Wow the days are just getting away from me. I have about five different posts in various level of completion sitting around, but not enough time to finish the associated clay pieces and take pictures. So I thought I’d chat about some of the things I’ve been working on and some fun issues I encountered!
A large amount of time went in making a Christmas sweater cane cane. I used my Lucy vise for the first time and learnt some painful lessons on using it right! I didn’t lubricate the threads the first time around and had a devilish time screwing the extruder into the vise. After some help from Diane, I cleaned out the threads and added some of the lubricant to the threads on both ends to be safe. That made the process of removing and reloading the extruder a little easier. I gave my cheap reversible drill a good workout by hooking it up to the extruder, so much so that it started smoking after the fourth round!
The Czextruder has a thick threaded rod that goes through the length of the extruder and pushes the clay out. At the end of the rod, you can screw on the hand crank or drill nut. I somehow managed to tighten that drill nut to the point where I couldn’t screw it off! I searched through forums on loosing jammed nuts and desperately posted on some forums to try and figure the issue out. I was able to unscrew it finally after an overnight soak in WD 40 and a good amount of pressure! My hands still feel the after effects! I think I’ll be sticking to hand extruding for now!
But here’s the result of all that hard work! Isn’t this reindeer pretty?! I haven’t reduced the canes very much, I’m a little scared to try honestly. With the prepping, extruding and assembly, I think it took me about seven hours or so to put this together. And this doesn’t include the time spent in fiddling/fighting with the extruder! I’d planned to do a couple of canes in green and white as well…maybe next year!
Christmas sweater canes
I also got to use my new jeweler’s scale! I figured out that the Czextruder can fit 41 g or 1.45 oz of clay! That’s about three-fourths of a 2 oz block of clay. I think that information is going to be useful when I want to plan extruded patterns. Another piece of information I’d love to have is the length of various extruded patterns you get from a certain amount of clay. That’d be super useful in planning out fitted patterns, especially when using skinner blends. But with the number of discs out there, the amount of work involved makes my head spin! So that’s something I won’t be attempting any time soon.
I’ve also been working on some gingerbread houses. Here’s what I’ve got so far. I like the little sparkly sugar candies! I’ll be doing more of those once I make some more candy canes.
Clay gingerbread houses
Tune in next time for some clay covered ornaments! Sneak peak below, using the symbolic beads tutorial from Debbie Crothers. I love this technique! Works with so many themes!
Molded ornament using symbolic beads technique