Inspiration comes from so many places.
As far as polymer clay is concerned, however, I took my initial cues from THE BAKELITE JEWELRY BOOK by Davidov-Dawes......came out early 90's. There have been MANY since. This is the OLD Five and Dime Style jewelry AT ITS BEST.
I have always been a big fan of 20th century plastic jewelry; composition, celluloid, bakelite, hard plastic, lucite. Looking at this book, however, my creative heart lept up and cried! FIMO! Let me try stuff like this in FIMO......I think I can, I think I can.....
I think YOU can, too....and should. First, to inspire:
Here's a photo I found at Pinterest the other day; it's a very valuable and rare red bakelite heart and key brooch:
Here are some of the ways you know a piece like this is bakelite....first the FEEL of it, which of course since we only have a picture, you can't do...but bakelite is thick, chunky, slick. When you briskly rub it with your thumb, your thumb will smell like formaldehyde.
All findings would be inlaid (as you can see, they are). Never glued on. Also, you can see the material is not molded, but carved. Inside that keyhole you would see marks from carving. If you see mold lines, I'll lay you odds it's not gonna be bakelite. Can you see the small dark spot on the key part? That would be from the inlay of the pinback on the other side (which of course we can't see here.)
You can do this, and better, with polymer clay. You could try to totally reprise the piece in a bright red, and then get the gloss by buffing on a muslin wheel---or other methods as described in the polymer clay instruction books.
Better yet....be inspired. Take the shape, the feel, the vibe....and bring the Five and Dime nature of this brooch forward to 2012. How would you do it?
Here are some bakelite (bakelite being a phenolic resin that also contained wood filler) and wood composition pieces that I own:
The yellow flowers brooch is a two part brooch and is a better piece. It's the only one of the better pieces I had, back when I was dealing in bakelite jewelry, that I ever kept! Sigh....but anyway: The back (not shown) is an ebony black ring that is screwed or sort of even riveted to the back. Not REALLY riveted...you wouldn't want to do that, it would crack. But looks like that sort of thing. The bottom piece is an Art Deco dress clip with inlaid brass wire, it is not a highly collectable piece but still very very nice in the translucent swirly root beer color.
The top piece is not bakelite, but carved wooden cherries on a composition leaf base, strung with the same sort of string that so often, was used to affix the bakelite carved cherries to a 'log' base, on the cherries brooches, which are very desirable. The wear is to be expected; many of these pieces have wear as they were INDEED *real* Five and Dime Style jewelry from back in the day, not made from high-end materials.
About 12-13 years ago I made my own version of the cherries brooch. It is far from perfect as a freshman endeavor....but I did love it and wear it often:
I used a form of craft wire called Twisteez for the cherries, in fact I'm working on getting that for the website again. It's the closest thing to old phone wire that works, unless you want to use coated string which is virtually unavailable, and really, it didn't endure well, then....and it won't now.
Originally the piece had leaves, I kept the last one that fell off ( I wore this ALOT!!) and the one you're seeing here flipped over when I made the photo, so that's the back. Doesn't look so good. See my holes? We want to ream out our holes nicely whether working in clay, ceramic, whatever. I am still working on getting that better and better. I love to see a good, round, clean hole in clay/ceramic.
I do like how the bow part came out! I think the piece was glazed with Fimo Lak, which I used to use back then. The Sculpey finishes work as nicely and are less toxic. You could use a light coat of resin, too, but you'd have to be careful....you might have some dripping off the round bead.
Here is a closer look at the vintage 30's wood cherries pin:
This gives you a real nice idea of how it was made, and how you might try it...in clay...and refine it. The little cherries are actually on old brass headpins!
Here is another cool idea made of vintage hard plastic buttons---probably 50's, but could be older:
Wait til I show you the back, to see how it is composed:
Just wire strands, looped through the buttons, then bunched, and the bunch wound. Reminds me a lot of how I made this brooch a little while back:
Anyway.....Five and Dime Style ROCKS, and it's the base inspiration for everything I have ever made as a jewelry designer.
It comes from my love of old things, my days in the trade as an antiques dealer specializing in vintage jewelry. The thrill of the hunt and the big score were BIG rushes, I won't lie to you!
But the inspiration of holding a piece of old bakelite in your hand and thinking....now how does this translate to mixed media? surpasses it all a HUNDREDFOLD.
We were just all made to create. That's what B'sue Boutiques is all about!
So....take it to the next level....take it to the limit. Where will YOU go with this?
PS....here's a newspaper post about a big bakelite auction....you might find it interesting: