Thursday, September 25, 2008
What I do with my junk clay
Polymer clay artists all have something in common. We all have that box or container that is heaping full of "junk" clay. Whether we are working in millefiori, making ornaments, miniatures or sculpture, we all have bits and pieces of clay left over.
Since I tend to be a bit disorganized, my junk clay is tossed in a wire basket. Whenever I clean off my desk, I take all my left over clay and, instead of neatly pushing all the same colors together, I sweep them off the desk into the basket. Then, about once a month, I sort the clay into like colors and mix. I then try to use those colors before I open up a new package.
On a weekly basis though, I mix all of the junk colors together into a beautiful swirl of colors and make product. I try to mix colors that look good together. For instance, I'll mix yellow, orange and pink together, blue, green, teal and white together, and black, golds, yellows, and white
When I mix them, I roll out each color into a tube, place the tubes together and twist. I do this for only a few minutes. Too much mixing will turn the colors into an ugly gray.
Once I've mixed my swirly colors, I can make colorful one of a kind creations. This little fatty fairy has yellow, green and
orange clays mixed together.
My favorite ornament to make is this little set of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. I swirled blue, white and pink together to make this sweet sculpture.
I make a lot of swirly dragons and fairies from junk clay. Little boys love these characters, especially if there's a long tongue and sharp teeth.
I just recently started to make swirly buttons. But I only use premo clay for the buttons, so I've started a separate junk box just for premo. Premo clay is much more durable, and for something as functional as a button, I want to use better clay.
I'd like to share one final idea. Sometimes junk clay can get a little dirty with specks of dust, hair, lint, etc. I wash my clay with tepid to light warm water and lay it out on paper towels to dry. (that's important, you don't want to bake wet clay, as it can leave little cracks in your project.)
Clay can be expensive, so take care of it. Tomorrow I'm going to give you some hints on how to soften hard, old clay that has never been baked.