I've been monkeying around with clay for a long time, but never got serious.
After Christi (Friesen) was here for our workshop in May, I realized even more how much I enjoy clay and how much there was to learn to make my work more acceptable. The clay community is large and while wonky is okay and perfection in organic-style work isn't expected, there are certain standards.
Above are the results of the first batch of clay I was really able to experiment with, since the event. My first 'new thing' was learning how to make a mold and avail myself of what it might do or how it might change my work.
I used Amazing Mold Putty as it came highly recommended. To be sure, it really does pick up fine details from the pieces you mold:
In the foreground is a piece of brass I molded, the 'yellow stuff' is the mold....and then above, you can see the piece I made.
Over all I was pretty happy, except I worked with clay that was a bit too thick and my holes were not up to par. In ceramic work, I have long admired pieces that had even holes that didn't look like someone just squirreled around a toothpick inside of them.
Mine sort of look squirelly. OKAY...onward:
I had this old piece of gingerbread brass with a flamingo and palm trees. I saved a bunch of great old brass down in my old workshop JUST for this purpose...so what better time than the present:
As you can see, the mold picked up some great detail as well as highs and lows, dimension, from the original old piece.
I never noticed the small flowers in this button before the mold picked them up and I turned out these bits. I trimed the edges with my fave crinkle cutters which gave them an even more unique look....I thought so, anyway.
I did all the pieces in white Premo and the yellow molds all worked quite nicely with this clay. A few of my molds didn't come out quite right and I gave them a toss. Pressing your item squarely and firmly into the mold is key, and you have to do it quickly once you mix the two part silicone together, or it will begin to set...and won't take an impression well, if at all.
I like working with white Premo and then adding my own unique surface color, then sealing with Sculpey Satin. Some would rather mix color, and I think the more I get a handle on color mixing I will enjoy that, too.
For now, I am simply using the same techniques I have always used for applying paints, pastes and patinas to metal. It works! I used Lumiere Halo pink on these pieces, then added German Silver and Patina Gilders Paste made into a fine paint with a few drops of mineral spirits.
The clay has always taken Gilder's Paste or Rub and Buff very nicely for me.
At the end I rubbed some black acrylic into the pieces for detail refinement, richness and depth. And there you have it....sort of an ancient pottery-shard look. I love that look, personally, and can see so easily how it would accompany fiber and the brass stampings we offer at B'sue Boutiques
And really, that's how I've used clay over the years. I never really sought, in most cases, to make a piece ENTIRELY from clay. I always combined clay bits, beads and accents with sari ribbon, chain, resin....found items.
Toward the end of my session, I discovered that if I took a small metal hollow tube and cut my holes with it, they would no longer be wonky.
Besides what I learned about making molds, I think that might have been the most valuable thing I learned all day. As you can see, my holes---and the thickness of the pendants--have improved.
I have a bit of paperwork to do today and then: a bunch of clay ready to be made into little beads. My friend Cindy Peterson bought me a rock tumbler, and another pal, Mary Reckmeyer bought me the shot to go with it....and I need to get busy and learn how to use it:
But first, I gotta get these beads made!
Thanks again, Cindy and Mary. What a kind and thoughtful gift, and thank you for all you have been teaching me about polymer clay.