Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Tear-Away Technique with Janice Abarbanel

This month, the demo was about the elusive tear-away technique.  There are two variables that come into play that determine the success or failure of using this technique.  These are the clay and the paper. I originally learned to use white Sculpey III clay for this technique.  But now, the clay of choice is Studio by Sculpey.  Also, it was pointed out that using a combination of 25% metallic Studio by Sculpey works really well.  Studio by Sculpey clay has been discontinued, but it can still be found in various Michaels locations as well as on-line at Polymer Clay Express.  The other variable is the paper in which the design is printed.  For me, my tear-aways became successful when I taught to use Hammermill Color Laser Gloss Paper, 32 lb., 90 brilliance.  You can find this paper at Staples and Sam's Clubs.  To do the transfer, you need to make a toner copy of some sort of black & white artwork.  You can use your own original artwork, or choose from many black & white images from Dover Publications.   The artwork must be black and white - no greys. 

To begin, roll the clay out to about 1/8" (or #1 on the pasta machine).  Lay the clay on some sort of tile, glass or other work area.  Take your design and lay it out with the ink side face down on the clay.  Begin to rub the paper with either your hand or a bone folder (being careful not to apply too much pressure).  Keep rubbing for 3 minutes.  When done, take this unit over to a desk lamp and keeping the light somewhere between 5 - 8 inches away, keep it there for 7 minutes.  When done, go back to rubbing the paper for another two minutes.  Then again, go back to the lamp and keep the work there for another 7 minutes.  Now, you're ready to remove the paper.  Fold one side of the paper about 1/4".  Taking hold of this tab, you will pull the paper off as quickly as tearing a bandaid off the skin.  When the tear away is successful, you will now see the clay over the ink on the paper.  This will act as a low relief etching for your metal clay.  Bake the etched polymer clay plate for 20 minutes at 265 degrees. 

Fortunately for our guild, Mikki came in with numerous designs to choose from.   They were Chinese black & white prints from Dover Publications.  Some people experimented with some of the more intricate designs and they came out really well.  Here's a few photos from the meeting.  And the picture of Mikki?  She's holding the current issue of Art Jewelry Magazine.  Her article "Bring a Dragonfly to Life with Metal Clay and Glass" is on page 30!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Viking Knit Tools

For those of you who have wanted to add viking kit to their metal clay pieces, Whole Lotta Whimsy just made it a bit easier.  They're now selling viking knit weaving tools, viking knit drawplates, or the whole kit an caboodle (o.k. - am I dating myself?) viking knit weaving tool kit.  No affiliation - just one happy customer!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Big News in Metal Clay

It's official!  You will now be able to mix your own hallmark-quality sterling silver clay.  For info regarding this new clay, see this press release.  Do you subscribe to Metal Clay Artist magazine?  The next issue will detail how to mix and fire this yourself in your home studio from either Art Clay or PMC brand clays.  Take a look here: