Saturday, July 9, 2011

Time to play!

I've always been somebody who has been a little on the reserved side.  I follow the rules, do what I'm told and usually don't make waves.  (Although once in awhile in my old age I've surprised myself.)

I can laugh and have fun but am not overly playful.  But I think I need to learn how to let go and play!

My jewelry leans more towards the traditional although I try to break out of my box.  Sometimes I make it but usually not.

I'm saying this because I am trying to put together a class that incorporates both metal clay and polymer clay.

Years ago I worked with polymer.  I taught it to my students at the end of the school year.  It was new enough and different enough to keep their interest.  I mostly taught them how to make canes (and there in lies my problem.)

Metal clay is totally different than polymer.  Besides being much cheaper it handles differently.  It doesn't harden until cured in a toaster oven.  It sticks and drags when a needle tool is pulled through it.  Rolling it causes it to stretch out.  These differences were not a problem when making canes, but it became a problem when I tried to make slabs of faux stones.

I'd gone through a variety of polymer clay books to find "formulas" and
directions for making the fake stones.  The list I came up with is long.  As usual I ran out and bought more supplies than I needed.  (That's another side I need to work on!)

Well, I've been following the directions (which sometimes leave a little to be desired) with a minimal amount of success.  There are a couple of "jades" that looked better once they were buffed up.  I've gotten one "okay" batch of "turquoise" and one bad batch.  That's as far as I've gotten.

What I've decided I really need to do is lay out some real stones to look at.  Pull out the polymer and just start playing.  Heck what's the worse that can happen?  I'll waste some polymer!  It's not like it costs as much as the silver clay.  So why can't I do it?  It's just not in my nature.

Maybe I need to go down the slide a few times with my grandchildren to get me warmed up!


Zoe Nelson said...

Last winter I spent a lot of time with polymer clay. Unfortunately I just couldn't get the hang of it and everything I made looked cheap and cheezy. I'll be interested to see what you come up with.

Alice Walkowski said...

I know what you mean Zoe. I have a book that combines polymer with the silver and the pictures look great so I thought I'd give it a try. But so far I keep asking myself why am I putting expensive silver with a cheaper clay.

I've seen gorgeous polymer pieces and know people who make wonderful pieces of jewelry with it. But I'm just not sure that's me.

Oh well, we'll see how this goes. (Just trying to save a buck but am not sure all the alternatives are really worth it.)

Anonymous said...

I went through a polymer clay faux-stone phase a good while ago, before I even started working with metal clay.

The material was inexpensive, the playing with it was fun. But it seemed to take me forever to get pieces I liked even a little bit ... and then it was still plastic. I decided it was better, for me at least, to spend time shopping for real stones!

The advantage to polymer, of course, was that I could make the faux stones in any shape I wanted without having to get all kinds of fancy lapidary equipment. But I've gotten rather intrigued with the "artistic challenge" of designing metal pieces to go with the shape of "real" stones I find.

I look forward to seeing what all you come up with, whether you use real stones or your own imitation ones!