Sunday, September 26, 2010

Confessions of a Polymer Clay Naysayer

I know I've said before I have never really gotten the whole love affair with Polymer clay that seems to have taken over the art/craft world.
 Oh yeah I know it's been around long enough for there to have been 4or5 generations of improvements. But it always seem to have a few flaws to my visual and tactile senses I have trouble overlooking. Some how and except for a few artists the polymer always looks like molding clay or worse yet plastic to me. Even after it's been "cooked" Granted there are some bead/jewelry artists who do amazing work with PC, but you have to wade through a whole lot of not so amazing work to find them. The other issue I've had is the way it's finished. I think maybe it's the glaces and patinas that seem to be added. It feels... well it feels kinda yuckie. And why is it always pooled around the raised edges so it's way to thick??

Okay cutting the whining and back to the point of this post. After playing around with the white PC that Laurie sent me and making those Victorian mourning hands, I have begun to develop a greater appreciation for PC. You know I really did have fun making those little hands. And it was a good self challenge to get them to look and feel like ivory or bone.
I got to playing around with it and made a mold of the handle of an vintage silver plated knife. When I pulled the clay out of the mold I thought it might make a cool focal for a bracelet, cuz I could shape it to fit before I roasted it. I stuck a wire loop into both ends to use as attachments, draped it over a Pyrex container and threw it in the oven. Once it was done I sanded and sanded and wet to dry sanded until it was as sooth as a piece of polished bone or ivory. Then I started rubbing some Ranger Distress Ink (vintage photo) on. Letting it dry a bit and then buffing it off. When I thought the color was right I gave it a couple of coats of "Mothers" car wax because I couldn't find paste wax here in town. The wax waterproofs the dye and gives it a lovely satin look and feel.
Oh yeah I stuck the two yellow and red rhinestones in the clay before I baked it so the holes would be the right fit. Since the oven was only at 275degrees there was no worry about liquefying the glass :) I did make sure to glue them in though so there's no worry that they will fall into someones soup! :) Well you never know, stranger things have been known to fall into the soup pot ya know.

Since the polymer turn out so nice I decided I would make a bracelet for my girlfriend Luci's birthday.
 I wired a couple of pieces of amber in the larger circles of the antique brass chain I used. And I must say I am pleasantly surprised and very pleased with the way it came out. And dare I say I could be close to becoming a "born again polymer clayer" Ahhhhh then again... 
I made a mold of an antique cameo I have, and I've challenged myself to make one from polymer that looks like it might just could be a true cameo. Okay at least so it doesn't look like plastic or modeling clay.

Oops almost forgot. Here is a set of earrings I put together for Luci. She loves chandelier earrings and the longer, busier the better. These should fit the bill I'm a thinkin :) A few tourmaline,garnets and vintage brass "coins" from a belly dancer's belt.
Ok bloglandian kiddos I can hear the thunder announcing tonight's rain so I will bid you goodnight and unplug the electronics for a while. Have a most audacious art filled day no matter where in the world you are   p;)


Elysian Field Originals said...

Lol, I enjoyed reading your post. I've been a polymer clay artist for years and through trial and error (a lot of error) have managed my way around the negatives of the clay. One huge difference is the clay found in hobby shops as opposed to PC ordered online that is more of a professional grade. makes a huge difference. Also, try Varathane Diamond Floor Finish (water based only) to seal your pieces. Works great and no "yucky" feel! Great job on the bracelet!

stregata said...

Congratulations on a new medium! The bracelet looks fabulous. Although, I totally understand your reservations concerning PC. There are some artists that create total magic with it.

SummersStudio said...

Great bracelet! I know what you mean about PC. I use it for models and molds sometimes. But usually it seems to have some sort of funky plastic feel to it. On the other hand I've seen and held in my own little hand pieces that were done by people who've made gorgeous art from it. Good to hear you've had a great experience with it!

Cindy said...

You sure worked wonders with the clay! I really love the vintage, well-worn look you created with the distress ink. Your friend will love it!
I'm worried about you...just read in the news about a major mudslide in Mexico...I hope you are fine.

Vitt hus med svarta knutar said...

Thank you dearest for your kind and compassion words supporting me in my grief over my missed cat friend. Some might say "it is only a cat" but for many people and in my family the pets are family members. Donna and I have shared 17years, we have "talked" to each other every day, it is not many of my friends that I have known for so long time.

About PC, I have the same feeling about that material as you. But when I see the bracelet with your made center piece it really looks like a true cameo. I love the colours you put together in your latest jewelry, the bracelet, the earrings and the neckless in the post before. Wonderful warm colours.

Wish you a nice creative day. Here where I live we have had below zero two nights now. This morning the grass was white covered with frost.


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