Monday, January 26, 2015

Giving a Friend a Hand

For the last two years I have been wearing a hand brace on my left hand to prevent further wear injury. I wanted to make a polymer clay brace to wear so a friend, Pepper Kaminoff,  made a mold of my hand so I could shape the clay on it and bake in the oven.

Now, here is what I learn form this project. If you are cooking some thing on a plaster mold, cook it two of three times as long as you would usually. The first brace I made was cooked 45 minutes at 280 degrees Fahrenheit. I included a test pieces and  couple of  other small objects. The test pieces was fine as were the other objects but the brace broke. My mistake as not having the test pieces stuck on to the plaster hand mold. Mark two was made the same as the first one but I put a test piece right on hand mold. after and hour the test piece was still brittle so I cooked it another hour and if was fine. I think the internal temperature on the plaster mold has to get to clay cooking temperature before the clay will cure properly.

LESSON LEARNED - IF YOU COOK SOMETHING ON A MOLD, MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE A TEST PIECE IN CONTACT WITH THE MOLD.

If you live in British Columbia Canada and have hand problems I recommend the Westside Hand Clinic where the original hand brace was made.

Thank you Pepper

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sgraffito for the Terminally Impatient

 The oil paint that I used to cover the white clay to do the sgraffito experiment is still drying at the studio. After a week I forged ahead. I am not a patient person when it comes to watching paint dry. Here is a quick all polymer clay way to get the same effect.

Here is what I did
1. Take a couple of stripes or white polymer clay on the thickest setting. Stack them and add a thin stripe of black. The white clay is a number one setting on my Atlas machine. The black is number 6.

2. Double the white but not the black. You can see how thin the black is?

3. Roll the stack through the pasta machine. First on 1 and then on 3. I think that the next time I will increase the stack more gradually, adding the white in a few steps.

4. This is just to give you an idea of the proportion on black to white.

I carved the pattern on samples below with a tool I made from a 1/8 inch strip aluminum cut from a beer can. The strip was folded over into a loop and fit into an x acto blade holder.  This is a great carving tool. When I get time I will give more details.

The sample pieces are unfinished. Just a first try to give you the idea.

Try it out. Have fun. First challenge of 2015 done.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Whistle In

The first whistle picture to be sent in. Kevin's whistle
Yesterday I got the first picture of a whistle that someone else made using my tutorial. There was  a small glitch be that will be easily overcome. If I am take the time to make a whistle as elaborate this one I usually cook it twice before decorating it.  So that you Kevin for the picture and the feed back.

Here is what Kevin said:
"I attach a pic of my first whistle as I thought you might like to see it! Unfortunately it cracked on the second bake so I guess the core was a little too big; I tried to get a very snug fit to make it work but was obviously too snug. Will try again.
Thanks for a fab tutorial :)

Kevin"


You can more about what is going on in Southern England with polymer clay and ook at Kevin food blog.

Thanks for the input Kevin..

And is you would like to get the tutorial click here.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sgraffito - From Russia with Love


See how t make something wonderful.
This is going to be my January project. This technique generously share on a Russian site. There is a translation into English at the end of each of the Russian directions. 

I encourage people to try this out.

Quoted from the Russian site. "Sgraffito (ital. sgraffito or grafrito – “scratched”) is a decorating technique produced by scratching the upper layer of plaster to reveal a contrasting successive layer. It’s an old technique widely used in ceramics to decorate archaic vases of Greece and Etruria. In 15 – 17 centuries it spread in Italy as a technique of wall decor ( mainly in facades due to its fastness). From Italy it spread further to other countries (like Germany, Czech Republic). Sgraffito was widely used in the decorative art of architecture of the 20th century."

There are a number of ceramist example of  srgaffito which are definitely worth a look. Enjoyed a browse through the studio of
Patricia Griffin, a ceramic artist-potter in Cambria, Ca.
 
A note worth example by ceramicist Patricia Griffin