Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tiny "Painted" Bald Eagle Feathers

Like most of you I get emails from friends filled with interesting things nearly every day. Yesterday someone sent me a wonderful email full of feathers that had pictures painted on them. Beautiful pictures, mostly outdoor, western, landscapes etc. The small paintings seemed to be themed with the feathers.

I've been working on a proposal that will teach how to make a Bald Eagle Feather polymer clay cane and use the slices from the cane in one or more projects. The cane is shown left. When sliced a small, faux Bald Eagle Feather is produced, shown lower right in the photo. The feathers can vary in size based on where they are cut from the cane.

My bright idea was this. Print some very tiny artwork using a color laser printer and transfer the tiny images onto the very small faux Bald Eagle feathers. Like so much in life, things are never as easy as you might think them to be.

The first attempt failed for one really good reason. There is no white paint in a laser printer, the white of the paper creates the white and light colors. The first transfer had a very dark center vein running through the image making it 'unreadable'.

thinking and discarding some ideas, this one came up. Cover the vein with some white clay where the main part of the image will go.

This one had merit but if the white is not completely blended with the top of the feather, the image will not transfer completely, leaving thin white streaks in the image. Once again, hard to understand the picture.

The new small Peej Shaper came in handy for this next step. The smooth steel rolled the edges of the very thin white into the feather quickly. The same tool smoothed the feather from top to bottom.

Now I had two smooth feathers with a white area ready for a 'painting'. If you look closely, you may see the veins through the white clay.

This attempt was much more satisfying. The paper was torn to fit with extra paper all the way around to allow positioning.

The images, shown face up, were placed face down onto the feathers and were buffed using my fingertips. It took time as I needed to take care not to dent the feathers during the buffing. After waiting for an hour or so I gently removed the images from the feathers.

The results were not what I wanted but were the best yet. But now they no longer looked like feathers. The missing veins were very jarring by their absence.

Back to the Clay Tools for the Peej scraper. By curving it gently it was pressed into the clay following the curve of the vein. Where it would not curve well, it was gently drawn down the line of where the vein should have been. After restoring the veins the feathers now looked much better but the tiny hummingbirds were too detailed to 'read' well.

his has been a good start. I like the overall effect and will need to draw, color or paint some new artwork for the next attempt.

Can you see the tiny hummingbirds? There are two whole birds on each feather. The vein goes through both birds a bit in one on the left. The one on the right fared a bit better. The 'paintings' are mirror images (thinking about earrings ).

If you want to see larger images, click on the photos.

Also in the works are pendants, pins and other items but these are the only ones that will be 'painted'.

Thanks for visiting!
Penni Jo


Stephanie said...

Keep trying, they look GREAT!!

Ellie AKA Claylady43 said...

Thank you so very much Stephanie!