whole lot of tools in the transparent container were gifted to me by Meire generous...!!

I sculpted the little guy by hand...decided to add the colours later... Finally have a handle on how to get the delicate shading I so adore..and the country style look... This is how he looks after the Cold Porcelain was totally cured.

I used a skin colour for the base coat for the snail and then gave accents in yellow, orange, brown and a very faint green. I also gave light blue irises for the eyes.

This is a collage of the snail from various sides..

As a child I used to love collecting stuff like this..I used to have two very cute mice that came along with a picnic basket , mat, cutlery and dishes. Wonder where that disappeared to !

Now, being able to craft stuff that I adore is even better ..

This tiny guy is just an inch tall..


Monday, 28 September 2015

Past Another Birthday...

Life at Thripunithura is surely more hectic for us than in Chennai.. Each week is a new event..weddings, naming ceremonies , family get togethers and other events ..along with our daughter's normal school routine.

In between that we managed to squeeze in a three day - two night stay at a resort in Thekkadi... We had our cousins along with us it was a lot of fun ..and just as we returned it was my birthday... Nothing like birthdays with parents to feel like a kid ..when I am just a year shy of 40 !!!

So it was lot of unexpected gifts ..a lovely home made cake baked by my aunt...card made by my daughter favourite food prepared by mom for lunch..and a dinner treat from hubby !!And absolutely everyone I know seem to have sent their wishes ...

Bliss !!! ..and so humbled and thankful too ..

I did treat myself to a new creation ..made this statement necklace for myself .. It is double stranded link chain It is long enough to go over my head, but I decided to give it a clasp any way. The big oval beads are pastel shades of translucent yellow and pink. Something that could make a casual outfit seem a little more dressy ...

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Anniversary Gift...

Our parents celebrated their 40th wedding Anniversary this month. So I made something special for my mom. It is an uphill battle convincing folks of the unconventional path I am on..especially with my work and education background, in Kerala I seem to be explaining myself to every second person...

It has now reached the stage where I just exclaim that this is what I want to do..and let their remarks go unheeded.. Anyway, this creation seems to have brought some good comments from certain unexpected quarters !! As always I created something that please me ..and thought that the wearer would enjoy...

I made this ring for my mom for my parents' anniversary . It is made from a 16 gauge copper wire. The 4 plain coils were secured with a twist knot. Two ends were then coiled into swirls and secured the way I wanted them. I made one coil bigger than the other and then positioned the coils. The whole ring was then lightly hammered to harden it and to secure the coils in position.

It is a simple design..and mom seemed to like it...


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Perfect Pairing...

If you have known me a while, you would know that my favourite thing if all, is to give customised gifts..and I got the perfect opportunity last month . A few classmates who came up from different parts of the globe for their annual vacation, decided to get together and host a baby shower for one of us, who is expecting her second baby. We knew that the much awaited baby would be showered with gifts from everyone including a doting big brother as soon as he or she we decided to make the occasion all about the expectant mom..

I decided to gift her a necklace. It was not a tough call at friend is the epitome of cool..and every meeting with her makes me feel relaxed and absolutely great ..It is an added bonus that she lives not far away from us... Always great to have someone like this to drop in on...

So I decided to make her a necklace that would fit her to a T.. Refreshing in colours of blue and mint green..with a little smoky and translucent white to add some mystique. It is long enough to wear over the head..but I like to play it safe and added a simple clasp. Let's hope that she mails me her pic while wearing it... Here's wishing the safe arrival of a healthy baby and wishing the mom a speedy recovery...




Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Bracelet In Sweet Pink

I got these lovey assortment of pink beads in various shapes on my trip to the U.S.. I am not overly fond of pink, but my little one is... And she had been asking me to make her a bracelet. She picked out the beads too...I just made a simple link bracelet with a lobster clasp as closure.

Lovely translucent beads with stiles of white that are heart shaped , translucent pink butterflies shaped beads and candy pink beads. Made my most 'free'quent customer very happy indeed!


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Onam Celebrations

It has been a month and a half since my last post...!!! Unbelievable how time just flies.. I have made a makeshift work station for now.. The biggest issue is storage of my supplies... Anyway I will adjust with what I have for now...while dreaming and planning for my dream work space.

we celebrated Onam well this year.. It has been the best Onam in ages .. The first one that our daughter got to be with her parents and grand parents,.. And stayed at one house long enough to put floral designs all ten days of the festival..

The pookalam or the floral carpet we designed a put for our resident's association competition... Quite a few people, predominantly, the ladies and children

got together the night before and cleaned and separated the petals. We finished the design in two and half hours..and we got the second price too!!

On the tenth day, we took items for the feast and went to have it with my grandmother at our ancestral home.

Now the school has reopened and life, hopefully will get back to normal...

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A Few Gifts And Relocation Woes

The much longed - for relocation to my home town has been slow going... Thankfully our daughter is all settled in her new school . But having to cramp stuff that was spread out in our 3 bedroom home with a customised work space , to one bedroom for the time being, is not exactly helping my creative side...

Added to this situation are health issues that had been part of me for a while and have suddenly flared to troublesome levels... I have had to hold off a few orders  ..So far I have just been doing a few pieces as gifts. A couple of earrings for young achievers in the family and an earring and necklace set to welcome a new bride .

Swardaa by Swapna Dinesh
The first pair of earrings are asymmetric in part.  I used eye catching lovely gold and blue glass beads and used matching gold tinted accents and blue crystals.

But I mixed up the combinations to give it a bit of interest.
Swardaa by Swapna Dinesh
I chose antique gold colored filigree  beads for the next one..and added metal accents in the same shade and also dark blue dyed and faceted agate stones.

Swardaa by Swapna DineshThe necklace was done in amber beads.. usually I team up amber with gold or shades of copper..but this time I decided to give it some contrast and accented them with chunky black metal beads.

The earrings are just simple drops accented lightly and on hoops.

There is plenty to do in organizing my supplies and a work space. Right now it seems like a daunting

But I plan to atleast keep doing a few small projects so I would not feel completely out of it...

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A Touch of Colour to Cold Porcelain Sculptures

I had posted in my blog about meeting my idol Meire Bari . So she was amazingly generous to give me a sculpting lesson and share a few tips.

I also had the privilege  to examine all her beautiful Cold Porcelain creations first - hand !! they were breath taking and while her photography skills are great.. her creations actually do not need any enhancements.. they are spectacular by themselves !!

The thing is that the colours she uses make them look so 3-dimensional.. I wanted to learn more about that too..but unfortunately we did not have much time... but she did use coloured clay to show me the sculpting lesson..they were just freshly sculpted when they travelled the same day, back to India with me...

It was not easy carrying them even when they were packed so well for travel.. I had an energetic 8 year  old to hold on to.., and another bag !!

The pic on the left is how they look after they are dry.. I had to repair two ears that had nearly come off... and the one on the right, which is the sculpture I made, had a light hollow  at the base of the head.. and the head was tilted... so I left it at that angle . still I do not think that it detracts any from the cuteness quotient !!

The big pumpkin is a bit dented too..but that could be because of my inexpert modelling ..instead of what happened during transportation...!! Meire's pumpkin just looks so perfect..Thank God !!

Once the sculptures were dry., I decided to paint mine ... I did not want to change anything on Meire's sculpture...

 SO here is the little guy all ready to be painted...

I only did the very basic tint on the face . just a bit of blush effect and darker highlights..

gave a touch of white to make the underlying colors pop .

I decided to give two effects for the two pumpkins.  Just wanted to see how it would look and which one I preferred...

The small pumpkin was kept more realistic in tints and basic tone..but since the bigger pumpkin was already with a patch work and a tiny heart on it I just made the most of highlighting the segments and then giving the sections a huge shade of yellow..

Cold Porcelain sculpting by Swapna Dinesh
Cold Porcelain Sculpting by Swapna DInesh

I also put in a tinge of green ... I think it is Okay for a first try.. please let me know what you think.

Friday, 19 June 2015

More Inspiring Artists : Meeting With The Columbus Polymer Clay Guild .

There are a lot of clay groups on facebook. And I had been following a few . Once our trip to USA was decided, I realised that one of the group I was following, was the Columbus Polymer Clay Guild and I was going to live the major part of a month in Columbus... ..but I had just a day's chance to meet the members since they would meet on the second thursday of every month.

So... I decided to try for an invite. And within no time, the reply came back in affirmative. I was just ecstatic. A few days later I got another message from a member, Steve Winland who asked me to carry along a few of my own pieces, that I could show the members. !! That was a bit daunting...I knew the calibre of the it was a tough thing for someone inherently shy, like me..but this was a chance like no other...

And so, May 14th, I duly presented myself at the venue..and was immediately put at ease by the very friendly Vicky, whose full name I never caught. And then one by one the other members started arriving..and most of them did not look surprised at my presence. Then I found out that it had been announced at the previous meeting, that an artist would be coming from India, on a visit...

The meeting commenced with a showing of the members' various works. Then they invited me to show the pieces I had with me, and explain about them.. they were so casual that it did not feel like I was in the midst of  strangers. 

There was an amazing demonstration by Nicole Willis  on caning techniques. The ladies gave many of their spectacular pieces to be photographed. 

 I could not make up my mind on which piece I liked the best.. !
 The lovely ladies !! The very talented Carole Smithers was so warm and friendly, she wanted a picture with me.. :)

And Beth Curan, who I later learned, was the President of the Columbus Polymer Clay Guild, gave me a token of her own creation to take home...

So at the end of a beautiful 2 hours, I came away, thrilled no end, and also feeling blessed to meet such brilliant creative people many of them at once.. it was overwhelming... !!