Well, here's something:
I tried Donna Kato's "new opal" last week. I've made the opal sheet, but so far haven't done anything with it, beyond cutting it. The results were somewhat disappointing. Oh, it looked ok, I guess, but it was much more brittle than I'd expected.
First, I had a little trouble getting it off the tile. It wanted to crack apart, until I slid a tissue blade underneath to gently pry it up until I could get a good grip on it. Then, when I tried to cut it, the brittleness/crumbliness made things difficult, too.
It's hard to tell much for certain from photos, but the pictures in the tutorial-- and the fact that in her gallery, she's used this faux opal sheet to cover a slightly curved cabochon shape-- look to me like hers were more rubbery and/or flexible than mine turned out.
I can think of a couple of possible reasons for this, right off-- and there may be even more.
First-- I wasn't using the same type of flakes used in the tutorial. I suppose this might have affected my results in more than just appearance. I have yet another brand of flakes (still not the one used in the tutorial, though) that I can try next time, to see if this makes a difference.
Second-- I wonder if I didn't make my sheet thin enough and/or get my mix right. Too many flakes, not enough liquid clay. Ms. Kato describes the correct consistency as being like oatmeal. Unfortunately (in this one instance, at least), I'm not much of an oatmeal eater, so this was a bit of a guessing game for me. ;o)
The tutorial indicates putting the cured and cut opal sheet on top of a base of regular clay. In this step, you have to choose your clay color with care, because some of the base shows through. Well, with my sheet, you can put it on whatever you like, 'cause ain't nothin' gonna show through that sucker. (To put it elegantly. (g)) This is probably another indication that my proportions weren't right and I didn't smoosh it down thinly enough.
All in all, rather disappointing, though I can still try to use the pieces did manage to cut out. I just was expecting to have so much more control over the shapes I could cut from it. (That was one of the reasons I was so excited by this technique.) I suppose one mustn't expect success on the first try with every technique, and once I get this one "down", I have a few twists I want to put on it.
Random bit of nothing:
I daren't be explicit, for fear of inciting "flames". . . and of becoming some milder form of a pariah (though, honestly, some days I already feel like one, in some of these silly groups!). . . but I need a vent for my annoyance, even if it's just a muffled, ambiguous little rant on my own personal blog.
So-- You know how "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"? Well, "a little knowledge" has got nothing on "a (very) little power". And. . . I think that's all I'll dare to write here, after all. I'm moving the rest of what I was going to say to an even less public place than this 'umble 'ittle blog. ;o)