Sunday, September 26, 2010

October PCAGOE Challenge - Southwestern

Our PCAGOE challenge theme for October is "Southwestern." I have to admit, it's one of my favorites of all the themes we've had so far. Turquoise is my favorite gemstone, and my favorite colors to design with are the tertiary colors which immediately come to mind when you think of a Southwestern color palette evident in Native American blankets, decor and architecture: Tomato red, butter yellow, mustard, pumpkin, aubergine, chocolate brown and suede tan, and of course, turquoise.

If I could live anywhere else other than South Carolina, I think I would choose Santa Fe. First, I'm fascinated by the history and culture of Santa Fe. Second, I'm fascinated by the artists employed by the U.S. government in the Works Progress Administration, the WPA, in the 1930s and 1940s; and third, I am fascinated by the explosion of color evident in the landscape and architecture of the American Southwest region.

I tried several designs this week in an effort to create something Southwestern which really reflects how I feel about it.

My first effort was this dark turquoise and chocolate brown piece. I created the chocolate brown bezels to resemble tooled leather and filled them with a faux turquoise mosaic cabochons. I haven't done wire wrapping in a long time. I'm too lazy and it takes too much time, but I created the copper jumprings and wire wrapped the alternating African turquoise fluted teardrop beads. I almost entered this piece. It's gotten quite a lot of positive feedback and I really like it, but I wanted a piece which incorporated more of the "Southwestern" colors I love, so I kept at it.

This was my second attempt, which I love, but it doesn't qualify because our entries must be at least 50% polymer clay. I didn't have enough of the clay batch left to make more than 4 of the smaller round blossom beads. The colors in this are the paler versions of my favorites from the Southwestern color palette. I think of this as the desert sunrise colors, instead of the bolder desert sunset colors.

One of the things I wanted to incorporate was a Zuni Corn Maiden focal bead. The first attempt wasn't very good, I was more pleased with the second, which is featured in this piece, along with faux bone capped beads intended to mimic those gorgeously colorful Navajo blankets. I needed to balance the focal bead, so I created the "corny" turquoise toggle clasp. Notice how the bar resembles an ear of corn?

Third time is the charm! This is it, my entry for the challenge. It includes all the colors I wanted to showcase, and my corn maiden 2nd attempt focal. Yay!

I also got several pendants out of the batch of "blanket" clay. LOVE the variagated stripes on these showcased with the copper. If I could get a realistic looking sterling silver clay blend, I would have used that, but everything I tried was too dark and too dull to pair well with the colors.

I think that will do it for me with the Southwestern color palette for awhile. Next month's challenge is "Seasonal." I am already planning a Winter White color palette. I may go into shock over the starkness.

Be sure to check out the other entries in this month's challenge in our flickr challenge photo pool; and don't forget to vote for your top three favorites beginning October 1, 2010 at You could be one of five lucky voters chosen at random to win a beautiful polymer clay prize created by one of our talented member artists!


Doreen said...

OMG! That Zuni Corn Maiden focal bead is so so adorable! I love this entire piece. The colors are incredible. I have been on a two month hiatus from claying (muse gone), but this is such an inspiring piece that I might just have to go make something! Good luck in the challenge!

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

Wow Lynda, what an impressive collection you put together!! Any one of these pieces is wonderful enough to enter in the contest. Your Zuni piece however is very unique. Hope you come away with a win!

Laurel said...

Great bezels, toots! (Doesn't that sound like a 1920's gangster?)

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

Thank you so much, ladies!