Wednesday, May 19, 2010

cookie cutters versus templates

Templates win. They can be reversed to make mirror images from textured pieces.


convergentseries said...

Well, Alice, your post on July 13 prompted me to come back and add a (long) comment to your (short) post.

While I will use templates on occasion, I much prefer "cookie cutters" and other blades / tools that you push into the clay (versus any that you drag through it when using a template). I get much cleaner cuts by pushing; even if not perfect, they are easy to smooth out while the clay is still moist (versus letting the clay dry and sanding, which I try to avoid).

To get a mirror image, try either of these:

* Just turn over the clay, rather than the cutter!

If I'm trying to hit a particular part of a texture on the side that will be down then, before I flip the clay over, I'll either trim a rough outline, or else push little "registration marks" through the clay, to help me position the cutter.

* Use a flippable cutter...

Most "cookie cutters" have an extra "safety" ridge: the sharp side cuts the dough/clay, and the rounded side both protects your fingers and helps the cutter hold its shape. But sometimes you can find ones without that ridge, and those are flippable. Or, better yet, you can make cutters yourself, in any shape you want, using sheet metal...

Or (back to the post that inspired me to write now), if you are determined to use a template, try cutting with a very fine scalpel rather than a needle tool. (That will do more damage to the surface underneath the clay though. When I use a scalpel, I tend to put the clay on a playing card: not the ideal surface, but cheaper to replace than good rolling surfaces!) And wet the cutting blade with water, not oil, to try to reduce the drag.

Hope that helps!

Alice Walkowski said...

Thanks for posting Carol. I do know where you're coming from.