Ah, cabin fever! Yes, the conference always manages to come at just the right time to get us out of the winter doldrums and charge us up for spring, with new ideas and fresh starts. Today I share with you some things from my workshop with Ellen Marshall. Ellen, the author of Polymer Clay Surface Design Recipes, excels at creating unique design sheets. What you decide to do with them is a personal choice. I took Ellen's workshop in part because I know she uses a lot of different products to create surface sheets including paints, pastels, oils, dyes and inks. Since I usually depend on the clay for color and design, and have only used paints for silk screening, I thought it might be nice to explore more options.
And I was right. Ellen's class was a lot of fun. Everyone created several sheets for later use, and I really enjoyed seeing the color combinations and designs that were developed. To the right is a snap shot of a couple of the sheets I made. I used a thin wire to create squiggle shapes, dipped them in acrylic paint, and used them like stamps to put a layer of designs over the the background. The backgrounds on these sheets were created with dyes or acrylic paints, applied with textured sponges. Such fun - and results you can't get with clay alone.
When I got back home, I made up a few pairs of earrings from some of the sheets I'd made. I don't know if you can tell, but the stamped portion of the design is actually raised due to the acrylic paint, and creates a bit of texture. These have to be given a protective coating to ensure that the paints and dyes last well. I expect I'll be experimenting with more surface designs along these lines soon.