In polymer, hot hards aren’t a good thing. Clay turns to putty in my hands. Canes gets mushy. Beads blur. This week I’ve been running a fever of around 101 degrees, so now I’ve got really hot hands. Well, hot hands are good for one thing, mixing clay. This week I’ve gone back to my favorite Studio clay by Sculpey. Rolling old Studio clay through my hands a few minutes brings it right back to it’s lovely marshmellowy goodness.
Patterns in Polymer. Last week I was visiting relatives, so no claying (polymer is not a hobby that travels well). I was yearning to create, but instead spent a little time shopping on-line when no in-laws needed my attention. I bought a couple of luscious polymer books, Masters: Polymer Clay and Patterns in Polymer by Julie Picarello. I have long admired Julie’s work and really enjoyed the book. This is probably the first polymer clay book that I actually read cover to cover. Part of the credit goes to Julie for writing a good book, the rest to being sick. I was too hot, tired, and drugged to do much besides sleep and read. But now that I’m feeling a touch better I wanted to practice her techniques. I’ve been playing with mokume gane for a long time, so reading her book was more about refining the technique than something new. But I picked up a few new things. I thought the book was well worth the Amazon price.
Mokume gane pendants using Studio clay and Julie Picarello's techniques
Here are some examples of pendants using Julie’s technique.
Studio by Sculpey.
I used Studio for this work because I wasn’t in the mood to mix color (and the Studio colors are yummy right from the package). Studio does have a marshmellowy texture, so it isn’t good for complex caning. But it is ideal for mokume gane and for jewelry (it has a lovely matte finish and good strength even when rolled very thin). I am SO disappointed that Sculpey has discontinued this clay. I have a reasonable stash left, but am considering whether or not to buy a BIG stash while it’s still available — or get off my butt and develop the recipes to re-create the colors in Kato, Premo or Fimo.
Seersucker fabric made with Studio clay
Since my Studio stash is finite, I’ve been using every last scrap. Here’s a bit of seredipity; this started as a pendant backing using some scrap stripes (smaller piece). When I ran it through the pasta machine with a texture sheet – et voila! – seersucker.
The photo doesn’t do this justice, it looks amazing. This mokume gane stack combines Studio’s buttercream, butterscotch, antique gold and sedona colors. The stripes will be used on the front of one or two pendants, and the seersucker on the back of as many pendants as I can eek out of it.
My take on Donna Kato's Big Beads
Kato Big Beads
I’ve also been playing around with creating Donna Kato’s Big Beads. But back to that hot hands thing. While the canes I’ve been using are VERY firm, once applied to the base bead, they move and skew (I’m SO not a precision caner). I finally gave up and just used Donna’s canes to do my own interpretation. The lentils are big beads, cut in half and swirled. They are nowhere near the precision that Donna brings to her beads, but I love the colors anyway! Let’s call them “primitive” Katos.
Finally, I started the weekend by playing with a Stroppel
- My first attempt at a Stroppel cane – very easy!
cane. I’ve got a closet full of old canes and love the idea of finding a way to keep them from the trash or bead guts. So I pulled a couple of canes in reddish pinks, lime green, turquoise and peach. I kept the black layers minimal and really love this technique! I covered some lentils and made “paper” beads with it. Here is the new cane, along with examples of the canes that went into the creation.
In spite of being sick all week, this looks like a productive weekend. My secret: it was done in half hour increments. Play. Rest. Play. Rest.
I hope you have a productive week!