Thursday, April 28, 2011

Life of an Item with CassieArt

My initial inspiration to begin sculpting buckles from clay came out of necessity. I love to wear a belt to add a bit of surprise and fun to my look, but I couldn't seem to find what I had in mind. On a whim, I decided to create my own. The process has been so fun, I've not stopped yet.

This squirrel buckle was created with a little backyard friend in mind. I remember it like it was yesterday...spring had just sprung and I decided to put some flowers in the ground. That weekend, we went out of town and upon our return, my entire flower bed was empty! My poor blossoms had been plucked off and just the shriveled stem remained. Then, right before my eyes, the furry culprit returned to the bed to scrounge for more flowers. Finding none, he's since taken to driving my poor cat Asha crazy by devouring the bird food we leave on our deck.

Even though he ruined my flower bed, he's so stinking cute, I had to dedicate a buckle to him. When I come up with a buckle idea, I begin by sketching out my design. Once I'm happy with my sketch, I transfer my drawing to a heavy card stock paper that allows me to trace the image into clay multiple times.

From there, I begin rolling out the clay. My favorite thing to do is roll the clay through my stash of vintage lace. I've also found burlap, stamps and even place mats offer a great variety of textures for the clay. Once rolled over a texture, I then trace my image into the clay.

After that, the buckle is finished for now. The clay must dry out completely before firing, so they usually take about 3-5 days to air dry. Once dry, the buckles are what's called greenware and ready to be fired in the kiln. That first firing leaves them with a bright white look called bisqueware. Think of the pottery you see at those glaze-your-own pottery shops, that's the same thing. My glazing process can take 2-3 additional firings, depending on the desired glazed effect. My crackle and metallic glazes often require more firings.

Once out of the kiln, I can begin pairing the buckles with my stash of mostly-vintage fabrics for the creation of the belt. Often times, I cannot find just one fabric to accompany the buckle, so I'll create a reversible belt. Some of my buckles are reversible also, so the belt can be worn four different ways.

So, that's the process for making my belts. I currently have a new backyard fri-enemy: a mole. Because of his lack of cute, I don't anticipate any mole-themed buckles soon...but you never know!


  1. This was really interesting to read. Rolling through lace is such a cool method of creating patterns, I'd never even thought about it before.

  2. Oh my gosh! I love your belts! Thank you for sharing! I found a new favourite shop! I've been searching for belts that I will enjoy wearing FOREVER!