I’m really enjoying the physical aspect of making my own clay hearts. It gives me the freedom to choose my own shapes and sizes, and I can say that I’ve made them literally from start to finish. I’m using air dry clay and it has been a challenge to roll the clay smooth enough to make a good painting surface for detail work. I also wanted the hearts to be delicate and thin rather than thick and chunky, which posed a challenge to stop them curling at the edges while they were drying, so they were turned over regularly and kept from drying too quickly. When they are dry, even though they are thin, they are surprisingly tough.
A quick sanding of the edges, taking away any unwanted little bumps and the hearts are ready for sealing and priming with gesso. They are initially sealed with a high grade PVA sealant. I give them at least two coats of good quality gesso, the second coat painted cross ways to the first which evens out the painting surface, leaving it nice and smooth. Another light sanding and they are ready for the next stage.
Then the painting begins and my imagination runs away with me. I love flowers and over the years I have built up my own little reference photo library from pictures I’ve taken that caught my eye. I have a lot!
Once they are painted and thoroughly dry, they are given several coats of quality varnish to protect them.
It’s a little side project that I can do when I only have an hour or two to paint at a time. I can easily pick up where I left off, whereas with a larger work I prefer a much longer painting time which can be all day if I’m on a roll.
My hearts have unique paintings on both sides. That way, if someone hangs them in the window, and they turn, there is always something to look at. The smaller ones make great handbag embellishments, necklace drops with cotton or leather cord, anything really that your imagination comes up with.
Each heart is a one off original and they make wonderful unique gifts. They are sold with a hanging ribbon, but the rest is up to you how you wish to use them.
Some of my hearts are on sale at the Cynon Valley Museum gift shop in Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taff, South Wales, and I will add new ones to my online Shop as and when they are ready. If you have a favourite flower that you would like painted on a heart, just message me and I'll set up an order for you.