Why Clay Jewellery Is The Way To Go
The history of jewellery making dates back centuries with evidence of a consistent presence since the earliest civilisations. Be it wooden or terracotta jewellery, man has always been fascinated by accessories that enhance beauty and personality. Starting as early as the Harappan civilisation, clay jewellery has gone through a lot of changes and competition, thanks to the constant addition of newer forms of jewellery. With time, the world saw the emergence of gold, silver, bronze, copper, pearl, gemstone, and artificial jewellery. However, the rustic beauty and simplicity of the clay alternatives have always created a unique appeal and didn’t allow the art form to go obsolete.
What does the expert say?
Nishtha Goel (famous clay jewellery designer) said, “Every piece is made with immense love and passion and is handcrafted by me so no two pieces are same. The USP is in the uniqueness of the concept from Kali to Durga or from studs to dangler clubbed with jhumkis. I love experimenting yet ensure that they are trendy with a rustic look.”
What about the market?
The inexpensive art form is still practised by many tribes in India and abroad. However, the craze surrounding these items saw a rapid hike only recently. The global go-green campaigns and the rising trend of eco-friendly products forced the world to look at this age-old form of jewellery making in a new light. The superior crafting skill, simple raw materials, and uniqueness account for the high aesthetic value of clay items. People are now looking to buy authentic clay jewellery across the world – paving the way for a perfect amalgamation of ancient concepts and modern technology. This has also given rise to many artists taking up this ancient art form as their prime point of focus.
The terracotta jewellery
This ceramic jewellery is red earthenware and is now heavily in demand among people looking for unique styles that resonate with the spirit of ancient India. From necklace to bracelets to pendants, you will find all types of basic terracotta jewellery that you might need to give your outlook that perfect vintage feel. The sober and sophisticated look and feel of these items make them perfect accessories with most types of dresses. With a wide range of colours, you will always find one that goes with your outfit. Usually tribal gods and animals are the preferred subjects in this form of jewellery making. However, there are ones with abstract shapes that boast a more contemporary look. The entire process is dependent on human skill and creativity, accounting for the uniqueness of every piece.
Metal clay jewellery
This is easily the most popular form of clay jewellery that the world has to offer. From silver clay to copper clay, there are multiple varieties available in the world market. Artists from all over the world have recognised the huge commercial potential of this art form – accounting for the steady rise in the number of producers. The best part is that you can also try this at home without having to spend a lot. Once you have the basic ingredient of metal clay with you, it is your creativity that is all that’s required.
Polymer clay jewellery
If you are looking to try jewellery making at home, this is the best raw material to go with. The versatile nature of polymer clay allows it to be the base for a wide range of supplies such as bone, metal, wire, fibre, and wood. This lightweight jewellery can be given any colour – making it the perfect accessory for people willing to try something new and out of the box. However, there are 5 things that you need to keep in mind if you are making this at home.
The conditioning is easily the most important step as it deals with keeping the clay soft and usable. To give your creativity a full swing, you need to make sure your clay is thoroughly conditioned. While you may choose to go for a pasta machine that is dedicated for clay, there is also a simpler way out. You can just warm the clay with your hands and roll it with a rolling pin. Then fold it before rolling it again. Repeating this process will make your clay user-friendly and relaxed. You can also add some heat with a hair dryer or a lamp to make the process easier.
Give the exact colour that you want
Clay is available in a wide variety of colours and allows you to make the exact colour that is there in your mind. The process involved is similar to that of conditioning. All you need to do is to mix the clays as per your liking to have the desired output.
Give it a unique shape
This is basically the fun part. Once your clay is ready, you are free to give it any shape that your heart desires. Try to visualise the jewellery that you have in mind. Clearer the picture that your mind can form, better are the chances of replicating it with clay. You can choose to carve, texture, coil, and stamp to get the desired results. When it comes to texturing, most artists maintain that the entire world is a texturing tool. You can choose from a fallen leaf to carved eraser to a coin – basically anything and everything that your mind can think of.
Once you have managed to give it the shape that you want, it is time to harden it. From gas ring to toaster to butane torch, you can use any firing medium to preserve what you have made. It is important to note that polymer clay has a tendency to melt when the temperature is above 265 F. It is advised to monitor the temperature constantly to avoid toxic fumes and melting.
The all important finishing
It is often said that a clay jewellery is only as good as it is finished. It is the finishing that gives metal clay the shine and appeal. You need to be extremely careful while handling this final stage. The slightest lapse of concentration can destroy the entire hard work.
Check the following tutorial video out for a simple clay pendant.
As the world continues to discover new ways of looking good and classy, there are some age-old art forms that maintain a constant curve in the demand graph. Clay jewellery is one such handmade ancient art form that has been tested by time. The rising consciousness surrounding the environment has given this variety the perfect booster and has resulted in a worldwide craze surrounding clay-based jewellery. What was once known as tribal art is now being pursued by renowned designers and artists to meet the global demand. Want to know more about tribal art? Click here.
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