Cynthia and Co.

Cynthia and Co.
"My Junk Inspired L I F E"


Mixed Media Artist John W. Fesken

I met artist John Fesken at an art festival in Baton Rouge today. Mixed media is his specialty and he uses vintage photographs and recycled wood in his pieces. When I saw his work I was instantly drawn to it - its edgy and provocative yet somewhat restrained.  When Mr. Fesken gave me permission to take a few photographs I was elated!

The above piece has a vintage silhouette as the focal point - ripped and stained its positioned over old photographs (upside down) and framed with recycled wood.

artist John Fesken March, 2015

Many of his pieces use images of men, as those seen above, so there is a masculine appeal.

His shadow boxes are fun and inventive.

Thank you to Mr. Fesken for allowing me to share his artwork.  I thoroughly enjoyed visiting his booth   His work is simple but not boring.  It celebrates the lives of those who came before us and it gives new meaning to found objects that when used together tell a little story.


Air Dry Clay Jewelry

Clay beads with paper beads jewelry
Clay flower beads with paper word beads
A few days ago I did a tutorial, how to, on air dry clay pendants.

Continuing the clay theme today I'm including some of the beads I made from clay and incorporated into necklaces.

These clay beads were hand formed using a wooden flower button as the mold and painted with diluted acrylic paint.  The paper beads were made from book pages of Shakespeare's plays.

Clay flower beads with waxed cording

Clay and paper word beads

Clay beads and paper necklace
Clay and paper bead jewelry
From the same Fimo Basic clay I also made some black spacer rondelles.  I like the soft black of the beads with the pink flowers.  They seem to pull the whole assemblage together.  Also painted with diluted acrylic paint.  Both paper and air dry clay beads were sealed with Minwax  polycrylic.

Rustic clay cross pendant
The rustic clay cross was shaped with a fondant mold and painted with acrylic paint and brass liquid leaf.  The gilding was sanded off to give an aged appearance.  I connected the clay to leather and found metal pieces and hung the pendant from a handmade glass bead necklace.  I made the dangles from steel wire.

Air dry clay cross pendant
Faux Viking Turtle Brooch made of air dry clay
I made the faux Viking turtle brooch of clay, painted it with brass gilding, and added a cold connected brass finding.  The turtle brooch was hung from a glass bead mix on cording.

Faux Viking Turtle brooch made of clay and glass beads
This assemblage is rustic in feel but more modern day.  The air dry clay was gilded with brass leaf.

Clay turtle brooch with brass finding

Air dry clay heart with reclaimed chain 
Clay Heart pendant with clay carrot spike

This heart pendant necklace is adorned with brass "Dream" charm and a found chain.  The clay spike drop was acquired in a destash lot of findings so I don't know it's composition or origin.  I scrubbed the heart with steel wool after painting with acrylic paints and brass leaf.

Fimo Basic heart pendant on steel chain with spike

I left the clay spike as I found it without sealing.  This is a fun mix of matt and semi gloss finishes. 

I have a few more black clay beads I am playing with and will load them when I have incorporated them into necklaces.  

If you would like to see the other beads (actually pendants) from earlier post you can find them here.

Clay Pendant Necklaces

If you want to read the photo jewelry tutorial on how I made the air dry clay pendants you can read it here...

Clay Pendant Tutorial

Thanks for stopping by...hope you enjoyed...



Clay Pendant How To (continued)

A couple days ago I posted an air dry clay tutorial but didn't get all of the finished pieces of jewelry uploaded.  Today I'm showing you some of the necklaces I made with my air dry pendants.

Fimo Basic jewelry
Three necklaces I made from air dry clay pendants

I incorporated found objects, recycled beads and chain and mounted these on brass bezels with Super New Glue.

Clay pendant set in brass bezel with upcycled beads
Love these recycled grungy beads - the color goes well with clay pendant

This clay pendant was made with stacked brass finding, brass bead cap and two layers of clay.

Again, to secure all of the stacked layers I used Super New Glue. The chain I chose for this pendant was an upcycled  (recycled) glass pearl necklace.

Clay coin necklace assemblage necklace, rustic and recycled
Ancient looking clay coin pendant with brass, serpentine and glass opal

This clay pendant was set on a brass coin (disc) that I punched to make holes for wire.  The glass opal sets on top of the clay over a brass washer and is kept in place with two part (2 part) epoxy.  I like the way to Serpentine beads continue the color from the epoxy.  I also like the rustic look and feel of this finished assemblage necklace.

rustic clay coin necklace with braided cotton cord (cording)
Assemblage necklace with clay pendant and glass beads

Necklace is set in open back brass setting.  Because bezel is open the coin has purple suede glued to the back of the pendant. The cording is kumihimo braid made of natural waxed cotton. The cording and pendant make this look rustic - this I made in choker style.

Handmade air dry clay pendant jewelry
Clay pendant set on brass prong bezel with old reused beads

Composed with brass and copper and assembled with handmade connector - this I made with 18 gauge wire, dead soft, and tumbled to harden the wire before putting the piece together. You can see the connector better in photo #1 above.

rustic handmade chain with pendant
Faux clay cameo assembled with handmade steel chain

The last piece I am showing today was also in the tutorial - today I am showing it in different light so you can see the paint and brass liquid gilding.  In the tutorial I mentioned too much scrubbing was done with steel wool - next time I'll leave more brass leaf. I made the chain from heavy wire that had been annealed by the supplier.

Here is a link to the how to on clay pendants if you would like to read - thanks for visiting.


Link Party at My Salvaged Treasures

Hi all - just wanted to share a link party I joined today over at My Salvaged Treasures - Vintage Inspiration Party #176. It is for sharing anything old, inspired by old, new made to look old --- right up my alley.

Join in and see all of the wonderful inspirations other creative bloggers shared.


Clay Pendant Tutorial

Jewelry Tutorial Using Air Dry Clay

Today I'm going to share my recent project using Fimo Basic Air Drying Clay and show how to make clay pendants.  I've, in the past, used polymer clay for my beads and pendants but I found this clay is easy to work with and very sturdy.  The only drawback is that you have to wait for it to dry (instead of baking as you do with polymer clay.)  Pretty sure I'll continue to play with Fimo Basic a little more;  I had tons of fun and I didn't need to condition the clay nor did I need all of the tools polymer requires.

(At the end of this tut I have posted one of the necklaces I completed - its a rustic cameo assemblage!)

No Conditioning is Required
First, shape the clay inside a plastic mold

MOLD RELEASE - I used mineral oil.

I used a scant amount of mineral oil to coat the inside of my mold, however, it may not have been necessary since the clay was very moist.  I rolled a small ball of clay and pushed it into the mold as shown above.  Then I popped the clay from the mold and added texture using a metal finding.  Note: I shaped my pieces inside metal bezels to help the clay keep its shape while I was adding stamped details...

Metal findings with interesting shapes will work as stamp for clay
Use a finding with interesting detail to create your designs

STAMP the design into the clay.

In the above photograph you can see how I made one of the designs, to replicate an ancient coin, by keeping the clay inside a bezel while stamping.  This air dry clay has no adhesion quality so once it dries it will easily come out of the bezel so you can paint and glaze.

Ancient coin made of clay before it has dried
Wet clay with stamped detail

Above is how my stamped, ancient clay coin looked before it had dried.

How to use brass stampings as clay molds
Clay cameo pendant while air dry clay was still moist

CAMEO pendant made from Victorian brass stamping.

Again, for the cameo,  I coated the underside of the stamping with mineral oil and then pushed the clay into the stamping. Note:  if you plan to ever use the brass stamping for jewelry design wipe the oil from the brass when you're done so the brass won't discolor.

Mineral oil for mold release with clay
Mineral oil used for mold release with Fimo Basic

MAKE CLAY THINNER for the cameo.

I used less air dry clay for the cameo pendant so it would be easier to break...this was only about 1/4" thick while it was still wet.

Stacked clay pendants, beads glued with Super New Glue
Assemble, stack, glue and paint your clay pendants

STACK and glue your clay pieces once the clay has dried.

I let the clay pendants dry for two days before I started assembling and painting them.  I used Super New Glue to adhere clay to clay, metal to clay and glass to clay.  In the photograph above you can see how I stacked a metal flower charm in between two clay pieces and then topped the pendant with a brass bead cap.  For the piece that has holes I made an indentation in the wet clay for the glass bead and glued it in place once the clay was dry.

For the cameo pendant I used a cabochon (made of clay as explained in photo #1 above) and the clay cameo.  Because the clay was thin on the cameo I was able to break away most of the piece leaving just the head. By breaking the piece after it had dried it took on the look of an ancient artifact.

Paint pendants made of clay with acrylic paint, liquid leaf, alcohol ink
Painted clay pendants using acrylic paint, brass gilding, alcohol ink

PAINT CLAY WITH BRASS LIQUID LEAF first, then paint and alcohol ink.

This was the fun part!  Creating an ancient look with paint, liquid gilding and alcohol ink.  Note:  the manufacturer says to seal the dry clay before painting.  I skipped that step.  I started with liquid brass leaf (gilding), applied with a craft paint brush (disposable).  Once the gilding dried I added white acrylic paint (with my finger) and let it dry.  Then I painted the coffee brown in patches, covering some of the brass gilding and most of the white paint.  When the brown paint was dry I drizzled slate color alcohol ink in spots and allowed to dry. LAST, I went back over the pieces with more white paint applying it with a q-tip.

Steel wool used to distress surface of clay pendant
Once your paint has dried use steel wool to scrub the surfaces

STEEL WOOL can be used to distress your clay pendants.

By scrubbing the dried, painted surface of the clay pendants with steel wool (I don't know the grade it was from a pack from Dollar Tree) I was able to create the look and "feel" of something very ancient and old.  I like the white paint in the crevices of each pendant, however, I think perhaps I was too heavy handed on the cheek of the cameo.  Next time I'll distress less on the cameo faces.  The terra cotta color is the color the flesh tone clay took on after I buffed with steel wool.

Use Minwax Finish Semi-Gloss to seal pendants
Wipe away any debris left by distressing and apply finish coat

MINWAX water based top coat for protective finish.

I used Minwax to protect and seal the pendants and applied it with a foam brush..  I used what I had on  hand, which was semi-gloss, and in retrospect I wish I had sought out something with matt finish. These look good and the Minwax brought out many colors of each piece but I think they looked older before I added this protective finish.  Another note:  I only painted the top surfaces of each pendant so I could glue them to a leather backing or metal bezel.

Protective Finish on clay pendants while still wet
Close up of the Minwax Polycrylic Semi-Gloss while still wet

PROTECTIVE FINISH will bring out colors in your clay pendant.

Allow ample drying time for your clay pieces according to the manufacturers specifications.  I only used one coat of sealer - I hope that gave my pendants enough protection - and I allowed them to dry for a couple hours just to be sure I wouldn't mess them up with finger prints!

Rustic assemblage necklace handmade chain and cameo
Finished clay cameo pendant on handmade chain

EXAMPLE OF CAMEO pendant made of clay on handmade chain.

Here I have posted an image of the faux ancient clay cameo pendant assemblage.  The clay pendant was glued into the bezel with Super New Glue.  The leather "bail" was glued to the metal bezel with E-6000.  For added strength and detail I tied the pendant to the chain with waxed cotton cording.  The piece is made complete with a rustic, handmade chain that I made with steel wire.

Rustic necklace assemblage with clay cameo and steel chain
Clay cameo necklace on handmade steel chain

WHEW!  I did get one necklace done - am still beading and completing the other pendants and will add photographs soon (ish).

Thanks for stopping by...

Since writing this tutorial I have added a couple posts on clay beads and pendants.  If you would like to view them...