Saturday, October 27, 2007

Faux Ceramics Experiments

I wrote earlier about the toner transfers I've been playing around with. One other thing I've been trying is different variations on faux ceramics.

I think I mentioned that I tried the "put tinted liquid clay on beads covered in extruded clay" technique with less than stellar results. (It dripped a bit so that there was very uneven coverage, even though I thought I'd heat set the liquid clay.) I may give that another try sometime, but not for now.

I also tried the "use a black clay base with opaque liquid clay" variation. Again, not the results I'd hoped for-- partially because some of the liquid clay I thought would be opaque turned out not to be. I used oil paint to give it more opaque color, but for some reason it just didn't work that well. Probably not enough paint in the ratio-- or maybe I should have included some white paint. . . I guess that next time I ought to test-cure a little drop to check for opacity. Anyway, the ones I made that were opaque still didn't thrill me, so I decided to go back to the more translucent liquid mixes.

These two were the result of making a base bead (in plain white clay), adding some appliqué flowers (also in white), texturing, and glazing with alcohol-ink-tinted Kato. After curing, I used a heat gun to bring out the shine in the glaze.

I liked the way those turned out, but before I could give it another try, I came across that interesting idea in Tina Holden's blog (which I posted about before). She uses mica powders under the glaze. I'd thought of mixing the powders into the glaze-- haven't tried it yet, though-- but not of just touching them to the clay base. That uses less powder, lets you combine different colors of powder (and gives you more control over where they go), and probably adds more depth to the piece than if the entire glaze is full of mica particles.

First, I tried it on a couple of flat pendants. The leaves are just white clay stamped and touched lightly with a couple of metallic colors of Pearl-Ex. I then glazed the piece with Kato liquid tinted with Lettuce alcohol ink. (All the colors of alcohol ink I mention in this post are Ranger Adirondack brand. I like the muted earthiness of the Adirondack line-- plus, because I can get them at the local craft store, I can use a 40%-off coupon on them. Brings the price down nicely!) The butterfly was pearl clay stamped and touched with duo red-blue Pearl-Ex and topped with Eggplant-tinted Kato. You can't really see the mica that well in this photo, but it does show up in "real life"-- especially when the light hits it from certain angles. (This is one of those times when using a more translucent clay is probably a good idea. I'm not sure how well the mica would show through tinted TLS. . .)

I'd like to play around with this some more, too. Different "themes"/patterns-- different color combinations. Paying close attention to the compatibility of the colors (of the mica powder and the tinted liquid clay) seems pretty important with this technique, since you're seeing the powders through the filter of the colored liquid clay. I don't know if any of the combinations would ever be exactly ugly, but I imagine some are more pleasing than others.

I took the technique one step further and applied it to the flower-appliquéd pendants. (I want to improve my appliqué skill, now. I'd like to expand my repertoire of flower shapes beyond what I've done so far. (g) I have a flower catalog-- I just need to sit down and study it.)

All three (in the photo below) started with a base of pearl clay. The butterfly pendant is duo blue-green Pearl-Ex under Stream-tinted Kato. Because the powder had a blue color, it's more subtle under the similarly-colored liquid clay. I dusted the same powder over the rectangular pendant, but because I used a green liquid clay (Meadow, I think), you can detect more of the powder on it. The heart had interference gold powder (I think. . .) topped with Currant-tinted Kato. Again, the effect is subtle, but it's definitely there.

There are so many possibilities! What am I doing here at the computer when I could be experimenting?! ;o)


Christie said...

Weird! I was brainstorming about variations of your faux ceramic tutorial on the drive home from Hobby Lobby today. Then I sat down at the computer to find you talking about it AND Heather Powers blogged about it also. I think it's a sign....that I NEED to get my clay out. LOL!
I like your appliqué designs. And the way the glaze pools around the edges. Very pretty.

Michael said...

Oh? I hadn't seen that she'd mentioned it. (One of the many, many blogs I need to catch up on!)

Thanks for the kind words! :o)

Tina Holden said...

Thanks for mentioning my blog, Michael. Translucents are soooo much fun, aren't they?! I have a long history with TLS and got to experiment and play with it before it hit the stores. I find that the *metallic* powders from Eberhardt Faber (Fimo) show up the best under any of the translucents, especially tinted Liquid Kato Polyclay. Mica in the Pearl-Ex doesn't glimmer as much, especially if you have to mix it into the liquid and as you say one has to use quite a bit. Putting it directly on the project, a little goes a long way. Depends what look you're going for. The metallics are a bit more intense, the pearl-ex's softer. The powders on the project can also be layered with liquid hardened inbetween. ;)

Michael said...

Thanks for the tip, Tina. :o) I'll make a note of that. I've seen those before in the on-line shops but never "in person".