Thursday, December 27, 2007

Squashed cane technique

Hello Everyone,

I thought I'd take some time to play with the Vice-Versa or Squashed Cane Technique that I mentioned earlier from Domicreative.

You can view her tutorial here:

I think I can easily fall in love with this technique. It's dead easy and it doesn't use up a lot of clay to try it. It is a version of mokume gane but you don't end up with very much left over to turn into scrap.

My first attempt was a blue pallette. I wanted to be reminded of the Caribbean. I'll start with the back first since I was hoping to use it as the front. I used my new stamp that I had Bev create which uses words from our wedding ceremony in Costa Rica.

When I skimmed this side, I really didn't like it. The stamp was too small and the colours really seemed to clash. I don't think the silver was a good choice to add to the plug.

I used a different Bev stamp for the front and I liked this one very much. I think a bold stamp is required.

I'll turn these into earrings but I don't know how yet since I haven't mastered the art of wiring to my satisfaction.

My next attempt involved a jewel tone pallette. I have a stamp block of different leaf patterns that I love and I thought these would be perfect for this stamp. I'm extremely happy with these but I found the pinky cream colour that shows on the back (which is why it became the back) really didn't go with the rest of the colours. I like a bit of contrast when I do things but I'm finding with this technique it has to be the right contrast.

Other things that I noticed while doing this is that you can't cut too deep, otherwise you lose the effect of the pattern. And, if you're particularly fond of a colour, make that a thicker first plug and it should slide through most of the extrusion and be the colour of the outside of the extrusion. That'll stay as the colour that doesn't get cut away.

Don't forget to take the scrapings and put them on another piece of clay (very much like the mokume gane technique). You can end up with some interesting patterns with those as well.

I had an idea that the colour chips that come from paint stores might provide some inspiration. Here's a sample of some of the chips that we've got at home. I think four or five colours that look nice on a colour chip would look nice for this technique and would avoid the oops that sometimes happens.

I want to play some more. I always love earrings and this might be a neat way to create them.



Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas ornaments past and present

Hello Everyone,

I thought I'd post photos of the ornaments that I made for the Clayamies Ornament Exchange.

This first ornament is one that I made for last year's swap. The swap theme was whimsy. I made all of the canes and then put them onto the ornament.

The small black oval that you see in the middle is actually a piece of the Holiday Specs 3D glasses. These are pretty cool and they look like the image below. I simply cut out small pieces and put them into the ornament. Surprisingly they baked really well.

When you looked through the ornament at Christmas lights, you saw something like the image below.

This year's ornament used up a lot of my Santa cane that I made earlier. If you click on the photo you can see the detail of how I combined the Christmas carol stamp with the cane work.

For the back I used Lisa Pavelka's waterslide transfer paper. Overall I'm happy with the results but I did have a few problems with it. In some cases the water smeared the ink and I had to re-print the label or decide that it was close enough. In other cases there was a lot of bubbling after baking even though the piece went into the oven looking perfect. I think it might be due to the clay shrinking but not the transfer.

I have to admit that I didn't follow instructions exactly because I didn't cover the transfer with a bit of TLS before baking. I don't remember why I didn't do this but I think next time I would because I had a couple of cases where the label simply popped off after a couple of coats of Future floor polish.

I'll play with the transfers some more at some point.

And that's the posting for this week. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.