Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pullin' out the ol' electric buffer. . .

I haven't used my electric buffer (a bench grinder fitted with buffing wheels) for quite some time. (One of the major benefits of making miniature food is that you don't really have to sand or buff that much.) So when I set it up and switched it on again, I had to remind myself how things worked. I was a little nervous. It didn't take long to get back into the groove, but even "the groove" isn't very groovy, when it comes to buffing. ;o) I love the incredibly glass-like shine you can only get by "power-buffing"-- and I like doing a piece now and then just for the fun of seeing the shine pop up-- but I wouldn't mind passing off the bulk of my sanding and buffing to someone else!

So, now that I've gotten the whining out of the way. . . ;o) . . .you may be wondering what I was buffing.

I started working my way through a small pile of mokume gane beads. I've had these things sitting around for I-don't-know-how-long. I know it's been over a month, maybe two. (They were probably sitting on my clay table for a month before I even got around to curing them!) I used a ripple blade a lot in this batch, as you can see from the rippling pattern in some of them. . . What else? I'm pretty sure this batch didn't have any leaf in it-- just various types of paints. The golden-green must be Dazzling Metallics-- Festive Green-- because I got that as a gift back at Christmas, and I wanted to try it out. As for the other paints, I don't remember which I used. Probably Blue Topaz from the FolkArt line of metallic craft paints. . . and a blue-green from Posh Impressions' Luminous Metallic Inkabilities. Oh, and some of my trusty four-colors-a-dollar glitter. (g)

Some turned out better than others, as usual with mokume gane. Maybe the colors were a bit too similar for maximum impact, but I do tend to like monochromatic and limited color schemes.

I also buffed a few "shell-shaped" beads I made a few weeks ago. Well, I call them "shell-shaped". A couple of them are nautilus-shaped pendants (with the wire bit taken out for the sanding and buffing stage), but the first one just makes me think of spiral seashells.

This is my first attempt at a bead shape I admired in Making Polymer Clay Beads. It's pretty simple to get this shape-- just make a snake that's relatively "fat" in the middle and "skinny" at both ends, then wind it around a skewer or rod to shape it. My technique still needs some work, but I had fun playing around. I used scrap clay-- a mostly opaque pale blue with flecks of aluminum leaf in it and a mostly translucent aqua with lots of glitter in it. (Aqua is one of my favorite colors, these days. It's perfect for summertime, I think, and a fitting color for sea-themed pieces.)

Next, here's one of the nautilus-shaped pendants. Again, I used the aqua-translucent clay with glitter, this time paired with a Skinner blend that goes from aqua to more of a periwinkle blue.

One last photo-- another nautilus pendant. This time, I used the same Skinner blend from above, but I switched the glittered clay out for pearl.

Incidentally, I think this was the first time I made a Skinner blend that I was actually happy with. I think I've only tried it once-- maybe twice-- before. (I know, it's shocking. How can someone have used clay for a couple of years without blending?!) Now that I know how to do it, I'm going to have to give it another try. I'm thinking of peachy-orange and pink-- or sunset pink and purple. . . more beachy colors for seashells. :o)


KC said...

I like those colors. Very complimentary.

Michael said...

Thanks! :o)

Луана said...

Beautiful! I wish I has that translucent aqua colour to try it out:-)