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Monday, November 7, 2011

Making Autumn Leaves with Polymer Clay

Polymer Clay Leaf Boxes

Purple Sweet Potato Vine

Tree leaves are like snow flakes, there are never two completely alike and when they begin to change in the fall the variety of color and patterns are infinite. While running on a local trail I was inspired to try to recreate the colors of the changing leaves with polymer clay. I stuffed my pockets with leaves that met three criteria, they were fresh enough to still be pliable, they had intriguing colors and patterns, and they were small enough to fit through my pasta machine. Some leaves were singular in color, like the sweet potato vine leaf that was a striking shade of aubergine, while other vine leaves were green. Elm leaves were different shades of a deep, brilliant red. Oak leaves turned into a leathery soft brown. However, maple leaves show a variety of different colors and patterns on each leaf.  
Elm leaf
I began my project by reproducing the singular color leaves. These were fairly easy compared to recreating the maple leaf.  The colors on the maple leaf are like painted blotches of color that flow into each other and no two look the same.  Imitating the color pattern was complicated and it would take me a while to get the combination of polymer colors to web and flow like they do on the leaves. With the addition of colored powders and colored liquid Kato, I was able to achieve the shades and textures I desired
Green Sweet Potato Vine
  Once the individual leaves were completed, I wanted to put them together so they would cascade organically. Making a piece of jewelry seemed too flat and one dimensional, Searching my work area for more  inspiration, the petit four cutters on my shelf called out to me and gave me the idea that small boxes would be the perfect for what I had in mind. One box could would look nice on its own but having three boxes would add even more depth and an additional dimension to the over all design. 
The three boxes worked out very well and I am happy with the end product. I hope you like them too. If you are interested as to how I made the leaves and the boxes, let me know.  I’ll be glad to give write down the instructions for you.
 Berries on round box are poly clay and twig.

Oak leaves. One is real, one is poly clay.
Berries are made with poly clay and
telephone wire.
Polymer clay maple leaf with colored powders and ink.

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