05 June 2015

Bee brooch

As with most of my polymer clay pieces, this brooch started out as a bit of an experiment. I loved the hexagonal pattern on the air vents at the front of my computer at work, so I wondered if I could somehow use this to create a honeycomb effect.

I started by taking an impression of the hexagonal pattern with a lump of clay (after cleaning the vents as they gather a lot of dust!). I placed the clay carefully in a little plastic box so I could carry it home to bake it. After baking, I used this piece of clay as a mould and pressed another piece of clay into it to create the honeycomb background for the brooch.
I mixed yellow clay with a bit of brown to create a darker mustardy yellow for the bee that would contrast with the background. I then added some stripes of black and white clay to this and rolled it all together into a ball. I squeezed the middle of the ball to make a bee shape.
I baked the honeycomb and added the unbaked bee to this with some Liquid Sculpey. I used a sharp pin to make the fuzzy texture of the bee, rubbing it over the surface of the clay.

I squeezed some Liquid Sculpey into wing shapes. I then mixed black acrylic paint with Liquid Sculpey and dragged this through the wing shapes to form veins. I experimented with Fimo Deco Gel as well, but the Liquid Sculpey turned out best in the end. I also made some antennae from black clay.
I baked the wings and antennae, then added them to the unbaked bee, by making little holes which I filled with Liquid Sculpey then pressed the wings and antennae into. Finally I baked it again, and glued a brooch back to the back. I added a little varnish to the wings to give them a sheen.

I've had a few compliments on how realistic the brooch is, so I better not wear it when my boss is around (he's scared of bees and wasps!).

One of my inspirations for the brooch was a beautiful book by Kit Williams which you'll see in the photos below. It's a puzzle book and the puzzle is to work out the name of the book, so I'll not spoil the surprise by telling you what the name is! The idea was that, when you worked out the name of the book, you would convey it in an imaginative way without using the written word, which is what I've done with my brooch, although exactly 30 years too late to win the prize!

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