Thursday, August 25, 2011

Super Sculpey to the rescue

I have two uses for Super Sculpey.  The first, which I read about or was told about years ago, is to use it to clean my pasta machine before changing to a new color.  The Super Sculpey is quite sticky and it tends to pick up stray bits of clay.  I just run it through a couple of times and then put my new color through.  It seems to replace the first line of clay that is trapped just under the edge of the blade making it less likely to get a nasty color streak in the new color.  I don't rely on this technique nearly as much now because I have a "Monafied" pasta machine and cleaning the blades between major color changes is quick and easy.  Still, I often run the Sculpey through when I'm going between similar colors.  You can see in the photo below how much clay the Sculpey picks up.

Original color on the left.  After lots of cleaning on the right.
The second way I use Super Sculpey is to minimize black streaks on white and light colored clay.  The black streaks are not lubricant from the pasta machine - they are caused by some kind of reaction between the clay and the metal of the roller.  My new machine with the aluminum roller doesn't have the streaking problem, but my trusty old one is awful even though it has had lots of use.  I tried every cleaning method, including smelly old ammonia, but nothing worked.  Then I noticed that right after I put the Super Sculpey through, I didn't get streaks for several passes of the white clay through the machine.  Then the streaks would start.  I experimented and found that I could get at least three and usually four passes before the streaking would start, so now I just run the Super Sculpey through after three passes and then continue conditioning.  I'm not sure exactly why this works although I can think of two possibilities.  Either the Sculpey is leaving a thin coating on the rollers or it is picking up the residue caused by the chemical reaction of the other clay.  If you are having problems with streaks on white clay, see if this idea works for you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Primitive Jewelry

I've been working on some jewelry using a "primitive" theme.  This is the first tile bracelet I've ever made.  All of the carving was done by hand after the tiles were baked, and then I used some Studio by Sculpey Antiquing Medium in Chocolate Brown.  Not sure what it is called now.  The small beads, which I purchased in Hawaii, are made from coconuts.  And of course, I had to make some matching earrings.  I know the nasty fashionistas in New York decree that "matchy-matchy" is bad, but %$#$^& to them!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's been a long time......

Apologies to anyone who might be following this blog.  I have been undependable, lazy, lax, absent, distracted, and generally out of touch.  I've been distracted from clay by a number of projects for my upcoming 40th (cough, cough) college reunion.  I just took photos of all my record albums from that period as well as lots of other memorabilia for use in a slide show.  Everyone is supposed to submit photos, no matter how embarrassing, so it should be fun.  Whenever I think of gin and tonics, I thank my lucky stars that cell phone cameras didn't exist back in the day.

Despite all these other projects, I haven't been totally absent from clay.  I made 12 Bottles of Hope and I've been working on some other things.