Apr 192017
 

2017 pcfc #6 savina 8 cover

When I first started this, the sixth of the polymer clay figure sculptures I challenged myself to make in 2017, I planned to make her patterned after the final of the neighborhood kids in Maureen Carlson’s book How to Make Clay Characters. But I was getting a bit bored and decided to make my girl steampunk style.

2017 pcfc #6 savina 1

As with all of the neighborhood kids projects, I started with the shoes, or in this case, the boots. I don’t know why but I’ve found I really love adding all the details to the footwear.

2017 pcfc #6 savina 2

Once I got the boots done I realized that my proportions were going to be different from the figure in Maureen’s book. After studying rules of body proportions I proceeded to make her legs, and then added her skirt and petticoats.

From the base of the box to the top of her hat Savina is 7 inches tall. If she were to stand up, she’d be about 10 inches tall.

The petticoat ruffles are strips of white clay that were cut on one edge with a wavy blade. I used a dotting tool to make them look more like lace.

2017 pcfc #6 savina 3

Although I love the color and the pearly shimmer of the skirt, every time I look at it I wish I had added some texture. Something to remember next time, texture everything!

2017 pcfc #6 savina 5

My decades as a seamstress came in handy when planning, drafting and fitting her “leather” corset.

Those puffy white sleeves were the trickiest part of the entire project. Try to picture how you would texture the clay, gather and shape it to look like a puffy sleeve and then press it into place on the figure without smashing any of the texture or gathers or shape!

2017 pcfc #6 savina 7

It was at this point I realized that my figure was large enough that I should have started off with an armature as a base. The neighborhood kids are small enough that they don’t require an armature except perhaps a couple toothpicks on the inside for supports. This little girl would’ve been a lot easier if I had made her body first and then fitted the clothes. Instead I found myself doing it rather backwards, having to sculpt and smooth the skin of her neck around the neckline of her blouse rather than just draping the blouse over her body.

2017 pcfc #6 savina 4

I did save myself some of the difficulty of sculpting hands by deciding that she was going to wear leather gloves, really LONG leather gloves. 😀

I was thrilled that the “suede” strips twisted up and around the gloves came out looking like real suede.

When it came time to do the face I decided that the simplistic faces from the neighborhood kids really wouldn’t suit the style of this project and so I moved on to Maureen’s next tutorial in the book and based my face on the more realistic faces that she taught. I’m fairly pleased with how the face came out, although, even after removing a lot of clay the nose is still three times larger than I wanted it to be. There’s always next time!

2017 pcfc #6 savina 8

Instead of making clay hair I decided to use some alpaca wool I had bought a while ago for doll making. The nice thing about this wool is that it’s very fine so the scale is good for dolls. Also, it can be styled similarly to human hair. I used mousse and a curling iron. I’m not much of a hair stylist but it came out okay.

2017 pcfc #6 savina 6

Making the top hat was a lot of fun. It was a bit of a challenge to get the shape just right, but once I figured it out I had a blast decorating it with all kinds of bits and pieces from my stash. You might notice, especially if you read the title of this post, that there is not a single gear in sight. Even without the gears it’s apparent that she’s a steampunk girl, which goes to show you that steampunk is about more than just gears. 🙂

This figure is so large and so complicated that she is going to have to suffice for #’s 6, 7 and 8 as I just don’t have time and need to move on to other projects which are more of my bread-and-butter. Priorities, you know!

So yeah, only one figure for March and one figure for April. I’m a little disappointed in that, but not going to stress about it. Instead I am going to move on to my next project with which is creating another class for you guys to enjoy. I’m excited about this project and hope you’ll love it once I get it done.

I’m also working on an email newsletter to better keep you informed on what’s going on with all my classes, videos, projects and such. More on that soon. So, yeah, busy, busy!

In the meantime, happy creating!

Watch the Savina-Steampunk, No Gears-2017 Polymer Clay Figure Challenge #6 video at YouTube.

Mar 162017
 

2017 pdfc #5 Isabella 1

Today you get the pleasure of meeting Isabella. Isn’t she a cutie? She is a flower fairy and the fifth of the polymer clay sculptures I’ve challenged myself to make this year.

This was my first time sculpting bare toes, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. While digging around in my molds I discovered a hand mold and decided to use that to do the hands since I was already nervous about sculpting the feet. Using a mold definitely simplifies things, but it doesn’t do all the work for you. There’s still a lot of cleaning up around the edges and shaping to do, but it sure gives you a good head start!

2017 pcfc #5 isabella 3

Isabella’s wings are made out of Pebeo Fantasy and Moon paints that were drizzled inside a wire frame stuck to a piece of packing tape. When the paint was dry the tape was peeled away, revealing her lovely fluttering wings.

2017 pdfc #5 Isabella 2

I just adore her cheeky little smirk! Over the course of these five figures the sculpting is definitely getting easier. I didn’t have to fuss with this one nearly as much as with any of the others. The trickiest part was probably getting her legs shaped nicely, and that’s because I haven’t done those before.

I’m also learning to have a light and gentle touch with the clay, to be patient and make it move with little gentle pushes rather than trying to shape it all with one big shove.

Check out this brief YouTube video for a 360° view of Isabella.

To see all the figures I’ve made so far, watch my Polymer Clay Figures playlist.

Mar 012017
 

2017 pcfc #4 violet 1

Meet Violet, the fourth polymer clay sculpture in my 2017 polymer clay figure challenge. She is based on Mischievous Mike from Maureen Carlson’s book How to Make Clay Characters. Maureen had Mike with his cute little tongue sticking out and to me it just begged to have an ice cream cone in his hand. Obviously I changed Mike from a boy to a cute little redheaded girl. Instead of stripes on the shirt I inset flowers. I also had a lot of fun making her red sneakers based on yet another photo of tennis shoes that I found online.

2017 pcfc #4 violet 2

She has she even has little drips of ice cream on her fingers. Cuz that’s how *I* eat ice cream, don’t know about anyone else. 😀

2017 pcfc #4 violet 3

A while back I had thought of focusing on making polymer clay food as it’s a lot of fun to do, but there are so many folks out there doing such a wonderful job I decided to work on something else. It’s fun however, to have an excuse to make something like this ice cream cone every so often.

2017 pcfc #4 violet 4

I’d like to think that even over the course of just these first four figurines that I’ve gotten a little better at sculpting hands and faces. I’m going to do the next two of the neighborhood kids in Maureen’s book and then I’m looking forward to moving onto more realistically shaped faces.

2017 pcfc #4 violet 5

Also, I really need to make those upper eyelids a bit bigger and avoid the somewhat crazed wide-eyed look. 😀

Watch a video of Violet at YouTube.

Feb 162017
 

#3 James cover

Today I have for you my third polymer clay sculpted figure of 2017. Meet James. Isn’t he sweet little boy? If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you may recognize the butterfly as the same one I made several of to send to the Into the Forest art installation.

That’s the fun thing about caning: you can make them in whatever size you need.

James is the fourth project in Maureen Carlson’s neighborhood kids series in her book, How to Make Clay Characters. Her little guy is named playful Pete and he is holding marbles in his hand. I’m trying to make sure my figures are different from Maureen’s creations, even if just a little bit.

I have discovered that I love doing the details on the clothes, shoes, the hair and the props, but find doing the hands and faces more difficult. Probably because they are fiddly and require precision, lol.

#3 James back

I’ve also discovered that I can be quite the expert at finding anything else to do when it comes time to working on the hands and faces! However once I plunged in and made myself do them I was pleased to find that they all came out just a little bit better than on the previous figures. In fact I didn’t squish up and re-roll James’ face once! (Something I did several times on all of the other characters.) So that’s encouraging, I slowly seem to be getting the hang of this. Which, of course, is the whole point of practice.

If you would like to make the butterfly cane that I used you will find a free tutorial for it by Claire Wallis at CraftArtEdu.

Hope you have a creative day!

Watch the James-Looking on in Wonder-2017 Polymer Clay Figure Challenge #3 360° video at YouTube.

Feb 012017
 

Today I am pleased to introduce you to Patricia. She is the second in my 2017 polymer clay figure challenge. She is the third of the neighborhood kids projects in Maureen Carlson’s book, How to Make Clay Characters.

2017 #2 Patricia -Super Bowl

I had it in my mind to give Patricia something other than a football to hold as I had given the other two projects pets/animals. The little girl had a kitty cat on her lap and Philip, the first of my challenge figures for this year, had birds singing along with him.

2017 #2 Patricia -Super Bowl 2

But then I realized that the Patriots would be playing in the AFC championship game and if they won that they’d be going on to the Super Bowl, which as you know, indeed they are! So I decided to keep the football and turned my attention to making a Patriots logo on Patricia’s shirt.

patriots logo stencils

This involved finding the logo online, printing it out at 1 inch wide and then cutting the tiniest five-part stencil I have ever seen! I’m quite pleased with how it came out. For a while there I was afraid it would be a total mess. But it’s just a matter of practicing controlling the consistency & amount of paint.

2017 #2 Patricia -Super Bowl 3

As with Philip, there are a million and one things wrong with this figure. But I am happy that her hands are marginally better than his, even though very far from perfect, and her face is marginally better, although there are many improvements that could be made. I really enjoyed doing details like her shoe laces and the curly hair.

And if the patriots do win the Super Bowl this Sunday I will definitely be making a championship banner for Patricia to hold!

For a 360° view of Patricia, check out her video on YouTube.

Jan 192017
 

In my year-in-review post a couple weeks ago I alluded to the possibility of doing another personal polymer clay challenge for 2017. As I was disappointed in several of the things I didn’t get done in 2016 I’ve decided that this needs to happen.

My dragon challenge of 2015 was a success, but oh-so-much work! And it took oh-so-much time. Since I’ve got more going on these days this year’s challenge will be a little less demanding. 🙂

My goal this year is to make two polymer clay figures each month. I’ll share the results on or around the 15th and 30th of every month. As you can see from the photo and video, I’ve already completed the first of 24 sculptures. 

philip make a joyful noise

I was really pleased with the more relaxed pace of working on this piece over the course of two weeks. I could do a little bit here, a little bit there and was able to take the time to add things or make changes as I liked, rather than being constrained by a strict deadline.

I named this sculpture “Make a Joyful Noise,” and the boy’s name is Phillip. I know there are many, many things that could be improved, but I’m still happy with him and his flock of singing friends. Phillip is based on Studious Stan from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters.

For me the trickiest part of making this was the hands, they just gave me a terrible time. But I’ve found a really nice YouTube channel with lots of sculpting help and this video: Tips on Sculpting Tiny Fairy Hands. I’m excited to try her tips on my next sculpture!

For a 360° view watch the Polymer Clay 2017 Figure Challenge-#1 Make A Joyful Noise video on YouTube.

Have you set yourself any goals or challenges for the upcoming year? It’s never too late to start a personal challenge!

Happy creating!