Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sometimes the things that go wrong create a path to a beautiful result

Cloisonne has always been a favorite of mine, the tiny cells filled with gleaming enamel captured by fine gold wires create some of the prettiest jewelry I've ever seen.

I will be teaching polymer clay classes again this fall and while planning projects, the idea of making faux cloisonne using polymer clay came to the top of my list. A matchbox pendant also seemed to be just the thing to make. It's pretty, functional and the students could learn the technique by making a bead first then, with an understanding of the technique, they could go on to create a tiny scene. ( I will provide a number of tiny drawings for the students.) So, with pencil in hand I did a few rough sketches and laid out a design for a matchbox pendant with a cloisonne face and matching bead. (you may have noticed that the drawing showing how the matchbox pendant opens is flawed. I'll change the workings of the design in the final drawing.)

Since a tutorial will be written for class, pictures were taken of each step. After adding the drawing to the matchbox, 'wires' of finely extruded gold polyclay were laid along the lines. The cells were then textured using a stylus. To make the drawing visible on the black, I photoshoped the design to bring out the details.

After securing the gold 'wires', I textured each cell and filled each cell with pearl ex powder in the colors called for in the design. This pic shows the pearl ex powders in the cells before adding any Liquid Kato.

After dusting each cell with Pearl Ex powders the matchbox was baked. After cooling, Kato liquid was drooled over the cells and I used my finger to spread the liquid clay over the entire design. HOWEVER, I failed to blow away the excess powders left in the cells. The liquid Kato lifted the loose colors and distributed them over adjacent cells. The result was that many of the cell colors were muddied after baking. (It was very disappointing when I pulled the hot matchbox out of the oven, hit the liquid clay with the heat gun to clear it up and saw the muddied colors.)

In an effort to fix the mess, I filled the the cells again with liquid, heated and cleared the liquid clay.

Then I put several drops of Polycrylic gloss varnish on a tile and added tiny amounts of pearl ex color to the drops of varnish and painted the muddied cells with the proper colors and allowed the varnish to dry. As you can see from the color pictures, the repaired design is brighter than the original.

I then filled the cells with liquid Kato, baked, and hit the artwork with the heat gun to clear. It worked. To deepen the finish, I repeated the fill, bake and clear with heat gun.

The bead (shown above, front and both sides) has not yet been modified to match the matchbox.

I believe the term for this is serendipity. Something unexpectedly good coming from a disappointment.


Dlsarmywife said...

Oh it looks fantastic!!!! I want to try making some faux cloisionne. I have some mint tins that i think would work wonderfully, so they will be top of my list when I get back to claying in a couple weeks. Your work is lovely!

Ellie AKA Claylady43 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellie AKA Claylady43 said...

Sorry, I am new at posting comments here.

Thank you so very much. The idea of covering a tin is most excellent.

Valerianas Studio said...

Thank you so much for sharing your technique and experiences. The box looks so lovely! I will have to try this out one day, and definitely use your tutorial!