Thursday, May 3, 2012

The lure of transparent

Being a currently ex glass person, it goes without saying that I’m a sucker for things transparent.  For a long time, translucent was as close as you could come in polymer.  With the (newish) Pardo clay, you can go just a bit further down that road.  The results look a lot like sandblasted glass, which to me is a great plus, as I spent a good deal of my 18 years in glass with my hands in huge gloves peering into a sandblasting cabinet trying to take that pesky shine off my glass.  Who knew it could be so easy?

        IMG_2055        IMG_2051        IMG_2056


I’ve been messing around with this for a little while between other projects, but I did take the time to actually try and put a necklace together from some different elements that I’d made.  Oh, my sad and sorry wire work – I apologise in advance to all those who do wonderful wire work!  Just part of the ‘big picture’ learning curve that I seem to be stuck at the bottom of…I know this is not new material since I’ve already posted these on Flickr, but I wanted to talk a little more about the technical aspects of these.  Besides, not everyone looks at Flickr!
There are a few things to figure out -  whether the almost transparency stays if you add new parts to your polymer piece.  This is important to me as I like to add things sometimes, or at least, have the ability to ‘tweak’ something after curing the polymer.  I think, on the whole, that my experiments show that the best clarity comes after the first high temperature curing and it’s downhill from there.  Plan accordingly.  I’m also experimenting with adding various colorants to the polymer before curing, or applying them to the surface and curing again. On these beads I’ve used alcohol inks and Pebeo SetaSilk.  Not sure which I like best yet.
                                                                                                             
                                                                
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A funny constructed focal bead.  Love to play with elements and don’t seem to do it enough lately….
                                           
                      IMG_2299                      IMG_2307                    IMG_2309              

These Pardo elements are amazingly strong and flexible, in case you were wondering.  I’ve never seen a clay to match it!  It makes possible so many more design ideas that I have.  It’s not brittle at all…In fact, my only criticism of it is the way that it takes texture:  I don’t quite know how to describe it, but it sort of oozes and looses the texture unless you are very careful.  It’s worth remembering that no one clay is going to have all the characteristics that you want, and that perhaps, a better strategy is to work with and learn all the tricks of each brand and choose your clay according to the needs of your project. 

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Ok, I know…a lot of pictures of the same stuff, but did you notice how nicely the photos are PLACED?  I’m going to have something to say about that in my next post.  Oh, the time I’ve wasted trying to get photos to work well in Blogger and it turns out that it is all so simple.  Placing them 3 in a row is just showing off, but I just wanted to do it because I never could before!
I’m making some of these beads to sell individually in my Etsy shop – what do you think?  I’d love to have some feedback from you, my patient and faithful readers.



19 comments:

Roberta said...

Oh Claire, these are just gorgeous. The subtle colors are wonderful. And do not apologize for your wire work. I really like it. Especially where you have embedded it in the clay.

TesoriTrovati said...

I love the idea of translucent, something that diffuses the light or hides something opaque within. You are a marvel!
Thank you for sharing your creative process with us!
Enjoy the day.
Erin

Claire Maunsell said...

Thanks to you both...I realized that I forgot to put in the curing temperatures that give the translucent effect - will add this in my next post.

jenna said...

I've never played with Pardo, but now I'm thinking I must! It's a great effect. Looks sort of fleshy in places. I wonder if the fact that it doesn't hold texture well is a problem with the whole brand or just the translucent. Premo translucent does the same thing, but the other colors don't have that issue.

Love your forms, and I think the wirework wouldn't be right if it were "perfect".

Claire Maunsell said...

This is to Courtney - I clumsily and accidentally deleted your comment! A case of large fingers and small PlayBook screen....please forgive me, no way to get comments back on Blogger once you delete them, I discovered!

Ghost Shift said...

I've only just started to play with Pardo clay and have been quite impressed with the degree of translucency, and the strength it has when rolled into thin sheets. I couldn't work out how to photograph the results, but I had an idea while reading your wonderful blog... http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghostshift/7140076641/in/photostream

IsAug said...

Love these!!!

PipnMolly said...

These are delicious !!

Davinia said...

Firstly your photos look fabulous (nice placement too) secondly your pieces are beautiful, the shapes, colours and translucent quality of them is a marvel and like Roberta I love how you embedded the wire in the clay. Haven't used Pardo much but I am in love with their ivory colour.

Anvilartifacts said...

Beautiful work as always, Claire. Love the tranlucency and gradation of your colors. Your necklace has an ethereal quality which is so inviting. Great wire work, great photo placement, great post!

stregata said...

The elements of this necklace are gorgeous and I am sure there are lots of people that would scramble to get the individual beads. I have never heard of this clay before - possibly it isn't widely available in Europe yet - or maybe it is just Germany...
Looking forward to seeing more of your creations with this material.

Anke Humpert said...

I knew you would love the Prdo clay...;-)) Good news you did try it out...! And I love your new work!!!

Katya Tryfonova said...

wonderful beads! So organic look!

Lupe Meter said...

I have never played with Pardo as well...maybe I will now. The translucent is beautiful! Your photos turned out beautiful as well...such a stunning necklace...WOW!

Janet said...

Claire, I am not a huge polymer fan...but these Pardo
pieces are SO inviting. You keep making things that I
love out of PLASTIC! Look forward to seeing some listed
as elements for sale.
Once again, you have shattered my plastic prejudice.
j

Dawn Gaye said...

Hi, first time commenting here. Your work is LOVELY!! I would love to know which pieces are the alcohol inks (Pinata or Ranger?) and which are the Setasilk paints? And are they blended into the clay or used as a surface application? There are unique and gorgeous!

Aside to Janet - Glad you got over your "plastic prejudice"! Think about polymer clay is to earthen clay as acrylic paint is to oil paint! Yes some "purists" only use oil, but acrylic is widely accepted as a legitimate art medium. Polymer Art Clay was unfortunately marketed in the US as a "children's art material" which was a terrible mistake on the part of the manufacturers! Please look at http://www.ramart.org/terra-nova
for a recent museum exhibition that will impress everyone.

Christine Dumont said...

Hi Claire
I have been experimenting with Pardo clay too and my frustration with it is that if you don't hold it to the light, the glass-like transparency is lost. Jewellery is (generally) held close to the body and light doesn't shine through. I do get that sandblasted effect to some extent but the result is too plasticky for my liking. I must say I have not experimented widely with additives for lack of time. Do you have any comments?
Christine

CARMEN said...

JUST DISCOVERED YOU BLOG AND I LIKE THE WAY YOU EXPRESS YOURSELF. GORGEOUS NECKLACE.

Diana said...

Just GORGEOUS beads!