Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Exploring the String Impressions Experiment

If you've read the latest Polymer Arts magazine (Spring 2015) then you would have read the story about the String Impression Experiment.  Well this article had me totally intrigued.  I understood the original concept of wrapping rubber bands around a block of wood and then impressing into polymer clay but when Sage and Paula started talking about wrapping a round object with various bits and pieces to rock back and forth, I was a little stumped and wasn't sure why you would do this.  I had to experiment myself to understand properly how it works and what happens.  Let's have a look at my experiments. I used white clay for all my experiments and coloured with chalks.

The very first thing I thought when Sage mentioned a round object was a toilet roll (weird I know but it totally works!!).  I had also just written the blog post about the glue gun stamps so the idea was born.  Why don't I glue gun around a toilet roll?  I did this and turned out great but it needed something else - balls!!!!  Teeny glass balls that will stick to the hot glue and embed themselves when it cools.  I popped my acrylic rod inside the toilet roll and rolled it this way.  It worked beautifully.  Hmmmm what else could I do?

Next I decided to try masking tape and sticky tape and crumpled it around the toilet roll.  I used the same technique with my acrylic rod and again, this worked beautifully.

Rubber bands wrapped around a small ink dauber. 


Wire wrapped around a small ink dauber - I rolled over numerous times.

Mesh ribbon rolled over the clay once and rolled over the clay multiple times. I stuck the ribbon onto a large cardboard tube with sticky tape.


Ball chain wrapped loosely around a small ink dauber.

Embroidery thread wrapped around a chopstick.

Non-skid rubber sheeting cut up and wrapped around empty alfoil tube.

So I wrapped a bunch of different bits and pieces around other bits and pieces and came up with some very interesting textured that I really liked.

Now I wondered why I had to "wrap" around something.  Why could I not simply add these items to a wooden block and impress that way.  Why did my object have to be round as Sage and Paula had mentioned?  So I decided to do a few more experiments.  

I added glue gun and small glass balls to a block of wood and created my impression and came up with something quite similar to the toilet roll experiment.  

 I added some masking tape to a wooden block and again, came up with a similar result. 

I then used the mesh ribbon, impressed once and then impressed multiple times and came up with very similar results to the original experiment.

Now it was time to use the rubber bands and I had a bit of a duh!! moment - of course they have to be wrapped around - it's the only way it would work.  I then thought about the wire, chain and thread and realised that it could possibly work simply laying these items ontop of your clay and impressing but it just makes sense to wrap them around something and roll over the surface.

So I came to the conclusion that some things like, materials, ribbon, sponges, papers etc could simply be laid over the raw clay and impressed.  That would be an easy way of doing it.  But there are items that need to be wrapped around something to work the best.  

The one advantage of wrapping a round object like the small ink daubers is that you can create repetative patterns in your clay.  Have a look at the wire pattern in the clay below and see how it repeats.  This of course happens because the object being rolled is small and will do multiple revolutions over the clay.

So at the end of all the experiments I think Sage and Paula came up with a great idea that can be extended on even more. Remember these are just my simple experiments and my thoughts on the subject.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Midwest Autumn Craft Roundup Dongara

I must say a huge thanks to Kym and her team for organising such a great arty/crafty weekend in Dongara and special thanks for inviting me to teach.  

I had beautiful students who were all relatively new to polymer clay and their finished pieces were astounding.  I was very very impressed.

I ran the Bollywood Flowers workshop on the Saturday and Image Transfer Beads on the Sunday (with lots of other little projects thrown in as well) and was so happy with the pieces these lovely ladies created.  I really do love these projects and they are definately achievable by anyone.

These weekends are all about community.  There were ladies from all over the Midwest and beyond (some very remote) and it's the love of art and craft that brings everyone together to enjoy a weekend of making, sharing, friendship, laughs and lots of love.  Special thanks to Helen Rhodes for massaging some of her divine essential oils into my arms and shoulders on the Sunday morning and making me feel totally beautiful.  I'm sure the event will go from strength to strength and I'm already looking forward to seeing everyone again.  

Let's have a look at some of the pics.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Glue Gun Stamps

So it's pretty handy having a hubby that's a builder.  There's all sorts of good stuff in his rubbish bin in the shed.   He always has a mountain of wooden offcuts so I found a pretty cool use for them.

I made all these stamps quite a few years ago and they are simply sensational for polymer clay.

I'll show you in the step by step pics.

Take some wood offcuts.

Heat your glue gun and have plenty of glue on hand - you'll want it!!

Glue gun away!!!!

Press into some clay.  I used three colours - black, light blue and white.

Shave slices off the top to reveal the beautiful pattern inside.

Okay if you don't have access to wood offcuts why not try the back of a mounted rubber stamp.  
Try to use stamps that don't have the shiny coating as in the pic above or simply remove coating before applying glue.