Tag Archives: planets

Making Pandora – a "How-to"

After I saw Avatar, I wanted to add Pandora to my collection of planets, of course. The colors were sumptuous — that’s the only way to describe them. Some were Earth tones; some were like the vivid colors of deep sea creatures, but flying through the air. I was blown away.

I thought I would photograph the entire planet-building process this time, and put it on my blog in case anyone wonders what all I do with my time. This project took most of a day.

Pandora colors

Fig. 1

I started with some of the same colors I use to make Earth — White, Leaf Green, and a combination of Chocolate and Sand. I left out the Light Blue Pearl, and added Turquoise, and Spring Lilac (Fig. 1).

Individual colors rolled out

Fig. 2

 

For the next step I slice off three sections about one third the width of each of those little divisions in the Sculpey blocks. I roll them out into “worms” all about the same diameter (smaller around than a pencil), and cut them all off to the same lengths (Fig. 2).

Colors are combined into one roll

Fig. 3

Next comes the fun part. I moosh (that’s a technical term, yes, but I don’t think you’ll find it in a dictionary) the little worms into one big worm and twist it around some to blend the colors a bit randomly. At this point, depending on just how much blending you want to do, you can keep wadding the colors together, rolling them back out, and wadding them down again. For instance, you probably can’t tell that the brown is really a combination of two colors now — they’ve become almost completely blended. For a lot of my planets, though, I want the appearance of land masses, ocean, and sky/clouds to be distinguishable, so I stop mooshing here (Fig. 3).

I work with rolls about the size of a pencil

Fig. 4

Now I need to make a worm about the size of a pencil or a little thicker, so I usually have to cut the big worm into three or four sections. In Fig. 4 I have a Pandora worm and an Earth worm ( I know what you’re thinking — this doesn’t look like the earthworm you dissected in biology lab), the right size to start slicing.

Cut sections are 1/4" (0.5 cm)

Fig. 5

I slice off sections about 1/4″ (0.5 cm) give or take a bit, and roll them into quasi-spheres about the size of peas (Fig. 5). I say quasi because none of them are perfectly spherical. They have lumps and bumps and flat places. It’s called “terrain.”

Planets are ready to be drilled

Fig. 6

I usually let the baby planets sit and cure for a few hours before I get out the planetary axis drill (Fig. 6) and poke holes through them. Then in the oven they go to harden up all that molten magma in their little interiors. And Presto! Pandora. You can see some of the other planets and some of the jewelry I made with them in previous posts. Just click on the “planets” tag in the tag cloud.

New planetary configurations

I started out with the planets, and a few simple bracelets on stretch string, but now I’ve started making bracelets on memory wire with some odds and ends of glass beads to complement the planets. The nice thing about the polymer clay beads is that they’re almost weightless. I had made several memory wire bracelets with glass beads that got so heavy it was hazardous to make any sudden moves with the arm wearing the bracelet, or it could go flying off. Oops.

But now I’ve got something better than the glass beads, because I made them — and they’re planets! And the newest one is Pandora.

 

Pandora and miscellaneous glass

 

 

Pluto and Mars with cubes

 

 

Minbar and glass (remember Babylon 5?)

 

 

Qo'nos -- the Klingon homeworld

 

Custard the dragon and comets as long as my pinkie

As usual when I’ve been away for a while, the first thing I had to do to this blog was add the WordPress update. It will be interesting to see in what ways it will mess with my mind this time.

Crazybasenji is coming up on its first birthday. It has taken a direction completely different from what I originally planned, but in retrospect, I can’t say it’s a bad thing. I had planned to write more about the wildlife collection where I have spent so much time since I came back to Texas. But my efforts to find a real job prevented me from spending as much time there in 2009. That, and I was making an effort to find my own creative/artistic outlet — or at least settle on fewer than five.

I did a lot of flailing about over the past year, going from feeling positive and enthusiastic about some job or other that I felt sure I’d get, to thinking I needed to find a way to support myself with my art, to being sure I was going to end up living on the street with three hungry dogs and all my possessions loaded onto my Radio Flyer wagon. But don’t want to dwell on that. I finally found a job and went to work last week. It’s only part time, but I can pay my bills, and still have time to make things. And post pictures of them here!

 

Four comets on a collision course

I’m still making tiny planets and stars, and now I’ve added comets. These are not much longer than my pinkie finger, and they all have pin backs so they’re wearable. A few days ago I was reading Havi Brooks blog where she was talking about dealing with tax time and using metaphors and such, and she said,

It’s a cave!

A Secret Money Cave where it is safe — and desirable — for me to be with my treasures and be present with what I have.

And I thought of a dragon in a cave lying on top of a pile of treasure, and I got the idea to make Custard.

Custard the Dragon

His name, of course, comes from The Tale of Custard the Dragon, by my favorite poet, Ogden Nash. You can find more of his silliness here. I put a thimble in the photo with him for scale. If you’re familiar with thimbles, you know that means Custard is pretty tiny, so his little sister, Thimbellina, is even tinier. And she’s pink!

 

 

Custard and Thimbellina

Custard and Thimbellina

 

New Year, New Stuff

I’ve seen a lot of blogs with year in review or decade in review posts. So. 2009 pretty much sucked. Most of this decade I spent taking care of my dad, watching him slowly lose his struggle with dementia, while at the same time managing to hang on to his sense of the ridiculous and his basic ornery nature. I’m glad I came home.

Next. More stars and stuff.

Earth, Moon, Mars orbiting the Sun

Earth, Moon, Mars bracelet orbiting Sun

Imaginary neutron star

My "artist's concept" of a neutron star

"Pink Warrior" star and bracelets

For all the "Pink Warriors"

A Red Giant is born

I think this little guy is too cute!

I think this little guy is too cute!

 

With the white drwarf for size comparison

With the white drwarf for size comparison

Isn’t my new baby just adorable? I’m starting to develop a much better method for making the stars without so much glue involved.

I’ve made more “beads” in the past week than I have in all the time I’ve had all this polymer clay sitting around. The notion of making PLANETS instead of just little round blobs with holes through them was the flash of inspiration that got me going. Now if I could just find out if other people like them as much as I do, I’ll feel like maybe it was more than just a flash in the pan.

Here are some Star Trek planets.

 

A nice place to visit...

A nice place to visit...

 

 

Vulcan's "evil twin"

Vulcan's "evil twin"

 

 

 

Klingon home world

Klingon home world

 

 

 

Home of the blue people

Home of the blue people

 

More Planets!

Since creating a star — even a little bitty one — was somewhat draining, I went back to creating planets in our solar system. Here they are (some of them, anyway).

I decided to give Mercury some color

I decided to give Mercury some color

 

Not the goddess of love, but the toxic gas version

Not the goddess of love, but the toxic gas version

 

Because it's OUR moon

Because it's OUR moon

 

 

Yeah, I said Pluto, dammit

Yeah, I said Pluto, dammit

White Dwarf Star

The smaller they are, the harder to make.

The smaller they are, the harder to make.

If you’ve never tried to make anything with polymer clay, I don’t know if I’ll be able to adequately describe just what a pain in the butt this “little” item was to make. For starters, I’ve never had any “formal” training in using this stuff — I use Sculpey brand, and haven’t tried others so don’t know how alike or different they may all be. I’ve never read a how-to book or watched a video or gone to a workshop. Like a lot of what I do, I just got some of the stuff and started messing with it. So. Yes. “Making it up as I go along.”

But…and this is a big qualifier…it was as much fun as that roller coaster at Six Flags that I rode about six times one day (that I can’t remember the name of, since it was about 20+ years ago).

I started with light blue pearl rolled into a ball and flattened out into a circle. I cut big triangles out around the edges, leaving a large enough area in the middle to mount the disc of the sun. The disc was a smaller ball of white, and only partially flattened. With another ball of white I made another very flat circle and cut it up like a pizza to make the “rays.” I baked all the pieces separately and then glued them together — not nearly so easy as it sounds. Then I had to make a new plan because I wanted to add some more blue rays, but the white disc wasn’t thick enough. So I made another little white ball but mixed in some of the light blue pearl to create some sun spots. Before I baked it, I mooshed it down a little on top of the white disc so the back would match the curvature. Then more gluing. Sounds simple, yes? Or at least relatively straight forward.

The problem is that the little pieces are fragile — I snapped the ends off a couple of the rays and had to glue them back together. Fortunately, everything is so lightweight that the glue will hold it up even before it sets up completely. But this little guy is going to be a “just for show” piece. I need to learn to make them more sturdy before I try to make jewelry with them. I think my next star project will be a red giant.

A Busy Little Elf

I’m a little surprised I don’t have about six updates to install from WordPress. Apparently they have also been working on other things this past month. Here are some pictures of some of the most recent other things I’ve been working on. I’m creating planets. Yes, it makes me feel very goddess-like.

 

Holding the whole worlds in my hand

Holding the whole worlds in my hand

 

 

And our neighbor worlds

And our neighbor worlds

 

I’ve also created a handful of Marses and one Sun. The sun was tough. I have not included a photo because it is scheduled for a do-over. I bet not many supreme beings get to say that.

In case you haven’t guessed, these are beads, and I’m going to make solar system necklaces including Pluto, dammit. But mostly I’ll make Earth/Moon/Mars bracelets, because I have a lot of Mars tones, Earth tones and Moon tones in my collection of Sculpey polymer clay. So I’m off to create some new worlds. Toodles.