Saturday, April 16, 2011

Doing Tutorial Specific Work For the First Time

For as long as I remember I've been reading or buying books to teach me the subjects of my passions, from gardening to computers to art which was my first love.

Polymer clay books have been added to my collections and read voraciously. Many, maybe all, of the techniques I now use have been learned or absorbed from my reading.

Until just this week, however, I had never done the specific subject of a tutorial in any of my polymer clay, or jewelry-making books.
The first one was a scarab beetle from a tutorial in the August 2008 Polymer Cafe, written by the talented and accomplished Les Polinko, which grabbed me back then and finally, just lately followed, with encouraging results immediately. I used silver alcohol ink for the first time on one, and drilling, backfilling and sanding on the other one, which is a work in progress. I loved the ease with which these materialized and will have to make more.
Many of the species actually look like jewelry and will be a joy to form from polymer clay.

My next subject is based on a very cute steampunk fishy seen through a porthole. This came from "Steampunkery" by Christi Friesen, my latest addition to my ever expanding polymer clay library. I picked it up immediately without even opening it, knowing that I had to have it, having seen her work published for years and been enchanted by the adorable interpretations of her subjects, based on nature which, for me is home territory.
When I saw the project, I had to make one for myself and there are other tutorials that I plan to follow in that excellent, sometimes hilarious, and very informative read. The first of the Christi Freisen books to be added to my library.
The pendant is filled with resin in her book, unlike mine which I left as, is knowing that the eye bead sticks out too much to cover well without a dimpling effect, so adding bubbles instead to get a kind of 3D effect. My porthole frame is rough (maybe dented) and there would have been more gears and cool "steampunk" components if I could have found them but it's just for fun and I plan to refine my portholes in future projects.
I plan to do more along this concept also being more careful with depth of my eye placement, because I love the idea, and have now spent hours re-organizing my gears, gizmos, and other vintage findings, [which took a catastrophic tumble a while back, in a scenario involving a laundry basket piled high with multiple full component cases (satisfactory idea) and placement of said basket on a small rolling mechanic's stool (very bad idea indeed!)].

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Directions in Polymer Clay

I've been continuing to explore new techniques and new ways to cover eggs with polymer clay. I have literally taken my eggs in a new direction by orienting my egg shaped vessels vertically instead of horizontally like my first several eggs. This results in greater storage area within the egg and the vertical presentation is so effective in my opinion. One aspect of this presentation is a stand is needed now matter how well the egg is balanced. I just used a crystal napkin ring I picked up at a flea market for the photos and will eventually create stands for them from polymer clay.

I have also been playing with alcohol inks as a color medium and love the effects. With the alcohol inks you get a lovely transparent color, as opposed to acrylic paint which even thinned does not equal the saturation when trying for a transparent effect.

Both of the eggs pictured started out as pure white with color added using alcohol ink and in the case of the faux turquoise egg some black acrylic paint. The transparency of color seems to give the textured egg an appearance of glazed ceramic, and the darker one an extra glassy finish as there is some depth to the color.

The pendant I just finished uses the drilling technique perfected by Geffery Lloyd Dever which I learned from a tutorial in "The Art of Polymer Clay" by Katherine Duncan Aimone, and another in the March 2008 issue of "Art Jewelry" an magazine often featuring tutorials by leading polymer clay artists as well tutorials on creating fine jewelry from precious metals and gemstones.
My bead has some holes that ended up too large on one side but the larger opening allows for seeing into the object and opens up possibilities for adding elements to the hollow interior. I consider this piece to be wearable by me but I can see where my work needs refinement and continually try to accomplish this.

I've been playing with large hollow formed, drilled beads off and on for a while now and love the effects of layering colors and then drilling to reveal the under layers. This bead also features translucent overlay canes which are covered in Donna Kato's book "The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques". I've come across this technique in some of my other reading as well. I read extensively on Polymer Clay and love learning new ways to work with it. I plan to continue on adding interest to polymer clay by texturing, drilling and also carving and backfilling, which I have yet to explore.