Monday, August 29, 2011

Polymer Clay Cuffs

This post has come because I feel the need to proclaim my new found love for polymer clay. I have been steadily working with the material for almost 2 years now, but I went thru a period where I was lacking some motivation and creativity when it came to coming up with new stuff...until recently.

I can't to stop making cuffs. I love them! There are so many possibilities when you are working with clay. I can mix pretty much any color I can imagine, use many different stamps in many different ways and then accent the design with any paint color I chose. If I mess up, I just roll up the clay and start over.

There is nothing like rediscovering a favorite material and becoming inspired by it all over again. The kind of inspiration that makes you feel like you have just stumbled upon something new that kick starts your creativity triggering a marathon of new projects. A domino effect that all crafters, artists and designers understand.

You might be familiar with a material and think you know all that you need to know about it, but sometimes there is a moment when you are introduced to it an a whole new way. Maybe you accidentally mixed the wrong color...or haphazardly sliced your clay in an unintended angle, or prematurely pressed down on an imprint leaving the design off center...What do you do when this happens? Roll up the clay and start all over? Sometimes, but most of the time I just go with it because I have learned by now that these are the moments that often produce my favorite pieces.

This green floral cuff was a "happy accident". I have had this large flower stamp for awhile, I just never really looked at it until the other night. I was actually trying to work on something other than a cuff, and I was only experimenting with the stamp in some spare green clay I had sitting on my work station.

I'm pretty sure this might be one of my favorite cuffs so far. Everyone I have shown it too seems to be just as enamored with it as I am. Too bad I sold it last night. I will make another one...or eight!

How I make my cuffs...

First you have to condition the clay. I have come to realize that I must be patient with this step. Sometimes I am too excited about my idea and I do not work the clay long enough, but it really is worth the time. Run it through a pasta machine (designated only for polymer clay), roll it and work it with your hands, turn on a bad 80's movie or anything that stars Schwarzenegger and hand it to the man hanging around. He'll be so zoned out watching the movie that he won't realize how long he has been working the clay.
What..? My hands hurt after awhile...his are bigger and stronger!
He has mixed some pretty bad ass colors for me...Thank you, Jeff!

After the clay has been sufficiently conditioned I run it thru the pasta machine again. Then I use a rolling pin to gently smooth any lines the pasta machine has made. I will trim my piece a bit at this time, but not down to the exact size that my finished cuff will be because when I press down with the stamps it will distort the edges and you will have to trim again.

Then stamp it up, bake it and paint it.

What? Did you think I was giving away all of my secrets? :-) Leave a comment if you have any questions about my process.

Here are some more of my favorite cuffs...
If you want to see more, visit my Etsy shop and my facebook page.

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