Now, I know some purist would beg to differ. Not everyone would consider the following beads actual works of art, but for today we will.
I tried several techniques since I last posted. Much of my time is used playing Mad Scientist with my clay. I have several great books and while I know their techniques work, I'm always wondering "what will happen if I try this?" I learn a lot, but lab work does eat away at your creative time.
Today's art is faux bone. I based several of my pieces on the ancient art of Scrimshaw. Scrimshaw was originally done by whalers on the bones and teeth of whales and walruses. They used the tools at hand to engrave designs and then rubbed the design with pigment to bring out the image. If you like to do scrimshaw, you are a scrimshander. These days artists certainly don't use bones and tusks from endangered animals in their art, so it is often referred to as faux scrimshaw or faux bone even though the technique is still the same.
This may sound odd, but I haven't seen a piece of actual bone in years. I remember ham bones and chicken bones from my younger days, but since all the meat I cook is boneless, I'm not really sure what color bone is. With that in mind, I relied on the color combinations mentioned in my various clay books for my faux bone polymer clay. I came up with these...
The piece on the left was done on raw clay using a needle to punch tiny holes into the clay in the design of a tiger. I wasn't sure how to initially get my image onto the raw clay to go by, so I printed out a small picture of a tiger and took the needle tool and punched holes through the paper to outline the tiger. I pressed the picture onto the raw clay and was going to go over it with a soft lead pencil in hopes that the graphite would go through the holes. Well, it didn't...but something even better did happen. Due to the light burnishing of the image, the holes themselves showed up on the raw clay giving me a perfect dotted outline to start my project.
The tile on the left was done by pressing an un-inked rubber stamp into the raw clay. On both of the pieces, I baked the clay at 225 in my little toaster oven. I use a lower temperature than recommended and it seems to work quite well and I don't get much scorching. After curing the pieces, I used brown acrylic paint over the entire piece and then wiped off the excess with a cloth before it dried . If your image is quite deep in the clay, you can sand any remaining paint off of the piece. If your image is not that deep, and sanding would obliterate your image, you can lightly spray rubbing alcohol on a smooth cloth and go over the top of the piece. Rubbing alcohol removes acrylic paint, so don't spray it directly onto your piece, or you will have to start over. But it's good technique if you don't like the paint that you used to antique your piece, as you can use the alcohol and an old tooth brush to remove that color.
Whew, I'm wordy today, aren't I. Sorry about that. On to the next one...
On this one, I simply rolled the bone clay into a somewhat large ball, then flattened it slightly with my hand. I textured the clay with a needle and lightly pressed an oval shaped cutter onto the clay, giving me a frame for my picture. I baked the clay, then antiqued it. For the picture, I used a copyright free, laser printed image left over from my library art club days (thanks, Marnie!) and a piece of clear packing tape. You place the tape down on the image, and use something to burnish it. I used the back of a teaspoon. After making sure the image is burnished completely, you then place the whole bit into a small bowl of water and walk away from it. It usually takes about five minutes for the paper loosen and you can then start to remove the paper carefully from the tape, using your fingers, re-wetting as you go. I use my non dominant hand, so I won't be tempted to scrub the image from the tape. After all the paper is gently removed, the image is completely transferred to the clear tape. I used a bit of gel medium to glue the tape transfer to the pendant, added a few gold paint highlights and it's ready to string.
Lastly my personal favorite is a grungy faux bone heart.
I roughly shaped the clay into a large heart and sliced it flat down the middle (think of filleting a fish) and then roughly placed them back together. I wrapped thin wire around the hearts, pressed in some grommets, roughed it up some and also used various shaped pieces of wire for texture. Cured and cooled, I removed the wires and applied the paint to antique.
While blog surfing earlier this morning, I checked in on a favorite, Pink Crayon Studio. Suze Perrott is a marvelous artist and today she shows a picture of a stack of her fabric that reminded her of a deli sandwich. That got me to thinking what a great way to find colors that go together. If you are in a bind and can't think of what colors to use, think of your favorite foods and the colors that they contain. The colors of a juicy hamburger, with shades of ground beef brown, tomato red, lettuce green and that off white colored onion, would make great colors for beads for a new necklace. Ok, now thanks to Suze, we're hungry and off to the store.
Take it easy this week. If you're expecting more falling weather, prepare for it and remember spring is right around the corner. It has to be...tell me it is!