Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Polymer Clay Journey: Glazed And Confused?

A Practical Polymer Clay project I completed a while ago....
more on that in the future!
As I reported previously, in this article here about the Polyurethane peeling off of my pieces. (And yes, I used the exact kind recommended by many reputable Polymer Clay Artists).  I had to sand off all the Polyurethane and opted for sanding, buffing and waxing. Well, since that article, I have just read from The Blue Bottle Tree's Ginger Davis' Article, that the Renaissance Wax that came highly recommended by one of my favourite Poly Clay Sites - Isn't as protective as I believed it was. The Blue Bottle Tree says it isn't as protective to pieces with Mica powder on the surface, it may even remove it and that there are even more expensive ways to achieve the waxed effects.
Needless to say, initially, I felt confused about who to believe and what I should do. I am not dissing all the valuable lessons from those I have learned and are learning from...not at all.  I am saying that it is my fault for not researching on my own, by actually doing my own tests. Always have been lazy that way...finding a teaching and then devouring all they have to say, basically parroting them without questioning anything. Learning lessons the hard way means those lessons stay with you forever.
Conflicting Messages?
After countless attempts using recommended finishes, I personally recommend that if you want to seal or offer a glossy surface to your pieces, do your research. I have found conflicting articles by artists who I have learned from. It seems that some of the same methods and products when used by me, don't always works as described. Doesn't mean they were wrong. Maybe I do things differently and made a mistake?! Possible.
Regardless, I foolishly (in the beginning), just embraced, without question advice by purchasing and using specific glazes and such and covered a tonne of beads. (You know how much work that is!)
And then weeks later (sometimes even days later), when I went to use my beads or pendants, I discovered the surface to be sticky and ruined! Can't tell you how frustrating that can be. :o(  Not that any of the advice I gleaned was wrong or anything. It just means I have learned that lessons need to be learned through trial and error on my own, not just following others without question.
Yes as many of you may know, there are definitely well meaning tutorials from less experienced clayers (I assume) who give advice that ends up contradicting those Polymer Artists that have great reputations, the ones I trust far more, such as some of my favourites: the Polymer Clay Tutor Christi Friesen, Katers Acres,  and now, Blue Bottle Tree and Unruly Housewife. If I hadn't learned from these guys, then I would be making even bigger mistakes. So I strongly encourage endless hands on experience and research....
Some Final Thoughts....
After too many disappointing glazing moments, I highly suggest to do your own testing on small amounts to avoid wasting your time  and money. Bummer is, I bought one litre of Polyurethane and other glazes, now I will not be using them on clay! Be sure to research the terrific articles and videos by the many great poly clay artists online, but don't just assume every word of advice will work for you....test them out yourself or you'll learn the hard way like me

HeArtfully Creating,
Anita :o)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

MY POLYMER CLAY JOURNEY: Creating Practical Tools With Polymer Clay - SPOOL KNITTING

Way back when, I remember one of the coolest things my Dad taught me was what he had done as a
A Bergie Creation - I made it with polymer clay and wire
child. Decades ago thread spools were made from wood. When you hammered four or so fine nails around the centre hole of a thread spool, using some yarn and another nail or hook type implement to move the yarn up and over each nail head...well, you were able to create knitted tubes. This is known as spool knitting. My Dad told me they would knit the tubes long enough and then coil them into a spiral formation. Using some thread (maybe from the very same spool?) they stitched the knitted coil tube to create a pot holder and if big enough, a small rug!
 Happily my dear Dad made one and I began spool knitting till my hearts content. In fact the trend caught on and during the seventies and since, companies were producing plastic spool knitting
This looks like something my Dad could have made!
devices in a variety of sizes. Before you knew it, you could whip up a warm toque or tube socks! My Mom taught me how to knit conventionally, as well as crocheting, skills I was grateful to learn and Dad inspired me to think outside the box.

Lately as my interest in wire  wrapping and wire weaving, wire knitting and crocheting have re-entered my creative journey, I decided to make my own spool to knit with wire. Yes, I did find a device or two for sale online. But, wanting to make my own (save a few bucks), I decided I could make it myself.
How Did I Create A Spool To Knit On?
Sorry, I didn't take pictures  or videos, so I have to explain what I did.
Tools Needed:
Polymer Clay
A sturdy cardboard tube or rolled yardstick. 
Scotch or masking tape 
18 gauge half Hard Wire cut into about 6 2 inch lengths
A Baking tray for polymer clay
Some Clay Tools
Needle Nose Pliers
Wire Cutters 

1. The cardboard tube I used was about 1 inch or smaller across. My husband cut me a piece about 2 inches long.
2. You can make a four prong spool, but I wanted a 6 prong one. (If I make another one,, I will be sure to take photos of the steps)
If you look at the spool I made here, you can see the shape of my 18 gauge wire prongs.
I folded each cut length almost in half. To make sure the wire stayed anchored in the clay, I used my pliers to curve the wire end on one side and ran tape on only one side of my long skinny "U" wire shaped prong. So the clay could attached and be folded around the wire well.
(I know it sounds confusing, so I just decided, it would be best to illustrate how I did this)

....Hold that thought folks! I shall return with illustrations/photos of my steps to better show how to make your own spool for spool knitting wire, cord, string or yarn!

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HeArtfully Creating,