Many of these hands are costumed in great detail. Lavish laces and embroideries, fabrics of many kinds–all are imitated using polymer clay, ceramic and metal in many different techniques. Many, though not all, are pierced with a hole at the top and are beads or pendants. There are even tiny “buttons” on many of the Victorian and Edwardian era sleeves! With styles that range from the distant past all the way into the future, each little hand is a miniature work of art, and a perfect accessory to Vintage, Ethnic and Wearable Art ensembles. The beads can be strung as pendants, or with other beads in strands.
They make a wonderful center “showcase” bead. They can also be strung to great effect as Holiday Christmas Ornaments for an antique look on your tree–this is especially effective on a small pine tree or as part of a wreath. Use a few in other decorative arrangements. Place one in the center of a lacy bow, or a cluster of ribbons!
Polymer clay is also used to mimic the effect of traditional India Henna tattoos in a non-permanent style called “Mehndi”. These beautiful and intricate designs are often applied to decorate the hands and feet of fashionable Indian women and particularly brides! Unlike the other polymer hand beads, these are not “dressed” but are decorated using millefiore canes in a henna and ivory range. They can be strung as they are, or with a pendant loop formed with wire. The wire can even be wrapped to appear like a bracelet on the hand. They can be worn as beads, or used in making dolls or decorative figures.
The hand beads can also give the look of tribal tattoos. They are the only style of hands that makes use of applied ink markings instead of colored clay canes. Blue or indigo markings are a very traditional “look” in several cultures and each is a strong statement all by itself.
I’ve also made a set of slip molds using my polymer hands, and am now creating ceramic hands as well as polymer. Some are in the Victorian style, with real lace soaked in slip to create their dainty costumes. Many of the ceramic hands are finished in raku glazes without costuming to interfere with their timeless appeal. I’ve even started making hands in etched bronze, brass and copper that also have the mehndi style designs.
Here is a gallery of hands I’ve made. Click on the thumbnail (ha!) to see a larger image.
Only some of them are still available, but more are being made every season! We’ve opened a store at Etsy to sell our beads, Spirit Doll Kits, and more, so please do click here to see what’s currently available!