Sunday, January 07, 2007

Texture sheets and tutes...

So, I followed my own advice, dug through some buckets of shells, and found some that I thought would make interesting textures. I also raided my craft odds-n-ends and picked out promising bits and pieces. Next, I made some nice sheets of clay and tested the textures. Some of the things I thought would be my favorite textures are actually not that impressive, but on the other hand, I also discovered a few things (such as barrel-shaped metal beads and fabric trim) that made very interesting textures. Now that I've tried it, I think I have a better idea of what will or will not work as a texture, but it's easy enough to test things. :o)

For that first batch, I made several small texture sheets using Bake & Bend clay. I chose to make small sheets for a couple of reasons-- First, since this is new for me, I wanted to make sure I was doing it "right". (I seem to have done well enough. The sheets work, at least, and my choices of textures range from "okay" to "oh yeah!".) Second, most of what I make with clay is relatively small-- beads and pendants. I don't really need a huge texture sheet for that. Making them small allows me to make lots more textures with the same amount of clay. (And with the 2-oz. blocks of Bake & Bend apparently going off the market, this makes a difference. I won't be able to restock that particular brand of clay during the 99-cent clay sales, but will have to buy the pricier combination packs, once I run out.)

So, success on that front! :o) Yay!

While making the sheets, I had a few a-ha moments and I think I have the makings of a couple more tutorials to go up on Polymer Clay Web. (Ok, so I already have more content to write than I could get done in a month, probably, but it's still good to have new ideas that I'm excited about.) I'm thinking of doing one on homemade texture sheets, one on homemade tools (including texturing tools), and one on shawl pins.

On the subject of shawl pins... Ever since I first saw one in a yarn catalog a year or so ago, I've wanted to make them from clay. One of my very first projects was an attempt at one, but because I used SculpeyIII (and no reinforcement/armature), it broke. :o( I finally did make a sturdier one in faux opal a couple of months ago. (Haven't photographed it yet, though-- need to do that!) The a few days ago, when I was looking for polymer clay-related blogs, I came across something interesting. A clayer named Eva-- someone whom I vaguely recognized from PCC-- had photos on her blog of something very, very similar to "my" shawl pins. Actually, they're basically the same thing (becasue she describes how they're meant to be used, and yep, that's a shawl pin), but she calls them "pin-buttons". Evidently, she made them for a Syndee Holt chat/project, and Syndee liked them so much that she suggested that Eva send them to Belle Armoire. Strange, how two completely separate people can come up with the same basic idea. Of course, someone else may have had the same idea years ago, and shawl pins themselves certainly aren't anything new.

Back to the subject of tutorials, Donald's putting together a downloadable PDF of the faux opal tutorial I wrote for the website. He's also been working on the tutorial for a faux pirate coin project he did on his own. And one of these days, he'll get around to putting up my mokume gane tutorial and PDF. In the meantime, I ought to start working on the other tutorials and techniques I have yet to write.

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