Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On a Bas-Relief Binge

There are a lot of photos here, primarily of brass cuffs.  I've been on a bit of a roll...It didn't take long before working with the cameo look evolved into making sheets with overall designs. These sheets are more like bas-relief, and lend themselves to making items such as bracelets, cuffs, and pendants.

First, I used sheets of translucent clay imbedded with gold or silver leaf as a base for the bas-relief.
These were later sprayed with preservative to protect the leaf, and have a shine and sparkle.

I also worked with plain clay.  I discovered that these pieces looked best when I textured the clay first before adding the bas-relief pieces.  I left these pieces with a matte finish (below).

As you can tell from the all the shots here, I've been having a great time!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Black-Line Transfers

There are probably hundreds of techniques in polymer I haven't tried yet, and I'm sure more are being explored and developed every day on the worktables of polymer artists. I realized the other day that one technique I haven't used is black-line transfers.  Actually, I've done very little with transfers at all, and decided to give black-line a try.

I made a few bracelets... actually, I'm on a roll, and can't seem to leave this particular project alone.
For materials I'm using brass channeled cuff and bangle forms. The base clay is translucent and I've mixed in sheets of metal leaf.  In some cases, I also added just a bit of sold clay to color things slightly.  You don't need much color at all to affect translucent.  I plan to try using alcohol inks, too, since they'll create a brighter color without affecting the translucency as much as opaque clay does.  The black-line designs are from copyright free publications designed to be used in projects.

After the pieces are baked, I've added a light coating of PYM  II.  Since these pieces will be on the wrist and will probably get a good amount of handling, I wanted to protect both the design and the metal leaf in the base.

Pictured here are some of the first cuffs I made.  I'll try to get back here with some other examples soon.

I'm back - here are some bangles made with the same technique.  Less design, but still quite pretty.  The bolder design on the aqua seems to show up well in this narrower format.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cameos & Wedgewood

 Three dimensional pieces can be accomplished in different ways such as through texture, surface additions, or shape manipulation.  I've always loved cameos, probably due in part to the raised surface features which give that 3-D appearance.  Today, I'd like to share a few pieces with the cameo effect, accomplished using 2 very different techniques.

First, the earrings.  These were made using the sutton slice technique.  If you're interested in learning more about this technique, a Google  search will provide you with several examples and some nice tutorials.    The trickiest part of this process for me is getting the surface design to stick to the base color.  If you work slowly and carefully, the pieces adhere and the result is really lovely.  I do not roll the resulting design flat.  I prefer to leave the design raised for that "cameo" effect.

The pendants below are designed to look like pieces of Wedgewood, the famous ceramic ware developed by the Josiah Wedgewood, an English pottery maker.  The powder-blue color is classic, as is the white raised cameo design.  These two pendants were not made with the sutton slice technique.  They were made using a technique presented at a workshop by Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg,  an outstanding polymer artist.
Lynne Ann has developed her own approach to making the Wedgewood look in polymer.  She has developed a special recipe for mixing clay to achieve the desired color.  In the workshop, we mixed clay and created base pieces.  Then we following a separate recipe for the white clay which was baked and cut into various designs and shapes.  The pieces were then placed on the bases. This process is much more time intensive than the sutton slice technique but has some distinct advantages.  First, we were able to make base pieces that had curve and dimension instead of just being flat surfaces. Also, the white cameo pieces were crisp and clean, and were able to be placed on the bases anywhere we wished.
A third "cameo" approach uses push molds with 2 different colors of clay.  This approach has its own characteristics - and challenges.   Different looks from  different approaches.  I imagine there are other methods to achieve the cameo effect in polymer clay that don't require carving.   If you find any, please let me know!