Process - The Making Of and Inspiration

What is your process, can you give a brief overview?

What materials are these made out of?

Do you buy your molds from someone else?

How long does it take to make one?

Could you make a tutorial on casting or sculpting?

What inspires you to make these pendants?

Why sculpt them in the round if most of the time people are only going to see one side? Why make each of them a piece of art?

Will there be any future animals?

May I request (insert animal here)?

Will you be open for pendant/sculpture commissions in the future?

I saw this neat design you did a while back, where did it go?

Purchasing

Where do you sell online?

What physical stores do you sell at?

If I want to see these up close and in person, where do I go?

Are you looking for more stores to carry your pendants?

How long does shipping take, and where are you shipping from?

Why are they all different prices?

What is the difference between your pendants and the "ornaments"?

How often is casting open?

Would your sculptures make a good toy for my child?

Will you ever sell (insert design) unpainted?

May I customize/resculpt my unpainted cast?

Purchasing - Customs

How do I order a custom?

How long does it take to do a custom?

How many custom slots are there?

Where do I send information on how I'd like my custom painted?

Is it possible to have some sort of add-on, like wings/horns/etc. to custom orders?

Can customs have clear orbs?

Can you make one of your pendants look like my pet?

What kind of reference do you need?

Care

Do you have any care tips?

I'm afraid of breaking it, how sturdy are these?

Process - The Making Of and Inspiration
What is your process, can you give a brief overview?
Every design starts out as a sketch which is later translated into clay. My favorite sculpting material is Monster Clay, although sometimes I'll use Epoxy to prevent certain parts from squishing. They are then cast in silicone, usually in 2 - 3 part molds. Once the final production mold is made, I'll cast a variety of marble colors. Before even painting, I sand down and clean every cast, plus sculpt any additional parts (some just need odd air bubbles filled, while others have horns/wings/etc. added). Once the surface is prepped for painting, I like to start off with a base pastel dusting. I go back and fourth layering color until I'm satisfied, then it's time for varnish. I like to add a high gloss to select parts of the matte varnish pieces, it adds a bit of life to the sculpture. Pendants are finished off with cords, and sculptures any fun little trinkets, and from there they get to show off for my camera! :)

What materials are these made out of?
The final products are made from a sturdy, quality Urethane plastic. The clear orbs are glass marbles. They are painted with pastels and acrylic, and every now and then I'll try painting with a unique paint such as glow-paint or chameleon pigment.

Do you buy your molds from someone else?
Absolutely not. To ensure that customers are purchasing a truly unique item, I do all the designing, planning, and sculpting of these pendants. Truly, you will not find these little casts anywhere else, (if you do find that someone else it making casts out of my pendants, please let me know. I don't think anyone would try to make a cheap knock-off of my work, but you never know).

How long does it take to make one?
This varies greatly from piece to piece. Obviously, the time put in for the original sculpt and casting has to be factored into each of the individual casts. I like to spend a good amount of time on the mold, it takes several hours for each part of the mold - there's making of the mold box, adding the clay around the pendant, cleaning each part of the mold before pouring the next part, cure time, and of course making sure the design of the mold works. Casting is about 15 min per pour, during curing time I usually go to clean the last set of casts. Cleaning takes a few hours per batch of pendants. The painting time for pendants I've narrowed down to 2-3 hours per pendant. For figurines, I would say about 10 - 12 hours? Honestly, I haven't painted enough to get down an average time for the larger pieces.

Could you make a tutorial on casting or sculpting?
At this time, no. Lately I've been bringing molds and originals to shows to talk about my process, but to sit down and make a tutorial would take too much time from the actual production. Plus, by no means am I any kind of expert on casting or sculpting. I've more or less learned by getting out there and experimenting, which means I only know what I've experienced. There are a ton of great resources out there from people who have far more knowledge! Here are some of the sources which I began with to give you a start:
Mold Making:
http://www.hhhorses.com/sculpting.html
http://www.mold-making.com/index.htm
Materials:
http://users.lmi.net/~drewid/resin_faq.html - This one is great for learning the advantages/disadvantages of various resins
http://www.smooth-on.com/

What inspires you to make these pendants?
The original idea for these began with the "Cat Light" pendants, the idea was sparked during a time when I was still working with clear resins. The beauty of the light shining through reminded me of some unusual childhood experiences involving cats and lights. I loved the idea of sparking the same kind of wonder in others which the childhood experiences provided me. I didn't know where the idea would lead, but through the time I've been developing different designs and doing different paints, I know I'm on the right track when I see that other people's imaginations are sparked- when the light goes off in their mind because they have an idea for their own pendant or when someone's curiosity about how these are made is opened.
The overall reactions to the pendants alone could keep me going, but what really feeds my inspiration is the moment when a pendant takes on its own life, when the eye has a life-like shine, or I can feel it "moving" and "breathing." It's a hard feeling to explain without sounding a little crazy, but I enjoy that moment when one of these little sculptures becomes animated. It makes it even more special when it's a custom paint. The characters people create and people's animals are very special beings for the individuals which hire me to create these little sculptures for them, so it's not only an honor to work on these pieces, but it's a good moment when a customer first lays their eyes on a mini version of that special character or pet.

Why sculpt them in the round if most of the time people are only going to see one side? Why make each of them a piece of art?
On the practical level, I've never been much of a jewelry person in the past, so to me something with multiple functions is far more valuable than something which you use once then store away. In the round, these can double as ornaments, altar pieces, or mini versions of characters and pets. From an artistic standpoint, regardless of what they're used for, I'm going to be pouring a ton of time and love into these. Why not make each of them something to collect and cherish?

Will there be any future animals?
Of course! My imagination is constantly being sparked by animals.

May I request (insert animal here)?
At one point I was taking suggestions for new animals, unfortunately I have to set that suggestion list aside. Realistically, the backlog of ideas could easily keep me busy for years, and I don't want to keep people expecting, waiting for something I might not get to for years. Also, from a business standpoint I do need to consider what people will actually be interested in buying since I have limited resources. I do love talking ideas with people, just realize there's no longer any official "suggestions" list for future pieces.

Will you be open for pendant/sculpture commissions in the future?
This is an idea I've been toying with for some time now. For private commissions, probably not. The materials and way in which I sculpt require the final pieces to be cast, which could reach very high prices depending on the size, (and even for a small pendant would be very pricy). For commercial projects, there is a much better chance, and I've already been in discussion with several people about ideas which we could make work. If you have a commercial project, you are welcome to send an email. I won't guarantee that I'll work on your project, but if we can figure out the business logistics and it's an idea which I believe in, I like to be open to possibilities.

I saw this neat design you did a while back, where did it go?
Periodically designs are retired. How many casts were made depends on if they're limited edition or not, but on average 25-30 casts is the end result. Some of them will have multiple molds over time, thus be able to cast more than that, that depends on how much I like the design and how long I want to work with that sculpture. All the more reason to purchase when you see a design that you like!

Purchasing
Where do you sell online?
*Main shop: http://wintersoulstudios.bigcartel.com
*Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WinterSoulStudios

What physical stores do you sell at?
*Spiritways: http://www.spiritwaysdenver.com/
*Ye Olde Magic Shoppe: http://yeoldemagicshoppe.com/
*Custom Cranium: https://www.facebook.com/CustomCranium

If I want to see these up close and in person, where do I go?
Right now your best bet will be to see them at conventions and festivals which I attend. If you're in Denver or Eugene, you might see some pendants in the physical shops in town. The Denver Reynold's store showroom should have one of my pieces as well. And of course, you'll see pendants hanging out with happy customers! :)

Are you looking for more stores to carry your pendants?
I'm very selective about which stores I keep these in, mostly for practical reasons. Since it is me creating these pendants from start to finish, I can't factory produce these and put them in every store that wants them. If you think that your store matches the spirit of why I do these pendants, I would be happy to talk, you can send me an email at crystal (at) wintersoulstudios.com

How long does shipping take, and where are you shipping from?
The majority of orders will ship within a week of the order being placed, (custom and larger orders being the exception). This store ships from Colorado, USA, through USPS. Orders in the USA are usually fairly quick arrivals (a week or two), international orders may take up to 5-6 weeks to arrive.

Why are they all different prices?
The price for the "special paints" are determined by how much time I've put into the individual pendant, and how in-demand the color is. Some of them have extra "add-ons", which can take up to an hour to sculpt, (the dragons with fins, for example).

What is the difference between your pendants and the "ornaments"?
Size is the difference here. The ornaments are a bit large for my taste and were originally meant to hang in a space. Of course, they are still small enough to wear, and I'm not opposed to others wearing them. When ordering an ornament, let me know if you prefer a necklace cord attached instead of the ribbon.

How often is casting open?
Late Spring into mid-Fall are the best times for casting. Right now, I don't have the facilities to cast through the winter, although I do keep some winter stock. If you see a pendant or resin out of stock, feel free to e-mail me and ask if it will be available again in the spring.

Would your sculptures make a good toy for my child?
No, these pendants and sculptures are not meant as children's toys, especially since the varnish is not child safe and the surface can scratch when put up against rocks/dirt/places where kids like to play. These were made to be collectables and should be treated with care.

Will you ever sell (insert design) unpainted?
Some casts will not be sold as unpainted kits. It's nothing personal, it's just the way I would like to distribute the casts. Generally, my main designs, (the ones with the orbs), are the ones which will be custom orders only.

May I customize/resculpt my unpainted cast?
Yes, as long as you do not re-produce (cast) the customized piece. Feel free to let your imagination run with unpainted casts!
*Just as a note, reproduction of any of my work is NOT allowed.

Purchasing - Customs
How do I order a custom?
Customs are ordered through my Bigcartel shop: http://wintersoulstudios.bigcartel.com.
Click on the design which you're interested in, and below the description to the left will be a drop-down option menu. "Custom Painted" and "Custom Painted - Modified" will be towards the bottom. Once you go through checkout, you can send me an email with references and color preferences.

How long does it take to do a custom?
For custom paints, please allow 1-3 weeks for completion, along with another week or two for shipping.

How many custom slots are there?
This widely varies. In general I like to keep a couple of slots open of each design at any given time. The work seems to flow well enough that I don't need to greatly limit the slots, but be aware that the workflow does slow down during convention/production season in the summer, and again around November for the holiday season.

Where do I send information on how I'd like my custom painted?
From my Bigcartel shop you can click "contact" and go from there, or you can email me directly: ccarpenter (at) wintersoulstudios.com

Is it possible to have some sort of add-on, like wings/horns/etc. to custom orders?
For most pendants, yes. The dog and cats are the most popular ones to be modified. If you would like an addition that is not part of the base sculpture, it will fall under the "Custom Painted - Modified" option under the drop-down menu on the shop page.

Can customs have clear orbs?
Yes, as long as casting is open. If there is a specific color you're looking for, you can send an email to make sure I'm open for casting, and I can send you a sort of catalogue for which marbles are in stock.

Can you make one of your pendants look like my pet?
Yes! Knowing how special the animals in our lives are, I love to paint pendants in the likeliness of pets and have done many customs based on beloved pets.

What kind of reference do you need?
The best reference will be multiple angles showing all sides of the character/pet. Photos should be fairly large and in good lighting (not washed out, but also not dim. Basically, I'm looking for photos which clearly show markings and are near to the true color of the animal). Obviously, sometimes we have to make due with what we have. Just realize that the likeness to your character or pet will only be as good as your reference.

Care
Do you have any care tips?
Every pendant and figurine should come with a care sheet with this info:
*It is best to keep pendants/figurines out of extreme heat, as resin can warp in higher temperatures.
*While the paint is protected by a finishing varnish, take care when handling to avoid scratching the surface with jewelry (such as rings), or by dropping.
*Be aware that wearing pendants daily can erode the paint over time. Heat, moisture, sweat, and general oils in the skin can all break down the finish, so while these are meant to be wearable art, they are still art and should be treated with care.
*If cleaning is needed, the surface may be cleaned with a damp cloth (water only).
*If accidental breakage does happen, no worries! A bit of epoxy glue such as Apoxie Paste or Gorilla Glue works great for repairs.
*Avoid wearing in the shower.

I'm afraid of breaking it, how sturdy are these?
Much more sturdy than you might think! (Tested by my fumbling hands). There is a small chance of breakage if they hit, say cement just right, especially on the delicate winged pieces, pieces with add-ons, and the figurines. There is more of a risk of scratching the painted surface, in particular if these are handled while wearing jewelry, wearing in extreme heat, sweat wearing at the surface, or when wearing in the shower. However, if these are treated and handled as a piece of art, you should be okay. Care sheets are given with each one so that you know what situations to avoid, and I'm happy to answer questions about repairs from accidents. :)

 

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