I’ve never used polymer clay before but somehow seem to have some in my possession (I expect it was a buy to take an order into ‘free shipping’ territory) so, while I impatiently waited for my Actual Pottery Classes to start I thought I’d make some things. I found a spare hour and sat myself down at the least cluttered end of the coffee table* to do some making.
I wasn’t sure what to make when I started, but then spied the giant sage bush through the window and recalled the silver clay class I’d taken at the start of the year with Emma Mitchell (I wrote about it here). At this class we’d used leaves, pine cones [and knitting!] to make impressions in silver clay, I decided to do the same with my polymer clay – its texture is fine enough to hold the impression of a leaf or similar.
Once rolled out to about the thickness of a £2 coin I placed leaves on top and then rolled Very Carefully over them to impress the leaf vein texture into the clay.
I made some single leaves with the stem in a loop to take a cord, by cutting round the leaf impression with a scalpel – it’s much easier to make a large one than a small one – and curled them round a bit to make them more ‘leafy’, a bit of ‘movement’ always helps in these things. In case you were wondering what that soup spoon is for, I draped them over it for baking to help them retain that curl. I also made some simple leaf impressions, cut out with biscuit cutters/anything which came to hand e,g, the end of a piping nozzle (top left) with a hanging up hole in them.
I tried this with various other bits of foliage – you need some with quite substantial veins or structure, such as the piece of conifer in the right hand picture, anything too delicate doesn’t show up that well. I also created some fat hens and a tiny ball of yarn from a mould I’d made after the silver course:
The beauty of polymer clay is that it can be cooked in the oven at 130C (not in a kiln at massively high temperatures!). I left them on their tile for the baking, and then let them cool on it too. They look rather lovely in their white unsullied state but I wanted to have a try with some metal coating and verdigris. They need a couple of coats of the metal – it really is metal so I probably wouldn’t do this with small children – and then a coat of patina.
I’m pretty pleased with the results post bronzing (other metals are available). The clay is very light – it’s a bit surprising when you pick them up and are expecting a metal-like heft which isn’t there! This lightness however could lend itself to larger pieces still being wearable, or easily hung on things like wreaths or Christmas trees, when a metal or ceramic object may be too heavy.
*coffee table, sofa, dining room table, kitchen counter, these are my ‘studio’ for now. All the things I needed I already had, or improvised from stuff around the house.