Saturday, March 31, 2012

Strength and Form

Eggs are a perfect shape but once they are pierced and blown they become even more fragile that when they were whole.

This is how I cover eggs. It take only a small amount of clay. If your are going to spend a lot of time covering and detailing an egg it makes sense to strength it with a thin layer of clay first. I am using a sheet of clay that has a mokumegane pattern but plain clay will work just as well. Millefiori work some times breaks up when you stretch it sideways so it us not a good first choice. So – Here we go –

How to Cover and Egg

1. Your will need a thin sheet of polymer clay #7 on my Atlas (.75mm), LPC (liquid polymer clay). a brush for LPC, a tissue blade, small cutter, a pointed blade and a blown egg.
2. Coat the egg shell with LCP.
3. Cut a strip of your prepared clay slightly longer then the length of the egg and three times it’s width.
4. Wrap the sheet of clay around the egg.
5. If the sheet is a little short a gentle tug will sometimes fill the gap.
6. If there is an overlap trim it off the extra.
7. Pull the clay around the top curves of the egg.
8. Gather the ends up by pinching and pushing the clay together.
9. Smooth that ridges that have formed with a knitting needle or other round object.
10. Trim off the extra clay at the egg’s ends with the pointed blade.
11. Use a small cutter to cut away the rough ends.
12. Use the pointed blade to tidy the area.
13. Use the same little cutter from #11 to cut a perfect patches from your remaining clay sheet.
14. Apply the patches to the ends of the egg.
15. Smooth the join between the body of the egg and the patch.
16. Prick a small hole in the end to the egg to let the air escape when the egg is baked.

I cook my eggs at 280 degrees Fahrenheit (137. 8 degrees Celsius) for 40 minutes. When the egg is cooked and cooled it can take quit a bit of abuse without breaking.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Wonder from Down Under

'Dare To Dream'
I became aware of Melanie Allan work in the course of Etsy conversations when she expressed interest in my dragon stamp. I went to her Flickr site and was delighted to find this whimsical piece of polymer clay art. I am curious about the size.

Melanie, how big is this thing?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

100 Blows or Teaching Your Grandmother to Blow Eggs

As an Easter public service I will give a few hints on blowing eggs to cover with polymer clay. I have covered hundreds of eggs and this is the method that I have settled on.

1. The tools:
A) A accordion bottle ( available at Lee Valley tools)
B) B) A drawing pin
C) C) A Dremel bit – sorry I don’t know what it is called
D) A paper clips partially straightened

2. Start a tiny hole at each end of the egg. (You can do with one hole but it is more trouble than it is worth.)

3. Used the Dremel grinding tool to enlarge the hole. You can use only the pin but the grinding tool leaves a nice smooth hole that is less inclined to start a crack that breaks the egg. I make a small hole in the small end of the egg and a large one at the large end.( Dremel bits a readily available in any larger tool store.)

4. Use the paper clip to stir the egg inside the shell. This makes the egg much easier to blow out the egg without much effort.

5. Here you have a choice. You can simply blow out the egg by putting your mouth on the egg or you can use the accordion bottle to blow air into the egg. This takes a little longer and you have to keep remembering not to suck the egg into the accordion bottle. To much trouble for me.

5. and 6. Use the accordion bottle to fill the eggs half full of soapy water. Shake the egg shell virogously to clean the inside. Blow the soap water out of the egg and repeat a couple of times.

Let the egg dry a little then cover with a thin layer of polymer clay. If your are doing something complicated it pays to cover the eggs first to strength it. More about that soon – keep tuned…

Friday, March 23, 2012

Busy, Busy

44, 43, 42 Earrings - Dragons All

Last year self challenge buttons more Dragon Stamp

Busy times. Spending a lot of time at the studio getting ready for the season. I just had to post a few pairs for earrings that were made form my Dragon Parts rubber stamp texture sheet. The buttons are all from the same texture sheet.

Is this a blatant attempt to draw more attention to my new rubber stamp texture sheets? You betcha.

I have two dragon part texture sheets. One is made from rubber and the other is  made of translucent photopolymer. The photopolymer sheet is lower relief but both can be used in the same way. The rubber stamp is a little more versatile because it is deeper so you don't have to be quite as careful when doing mokumegane work.

 Well back to production.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Nearly Famous, Almost Well Known

Well it is not the cover of the Rolling Stone, but I would be lying if I said there isn’t a little thrill to seeing the article that I wrote in print. Thank you  Saskia and Marjon for including  my piece in the latest edition of From Polymer Clay to Art. There a great interviews, articles and tutorials in this edition and I am proud and happy to be included. To I have a look at my original article press HERE.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Neither Rain nor Sleet - Nor the Postal Service

Dragon Parts and examples

Teapot Tempest and examples
Well it wasn’t really the postal service so much and the border customs acting together – not sure if it was the Canadian or the American services – but the conclusion is that my stamps have finally arrived after a prolonged tour of the West Coast. I have them posted on Etsy but I am happy to answer any questions here. I hope they sell so I can finish more designs and have them made into stamps.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Much Stronger than You Would Think

The pieces on your left are cooked version of the ones on the right
I wanted to have some record of how different translucent colours looked before and after they are cooked. This is not an orderly way of approaching the matter, but until I sit down and do something more orderly this will serve as a reminder. If you want pastels in translucent clay you have to dilute the coloured translucent clay with a lot on non-coloured translucent clay.

Many people use ink to make translucent work but I am wary of inks and dyes because in the old days they were thought to be fugitive – meaning that the colours would fade over time.

The Question of the Month
Do inks and dyes fade when they are used in polymer clay? Are the pieces made with these pigments colour fast?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Making Pretty

We have been busy at the studio. It still is an unfinished basement but we have decided to bring out some of our work to pretty it up and if someone passing trough wants to own something – well there it is.
Looking from the fibre studio into my space - still a ways to go.
Actually there has always been some work out but it has not so much been on display as it has failed to have been put away – I thing that I am more guilty of this that Kirsten or Carmen but there are always little balls of fluff competing with the little balls of clay. What can I say, we are well suited to working in the same space. Tolerance of others messes is a prerequisite of sharing a studio space.
Almost finish putting up the show.
On the other hand – today is the first Monday on the Month so I was off to Seymour ArtGallery to help with the installation on a new show. I have been doing this for the past few years and find it great to see art by a lot of artist with out having to attend opening – well actually I just enjoy putting up shows and there is always something new to learn. Today's show with collage and ceramics by Sunshine Coast artist, Kay Bonathan went up fast and pretty. Nice to something with other peoples art.

Kay's opening is tomorrow evening if you happen to be in North Vancouver.