Totem Rock Dwellers

There’s an Artists’ Holiday Market coming up the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.  It’s in a great location, right on Main Street in Placerville and the entry fee is so reasonable that there’s just no excuse to not participate.

So I’ve been busy the last few days making some things for the Market – little polymer clay animal totems sitting on rocks.  Most of them have a Celtic flavor and I’ve painted some relevant symbols on the rocks with beautiful antique bronze Daniel Smith acrylic paints.  I’ve used spirals and words in ogham, the “tree script” of the ancient Irish Celts.  Some of the symbols don’t strictly belong – for example, the runes which come from ancient Teutonic people rather than Celts.  But they’re beautiful and somewhat mysterious looking, so I guess a little “artistic license” is OK.

To give a sense of scale, the rabbit is about 2 1/2″ tall, including the rock.

The rabbit is wearing a torc, a style of necklace (seen in bracelets and anklets as well) so typical of the Celts.  The horse is Epona, the horse goddess.  She has a spiral on her flank made of flattened gold-filled wire imbedded in the clay.  (I’d never be able to paint a spiral that even!)

I finished the bear with two coats of water-based varnish then an antiquing of oil paint thinned with walnut oil.  I used mica powders on the rabbit and horse, then added a light sprinkling gold and translucent micro glitter from on the horse. 

The gems on the foreheads of the rabbit (ruby) and horse (emerald) are tiny gems I got at the gem show a few weekends ago.  As far as I know, gems in the foreheads were not images used by the Celts (although tradition has it that foxes and otters carried precious gems in their heads) but for some reason this type of image appeals to me, so I use it often.

These little animals are so much fun to make.  And although I’m making them for the Market I’m going to have a hard time parting with them.  Perhaps I’ll make several of each animal and keep the example of each that I like best (though at this point, having just labored over the horse yesterday it’s hard to image making another one!).

I am so grateful to have discovered polymer clay!


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