I have made hundreds (maybe thousands?!) of pairs of earrings this year, and as I was going through them preparing for the upcoming Royaboya Handmade Bazaar, I realized that I have some definite favorites. I also realized that my favorites fall into a few specific categories!
Telling a Story
There is nothing that brings me greater joy than sitting at my desk, taking tiny pieces of clay and turning it into a small canvas. Polymer clay earrings are like a story in miniature - my favorite pieces evoke a feeling or atmosphere. Like you could dive right in and be totally seeped in that vibe.
Connection to Past and Future
I also love crocheting - I've been crocheting since I was eight or so, and one of the best things about it as far as I'm concerned is how connected I feel when I have my hook and thread in hand. I feel connected to generations of women that came before me. And I feel connected to future generations as well -- I can't count the number of times I've been crocheting out in the world when a little kid came over, curious with questions about what I was doing. I love heritage arts - and I love the little stitches, the tiny details, the rustic and folk feeling and making it something people want to wear here and now.
Connection to my Heritage
I also love the earrings that feel the most *me* - the ones that feel like they not only connect to heritage arts in general, but the ones that connect me to my heritage. Like this pair of pomegranate earrings. I will always have a love fest with pomegranates. My Persian father grew up on an orchard of them, and they have been a symbol of that side of my life for a long time.
Beyond the end result of the earrings, my favorite pairs are also the ones that taught me something. Maybe I saw a new technique, or discovered a new material, or some previous limitation of what I could do was blown past. When I started to get really detailed in some of my floral earrings, that was an aha moment for me.
When I failed miserably at making marbled earrings and had to take a step back and figure out why it wasn't looking the way I wanted... that was a great day too.
Mixed Media and Experiments
I love when I just play around with the materials out on my desk and something works! I especially love when that involves mixing cotton and clay. I love the look of those two together, and I love the symbolism too.
This year I began experimenting more with alcohol inks.
With incorporating acrylic paint, gold leaf, metallic powder.
With clay canes - a technique that still blows my mind.
With using other material like metal or wood.
With using clay like paint and sort of smearing it to create an oil paint look.
I also truly love when a customer asks hesitantly, "can you do this..?" and I get to take on the challenge. Some people send me a photo and ask me to match it. I've had beautiful beach scenes, wedding bouquets, to baby blanket patterns and book covers! It's like a game, getting to translate their loved image into a work of wearable art.
Inspired by someone
Some of my absolute favorite earrings weren't requests, but they were definitely inspired by someone I know. I had a whole line of California native plants, for example, that was inspired by a friend who is a naturalist.
I was talking to someone living in Hawaii and voila - the tropical earrings were born.