Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Episode 3 Technical Notes

I have been reeaaallllly lucky to have had the opportunity to take polymer clay classes with two of the best...because they live right here in my hometown! Cynthia Toops and Ronna Sarvas Weltman are not only amazing artists, but teachers as well.

So, hopefully, my simple polymer project won't disappoint them...because it truly is, simple. But I love the form, and I suspect it will keep sneaking back into my work now and again.

The polymer clay pieces hanging in the necklace were inspired by 
Lunaria annua, or the money plant. The fenceline along my daughter's school is filled with them. One was taken home to "dissect" several months ago and I was inspired by how you could see the seeds though the translucent leaves when they dried. My first thought was to make them with rice paper and Ice Resin and somehow that morphed into using translucent polymer clay after a trip to the supermarket's bulk section aisle. While there, I noticed the number of colored lentils that are available and thought they would look great behind a translucent clay. But alas, the clay was not translucent enough in the thickness that was used, so the design changed from there.

These pieces were made with translucent clay and then dyed with alcohol ink. If I did them again, I would use colored clay and would likely substitute more polymer clay for the lentil. So here's the 411 on making these little guys...

1. Coil 4 feet of 24g wire around a 2mm diameter dowel until you have 2.5" to 3" of coil with at least 4" of wire left.
2. Cut a matching piece of 14g wire.

3. Turn the wire into a circular shaped jump ring (mine were irregular) leaving a 1/8" gap and slide the coil onto the jump ring.

4. Grab the end of the jump ring and nudge it through the coil so that the jump ring opening is away from the coil opening. Just keep grabbing the jump ring in the coil opening, nudging it forward.

5. Wrap the remaining coil wire around the jump ring, and when you have almost closed the coil gap, create a wire wrapped loop (I did a double loop). After wrapping the loop closed, wrap the wire around the jump ring again 2 times. This will secure and center the wire wrapped loop to the jump ring.

6. Roll a ball of conditioned polymer clay (clay run through a pasta machine a few times or rolled out over and over again with a roller) to the size of a standard marble. Place it inside the coil wrapped jump ring and press evenly until the edges of the clay just extend over the coil. Check and see that the clay extends over the coil on the back as well.

7. Press a lentil into the clay (or a flattened piece of clay in another color). 

8. Place the clay on any textured surface so the back gets an impression while you are texturing the front. Use a dapping punch or other type of tool (I used a chasing tool handmade by
Bill Dawson, from whom I just took an amazing toolmaking class) to "mottle" the surface of the clay.

9. Using a smooth paint brush, brush some clear sculpey liquid over the lentil to seal it into the clay.

10. Bake as directed.

11. When cool, use alcohol inks to dye the clay and brush on Pearl Ex powder to add shimmer.

12. Seal with
Preserve Your Memories II.

To create the necklace, make a vine out of a 1/4" Faux Bone cuff strip and drill holes into each end so that you can insert the leather. Drill two tiny holes through the Faux Bone and leather and place in a screw to secure the leather in the hole.

Set the entire piece on a necklace form and use pins to place the feathers (which have wire wrapped loops on them) and the polymer clay pieces. This allows you to cut the chain to the proper lengths. Once the location for these pieces were finalized, mark and drill tiny holes in the bottom of the Faux Bone branch and epoxy in tiny eye pins so that you can hang the chain through them.

I had mentioned the "look" needed an extra piece...and blog readers voted for a ring. So here it is! A Faux Bone ring base with a brass dapped cup. The feathers are glued into the cup and a polymer clay component (as described above) served as a cabochon. Thanks ladies...I hadn't thought of a ring! 

Finally, we have a winner of our Tandy Leather gift certificate. Visit my Facebook page to see her creation in leather!

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