May 2, 2011

Can you guess what these four jars represent?

Yesterday's crafty project at Magic House, Blog, was these four jars which I created in multimedia. What fun! And equally fun is seeing if you can guess what the four jars represent. What do you think?

If you guessed the four ancient elements, you're correct! I wanted to conceptualize each of the elements with its own "Alchemy Jar" and it was a very enjoyable challenge. Left to right, you have Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Let's take a closer look at each one (backlit for a different effect).

Air Jar

I got this jar, which resembles a perfume bottle, at good old American Science & Surplus. Since the top is plastic, it wasn't easy to work with (couldn't go in the oven). All I could do was dress it up with some fine silver metal mesh that I also got at AS&S. And how exactly does one represent air? Well, I made a coiled spring of white plastic coated craft wire to resemble a tiny tornado. Then I echoed the swirling theme with a ribbon of silver polymer clay, which I enhanced with silver Perfect Pearls and fine silver glitter.

Water Jar

I used an old pimento jar for this one (so cute and little). The glass is decorated with a swirly blend of polyclay in metallic blues and greens, in a wave design. The tips of the waves are translucent white. I covered the jar lid in a similar blend with translucent around the rim. All clay was enhanced with some blue Perfect Pearls, and after baking, coated with Future for extra shine. I added a couple of beads for a knob on top. Inside the jar I put colorless glass pebbles (the kind you put in vases) and filled it up with blue-tinted water. I love how that effect turned out and think I'll have to use it again!

Earth Jar

I adore earthy-stuff so this one was a blast. The bottle is another AS&S purchase. Around the base I placed some rough-torn brown clay that incorporated Granitex (hence the flecks). Over that, using liquid polymer clay, I affixed some faux pebbles left over from an old project. On top of the bottle, I was going for a similar look to the dribbled wax you see sealing certain liquor bottles, only with different colors of mud; I dusted the clay with craft sand in tan and black, and textured it with tiny holes using a plastic brush. The bottle neck is circled with a ring of gray Granitex clay. Inside: real potting soil and real pebbles. It came out like a tiny rock garden terrarium!

Fire Jar

This was a jam jar from one of those Christmas gift boxes you get. I thought the squared off shape mimicked a lantern. The clay on the sides is translucent with gold and copper Perfect Pearls blended in; I wanted light to be able to penetrate. The lid is covered in a similar blend with gold clay also included. Again, the clay here was coated after baking with Future for shine. I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of myself for coming up with the contents of the fire jar. I took the plastic "flame" top off one of those electric faux votive candles, revealing the circuit board and tiny light bulb. I covered the circuit board with some thin copper sheeting, and placed the light in the jar. Then I poured over it a mix of small gold beads and super tiny gold seed beads.

I'm pretty happy with the results of this experiment, Blog, and definitely inspired to use some of these techniques to make more jars in the future! And I'm wondering if any of our readers has ever done a creative project using the four classic elements. Please share if you have!

P.S.: Scrutinous readers who click on the photos for larger views will notice cracks in the glass of the Water and Fire Jars. You see, the best way to bring out the translucence in polymer clay is to immerse the work in cold water right out of the oven. As I discovered, though, this also causes the jar to crack! Fortunately, both jars only cracked inside, so they didn't break and don't leak. And I kind of like the effect. (Although I might just be telling myself that! LOL)

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