Making canes out of polymer clay is fun and quite satisfying, but it can be time consuming.
After doing all of that work you want to get the most out of your cane and not waste it.
That is why I decided to purchase the Lucy Clay mini slicer. I don’t cane very often, but when I do I find myself wasting large amounts of all that work and patterned clay while trying to get nice slices.
As I’ve mentioned before I decided on the mini slicer rather than the full-size, not just because the price was $100 instead of $200, but because it takes up a lot less space on the worktable. Although I haven’t had a chance to try the full-size version it would appear from the demonstrations I’ve seen that the mini slicer isn’t quite as accurate.
In today’s video I show a couple workarounds for ways you can make very thin, very consistent slices of polymer clay with the Lucy Clay Mini Slicer. This enables you to make veneers such as the one covering my business card case.
If you have an LC mini slicer or another similar product, I would love to hear your thoughts and observations.
I’ve seen DIY alternatives for slicing canes and I’m not certain if this is better than some of those. Let me know what you think!
Here are links to a few of the things shown in this video:
Ordering products from PolyClayPlay.com has come up several times in conversations with other polymer clay artists. But, I will admit to being a little slow to catch on sometimes, lol.
I finally got around to placing an order with them, and wow, they have such an array of interesting products to choose from… it was hard to stop shopping.
In fact, I already know many of the things I’m going to get next time!
This order started because I needed some Pardo translucent clay and one of my YouTube viewers mentioned that it was at an excellent price at PolyClayPlay. Actually, it was less than half the price of Amazon.
Once I was on the site I looked at everything. There were so many intriguing products, I had a hard time keeping my order to a reasonable size. (At $122, dunno that I succeeded there. <bg>)
I hope this video will spark some ideas and fire up your creative imagination for ways to use supplies that you might not have thought of using with polymer clay.
Don’t forget to use the coupon code Keepsake for $3 off your order at PolyClayPlay.com.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
As I’ve mentioned several times on this blog, for the past two years I have been part of the Polymer Clay Adventure which is an online art retreat in which you pay a single fee for classes that will last you an entire year.
Sometimes it’s fun, though, just to do the projects as taught, rather than trying something new and different. It can be a bit of a mental break just to follow the directions and do exactly what the teacher teaches. So this year with that in mind I decided to purchase their supplemental supplies. These are specific things called for in the classes by the teachers that might be difficult to find elsewhere. It’s also a good bargain, another plus in my opinion. 🙂
By the way, after recording this video I looked at the enclosed paper more carefully and found they tell us which class each supply is for. Yeah, I was wrong about the ring, but I’m looking forward to doing that project in Lisa Loria’s class!
So that’s what this video is, showing the supplies that I received in the polymer clay surprise package. And, of course, speculating a bit about what the classes will be.
Here are the links I could find for these supplies:
Conditioning polymer clay is one of those things you read about in any polymer clay basics section of a book or article. But what exactly is it, why exactly do we need to do it and, more importantly, how do we know we’ve done it right?
In today’s video I’ll answer all of those questions plus show you a few different ways you can condition your clay.
Sometimes you will come across a block of clay that is very hard and crumbly and just Won’t be conditioned no matter what you do. Personally, I am of the “life is too short” school of thought and don’t spend too much time trying to bring back difficult clay.
In today’s video I show you a basic and very helpful polymer clay technique. It’s called the Skinner blend and it’s a wonderful way to get shadings of different colors. In the video I go from blue to yellow and my cane turns out to go from dark green to light green.
In this photo you can see some beautiful canes going from a rainbow of colors each to white. Using white and putting it in the center gives that lovely look of glowing light.
(My apologies that I cannot properly attribute this photo. It’s from an empty Etsy store, BySusi. I tried contacting the owner but had no reply. If you know her please let me know so that I can properly credit this photo. it’s a wonderful example of Skinner blends.)
(This photo is also one where I could not contact the author. It’s by Almu on Flickr. Again, if you know her or are her please contact me so I can give proper credit for this wonderful tutorial.)
As you can see by the photo in the upper left this very complex looking cane starts with just a Skinner block, like I will teach you to make, and two bull’s-eye canes, one going from light to dark and the other going from dark to light.
Each is wrapped in black and then reshaped into different shapes and sizes and when you get done at the end you have a gorgeous kaleidoscope of color.
By the way, here are links to the free online classes I mention in the video:
On my workdesk today are two major projects. The first one, as is common on these What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesdays, is that I am working on Thursday’s dragon. There are bits and pieces of that project on the white tile, but the dragons are not in evidence because I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. Check back on Thursday for the results. 🙂
The other project you can see is a new bead spinner and some seed beads. This is a hint as to an upcoming jewelry making video. I haven’t tried one of these before. They do get mixed reviews but I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to play with it.
So that’s all I’ve got going on this Wednesday. Join us over at Julia’s for a fun desk hop all around the world.
On this week’s work desk, you might not be able to tell, but I am working on dragon number 25. Those blue stripy things you see on the center tile are actually polymer clay. They are strings of clay that have been extruded with the tool that’s to the right of the tile, the black one with the handle.
To the right of that on top of the white case you’ll see a log of various blues and greens. That is clay of the same type that went into the extruder and then it comes out with all these shades and variations in color. Those are going to go onto this week’s dragon. Check back on Thursday to see the final results!
Also on the lower right corner of the table you can see five copper stacking rings that I made with my soldering set up. It was great playing with fire again, as I’ve missed it since my lampworking days.
This project was quite easy to do, basically you make big jump rings and then solder the seams closed. And then you use texturing hammers to shape them and give them different textures.
If you’d like to learn how to make some for yourself, the class is free over at Craftsy. It’s Micro Torch Basics. The teacher, Kate Richbourg, is excellent and goes into far more detail than I’d expect in a free class. Of course, the class accomplished its purpose. It made me want to (a) run out and buy a torch, and (b) sign up for more of her classes! I’m already planning my next soldering project. 🙂
Today’s desk finds me working on dragon #18 in my year-long series of polymer clay dragons. This week I’m attempting to create a dragon who is a character in favorite book series of mine.
If any of you have read Tiger’s Voyage , you’ll know from the colors on the table which of the five dragons I’m working on. 😉
(And if you have read the books, feel free to check back tomorrow and let me know what you think of my representation of him.)
The book on the left is one I use for inspiration, DragonWorld. It’s full of dragon art by a slew of different artists. I don’t try to copy any of them, but look for interesting details, expressions, poses, etc. that I can draw from.
Also in the shot are more faux glass eyes that I needed to make. I LOVE how much more life they give to the dragons, like in Wen.
And there’s my trusty mp3 player, don’t know what I’d do without it. I wear this Sansa Clip all the time to make tedious work (you know, like dishes or cleaning or weeding the garden) go by faster. Just finished listening to the sixth Outlander book. Are any of you following the TV series? It’s wonderful!
If you’re wondering why I’m sharing photos of my desk, well, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all get together at Julia’s and take a peek at each other’s creative goings on. It’s always fun and often inspiring. Join us if you have a the time.
Today’s workdesk finds me playing with my Sculpey Hollow Bead Maker. It specifically makes lentil shaped beads, and is a clever design.
For quite some time polymer clay artists have been using light bulbs of various sizes as the forms for their hollow lentils, but this tool makes it a bit easier to get both halves the same size.
I pulled out several leftover canes to play today. Right now what you see is the sanding stage. The edges of each half have to be sanded smooth so they will fit together. I’ll be sure to post photos when they are done!
Check back tomorrow to see my completed dragon #16. The plan is for it to be on one of these lentil beads. We shall see…
That’s all I’ve got for this week. If you wonder why I’m sharing a photo of my desk, it’s this fun little blog hop game we play over at Julia’s called What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. Join in, all are welcome!