Saturday, March 13, 2010

-Polymer Clay as Therapy

I've felt like I've been stuck and just decided to put everything aside to just smoosh around. Rather than just waste clay, I remembered how calming making river rock was. It is just some blending and smoothing and totally free flowing. Other times I'm just made up the colors and made a number of matching beads. I decided to just really play around and see how different each rock could be. I only put two restrictions on the beads- they had to be in blues and greys but all different and they had to similar in size so they could be used together.

I gathered up the necessary colors- basically I'm just using black, white, translucent, blue and a little purple or turquoise in a few, just to mix it up a little. I figure green and purple are also in the cool palette so they mix in well. I started by mixing up a dark grey as a base color. From there I mixed in whites, blue, and translucent in varying amount to mix up the bead. Usually I mix up more than I need for one bead then use some of the leftover in the next bead. To start I mix up a few colors- I just mix up a little at a time. Then I blend it and squeeze it until mostly blended. As you can see sometimes I leave it a little marbled so there will veins, other times I mix it completely.

This is what it looks like after I blended it. It's mostly a bluish grey with a few swirls in it. I pinch off enough for one bead and put the extra aside. I'll use that to start the next bead. They'll be similar but different. No two are ever exactly the same. To get a rocky look, I mix a little of Jim Holtz's Distressing Powder, for this this rock, I'm using the black soot. It darkens it and adds some grit. I usually just drop it, the powder sticks to it and then I blend that in. Now the rock part is mostly done. I just smooth it into a "rock" shape. Since these are supposed to river rocks, I use rounded shapes and smooth edges.

This is the almost finished rock. You can still see some of the powder on the board. Before I bake it, I'll add a hole being careful not to distort the bead. Drilling would be nice but I don't own a drill. Then I'll run the beads with cornstarch to smooth them out and get rid of finger prints. If I do this, I won't need to sand them after, eliminating the most tedious step for me. I'll bake the bunch for about 20 minutes and put them for sale in my shop-


  1. What a neat process - the outcome too!

  2. That is a clever idea! I'm going to try this technique next time I need rocks.


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