Monday, February 21, 2011

Here's to the Failed Attempts

Some say that failed is too strong of a word. 
That there is no such thing but rather every experience is a chance to learn.
I agree with that.
But I still like to use the word. It doesn't bother me. I keep failures as reminders. Especially ones that took HOURS to complete.
It occurred to me that I am always "showing off" the things I like. "The successes" if you will.
So this post is dedicated to the failed attempts. 
And my hours of learning I can file away in my craft crowded brain.

First up.... my failed attempts at photography.
This is one of the first things I made (no doubt copied from a polymer clay artist I saw in a book), photographed and listed on etsy in 2006.
All you saw in the etsy thumbnail was a section of the ruler, which btw, is not okay to use because it has the making memories trademark on it. 
Who knew?

These are from when I stamped onto polymer clay discs. Not only did I learn that people do not like brown on bright lemon yellow but I also learned that after wearing an epoxied hair pretty twice, they fell apart.
Bendable clay cures to a flexible state but turns sticky under varnish.
Awww,  :(  They are so cool.

Cheap plated whimsy.
The Shame. Oh! The unbearable shame.

And here is a bit from when I was soldering bezels onto hammered clasps. Great idea, but when I went to fill with resin, they turned so dark it was like looking into a portal to Hades.. 
This is what happens when I try to teach myself resin instead of investing in a workshop or tutorial. 
Wasted supplies.
Now this next one wasted over 30 handmade beads and buttons. Simply because I did not realize I would have to seal the clay (which is a porous surface, duhhhh) before applying the metal coating.
They all bubbled and peeled when I applied the lacquer.
At least my photos are better, right?

There are so many more, but these were the ones I kept photos of.
What learning experience have you had?


  1. Taking bead photos continue to be an EXTREME challenge to me! One of these days, they will look great, but I sure don't know when!

  2. I have learned to seal my paper before using resin and to do a test run of a new tool before using it on my perfectly perfect etched copper owl pendant.
    Shannon C

  3. (ppsssst -- can you give me any of those wasted clasps? I'll send you something cool. I've got ideas....)

    What do you DO if you have a lovely piece of polymer clay from someone but it's tacky to the touch? Can anything be done?

    And THANK YOU for sharing -- you've undoubtedly saved a lot of people from making similar mistakes.

  4. Now that's one you don't see everyday...failed attempts. But your right it does help you to remember, and how would you every move forward without the failures. This is how we learn. Thanks for sharing:)

  5. Oh LOL!!!! I just recently tried to use plaster cloth to replicate a mannequin - total FAIL!!! She came out misshapen and tipsy. Oh well I just went over her and she came out much better. I learned not to be greedy and want more then one mannequin...where was I planning on putting them all anyway??? You can laugh at me here.

  6. Miss Shannon, I love the way you think. You learned something new from each of these experiences that you wouldn't have had the benefit of if they had turned out alright. That is the real lesson of the failure! To take that kernel of truth and grow in a new direction! Thanks for sharing these! Dang on those bezels and those last beads. Pretty little failures! Enjoy the day!
    Erin ;-)

  7. loved this..i have made quite a few missteps..and learned lots from each't epoxy a hanger onto a raku piece that has any moisture left( even if not readily noticable) from the clean holds for some time..then..bam!

  8. Pretty Things just had a cool sign on her blog "don't let success go to your head, or failure go to your heart."

    did you guys plan that? :)

  9. How wonderful to see a post which details the mistakes rather than perfect items which make we lesser mortals feel inadequate! Thank you!

  10. Wonderful post Shannon! You know what, I love your failures. They are all so beautiful!

    I myself constantly fail! In jewelry making it is wire wrapping and just general assembling that are my weakest points.

    Right now I am also going through a period when I am NOT happy with a lot of my designs. Too boring, too "I've seen that before", and so on.

    I fail big on keeping my focus on things or on remembering to do things I should. Yes, I have an ADD diagnosis, and my MS also makes those particular problems at least fifty times worse. I forget so many things all the time. And I loose my track from the tiniest little distractions. I am so sorry about that, I feel people get disappointed at me, and I don't wish that of course. So so sorry! Please, just know it is not my intention. I am doing my best all the time.

    But every now and then I also do something brilliant. And I strongly believe that I wouldn't if I was always afraid of failing.

    Let's all say it out loud now:
    Dare failure!

    Love and respect Shannon!

  11. I love seeing peoples' mistakes ... they remind me of my own!

  12. Up until recently I've only made strung pieces so it's easy to fix the ones that didn't look right or lay properly. Only just recently have I tried soldering--and just baby steps at that. But my table has loads of failures.

    Thanks for sharing yours with us as a great reminder that all mistakes bring opportunities for success.

  13. Except for the stamped ones I love what you call failure. Ummm any chance some of those are still around? Cool ideas for those beads floating around in my head!


  14. Oh, these aren't so bad! Am curious what the metal coating is that bubbled though....I seal afterwards and don't get a bubble

  15. I think 'failures' are just stepping stones in expanding your ideas. I fail all of the time and do so appreciate that I am not alone.

  16. glad I'm not the only one! I once spent an entire saturday working on a freeform necklace of connected circles. Never could get it to hang right, or for that matter even look decent. In fact it totally sucked. I have all kinds of half finished pieces that were great in my head, but didn't end up working...

  17. First of all- I really like the dark Hades (lol) bezel clasps! It has an old mystery to it!
    It was so fun to walk through some of your failures, as I was pondering my hundreds as well. Thanks for sharing the other side of experimenting.
    Lastly- I have the same mushroom stamp, and used bronz clay and made some VERY similar focals to your last pic. I then added your patina's and have them in turquoise and bronz. I just haven't made anything with them yet. (I plan to bezel them). Are yours in polymer clay?

  18. it's like you're a mad scientist doing experiments! braniac scientists have "failed" experiments all the time--it's how they arrive at the truth/greatest invention since sliced bread. have a theory, try it out, DAMN! discard it; tweak theory, try it out, DAMN! discard it; tweak theory again...

    they're like little tiny frankensteins who didn't make it.

  19. I learned that varnish one too when I started!

  20. What courage! But such a good idea..confession is good for the I steal it for my blog? I shiver at some of the first 'jewels' that I turned out..those cheapie chinese ebay 'stones' seemed soo awesome in those days..
    And I love the Hades clasp, too.


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