Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Rafter of "Dichroic" Polymer Pendants

I learned recently that a group of turkeys is called a rafter.  Since it's close to Thanksgiving, and I have a big group of pendants to share with you, I decided to call them a "rafter" of pendants.  ;)

About a week ago, I shared here a bit about the processes I've been trying with metal leaf, alcohol inks,  and polymer.  In the last few days, I've been trying more experiments. The first thing I tried was to add a very thin layer of translucent clay mixed with pearl glitter, and then to impress the layer with a texture design.  Alcohol inks were added last. Above are two of my first pendants pieces.  You can see the a bit of the gold metal leaf through the translucent layer. The translucent-glitter layer adds a special sparkle that has an effect somewhat like dichroic glass.  It doesn't show well on the screen, though it really sparkles in person.

I made some striped sheets from the larger sheet, and then created a variety of pendant shapes.  These pieces and the ones above were all made using Pinata Alcohol Inks.  I find these colors to be very bright and colorful and almost intense.

I decided to see what Adirondack Alcohol inks might do in using the same techniques.  Here is my favorite piece from the Adirondack set:

The next set is also from the Adirondack sheet. The colors look more colorful on my computer screen than they do in person.  I was surprised to notice that, when compared to the Pinata ink pieces, the Adirondack colors are more subtle and darker.  The Pinata colors look like spring and summer colors, while the Adirondack colors come across more as autumn and winter.

I made several other pieces in Adirondack colors that were focused on a "fall theme."   The last photo shows some pieces from this last set. I tried inclusions in a couple of the pieces - pearls and a black rectangular crystal.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rainbows & Stripes

Continuing on with my metal leaf and alcohol ink experiments....After the blue shades, I decided to try adding more colors on the silver leaf.  I added pinks and reds to the blues first, and came up with the pendant on the left.  I really like the way the colors pool where they meet, making areas that look black and add excellent contrast. The sterling silver piece just seemed to want to be there.
Then I went wild with colors.  This was such fun, and I loved the rainbows that developed.  It is important to avoid putting opposing colors next to each other in order to avoid "mud."   Here are some pieces of the rainbow.
I had a few bits and pieces from the two silver metal leaf sheets I had made. They weren't large enough to do anything on their own, but I loved the colors and didn't want to just toss them.  So, I tried my hand at my first clay collage.  I think this is my favorite piece from all these first experiments.

I made one more rainbow sheet and cut the sheet in strips to make the striped pieces at the bottom. They're bright and vibrant.  Once again,  I think the piece I like best in this last collection is the triangular piece with the irregular slices.  I'm going to have to do more.  Playing with color is just too much fun!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blues & Silver

For my next metal leaf and alcohol sheet, I used silver leaf and the metal layer, and stuck with blues and purples.  I love the way the colors pooled, and I kept adding small drops on top of each other to see what would happen.  I love the effect!  This is really the first time I've played with alcohol inks on metal leaf, and it really is fun.  Once the sheet dried overnight, I decided not to crackle it so did not cover it with a layer of translucent clay. The colors stayed more vibrant this way, but it meant I needed to find another way to protect the metal leaf from wear.

I mounted the dried sheet on a sheet of black clay, cut out various shapes, and baked them.  I sanded the edges of the baked pieces, then added a thin strip of black clay around the edges to create an outline and bezel.  This was baked.  Then I added epoxy to the surface.  This protects the metal leaf, enhances the colors, and adds great depth and shine.  I used Magic Gloss and had to add a few layers to get the results I wanted.  I'm pleased with the end result.

Unfortunately, I did discover I'd made a major error.  I'm used to multiple bakings, so just planned on adding bails, pin backings, and other clay or metal findings in subsequent trips to the oven.  What I didn't think about was the fact that the epoxy layer could not be baked at oven temperatures.  If you try, you end up with lots of ugly dark boils and bubbles.....very, very sad :(  I ended up having to drill or use epoxy glue to attach findings to many of the pieces.  Some of them aren't finished the way I would have liked, so this was definitely a lesson in pre-planning!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Experiments with Metal Leaf & Alcohol Inks

In my last post, I included a couple of photos showing new pieces with metal leaf and alcohol inks.  These are new surface techniques for me, and I thought you might be interested in seeing the progression of my experiments which have covered several days.

So, let's go back to where I began.  I wanted to try making a couple of polymer cabochons, and I wanted an antiqued and crackled look.  I started with a black clay base, layered on gold composite metal leaf (not foil) and then used alcohol inks to color the metal leaf.  I used Pinata brand colors, and loved the way they blended as they ran into each other.  Since the metal leaf was still exposed, and I wanted to be able to bend the sheets to create crackling, I covered the sheet with a very thin layer of translucent clay.  I ran the resulting sheet through the pasta machine a couple of times in different directions until I liked the look of the crackle.

 I formed a few cabochon bases, and covered the tops with pieces from the prepared sheet.  I baked these, then added a sheet of black clay to the back of the cabochon, and a narrow strip of black clay around the edges to create an outline or bezel look.  After these were baked, I sanded a great deal, but found that the color was still  clouded by the translucent clay.  I decided to try using an acrylic varnish designed for polymer.  A few layers made things shine and brought out the colors and the detail.  As a last step,  buna cording and clasps were added to create necklaces.