Sunday, May 20, 2012

Playing in clay with Jane

My Clay Buddy Jane and I were reviewing the book Enlightened Polymer Clay on Friday when the earrings caught our eyes. We both liked them and decided to try the project.

It went OK at first but much was missing from the instructions. However, this just slowed us down a bit and we continued to muddle through.

Earrings shown under Ott work light.
I used Pardo Translucent. Jane used Polyform's Frost. The two were slightly differently colored after baking and both allowed light to shine through.  See below.

We guessed at the diameter of the opening used in the extruder and seemed to get close to the image in the book.  We cut the resulting rope into 14 pieces from long to short. The book lengths were too long for me so my earrings are not nearly so dramatic but they are delightful anyway.

We made the ripples in the tendrils ourselves to look more like the photo in the book. The extruded tendrils were straight so we made the ripples in the tendrils after making the holes in the ends. We bent them like you would bend card stock to make a bead baker only no sharp corners, just gentle bends.

To prevent the tendrils from sticking together when baked we dusted the lower 3/4ths of them with corn starch.  It worked, when needed, the tops of the tendrils stuck together for shaping while the rest are independent of each other.

We made tiny holes in one end of each of the 14 extruded ropes to receive the decorative head pins after baking. The book says to put cut the pins very short and put them into the tendrils before baking. We chose to make the holes first and add the decorative head pins after baking as, if baked in place, they will fall out and need to be glued in anyway. Unless, of course, you have some of Lisa Pavelka's Poly Bonder, a cyanoacrylate glue that can be used at the high temps needed to bake the clay. Sadly, we did not. So it was bake and glue.

Shown, wire wrapped top.
The only problem I had with them was the gauge of the wire to wrap the tops of the earrings. See Left.

The book does not give a wire gauge so I chose to use 20 gauge. It turned out to be heavier than needed but, after a number of adjustments, decent tapered coils were formed for gluing to the tops of the baked tendrils.

I had a great time and now it is back to mold making. Lots of ideas and plans coming down the pike.  To see what we already have in the way of original molds check out our website.

Penni Jo (wearer of wonderful earrings)

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