Wednesday, January 25, 2017

POLYMER CLAY JOURNEY: Part #1 - JJ's Beginning....

Come With Me ...
Hi guys!
Even though Anita doesn't like sharing her work before it is all done, she wants to encourage all of you artists of all ages, by showing the "ugly" stages we creations go through in order to turn into something pretty darn handsome (well, in my case that is :o)  Yes, we turned out pretty cute, so come along and see part one of our long road to becoming us!

Copyright 2017  -All Images and art work by Anita Berglund
Copyright 2017  - Images and art work by Anita Berglund

Now on with the show, This is it....

To begin a three dimensional figurine or sculpture, it always helps to do some research, depending on what you want to create. In this instance I wanted to make something special for our most favourite of letter carriers. Even though we see him every day we don't always remember the details of uniform. So I researched or Googled" Canada Post uniforms" and from that had a better idea of what I needed to do.

To be honest (not that I'm usually lying, But you know what I mean.), I am terrible at doing preliminary sketches and drawings because, usually I have an image in my head and work from that. 

Step number one: what you see here is the very Basic beginning I my style of an Armature. Using toothpicks or skewers and wire, tinfoil, and masking tape or even scotch tape, I begin to lay out basically a skeleton of my figure.

Step  Number two: Sorry I kind of jumped ahead too quickly.  I love the art making process so much that I get caught up and forget to take pictures of important steps. So I hope you get the just from the photos that I do have. 
As you can see, once the Armature or skeleton is made, I add scraps of polymer clay to cover up the foundational part. The part that has the little green blob of clay and toothpick, is just a temporary support to hold JJ up while I bake him at 275°F for about 30 minutes. Yes, the package directions do give a different time, but I like to follow the polymer clay tutor, as well as others. The longer you make the clay the better or the stronger I guess. If the oven temperature is correct, you can NOT burn the clay.

Because this is the first bake of many, I won't be keeping it in for one hour, which would be my usual time regardless of how thick the clay is. 

Step Number Three: because unbaked polymer clay doesn't seem to stick well to baked clay, I use Sculpey's bake and bond or liquid clay. So voilĂ , here are the beginning of JJ's  facial features. Remember, it is just the beginning.
You have no idea how difficult it is to share incomplete artwork with others. As you can imagine, it is because it won't actually look like it does now once all is said and done. But it is important to me to share this with anyone who might be encouraged or inspired to make art.  I am forever telling my husband, "it isn't finished yet!" Plus this also helps me to document my work in progress therefore giving me a record to referred to in the future. 

Step Number Four: Hee hee, if only I could do this to my husband, Ha ha! Create some warm hair covering for his bare head!
Since I can with polymer clay sculptures, here is how I added hair to JJ's head. You can do it however you like. I have seen some clay artists add a foundation of clay and then roll up strands of hair using polymer clay, placing them where ever they want. In this case I add a bit of the bake and bond or liquid polymer clay and then lay on my Clay pieces. Using whatever tool I prefer, a then shape or cut the sculptures hair accordingly.

Really and truly there are no rules when it comes to sculpting or making art. For me personally, I watch other people to create online I'm Using channels like YouTube, and books and articles and blogs and then apply all that wonderful wisdom add hope I too can create something wonderful. The choice is up to you! 

Copyright 2017  - Images and art work by Anita Berglund

 Copyright 2017  - Images and art work by Anita Berglund
Part Number Five: 
Okay so I skipped a few more photos. So he went from having a cold, Bald head to having some hair and a whole bearded face!

Copyright 2017  - Images and art work by Anita Berglund

Part Number Six: Even though JJ's hair was going to be covered with a couple of hats, (as you will see in part two or three) I still gave him a full head of hair first and then started to add on the first hat. Yes I could have left the hat areas bald, but I find it helps to treat my human like sculptures as if they are just that, human. It helps to play a more realistic foundation. That is just my opinion. Of course if you want to leave out anything the choice is totally up to you! 
By the way, "two hats?" you ask. Well, we live where it is actually winter, where there is Snow and these days rain, Hail, freezing rain, and therefore some very cold days, so our letter carriers often wear more than one hat, not to mention sweaters long johns and whatever it takes to keep them warm and dry. Quite the challenge! 

Just ask my dear husband, he was a letter carrier for almost 2 decades up here in Canada. He knows what it's like and fully understands  why one would choose to wear two hats. He wants me to let you know that he would wear an all in one hat covering his beard and his Head. That is actually called a bellaclava sp? And on top of that his second hat of choice was a big, furry and warm. :o)
Important Tip:
Because you do not want to damage the work  already done, I bake as I go.
Yes, you can work on your figure without baking at all until the end. But based on experience, as well as all that internets wisdom I have learned, I highly suggest that you bake at key stages. Turns out it is very tricky to add details like the perfect nose or ears, and then still work on clothing, shoes, all that fun stuff - without damaging other areas of your sculpture. So trust me, bake as you go! Or learn like me, and find out the hard way.
Copyright 2017  - Images and art work by Anita Berglund

Copyright 2017  - Images and art work by Anita Berglund

Copyright 2017  - Images and art work by Anita Berglund
Copyright 2017  - Images and art work by Anita Berglund

Step number Seven is really another Tip: 

Avoiding damage to your great creation, can be a challenge. Sometimes if there our air bubbles in any of your layers of clay or trapped in the Armature when you bake your clay, things can crack as you can see in JJ's elbow here.  

Just do your best to make sure that you squeeze out or poke a teeny needle hole wherever you suspect or see an air pocket. Trust me it will save you a lot of additional work. Actually this is nothing, Come back for to see what I mean!

Copyright 2017  - Images and art work by Anita Berglund

This is just the beginning. 

Thanks for stopping by! Will be back soon with part two. You won't want to miss it !

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