Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I've spent the last month studying African masks and mud cloth in books and in person....and drawing, drawing, drawing.....and scanning, and editing. I stopped at 34 designs. I have more ideas but I had to put a stop to it and put some of these designs into action. For each of the 34 designs, I made 3-4 different sizes. Sometimes I like to use only part of the design so I may want the tear-away to be large and show lots of detail. Other times I like to make medallions that will show the entire design so the size needs to be a little smaller. This anal tendency means that I have about 100 tear-aways to make.
I've been using my new stash of Sculpey Studio and the new method that was posted on the Yahoo group. Rather than repeatedly burnishing with your hand and letting the polymer rest under a light source, you use a heat setting tool....like a mini-iron. You place your design face down on the polymer and run the iron over it for 3 seconds. I discovered it works better if you put another piece of paper over it first. A hot iron in direct contact with polymer clay isn't ideal. You then let the design sit for 2-3 minutes depending on how rough you want your texture to be. Then peel your texture sheet away.
At first I was peeling them off too fast and ripping them in half. When I slowed down a little they started to come out quite well. There's still variation and thin/thick spots using this technique. With the annoucement that the pthlates (the chemical that makes this whole process work) are going to be taken out of the polymer, I started think about doing copper etching instead. There are several advantages....the ability to increase the depth of the texture beyond what you can get with tear-aways, a smoother background (although I love a rough background texture), after all the hard work you have a permanent texture plate, and if you get tired of it and never want to use it again...you can give it away, swap it, sell it...or cut it up and use it in other designs.
I'm starting to think that copper etching is the way to go...but first I have to use up all this Sculpey that I have. Which will take some time. I don't save the polymer impression. I fold it up and reuse it. I've made ~20 tear-aways with the same sheet of polymer and I'm still going.
On another topic....this is what a pampered cat looks like in our house. Benny just all stretched out and relaxing in my chair.