My first plan involved the use of pink globes for the bulb part, then flowers, frills, ribbons and charms around the base - I even purchased tiny bells that I was going to include, and some gold and pink ribbon. I made the pink bulb and tried it with a light in it, and it was a sort of yucky orange-ish color. It was also too small, and didn't really look like a flower or natural element of any kind. I gave it one other try with a different shade of pink and a larger, pointed bulb, a little closer to the kind I used on the final pieces, but still, it just wasn't right. Next I tried the creamy yellow color that I used in the finished project, and cut the ends to look more like natural plant pods.
When it came to sculpting the bases, I started out with a very symmetrical approach and planned petal layers all the way up to the top, finishing it with a sort of looping vine much like a cake decorator's trim.....but then.....whimsy happened. I rolled a bit of clay into a vine shape, stuck the large end onto the base, and as the rest of it fell onto the base I knew it "wanted" to be there. I took the layers off and started over, roughing out the first petals, then adding leaves and vines. I still planned on adding flowers, but as you can tell, that didn't happen either.
I coated the bases in gesso, and when that was dry I sat down and started to paint the leaves and vines in a realistic manner. When I accidentally got paint in the wrong spot and quickly added a bunch of water to get the paint off, I was enchanted by the way the resulting paint wash looked on one of the leaves. This is NOT my normal painting style, but, maybe it should be.
Anyhow, I just let it happen. I ended up using a very limited palette and just washing and dabbing on colors as the mood struck. I put them aside to dry, and the very next morning, the fairies had brought twisty curly vines, branches, lichen, etc. and finished decorating the lanterns!
Well that's not *exactly* the way it happened, but it certainly seemed like something magical occurred in the studio! My current project isn't really going as planned either. This one involves a mermaid, and I hope it will surprise me as well!
For complete instructions on how to make your own Fairy Lanterns, please visit the Creative Paperclay® blog. and if you make some, please let me know what kind of magic happens in your studio!