Phoenix Vials: a tale of elegance and poor eye sight

I was always very fond of vial necklaces. The idea of a miniature token, frozen in time and, in a way untouchable and ever the same, to me looks endlessly romantic. It is a trapped world where normal rules don't apply. Within, you only have enough room to store something very small but of great personal value, It can be something that to others seems of no significance, like a small handwritten message, a leaf, a tiny stone... And by storing it in a vial and carrying around, you give it value. Personal, deep, non-money related one. 

Nowadays, anyone can make one. Take an object, stick it into the vial, seal with the cork and POOF! There you have it! But even though, these necklaces are gorgeous just like that, I wanted to take it a step further. I never liked mass manufactured things, so anything that was made with little effort wasn't doing it for me. 

I've been making small polymer clay sculptures for two years now and it dawned on me that, since glass can go comfortably into the oven, I could sculpt around it. My head instantly started spinning with the possibilities but being so focused and enchanted with fantasy wildlife, I knew my soul would not rest if I couldn't manage a way to create it in this way as well.

Phoenixes that I imagined wrapped around these tear-shaped glass vials were stylized, following the curvature of the vial for both elegance and sturdiness because the more surface is laying directly onto the glass, the more stable it is. With polymer clay you ALWAYS have to worry about the sturdiness. You want your design to be wearable, to serve it's purpose without the person having to worry about the delicacy of the piece that he's/she's wearing. So the sturdier - the better. 

I settled for this subtle, yet so eye-catching phoenix/bird design that even though seems simple, is filled with details. This might not seem like a big deal but note that these vials are so very small, only around 4 cm long so the feathers are made mostly with a needle tool which takes a toll on my already poor eye sight (years of sculpting miniatures don't help at all but I'm a clay soldier, I pledge on :P)

The possibilities are truly endless. There are so many color schemes to use on the sculpt, so many wonderful memory tokens to put into a vial to create that perfect whimsical wearable art piece. I created one called Adriatic Garden; in it are dried cypress leaves, a large (central) dry leaf (not sure how this herb is called, sorry, I found it while taking a walk near the river and was so in love with the shape and the color) and raw quartz chips. This quartz is not bought or industrially obtained, it is dug out by me and my father in the hills above our house in the small village called Doli. No, I am not kidding, it is literally dug out from the ground by us two. The coast of my country is composed mostly of limestone which is corrosive. In its natural cracks, quartz veins are often formed and I prefer that raw, authentic look of the crystal to polished and "tidy" pieces.

I will surely be making more of these necklaces as I'm kinda hooked to this idea. Plus, they are super wearable even on the most relaxed occasions. For now you can get them in my Etsy shop, the phoenix ones. I will probably be making a swan and a peacock version soon. <3

Hope you like them as much as I do.


P.S. I am on Facebook and Instagram too. :)

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  1. Vials and phoenixes are so cool, but raw quartz from Doli is even cooler :)


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