Almost jade boxes and some feathers

I have been very bad with updating my blog. Again, I’ve gotten into the habit of wanting to talk about the million different projects I have going instead of picking just one. The problem with that is of course it’ll be a while before I’m completely done with all of them. And then there’s the fun of taking pictures, processing them and all that jazz (seriously, how does everyone do it?!). So although I have many irons in the fire, I’m going to talk about just a couple of things that I actually finished and I’m pretty chuffed with.

First off, here are some rough carved feathers (do they look like feathers?! I’m not sure!). With Donna Kato’s new carved pin class and some eye candy from Staci Louise Smith cropping up recently, I was inspired to pick up the carving gauges I bought forever ago and give the technique a try. While I wasn’t ready to try complex beads yet, I liked the idea of carving out simple lines in feathers or leaves. I formed some white clay into feather-like shapes, dusted it with PanPastels of various colors and baked them up. While still warm from the oven, I used my carving gauges to shave off some lines and reveal the white clay along the lines of the feathers. Once I was done with that, it seemed like the pieces still needed… something. So I pulled out my recently reconstituted Inka Gold and gently rubbed some all over the feathers with a light touch. While I’m pretty pleased with the overall look here, I plan to experiment with making the shapes more delicate and the carved pattern more intricate.

Polymer clay carved feathers

Polymer clay carved feathers

I should add a note here that I had literally zero luck with the cheap linoleum carvers I had. Even with warm clay, the linoleum carver seemed to stutter on the surface without making clean cuts. What did work was the one precious Dockyard engraving tool I bought a while back after reading this highly informative post on carving. At the moment I have just a small V gauge but I have my eye on the small U one as well. I’m trying to find a slightly cheaper alternative to the Dockyard brand. I also plan to try carving Premo Souffle and Ultralight, which I believe are easier to carve that regular Premo. Gah, so many ideas, so little time!!

Among other experiments on my worktable recently, I also created a couple of faux-faux jade boxes. Why the double faux? The usual technique to create faux jade with clay involves mixing up various alcohol inks with translucent clay, stamping an image into it, antiquing with some paint and polishing it all up. While I wanted a jade-like effect, I was in absolutely no mood to go through all that. So instead, I cheated and used the opulent tapestry technique to create the jade color just on the surface of translucent clay. And instead of trying to stamp a clean image into a giant sheet, I simply silkscreened an Egyptian Hieroglyphs pattern using some gold paint. While this might not fool anyone into believing this is real jade, I really like the effect! And it was certainly much quicker than the more “traditional” faux jade route. I guess I should call this “close enough” jade!

Almost jade zippered box Almost jade zippered box

Almost jade box

The larger box above was finished using Iris Mishly’s brocade technique, while the smaller one was based off Donna Kato’s inro tutorial. I don’t have the right form for the inro yet, and rather than rushing to buy that immediately, I figured I’d give it a try with the form I have. Since I’d tried a jade look with the previous box, I experimented with some different shades of green. This looks more like jade to me and of course I don’t remember the colors I used!

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Almost jade inro box

My end goal is actually to create little nesting dolls using the inro technique. I got some pressed cotton shapes from Spunny’s in the shape of peg dolls. I think it’d be so cool to make nesting dolls dressed with cane slices and little polymer faces! At the moment, all this is just in my head, since I have no clue how to create a nice clay face or how best to adapt the inro technique to the funky shape. But the basic idea went fairly smoothly on the cylindrical shape, so I’m hopeful!

Also, here are a bunch of clay wands I made with real gemstones. The metallic one has a tiger eye stone at the tip: one of my favorite gemstones ever. Didn’t quite get the effect I wanted with that one. I think I need a lighter colored clay for more contrast. Though I used a bunch of different metal colored clay to decorate the wand, it seems to have washed out to a dull generic brown overall. The other two worked out pretty well though. I spent a good weekend making all the leaf and petal canes. The longest wand was the first one I made. I had no clue about the right length, until I went to bake it! I must’ve used a million cutters and things to prop it up nicely so the petals would retain their shape. I still managed to bend most of them. The smaller ones were easier to handle for sure.

Polymer clay wands

Polymer clay wands

Warning: random television related thoughts, not clay related up ahead, you have been warned!

I’ve mentioned this once before: I usually have my television running in the background while I clay (or do anything really). My seat at the end of my dining table where I have my work area set up has a good view of the TV, which is why I’m loath to make any changes to the furniture arrangement in my apartment. I usually binge watch a couple of shows at a time, just to keep things a little interesting. Sometimes when I pick up a completed bead or object, a picture or dialogue from the show I was watching when I made it will flash in my head. The cane or veneer somehow gets permanently wired to that show (or episode if it was specially memorable) in my memory. This has been happening more and more lately, even when I’m writing about something here. So I thought it’d be kinda fun to devote some text to the show that I’m currently watching.

I mostly like watching procedurals: I feel like they tend to be a little less intense that all out dramas or thrillers. That said, I watch a lot of TV! So I cover a fair variety of shows. My binge choice at the moment is Grimm. I won’t go over details, recaps or anything. That’s found easily enough, and this isn’t a blog on television after all (no, really!). I’m on season 4 at the moment and quite enjoying the combination of mysteries, fairy tales and good guys beating bad guys on a per episode basis. I’ve also started watching Mr.Robot: totally different genre but very compelling. I like to mix up a little comedy in the middle of more serious shows, but haven’t found anything very engaging there.

That’s it for the television portion of this blog post! Tune in next time to see more clay creations!