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Marina Andrei usually likes to create necklaces, probably because she can make them large enough to include several colors, patterns, and textures. But somehow, every winter her attention turns to brooches.

“Winter can be freezing in Romania so you'll need high-neck sweaters, thick jackets, and big hoods,” she says. “But nice accessories are a must for me, so every time I take a look at my plain colored sweaters, I feel they would deserve something to cheer them up,” says Marina.

This year her first brooches were very colorful and she liked how they turned out. “But opening the door of my wardrobe I heard my sweaters shouting for a more black and greys color palette. And this is how the story of the Constellation brooches began.”

Marina began the story of the brooches by revealing that the first step was to bake various 3D organic doughnut-shaped structures that were then covered with small sections of veneers. Getting nice and curved structures with a large hole in the middle was the most difficult step and she made several attempts before using her usual hollow forms techniques.

She was disappointed because she wasn't getting the desired results. So one day, she had the idea of trying some valuable tricks she learned from Dan Cormier during his Bioforming Masterclass. She did not use all of his processes, but I rather used techniques she learned.

“The two master classes I took from Dan had a big positive impact on how I work with polymer clay. One piece of advice I would be happy to offer to anyone is that master classes and tutorials are great, but you don't have to follow them entirely. You can just be inspired, learn from someone else's experiences and ideas and include this knowledge in your work. Combine what you learned with what you already know and you will definitely get a new, personal design,” says Marina about learning from others.

Covering the pre-baked structure was the fun part. Marina decided to try some of the silkscreens and textures that she received from Lucy at Polymer Week to try on her projects. “I used the Silkscreen Set no. 8 with dark blue, a light grey blue, and gold on a black piece of clay. The pattern gave me the feeling of a dusty, starry night from the first time I saw it, so this is why I chose these particular colors. The pattern of the silkscreen matched the one from Texture Stamp no. 7, which obviously resembles a constellation.

I took advantage of the positive and negative variants in the set and I used them both: one light, one dark, to enhance how the two complimented each other. I then decided to upgrade these two small pieces by adding gold ball pins at the intersection points.” Marina also paid attention to how to cut and place the veneers in the brooches and tried to distribute the headpins evenly. Black clay covered with gold leaf was the third important surface technique she used. It enlightens the brooches, enhances the greys, and matches with the metal pins.

And that’s how Marina’s mini collection of polymer clay brooches called Constellation was created. “I feel proud of them, I am in love with this color palette and I am sure that one of them will bring peace to all my dull sweaters,” concludes Marina. We were certainly captivated by this collection from the moment we laid our eyes on it and can’t wait to see what new ideas the artist will come up with during spring.