Searching for Inspiration

I started a daily photo project about 7 years ago to post a daily photo on my Instagram. Since Instagram is a square format, I challenged myself to not only find something photographically interesting on my walk, but to also visualize the cropping for the square format (since my phone is set to wide format for our sunsets). Then something interesting happened! I started to translate many of those daily 3x3s into my clay!

One of the first projects that I translated from real life to clay is our beach kelp. This is Premo Translucent with a custom mix of Pinata inks.

Many of my photos are studies in abstract design, balance or texture – all of which often translate quite nicely into my clay.

The bracelets on the left above are black and white photo transfers of the photo image on the right of an old California Mission door. Actually, I created TWO different transfers from this image – one of the bricks (far left bracelet) and one of the wooden portion of the door (other 3 bracelets).

I was really fascinated with the peeling paint on this old sign near my house, plus the pop of red from the light fixture, so I created these pendants with a crackled thin layer of Sculpey Soufflé™ Igloo clay over Premo™ Black (a heat gun was involved to partially cook that white layer so it would crack when cooled and thinned in pasta machine). I added red wire as a nod to the red lantern in the photo.

The next photo is really just a simple study in texture and design that led to multiple clay designs for me.

This is a grate on the sidewalk near our beach where we walk daily.

The clay piece on the left is a pretty literal translation of the photo image. I used embossing powder for the green verdigris effect. The middle photo was created by using the scraps from the image on the left. The final piece was actually the scrap clay left after I cut out all the pieces. That was just a bit of Sculpey Soufflé™ Latte and Concrete mixed together and then various rust, greenish and grey pastels rubbed across the surface. THREE designs from one simple photo inspiration!

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with adding dimension back into my photo transfers, like this 3×3 square I created for a swap. I used Pan Pastels (applied before baking) to add the color back into the shells and a Sakura Paint Pen for the blue water (after baking). This is Sculpey Soufflé™ Igloo with a little of the Ivory mixed into it.

It was a banner Summer for our local hydrangeas and they really put on a colorful show! So this is a black and white transfer of the photo on the left onto a mix of Sculpey Soufflé™ Igloo and Cornflower. After I sculpted it and backed it with a Sculpey Soufflé™ Poppy Seed frame, I dropped it into a small silicone bowl to shape it while it baked. I used Chameleon alcohol markers to add some of the original rich colors back in after the bowl had baked and cooled. I also used a white Sakura paint pen on the very edges of the petals to subtly highlight them.

I’d love to see some of your photo inspired clay creations! Post them using the hashtag #HowDoYouSculpey.

xoxo, syn

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