Thursday, January 22, 2009

Filigree lesson at Guild Jan. 09

The Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild meets the second Saturday of the month at the Hobby Lobby store in Norman OK. We start at 1:00 and end around 4:00. This monthly meeting of the polymer clay guild has become one of the bright spots in my life. Sometimes I teach, but most of the time I learn something new or a new twist on an old idea.

When I heard that Lee Ann would be teaching how to make "filigree" the immediate thought was open and airy designs. However, in polymer clay, filigree is very different. The clay designs can completely cover an object with swirling, curving designs. Since I love curvy, flourishing swirls my brain went into high gear, revving up for the lesson. (You can't have too many swirls or flourishes in your life, you know.)

The next thing to think about was "What will I make?" Since our group is making a large number of Bottles Of Hope to give away at an upcoming event, (date to be determined ) it just seemed to be the right thing to make, a filigree bottle of hope. So clay buddy Jane and I arrived early, bottles covered with a thin layer of clay, ready to make filigree bottles of hope.

We used an extruder to make the ropes for swirling so I stacked gold, green, ivory, copper, and a thin layer of white clay to make the ropes for my project, then extruded several feet of variegated ropes. I used the Makin's brand extruder as it's the easiest extruder for me to use.

The designs were created free hand and I learned a great deal while making the patterns. In the future, instead of filling in a shape, I'll make the shape first then cut it to fit the angle of the design, then press the filled element in place. Once the pattern was established, looping the ropes in and around the pattern became almost therapeutic, to the point that I missed out on some reports because the work was so engrossing!

To further embellish the design we used a coffee stirrer to make circles along selected parts of the design and then used a pointy tool to make dots along other parts of the design.

As a finishing touch, I tried to loop the word hope onto the side of the lid. It's there, but a bit hard to read as the cursive letter "p" has a descender.

After baking and cooling, I varnished the bottle using clear, gloss Minwax Polycrylic in which both black and dark brown acrylic had been added in very small amounts, creating an antiquing effect. When the varnish was dry, I used the Krylon Pale Gold pen to color some dots, then used my finger to rub the pale gold onto some areas to accent them and give them a shimmer.

Lee Ann had several ornaments and a box covered in filigree, very beautiful Lee Ann! And thank you so much for a great lesson!!

No comments: