The process of creating the Andrea Vickery line was born by a desire to create tiny paintings to wear everyday, jewelry that means something to the wearer and highlights the hand of the artist. I hand paint each piece, and every painting is unique and one of a kind.
I’m inspired by architectural structure in fashion and accessories. I wanted to create modern, clean shapes, that allow the paintings to be the focus. I design my own settings, and work with a 2 casters (one in New York and one in New Mexico) to cast the frames.
Step 1: The Clay
The base is white translucent or black polymer clay. I roll the clay in thin sheets and cut them to the size of the frame. Some of the pieces are brushed with mica powder, to create the sparkle, before baking. The clay is then baked in my oven at home and it becomes hard, but slightly flexible.
Step 2: The Paint
The next step is to apply the paint. I loved using oil paint because of it’s translucent properties, color intensity, and long drying times. This can ensure that I can rework the paint and mix colors. I use water-soluble oil paint for several reasons. First it reduces harmful impact to the earth, because I can use soap and water for clean up and thinning instead of turpentine. Second, it dries in days and not weeks, so I can work more quickly than with traditional oils.
I build up the layers of paint, usually 2-4 layers to get the intensity of color and blacks. This part of the process takes 2-3 weeks; while I paint quickly, I let the paint dry for a few days between each stage.
Step 3: The Resin
When the paint is dry, but usually not completely oxidized, I set the piece in it’s bezel and prepare the resin. I use a non-toxic 2-part epoxy resin, which is jewelry grade, but less harmful and easier to use than industrial resin. The resin creates a clear dome which protects the paint and also slightly magnifies it. The doming effect of the resins causes the mica powders pick up the light from multiple angles and really shine under the resin.
The resin takes 3-4 days to cure, and then I can finish the piece using beading wire, sterling silver chain and findings.
By layering all these translucent and transparent layers, the clay, the paint and the resin, each piece has a visual depth that can’t be found in another process. By hand painting the pieces instead of using printed transfers or stamps, each piece is not only unique, but it shows the artist’s hand at work, and not the work of a machine. When you look at each piece you can see my brushstrokes; this brings a richness to the piece and elevates all the materials into jewelry that’s unique, innovative and extraordinary!