Pietra dura polymer

The UK’s Fiona Abel-Smith created this polymer box with its decorative panels using an ancient inlay technique called pietra dura. Fiona watched Sue Heaser demo the technique in November and she was smitten.

The box is 5 1/2 inches (13 1/2 cm) square and 4 1/2 inches (11 cm) high with decorative panels of birds on each side and the top. Fiona details the her successes and failures (cracks during baking) with this technique and shows how she began with inlay and added minute dabs of polymer from fine extruded strings. Adding these flecks of color for the feather details gives the piece a more painterly feel.

This ancient technique may not be for everyone and Fiona admits that the box took 120 hours of work. See more pictures on her Flickr site. The link came to us from another polymer painter, Cate Van Alphen.

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  • reply Mary Anne Loveless ,

    Breathtaking! The colors! The craftsmanship! The technique! The precision! Absolutely stunning! Did I use too many exclamation points?

    • reply Randee M Ketzel ,

      Madre de Dios! Having seen the real thing in the museums of Rome and Florence,I’d swear that this is its equal– just stunning work. My hat is off to both the technical and artistic virtuosity.Could not possibly use too many exclamation points!

      • reply Randee M Ketzel ,

        ..and I particularly love her comment that her students learn more by making mistakes, than by everything going right the first try; too true!

        • reply Nikolina Otržan ,

          Too beautiful for words!

          • reply Jeanne ,

            Ho-Le-y cow!!!! Absolutely beautiful!!!

            • reply Fiona Abel-Smith ,

              Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments and to Cynthia for featuring my Box on today’s PCD. I have been a fan of PCD for years and take such inspiration from seeing all the fantastic things everyone is doing in the polymer world. To be featured myself is like a dream, and has left me a little lost for words. So simply, Thank you!

              • reply London Polymer Clay Group » Congratulations Fiona! ,

                [...] member Fiona Abel-Smith is today’s featured artist on Polymer Clay Daily [...]

                • reply Barb Lessen ,

                  Just absolutely gorgeous!!

                  • reply Kate Simpson ,

                    Beautiful, what amazing work, great detail.

                    • reply Kathy Anderson ,

                      When a piece takes 120 hours, we know that our craft is joining the mainstream. What a joy to see!

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                      • I'm Cynthia Tinapple, an artist, curator, and leader in the polymer clay community for over 20 years.

                        On this blog I showcase the best polymer clay art online to inspire and encourage you.

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