Thursday, May 22, 2014

PCAGOE June challenge piece - Art Deco faux stained glass trinket box

If you like this piece, please visit my shop StrebeDesigns for a variety of polymer clay art pieces.

Being an Art Deco junkie I was really excited about the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE) challenge this month with the theme of Art Deco/Art Nouveau.  Since I started making my nightlights, I had a vision for a faux stained glass box for this challenge.

After doing a little research on art deco colors, I decided on the colors for the translucent "glass" sections by using the ink colors celery, eggplant, butterscotch and pebble.  For the circles I went with my own color scheme since I wanted splashes of bright colors: juniper, watermelon, sail boat blue, and more butterscotch ( a luscious color).

To make the circles, I first made the frames by putting extruded clay around cookie cutters and curing.  When cool enough, I filled the frames with liquid translucent pc and mixed with alcohol ink (I used a toothpick to mix). Then I gave it a bit of time to level out even (which it will do on its own) and then cure.

There is that luscious butterscotch!  Sometimes the liquid clay would ooze under the frame. If that happened, I simply trimmed the ooze with a razor blade after curing.  If you look closely at the blue one, you can see where it has been trimmed.  

Next I blended the translucent clay with the inks, so that I had plenty of each color. I also filled two extruders with black Premo! clay so I had plenty of material ready for framing.  Using some of my sketches as guidelines I cut out shapes and started with the four sides.  

Yes, I know, neat I am not.  

Unfortunately, I don't have any more photos of the construction process.  Frustration won out. The four sides took a loooong time, and I changed patterns over and over, sometimes even cutting out and replacing cured sections. 

When the four sides were completed I constructed and cured the bottom.  Again agonizing over pattern layout. Now I had four sides and a bottom, but nothing connected.  I had no idea what to do next, and could not find anything to use as a form to construct and support the box.  Very bad planning, extremely bad.  

I can't remember how many things I tried, but there were many that failed miserably as I couldn't keep the sides straight.  Finally my solution was to extrude large diameter, and large flat sections of black clay and use it as the binding material.  

The corners are held in place by round strips on the outside and flat strips on the inside.  The sides are held to the bottom by large round strips on both sides of the side.  All this had to be put in place using liquid clay to hold the uncured clay securely to the cured clay.  I was able to use a Fat Daddios square cutter inside the box to hold the sides upright while curing, wasn't a great fit but good enough. 

The results:

It is about 4" square and 2" high. 

A lot of hard knocks along the way, a lot of swearing, a little wine, but most importantly a lot of learning.  The nightlights seem like a walk in the park now! 

Apple Rose Cottage copy of

How exciting, my nightlights are for sale in this charming little place in Gold Hill, Oregon. Barbara, the wonderful owner of Apple Rose Cottage has an "etsy gallery" room where members of the Rogue Valley etsy group can offer their wares. Check out her facebook page at Apple Rose Cottage.  Stop by if you are in the area, but allow lots of time, she has so much fun stuff!

This is my collection there so far:

Night light number 2 - the flame

Several warm colors of ink blended into Translucent Pardo Art Clay.  A large teardrop Fat Daddio's cookie cutter was used for the shape.  I just bent it slightly after cutting it out to give it a slight wave.

I'm happy with the results.

Here is how the back looks/works:

My first night light looked like a dog

Not that I don't like dogs, but geez! It wasn't suppose to look like a dachshund!

I was pretty happy with how it came out, but I couldn't get over the dog thing.  Plus the extruded clay was  wonky, I kept getting finger nail marks on it, so I decided to use a little tool and dimple it.  And there were some minor gaps again between the framing strips and the translucent.  But I did like the combination of jungle and celery again! 

So I took it apart.  I was a little disheartened at how easily it came apart.  I had cured the flat pieces first and then put them together with the framing strips to cure again.  I did have trouble getting the the strips to stick to the cured flat pieces.  A new engineering problem.  

So when I reworked the design, I put it together using liquid translucent to bind the pieces.  Worked like a charm.  

Lesson learned: Uncured clay adheres fine to uncured clay.  Uncured clay to cured clay? not so much. 

Faux stained glass - the beginning

Recently I had an idea that I would like to make night light shades using translucent polymer clay.  As a lover of the Art Deco and Arts and Crafts art movements, I decided this would be a great way to work in those styles.    

So to start I ordered on line Translucent Pardo Art Clay (a lot),  Adirondack alcohol inks (bunches of colors), and a stock of Translucent Liquid Sculpey.   I also ordered night light bases and clips to hold the shade and stocked up on LED night light bulbs.  Since these run much cooler, I was more comfortable with them next to cured polymer clay.  

Stocked up, my night light adventure begins.

My first shot was a little design, just to test out using all these new (to me) materials.  I love the colors the inks and the translucent clay yield.  LOVE them.

As a lover of green, I had recently discovered the Premo!  color jungle.  A rarity for me, I liked it so much I didn’t even blend it with other colors.  To complement the jungle color, I used the ink color celery.   What a wonderful combination that turned out in my first practice piece.  

Boy, did I have a lot to learn!  Looks good, right?  Close inspection showed a lots of gaps between the extruded Premo! clay and the dyed translucent.  And right after I photographed it, I picked it up and it fell apart!!  The pieces came apart and the extruded clay fell away from the flat pieces.  My technique definitely needs work.