Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just some art

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!

15 comments:

Vicki's Bit-o-earth said...

I especially love the bone heart! Wordy is good! You inspire me to maybe go get some clay and try my hand. (: Vicki

kathyj333 said...

It looks like art to me.

Nezzy said...

I remember studying scrimshaw in art class in my college years. These are just beautiful. I especially love the picture and the heart bone. I love what you have produced from you art lab.

Have a beautifully blessed day!!!

Tricia said...

i have mad MAD love for the oval piece. you are such an inspiration, susan. you truly are.

Crafty Gal Linda said...

You have been a busy girl! I like everything but I especially like the pendant with the vintage print. I am partial to those vintage lovely ladies!

Peri said...

Really like this post! It is art if we all agree it is art...especially the oval with the photo transfer and the heart...nice work, Sis. I think I will try it.
Also, you are exactly right on colors...just think of either food or flowers and you cannot go wrong.

M. Smith Gentry said...

Did somebody say my name??? :D

I love, love the heart, Susan...it looks like a relic...okay, maybe that's not the right word...but something antique...no, like an artifact...I love the combination of metal (eyelets) with clay that looks like bone that has been carved with some type of tribal or familial design. Goodness, what the hell am I saying...sheesh, I like it already! :D

Tina said...

Your personal fave is also mine. Gotta say, I love your sense of adventure and exploration in your artistic pursuits ...It's inspiring to me.
It's art for sure.
T

PolymerClayTutor said...

Great pieces Susan! It is definitely art. I love the grungey heart. There is something so charming about it. Love all the other pieces as well. Great job!

Melobeau said...

Lovely and creative faux bone Scrimshaw and I especially am drawn to the heart and tiger piece. This is my first time to your site (I think) and I love to read your words. I think you have a marvelous perspective and philosophy of life and unique art to express it.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Very cool! I love the heart especially, though the others are nice too.
You've given me a creative boost! Thanks!

Kristen said...

Very cool! Who cares what the purists think. These are all creative and definitely art!

Hope you are having a GREAT day!!!

Artgalcrafts said...

Hi Susan here I am catching up with you.
Your art and poly clay up to date is marvellous.
Love the grungy heart and all your bone pieces.You are very inspiring with your inquisitive attitude as to what will happen if?. Love the latest bracelet, from your Ronna book Epsom Salts?!! Wow gal thats a newy on me, will have to try it.
Thanks for the hint re the rubbing alchol as I sometimes put colours on I dot like, but again never thought of that one. I have used it to clean black marks on white clay that can be thru putting your white clay thru the pasta machine after the black clay a bad idea LOL It happens
Love your photos of you and and your dream guy and will add them to what I do have of you.
Love how you are wordy? as it brings out your evervecent self, and gives us more to read, but I do know what you mean as I can get carried away too.
all my love to you Suasn see you here again soon.
E XXX

kanishk said...

These are just beautiful. I especially love the picture and the heart bone.
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